Watkins Glen: Bell Motorsports race report

Kelleners and Borcheller Finish 28th Sunday In Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Rolex Series Race With Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 12 - The racing gods threw heat, humidity, rain and fog into the already ...

Kelleners and Borcheller Finish 28th Sunday In Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Rolex Series Race With Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 54

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 12 - The racing gods threw heat, humidity, rain and fog into the already challenging formula that is Rolex series racing Sunday at Watkins Glen International in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. If dealing with all that wouldn't have been enough, the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing crew and drivers Ralf Kelleners and Terry Borcheller were faced with a problem with the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac too. They ended up finishing 17th in the Daytona Prototype class and 28th overall after running as high as eighth at the start of the six-hour enduro.

Only six laps were in the books of what turned out to be a 150-lap race when Kelleners reported that the Kodak EasyShare car had a bad vibration and a bad oversteer. The Dusseldorf, Germany-based driver did his best to deal with the problems but on lap 20, before the race was even an hour old, he made contact with Mike Borkowski's Mears Motor Coach Riley Pontiac in turn 11 while he was trying to pass Borkowski and a couple of slower GT cars.

He made it back to the pits and the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need pit crew replaced the car's left-rear upper A arm in about 12 minutes, but the team went six laps down due to the scuffle. Kelleners brought the car in several more times as the vibration and oversteering condition continued to get worse, and eventually the team discovered that the car's front splitter was coming apart.

Although Kelleners and later Borcheller, of Gainesville, Ga., both did their best to figure out how to drive the car with its problem they both had their hands full doing so. After being back at the bottom of the standings, battling back to 28th and 17th in class was indeed an accomplishment for the whole team considering the problem.

SPEED covered the race live.

The event was won by Tracy Krohn and Nick Jonsson in the Krohn Racing/TRG entry.

For more information, Feeds the Need's Web site is at feedstheneedracing.com. The Grand American section of Kodak's Web site is at Kodak.com/US/en/consumer/garr/.

Borcheller's Web site is at tborcheller.com and Kelleners' is at kelleners-sport.com. Other interesting information can be found at grandamerican.com, theglen.com, speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.

Both Borcheller and Kelleners will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in another car next weekend.

Quotes follow:

Ralf Kelleners (right after his first stint): "It was very difficult. We have a bad vibration and a bad oversteer. We've had the vibration since we got here, and it has gotten progressively worse.

"I also had contact with Mike Borkowski in the last turn, which caused damage to the left rear. I was overtaking him and some GT cars, and I made a mistake and he couldn't avoid me. If I wouldn't have taken the chance the contact would have been avoided. It was unfortunate."

Terry Borcheller (toward the end of the race): "What happened was somehow the whole front splitter has come apart. It's flexing so much that the car is actually touching the track in places. You'll be running along and then all of a sudden it's like running into a brick wall. The pitch sensitivity and the aero is all affected. You'll be going along and the air pushes down on the splitter and then the back of the car just goes off. It's a big aero imbalance.

"It's worse in the high-speed corners, but really it's hard to drive all over.

"Once you got the hang of where the problems were going to be, we could actually go pretty decent though. We were running laps in the 50s and 51s. It's just very difficult to drive hard though. It's very stressful. I had the wheel clenched the whole time I was in the car. The pucker factor was high the whole time.

"I didn't have any contact with anybody though.

"I feel bad for the whole team because I think the car was actually pretty good today, without the problem. The power was pretty good and the car itself was pretty good.

"I feel bad for Ralf.  He admitted he made a mistake, and Ralf never makes a
mistake behind the wheel.  I'm sure it was because of the problems he was d
ealing with with the car.  We were just 11-tenths the whole time."

-bms-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Terry Borcheller , Mike Borkowski , Tracy Krohn
Teams Krohn Racing