Hard Hit Ultimately Knocks Factory Driver from CTSCC Event
Bryan Sellers put on not one, not two but three brilliant drives through the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) field on Saturday, April 28, in the Kia 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). The Braselton, Ga.-resident first fought from seventeenth-position in the No. 46 BCKSTGR/Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 Coupe he shares with Mark Boden (Winnetka, Ill.) up to eighth in less than 12 minutes.
An incident on course dropped him back and he again sliced through the 66-car field to move back within the top-10. The team's second pit stop would once more drop him, this time to 13th. Sellers - who is a factory driver for Team Falken Tires in another road racing series - repeated his earlier inconceivable feat another time. With less than 20-minutes remaining in the two hour, 30-minute event, Sellers was closing on fifth-place when a remnant of the earlier hit finally reared its head causing the No. 46 to stop on course. He would finish 24th in the GS class.
Boden, who owns the team, started the Fall-Line Motorsports entry in wet conditions. As the track began to dry, the balancing act of maintaining the tires in the changing environment saw Boden running 17th when he turned driving chores to Sellers. With one hour, 24-minutes remaining, the Ohio-native began to surgically work his way through the field. Within the first 12 minutes, Sellers had captured seven positions from his fellow professional race car drivers. However, moments later he was struck so violently in the rear of the blue BMW that it caused the car to slide sideways and for the V8 engine to stall. Once restarted, Sellers again had to pick his way through that same set of cars on the 2.3-mile road course he had just overtaken. The team's second pit stop dropped the program back outside the top-10 causing the need for a third epic fight to put the Fall-Line entry back into the championship point chase. Despite moving his way back to sixth, an ever-increasing sound with each gearshift on the 11-turn track warned of a growing problem in the car's internals. With only a slight performance decrease the effort opted to push forward.
With 18-minutes remaining - and just as he was pressuring his teammate in the No. 48 Fall-Line BMW for fifth-place - the damage caused by the earlier contact had the final say. Sellers pulled the car to the side of the course. The final assessment by the crew was that the contact was so substantial when the former open wheel-racing champion was hit from behind early in his stint that it broke the differential carrierof the BMW. The damage, which impacted the entire driveline of the car, makes the performance Sellers put on even more remarkable!
SPEED will air the Kia 200 on Saturday, May 12 at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). Full results of the event can be found at Grand-Am.com.
On challenges of passing in the Kia 200: "Homestead is a very difficult place to pass and there was a lot of traffic with 66 cars on the track. But, Homestead is also a place where you start working on the pass many corners before you actually attempt it so it's a good challenge as a driver. We had a strong car on medium stint tires and I was able to take advantage of that and go through a lot of cars. Unfortunately, the performance balancing is slightly off at the moment so it makes some cars in particular difficult to race with."
On the changing weather conditions: "The constantly changing weather was a benefit to us. However, the adverse conditions didn't last long enough to really take advantage of. We were pretty good as the conditions worsened so it could have been beneficial had it lasted a little longer."
On the contact and its effect: "The hit was strong enough to eventually break the diff. [differential] carrier in the BCKSTGR car and end our day. I understand that mistakes happen but it was just a bad decision on the other driver's part. It's really a shame because we had a good car. The damage was affecting the Fall-Line BMW by roughly two to three-tenths each lap. Everything was a little bit off which slowed us after the hit."
On missing the next CTSCC race at New Jersey: "It will be very difficult to miss a round of the Series. We have a lot of unfinished business after the last two races ending so poorly. We have had great race cars with a real chance at good results, but have been unable to get the speed to translate due to mistakes of others. I can't wait to get back with the BCKSTGR Fall-Line guys and try again at Mid-Ohio in June."