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Koni Challenge Road Race Series Sees
Three in a row for No. 5 Blackforest Mustang GT
with Win at Iowa Speedway

4-27-07
By: Paula Nate

NEWTON, Iowa (April 21, 2007) -- Co-drivers Tom Nastasi and Ian James and the Blackforest Motorsports team maintained their perfect record in the first-ever Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series visit to Iowa Speedway with another victory in Saturday's Grand Sport (GS) race.

Co-driving the No. 5 USG Sheetrock/Ramset Tools Mustang with Nastasi, James took the lead from Charles Espenlaub on the oval portion of the 1.3-mile road course with 13 laps remaining and held off late challenges from both Espenlaub and Jeff Segal to win by 2.551 seconds over Espenlaub in the No. 55 Supercuts/Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT.

Ian James said, "We decided to go and practice on old tires, and we did the whole race on one set of Hoosier tires. The car was good at the end. We had a few minor problems, but no more than anybody else. The battle at the end with Jeff and Charles was fun. It was a lot of fun. These guys were clean and we managed to get by. I'm just really happy for Tom and his three-in-a-row, and two-in-a-row for me."

"It hasn't been easy," Nastasi said. "Last week, having to start 30th and work my way up to the front and then today spinning on the second lap, and I had to do it all over again. I told everybody, 'I'm giving up qualifying. I'm just starting dead last.' That seems to be the only way I can do it. I drove the car hard, and I really put my head down and drove the wheels off it. We did not change tires, and the car just kept getting better and better and better. We won our first race together without changing tires. We learned fast this weekend and we figured, 'Let's keep the same tires on it, and see what happens.' It worked. Thumbs up to Hoosier Tires for lasting as long as they did, and to be able to go to the front. My partner here did the rest. He did the hard part. I just saved myself."

Joe Foster started 11th in the No. 55 machine and drove the first stint in the race before turning the car over to Espenlaub, who led 38 laps before James' late pass. It was Foster's second runner-up result in three races, as he also finished second in the Fresh From Florida 200 season opener at Daytona co-driving with Scott Maxwell.

"It was obviously a great run for Hyper Sport and the Supercuts No. 55," Foster said. "To be honest, we struggled at the beginning of the weekend, setup-wise, and it was a bit of a comeback for us to get the car fast for the race. It took us a couple days to figure out in this case that the older the tires got, the better the car was for us. Also, the (No.) 5 car figured that out as well. It was a great race. Certainly, up front, it was clean. It was hard racing with these guys and I enjoyed watching it."

Automatic Racing co-drivers Segal and Jep Thornton completed the podium in the No. 09 Fresh From Florida BMW M3.

The next Koni Challenge event will be held at Monterey, California at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the weekend of May 19 and 20th 2007. Koni Challenge will be there with the Rolex Road Racing Series as well as SCCA.

For more information about Rolex Road Racing Series please visit the official Grand American website -- www.grandamerican.com.

Hoosier Racing Tire is the largest manufacturer of racing tires in the world. And proud to be the sole suppliers for Grnad American Road Racing Association. Hoosier manufactures a broad line of racing applications including Road Racing, Drag, Speedway, Short Track, Sprint and Kart Tires. For more information about Hoosier Racing Tire please visit our website -- www.hoosiertire.com and click to your desired racing preference.

      

Guy Cosmo & David Tuaty Take Victory
in Sports Tuner (ST) Inaugural Road Course Event at Iowa Speedway

      

NEWTON, Iowa (April 21, 2007) -- In the first-ever race on the 1.3-mile road course at Iowa Speedway, Guy Cosmo and David Tuaty co-drove the no. 127 Fountain Motorsports BMW 330i to victory in Saturday's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series event.

Cosmo claimed the lead from Trevor Hopwood in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i in Turn 4 with 19 laps remaining and held off a charging Kuno Wittmer in the No. 31 Acura/Cobalt Friction/Alpine Stars Acura TSX to win by 0.306 seconds. It was Cosmo's third career KONI Challenge Series class victory.

Tuaty started from eighth on the grid and drove the opening stint in the race before turning the car over to Cosmo on Lap 47 of the 162-lap race. It was Tuaty's second career KONI Challenge Series ST victory and his first win since the 2005 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Canadian brothers Nick and Kuno Wittmer wound up second in the No. 31 machine. Nick started the race from the pole position and led throughout his 104-lap driving stint before pitting under green flag conditions to turn the car over to Kuno. That strategy forced the No. 31 machine off the lead lap for a time, but Kuno clawed his way back and came within a whisker of scoring the victory.

Adam Burrows and Hopwood took their second consecutive podium result with a third-place run in the No. 95 BMW, and took over the ST class points lead after three of 12 races complete.

The next Koni Challenge event will be held at Monterey, California at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the weekend of May 19 and 20th, 2007. Koni Challenge will be there with the Rolex Road Racing Series as well as SCCA.

For more information about Rolex Road Racing Series please visit the official Grand American website www.grandamerican.com

Hoosier Racing Tire is the largest manufacturer of racing tires in the world. And proud to be the sole tire suppliers for Grand American Road Racing Association. Hoosier manufactures a broad line of racing applications including Road Racing, Drag, Speedway, Short Track, Sprint, and Kart Tires. For more information about Hoosier Racing Tire please visit our website www.hoosiertire.com and click to your desired racing preference.

   

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