SCC: Watkins Glen: Race report

Dumoulin, Riddle Team for Grand-Am KONI Challenge Grand Sport Victory in Supercuts 200 at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 7, 2007) -- Jean-Francois Dumoulin passed Spencer Pumpelly moments before the final caution period came out ...

Dumoulin, Riddle Team for Grand-Am KONI Challenge Grand Sport Victory in Supercuts 200 at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 7, 2007) -- Jean-Francois Dumoulin passed Spencer Pumpelly moments before the final caution period came out in Saturday's Supercuts 200 at The Glen and held on for a .481-second advantage over Jeff Segal in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series action at Watkins Glen International. Dumoulin and Dave Riddle co-drove to give the No. 26 Fiorano C-MAX/Denon Porsche 997 its first Grand Sports (GS) victory of 2007.

Dumoulin, who started the Fiorano/C-MAX/Denon team's No. 25 Porsche, dove under Pumpelly at the entrance of Turn 1 on the penultimate restart. Dumoulin quickly pulled away from Pumpelly, and the yellow quickly came back out when two cars spun in the Inner Loop.

Pumpelly, in the No. 49 Marcus Motorsports MAX 720 Property Management/Auriemma Consulting Group Porsche 997, tried to attack on the final restart -- which came out with just under four minutes remaining -- before he and Kenny Wilden in the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Piloti/Columbus Truck & Equipment Ford Mustang GT made contact on the main straightaway. Both cars continued, but left Dumoulin enough breathing room to pull away and Segal to take second. Segal and No. 09 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Imported Car Store BMW M3 teammate Jep Thornton took over the series' championship points lead in the process.

The race, which was scheduled for three hours or 74 laps, was completed in three hours and 32 seconds (69 laps) at an average speed of 77.967 mph on the historic 3.4-mile road circuit.

"I took the lead before the second-last yellow," Francois-Dumoulin said. "I got a good restart on Spencer Pumpelly. He was right there with me, and we were going to have a good fight, and the yellow came again. I was ready to fight him off again, and I got a real good restart. I don't know what happened to Spencer in the back, but I had a good run. Dave did a great job. We had two strategies for our team. Kris (Wilson) drove a real good race, also. We had two real good cars. It paid off for our car, but the other car also did really good. Kris was up front for a lot of the race. We're pretty happy for the team, for Fiorano, C-MAX and Denon. It was a lot of fun to be able to drive for them this weekend."

Riddle, who started the car, started 20th but with strong pit strategy worked the No. 26 toward the front. It was his best finish of the season, as he normally drives either the No. 25 or 26 with co-driver Kris Wilson.

Segal and Thornton claimed a season-best second in what became their fourth podium finish of 2007. Segal took advantage of the contact between Wilden and Pumpelly, jumping from fourth to second coming out of Turn 1 with two laps remaining. Segal and Thorton piloted the first of three Automatic Racing BMWs in the top five.

"The last lap was insane," Segal said. "We had those tires on there for so long, and the track was getting greasier and greasier. I knew I wanted to consolidate where we were. We are very happy with top fives at this point of the season. I planned on being conservative, but next thing I knew, I was two-wide in the Esses, and it stuck. I'm not going to complain about second, that's for sure. We're getting closer and closer to our first win, but right now I'm happy to rake in the points. It's great, finishing top five and being consistent; that was our goal at the beginning of the year. We're going to just keep doing it. If a win comes, awesome. If it doesn't, I'm just as happy right now."

Despite Wilden's late-race contact, he finished third with Mike Canney, who started the Mustang 30th overall. Wilden -- who won the previous round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Dean Martin -- then took over and moved into the top five. He tried to get by Pumpelly heading toward Turn 1, but the contact set both drivers back. Wilden moved past Pumpelly later in the lap and held on for the team's second straight podium finish.

Tim George Jr. and Conrad Grunewald brought the No. 91 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Gleukos Sports Drink BMW M3 home in fourth. It was a season best for the pair, who climbed through the rundown throughout the day and kept the car out of trouble. Grant Maiham and Duncan Ende shared fifth after co-piloting the No. 39 TRG Carlsen Porsche/DigiTrust Group Porsche 997. Both drivers ran among the top five during their stints.

