BORKOWSKI BREAKS THROUGH FOR FIRST TRANS-AM WIN AT PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY; THE STREAK ENDS FOR KENDALL AFTER A DOWN-TO-THE-WIRE BATTLE
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (September 27) -- In a spectacular display of driving determination, 1997 Trans-Am Rookie Of the Year Mike Borkowski went toe-to-toe with Tom Kendall and held off the 1997 Drivers' Champion for his first Trans-Am win, topping Kendall by 10.45 seconds at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Borkowski, driving the No. 4 Textron Ford Mustang Cobra, started on the pole (after drawing the No. 1 ball in the Goodyear Fast Five random drawing) and led every lap while Kendall, who set fast qualifying time but started fifth, had to recover from a lap-one spin that set up a 30-lap shootout between the Champ and the Rookie. "When we drew the No. 1 ball, I knew I'd just go for it once the green flag flew," said Borkowski. "We knew we had a good car and I just had to put my head down and focus on racing." On the opening lap of the 73-lap, 94.097-mile race Dorsey Schroeder put a wheel off at turn three on the 11-turn, 1.289-mile road course/oval, dropping behind Kendall's No. 11 All Sport Body Quencher Mustang Cobra. Two turns later, Schroeder, in the No. 12 Raybestos Mustang Cobra, gave Kendall a nose-to-tail nudge, spinning Kendall back to 17th. "I'm not exactly sure what happened at the start," said Kendall. "Dorsey was behind me and the next thing I knew I was spinning in the horseshoe (turn five)." While Kendall sliced his way back through the field, Borkowski comfortably led Paul Gentilozzi, in the No. 5 RISO Chevrolet Camaro, Brian Simo, in the No. 22 Valvoline Mustang Cobra, Schroeder in fourth and Greg Pickett in fifth. By lap 16 Schroeder had made his way to second, and three laps later Kendall was back into the top-five. The order remained static until lap 29, when Schroeder blew his left-front tire and dropped out of the race due to resulting suspension damage, bringing out the race's only full-course caution to clean debris on the front straight. On the lap-42 restart Kendall passed Gentilozzi for second, and for the remainder of the contest Kendall probed for a way around Borkowski, several times helping Borkowski's Mustang around the circuit with slight, and not-so-gentle, nudges from behind. "With 20 or 30 laps to go I was up to second and behind Mike," said Kendall. "He drove a great race--my hat's off to him. He drove to win, not just to not make a mistake." As the lap count wound down, Kendall began a brutal assault for the lead in the attempt to win his 12th-straight Trans-Am of the season, culminating in a final-lap scrape that first saw Borkowski four- wheels-off at turn four and then Kendall completely spun at turn five. Both drivers recovered to score a 1-2 finish, Borkowski earning his first career win while Kendall saw his 11-race win streak come to an end. "At the very end Mike and I got side-by-side, and then he was out in the dirt playing rodeo," said Kendall. "I thought we were home free, and then I got stuck behind a Camaro in traffic. Next thing I knew I was smacked from behind and spinning. I recovered, but only after Mike had retaken the lead." "On the last lap I knew it was going to be tough," said Borkowski "Tom took a real tough line at turn three and didn't give me much room at the exit. I was four wheels into the dirt and just trying to get back into the race when Kendall slowed in front of me. I couldn't avoid the contact" Pickett ended the day with the final podium position, while Gentilozzi finished fourth, followed by Simo, Michael Lewis, Leighton Reese, Bob Ruman, Dino Crescentini and John Miller IV in 10th. "It's great to get back up on the podium," said Pickett. "We've had a difficult season and it feels great to get another top-three finish. Paul (Gentilozzi) and I were having a very good race, but Paul got up in the marbles and it gave me a chance to go low on the banking and take the spot." Borkowski's drive earned him both the DynoMax Turn On the Power Award and the Raybestos Rising Star Of the Race Award, while Ruman, in the No. 23 Cenweld Camaro, earned the CIPA Mirrors Pass Of the Race for his lap 60 pass on Miller IV for seventh, eventually finishing the day eighth. Brad Smith, in the No. 91 E-Z Up Pontiac Grand Prix, earned the OPTIMA Batteries Quick Charger of the Race Award for advancing nine positions, finishing 20th after starting 29th. "This race was tough," added Borkowski. "It was the hardest race of my life." Kendall, who clinched the 1997 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship after Round 10 (Road America) leads the point standings with 400, followed by Schroeder, 259; Simo, 258; Jon Gooding, 254; Borkowski, 244; Gentilozzi, 239; Pickett, 228; Miller IV, 195; Bill Saunders, 156; and Lewis, 155.
FOUNTAIN, Colo. -- Results from Saturday's 73-lap, 94.097-mile Children's Hospital Grand Prix of Colorado Trans-Am race at Pikes Peak International Raceway, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any). 1. (1), Mike Borkowski, Middlebury, Conn., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 2. (5), Tom Kendall, Santa Monica, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 3. (6), Greg Pickett, Alamo, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 4. (3), Paul Gentilozzi, Lansing, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 5. (4), Brian Simo, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 6. (7), Michael Lewis, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 73. 7. (10), Leighton Reese, Eden Prairie, Minn., Pontiac Grand Prix, 73. 8. (15), Bob Ruman, Monroe Falls, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 9. (13), Dino Crescentini, Torrance, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 73. 10. (8), John W. Miller IV, Johnson City, Tenn., Chevrolet Camaro, 72. 11. (9), Bill Saunders, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 72. 12. (17), Bruce Barkelew, Columbia, Mo., Chevrolet Camaro, 71. 13. (11), Max Lagod, Barrington, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 71. 14. (16), Tim McAdam, Vail, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 70. 15. (18), Ray Genick, Waterford, Mich., Chevrolet Camaro, 69. 16. (22), Jim Briody, Cherry Hill, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 69. 17. (21), Christopher Neville, Scottsdale, Ariz., Pontiac Grand Prix, 69 18. (24), Nelson Richardson, Novato, Calif., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 69. 19. (25), Len Gilmore, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Beretta, 68. 20. (29), Brad Smith, Riverside, Calif., Pontiac Grand Prix, 67. 21. (23), Bob Carter, Danville, Calif., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 65. 22. (19), C.David Seuss, Charleston, Mass., Oldsmobile Cutlass, 64, Mech 23. (30), Ronald Luks, Tucson, Ariz., Pontiac Grand Prix, 64. 24. (14), Peter Shea, Newport Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 63, Mech. 25. (27), Frank Cioppettini Jr., Morristown, N.J., Chevrolet Camaro, 59, Mech. 26. (28), Jack Skibo, Chico, Calif., Ford Thunderbird, 56. 27. (12), R.J. Valentine, Hingham, Mass., Chevrolet Camaro, 54, Mech. 28. (2), Dorsey Schroeder, Osage Beach, Mo., Ford Mustang Cobra, 40, Cr.Dam.. 29. (26), Jim Maguire, Glendale, Ariz., Chevrolet Camaro, 38, Trans. 30. (20), Vic Rice, San Rafael, Calif., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 27, Engine.
Time of race: 1 hour, 13 minutes, 07.878 seconds. Average speed: 77.201 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 10.452 seconds Lap leader: No. 4 Borkowski, laps 1-73 Fastest race lap: No. 12 Schroeder, 0:54.089 (85.791 mph)