Highs and Lows Mark the Weekend for Tri-Point Motorsports at Mid-Ohio It was a weekend of highs and lows for the Tri-Point Motorsports SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car team and their spectacular MAZDA6s as team drivers Jeff Altenburg,...
Highs and Lows Mark the Weekend for Tri-Point Motorsports at Mid-Ohio
It was a weekend of highs and lows for the Tri-Point Motorsports SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car team and their spectacular MAZDA6s as team drivers Jeff Altenburg, Randy Pobst and Dino Crescentini finished 4th, 8th and 30th respectively at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this past weekend. The Trenton Forging Quality Formed Solutions sponsored event marked the 4th round of the 2005 World Challenge TC schedule and covered a total of 25 laps around the highly technical 13-turn 2.258 mile Mid-Ohio circuit.
Tri-Point's brilliant blue MAZDA6 racecars showed strongly in qualifying, with all three cars competitively placed in the top ten. Tri-Point pilot Randy Pobst of Gainsville, Florida drove a particularly strong lap and earned the Air Force Reserve Pole position award with a record breaking time of 1:33.463 at 86.973 mph in the #73 MAZDA6. Dino Crescentini of Malibu, California hustled his #74 entry to a 6th place qualifying position at 1:34.254, and Altenburg of Ellicott City, Maryland completed the Tri-Point Motorsports qualifying run with a drive to a 7th place starting position at 1:34.471.
An aggressive and characteristically action filled start to the 47 minute sprint race saw many drivers attempting to advance their starting positions. Pobst, whose impressive qualifying lap saw him poised to take yet another SPEED World Challenge Touring Car victory, was penalized for jumping the start, and quickly found himself serving a stop and go penalty, which effectively placed him at the rear of the 30 car field.
However, over the remainder of the race, Pobst was able to slice his way through traffic to finish a well-earned and hard-fought 8th at the checkered flag, and in the process, earned the UrbanRacer.com Hot Lap award with a blistering 1:34.706.
Crescentini, who had decided on a conservative race strategy, was promptly hit by the #48 Ford Focus of Chip Herr at the first turn of the first lap, and was forced to retire. It was a hard knock for Crescentini, who had shown speed throughout the weekend, and was focused on trying to drive a clean race and making it to the finish for points.
Altenburg's 4th place finish added precious manufacturer points to Mazda's total, and allowed them to maintain a strong hold on 2nd place in the manufacturer's championship points race. Although conservative during qualifying, Altenburg pulled out all the stops for the race, and was a factor in the lead pack for the entire event.
Altenburg's performance also allowed him to maintain his 2nd place standings in the driver's points race, although he is now tied with Realtime driver Pierre Kleinubing for the spot.
Jeff Altenburg #72
We were a bit off on the set-up for qualifying, but we made a few changes and my MAZDA6 was great for the race. My StopTech brakes were awesome as usual, and helped me make a couple of late braking passes! We definitely learned more about the car this race, and we'll have even more for the competition at the next race.
Randy Pobst #73
My Tri-Point MAZDA6 felt controllable, fast and fun throughout the weekend, enabling me push it to the absolute limit. I know I had the best-handling car in the race, and thanks to Craig Nagler and my crew chief Chris for some good advice on set up. My apologies for the hair-trigger start. The good news is that the #73 is still in a position to win, and I'm looking forward to returning to Cleveland, where I raced a Super Touring car in 1996.
Dino Crescentini #74
What can I say. I was looking forward to getting through the race and helping Mazda to gain a few manufacturer points. The car felt good pretty much the whole weekend, and I was feeling good about our chances. I got nailed by that #48 Focus right at the start, and that ended my race right there on the spot. The guys did a great job on the car the whole weekend, and hopefully I can reward them and myself with a good finish these next couple of events.