|06/28/09 11:50PM||Ford Mustang GT, Ken Wilden, Rehagen Racing|
WILDEN, REHAGEN RACING RETURN TO MID-OHIO SEEKING ANOTHER KONI CHALLENGE WIN
Two years ago, Ken Wilden was making only his second start in one of Rehagen Racing’s Ford Mustang GTs in Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) competition at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
That weekend, the Oakville, Ontario driver earned his first career win with Dean Martin, and his second straight podium for Rehagen. In all, he grabbed three podiums in four starts for the Michigan-based team before moving on to other opportunities.
In terms of opportunities for this weekend’s seventh round, Wilden has several. Not only will he shoot for his second straight Mid-Ohio victory - the GS class did not compete at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn track in 2008 - in the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT, but he is hoping to give the car its 13th straight top-10 finish. In doing so, he could extend his 18-point lead (169-151) over James Gue and Bret Seafuse.
The GS race will commence at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, while the Street Tuner (ST) event is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
“Mid-Ohio is a good track,” said Wilden, who earned his second career win last month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “I think we’re going to have our work cut out for us this weekend though. I think the Mustangs will do all right, and we’re just hoping for a top-five finish and to stay out of trouble to stay atop the championship. We’re in the mode of just doing the best we can and putting the pressure on our competitors to push harder than they would want.”
While Wilden is holding off Seafuse and Gue - driving the No. 37 Trumansburg ShurSave Ford Mustang GT and still seeking their first win together - for the lead, Martin is tied with Duncan Ende for fifth. Both drivers have 139 points and each owns a victory this season; Ende co-drives with Spencer Pumpelly in TRG’s No. 39 DigiTrust Group/Adam’s Polishes Porsche 997.
Third is Chris Gleason, co-driver of the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 with Joey Hand, with 146 points, while Matt Bell is fourth, seeking his fifth pole position in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 he co-drives with Bill Auberlen, with 141 points. Also still in championship contention are Jack Roush Jr. (No. 61 Valvoline/Roush Ford Mustang GT, 138 points); Todd Lamb and Glenn Bocchino (No. 32 Cybernation/Cobalt Friction BMW M3, 137 points); Andy Lally and John Potter (No. 41 Magnus Racing Porsche 997, Winners at Watkins Glen, 136 points); and Hugh Plumb (131 points).
Ohio natives seeking strong performances this weekend at Mid-Ohio are Centerville-born Bryan Sellers (No. 8 Maxwell Paper Products Co. Porsche 997), Columbus’ Ray Mason (No. 52 Columbus Truck & Equipment Ford Mustang GT) and Medina’s Mark Hillestad (No. 99 H&S Tools/Imported Car Store BMW M3).