SEBRING, Fla. -- Pole sitter Pierre Kleinubing survived a stiff challenge from runner-up Ken Dobson and an off course excursion on the race's last lap to win the first round of the Speed Channel Touring Car Series this afternoon at Sebring ...
SEBRING, Fla. -- Pole sitter Pierre Kleinubing survived a stiff challenge from runner-up Ken Dobson and an off course excursion on the race's last lap to win the first round of the Speed Channel Touring Car Series this afternoon at Sebring International Raceway. Kleinubing, a two-time touring car champion ('01 and '00), led the first eight laps of the race in his Acura Integra R, but fell to third after race's second restart. Two laps later, Kleinubing re-passed Kevin Schrantz for second and set his sights on the leader, Dobson.
After an unsuccessful attempt to pass Dobson's BMW 325Ci on lap 15, Kleinubing finally worked his way past Dobson on the final lap of the race. Dobson refused to admit defeat, however, and he almost scored his first win when Kleinubing slid off the track with two turns remaining. But Kleinubing hung on to claim the victory.
"This is great," Kleinubing exclaimed after his 14th career victory. "I didn't think Dobson would pass me on the outside -- it kind of made me look bad. That BMW has some power, but I made the pass for the lead and it stuck. I went off the track on the last lap, and thought 'Oh man, there's no way I'm gonna wreck here.'"
"It was a great run for us -- we built off the success we enjoyed at the end of 2001 and Road Atlanta. We had the car set up perfect for qualifying. We kept tweaking it, and it just kept getting worse, so we quit working on it. Despite that, we're happy to finish second."
Kleinubing's teammate, Peter Cunningham, claimed the final podium position. "Kevin Schrantz is a class act. We knew we weren't going to run each other off the track. We traded positions and I ended up in front of him at the end."