Watkins Glen: Gleason Racing practice report

Gleason to Drive BMW in Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 21 -So far the 2002 season hasn't gone exactly as Chris Gleason had planned, but the popular insurance executive from Johnstown, Pa.,...

Gleason to Drive BMW in Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sunday.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 21 -So far the 2002 season hasn't gone exactly as Chris Gleason had planned, but the popular insurance executive from Johnstown, Pa., spent the first day of summer doing what he loves - racing at one of America's finest road courses.

Gleason and two drivers from New York, Emil Assentato of Locust Valley and Nick Longhi from Nyack, will drive the Alegra Motorsports/901 Shop BMW M3 #10 in Sunday's Six Hours of the Glen Grand Am Rolex Series race at Watkins Glen International. The race, which will be broadcast from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 29 on Speed Channel, is part of the Sports Car Grand Prix.

The car Gleason is driving at the Glen this weekend is the same BMW that used to be fielded by Genesis Racing. Gleason, Bill Auberlen and Rick Fairbanks finished ninth overall in it in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2001.

The car is part of the most popular class, GT, which has 14 entries in the 39-car field.

Friday afternoon the car was eighth-fastest in the GT class during the second practice session, overcoming brake problems it had in the first practice session.

The team also tested the car recently at Summit Point, W. Va., and that test went well.

"We tried some new brakes in the first session today and for some reason they didn't work properly, so we went back to the old brakes," Gleason said. "When I was in the car for the first session the brakes were OK in the pits, but out on the course the pedal would go to the floor. But hopefully we have that all behind us now."

Gleason competed in the Cirtek Porsche 911 in the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., in March, climbing into the top 10 in his class before the car retired with engine problems. He also drove the duPont Motorsport BMW in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship at Sebring that same weekend.

He ran the duPont BMW at Mosport, Canada last month in another Touring Car race. He also plans to compete with that team next weekend in a similar race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

In the American Le Mans Series, Gleason hopes to drive the same car he's in this weekend, the Alegra BMW, in the Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. at RFK Stadium July 19-21. That race will be broadcast live on Speed Channel at 1 p.m. July 21.

Other races on his tentative schedule with the Alegra team include the ALMS race at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec on Aug. 3 and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. on Oct. 12. The latter event, which goes for 1,000 miles or 10 hours, will be broadcast live at 11 a.m. EST that same day.

-gr/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Emil Assentato , Nick Longhi , Chris Gleason