As it is for most race car drivers, the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been an emotional place for Centerville native Bryan Sellers.
On Friday it brought him to his knees.
Sellers achieved a childhood dream of kissing the bricks at the historic speedway after winning the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with teammate and car owner Mark Boden. Sellers, driving for Fall-Line Motorsports in the Grand Sport class, brought the No. 46 Trim-Tex/BCKSTGR BMW M3 home in the timed 2-hour, 30-minute race.
To do so Sellers had to hold off a furious challenge from runner-up Billy Johnson, who had his Mustang Boss 302 R all over Sellers’ rear bumper. Sellers led the final 30 laps after taking the lead with an hour remaining. The final seven came under caution. Even then — leading the field around the 2.534-mile, 13-turn course — Sellers couldn’t wrap his mind around winning at Indy.
“Winning in the Continental Challenge is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been a part of in my racing career,” Sellers said after his second straight CTSCC victory. “There are so many good cars and the field is so deep. The biggest thought was the Mustang that was on my rear the whole time. That consumed most of my thoughts the majority of the race. It wasn’t until halfway around (the track) after the checkered that you kind of realized it was real. I was very concerned he had a better car than we did at that particular time. I knew I could hold him off for a while but he’s good. The thought of us winning is incredible but unfortunately it never made it all the way to the brain.”
Just getting to turn laps at Indy fulfills a lifetime goal for drivers. Winning? That must have blown his mind.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am to win at Indy” said Sellers, who started 13th. “We’ve all been fortunate to win races over the years but I can say this one has a special place and will always have a special place. When you first pull into Indy under the tunnel it takes your breath away. The Yard of Bricks we were fortunate enough to kiss after the race is where it all got its beginning. I know we all grew up watching Indy and dreaming of being able to race here one day. It’s hands down one of the greatest moments I’ve been able to witness in my racing career.”
Sellers took the lead from Johnson on lap 45. Johnson rarely trailed by more than a second as the two cars made a small breakaway from the field.
“Billy Johnson pushed a little wide in Turn 1 and I was able to get by him. From there it was tough work to keep him behind for the rest of the race. When the team gives you a car and it leads, it’s tough to not bring (the win) back for them,” Sellers said. “It’s a little hard to believe we’re sitting here at Indy and we just kissed the bricks.”
Lebanon-based Doran Racing finished 13th with drivers B.J. Zacharias and Brad Jaeger, both of Cincinnati.
The Grand Sport class features showroom cars like Porsche, Audi, and Nissan to go head-to-head against American cars from Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.
The race will be televised August 3 on SPEED at 4 p.m.