Friday's Continential Tire Challenge Race kicks off at 1:45 Friday and will run for 200 miles or 2 1/2 hours, whichever comes first. The series has been re-named from the Koni Challenge of the last few years, and rumor has it that a team can be fined $500 if a member of the team says "Koni" instead of Continential Tire. Ironically, use of Koni dampers is still required, but the cars will not actually be on Continental tires. They will ride on the same Hoosiers that are the spec tire for the series for many years now. Continental and Hoosier have a joint marketing agreement and the Hoosier sidewall will carry the Continental name.

Eighty-one cars near-production cars are entered, 45 in the Grand Sport class and 36 in Street Tuner. In GS nine BMW M3s, all E92s as far as I know, will go against 17 Mustangs, 9 Porsches (997s and Caymans), 6 Camaros, 2 Dodge Challengers, 1 each Subaru STi and Audi S4. The M3 teams include Turner Motorsports, Fall-Line Motorsports, Automatic Racing, Rum Bum, and Kinetic Motorsports. The ST class has seven BMWs (E90 328s and E46 330s) trying to top 7 Honda Civic Sis (last year's champ), 9 Mazdas (4 RX8s, 3 MazdaSpeed3s, 2 MX5s), 3 VW Jettas, 2 VW GTIs, 2 Minis, 2 Porsche Boxsters, 2 Chevy Cobalt SSs, and 2 new KIA Forte Koups entered by Kinetic. New teams of interest include the Bimmerworld team from Radford, Virginia with two 328s and Road Race Technologies' 328 from Dulles, Virginia. Local drivers are Barry Battle (Dulles) and Michael Dayton (Culpepper) for RRT, Ted Giovanis (Highland, Maryland) in New Generation Motorsports 330, and young Ryan Ellis (Ashburn, Virginia) in a Freedom Motorsports Mazdaspeed3. This race will be quite a change for Bimmerworld. They have been running the SCCA's World Challenge Touring Car series for the last 9 years. Those races are 50-minute sprints (no pit stops) and the fields have been 10-12 cars in recent years.

A two-hour edited version of the race will be shown on Speed TV on Saturday, February 13 at 7:00 pm, but you can catch live timing and scoring via the Grand-Am website.