Auberlen & Gleason Take Second Straight Win in Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 25, 2006) -- In a race featuring seven lead changes among eight drivers, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW co-drivers Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen ...
Auberlen & Gleason Take Second Straight Win in Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 25, 2006) -- In a race featuring seven lead changes among eight drivers, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW co-drivers Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen picked up their second-consecutive Grand-Am Cup Series victory in the Grand-Am Cup 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (SPEED, July 9, 11:00 a.m. ET).
Auberlen claimed the lead from Craig Stanton in the No. 38 Red Capital Group/BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera with 15 laps remaining and kept his fellow Californian at bay for the next 12 laps before Ed Magner in the No. 148 Dubler.net/WTF Engineering/Thereal48car.com Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Ken Dobson in the No. 68 Mazdaspeed Motorsports/Mazda USA RX-8 got together coming onto the front straightaway. While Dobson continued, Magner's car needed to be towed and the race ended under full-course caution.
The victory for Auberlen and Gleason comes on the heels of their first Grand-Am Cup win of 2006 at Lime Rock Park last month. It was Auberlen's seventh career overall victory in Grand-Am Cup competition, and the second of Gleason's Grand-Am Cup career. The victory put the No. 96 duo into a six-way tie for second place in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings, just one point behind No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 driver Anders Hainer.
"Chris gave it over to me in such good shape," said Auberlen. "We pitted one lap too late, which put us back a bit, but that only meant I had to try that much harder to get it to the front. Once we got up to the leaders, they started to get comfortable in a blocking rhythm, which makes it really hard to get by. But, as always, these Turner Motorsport guys give us such a great car that nobody can match our braking. The car was awesome."
"It's all about the Turner Motorsport crew," Gleason added. "We had a pretty good strategy and a little bit of luck, and it's nice to come away with the win. The racing world is a crazy one--I went from the lowest of lows yesterday when Joey was in his accident to the highest of highs today on victory podium. I'm just so glad that Joey is all right, and like I told him, 'If you're vertical, you're doing all right.'"
Stanton, the 2004 Grand-Am Cup GS champion, and his No. 38 co-driver Mark Plummer combined to lead a race-high 20 laps en route to a second place finish. While Plummer had qualified the car on the front row a number of times this season, today's result was their first podium of the season.
"Finally," Plummer said. "We've been trying so hard. The guys at the shop have been working on this car day-in and day-out. All I can say is finally. Everybody deserves it."
"The race was great," contributed Stanton. "Mark Plummer with BGB had a great opening stint. The guys gave me a great car today, we just didn't have much for the BMW. Those guys were prepared with a lot of brake. We had some good power with the Porsche, it's just one of those things. We're going to continue on. Today's a good day for points. Bill and I diced there for six or seven laps, but I wanted to save something for the end, and I think we did. The Hoosier tires hung in there real well. Once again, the crew is just awesome. We gelled one step above where we've been all year. Life is good at Mid-Ohio, we're moving onto the next race, and I'm proud to be with these guys."
David Russell and Kris Wilson came home third in the No. 09 Land Air Honda-Suzuki/Engine Music Studios/Imported Car Store/Fiske Wheels BMW M3 for Automatic Racing. It was the best result of the season for both drivers.
Finishing fourth were Brent Martini and Patrick Long in the No. 81 Wheel Enhancement/Synergy Racing Porsche 997. It was the fourth-consecutive top-five performance for Long and Martini, and was the duo's best result since a fourth-place run in Round 4 at Phoenix International Raceway early last month. Martini and Long are also part of the six-way tie for second in the GS driver standings.
Hainer co-drove the No. 97 machine with Nic Jonsson to a fifth-place finish to move himself into the GS points lead after six of 10 races this season. Hainer was originally scheduled to share the car with Joey Hand, as regular co-driver Boris Said decided to forego the Grand-Am Cup 200 in favor of competing in today's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway. However, Hand's involvement in a spectacular crash at the end of Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio prevented him from competing in the Grand-Am Cup 200.
HOLTOM AND CURRAN RECORD FOURTH ST VICTORY OF THE SEASON AT MID-OHIO
Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran posted their fourth Grand-Am Cup Series Street Tuner (ST) class victory of the season Sunday in the No. 01 GM Performance Division/SCADAPACK Chevrolet Cobalt, outlasting a field of 37 class cars and 31 full-course caution laps to extend their lead in the point standings and further their chances for the 2006 championship.
Curran drove the race's final stint, holding off a hard-charging Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. The duo was running nose-to-tail on the track through a good portion of the race, but any late-race drama was spoiled by the fifth, and final, full-course yellow, ending the race under caution and keeping the No. 01 Cobalt in front.
"Grand-Am Cup is such an excellent series now," said Curran. "It's definitely not getting any easier to win. Jamie did a great job during his stint keeping the Cobalt SS in the lead. This car is amazing, and I couldn't be more proud of the UAW guys that came out to watch the car they built win a race. I just knew that with a great driver like Sylvain Tremblay behind me, and that yellow Mazda in my mirrors, he was going to take any chance he could to get by me."
Holtom--the defending race winner--qualified on the class pole, and led throughout his time in the No. 01 machine. The victory gives the duo a 34-point lead over No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i co-drivers Will Turner and Don Salama in the current ST class standings. Holtom and Curran scored their first victory of the season in Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway and also logged wins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park.
"What more can you say about this car?" asked Holtom, who won at Mid-Ohio in 2005 with Andy Lally. "Once I get in, I am so focused about keeping the lead that I never have to worry about this Cobalt. This team has all the right stuff, and I couldn't be more confident sitting in that car."
Tremblay wound up second with co-driver David Haskell, the duo's best finish of the year. Haskell, the two-time defending ST class champion, started the No. 70 Mazda second on the grid, maintaining that position throughout his opening stint. Tremblay, the 2004 co-champion with Haskell, took over and pressured Curran, but never had the opportunity to make his way by.
"I think it's great," Haskell said. "We've been working real hard this year. We've had a lot of trouble, we've been struggling, and it's great to be on the podium. Second place, we'll take it all the time. We've got to get a little bit better to get those Cobalts, they're just a touch quicker, but all-in-all, it was a great weekend for us. We qualified on the front row, finished on the podium, and we look forward to Barber. That's a real good track for us."
"It was a tough, tough race," Tremblay added. "David just did a great job qualifying second. We basically didn't move. We went back to third with traffic and at the end, actually made a good run on Eric. He was racing me clean. Some of the lappers really weren't giving any quarters. I got hit a couple a couple times. Traffic really played a real role in the outcome of the race. It's a shame. I wanted to race him heads up, but we'll take second. We're pretty happy. It's good points for us, and we haven't been on the podium all year, so we'll definitely take it. We're ready for Barber."
Hugh and Matt Plumb finished third in the No. 27 Acura RS-X for Bill Fenton Motorsports, their fourth podium result of the year, and third in a row. They finished second in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and at Phoenix International Raceway, and finished third one race ago at Lime Rock Park. Turner and Salama finished fourth in the No. 95 machine, followed by Karl Thomson and Aaron Povoledo in the No. 76 Compass360.com/Skunk2/Hondata/Hawk Acura RSX-S.