Kevin Gleason and teammate Corey Fergus raced their BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i to 12th position in the Street Tuner (ST) division of the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge in a stop-start race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday (3 May).
After a particularly tough qualifying session on Friday (2 May), Gleason and BimmerWorld stable-mate Fergus had a better time of it while the race was under green conditions, but struggled to find a rhythm between a succession of prolonged full-course yellows.
An incident away from the start propelled 27-year old Gleason from his 11th-place grid position into the top ten and that’s where he would remain for the duration of a relatively straight-forward opening stint.
The Johnstown, Pennsylvania-domiciled racer drove a superbly consistent race before three separate and spectacular crashes for a number of the ST and GS contenders caused lengthy caution periods that spurred the Bimmerworld Racing team to carry out a driver change.
Gleason handed the BMW 328i to Fergus with 1h45m to run and a well-executed strategy saw the #80 BimmerWorld BMW climb as high as sixth, although several more incidents would neutralise the race and Fergus emerged in 12th position as the chequered flag beckoned.
“The car is strong over a long run so we simply tried to be consistent and stay out of trouble,” said Gleason. “This race seems to be problematic for some people and we wanted to keep our noses clean and our tires under us to hopefully have a shot at the podium. Long green flag runs would have been beneficial for us, as the front-wheel-drive cars tend to beat up on their tires more than we do. However, while it wasn’t a tough race for us, I think we missed the setup for the race, as we struggled with a little understeer. Our strategy was to pit early, our pit stop went well, but the seven yellow flags really hampered our progress.”