Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson repeated as winners of the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona International Speedway, winning the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener for the second consecutive year.
Starting the #61 Roush Performance Mustang Roush Jr. had to drive back from the midfield after suffering a puncture. Fortunately he was able to limp back to pits while the 2-hour, 30-minute race was under the first of three full course cautions.
The stop – which coincided with the team’s first planned pitstop of the race – was taken under a caution caused – and then lengthened by a number of incidents. Mark Boden spun out of the top ten, putting his Fall–Line Motorsports BMW in the turn five tyre wall, the same section of wall hit – with greater violence – by David Thilenius in the Street Tuner class #74 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic.
Nick Longhi, who had taken the lead for Rum Bum Racing from pole sitter Jade Buford in the opening laps, was then spun out of the lead as the field came to the restart, ending his stint in the lead, though co-driver Matt Plumb drove the #13 Porsche Carrera back to second during his stint, setting the fastest lap of the race in process, clambering up from seventh in a final half hour aided by the two further full course caution periods, both brought out by single car incidents.
As Johnson fought back to the front the strongest – or at least most persistent challenge – came from the Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantages. Johnson and David Empringham swapped the lead back and forth for a succession laps around the half-way point, but Johnson was able to break away from Empringham and John Farano’s #15, Empringham eventually finishing third, with Multimatic teammates Nick Mancuso and Frank Montecalvo in fourth.
Scott Maxwell had kept the pole sitting #55 Aston in contention, though he dropped back down the order with spin at the chicane in the last 20 minutes. He would 12th after roaring back up the order.
Lawson Aschenbach and Eric Curran finished fifth in the CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro, beating 2012 series runners-up Matt Bell and John Edwards in the similar Stevenson Motosports entry.
Teams from Jim Click Racing, Automatic Racing, BGB Motorsports and Dempsey Racing completed the top ten. BGB’s Spencer Pumpelly was a factor in the battle for the race lead with Empringham and Johnson, but was delayed by a pair of pit lane speeding penalties.
Mike Skeen and Sunoco Grand-Am 200 Challenge winner Lawrence Davey finished 23rd. Taking the opening stint Davey briefly ran in the top ten, however, the pair race in the Mitchum Motorsports Camaro would be ruined by excessive tyre wear, Skeen having to pit with his Continentals worn down to the cords shortly after taking over the car.
In the Street Tuner class Skullcandy Team Nissan pairing Lara Tallman and Vesko Kosorov scored their first CTSCC win in their Altima Coupe. Kosorov led the final 40 minutes of the race, fending off Ryan Eversley’s Compass360 Honda through both restarts, Eversley actually losing second place to Greg Liefooghe on the penultimate laps, the BimmerWorld Racing driver claiming second with co-driver Tyler Cooke.
Michael Valiante and Terry Borcheller, the star drivers for HART and Burton Racing respectively both saw chances of victory slip away with mechanical problems.
Daniel Rogers and Seth Thomas finished fourth in class in another BimmerWorld 328i. Behind the Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Boxter driven in the second half of the race by Cory Friedman and Andrew Carbonell’s Freedom Autosport Maxda MX-5 Andrew Jordan finished seventh in class in the #77 Honda Civic started by James Colborn.
The BTCC driver had started his stint from the very bottom of the top 20 in class but fought his way up, another driver to take advantage of the bunching up caused by the two late caution periods