Bryan Sellers topped out a superlative day in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge for Fall–Line Motorsports, taking the lead of the race on the penultimate lap of the two hour, 30 minute race on the Watkins Glen International circuit.
Sellers, sharing the #46 BMW M3 with Mark Boden led only the final two laps of the race after passing Matt Plumb’s Rum Bum Racing Porsche at turn one for the Grand Sport and overall lead on a late restart after rain brought chaos to the track.
As rain fell both Billy Johnson and Cody Elsworth slid off and rolled on the exit of turn six. Only a lap earlier Johnson has spun away fourth position as he continued to fall down the order in the #61 Roush Performance Mustang that had only lost the lead to Plumb’s Porsche a dozen laps before. The rain sent others scattering. Pierre Kleinubing and Ryan Eversley both slithered off at turn eight from first and second in the Street Tuner class, handing Stevan McAleer the class lead as the field fell under caution.
The seriousness of their offs, at least for Klienubing and Eversley, allowed them vastly different results, the former finishing only 25th in class in their i-Moto Mazda 3 he shared with Jayson Clunie. Eversley, meanwhile was able to follow McAleer across the line as the Scot gave he and CJ Wilson Racing teammate Marc Miller a second ST win of the season to follow their success at the Circuit of the Americas. The ST podium was completed by HART pairing Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante.
While McAleer was able to defend the lead for the two minutes of racing that remained when the green flag reappeared in the battle for the overall lead Plumb was less fortunate falling to second on the drop into turn one.
Behind the other two Fall-Line M3s fell in line. Charles Espenlaub started the final lap in the third in the #48 car but was demoted back to third by the checkered flag as Hugh Plumb – brother of Matt – surged from fifth on the final lap passing both Matt Bell in the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro and his teammate. Bell would also lose a position Scott Maxwell on the final lap, the #55 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage finishing fifth, Bell’s Camaro sixth.
In the hands of John Edwards the Camaro had fallen to 22nd on the opening lap after contact with Nick Longhi in the Rum Bum #13. Longhi himself fell out of the top 40 to amongst the slower teams in the ST class. Both teams were given a reprieve of sorts by an early caution brought out by Derek Whitis’ front straight crash in the Freedom Autosport MX-5. However Longhi was called back to the pits once racing resumed to serve a 60 second stop-go penalty for causing the incident.
Despite the delays both were able to break back into the top ten at the half way mark in the Matt Plumb taking the Rum Bum entry to the lead when he inherited the position from Bill Auberlen when the BMW man pitted from the lead. Plumb would go onto lead 16 laps – the most of any driver overall, though a majority were under caution – before Sellers took the lead on the restart.