All-New '09 TSX Rockets to Podium Acura Takes Early Lead in Makes Battle RealTime Racing's new SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge-spec 2009 Acura TSX finished second in the hands of defending series champion Peter Cunningham at New Jersey ...
All-New '09 TSX Rockets to Podium
Acura Takes Early Lead in Makes Battle
RealTime Racing's new SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge-spec 2009 Acura TSX finished second in the hands of defending series champion Peter Cunningham at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway circuit today. After placing ninth in the season opener in its debut, the new generation TSX jumped seven steps closer to scoring its first race win.
On top of the stack in qualifying was RealTime's Kuno Wittmer with an 88.052 mph average lap in his 2008 Acura TSX, but only .047mph faster than the next quickest car, a BMW 330i driven by Seth Thomas.
Immediately after Qualifying, the new tradition of a coin toss called in the air by the pole sitter determined whether or not the top five qualifiers would invert for the race's start. Unfortunately for Wittmer, he guessed 'heads' instead of taking Team Manager Nathan Bonneau's advice: "Tails never fails!" When the other side of the coin reared its ugly head (or tail, as the case may be), Wittmer was unceremoniously demoted to the fifth starting spot.
Meanwhile, the fifth fastest man in the field was elevated to the point. And who might that be? The beneficiary of his teammates errant throw, team boss Cunningham, who felt terrible about the situation but abided by the controversial rule and led the field around the 2.25-mile, 14-turn circuit for the 27-lap sprint.
Cunningham held the lead at the standing start and held it for three laps until eventual winner Jason Saini, in his Mazda6 muscled his way past. The Acura driver kept the pressure on his rival lap after lap but then was distracted from behind by the third running Subaru WRX of series rookie Andrew Aquilante. On more than a handful of occasions, the Subaru edged ahead of the Acura down the New Jersey track's long front straight, but each time, Cunningham managed to maintain the position.
Cunningham crossed the stripe 2.967 seconds behind the winner and earned the AutoWeek Move of the Race for his actions in keeping the Subaru at bay.
Wittmer moved up one spot to finish fourth while four-time SPEED Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing set the race's fastest lap with a time that was even quicker than the pole qualifier's best lap, and finished fifth. After beginning the new season in last year's TSX, he was excited to finally debut his matching 2009 mount.
Another RealTime entry was Toby Grahovec, in just his second series start, qualified his TSX in 11th spot and finished eighth, only 34 seconds out of the lead.
With two rounds of the ten-race season now complete, Acura holds a two point advantage in its quest for its record-eighth Manufacturers' Championship. BMW drew first blood win the win at Sebring and Mazda took victory this weekend, but Acura's consistency with a pair of second place finishes and two poles has them out front for now.
In the Drivers' fight, RealTime drivers hold four of the top-10 places: Kleinubing maintains second with 195 points, Cunningham moves up five spots to fourth with 172, Wittmer's 160 markers bumps him up to seventh and Grahovec runs 10th with 125.
The SPEED TV broadcast of the Sebring race airs May 22 at 2pm ET.
The next SPEED World Challenge Touring Car races will be a double-header May 15-17 at Mosport International Raceway, an hour east of Toronto, Ontario.