SCC: Watkins Glen: Billy Johnson race report

Going into round 8 of the Koni Challenge series, the Kensai Racing's ...

Going into round 8 of the Koni Challenge series, the Kensai Racing's #76 Acura TSX of Karl Thomsom and Billy Johnson were just eight points behind in the ST class championship. "I was really looking forward to driving the famed Watkins Glen track again and felt our car had a great chance to regain the series points lead due to the technical aspect of the track." Noted Billy Johnson.

Karl Thomson did a great job starting the #76 TSX. After qualifying a strong sixth, he stayed in the top five during his stint. Billy took over and moved to the front, taking control of the race until the powerful #22 Honda of America Racing Team Accord blew past Billy on the back straight. "The Honda's straight line speed was incredible, it was almost as fast as the GS Cars." noted a number of the competitors.

A last minute yellow bunched the field leaving only two green flag laps before the checkered flag flew. The #22 driven by Shane Lewis parked the field on the restart to get an early lead. Guy Cosmo in the Fountain BMW 330i passed Billy into turn 1 only to be re-passed on the exit, allowing Billy to hunt down the Accord. On the last lap the Accord was half a straight ahead but suffering from brake problems. Billy to capitalized on this and passed the #22 Accord with 5 turns remaining for the win.

"On the last lap I was really far behind the Accord and was prepared to take a second place finish. I knew Shane had brake problems but I didn't think I would be able to make up the gap" Johnson continued. "Going into the 'laces of the boot', Shane broke twice as early as normal allowing me to move to the inside for the pass which I held for the win."

This marks a series-leading fourth victory of 2007 for the #76 Kensai Racing Brakes Acura TSX of Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson. Thomson and Johnson reclaimed a 2-pt lead over the #95 Turner BMW of Burrows and Hopwood going into the next race at Barber Motorsports Park.

"Kensai Racing has once again done a great job preparing the car this weekend" said Johnson "They have been working very hard this season and have demonstrated that they are one of the most professional teams in the Koni paddock. I am happy to be able to bring them another win this season."

Besides winning the season-opening race at Daytona, wins at Laguna Seca, Mosport, and now Watkins Glen mean Billy has won on all the historic tracks that have hosted Formula 1 events that are on the Koni Challenge Schedule.

-credit: bj

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Guy Cosmo , Karl Thomson , Billy Johnson