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.