Pumpelly, Berthreau Take Mid-Ohio Victory in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
Spencer Pumpelly and Steve Bertheau won Saturday's GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after the top two Grand Sport (GS) cars tangled and spun out with less than five minutes remaining.
The pair, driving PRG's No. 41 Sargent & Lundy Porsche 997, drove from 27th starting position in a race that was slowed by a record seven full course caution periods at an average speed of 75.426 mph. It was Pumpelly's fourth career victory, despite losing the use of his cool suit midway through the race (temperatures topped out at 82 degrees Fahrenheit), and Bertheau's first. It was also Porsche's first GS win of 2010.
"We hate to win that way," Pumpelly said. "We've really gotten our program together. We've always been there, but you still need a little luck and we got there today."
Pumpelly was running third with five laps remaining behind leader Billy Johnson and second-place runner Joey Hand. Johnson was attempting to hold off Hand after taking the lead on Lap 59; Johnson replaced Jack Roush Jr. in the car.
However, contact between Pumpelly and Hand ended the tight battle. Hand moved to the inside of Johnson as the pair approached Turn 4 on Lap 82 of 84 laps, and Hand's No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 made contact with Johnson's No. 61 ROUSH Performance Products Ford Mustang GT. Johnson spun but continued, while Hand stopped shortly thereafter. Johnson and Roush recovered to finish fourth, while incoming points leaders Hand and Michael Marsal finished 19th, stopping the pair's five-race podium streak.
Pumpelly won by 3.955 seconds over Leh Keen and John Potter in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche Cayman. Third were Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman, who retook the points lead by 17 (206-189) in the No. 48 Sparco/Fall-Line BMW M3 over Hand and Marsal.
Fifth were Duncan Ende and Keith Carroll in the No. 23 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman, the pair's best finish of 2010.
In Street Tuner, Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann won in the No. 81 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i to take over the class points lead. Thomas, who led a race-high 25 ST laps, took the lead from Tom Long on Lap 59, and held off Josh Hurley by 0.641 seconds. Hurley, who led 16 laps, and co-driver Kevin Stadtlander switched to APR Motorsports' No. 171 APR/BBS Volkswagen GTI prior to qualifying after mechanical problems plagued the team's No. 181 Volkswagen GTI.
"We did a good job of conserving everything we had despite the heat," Thomas said. "It's tough to set up passes here, but luckily everything worked out our way today."
Thomas and Heumann now lead the standings by one point (212-211) over No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si co-drivers David Thilenius and Lawson Aschenbach, who pitted with less than 30 minutes remaining after contact with another car forced a flat right front tire. Thilenius and Aschenbach finished 10th.
Ryan Eversley and Zach Lutz finished third in the No. 75 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si were third. James Clay and David White were fourth in the No. 80 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i, while fifth were Martin Jensen and Paul Gerrard were fifth in the No. 18 RRT Racing BMW 328i.
In the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge qualifying session, Jason Von Kluge grabbed the pole with a new track record time of 1:35.001. Behind him in tomorrow's race is Tony Buffomante and Ben Crosland. The top nine cars all posted times within a second of P1.
In yet another track record performance (the fifth class of the weekend), Ohio's Wyatt Goodman put up a time of 1:39.313 in this morning's practice session. Check back tonight for updates on the Rolex Series and the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank.