THOMSON AND JOHNSON LEAD KENSAI/COMPASS360 ACURAS IN SEASON FINALE Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson have had a remarkable season in Grand American's KONI Challenge. The duo has posted the most wins of any car, starting with the season-opening race...
THOMSON AND JOHNSON LEAD KENSAI/COMPASS360 ACURAS IN SEASON FINALE
Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson have had a remarkable season in Grand American's KONI Challenge. The duo has posted the most wins of any car, starting with the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in January. They followed that up with a win at Johnson's home track, Laguna Seca, with another win at Mosport, which Thomson calls home. Their fourth win, at historic Watkins Glen, put the two atop the drivers standings.
The battle for the KONI Driver's Championship is a tight-fought one, and two finishes outside the top-twenty (at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio) -- both the result of being hit by other cars -- means that Johnson and Thomson sit second in the driver's championship. They'll enter the final round at Virginia International Raceway just five points behind the #95 Turner BMW of Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood.
"This is one of the most competitive series anywhere," explained Thomson. "Our race cars start out as regular automobiles, straight off the showroom floor. We modify them for safety, but very few other changes are allowed by Grand Am." Which means the Acura versus BMW fight that is playing out on the race track mirrors the one that happens in dealerships across the country every day. Thomson and Johnson's TSX has been the top-finishing Acura five times so far this season, and their efforts have helped give Acura a commanding lead over BMW in the Manufacturer's Championship.
The Kensai Racing with Compass360 team is the only one to have fielded three cars in every ST-class race this season. In addition to the #76 TSX that Thomson and Johnson share, Beau Buisson continues as lead driver in the #75 TSX, along with Scott Nicol, a perennial front- runner in the Canadian Touring Car Championship. Matt Pritiko, who has impressed in his rookie Grand Am season, will once again be joined by season veterans David Tuaty and Aaron Povoledo in the #74 Acura RSX-S. "At six hours, this is a long race," noted Povoledo. "Focus is important, and racing into the darkness provides its own challenges. We think this event will be one that any of our cars can win."
Virginia International Raceway is a signature track on the Grand Am schedule. A long circuit with high-speed straights combined with a number of challenging, technical sections, it's a highlight of the year. "We love this track," exclaims Johnson. "It's got everything a driver could want, with the added excitement of driving into the night. This is a challenging track during daylight, and the night- time portion of the race will, we hope, give an interesting twist to the championship!"