TOOLE, Utah (Sept. 12, 2010) – For the drivers’ and team championships it came down to a tie-breaker, while the manufacturers’ title chase was just a little less close – seven points – as Honda and Compass360 Racing successfully defended their Street Tuner titles in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
A third-place finish in Saturday’s 200-mile race for the Compass360 duo of Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius in the 10th and final round in the 2010 championship saw the pair tie the BimmerWorld team of Bill Heumann and Seth Thomas on points. In addition, both teams tied in class wins (two each) and second-place finishes (also two apiece).
But neither had a third-place result – until this weekend. That became the tie-breaker, winning the drivers’ title for Aschenbach and Thilenius and the team crown for Toronto-based Compass360.
Honda ended the season with 312 points, to 295 for BMW. It is the second consecutive ST Manufacturers’ Championship for the Honda Civic Si. VW finished third in the title fight that also saw competitive efforts from Mazda, KIA and Mini.
Reflecting the tight championship battle – that saw the points lead swing back-and-forth – the finale at Miller was equally dramatic.
BimmerWorld’s Heumann and Thomas came into the event leading the title fight, but Heumann had to pit his BMW 328i with a broken differential on the second lap and the resulting 30-minute delay for repairs dropped them to an eventual 20th-place finish.
With their competition delayed, Aschenbach and Thilenius now needed a finish of third or better in their Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si to secure the title. That’s exactly what they accomplished, but only in final minutes of the race.
“My team was on the radio with me every lap telling me what to do,” Aschenbach said. “We pushed hard and continued to fight. Things needed to fall our way, and today they did.”
Running fourth at the checkers, just behind their Compass360 teammates, Zach Lutz and Ryan Eversley finished the 2010 season tied for fifth in the drivers’ points race. Their season-long results, in addition to those of Aschenbach and Thilenius, proved to be the difference in the Manufacturers’ Championship contest.