Skavnes and Hemmingson Take Win at Mid Ohio in Subaru
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A mid-race downpour worked in the favor of the all-wheel drive ICY/Phoenix Racing Subaru Legacy Sunday at Mid-Ohio, as Kristian Skavnes led the final 30 laps to join starting driver Chuck Hemmingson in winning their first Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner race of the season.

Owen Trinkler started on the pole in the No. 196 RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S, and led the opening 33 laps before turning the car over to BJ Zacharias. The Mini regained the lead when Zacharias gambled on staying on dry tires when most of the other contenders pitted for rain tires when the weather turned.

Zacharias went off course in turn one on the lap 49 restart with 55 minutes remaining, giving the lead to Skavnes. The New Jersey hung on in the closing laps on the drying track, taking the checkered flag 5.69 seconds ahead of Kuno Wittmer in the No. 32 i-MOTO Racing Acura TSX started by Peter Cunningham. Third was the No. 51 Brass Mitchell Racing Mazda RX-8 of Steven Ott and Tony Rivera, scoring their first podium finish of the season.

"My shift was good, and I had a lot of fun," said Hemmingson, who joined Skavnes in scoring their third career victory in the KONI Challenge. "I wasn't quite as fast as the leaders, but I was close enough to keep them in sight, and I wanted to give Kristian a car that was good, and it all worked out today. Our only concern late in the race was that the track would dry out, and it would have been a brand new ballgame."

Jamie Holtom, who led midway through the race, and Eric Curran saw their two-race winning streak snapped in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Holtom led nine laps before pitting and turning the car over to Curran That gave the lead to Skavnes, but he pitted only three laps later for rain tires.

"My decision was made easier when we had trouble keeping up with the pace car under the caution," Skavnes said.

Of the leaders, only Zacharias opted to remain on slick tires. The competition quickly overhauled the Mini on the restart, with Zacharias going off course and stalling in turn one. He managed to get the car refired and finished 13th, one lap down.

With the track drying, Curran gambled to pit for dry tires with 30 minutes remaining, falling from seventh to 13th. Curran worked his way back to finish seventh, allowing he and Holtom to retain a seven-point lead over Skavnes and Hemmingson. Wittmer is now fifth, 10 points behind the leaders.

Christian Miller scored his fourth consecutive sixth-place finish in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Acura RSX-S co-driven with Billy Johnson. He remains sixth in the standings, 20 points behind the Cobalt drivers.

Craig Stanton managed to take the lead in the professional road racing debut of the Scion, although he pitted before officially leading a lap. He teamed with Dan Gardner to finish 14th in the No. 72 BGB Motorsports Scion tC.

The next action for the KONI Challenge will be July 5 at Watkins Glen International, when both the GS and ST classes race in conjunction with the IndyCar Series.