CONCORD, N.C. (April 1, 2000) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Erexim, Brazil, won the Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship season-opener in flag-to-flag fashion at Lowe's Motor Speedway, topping teammate Hugh Plumb, of Chadds Ford, Pa.,...
CONCORD, N.C. (April 1, 2000) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Erexim, Brazil, won the Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship season-opener in flag-to-flag fashion at Lowe's Motor Speedway, topping teammate Hugh Plumb, of Chadds Ford, Pa., and Peter Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis.
Kleinubing, who started from the pole in the No. 42 BuySellorHold.com/RealTime Racing Acura Integra Type R, got away first from the series' first-ever standing start, and was never seriously challenged as he cruised to a 0.481-second victory, averaging 76.539 mph in the 26-lap, 58.5-mile contest.
"I've done the standing starts in Brazil before, so I knew I could get away quick," said Kleinubing, who took his eighth-career win, which is tied for fifth all-time. "My car was really good all week, and was handling well. I had really good restarts and [team owner] Peter [Cunningham] gave us a break there at the end."
Plumb, driving the No. 43 BuySellorHold.com/RealTime Racing Acura, started second, but fell back to third on the start, as Will Turner's BMW 328is moved into second. Plumb dropped as far back as fourth, as Cunningahm, who started 33rd, moved into the top-three in his No. 41 Prototype Technology Group BMW 328is. On a lap-20 restart, Plumb, Turner and Cunningham diced in the first four corners, with Plumb taking the advantage, eventually reeling in Kleinubing to finish less than a second behind.
"I had a problem the first half of the race and I couldn't get the car to rev," said Plumb, who recorded his 13th-career podium finish. "Half-way through, it cured itself and I was able to run harder. Finishing second is a great way to start the season. It was a good, clean race."
Cunningham, who leads the series all-time in wins, top-threes, fives and 10s, made an appearance in a car which he intends to convert into Speedvision GT trim for the next round, starting 33rd after not turning a qualifying lap. Cunningham used his experience and added track time (running in three different series on the weekend) to rocket to 18th by the end of lap one and into the top-five by lap nine. Cunningham suffered a leaking tire by the end of the race, which prevented him from making a move into second.
"I've run this series since its endurance inception in 1985, and everything that happened in 1999, with Speedvision and all made me want to come back to race with everyone," said Cunningham, who set the race's fastest lap with a time of 1:21.582 (99.286 mph). "The BMW was an experiment this weekend in Touring Car. We're the first ones to put all the aerodynamic pieces on the BMW and I think it proved to be the car of choice for the class. I hope to get a big motor for it and run it the rest of the season in GT."
Turner, of Newburyport, Mass., finished fourth, followed by teammate, rookie Don Salama, of Avon, Conn. Kleinubing was awarded the Borla Performance Award for having the drive of the day.
The race was slowed by three cautions for heavy incidents involving Steve Lisa, Mike Fitzgerald, Jeff Tarr, Tom Baker and Hugh Stewart. None of the drivers were injured.