McAleer, Miller take Watkins Glen ST victory for CJ Wilson Racing
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 29, 2013) – Bryan Sellers passed Matt Plumb at the beginning of the final lap and held on to win Saturday’s Continental Tire 150 at The Glen – a race marked by changing weather conditions that led to several multi-car incidents.
Sellers and Mark Boden scored their first career victories in the series in the No. 46 Trim-Tex/BCKSTGR BMW M3. It was a big day for Boden’s Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, with the team cars finishing first, third and fourth.
Plumb finished second in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997 started by Nick Longhi, who was involved in an opening-lap incident. His brother Hugh Plumb took third in the No. 45 Eagle Tech/B+ Foundation BMW M3, followed by Fall-Line’s No. 48 Safecraft BMW M3 driven by Charles Putman and Charles Espenlaub.
“We drove the entire race on the same tires we used for qualifying,” Boden said. “We took a bit of a gamble, but it worked out. This first win was a long time coming. This team is amazing, and it’s great to finally get on top of the box.”
Action was fast and furious for the bulk of the two-hour, 30-minute race following a lengthy early caution. With 35 minutes remaining, a downpour saw top contenders in both classes go off course, leading to a one-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
“Under these conditions, I really didn’t want to go green, but when I heard there was one lap to go I changed my mindset,” Sellers said. “I knew my only chance was on the restart, and I was able to make the move the take the lead. To Matt Plumb’s credit, he raced me clean. That last lap out front was the hardest part – it’s much easier to be the guy that’s following under these conditions.”
Rum Bum Racing’s day got off to a rough start when Longhi got together with Matt Bell’s No. 9 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro under breaking for Turn 9 on the opening lap. Longhi managed to make it back to the pits despite the hood being folded over his windshield. Moments later, Freedom Autosport’s Derek Whitis impacted the safety barrier at the pit entrance in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5, resulting in a lengthy cleanup.
The middle section of the race featured long stretches of green-flag racing, dominated by Roush Performance’s Shelby Blackstock and Billy Johnson as Plumb worked his way back into contention. Bill Auberlen also led in the Turner Motorsport BMW started by Paul Dalla Lana before Plumb took the lead on an exchange of green flag pit stops.
Rain – sprinkling on and off throughout the race – suddenly intensified with 35 minutes remaining, and both Roush Mustangs, the Auberlen BMW and top two competitors in the Street Tuner class went off course.
Stevan McAleer took the ST lead when Pierre Kleinubing and Ryan Eversley drove through the gravel trap in Turn 8 prior to the final caution. McAleer held on to win by .764 seconds over Eversley, giving himself and Marc Miller their second victory of the season in the No. 5 modSpace/Construct Corps Mazda MX-5, and the second triumph for CJ Wilson Racing.
“It was pretty exciting, pretty slick out there,” McAleer said. “I grew up in Scotland, where we raced in the rain every week. Coming into Turn 8, I saw Pierre (Kleinubing) going straight into the grass, so I let off early but I almost went off as well. I radioed to the guys that we were in the lead, and then I nearly looped the car in the next turn.”
Eversley recovered to finish second in the No. 75 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si started by Kyle Gimple, followed by defending race winners Michael Valiante and Chad Gilsinger in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si.
The race will be televised on Saturday, July 7, on SPEED at 4 p.m. The next Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race will be the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 26.