SCC: Watkins Glen: Chris Gleason race report

Gleason and Sellers' Car Drops Out While Leading Saturday's KONI Challenge Race at Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 7 - What some people believe to be the luckiest day possible since it was 7/7/07 didn't turn out to be particularly lucky ...

Gleason and Sellers' Car Drops Out While Leading Saturday's KONI Challenge Race at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 7 - What some people believe to be the luckiest day possible since it was 7/7/07 didn't turn out to be particularly lucky for Chris Gleason and Bryan Sellers' entry in KONI Challenge action Saturday at Watkins Glen International.

Sellers was in the lead when the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 No. 96 developed an engine problem and dropped out with 52 laps complete of the 69-lap Supercuts 200. It ended up in 30th place in the GS standings at the end.

Gleason's usual co-driver, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., couldn't participate in this three-hour race on the Glen's 3.4-mile long course due to previous commitments to compete in an American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., this weekend. He will be back with Gleason at the next KONI Challenge race July 19-22 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala. The two divisions will be split for that race, although they ran together Saturday at the Glen.

Gleason, of Johnstown, Pa., qualified ninth and got a fabulous start, vaulting to seventh initially on the first lap. He moved up to sixth on lap four when Joe Foster, who had been third, dropped back to seventh.

By lap six Gleason was in seventh place, running between the team car to the Porsche that went on to win and the Kinetic Motorsports BMW. Gleason noticed oil on the track and dropped back a bit to play it safe. He was in ninth when he pitted under a full-course caution for oil in the boot (Turn 9), which was from the blown engine of Derrick Reade's Dodge.

Sellers got in at that point and started his drive from 31st place after the driver change, still on the lead lap. He methodically moved up and even led for a bit before the engine problem ended the entry's day.

Gleason qualified ninth out of 58 competitors on Friday with a lap in 2:06.814 (96.519 miles per hour) for the 3.4-mile long course in the car, which is sponsored in part by Gleason Financial. His fastest lap during the race was lap five, which he did in 2:07.257 (96.183 mph).

Gleason's post-race quote follows:

"We had an engine problem. We were executing our strategy. Bryan led there for a while and he was good to go to the end of the race. Others would have had to pit for fuel but we were OK, so we were in a real strong position. It just wasn't our day.

"Bryan did a real nice job. We were fortunate to get him; I think he had the fifth-fastest race lap. Bill recommended him to be his substitute, and he was a good choice. He got along with the team well, and he didn't whine or complain. He's a good guy.

"I qualified ninth. I got a good start, but later I almost had an incident because there was oil on the track. I backed off and a couple guys got around me. But we were in it for the long haul, and we didn't want to get in an altercation early on.

"I think the car that went on to win was right behind Bryan when we went out.

"The team is really disappointed. I'm going to put it behind me and go back to the Jersey shore. I told the team that we've been having problems lately, but we'll just have to ride it out. We'll be back on track soon."

-credit: restart communications

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Chris Gleason , Bryan Sellers , Joe Foster , Derrick Reade
Teams Kinetic Motorsports , Turner Motorsport