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Aug 26, 2014 - 07:28 PM
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Double Top-10 for Burton Racing at Virginia International Raceway
Posted by: newsla on Aug 26, 2014 - 07:24 PM
Sports Cars
Double Top-10 for Burton Racing at Virginia International Raceway


Following a hard-fought 2.5-hour race at the historic Virginia International Raceway, Burton Racing added another double top-10 finish to their record books on Saturday.

 

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The No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i was credited with a seventh place finish while the No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i took home fourth at the checkered flag.

After a rained out qualifying session on Friday, the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge grid was set by championship point order. Teaming with Conner Bloum, Hugh Plumb started the race off in the No. 22 BMW 128i from 16th on the grid while Mike LaMarra took the green flag for the No. 23 BMW 128i from fourth.

Unfortunately, LaMarra got caught out at the drop of the green flag and dropped back a few positions - stuck in 15th behind some slower moving cars ahead of him.

A bit further back in the field, Plumb was able to immediately make the most of his Burton Racing BMW and by the time the first and only full-course caution of the race flew 31 minutes in, had worked his way up to 13th position.

When the field returned to green flag racing, LaMarra was able to capitalize on the restart and work his way up the field, quickly settling into a good race pace in his BMW machine. By the time he pitted one hour and nine minutes into the two and a half hour race for fuel, fresh Continental Tires and to hand the car over to Borcheller, he had made his way all the way up to sixth.

Running a similar strategy, Plumb executed a strong stint himself as he pitted just one lap after the No. 23 to hand the car over to Bloum in fifth place.

As Borcheller and Bloum set to work with just over an hour remaining to race, both drivers delivered commanding drives. After cycling back out into 17th position, Borcheller quickly got up to speed and consistently set lap times faster than cars ahead of him, even on fading tires in a long green flag run that saw many other cars turn to fuel-conservation mode.

Bloum rejoined the field in 12th position and also quickly showed strong pace. Within just a few laps he had worked his way safely inside of the top-10 and continued to climb, in spite of the increasing heat of the day and similarly fading tires.

Thanks to a combination of excellent strategy by Team Manager Keith Burton and Head Engineer Peter Hansel as well as strong performances by all four drivers, both Burton Racing machines were able to drive hard all the way to the end of the race, in spite of a long green flag run that forced many other cars to either pit for fuel or conserve.

“The cars were pretty good all weekend,” said Keith Burton after the race. “All four drivers did a really good job throughout the race. It came really tight at the end on fuel with all of the green flag running. We came out alright and were able to run strong all the way to the finish. Unfortunately, the gap was a little more than we could make up at the end, but it was two more solid finishes for the team. We earned some points and had a good weekend overall and it was great to be back here at VIR and now the focus moves to COTA.”

Borcheller ultimately drove home to a fourth place finish at the checkers with Bloum not far behind in seventh place.

Burton Racing will now enjoy a brief break in racing action before they are back at it again on September 19-20th at Circuit of the Americas for the penultimate round of IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.

Driver Quoteboard:
Mike LaMarra, No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i - “At the start of the race I kind of got caught out because I got stuck behind some slower cars. I was behind the No. 42 car and I was railroaded on the left side. Then once I got around him the car was not entirely under me in some of the critical corners. Then I was fighting with some Miatas and two of them on the second lap bumped into each other on the straightaway and started going off. The car just behind them slowed and I couldn’t go left or right so I got railroaded by a couple of the cars behind me. But once I got that figured out I ran some nice laps and was able to keep the pace throughout my stint. Terry did a great job and we brought home a nice finish so that is good.”

Hugh Plumb, No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i – “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to drive with Burton Racing. Keith Burton has definitely assembled a great group of guys, this team performs at a really high level. We came from almost 20th place to bring the car home in the top-10 so that is great. Again, just a big thanks to the Burton Racing guys for letting me race with them. Connor (Bloum) did a great job. He is a great kid with a really bright future, so I hope we can do it again soon.”

Connor Bloum, No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i – “The car felt really great. It held up so well throughout the entire race, it was really solid on the brakes. The guys really did a great job and gave me such a solid and competitive car this weekend, and our strategy was right on as well. We just needed a yellow to stack everyone up there at the end and I think we definitely could have fought for the podium, if not the win.”

Terry Borcheller, No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i – “It was a lot of green running throughout my stint, which was really good. I was thinking that the No. 81 car was going to run out of fuel there at the end, I have no idea how they made it. But it was a good race for us. It was a hard race, but we fought the whole time. The car did get a little loose so I had to fight it a bit out there, but really the whole team did a great job this weekend.”

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