Continental Tire Challenge Features Wide-Open Championship Battles
The championships in both the Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes are up for grabs entering Saturday’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, beginning the second half of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season.
For Trent Hindman and John Edwards, the first four races of the season netted a victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, two seconds and a fourth in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. While they held a 25-point lead atop the GS standings entering Round 5 at Kansas Speedway, the two most recent races have been a struggle. A race-long misfire led to a 16th-place finish at Kansas (where Edwards did not drive the required 45 minutes and therefore did not score points), and the team limped to finish 19th after contact early in the race at Watkins Glen.
Meanwhile, Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi won at Lime Rock, took fourth at Kansas and third at The Glen in a quest for a third straight team title for the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911.
At the halfway point, the GS battle is a dead heat, with Hindman and Plumb tied atop the standings with 154 points.
Third, only three points back with 151, is Kris Wilson, who won at Kansas in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage. His regular co-driver, Max Riddle, missed two races, with IndyCar driver James Davison co-driving in the Kansas victory.
Edwards is fourth with 139 points. Another point back are No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, who surged back into contention with the team’s second victory of the season at Watkins Glen (they won earlier this year at Sebring).
Also moving up are the drivers of the No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z, Brad Jaeger (134 points) and BJ Zacharias (131), coming off a solid second at The Glen. The pair opened the year by finishing 28th at Daytona, where Zacharias did not drive 45 minutes.
BimmerWorld’s Liefooghe, Cooke Hold Close Lead in ST
The ST race is also up for grabs.
Tyler Cooke and Greg Liefooghe currently hold the lead with 146 points, but a 12th-place finish at Watkins Glen for the No. 81 BimmerWorld BMW 328i saw their lead cut to two points over Eric Foss.
Foss opened the year by winning at Daytona and placing third in the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars BMW 328i, but co-driver Jeff Mosing sat out the race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when he suffered severe back spasms the night before the race. As a result, Mosing is fourth in the points with 133 points.
Moving up to third in the standings with back-to-back runner-up finishes at Kansas and Watkins Glen is Wayne Nonnamaker with 143 points – only three points behind the leaders. He co-drives the No. 42 Team Sahlen Porsche Cayman with his brother, Will.
Defending ST champs Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra are fifth in the points with 130, with four top-10 finishes in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i.
CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 drivers Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer were in position to lead the points after an apparent second at Watkins Glen, but an infraction discovered in post-race inspection dropped them back to seventh with 122 points.
It’s been feast or famine for Randy Pobst and Andrew Carbonell. The leading winners in ST with victories at Sebring and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 are back in ninth position with 113 points as a result of having no other top-10 finishes.
With a tie for the lead in GS and logjam atop ST, new faces could emerge atop the standings in Saturday’s race at 1:15 p.m. ET (streamed live on IMSA.com).