Hand Hangs On For Continental Tire Score
LAKEVILLE, Conn. — Joey Hand, driving the Turner Motorsports BMW M3, took the lead from Turner teammate Bill Auberlen with 15 laps to go, and held off the challenge of Billy Johnson (Roush Performance Products Mustang) to win Saturday’s Lime Rock round of the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sports race.
Run to a two-and-a-half-hour time limit, the race covered 147 laps around the 1.53-mile “Classic” Lime Rock circuit. Hand, who took over for Michael Marsal around lap 60, gained the lead when Auberlen retired with a right-rear suspension failure.
Hand was followed to the line by Johnson (co-driving with Jack Roush, Jr.), with the BMW of Charles Putnam and Charles Esplenlaub third.
“The car was pretty good when I took it over, it just had some understeer,” a clearly spent Hand said after the race.
The car looked a bit beat up when he took over: “That was OK, I didn’t feel guilty about beating it up more,” Hand said.
The victory for Turner Motorsports was their fourth in five years at Lime Rock, and came in Turner Motorsport’s 200th professional start.
Earlier in the day, the Street Tuners had their own race, with the Performance Friction BMW 328i of Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann finally getting past Honda HPD Honda Civic Si of Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius on lap 134 of 139 after Aschenbach had led for 64 laps. The Honda Civic Si of Ryan Eversley and Zach Lutz was third.
“I had to earn it from Lawson,” Thomas said. “I’m not sure I could have caught him if it wasn’t for that last yellow, but regardless, we ended up winning.”
“That last caution really, really hurt us,” Aschenbach said. “We pulled out a pretty good lead and I was just trying to hold on. When the caution came out, we knew the BimmerWorld guys would be tough.”
The caution was to retrieve the Kia Forte Koup of Andy Lally suffered brake problems and crashed heavily in Big Bend.
It was the first career victory for Thomas and Heumann.