BMWs won again at Lime Rock Park on Saturday in Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport competition, but this time, it was a team other than Turner Motorsport.
Matt Plumb outlasted Turner's Bill Auberlen through two late restarts to post his and Nick Longhi's second GS victory of 2011. It marked the first victory for both drivers at the 1.53-mile, seven-turn track, and the sixth consecutive triumph for BMW in the GS class at Lime Rock.
Plumb, who earlier in the day finished second in the two-and-a-half hour Street Tuner class race, dominated the second half of the GS race in the No. 13 RumBum.com BMW M3. He took the lead from his older brother, Hugh Plumb, on lap 83 of 142, with just over an hour left.
Auberlen, co-driving with Paul Dalla Lana in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, weaved through the field during the last hour, and finally took second on lap 98. However, Auberlen – who extended his and Dalla Lana's championship lead to 27 points (161-134) – could not get past Matt Plumb, despite two late full-course caution periods and race restarts following a pair of incidents. Turner Motorsport had won four of the five GS races leading into Saturday's contest.
Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. finished third in the No. 61 Roush Performance Products, their fourth consecutive podium finish after a 32nd-place result at Daytona International Speedway.
Street Tuner class
In the Street Tuner race held Saturday morning, Tom Long held off a charging Matt Plumb over the final 10 minutes to give himself and co-driver and polesitter Derek Whitis their first victory of 2011.
Long inherited the lead when teammate Andrew Carbonell and Plumb's teammate, Owen Trinkler, made contact on the front straightaway with 12 laps remaining while battling for the lead, sending Carbonell's No. 26 Mazda/Semperfifund.org Mazda MX-5 into a series of flips. Carbonell, who led a race-high 39 laps, was transported to nearby Sharon (Conn.) Hospital, and later released.
Long led Plumb to the final restart, and never allowed Plumb to attempt a pass for the lead. The pair crossed the start/finish line nose-to-tail. Long only led 13 laps, while Whitis led the opening 21 laps before sliding off the race track and falling out of the top 20.
Finishing third were Ryan Eversley and Bob Beede, of nearby Greenwich, Conn., in the No. 75 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si.
Ian Baas and Ryan Ellis, drivers of the No. 171 VW DriverGear/APR Volkswagen GTI, retained their points lead, which now stands at six points (128-122), over Nic Jönsson, driving the No. 10 Infinity Audio/Kia Motors America Kia Forte Koup. Jonsson finished fifth, while Baas and Ellis were sixth.