2009 was the final year of the Grand-Am Road Racing’s contract with KONI. The three-year agreement between Grand-Am and KONI saw the company offer the richest purse in the series history - $100,000 per event. The winning Grand Sport team earned $5,000 with the price fund doubling to $10,000 if the car was equipped with KONI shock absorbers. Street Tuner competitors competed for a similar payout - $3,750 to the winner and $7,500 if the vehicle is fitted with KONIs.

The cars in the series are relatively unchanged from their road-going counterparts – modifications are mandated mainly for safety – roll cages, window nets, etc. They also used spec DOT-approved tires produced by Hoosier. Based on performance potential, the cars were divided into one of two groups:

  • Grand Sport (GS): The quicker of the two classes - the group features the larger displacement engines as well as smaller four-cylinder motors with forced induction systems. The power-plants produce between 350 and 405-horsepower. Minimum weights range between 2,900 – 3,300-pounds, which is dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. This class includes cars such as the BMW M3, Ford Mustang, Porsche 997 and Porsche Carrera.

  • Street Tuner (ST): The smaller displacement cars compete in this class in which engines typically produce between 170 and 240-horsepower. Popular vehicles found in this group are the Volkswagen GTI, Acura TSX, Mazda RX-8, Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic Si, BMW 330i, Subaru Legacy, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Subaru Legacy and Mini Cooper S.

The 2009 season consisted of eleven race weekends and started in January at Daytona International Speedway, which was followed by a second event in Florida at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In May, the series would visit Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey then move on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park. The teams traveled Watkins Glen International in June and after this event, race weekends took place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. In August, teams made the trip to Canada, where the action would take place on the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. The penultimate round was held at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park, with the finale being held at Virginia International Raceway. The Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes competed separately – the exceptions being Daytona, New Jersey, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen International and Miller Motorsports Park, where they race together.

The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres weekend was round-nine for the KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport division. Fourteen teams would compete on the ten-turn 1.521-mile temporary street circuit.

Leading the field of fourteen Grand Sport entries into Trois-Rivieres’ first corner is the pole-winner, Dean Martin, in the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT. Behind Martin is the other front row starter and the title-contending Ford Mustang GT of James Gue and Bret Seafuse. Beside the No. 37 JBS Mustang is Don Salama, who started third in the Turner Motorsport BMW M3.
Turner Motorsport driver, Matt Bell, won the opening round at Daytona with Bill Auberlen. Auberlen was not available for the Trois-Rivieres event, so Turner regular, Don Salama, was chosen to fill the vacancy. Salama qualified and started third in the No. 96 BMW M3. During the race’s second caution, the team made the driver change. Bell moved into first place on lap-22 and led the remaining forty-five-circuits.
Billy Johnson joined Jack Roush, Jr. and the Horsepower Ranch team at Watkins Glen. Their best result was at Barber, where they finished in third place. At Trois-Rivieres, Roush qualified sixth fastest in the No. 61 Ford Mustang. After the driver change, Johnson maneuvered his way through the field and chased down the leader, Matt Bell. Unable to make the passed, Johnson finished 2.700-seconds behind Bell in the runner-up spot.
In qualifying at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, Dean Martin put the Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT on the pole. His co-driver, Ken Wilden, was first in the driver standings. Martin led the first twenty-one-laps before handing the Mustang over to Wilden. Wilden set the fastest race lap but was unable to catch the front-runners and finished third. More importantly, Wilden increased his points tally to twenty markers.
JBS Motorsports drivers, Bret Seafuse and James Gue were going head-to-head with Ken Wilden for the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport title. The pair only had two podium finishes, one of which was a victory at Barber Motorsport Park, but they always finished in the top-ten. At the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, the No. 37 JBS was gridded second for the start and at the checkered flag was in the fourth place.
The Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport podium at Trois-Rivieres. On the top step are the victors, Matt Bell and Don Salama. Salama had the distinction of winning a Grand Sport and Street Tuner (Laguna Seca) event in the same year. Standing on the left side of the rostrum are the runner-ups, Jack Roush, Jr. and Billy Johnson. Completing the podium are Dean Martin and the points leader, Ken Wilden.

1GSSalama / BellTurner Motorsport / BMW M366
2GSRoush / JohnsonHorsepower Ranch / Ford Mustang66
3GSMartin / WildenRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT66
4GSGue / SeafuseJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT66
5GSEspenlaub / LongAutomatic Racing / BMW M366
6GSGleason / MarksTurner Motorsport / BMW M366
7GSRussell / WaddellAutomatic Racing / BMW M366
8GSMichaelian / MasonRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT66
9GSMattioli / IgdalskyJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT64
10GSCameron / FinlayRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT61
11GSEnde / PumpellyThe Racer's Group / Porsche 99761
12GSDavis / SmithKinetic Motorsports / BMW M311
13GSWilson / RiddleBGB Motorsports / Porsche 99711
14GSLally / PotterThe Racer's Group / Porsche 9975

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