Murry Outhustles Auberlen for BGB Motorsports’ Second Grand-Am KONI Challenge Victory of 2008 Season
Murry teams with Traver; Hopwood, Burrows garner initial Street Tuner triumph
BGB Motorsports gambled on a one-stop pit strategy Saturday in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) competition and it paid off, as David Murry outlasted Bill Auberlen by 0.307 seconds to take the team’s second GS victory of the season at Watkins Glen International, round five on the circuit.
Running near empty, Murry led the final 28 laps of the caution-plagued 55-lap race in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997 he shared with Tim Traver. It marked Traver’s second victory of the season, as the Californian co-won the Fresh From Florida 200 in January at Daytona International Speedway.
Traver pitted just after the 30-minute mark in the race, and the team spent several laps later in the contest debating on whether to pit. Team principal John Teece said the only way the team would pit was if “the car was towed in,” and Murry stayed out on the track for a duel with Auberlen.
Auberlen, in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, drove through the field after co-driver Matthew Alhadeff started 17th and moved up the charts. But he was unable to make a passing attempt on Murry, despite shadowing him under the checkered flag. The leaders ran their best laps on Lap 54, with Auberlen setting the race’s fastest lap of 2:04.495 (98.316 mph).
Two days after a hard flip in the Brumos Porsche 250 – round nine of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 – at Daytona International Speedway, Jeff Segal drove the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 to third with co-driver Jep Thornton. Both drivers ran strong in their stints, and were top-five contenders throughout the day.
Segal – who won last month’s Rolex Series Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – couldn’t stay with the lead duo following the last caution, and fell 2.647 seconds behind Murry at the checkered flag. However, the pair increased their point lead by two points, now to 16 (119-103), over Hugh Plumb and Mike Canney, who finished fourth in the No. 60 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT.
Fifth were Andy Lally and Ray Mason in the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT, Lally’s first time in the car.
Polesitter Don Salama led 16 laps in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 and handed the car over to co-driver Bryan Ortiz during a pit stop, but Ortiz was collected in a multi-car incident that forced retirement of the car and a 29th-place finish.
Overall, 28 of the 55 laps were run under six caution periods, which included a nine-lap cleanup when Charles Putman in the No. 91 Automatic Racing BMW M3 hit the No. 77 Maxwell Paper Racing Porsche 997. The winner’s average speed was 73.902 mph.
Hopwood, Burrows Give Compass360 Racing Its First Victory of the Season
Defending series co-champions Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows each led in their first career Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner (ST) victory, as Hopwood beat Bob Endicott by a second-and-a-half.
Hopwood took the lead on Lap 45 in the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX and pulled away from Tom Long on the final caution, leaving Long to battle with Endicott for second place. Hopwood and Burrows are in their second year of competition on the circuit.
Burrows took the lead when polesitter Aaron Povoledo – who led a race-high 14 laps – pitted during the first caution. He brought the No. 74 in later, and Hopwood charged through the field before taking the lead from Long.
Endicott, who returned to the No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si with former co-driver Bob Beede, drove past Long just before the final caution to take second. It was the third podium for Beede this season, as he scored a pair of third-place finishes with Matt Plumb earlier in the race.
Long and Rhett O’Doski were third, their best finish of the season in the No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, a first-year program. Despite electrical problems in their No. 86 Classic Plano-BMW Z4, Pierre Kleinubing and Toby Grahovec finished fourth, while Chuck Hemmingson and Kristian Skavnes piloted the ICY/Phoenix Racing team’s spare car, the No. 143 Subaru Legacy, to fifth.
Hemmingson and Skavnes also picked up the point lead as incoming leaders Jamie Holtom and Eric Curran suffered their first DNF of the season. Holtom started the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS eighth, but a broken rear axle forced repairs with a welder and a loss of six laps. Curran took the car back out, but encountered the same problem during his stint. Instead of pushing the issue, Curran brought the car into the paddock, where the team retired the car 37th in class, out of a points-paying position.
Hemmingson and Skavnes now lead Kuno Wittmer by 15 points (145-130). Holtom and Curran are fifth in the standings with 120 markers.
Ten drivers in nine cars led in the ST class.
The next Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series race is the GS-only race Saturday, July 19 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.
KONI CHALLENGE SERIES DRIVER POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES
Tim Traver (Winner GS, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997): “It’s actually my second victory with the team this year and second race. First, like Bill, I would like to thank the team for bringing me back. They has a little spot, they wanted to run the car. That said come on out and by the way your co-driver is going to be David Murry – I’m like, oh, darn. Qualified alright–10th or 11th–and held my own, just waiting to turn the car over to David. The car was just really good and I couldn’t have asked for more from the team. Originally we were like these guys planning on a few-stop race. It came down to everybody scratching there heads going can we make it, can we make it, can we make it. We rolled the dice just like all these guys up here and we were on fumes going past the start/finish. I want to thank performance drink for hanging us in there physically and mentally and of course the team for the car – and David here for being such an awesome driver.”
David Murry (Winner GS, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 997): “I got to start off by saying thanks to John Teece and the BGB team. Bernardo for being the engineer – the car was flawless. It’s been to victory circle more than once this year so I get to be the monkey in the seat this time and I appreciate the opportunity to do that. I want to thank Craig Stanton, who is in the back of the room, for introducing me to the team and helping me get that opportunity. Thanks to Tim for being a great co-driver, starting the car, giving me a terrific car and great position to be able to capitalize on that. As you’ve said we started off as a two-stop strategy. We’re going to stop early, which we did and when I got in the car we put rear tires on, that was it. By the end of the race the tires were pretty shot. I was looking to charge from Bill but I realized after I went through a corner not so good and looked back and he was the same thing. His tires were pretty shot, too.
“I was in front and we said we can’t make it, so they said go ahead and pit this lap. I was on the way into pit lane and very close to the pit entrance wall and they said stay out. I had to do a big jog back out and I know the guys behind me were saying “’What are you doing?’”
Bill Auberlen (Second GS, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3): “We didn’t need that yellow at the end. We needed just some yellows in the middle. At one point there was no way we were going to make it. The way we were positioned, I said if we pit now we’re going to go right back to the back of the field. And we talked about it and talked about it, then Will said, hey, we’re way out of our window but if there’s enough yellows, we’ll make it. And we fully rolled the dice. Then eventually we just moved up and up, while other people pitted, we didn’t pit. There we were sitting towards the front and I could tell everybody was conserving fuel. It was funny I would come out of the Carousel, I’m behind David and its silence like nobody was even touching the gas pedal. I got my motor shut off all the way down the hill. I did this lap after lap just trying to save as much fuel as we could.”
Matthew Alhadeff (Second GS, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3): “It was actually a really fun race for me except for the yellows. It was pretty narley in the beginning. Had some good passes. Got passed by a couple of people. It was pretty scintillating. I saw a narley crash up at the top of the esses that I was about millimeters away from on each side, so I’m really glad we made it through that.”
Jep Thornton (Third GS, No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3): ““The last yellow was the worst for us. We didn’t need it. Still the race probably would have ended where it was anyway with Bill and David – there such great drivers. My stint…I qualified third, I had a good start, I let a couple of guys by who were really fighting hard and got into a rhythm. It was fine. The car was great. The track was in good shape at least in my stint. When we got the yellow, which was in good time for our strategy, I came in and gave the car to Jeff.”
Jeff Segal (Third GS, No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3): “This race ended a little bit better than the one a couple of days ago for me. I’m just glad to be up here on the podium – extend that points lead a little bit. Not enough. But a little bit. It was a pretty straight forward race. I think those cautions were frustrating, but they definitely helped us a lot. We were really, really close on fuel. The middle of the race we were really marginal on fuel. We had to take it a little bit easy and at the end we didn’t have anything for the (No.) 38 or the (No.) 96. They were going pretty good. I’ll take a podium though.”
Adam Burrows (Winner ST, No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): “Trevor and I are thrilled to be on the top of the podium. We’ve worked really hard this year to adjust to racing a front-wheel drive car and we came to grips with it a little bit more at Mid-Ohio. Obviously Trevor did a great job to get us back to the lead at the end. This Fischer Skis Acura was great all weekend. We had a good run in qualifying, and the race was fantastic. We took a chance with our strategy and Ray Lee made a great call to bring us in when he did. It was a little bit of a gamble but it came back to us perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier to take this win with Trevor and now who knows what lies ahead with this championship.”
Trevor Hopwood (Winner ST, No. 74 Compass360 Racing Acura TSX): “Yesterday was my parent’s anniversary so they weren’t here this weekend, but this is the best gift I could give them. I want to thank Fischer Skis and Compass360 Racing, they gave us a great car again. I also want to thank Karl (Thomson) for giving us this opportunity and Ray Lee made a great call. Winning the championship with a friend and teammate like Adam was a great experience, and now to be on the top step of the podium in KONI is really fantastic. Tom (Long) and I had a great battle-side by side for several corners, several laps, and never touched each other so that was great. It’s great to get this monkey off our backs after what happened at Mid-Ohio so this is a great payback to the team. I’ve had a lot of wins here at Watkins Glen, but this is the best one of them all.”
Bob Beede (Second ST, No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si): “We’re now Honda certified. Thanks to the Honda support. These guys just worked hard getting this car ready, and we had a really nice car today.”
Bob Endicott (Second ST, No. 29 Bill Fenton Motorsports Honda Civic Si): “I have to thank (crew chief) Steve Wheeler; he did an awesome job calling strategy today. It was 30 minutes in when it went yellow, and he wants to change drivers, and I thought that was way too early. But, as it turned out, he was right, as he usually is. I’m so happy to be back with Bill Fenton Motorsports. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been with them, and I’ve been with some different teams, but this is my favorite team. The guys are great, every single one of them; we had a great time the whole weekend.”
Tom Long (Third ST, No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5): “We had a good run today. We put together a good fuel mileage run together. The MX-5 Mazda just handled awesome. We were able to keep up through the turns, but on the straightaways we’d get passed. It was a blast. It was probably one of the most fun races I’ve ever had, especially this season. Rhett did a fantastic job, and have to thank Mazda for an awesome product.”
Rhett O’Doski (Third ST, No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5): “Congratulations to all the podium teams; they did a great job today. I was telling Derek Whitis, one of the team principals, that I have one of the best jobs…We decided to name our team Freedom Autosport mostly for the men and women in the armed services that have been defending our country for the past 232 years. We feel very honored to have finished on the podium first on Memorial Day and again this weekend, the Fourth of July weekend. Thanks again to the men and women in uniform, and thank you to Mazda.”