Buras Makes Triumphant Return To Touring Car At VIR

Alton, Va. – Todd Buras, of Daytona Beach, Fla., earned an emotional World Challenge Touring Car win at VIRginia International Raceway on Saturday.

Buras sat on the pole in the No. 50 Irish Mike’s Racing/Krispy Kreme Volkswagen Jetta GLI, but fell behind on the standing start to Robert Stout in the No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC in the run to the first corner.

Buras caught Stout by the end of lap one and began to slowly pull away, steadily stretching the lead. When the rain began just past the midway point of the race, Buras began to slide back to the Scion.

Stout closed the gap, but never got close enough to attempt a pass for the lead and settled for second.

“We can’t launch like the Scions can,” Buras said. “He slipped coming down to the start-finish and I got the lead and I never looked back. It started to rain and then it was just a see-saw back and forth gap. Where I was weak, he was strong and where he was weak, I was strong. He’s a great competitor. Robert Stout has come a long way in the last six or so races. Lots of great competitors here.”

It was a special win for Buras, who opened the season with a pair of Touring Car wins on the streets of St. Petersburg, but was injured in a racing incident just a few weeks later in a Grand-Am Series race – coincidentally, at Virginia International Raceway.

“On April 30th, we were here with Grand-Am,” Buras said. “I came over the blind corner [Turn 10] and a BMW M3 was parked sideways in the middle of the track. I came over the top of the hill and hit it with the rear of the car. I broke four ribs, had severe whiplash, severe trauma to the neck and a pulmonary contusion to the left lung. That was four months ago. It’s been a long recovery. My doctor said ‘go make it hurt and then make it hurt some more’ after the healing was done. I got back into shape, lost 20 pounds and now I feel pretty good.”

The winning car was untested, but Irish Mike’s Racing clearly hit on the right combination.

“We got this car built three weeks ago,” Buras continued. “It wasn’t tested. We tested it here on Thursday. We’ve been thrashing and throwing stuff at it but we’ve got it pretty close. The car can still be much better. Thanks to Irish Mike’s and thanks to SCCA for being awesome. This series is awesome and I hope it just continues to gain momentum for next year.”

Brett Sandberg, of Allendale, N.J., earned his first podium with a third-place finish in the No. 28 Whitehall Stables Acura TSX. Sandberg improved from sixth on the grid to earn the trophy.

Robb Holland passed more cars than anyone else to finish fourth in the No. 22 3Zero3 Motorsports/Track Pro/Emich VW Volkswagen GTI, earning the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for passing the most cars on lap one, and earning the Sunoco Hard Charger award for improving the most positions overall in the race.

Devin Cates, in the No. 23 Cates Engineering Volkswagen GTI, started from pit lane after problems starting the car on the pre-grid and climbed through the Touring Car field to finish fifth.

Stout holds a 207-point advantage in the Touring Car Drivers’ Championship with 1071 points over Eric Meyer, with 864. Scion also holds the advantage in the Manufactuers’ Championship, with 69 points, over Volkswagen, who has 48 points on the strength of four wins, Mazda (46 points), and Honda (33 points).

The World Challenge Championships GT, GTS and Touring Car classes qualify on Sunday morning at 10:20 a.m., followed by Round 11 at 1:35 p.m. EDT.

For more information, please visit www.world-challenge.com

Follow World Challenge on Twitter @WCRacing.

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