BimmerWorld Rookies Race To Second Place At Road Atlanta
April 23rd, 2013
Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum, BimmerWorld's impressive pair of rookie drivers, rocket to the front on their first appearance at Road Atlanta in the No. 80 and finish second
The BMW experts at BimmerWorld have always prided themselves in providing clients with machinery that’s fast and capable of winning, and at Road Atlanta last weekend, the team’s newest driver combo took hold of that opportunity and went to the front of the field.
Competing at Round 4 of the 2013 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series held in Braselton, Ga., rookies Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum put their prodigious talent on display and capitalized on the speed and performance of the BimmerWorld-built 328i chassis to lead portions of the 2.5-hour endurance race on their way to finishing second.
It was a marked turnaround for the duo after misfortune limited their most recent results in the Street Tuner class.
“I am proud of the rookie drivers in the No. 80 who are honing their craft as the season progresses,” said BimmerWorld team owner James Clay. “They were also the top-finishing BimmerWorld car at COTA, and this is the result of our team fielding three equal cars, which is important to me and the drivers that we sign who want a fair shot at race wins. And certainly Greg and Connor’s finish brings some levity to otherwise somewhat frustrating event for the team.”
The sister Nos. 81 and 82 BimmerWorld BMWs had the pace to join the No. 80 in the lead pack, but poor driving by two different competitors left the cars in need of immediate repair.
“We had three great cars this weekend as we returned for the first time in years to what we consider one of our two home tracks,” Clay continued. “Both the No. 81 and 82 were robbed of the strong finish they were headed for, and instead collected some silly contact damage. Certainly when this many cars are on track, some damage is expected, but it is really unfortunate when it is so obviously avoidable.”
For Strelzoff, putting the recent frustrations behind and getting down to good, hard racing with his teammate was a joy.
“Amazing; a dream come true,” he said. “Connor drove amazingly well. I was getting more and more nervous as the time ticked down to the checkered flag. Every race weekend the two of us have made improvements and steps forward towards better results. After two heartbreaking results, we are very glad to have many breaks go our way. The result just motivates Connor and me to work even harder.”
Behind the No. 80, Gregory Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke were coming off a fifth-place result at the most recent race, and expected to finish in an even stronger position at Road Atlanta, but contact soured their run, dropping the No. 81 to 13th.
“We knew we had the fastest car on track and could have been right there with the No. 80,” said Cooke. “The race didn’t go how we wanted it to but we still came out with some points and that’s better than nothing. We won’t let this hold us back, and we will be sure to go even harder at Mid-Ohio.”
The frustration felt by the No. 81 drivers paled in comparison to what Dan Rogers and Seth Thomas experienced in the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i. The series veterans, racing at Thomas’ home track, had a specific plan to avoid situations where other drivers could errantly hit the No. 82, but they still couldn’t escape the competition cleanly.
With the No. 82 CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW 328i crew members forced to replace front and rear suspension on the car, a 22nd-place finish was all the team could salvage.
“Mixed emotions describe our weekend very well,” said Rogers. “Seth and I are really happy for Connor and Greg for getting their first podium. The BimmerWorld crew did a great job with all three cars under extraordinary circumstances. All three cars had the pace, track position, and strategy to finish at the top of the field. Unfortunately, two of the three BWR cars got taken out of contention by extremely poor choices by other drivers. The No. 82 was handed a deep hole to dig out of to remain in the championship hunt.
“Having said that, we are still in the hunt. We’re 11 points out of third, and 15 points out of first. Road Atlanta shows how one race can shake up the standings. The development BimmerWorld has done with the BMW E90 chassis is solid, the strategy calls are spot-on, and the crew is the best in the Continental Tire Series paddock. These three things give us a car that can win, even if it isn’t the fastest car on course. The CRC BRAKLEEN® BMW will be there at the end of the season – you can count on that.”
Watch the Road Atlanta race on April 27th at 2 p.m. ET on SPEED, and be sure to follow BimmerWorld at www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.