It's Davis by an Eyelash in Denver! Sophomore Acura Racer Leads RealTime Podium Sweep by 0.005 Second August 13, 2006 -- Denver, Colorado -- You had to assume there was a wicked-good SCCA SPEED Touring Car race brewing when RealTime Acura ...
It's Davis by an Eyelash in Denver!
Sophomore Acura Racer Leads RealTime Podium Sweep by 0.005 Second
August 13, 2006 -- Denver, Colorado -- You had to assume there was a wicked-good SCCA SPEED Touring Car race brewing when RealTime Acura driver Pierre Kleinubing qualified on the pole for the Grand Prix of Denver event by only 0.025 seconds over teammate Brandon Davis.
Qualifying drama, however, paled in comparison to the race finish. Several minutes after the checkered flag fell, series officials determined that Davis had secured his first professional victory by the narrowest margin in World Challenge history, 0.005 seconds over teammate and 2005 Denver race winner Eric Curran.
Kleinubing's third place finish, just 0.632 seconds out of the lead, resulted in the first Winner's Circle sweep for the RealTime Acuras since the season finale in 1999 at Laguna Seca.
Davis, the 2005 Touring Car Rookie-of-the-Year and a rising junior at the University of Denver, has now become the youngest winner in the 17-year history of the World Challenge at 20 years, 268 days. This was his first podium finish in 21 race starts and he jumped from sixth to fourth on the season points chart.
The 30-lap race on the 1.657-mile temporary circuit on the streets of Denver, was dominated by Davis, Curran and Kleinubing, who held the top three positions throughout, but rarely in the same order. Their battle could have been tougher if the fastest Mazda of second-in-points Randy Pobst and fourth-in-points Audi driver Chip Herr hadn't come together in Turn 1 on the first lap. Pobst dropped back a few spots as a result of the altercation, but Herr got the worst of it and was forced to the pits for suspension repairs.
Kleinubing kept his Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles-sponsored TSX in the lead for the first three laps until Curran, who saw Davis and his TSX were already occupied with trying to move ahead of Kleinubing, passed both of them to put his Acura RSX into the lead.
Curran held the point with his mirrors full of RealTime orange & white teammates until lap 19 when Davis pulled off a successful pass under braking for the 180-degree Turn 9.
Following the race's second full course yellow, Davis stretched out a relatively large 0.021-second margin over Curran, who had 0.566 seconds over Kleinubing. Neither of the veteran RTR drivers showed interest in giving the kid a break in front of his hometown cheering section.
Curran regained the point on lap 26, passing in the same place where he had lost the lead, and held it until he and Davis engaged in a rolling start drag race out of Turn 9 to the checkered flag, swapping paint as they went.
RealTime team owner Peter Cunningham qualified his TSX ninth fastest and finished in seventh place, only 3.482 seconds out of the lead. Cunningham remains third in the Drivers points at 137, trailing the 167 points for Mazda driver Randy Pobst, and 195 for Kleinubing.
More importantly, the 1-2-3 Acura finish enhanced Acura's Manufacturers' Championship points lead from six to 13, after six of ten rounds.
Nick Esayian qualified his RSX 14th quickest in the 22-car field. In the race he survived a number of bump and run incidents, and worked his way back through the pack to wind up 11th, his first time all season out of the top 10. For the second straight year in Denver, Esayian and RealTime hosted a group from the 10th Special Operations Group, representing the Special Operations Warrior Fund. The fund provides for the families of fallen special-ops soldiers from four branches of the U.S. military. It is always a humbling experience to be in the presence of these brave soldiers and their family members, but on this day they also raised the team's spirits with their loud cheers supporting the efforts of the RealTime Acura crew!
The two RealTime transporters were loaded and on the road within three hours of the checkered flag in Denver Sunday evening. The eleven hundred mile journey direct to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will be completed Tuesday, giving the team a few short days to prepare the cars. The race will be held this Saturday at 430p CDT at the famed Road America circuit, not far from RTR's Saukville home outside Milwaukee.
The Denver race will air on the Speed Channel on a tape-delayed basis on August 19 at 100p EDT.