GRAND-AM Cooldown Lap: BMW Performance 200
Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
Roush Performance scored its second consecutive victory in the BMW Performance 200. Jack Roush Jr. recovered from a punctured tire at the end of his stint, while Billy Johnson prevailed on two late restarts to give the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R the victory in the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener.
Second-place Rum Bum Racing also had to recover from an early incident. Nick Longhi spun in the No. 13 Porsche Carrera when he was tagged coming to a restart. Co-driver Matt Plumb drove through the field and battled defending GS driver champion David Empringham’s No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage to take second in the closing laps.
Lara Tallman and Vesko Kozarov scored their first ST victory, prevailing in the No. 33 Team Skullcandy Nissan Altima Coupe. Greg Liefooghe finished second in the No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i started by Tyler Cooke, passing Ryan Eversley’s No. 75 Compass360Racing Honda Civic Si coming to the white flag.
BMW Performance 200: The Stats
GS 1st: Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson, No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R
GS 2nd: Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb, No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera
GS 3rd: John Farano and David Empringham, No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage
ST 1st: Lara Tallman and Vesko Kozarov, No. 33 Skullcandy Nissan Altima Coupe
ST 2nd: Tyler Cooke and Greg Liefooghe, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i
ST 3rd: Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley, No. 75 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si
Margin of Victory: 1.812 seconds (GS); 1.715 seconds (ST)
Average Speed: 88.862 mph (GS); 86.758 mph (ST)
Cautions: Three for 17 laps
GS: Jack Roush Jr./Billy Johnson, 35; Nick Longhi/Matt Plumb, 32; David Empringham/John Farano, 30.
ST: Vesko Kozarov/Lara Tallman, 35; Tyler Cooke/ Greg Liefooghe, 32; Ryan Eversley/Kyle Gimple, 30.
Ø Lara Tallman became the first female to win in CTSCC competition since Sarah Cattaneo’s 2011 ST victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Ø The first caution period included four separate incidents. The yellow waved when Mark Boden tagged the tire barrier in Turn 5 in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. Moments later, David Thilenius impacted the barrier entering Turn 5 in the No. 74 Compass360 Honda Civic Si. Then, Jack Roush Jr. punctured the left-front tire on the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R and coasted to the pits. Team manager Brad Francis later said he planned to pit anyway on that lap. Finally, race leader Nick Longhi’s No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera was turned around coming to the restart.
Ø Joey Atterbury qualified third in GS in the No. 51 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R, but was sent to the back of the grid after his car failed post-qualifying inspection due to unapproved ballast. Failing tech in ST were the No. 171 ARP Motorsport Volkswagen of Mickey Taylor (who qualified third) and the No. 32 i-Moto Mazda Speed 3 of Glenn Bocchino (fourth), both with boost violations.
Ø The event was the final race for Phoenix Performance under the Subaru Road Racing Team banner. Team owner Joe Aquilante learned that Subaru would no longer be competing in the days leading up to the race, and immediately began working on options. Aquilante hopes to complete in the remainder of the 2013 season with a different GS manufacturer. His son Andrew Aquilante will remain as lead driver, with current co-driver Bret Spaude invited to continue to drive for the team. The team won four races in CTSCC competition, in addition to more than 20 races in other divisions.
Ø Defending GS champion John Farano won Friday morning’s debut of the Ferrari Challenge at Daytona. “Definitely a nice one to win,” said Farano, who also is competing in Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. His co-driver (and 2012 GS co-champion) David Empringham was Daytona’s first DP winner, in 2003. They finished third in Friday’s BMW Performance 200.
Ø The race will be televised on SPEED on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. ET.
Ø 15 – ST lead changes among nine cars and 11 drivers
Ø 18 – Number of cars finishing on the lead lap
Ø 29 – Laps led by Billy Johnson, including the final 26
Ø 109.641 – Speed in MPH of Matt Plumb’s fastest race lap – coming on lap 59 of 63
Ø 109.997 – Speed in MPH of Jade Buford’s track record GS pole – the first of his career
Ø “I was trying pretty darn hard the last few laps. Those Astons and Porsches were pretty quick. Early in my stint we were swapping the lead back and forth. I knew if I could get good restarts and get a little cushion I could maintain it. But if I couldn’t, it was going to be a crapshoot.” Billy Johnson, No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R
Ø “It wasn’t easy, for sure. We were marginal on fuel at best, so we had to save a little bit. We used the draft to achieve that. Then the key was the restart. If we were in a pack with the rest of the leaders in ST we were not going to get away. The key for me was to get the pull from the GS cars and using it on the restart, making it work. And that’s how it worked out.” Vesko Kozarov, No. 33 Skullcandy Nissan Altima Coupe, ST winner
Ø “I was trying to be calm and cool, even speed, for the restart. I guess a few other people behind me didn’t think that was a good idea and got excited, then under pressure hit me. Frankly, it is what it is. We finished second, and I’m fine.” Nick Longhi, No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera
Ø “The last few laps were a drafting game. We’ve been on the podium three times in a row, and it’s about where you are on the last lap. This time we came in second, and it was a battle all the way until the end. It was hard racing (with Ryan Eversley), but it was clean. He’s a great driver, and I really enjoyed racing with him.” Greg Liefooghe, No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i
Round 2 of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be held at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, March 2.