Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Race Saturday at Mosport International Raceway
Both drivers lead in 3.013-second victory over Hugh Plumb and Mike Canney
Nothing was going to keep Scott Maxwell, Joe Foster and the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT from claiming the team’s second consecutive Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport track victory Saturday at Mosport International Raceway.
On the race’s fourth and final restart, with nine minutes to go, Maxwell got a great jump on Plumb, and won by 3.013 seconds over Plumb’s No. 60 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT. Maxwell had slipped past Hugh Plumb on Lap 66 – with just over 35 minutes remaining in the 82-lap, two-and-a-half hour race – as the pair approached Turn 1. The pass came just before the race’s third caution, which involved the No. 171 APR Motorsport Volkswagen GT of Ian Baas.
Foster, who started on the pole, led the opening 40 laps before the race’s first caution period, which occurred on Lap 37 for two cars that had spun. Foster passed through the pits but did not stop, as confusion mounted as to whether the pits were open. Foster returned to the pit area on the next lap for routine service and a driver change, and Maxwell returned to the track in ninth place.
But Maxwell didn’t stay there long. The Toronto native moved into the top five on Lap 57, and jumped to third on a restart following the second caution period on Lap 63. He took second from fellow countryman Jean-Francois Dumoulin on Lap 64, then pulled alongside Plumb as the pair drove out of Turn 11 on Lap 65. He completed the pass into Turn 1, and was only challenged thereafter on the restarts. The victory was the first for Maxwell and Foster since last year’s race at Mosport, when Maxwell led the final 15 laps after passing David Empringham.
Plumb and Mike Canney followed up a strong Fresh From Florida 200 performance at Daytona International Speedway with a season-best second-place finish in the No. 60 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT, one of six cars from the team’s fleet. Canney started 17th and ran near that position before handing the car off to Plumb on the first start. Plumb also led laps and battled Maxwell and Jean-Francois Dumoulin for several laps.
Billy Johnson and Tom Milner filled out the race’s podium, as the pair took third in only their second race in the No. 18 Motorsport Technology Group BMW Z4. Johnson was battling with Dean Martin with only three laps remaining before the two made contact, sending Martin and the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Roush Performance Ford Mustang GT into a 360-degree spin coming out of Turn 10. Martin and Jack Roush Jr. finished 19th in the GS class.
Dumoulin and Tom Nastasi, who switched from the Ford Mustang to the BMW M3 earlier this year, were fourth in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports BMW M3, while defending series champion Jeff Segal weaved through the field during his stint to give himself and co-driver Jep Thornton a fifth-place finish in the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3.
Segal and Thornton left the track as the only two drivers with a share of the point lead, as another incoming leader, Craig Stanton, suffered from an earlier race incident. Co-driver Jon Miller lost a left-rear tire after another car made contact with the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997 only 10 laps into the race, and Stanton completed 74 laps to earn a 19th-place finish. Stanton is now tied for third in points with Canney and Plumb, 14 points out of first (89-75).
Four caution periods slowed the race’s average speed to 81.235 mph.
Point Leaders Curran, Holtom Win Second Straight Street Tuner Race
Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran led the final 64 laps in the Street Tuner race to give himself and Holtom their second consecutive class victory in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevy Cobalt SS.
Curran took the controls from Holtom on Lap 41, and held off Kristian Skavnes in the No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy by only 0.942 seconds. Curran and Holtom – who became the youngest KONI Challenge Series race winner in history at this track three years ago – also won the race at Lime Rock Park and left Mosport with a 16-point lead over fellow Canadian Kuno Wittmer (96-80).
Skavnes and Chuck Hemmingson posted their best finish of the season with a second-place result. The pair, however, will return to action next Sunday, June 22, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in defense of their 2007 race victory.
Quebec brothers Kuno and Nick Wittmer fourth third in the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Acura TSX, keeping both drivers near the top of the point standings. Nick Wittmer started the race ninth before brother Kuno zipped through the field, and earned fourth, just behind the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si of Matt Plumb and Bob Beede.
Defending ST champions Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood co-drove the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX to fifth, with both drivers keeping the car out of trouble.
The next KONI Challenge Series race is scheduled for next Sunday, June 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The race will feature the ST class only.
Defending ST Winner Thomson Sits Race Out: Compass360 Racing team owner Karl Thomson sat out his home race in order to keep his teammate Christian Miller near the top of the point standings. Miller’s co-driver Kevin York was involved in an accident in practice Friday, and the car could not be repaired in time for Saturday’s race. Thomson was already down in the standings after an end-over-end crash last month at Lime Rock Park.
Tough Ending For No. 00 Chevrolet Cobalt: Ancaster, Ontario native Kirk Spencer in the No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS was just a few yards away from finishing a career-best third when he and Matt Plumb made contact on the main straightaway, sending Spencer into the concrete wall. Spencer was unable to cross over the start/finish while still in the grass, giving himself and Ashley McCalmont – who qualified the car third on Friday – a 14th-place finish. The team will have a lot of repairs before next Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Scott Maxwell (No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT): “I love this race track – it was a lot harder than I hoped it would be. I had a really good car, and I knew that so I was just trying to be careful through getting back to the front (after the first pit stop). I was hoping that we didn’t run out of time and we didn’t so it turned out okay. I love this track. I think it’s the best track we go to, but I am a little bit biased because it’s my hometown track. It’s challenging and anywhere at Mosport you gotta try real hard. You don’t cruise at Mosport; every lap is a bunch of challenges that’s for sure.”
Joe Foster (No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT): “Opening stint was fantastic. We obviously got a fantastic start, got out front and got a gap of about 10 seconds. From there I just paced myself to the people behind me, and preserved the Mustang for Scott (Maxwell), being nice to the brakes and the transmission, and everything went perfect.
Hugh Plumb (No. 60 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT): “I think right away I need to say thank you very much to Mike Canney for making this all possible. He stepped up in a big way. He’s a committed to this, he is committed to going faster, and there aren’t a lot of great people like that around. It was a great race, keeping the car out of trouble, and we got the car up to the front and stayed there. (We) had nothing else to for the 55 car, so it was an exciting race.”
Mike Canney (No. 60 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT): “I want to say thanks. I have a great co-driver. It’s been a really exciting practice up here, it’s a beautiful racetrack and we are getting faster and faster. This is our third race as a team and it’s pretty exciting to be up here on the podium, so I want to say thanks to both Hugh, our crew chief and the guys that were here racing. It’s a great car and a great track, (so it) couldn’t have worked out better.
Billy Johnson (No. 18 Motorsport Technology Group BMW Z4): “It felt great. The Motorsports Technology Group has done did a great job with this BMW, with the horsepower. Great job with the motor and really happy we were able to get a good result for them here at Mosport. It’s great to be able to be on the podium for Motorsports Technology Group and look forward to topping the podium in upcoming races. The track is awesome. I love Mosport; I was here last year racing ST and won on the last lap. It was great being able to pull off a third here again in GS, and love the track, love the people, and looking forward to coming back next year.”
Jamie Holtom (No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS): “I started the race and was caught a little bit by surprise by that car going around the outside. Man, that RX-8 can really brake deep. After that I tried to log clean laps, pressure him as much as I could and save the car for Eric (Curran). I was able to pressure him enough and he started dropping wheels and really overdriving the car. When the car went off enough, I think he got a little frustrated and missed a shift into third gear, which gave me a pretty easy pass up the back straight. After that it was just a case of maintaining the laps and giving Eric a good Chevy Cobalt SS for his stint.
Eric Curran (No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS): “My stint went great, another amazing day here for Georgian Bay Motorsports. This is kind of a home track for the team and I'm just so happy to be here. Another win, two in a row, these guys are working so hard on this Chevy Cobalt SS. It's just wonderful, the car is great, the team is great, Jamie did a hell of a job behind the wheel and gave me a good car. Kristian (Skavnes) was coming strong and I held him off. It wasn't easy but we got there.
Kristian Skavnes (No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy): “I'm so proud to drive this Subaru, it's such an awesome car. The ICY/Phoenix guys are great at preparing the car and the strategy we have in the pits is second to none. (Team owner) Joe Aquilante has done a great job with that today and it's what got us here. We were able to one-stop this race by being smart with the yellows.”
Chuck Hemmingson (No. 111 ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy): “My stint was pretty uneventful. I ran as hard as I could, staying clean and keeping the car for Kristian. It was nice; that first yellow came at the right time for us because we were close to running out of fuel. We were going to have to pit under the green but it all worked out.
Matt Plumb (No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si): “About 40 minutes in, my driver ID came unplugged and I couldn't get turned around to grab it for awhile. I finally did grab it and unplugged the whole system, so I was out of radio and driver ID. I actually had to undo and slip out of my buckle to reach the back and punch it back in. That was a little scary. When we got underway and I thought I maybe had something for first and second but they had a lot of horsepower down that straight and I just never could put it into position to get by. So I just kept my position, safely in third.
Bob Beede (No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si): “Matt (Plumb) did a great job out there today. I like this track a lot, but one thing about it is that it's very unforgiving. As you saw out there today, there are a lot of places where you can really get yourself into trouble. The team did a great job preparing the car today and it's great to come through with a result like this. “
Adam Burrows (No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): “The Cobalts were so fast in a straight line that it just didn’t make any sense to use up the car to try to fight with them, so I just settled into a pace and kept the gap behind me growing to turn the car over to Trevor (Hopwood) in good shape. The car was great, and even though the track was getting pretty greasy, I was able to just keep a good pace before that yellow came out.”
Trevor Hopwood (No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): “The car was really good and it was just too bad that we had to make up so much ground after the pit stop ruling. But the car was really fast right to the finish, and even though we were not as good on the restarts as we could have been, we were able to make some of that ground we lost back up. This is a solid finish, and while we obviously could have been further up front had the pit stop decision gone our way, there was no way we’d have had anything for those Chevys. They are really fast in a straight line.”