KONI CHALLENGE WIN AT INAUGURAL NEW JERSEY EVENT PUTS BGB PORSCHE BACK IN CHAMPIONSHIP (Ormond Beach, FL, USA - September 3, 2008) Craig Stanton passed the BMW Z4 M Coupe of Billy Johnson and Marcus Motorsports on the final of 72 laps to end ...
KONI CHALLENGE WIN AT INAUGURAL NEW JERSEY EVENT PUTS BGB PORSCHE BACK IN CHAMPIONSHIP
(Ormond Beach, FL, USA - September 3, 2008) Craig Stanton passed the BMW Z4 M Coupe of Billy Johnson and Marcus Motorsports on the final of 72 laps to end Sunday's Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Stanton's opportunity came when Johnson slid wide trying to pass a slower car; Johnson had just inherited the lead from Stanton in the same fashion when the BGB driver drifted off track a lap earlier. Stanton regained form on the final lap to make one last attempt for himself and Jon Miller to win the KONI New Jersey 250, and put both drivers in strong contention for the championship with two races remaining. It was BGB Motorsports' third victory of 2008 and first career victory for Jon Miller. The event was the first ever professional road race held at the brand new facility in southern New Jersey. BGB Motorsports teammates Joe Masessa and Nick Longhi finished 17th in their #38 Monticello Motor Club Porsche 997, with driver Nick Longhi in a front row seat for the late-race battle.
Joe Masessa and Jon Miller qualified their #38 and #83 Porsches in 26th and 12th places respectively, for Sunday morning's 250 mile event. As the race began, so did the contact among competitors, with the first caution period occurring less than 10 minutes into the race. This was the theme for the event as it became apparent that the race would be won based on fuel strategy and pit stops, due to many of the 72 laps occurring under caution behind the pace car. In an attempt to avoid the early race turmoil, Jon Miller got shuffled back to the 20th spot but was able to work his way back up to 8th by the time he came to pit road to switch with codriver Craig Stanton. The caution period that created the pit stop opportunity for the #83 was short lived and therefore, the team had to wait to pit their 2nd car during the next caution period. It was during this period that Joe Massessa brought his orange #38 Monticello Motor Club Porsche to pit road to switch with codriver Nick Longhi. Masessa's stint was clean and without incident, but got more difficult due to the amount of rubber left on the racing surface from other competitors. Following the pit stop, as the field order cycled through, Nick Longhi found himself right behind teammate Craig Stanton, but one lap down to the race leaders. In the thick of the fight Longhi steered clear of the lead battles and never really got an opportunity to engage in any of the hard racing due to the race's being plagued with an abundance of caution laps.
Prior to the event at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the #83 PerformanceDrink/Weeden Consultants Porsche of BGB Motorsports trailed the championship leading BMW M3 of Automatic Racing by 34 points from 4th place. Two Ford Mustangs sat in between the two German entries, fourteen and twenty four points ahead of the Porsche. Sunday's win for the BGB team came on the wings of some misfortune for the other competitors, creating a 5 point difference among the four cars. With two races remaining, the championship is back up four grabs. BGB Motorsports is back in the hunt for the 2008 Koni Challenge Team Championship and drivers Craig Stanton and Jon Miller are back in the hunt for the Driver's Championship. While BMW still leads the Manufacturer's Championship, Porsche is in 3rd place only three points behind. The penultimate round of the season will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, while the championship will undoubtedly come down to the wire with the 6 hour finale at Virginia International Raceway. Having won the 6 hour finale in 2006, the BGB crew is confident about their chances heading into these last two races. Last season Craig Stanton brought his BGB Porsche 997 home in 2nd place at both events.