story and photos by Tim Hailey with material from IMS, Chevrolet and Grand Am
Brian Sellers’ Trim-Tex BMW leads Billy Johnson’s Mustang in the closing laps of the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge
Those of you new to the motorcycle drag racing game probably won’t even know the name “7.0 Joe” Koenig, although you might have seen his company Trim-Tex’s logo on the side of Larry McBride’s Top Fuel bike. Hard-working businessman Koenig is a life-long racer who earned the “7.0” moniker by topping Antron Brown’s 7.04 AMA/Prostar record with a 7.02, despite looming physically large over the dimunitive Brown.
Family man Koenig put motorcycle racing behind him following a dirt track wreck, but couldn’t stay away from speed, precise execution and the smell of race fuel. Koenig took up sports car racing and helped stamp the Trim-Tex name large onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway winners circle duriing the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge, part of the Super Weekend that also includes NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Rolex Grand-Am races.
Koenig’s trademark broad smile is matched equally by his intense, competitive gaze. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
The Trim-Tex sponsored team of Bryan Sellers and Mark Boden teamed up for the overall victory in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, while Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra teamed to win the ST class in the No. 23 Automotive Chemicals BMW Group/Excelda Manufacturing BMW 128i—teammates to the 22 that Koenig drove along with LaMarra.
The Freedom Autosports Mazda shows the results of full-contact sporst car racing. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
Koenig took the opening stint in the 22, and LaMarra in the 23. LaMarra pitted first, turning the wheel over to Daytona 24 Hours winner Borcheller. LaMarra barely had time to towel off before Koenig wheeled the 22 in—minus a few middle gears and dented on all corners. “It’s those Freedom Autosports guys, those Mazdas!” Koenig said about the dents after he pulled off his helmet. “They’re just diving through the grass and pounding me!” Indeed, the Speedway jumbotron had shown Koening getting nailed in the left rear, getting pitched at an angle but fighting the wheel.
The little Bimmer hikes a wheel out of the corner. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
As for the gears, Koenig figured out it was better to stop hunting for third and just work around it. LaMarra nursed the car home 22nd in class, the BMW lifting the left or right front wheel off the ground, dependiing on what corner he was lurching out of.
Koenig bows to the Trim-Tex team of Sellers and Boden atop the IMS winners circle. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
Quick restarts by Sellers and Borcheller with six minutes remaining helped their respective teams win, as an incident moments later caused the race to end under caution. Sellers led Billy Johnson (co-driver with Jack Roush Jr in the red #51 Mustang), Bill Auberlen, Charles Espenlaub, Matt Plumb and Shelby Blackstock on the final restart, which proved to be the winning move when Kris Wilson and Taylor Hacquard tangled in Turn 2, effectively ending the race.
“I’d be a fool not to back a guy like that,” Koenig says of Sellers and his racing. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
“It’s hard to believe I’ve kissed the bricks at Indy,” said Sellers. “That’s something I’ve always dreamed of growing up. When you go through the tunnel here it takes your breath away. This is where it all started.”
Jack Roush watching his son race to second place. Roush agreed with me that the Speedway’s PGA adventure had, um, run it’s course and it was time for a bigger road circuit that extended out of the oval. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
Johnson and Roush Jr. finished second in the No. 61 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R, followed by Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, and Espenlaub and Trent Hindman in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3.
Plumb and co-driver Nick Longhi finished fifth in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997. They extended their lead in the GS standings to 33 points (209-176) over John Edwards and Matt Bell, who retired late in the race due to suspension damage.
In the Street Tuner (ST) race, Borcheller also got off to a great restart late in the race, and then smiled when he saw his rivals going three-wide entering Turn 1 behind him. “I said, ‘Race away, guys,’” Borcheller said, who joined LaMarra in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i – a car prepared in the team’s shop in nearby Brownsburg. “I always dreamed of racing in the Indy 500. To even be able to come here to race – and win – is a very special thing.”
“No,” sports car racer Mark Boden says about riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
In the Speedway’s Chris Economacki press room, I told thel four winning drivers I knew Joe from his drag racing days and asked them all if they’d like to take a hit on a Pro Stock Motorcycle. “I’ve seen Joe come roaring up the street and pull into my driveway, rolling up on only his front wheel (a stoppie),” said Boden. “If he got out of drag racing (for safety) but isn’t afraid to do that, then I want no part of it.”
Daytona 24 Hour winner Terry Borcheller is one of Koenig’s Burton Racing teammates. MORE CSCC PHOTOS
Borcheller took the opportunity to tell how the Burton Racing and Fall-Line teams really operate like teammates, held together by Koenig and the Trim-Tex sponsorship. You can read more about Koenig’s racing history in this excellent story by Jack Korpela.
The victory enabled Borcheller and LaMarra to retake the lead in the ST championship by eight points (175-167) over Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley, who finished 19th. Jeff Mosing and Jesse Combs finished second in the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo Racing BMW 328i, followed by 2012 Brickyard Sports Car Challenge winners Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas in the No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i.
The race will be televised on Saturday, August 3, on SPEED at 4 p.m. ET. The next Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race will be at Road America on Saturday, August 10.
Ryan Dalziel working his way towards the checkered flag in near darkness at the Speedway
Ryan Dalziel teamed with Alex Popow to win the second annual Brickyard Grand Prix GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race. Dalziel and Popow drove the No. 2 Soloson BMW Riley Daytona Prototype to the victory, giving Starworks Motorsport its second consecutive Brickyard Grand Prix triumph in the three-hour race on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile IMS Grand Prix course. Popow joined with Indianapolis 500 veteran Sebastian Bourdais to win last year.
“It’s just crazy,” Dalziel said. “I said to the guys on the radio, ‘I don’t know if I should kiss everybody or kiss the bricks first.'”
