Davis, Cunningham, GardnerLead Opening World Challenge Practice at Long Beach LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2010) -- Defending series Champion Brandon Davis, of nearby Huntington Beach, Calif., was fastest overall and in GT in Friday's opening...
Davis, Cunningham, GardnerLead Opening World Challenge Practice at Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2010) -- Defending series Champion Brandon Davis, of nearby Huntington Beach, Calif., was fastest overall and in GT in Friday's opening practice for Sunday's Toyo Tires World Challenge at Long Beach Presented by Bondurant, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Dan Gardner, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., led the GTS and Touring Car classes, respectively.
Driving the No. 1 Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Micro Ford Mustang GT, Davis turned a fastest lap time of 1:26.861 (81.565 mph) around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit. His lap was 0.01-second faster than that of Montreal's Kuno Wittmer and his No. 13 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Viper.
"With the different names in the field, it feels good to be first," Davis said. "But it's the first practice, they don't award points or pay money for practice. With all the traffic, it was a little bit rough to get a clear lap. I know that everyone will be there, and the order might not be as representative as it could be if we had a clear track. It's definitely a positive, and hopefully we can move forward tomorrow looking to qualifying and the race.
"You don't have time to be conservative this weekend, you have to take advantage of the time on the track and work from there. It's going to be a little scary, with us running after the IndyCar race. There were a couple of times I had to pass a Touring Car around the outside of the bend on the straightaway, and I know after the IndyCar race there's going to be tons of marbles out there and it's going to be hairy. I'm kind of nervous to see how it's going to be in the race on Sunday."
Round One winner Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was third fastest in the No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 after turning a time of 1:27.044 (81.393 mph). Boris Said's No. 3 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang and Andy Pilgrim's No. 8 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 completed the top five.
Cunningham, who had a perfect weekend at the season-opening St. Petersburg Round March 26-28, winning both races from the pole, was quickest in the GTS class. His fastest time in the 25-minute session was a 1:35.518 (74.172 mph) in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX.
"There are a lot of quick cars in the GTS class this weekend," Cunningham said. "In particular, Tyler [McQuarrie]'s Lotus was pretty scary in the beginning, but then he didn't go faster later. With my knowledge of the circuit, I was able to go out and the car was working great. It's the first practice, we're clean, and we learned about some changes we can make tomorrow morning."
Newcomer and top Formula Drift driver Tyler McQuarrie, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., was second in GTS in his No. 19 LPL/DRS/Switcars/SCC/Dayco/M&T Lotus Exige S, turning a fastest time of 1:36.187 (73.657 mph). Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif., was third fastest in the No. 34 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX with a 1:37.357 (72.771 mph).
Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was fourth fastest after turning just three laps in his No. 79 UPR.com/Jamison Eng Chevrolet Corvette. He brought out the red flag mid-way through the session after going into the tires at Turn One.
Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey completed the GTS class top five in his No. 03 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Pro Parts MAZDA3.
Driving the No. 36 DG Spec/Scion/TRD/Lepper & Associates Scion tC, Gardner led the Touring Car field with a fastest time of 1:40.553 (70.458 mph).
"I figured we'd made about half the distance up on the No. 36 car, which is a new car," Gardner said. "We were able to change some things with the shocks and on the dyno, solving some fuel pressure issues. The only thing I know is that after everyone went to the promotion on Pine Street last night, I went around a bunch more times [during the track walk]. Leading practice doesn't mean anything, but it beats the alternative.
"At St. Pete, we had 70 percent of the track covered by our spotters. Here, I'll be surprised if we have 10 percent. We had an incident where a GT car came in late, and I was in the middle of the corner, and it was a situation where the car pitches sideways and a split second later, you realize you just got drilled. But you feel it out, and it the car felt ok. You move on, and we're going to check the rear on the alignment. We'll stay here as late as we need to make sure it's ready to go in the morning for practice."
Teammate Robert Stout, of Brownsburg, Ind., was second in his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC with a fastest time of 1:41.009 (70.140 mph). Nick Wittmer, making the debut of the new No. 93 Honda Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si, was third fastest with a 1:42.044 (69.429 mph).
Eric Meyer's No. 32 XOWii/Samaritan's Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8 and Tommy Chen's No. 08 Autoworld/Speed Trial USA Mazda RX-8 completed the top five in Touring Car.
The teams don't have much time before their next practice session, Saturday morning at 7:15 a.m. (PDT).
-source: scca pro racing