SCHROEDER TAKES SPECTACULAR PHOENIX TRANS-AM
by Greg Rubenstein, SCCA Pro Racing Communications
PHOENIX, Ariz., (April 20, 1996) -- In a spectacular contest with nine lead changes by four drivers, Dorsey Schroeder out-dueled Scott Sharp and Jamie Galles to become the fourth different driver to score a Trans-Am win in the first four races of 1996. Schroeder, driving the Raybestos Ford Mustang Cobra, led the final seven laps to score his 14th career victory at the Trans-Am Championship Presented by Arizona Lottery Powerball, part of the Chevrolet Desert Star Classic weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Sharp, in the Rain-X Oil Energizer Chevrolet Camaro, finished 1.873 seconds back in second, and Galles, in the ICI/Glidden Camaro, finished third. "This was the best Trans-Am race I've ever been in," said Schroeder, the 1989 series Drivers' Champion. "It's great fun to have multiple passes for the lead--it was close, clean racing even though we bumped and banged throughout the race." The race's early battle was between Galles, who started first after qualifying fifth-fastest, and Paul Gentilozzi, starting third in his HighwayMaster Camaro. Gentilozzi passed Galles for the lead on lap 10 of the 65-lap, 98.15-mile race, but Galles charged back to the front eight laps later to make the running order Galles, Gentilozzi, Sharp, Schroeder and Ron Fellows, in the Sunoco/AER Camaro. For the next 11 laps the order remained unchanged until Gentilozzi spun at the exit of turn two of the 11-turn, 1.51-mile circuit. With Schroeder, of Osage Beach, Mo., now in second and pressing Galles hard for the lead, the race broke wide open. Schroeder made it into the lead for the first time on lap 38, but Galles struck back, re-claiming the top spot on lap 46 while Sharp slipped by for second. Four laps later, it was Sharp moving into the lead, this time with Schroeder in tow to put the order Sharp, Schroeder, Galles, Greg Pickett, in the Rain-X/Cytomax Camaro and Gentilozzi in fifth. Three laps later, Schroeder made his final move, taking Sharp at turn nine for the lead and eventually the win, earning the DynoMax Turn On the Power Award for his effort. "It was great to battle with Dorsey and have a real clean race," said Sharp. "I still think we're learning with this car and we just wanted to be sure we had as good of car as we could -- and that played to our advantage in the race." Tom Kendall, in the All Sport Body Quencher Mustang Cobra, started 11th and finished sixth to earn the OPTIMA Batteries Quick Charger Award, and Dino Crescentini, in the Autospecialty Camaro, won the Raybestos Rising Star of the Race Award for his ninth-place effort. Fellows, who fell out of contention for the win after pitting twice to replace tire punctures, posted the race's fastest lap of 1:01.367. After four races, Schroeder leads the Trans-Am Drivers' Championship point standing by two, 104 to 102 over Galles. Sharp is third with 93, followed by Kendall, 89; Fellows, 87; Saunders, 71; Gentilozzi, 66; Brian Simo, 65; and R. J. Valentine, 64. In the Trans-Am Manufacturers' Championship, Chevrolet holds a two-point lead over rival Ford, 32 to 30.