WIEHLE, STEWART SCORE FIRST WINS IN WORLD CHALLENGE TOURING ONE AND = TOURING TWO RACES AT MINNEAPOLIS MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (June 27, 1998) -- Chris Wiehle, of De Kalb, Ill., scored his first career World Challenge Touring One Class victory with...
WIEHLE, STEWART SCORE FIRST WINS IN WORLD CHALLENGE TOURING ONE AND = TOURING TWO RACES AT MINNEAPOLIS
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (June 27, 1998) -- Chris Wiehle, of De Kalb, Ill., scored his first career World Challenge Touring One Class victory with a daring and determined drive on a wet Minneapolis street circuit at the Sprint PCS Grand Prix of Minnesota.
Wiehle, in the No. 55 Melrose Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, started the 19-lap, 30.4-mile race third and held the position while front row starters Terry Borcheller, in the No. 56 Home Improvement Saleen Mustang, and Bobby Archer, in the No. 31 Viper Speed Dodge Viper, battled for the top spot. As the track began to dry Wiehle came on strong, passing Archer for second on lap 11 while Borcheller held the lead.
"I was praying that it wasn't going to rain, but before the race we gambled that it would and made the right changes," said Wiehle. "This year has been really rough. We've had some bad luck in the last few races but I'm proud of our team. It's great to have turned our luck around here at Minneapolis."
For the next six laps Wiehle reeled in Borcheller, making his move on lap 17 as the pair dove into Turn Six on the 13-turn, 1.6-mile circuit. Once out front, Wiehle was able to hold on for a 0.457-second margin over Borcheller, while Archer finished third, followed by Ron Johnson and David Schardt.
"I was settled into a good paced," said Borcheller. "We didn't go with a full rain set-up, just rain tires. In the end, Chris (Wiehle) just caught me by surprise and drove around me."
In a separate 28-lap, 44.8-mile Touring Two Class race, Lance Stewart, of Jupiter, Fla., scored his first career win with a 6.443-second margin of victory over Hugh Plumb, of Chadds Ford, Pa.
Stewart, in the No. 34 DC Sports Acura Integra R, started the wet race eighth but was into second, behind the No. 16 European Motorsports Technology BMW 328is of Plumb by lap 10 and for the next seven laps the pair battled nose-to-tail for the top spot. On lap 18 Stewart made his move for the lead and never looked back, padding a comfortable lead as the circuit dried from the intermittent rain.
"There's incredible competition in the Touring Two Class with tight racing and great drivers," said Stewart. "Racing parts aren't really available to do a lot of development so this win is especially great for our team. We've worked so hard for this, the DC Sports car was flawless. You have everything to lose on a street course like this so I just took my time and made the pass. Once I was out front I knew I could put some distance on Hugh (Plumb).
Finishing third was Alain Chebeir, in the No. 22 Last Minute Racing BMW 328is, followed by Michael Galati and Chuck Hemmingson.