Posted (07/15/2010) -
MINI WINS GARDEN STATE 250
In the Street Tuner class, Owen Trinkler and Randy Smalley took the No. 198 Cruise America/4 Winds RV Mini Cooper S to its first-ever victory in the series. Previously, the best finish for a Mini Cooper was third twice.
Trinkler and Smalley rebuilt a badly-burned car from an earlier race this season at their new RSR Motorsports shop in Florida, and the race was the first for the new Mini. Trinkler traded the lead twice with Ryan Eversley in the No. 75 JC Concrete/HPD Honda Civic Si before distancing himself from the field. The margin of victory in the ST race was 16.071 seconds over James Clay in the No. 80 RAYS Engineering/Performance Friction BMW 328i.
But the triumph didn't come without a little warning.
"We were a little short on fuel - we might have made it with that yellow - but we've had such bad luck that we just didn't want to risk it," Trinkler said. "And it was the right call."
The victory was the second in the series for Trinkler - and his first since 2003 - and Smalley's first ever.
Clay and David White finished second, while polesitter Martin Jensen and Paul Gerrard, who combined to lead 53 of 86 laps, were third in the No. 18 i2i Capital/RRT Racing BMW 328i. Eversley and Zach Lutz finished fourth, while points co-leaders Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann were fifth in the No. 81 RAYS Engineering/Performance Friction BMW 328i. The No. 81 started from the rear of the field after an engine change Saturday morning.
Additionally, Thomas and Heumann stretched their championship lead to 13 points (238-225) over Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius. Not long after Aschenbach took over from Thilenius, who ran second during his entire stint, the No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si experienced transmission troubles. Aschenbach and Thilenius finished 17th, their worst finish of 2010.