While the talk at the start of the race weekend in the 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race series at Daytona was the debut of Chevrolet’s Camaro Z/28.R. The Camaro is now set to take the racing to Ford’s Mustang Boss 302R, possibly suggesting a return to the original Trans-Am series. However unlike in the original Trans-Am series BMW had something to say about that in Daytona at the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona International Speedway. BMWs dominated, taking the first six places in ST and the first two in GS.
Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana drove their #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 to secure the Grand Sport class. However a post-race technical infraction gave the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge opener to the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 of Shelby Blackstock and Ashley Freiberg. Freiberg’s victory was the first overall series victory for a woman.
“I’m pretty realistic and I understand that wins are not easy to get — especially winning at Daytona with all its history,” said Freiberg. “That makes it all the more sweeter.”
The Turner Motorsports #96 had finished first after overcoming an early pit exit violation and an off-sequence pit strategy. However, shortly after the race IMSA confirmed that it had stripped the overall and Grand Sport class wins from the Auberlen/Dalla Lana duo for a technical violation found in the post-race inspection.
It was the first Continental Tire Challenge victory for Blackstock and Freiberg in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. Blackstock’s previous best Continental Tire Challenge result was third at Kansas Speedway last year.
“It’s awesome,” Blackstock said. “I can’t thank the Fall-Line team enough. They gave me an awesome car and made awesome calls to put me in position. I’m pretty speechless right now. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get to celebrate on the podium, but I couldn’t be happier.”
The top six cars were BMW M3s, suggesting that the “Balance of Performance” committee has some work to do before the next race.
Meanwhile Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing took honors in the Street Tuner class in the #56 Murillo Racing BMW 328i. Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke finished second in their BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i.
“What we did today was three years in the making,” Mosing said. “I’m real excited to be running with such a competent team. Ken Murillo is a real magician when it comes to setting up BMWs.”
“Greg was doing an awesome job, and raced me real close and clean,” Foss said. “I got a little nervous when I saw the Cayman coming up (Cory Friedman in the No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche), but everything worked out. Ken Murillo is the best engineer I’ve ever worked with. He knows what it takes to take a car to the finish line.”
Cory Friedman and David Baum finished third in class, their best finish in the Continental Tire Challenge.
The next race for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge will be its debut at Sebring International Raceway on Friday, March 14.
Photos courtesy High Revs Photography