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.

Round seven of the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series took place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Twenty-one Grand Sport teams competed on the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course.

The two-and-a-half-hour contest would run caution-free.

On the first lap, the second-fastest qualifier, Dean Martin, driving the Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT won the drag race to the ‘Esses.’ Following Rehagan is the Turner Motorsport BMW M3 driven by the pole-sitter, Matt Bell. Behind Bell is the JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT, shared by Bret Seafuse and James Gue, which started third. Trailing the top three are the TRG Porsche, Automatic Racing BMW and the second Turner entry.
Dean Martin was the second-fastest qualifier but led the first forty-one-laps of the race before handing the No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT over to the championship leader, Ken Wilden. After the pit-stops cycled through, Wilden was back in the top spot on lap-46. From there, he pulled away from the field and won by a margin of 34.439-seconds. In the process, Wilden extended his points lead to twenty-one markers.
Drivers, Bret Seafuse and James Gue, shared the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT. They entered round seven at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course second in the Grand Sport standings. The pair didn’t have any podium finishes but were consistently in the top-ten. At Mid-Ohio, Seafuse qualified third fastest. The duo chased the race-winning Rehagen Mustang and earned their first podium of 2009 with a runner-up finish.
A third-place finish was a remarkable achievement for Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly. Ende drove the No. 39 The Racer’s Group prepared Porsche 997 in the qualifying session and was fourth fastest. On the opening lap, the Porsche cut a tire and after pitting, Ende returned to the race in sixteenth place. Ende and Pumpelly battled their way through the field and captured the last spot on the Grand Sport podium.
At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Matt Bell earned his fifth pole-position is seven starts. Sharing the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 with Bell was Bill Auberlen. Bell lost the lead before the first corner to the Mustang of Dean Martin. He led two laps when Martin pitted. Auberlen was running in second place during his stint when the BMW developed a brake issue. Forced to pit for repairs, he finished fifth.
The round seven Grand Sport podium for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Standing on the top step for the second time this year are the winners from Rehagen Racing, Dean Martin and the current points leader, Ken Wilden. On the left side of the rostrum are the runner-up finishers, Bret Seafuse and James Gue. Completing the podium are Duncan Ende and Spencer Pumpelly.

1GSMartin / WildenRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT94
2GSGue / SeafuseJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT94
3GSEnde / PumpellyThe Racer's Group / Porsche 99794
4GSGleason / HandTurner Motorsport / BMW M394
5GSAuberlen / BellTurner Motorsport / BMW M393
6GSLasco / MasonRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT93
7GSJeannette / MontecalvoKinetic Motorsports / BMW M393
8GSEllis / WellonRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 99792
9GSDavis / SmithKinetic Motorsports / BMW M392
10GSHillestad / WaddellAutomatic Racing / BMW M392
11GSSmith / EversleyMaxwell Paper Racing / Porsche 99792
12GSMattioli / IgdalskyJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT92
13GSDanyliw / OrtizRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT92
14GSRossi / DiazRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 99791
15GSClick / McGovernJim Click Racing / Ford Mustang GT89
16GSRoush / JohnsonHorsepower Ranch / Ford Mustang85
17GSLally / PotterThe Racer's Group / Porsche 99762
18GSBocchino / LambKinetic Motorsports / BMW M350
19GSGrigsby Jr / HeathCardiosport Racing / Porsche 99716
20GSEspenlaub / PutmanAutomatic Racing / BMW M312
21GSSellers / DiLeoMaxwell Paper Racing / Porsche 9971

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