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Jun 10, 2014 - 03:27 PM
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Difficult Day for Burton Racing at Kansas Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Jun 10, 2014 - 03:24 PM
Sports Cars
Difficult Day for Burton Racing at Kansas Speedway


After the challenging outing in Lime Rock Park that dished out significant damage to both Burton Racing machines, the team arrived at Kansas Speedway over the weekend ready to chase some championship momentum.

 

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But the fifth round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Kansas proved to be another trying weekend for the Burton Racing crew as the No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i of Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra brought home a hard-fought 19th place finish and the No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i of Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum was scored with a 28th place finish.

Although the former series championship team showcased their determination, perseverance and championship-caliber efforts by working tirelessly in the quick one-week break between races to repair damage to both cars and have them ready to compete in this weekend’s event, the Kansas weekend proved to be one to forget for the team.

Electrical issues forced Strelzoff to start from the very back of the pack in the No. 22 machine for the 150-minute race. But Strelzoff’s disappointing starting position ultimately revealed itself to be beneficial as he was able to avoid contact in the eventful first turn on the first lap of the race that robbed LaMarra in the sister No. 23 machine of valuable spots.

In spite of the contact, LaMarra was able to remain out on track and put together a solid stint, regaining lost positions as he consistently bested his lap times throughout the stint and ultimately handed the car over to Borcheller in 13th position just after the one-hour mark. Similarly, Strelzoff displayed some excellent driving as he continuously laid down lap times on pace with cars ahead of him, which saw him make strides through the pack all the way up to 17th position before pitting just after the one-hour mark.

Unfortunately, the great drive for the No. 22 machine ended with Strelzoff as an electrical issue during the pit stop forced it behind the wall for repairs. Despite the best efforts of the crew, the damage was ultimately too much to repair during the race, forcing its early retirement, which also disallowed Bloum from turning any race laps.

Similar bad luck struck Borcheller in the No. 23 as contact on his outlap caused a flat right rear tire, forcing him to slowly limp around the rest of the track back to the pits for repairs. But the Burton team remained calm and ready as always, and speedily repaired the flat tire, and put Borcheller back into the pack just a few laps down despite his slow circuit of the track into the pits.

Even with damage to the car, Borcheller was still able to lay down consistently fast lap times throughout his stint which saw him make up both laps and positions and brought the No. 23 machine home inside of the top-20 of the 30-car ST field.

“It was a difficult race, for sure,” said Team Manager Keith Burton following the Grand Prix of Kansas. “But the whole crew has worked so hard this whole weekend so I am pleased with that. In all reality, with the damage we sustained on both cars in Lime Rock, there is only so much you can do in just a week, even though the crew really has worked so hard to get both cars ready. Thankfully we were still able to bring home some points this weekend and our championship chase isn’t affected that much, so we will make the most of the short break until Watkins Glen and be ready to run strong there.”

Burton Racing now looks forward to a short break before they are back in action again at Watkins Glen on the 26th of June.

Burton Racing Driver Quoteboard:

Mike LaMarra, No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i – “In Turn-1 someone got into the back of me and started spinning me out to the outside and then someone next to me started spinning. I was actually looking into his eyes as it was happening and I kind of bumped into his car in the front end but fortunately not too badly. Then I just went way out to the outside and ran across the grass in the second half of Turn-1 and was essentially in last after that. But I was able to make up some ground quite quickly. Then we had another caution and I was able to make up another several positions on the restart so that was quite good. The guys worked really hard all day long. Literally the car today was a different car from what we had last night. So the car was much better and gave us a good opportunity. Then there was just a long run of no cautions and Terry got in and the tire went down and that really just sealed the deal for us. So we were just trying to harvest the best finish could. But it was a nice day nonetheless.”

Greg Strelzoff, No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i – “The team did a great job getting me out. Honestly, it was tough because I started from dead last. But I had a really good start. The lane I was in moved well and I was able to take advantage of some opportunities. I was up to 19th at the restart, but unfortunately I made the wrong call there and fell back a couple of spots. But I was starting to make moves again. Then I came in for the pit stop and there was a small misunderstanding which ultimately didn’t even matter because the car wasn’t going to start again once we brought it to a stop anyway. I am looking forward to Watkins Glen to salvage want we can from this season and start building some things up.”

Connor Bloum, No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i – “Honestly, it was a disappointing day for me. I didn’t even get to do any race laps. But I know the team worked really hard to get our car out there to begin with and I know they will work equally as hard to get us ready for the Glen. So I’m just looking forward to Watkins Glen and being back in the car and just doing the absolute best that we can.”

Terry Borcheller, No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i – “Mike had some drama early which put him in a big group of cars, and then my first lap out when I was on the banking I had a lot of tire smoke. I knew that something was wrong. The next time through, the tire let go so I had to do a lap and a quarter with a shredded tire to get back to the pits. I had to go 5 mph to get back to the pits and that just killed us. But that’s what we do, we just keep fighting for points and position. We had a 26th place finish last year and still won the championship, and that is still our focus.


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