Watkins Glen: Chris Gleason race report

Gleason, James and Said Finish Eighth In Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Sunday WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 12 - The Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 No. 22 of Ian James, Chris Gleason and Boris Said finished eighth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the...

Gleason, James and Said Finish Eighth In Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Sunday

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 12 - The Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 No. 22 of Ian James, Chris Gleason and Boris Said finished eighth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Rolex series race Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

James, who recently moved from Kissimmee, Fla. to Paradise Valley, Ariz., drove the first stint before handing the car over to Johnstown, Pa.'s Gleason, who drove for about an hour. Said, a professional road racer from Carlsbad, Calif. who serves as a "hired gun" at some NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road races, drove the third stint and then alternated with James for the remainder of the six-hour race.

The event was run under extremely hot and humid conditions and then rain and fog at the end.

After qualifying tenth, James said the car was good for his first stint. He had some problems passing Wolf Henzler in the Autometrics Motorsports Porsche No. 14, but he was in sixth place when a full-course caution waved on lap 24 to retrieve the Howard-Boss Motorsports Crawford Pontiac No. 06, which had made contact with the tire wall in turn nine and was stopped on the course.

A rash of pit stops followed, and there was a bit of confusion about when the accident would be cleared up and the race would be restarted.

Team owner Tom Milner was forced to bring all three of his BMWs in for their stops on the same lap at 11:15 a.m. on lap 27 because he thought the race was going to be restarted immediately and he didn't want any of his cars to loose a lap. Unfortunately there were some problems with Gleason's car on the pit stop and the team was assessed some penalties.

After that Gleason was able to develop a good rhythm in his stint and his times were comparable to his co-drivers, who are both professional racers. He drove until 2:11 p.m. and turned the car over to Said in good shape and in ninth place despite the earlier problems on the pit stop.

Said later had an electrical fire inside the cockpit but the team quickly made repairs and the entry soldiered on.

The No. 22 BMW's sister car, the No. 21, led for awhile but hit the wall in turn eight at 2:30 p.m. on lap 112 to thwart its chances for a podium finish. The team's No. 16 car did, however, get third. It was driven by Justin Marks, R.J. Valentine and Milner's son, who is also named Tom.

The race was televised live on SPEED.

The next race is June 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. It is a preliminary to the Firecracker 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. The series returns to the Glen for shorter races Aug. 11-12 and Sept. 22-24. The former is part of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend and the latter is part of the Indy Racing League's first visit to the Glen ever.

More information can be found on the team's Web site at ptgracing.com; at Gleason Inc.'s site at gleasoninc.com; at grandamerican.com; speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.

Gleason's quote follows:

"It was a tough day at the office for us.

"Tom [Milner] had to bring all three cars in at the same time because all of a sudden they said there was just one lap before we were going green. That kind of screwed up our pit stop. We weren't in position well, and we all got jammed up in the pits.

"Somehow we had a fuel spill with our pit stop, and we got a stop-and-go penalty for that. When I got in the car the ear plug and the wire going into the helmet weren't in right, so for a couple of laps I had no radio communications either.

"I served the stop-and-go penalty and then we got caught for violating the pit speed limit, so that caused another penalty.

"Once I got that over with my times were comparable to the other guys', but it was very hot conditions here today and it was very difficult. I was in the car for about an hour. I think there were three or four gallons of fuel left when I came in.

"Then Boris [Said] had a small electrical fire on the dashboard, and we lost a couple of laps fixing that. That's why we got back where we were.

"Hopefully we'll have better luck here next time."

-lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Ian James , Justin Marks , Chris Gleason , R.J. Valentine
Teams Autometrics Motorsports