Polesitter Tom Long and co-driver David Russell proved solid all afternoon as they finished sixth in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Engine Studios BMW M3. The fourth Automatic Racing machine, the No. 90 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Weeden Consultants BMW M3 co-piloted by Jon Miller and Serge Glazunov Jr., ran as high as third before finishing 12th.

Pumpelly, who immaculately saved the car from spinning during his contact, eventually ran out of fuel on the final lap, and he and Michael Auriemma finished one spot better -- 35th overall and 25th in class.

Joe Foster, who entered the race with a five-point lead in the standings, and Scott Maxwell had the No. 55 Hyper Sport Supercuts Ford Mustang GT in first position prior to the car's final stop, which came during the last 45 minutes and dropped the car out of the top 10. A subsequent penalty leaving pit road forced the car back in, and the duo finished 17th.

In ST action, Billy Johnson and Karl Thomson scored their series-leading fourth victory of 2007 -- and second with a last-lap pass -- as Johnson put the No. 76 Kensai Racing Brakes Acura TSX past Shane Lewis in Turn 6 on the final lap. Overall, the duo was credited with 23rd.

Johnson had led early but dropped back following the car's second pit stop. Moving up through the pack with the help of two late cautions, Johnson found himself battling with Lewis during the final two laps, which were held under green. Watching intently as Lewis battled fatigued brakes, Johnson got a run in the Inner Loop and held off Lewis's No. 22 HART Red Line Oil/Honda of America Honda Accord by less than a second at the checkered flag.

Johnson also scored a last-lap victory last month at Mosport International Raceway, when he defeated Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i. With Johnson co-driving the No. 76 Acura to victory and Hopwood finishing sixth, Johnson and Thomson regained the points lead by two in a seesaw battle with Hopwood and Burrows.

"I took the lead into the laces of the boot at the bottom of the track," Johnson said. "Shane Lewis had a good run down the straightaways; the Accord has a lot of horsepower. I had a good run through the Inner Loop and the next two corners. It looked like his brakes were going out, and I was able to outbrake him into the left-hander (turn 6) and hold it for the win. This is four victories for us this year."

Lewis and co-driver and polesitter John Schmitt each led laps, but it was Lewis who endured the most action of the two. Lewis was brought in for a stop-and-go penalty for jumping a restart yet returned to the lead on Lap 51 and led through Turn 5 on the final lap. Lewis felt he another driver bobbled on that restart and that unnecessary blocking prevented him from retaking the point on the last circuit.

A steady and consistent afternoon for Leo Maia and Toby Grahovec landed the pair third in the No. 86 Classic BMW -- Plano BMW Z4. Maia started the car and led several laps before turning the convertible over to Grahovec, who paced much of the race's second half. It marked the best finish of the season for the Classic BMW -- Plano team.

"Man, that last restart, man I got a great run on Guy Cosmo," Grahovec said. "He went wide going through Turn 1. I got up next to him. I got a great run through the Esses, pulled up next to Johnson -- who decided he was going to block me and move me off into the grass. I got on the brakes to avoid him. This Classic BMW car was awesome all day and I was able to hold it together until the end. Leo put me in a great position when he handed off to me. I'm excited just to be on the podium, our rookie season. We've had a lot of problems this year with mechanical and stuff. It's great to get the Classic car up there now."

Bob Beede and Bill Fenton, whose No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Southern Auto Auction Acura RSX-S made an early pit stop, came back through the field to finish fourth in front of teammates David Thilenius and Todd Lamb in the No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Southern Auto Auction Acura RSX-S. All four drivers ran near the front during their stints.

The event marked the first time since the season-opening Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway that both divisions competed in the same race.

The KONI Challenge Series GS and ST divisions will continue action July 21-22 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. in conjunction with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototype and GT classes. All four races are slated for two-and-a-half hours.

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Joey Foster , Guy Cosmo , Bob Beede , Scott Maxwell , Spencer Pumpelly , Jean-Francois Dumoulin , John Schmitt , Tom Long , Toby Grahovec , Jep Thornton , Bill Fenton , Jeff Segal , David Thilenius , Karl Thomson , Dean Martin , Billy Johnson , David Riddle , Kris Wilson , Duncan Ende , Trevor Hopwood , Adam Burrows , Tim George Jr. , Conrad Grunewald , Serge Glazunov Jr. , Jon Miller , David Russell
Teams Rehagen Racing , Turner Motorsport , Automatic Racing , HART