Cunningham Takes Hometown SPEED TC Air Force Reserve Pole at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 21, 2004) -- Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., captured his second-consecutive Air Force Reserve Pole Position and will lead the field to the...
Cunningham Takes Hometown SPEED TC Air Force Reserve Pole at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 21, 2004) -- Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., captured his second-consecutive Air Force Reserve Pole Position and will lead the field to the start of Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Round Eight race, part of the Road America 500 weekend. Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., will start second.
Driving the No. 4 NISMO/TeamRTR Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, Cunningham turned a blistering lap of 2:26.445 (99.510 mph) around the 4.048-mile circuit. The average speed was the fastest lap ever in SCCA SPEED Touring Car series history, breaking the mark of 98.702 mph he set two weeks ago at Mosport International Raceway. The lap also broke Cunningham's own qualifying mark of 2:32.737 (95.411 mph) set last year, albeit on non-race compound Toyo Tires.
In 2003, Cunningham led flag-to-flag to record an emotional first-career SPEED World Challenge win at Road America, his home track. He dedicated that effort to close friend and Championship winning crew chief Jerome Zimmermann, of Milwaukee, who died earlier that year.
"The car is just awesome," Cunningham said of his record 27th pole position. "It is handling better than ever. We tested here in June and that really put us in a good spot. We haven't had to do much at all to the car. It is handling great. I got a good draft down all three straight-aways. I went faster through The Kink than ever before.
"The fastest I had gone [prior to qualifying] was a low 29. The combination of sticker tires, a cool crisp morning, the draft and a really good lap. That was it."
The 20-minute session was interrupted as many drivers were beginning their first flying lap, generally the fastest of the session. The red flag was caused by an incident involving James Clay, who found his BMW upside down in the gravel trap. Cunningham and Kleinubing were each able to cut a fast time before being affected by the incident, times that could not be eclipsed following the stoppage.
Kleinubing's lap of 2:26.729 (99.317 mph) in his No. 42 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX was good for the outside of row one.
James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., will start third in his LectricAir/Tecmark Corp/GMG BMW 325Ci after a fastest lap of 2:26.810 (99.263 mph). While not a career-best effort (Sofronas started second at Road America in 2002), it is Sofronas' best qualifying effort of the year.
Matt Plumb, of Newport, R.I., will start fourth in his Acura TSX after coming off his second win of the season. Point leader Bill Auberlen, of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., will start fifth in his BMW. Auberlen has a season-high three wins on the season.
Bob Stretch (BMW), Justin Marks (BMW), Matt Richmond (BMW), Jeff Altenburg (Mazda 6) and Clay, who returned to the track after his flip, completed the top 10 in the qualifying session.
Sunday's SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship Round Eight race will make its standing start at 11:10 a.m. (CDT). Live Timing & Scoring Presented by Cadillac is available through www.world-challenge.com.
Sunday's race will be broadcast Sunday, Aug. 29, at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED Channel.
-scca pro racing-