Gleason and Marks Finish Sixth Sunday at Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 16 - Factors behind the scenes often affect the outcome of an auto race just as much as things that occur on the track. That was the case...
Gleason and Marks Finish Sixth Sunday at Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 16 - Factors behind the scenes often affect the outcome of an auto race just as much as things that occur on the track. That was the case Sunday in a KONI Challenge race that was part of the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres for a Turner Motorsport BMW M3 Coupe driven by Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and Justin Marks of Rocklin, Calif.
A sister Turner Motorsport BMW driven by Don Salama of Somerville, Mass. and Matt Bell of Los Altos, Calif. won the race, while Gleason and Marks finished sixth.
One of the factors that accounted for the difference was a rule that stipulates that each co-driver must drive for at least 30 minutes to earn points for the season championship. Salama has not been running a full schedule this year and he is not in contention for the championship, so he made a pit stop under yellow about 22 minutes into the event for Bell to take over. Gleason, who is a championship contender, waited to be sure 30 minutes had passed before he pitted to turn the steering wheel over to Marks. His pit stop was thus made under green-flag conditions, which cost the entry time, track position and perhaps even a victory like its sister car recorded after 66 laps of competition on the 1.521-mile, 10-turn street course.
On Saturday Gleason qualified ninth in the car, which is sponsored in part by Gleason Financial. His top time in qualifying was a 1:12.649, which was just 1.201 seconds off the pole earned by a Rehagen Ford Mustang GT.
A past winner here, he got a great start in the race and quickly moved up two spots to settle into seventh between Duncan Ende in a Porsche 997 and Lee Davis in another BMW M3 Coupe, each lap going progressively faster.
He moved up to sixth on lap 11 when Ende dropped back, right after he set the fastest lap of his stint on lap 10 with a 1:12.576.
Three laps later he vaulted to fourth after David Riddle and Davis tangled in Turn 6 to bring out a full-course caution. The car that went on to win pitted under that yellow to make its driver change. Gleason was forced to wait until the 30-minute mark had passed, and by the time he pitted the race was back under green-flag conditions.
He was still in fourth, running behind Jack Roush Jr.'s Mustang, when he pitted for Marks to take over. The entry dropped to tenth following the stop but Marks quickly rose to ninth, with his BMW being the last car on the lead lap.
Marks passed Ray Mason's Mustang for eighth around the one-hour mark, and moved into seventh about 19 minutes later. With about five minutes remaining he charged into sixth on lap 61 when he got by Rob Finlay's Mustang, and that's where the entry finished.
Roush, the driver that Gleason was behind when he pitted, finished second along with his co-driver, Billy Johnson. Another Mustang driven by Dean Martin and point leader Ken Wilden placed third.
Gleason's usual co-driver, Joey Hand of Sacramento, Calif., had a previous commitment to race in another series elsewhere this weekend.
This race won't be televised, but the next one will be. Slated to be run at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, Sept. 18-20, it will be shown at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 3 on SPEED. That event is the next-to-last race of the year, as the finale is set for Oct. 2-4 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.
Gleason was fifth in the point standings going into this event.
Unofficially he is now sixth in the national standings out of 105 drivers scoring points. Unofficially he has 220 points, just eight less than the fifth-place driver, Bell. Wilden leads with 266 points.
Gleason's post-race quote follows:
"Our whole strategy was to stay with the leaders due to the short format of the race, as it was only 90 minutes today instead of two and a half hours. We got off to a good start, and managed to do that. I got up to fifth or sixth, and I was fourth when I pitted. There was a yellow with about 22 minutes gone, but the rules say each driver must do a minimum of 30 minutes in the car to get points. Don Salama isn't running for points so he pitted our team car under that yellow and went on to win. I am running for points so I stayed out until I was sure I had done the required 30 minutes. We missed pitting under that yellow by about a half a minute, and had to pit under the green. That cost us about 30 or 40 seconds.
"Justin was able to make up three positions near the end, and we finished sixth.
"It was very hot but the team did a great job with the car and we had no problems. There were only 14 starters so everybody that did 30 minutes will get points, so I don't have any idea where we are in points right now. But we had to play the hand that was dealt to us, and that's the way it went today."
-credit: restart communications