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.

Race six of eleven for the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series was held at Watkins Glen International on the same weekend as the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. Under grey skies and intermittent drizzle, forty-eight teams competed on the eleven-turn 3.337-mile road course.

Twenty-one Grand Sport competitors funnel into Watkins Glen International’s corner one for round six of the KONI Challenges Series. Leading the charge is the pole-sitter, Matt Bell, in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Immediately behind Bell is the third-fastest qualifier and the point leading Reghan Racing Ford Mustang GT driven by Dean Martin. Trailing Bell and Martin is the Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly.
The Racer’s Group, Andy Lally and John Potter would capture their first KONI Challenge Series victory of the season at Watkins Glen International. Potter qualified the Magnus Racing sponsored Porsche 997 eighth fastest. Lally drove the final stint and moved into the top spot for the last time on lap-55 and led the remaining seven circuits. This was his seventh series win and the first for the rookie, Potter.
The second fastest qualifier in Street Tuner, Mike Sweeney, chased the race leader, Ian Baas until Baas encounter an electrical issue. At that point, Sweeney driving the No. 181 APR Tuning Volkswagen GTI grabbed first in class. After pitting, his co-driver, Dion von Moltke, battled his way to the front of the category. In less than ideal conditions, von Moltke passed the category leader, Randy Pobst and captured the victory.
On Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen International, Matt Bell earned his fourth pole position of the season. Sharing the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 with Bell was a veteran BMW campaigner, Bill Auberlen. Bell led the first four laps of the race before losing the top spot to Dean Martin. After the driver change, Auberlen moved into the lead on lap-51, but four-circuits later, he was passed by the eventual winner, Andy Lally.
Ian Baas paced the Street Tuner qualifying session and recorded the fastest time. The No. 171 APR Tuning sponsored Volkswagen GTI started on the class pole two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park and was also the quickest Street Tuner entry at last year’s Watkin Glen’s round. Co-driving with Baas was Josh Hurley. Unable to maintain the pace, as a result of an electrical issue, they finished in the sixth position.
Round six of the 2009 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series for the Street Tuner category was held at Watkins Glen International. Twenty-seven teams participated in this class. The first car to enter corner one is the pole-winning No. 171 APR Tuning Volkswagen GTI driven by Ian Baas. Behind Baas is the other front row starter and his teammate, Mike Sweeney. Beside Sweeney is the points leader, Christian Miller.
Co-driving the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 was Chris Gleason and Joey Hand. To date, their season included two podium finishes, one of which was a victory in the previous round at Lime Rock Park. Gleason qualified the car and would start in the seventh position. After a solid run, he turned the BMW over to Hand. Hand battled with his teammate, Auberlen, and traded second place several times before finishing third.
Entering round six at Watkins Glen International, the Street Tuner points leader was Christian Miller. Miller was competing in the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si with Touring Car veteran, Randy Pobst. Miller qualified the car and would start twenty-second overall and third in class. Pobst chased the race leader, Dion von Moltke, but finished in the runner-up position by a margin of 0.501-seconds.
Ashley McCalmont started the season sharing the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS with Kirk Spencer. In race four, at Lime Rock Park, McCalmont was paired with the defending Street Tuner champion, Jamie Holtom, who was not racing the full schedule. The drivers delivered their best performance of the year, a third place. At Watkins Glen International, they repeated this result after starting fourteenth.
In 2009, Kristian Skavnes and Andrew Aquilante returned for another season with the Subaru Road Racing Team. They shared the No. 111 Subaru Legacy, which Skavnes drove to victory last year at Mid-Ohio with Chuck Hemmingson. At Watkins Glen International, the Subaru was gridded twenty-sixth overall and fifth in the Street Tuner category. At the checkered flag, the duo was fourth in their class.
The No. 59 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT was driven by Dean Martin and the points leader, Ken Wilden. Wilden had three podium finishes, one of which was a victory at Laguna Seca. At Watkins Glen International, Martin started third and moved into the lead on lap-5. After the driver change, the team would lose first place and finish sixth. The result was good enough for Wilden to remain at the top of the standings.
Glenn Bocchino and Todd Lamb, drivers of the No. 32 Kinetic Motorsports prepared BMW M3 started 2009 with a poor result. They finished twenty-eighth in round one at Daytona International Speedway. The pair bounced back at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where, they captured the runner-up spot. At Watkins Glen International, the duo started in the fifth grid position and were fourth at the checkered flag.

1GSLally / PotterThe Racer's Group / Porsche 99761
2GSAuberlen / BellTurner Motorsport / BMW M361
3GSGleason / HandTurner Motorsport / BMW M361
4GSBocchino / LambKinetic Motorsports / BMW M361
5GSEnde / PumpellyThe Racer's Group / Porsche 99761
6GSMartin / WildenRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT61
7GSBengoa / OrtizRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT61
8GSGue / SeafuseJBS Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT61
9GSRoush / JohnsonHorsepower Ranch / Ford Mustang61
10GSHillestad / WaddellAutomatic Racing / BMW M361
11GSBoden / JenkinsFall-Line Motorsports / BMW M361
12STvon Moltke / SweeneyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI61
13STMiller / PobstCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si61
14STMcCalmont / HoltomGeorgian Bay Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS 61
15STAquilante / SkavnesSubaru Road Racing Team / Subaru Legacy61
16STBurrows / HopwoodRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S61
17STBaas / HurleyAPR Motorsport / Volkswagen GTI61
18STGiovanis / HalpinNext Generation Motorsports / BMW 330i61
19STSalama / TurnerTurner Motorsport / BMW 328i61
20STArnold / SchultzV-Pack Motorsport / BMW Z461
21STMaynard / Bogart3D Racing / BMW 330i60
22STSpaude / ThileniusBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si60
22STNonnamaker / SahlenTeam Sahlen / Mazda RX-860
23GSGrigsby Jr / HeathCardiosport Racing / Porsche 99760
24GSEllis / WellonRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 99760
25GSRossi / DiazRanger Sports Racing / Porsche 99760
26STMaloof / WhiteFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-560
27STBovenberg / RashleighGS Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS60
28STDayton / BattleRRT Racing / BMW 328i59
30STShep / BoschNext Generation Motorsports / BMW 330i59
31STAschenbach / IannucciGeorgian Bay Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS58
32STO'Doski / CarbonellFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-558
33STBeede / CullenBill Fenton Motorsports / Honda Civic Si58
34GSStraus / LonghiCMA Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT57
35STBuford / TrinklerRSR Motorsports / Mini Cooper S57
36STFerguson / DeManDeMan Motorsport / Porsche Boxster57
37STDanyliw / SchmidtGS Motorsports / Chevrolet Cobalt SS52
38GSPlumb / MasonRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT50
39GSJeannette / MontecalvoKinetic Motorsports / BMW M350
40GSDavis / SmithKinetic Motorsports / BMW M348
41STHarding / MilarcikPirate Motorsports / Mazda RX-846
42STKuitwaard / WalkerCompass360 Racing / Honda Civic Si43
43STLong / WhitisFreedom Autosport / Mazda MX-542
44STOrr / LewisNext Generation Motorsports / BMW 330i41
45GSAckley / SnyderCMA Motorsports / Ford Mustang GT34
46GSMike HarvisonRehagen Racing / Ford Mustang GT33
47STLeverone / McHaffieFlatout Motorsports / Mazda MX-59
48GSEspenlaub / PutmanAutomatic Racing / BMW M30

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