ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – official release — IMSA photo — Lawson Aschenbach caught Pierre Kleinubing within sight of the checkered flag Saturday at Road America, joining Eric Curran in giving CKS Autosport its first Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory of the season in the No. 01 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
Kleinubing passed Aschenbach for the lead with eight minutes remaining and seemed headed to victory in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Subaru WRX STI started by Ray Mason when the caution waved moments later. The incident was cleared in time for one final lap of racing, and while Kleinubing got off to a good restart, he encountered mechanical problems that caused him to slow on the final straight.
“I knew that if we kept our head down and kept trying that we still had a shot at it,” Aschenbach said after taking his seventh career victory in the series. “Luckily, it all worked out. That was an intense race, with a lot of real fast cars. My Camaro was fast all weekend, and I’m happy to finally take our first win of the season. We’ll take it any way we can get it.”
It was the 15th career victory for Curran in Continental Tire Challenge competition, and eighth for Ontario, Canada-based CKS Autosport.
“On the last corner, something let go in the rear of the car,” said Kleinubing. “Too bad it happened so close to the checkered flag, but this was our best finish of the season and we’ll take it. Our car is getting better and better every weekend.”
Robin Liddell finished second, 1.443 seconds back, in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R started by Andrew Davis, fighting back from a pit penalty for speeding on pit road. Teammate Andy Lally was leading in the final 15 minutes in the No. 9 Camaro but was black-flagged for running over an air hose on his final pit stop. That gave the lead to Matt Plumb in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 started by Nick Longhi, but both Aschenbach and Kleinubing managed to get by before Plumb made contact with a tire barrier to bring out the final caution.
Kleinubing held on for third, followed by Trent Hindman in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 started from the pole by John Edwards. Hindman unofficially retains the GS lead with three races remaining, leading Davis and Liddell by 11 points (242-131).
Struggling through a trying season, Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra returned to the form that saw them capture the 2013 Street Tuner (ST) championship, taking their first victory of the year in Burton Racing’s No. 23 Automotive Chemicals BMW Group BMW 128i.
Borcheller caught class leader Charles Espenlaub in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing Hyundai Genesis started by Cameron Lawrence with 40 minutes remaining. He then held off Wayne Nonnamaker’s No. 42 Team Sahlen Porsche Cayman down the stretch, winning by 1.313 seconds.
“Mike drove a very strong opening stint and the team gave me the car in fifth after a very good pit stop,” said Borcheller after recording his 15th career victory. “We knew we had a good car and a good opportunity, and the race just came to us. A lot of things have to happen in order to stand on the top step of the podium, and it happened today. It was an amazing run.”
Nonnamaker’s fourth runner-up finish in the last five races enabled him to take the ST points lead for the first time this season.
Eric Foss entered the event with a six-point lead, but struggled to take 14th in Murillo Racing’s new No. 56 Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman started by Jeff Mosing. The team utilized a BMW 328i in every previous race this season. Nonnamaker unofficially holds an eight-point lead over Foss (232-224), with fourth-place finishers Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke 19 points behind with 213.
Andrew Carbonell and Randy Pobst came home third in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport MX-5 for Freedom Autosport after third-place finishers Cody Ellsworth and Corey Lewis had their No. 50 entry excluded after failing post-race technical inspection.
Pole winner Remo Ruscitti and Adam Isman dominated the race in the No. 04 Autometrics Motorsports BBA Accounting/DE Labs Porsche Cayman, but encountered problems in the final 15 minutes for the fourth time in the last five races.
Three ST contenders were eliminated in an accident on the opening lap: the No. 92 HART Honda Civic Si of third-place qualifier Kevin Boehm, the No. 33 Skullcandy Nissan Altima of Derek Jones and the No. 34 Skullcandy Nissan Altima of Steven Doherty, while the fourth-place qualifying No. 75 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si of Kyle Gimple also was damaged in the incident. Another ST contender, the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si of second qualifier Chad Gilsinger, exited while leading after eight laps.
The next race for the Continental Tire Challenge will be at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday, August 23, as part of the Oak Tree Grand Prix.