Hemmingson outlasts competition, takes SPEED Touring Car for Mazda at Trois-Rivieres. CANADA (August 4, 2002) -- Chuck Hemmingson, of W. Des Moines, Iowa, outlasted his competition and took the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Round Seven race...
Hemmingson outlasts competition, takes SPEED Touring Car for Mazda at Trois-Rivieres.
CANADA (August 4, 2002) -- Chuck Hemmingson, of W. Des Moines, Iowa, outlasted his competition and took the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Round Seven race at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. Ken Dobson, of Carmel Valley, Calif., and Mike Fitzgerald, of Phoenix, Ariz., completed the top three. Peter Cunningham finished fourth, taking over the Championship point lead.
Driving the No. 19 OPM Motorsports/Crocotile Mazda Protégé ES, Hemmingson moved gradually up from his fifth starting spot as the first four cars each experienced problems. Hemmingson beat Dobson to the checkered flag by 0.753-second, averaging 63.206 mph for the 32-lap, 48.672-mile race.
Polesitter and point leader Pierre Kleinubing led from the start in his RealTime Racing Acura Integra, but had a brake failure on lap six, causing him to back into the tire wall. With the car not repairable, Kleinubing finished outside of the points for the second-straight race, and fell behind teammate Cunningham in the Championship battle.
Kleinubing's exit promoted second-starting Will Turner to the lead until lap 23, when his gearbox lost fourth gear. Prior to that, Cunningham, who was running second, slid into the turn six runoff area, and fell back to sixth.
When Turner experienced his gearbox problems, Hemmingson was able to come through into the lead and hold off Dobson for his first win since 1999, the fourth of his career.
"Maybe I was the only one that wanted to win this race, as I didn't pass anyone competitively the entire time," said Hemmingson, who celebrated his birthday on Friday. "The key to the race was when Peter [Cunningham] went into six and slid in some oil and went off. Luckily, I made it through."
The win for OPM Motorsports made up for a miserable day on Friday during practice, where Hemmingson missed much of one session due to a suspension failure, and team owner and driver Tom Fowler crashed after brake failure, causing substantial damage to the car and ending his weekend.
Dobson's run from eighth to second was what the team of the No. 7 SSF Imported Auto Parts/Westek BMW 325Ci needed after three poor finishes, essentially taking him out of the Championship hunt.
"It's good to have a strong finish--it's good to just have a finish," said Dobson. "I didn't really have anything for Chuck [Hemmingson] at the end. We were really evenly matched. After Pierre [Kleinubing] had his problems, maybe there is some hope in the Championship."
Fitzgerald's third place finish was his second-straight in the No. 81 Team FBR/Trans Sport Lexus IS 300.
"The car was much better than in qualifying," said Fitzgerald. "It bodes really well for the rest of the season. I figured my only hope to pass Ken [Dobson] was on the restart, but there wasn't an opening. After that, I was just trying to keep Peter [Cunningham] behind me."
After Cunningham, of W. Bend, Wis., Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., finished fifth after starting 10th, followed by Eric Curran, of S. Deerfield, Mass., who started 18th.
Cunningham went from being seven points behind Kleinubing in the standings to a 14-point lead (157-143). Rookie Marc Kirberg is now third, with 137, followed by Fitzgerald, with 131, Will Turner, with 130, and Taz Harvey, with 125. Dobson moved up to seventh, with 121, followed by Hemmingson and Paul Bonaccorsi, with 119.
The race was slowed by one caution for six laps after an incident between Bobby Sak and Pat Kane on the front straight. Neither driver was injured. Sak's teammate, Frank Selldorff earned the B&M Holeshot Award for moving up five positions in the first two laps, after tying with two other drivers for passing three cars on the first lap. <pre> Top Ten Standings:
Ps Driver, Car Pts 1 Peter Cunningham, Acura Integra R 157 2 Pierre Kleinubing, Acura Integra R 143 3 Marc Kirberg(R), BMW 325is 137 4 Mike Fitzgerald, Lexus IS 300 131 5 Will Turner, BMW 325i 130 6 Taz Harvey, Honda Civic Si 125 7 Ken Dobson, BMW 325Ci 121 8 Paul Bonaccorsi, Mazda Protege 119 9 Chuck Hemmingson, Mazda Protege 119 10 Shauna Marinus, Mazda Protege 85
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