KENDALL TAKES INAUGURAL CHILDREN'S GRAND PRIX TRANS-AM CLASSIC WIN ON THE STREETS OF MINNEAPOLIS MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., (July 7) -- Tom Kendall, in the ...
KENDALL TAKES INAUGURAL CHILDREN'S GRAND PRIX TRANS-AM CLASSIC WIN ON THE STREETS OF MINNEAPOLIS
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., (July 7) -- Tom Kendall, in the #11 All Sport Body Quencher Ford Mustang Cobra, made an early pass on race leader Paul Gentilozzi and never looked back, leading laps five through 63 to take the Trans-Am Classic victory on the streets of Minneapolis, the defending Trans-Am Champion's third win of the season.
With the victory, Kendall, of Apopka, Fla., takes over the Drivers' Championship points lead for the first time in 1996, a one-point margin over Dorsey Schroeder, 237 to 236. Finishing 0.894-second behind Kendall was Canadian Ron Fellows, in the #3 Sunoco/AER Manufacturing Chevrolet Camaro, followed by Scott Sharp, in the #33 Rain- X Oil Energizer Camaro. Fellows' American Equipment Racing teammate Jamie Galles, in the #2 ICI/Glidden Camaro, finished fourth and Gentilozzi, in the #5 HighwayMaster Camaro, was fifth.
"This is my kind of track -- a traditional street course where it's bumpy in spots and you can't afford to make a mistake," said Kendall. "I was at my best when I had my head down and was driving hard."
Kendall started the 63-lap, 100.8-mile race second after posting the fourth-fastest qualifying time in a rain-soaked Goodyear Fast Five qualifying session and hotly pursued pole-sitter (and fifth-fastest qualifier) Gentilozzi for four laps before taking over the top spot as the duo dove into turn nine of the 13-turn, 1.6-mile temporary street circuit.
"With all of the switch-backs there was plenty of passing possibilities and Paul (Gentilozzi) gave me plenty of room to get by," said Kendall.
Four laps later the first of four full-course cautions was brought out for oil through several turns. In all, 12 laps were run under caution, slowing Kendall's average speed to 65.21 mph. The other three cautions were for mechanical problems and accidents, none of which resulted in any injuries.
Making his Trans-Am debut and earning the Raybestos Rising Star of the Race award for his 15th-place finish was Eric Van de Poele, in the #15 Rocketsports Revolution Camaro. Jim Derhaag, of Chaska, Minn., drove his #40 Anderson Windows/Park National Bank Camaro to a 10th-place finish from his 22nd-place start to earn the OPTIMA Batteries Quick Charger of the Race award, and Galles, of Albuquerque, N.M., earned the DynoMax Turn On the Power Award for his fourth-place effort.
With nine races complete of the 14-race season, Galles, with 195 points, is third in the standings behind Kendall and Schroeder. Sharp is fourth with 174, followed by Greg Pickett, 171; Fellows, 166; Brian Simo, 165; Gentilozzi, 157; Bill Saunders, 150; and Boris Said, 141.
With the win, Ford moves into the lead in the Manufacturers' Championship point standings, topping Chevrolet by two, 71 to 69.
The Trans-Am Championship next races in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Can., during the Player's Ltee. Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, August 2-4.