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
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.