Lakeville, IN (Jan. 27, 2009) - Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge competitors began their quest for the 2009 Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) championships at Daytona International Speedway, with the first of eleven races - The Fresh From Florida 200 – January 24th at 1:45 p.m.
In a fierce battle Bill Auberlen, in the No. 96, BMW M3, Turner Motorsport team, led 22 of the final 25 laps to give himself and Matt Bell the victory in the three-hour race. Auberlen passed Ken Wilden on Lap 70, then fought off Hugh Plumb for a lap before the caution flag flew on Lap 72. That gave Auberlen his second GS victory in three races and Bell his first-ever GS triumph in his first career class start.
Meanwhile in ST competition, Lawson Aschenbach took the lead from Kristian Skavnes on Lap 71, and kept him at bay just moments before the yellow flag flew for Steve Jenkins' stalled car on the backstretch. Aschenbach took over from Pete Iannucci, who was making his first-ever auto race start after competing previously only in karting. The duo drove the No. 00 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt.
In ST, five cars raced within a second of each other in the final 10 laps, but like the GS race, the final caution put an end to the battle.
The race had eight cautions for 31 laps - including four caution periods for 15 of the event's opening 24 laps - and the race averaged 87.155 mph.
Hoosier was proud to service the first of the seasons events with the service team of: Jim Bartholomew, Eriks Bers, Chris Grossman, Mike Haenes, Dave Reppert, Rick Sisk, Jeff Yute. Product Manager: Scott Huffer and Engineering support of: Matt Marlow.
The next race on the KONI Sports Car Challenge circuit will be March 14-15, with split-class races making up the Grand-Am Fan Appreciation Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
You can catch the edge-of-your-seat action on January, 31 at 4 p.m. ET on SPEED or any time catch live timing and scoring, as well as updates throughout the season, on
The 2009 KONI Challenge schedule follows:
Jan. 22-23 - Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
March 13-15 - Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
May 1-2 - Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, N.J.
May 15-16 - Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, Calif.
May 22-25 - Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
June 4-5 - Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.
June 19-21 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
July 17-18 - Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.
Aug. 14-16 - Trois-Rivieres Circuit, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Sept. 18-20 - Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
Oct. 2-4 - Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va.