Said Popow, “It’s amazing being here for the second time in a row winning at Indy.”
The No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas
Indianapolis 500 veteran Scott Pruett and teammate Memo Rojas finished second Friday in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, 3.438 seconds behind the winners. With their performance, Pruett and Rojas clinched the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com in the Daytona Prototype class, earning a $100,000 bonus. The NAEC consists of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen and the Brickyard Grand Prix.
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty finished third in the No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP. “We felt like we didn’t have the most competitive car today, but we ran a really smart race,” said Fogarty. “Not a mark on the car and just kept our nose clean and kept our heads down. Smart strategy by the No. 99 team and put the Chevrolet up on the podium, which we are happy about. We will hopefully do a little better in the next one and move forward in the championship.”
Brendon Hartley, Pierre Kaffer and Scott Mayer finished fourth in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley. Rubens Barrichello and Doug Peterson placed fifth in their No. 77 3Dimensional.com Ford/Dallara after Barrichello, who won the 2002 United States Grand Prix at IMS, saw his bid to become the first driver to win two major events at IMS come to an end when he headed to pit lane for gas late in the race while leading.
2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan joined with Joey Hand in finishing ninth in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates NTT BMW Riley, while Bourdais and Emilio DiGuida drove the No. 4 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP to an 11th-place finish.
The GT winning Ferrari of Max Papis and Jeff Segal
Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 veteran Max Papis teamed with Jeff Segal to win the GT class, placing 14th overall in the R. Ferri/Aim Motorsport Ferrari 458.
With a second place finish, No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R drivers Robin Liddell and John Edwards secured the 2013 North American Endurance Championship in the Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Touring (GT) class. With wins or podium finishes in five of the last six GRAND-AM Rolex races, the team sits second in both GT team and driver standings after eight of the 12 races completed on the 2013 schedule. “To be honest we did incorrect math during the race so I was told we lost it (North American Endurance Championship) to AIM, but I guess found out when we hit pit lane that we won,” said Edwards. “I got out of the car and still wasn’t even sure. Pretty excited about it because we really didn’t have a good Daytona, but then we won Watkins Glen and led at the three hour mark and then we finished second here. We obviously did what we had to do after a poor finish at Daytona. Really excited for the team and especially for John (Stevenson) he will get an extra $50,000 for a bonus. It helps alleviate the gearbox cost from yesterday.”
“Quite happy with second place really,” said Liddell, “I mean we had a pretty poor start to the weekend. We lost most of the practice session on Thursday. The whole first session we lost due to a gear box problem. So, to recover from that, I only had six laps in the car before qualifying. Qualified second and finished second, we are actually pretty happy with that. We are very happy to win the North American Endurance three race deal. We are still focused on the longer game and the championship, but that is a nice bonus. Of any of those cars to finish ahead of us it wasn’t too bad with the No. 61 ahead. The guys did a great job in the pits. We jumped ahead of the Porches taking tires at that last stop is what hurt us to the No. 61 car, they didn’t take tires and they basically gained 10 seconds on us and that is where they finished so. Whether with hindsight we should have done that different who knows, but I don’t think we really had a car that was quick enough to win today.”
EARLIER: Taylor, Said lead Indy Grand-Am fields
Jordan Taylor (above) drove one of Indianapolis-based Wayne Taylor Racing’s Corvettes to the Daytona Prototype pole Thursday for the Brickyard Grand Prix GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race. Taylor, from Apopka, Fla., turned an event-record lap of 1:22.251 in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide/Toshiba/Chevrolet Corvette DP owned by his father, Wayne Taylor. It was the third consecutive DP pole this season for Taylor, 22, who will share the car in the race Friday with veteran Max Angelelli. “When you think of motorsports, you think of Indy, Daytona, Sebring and all of the big names,” Jordan Taylor said. “To get the pole is awesome.”
The three-hour race starts at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Friday on the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course at IMS. “I’m sure tomorrow you will see a big range, cars flying by cars in the front straight and getting stacked up on the infield,” Taylor said. “That will make it interesting. It is pretty low grip on the infield, so a lot of people are sliding around, which should create a lot of opportunities for passing and bumping. I think that is what GRAND-AM is known for – the good racing and a little bit of rough racing. You’ll see some good racing.”
Memo Rojas qualified second at 1:22.375 in the No. 091 Telcel/Telmex BMW Riley that he will share Friday with Indianapolis 500 veteran Scott Pruett. Firestone Indy Lights veteran Gustavo Yacaman was third at 1:22.455 in the No. 6 Aero/Tuvacol/Curb Records Ford Riley that he will share with Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 veteran AJ Allmendinger. 1995 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Christian Fittipaldi qualified fourth at 1:22.544 in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, while 2012 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Rubens Barrichello was sixth at 1:22.572 in the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara.
2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan qualified 10th in the No. 02 NTT Data BMW Riley. “It’s completely different (from the Indianapolis 500), but I love it,” Kanaan said. “I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s a different deal. I think it’s going to be an exciting race.”
Brickyard 400 veteran Boris Said (above) won the pole for the GT class of the Brickyard Grand Prix, posting a top lap of 1:28.374 in the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette.
Jade Buford won the pole for the GS class of the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge, an event also taking place Friday for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Buford’s quickest lap was 1:35.630 in the No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage. NASCAR Truck Series veteran Chad McCumbee won the pole for the ST class at 1:40.580 in the No. 3 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5. The 2.5-hour Brickyard Sports Car Challenge starts at 2 p.m.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide drivers will practice on the IMS oval starting Friday morning. Nationwide Series drivers practice from 8:30-10 a.m. and 10:30-11:25 a.m., preparing for the Indiana 250 on Saturday. Sprint Cup drivers will begin preparations from 11:35 a.m.-1 p.m. for the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday.