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Road America: Touring Car Sunday race notes

Cunningham Gets Second Road America SCCA Speed Touring Car Win Following Post Race Inspection ELKHART, Wis. (Aug. 22, 2004) -- Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., got his second-career Road America win Sunday following post-race technical ...

Cunningham Gets Second Road America SCCA Speed Touring Car Win Following Post Race Inspection

ELKHART, Wis. (Aug. 22, 2004) -- Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., got his second-career Road America win Sunday following post-race technical inspection, in which Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., was disqualified from first place and the event for non-compliance. As a result of the disqualification, Cunningham was awarded his record 28th win, with James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., and Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., completing the top three.

The defending race winner and Air Force Reserve polesitter Cunningham looked poised to return to the top of the podium, as he took the early lead heading into turn one. But, as he entered turn eight his No. 4 NISMO/TeamRTR Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V got loose and he dropped to third, allowing Kleinubing to take the lead with Sofronas in second.

"Everything was great up until turn eight," Cunningham said of his start and early lead. "I went for the brakes and nobody was home. I had huge rear lockup. It was all I could to hang on. I lost only a couple of places. I managed to get one of them back, but I didn't have anything for Pierre [Kleinubing] after that. He was just gone."

Once Kleinubing grabbed the lead in his No. 42 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, he looked like he was out for a Sunday drive crossing the finish line 6.699 seconds ahead of Cunningham, who had passed Sofronas on lap five for second.

Following the event, technical inspections revealed non-compliant modifications to the Acura's cylinder head and intake. Kleinubing's car was subsequently disqualified from the event. RealTime Racing has protested the decision.

"I hear that we are being awarded the victory," Cunningham said following the post-race inspection. "I think that these boys deserve it. But, that's never the way you want to take a win. You'd like to do it by crossing the finish line first. These TeamRTR guys worked their butts off this weekend."

Cunningham finished 2.594 seconds ahead of Sofronas at a record average speed of 96.111 mph.

Piloting the No. 29 LectricAir/Tecmark Corp/ GMG BMW 325Ci, Sofronas spent most the race chasing Cunningham around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit, but didn't have enough horsepower down the straights to catch him.

"We had the complete package today, but we didn't have quite enough speed down the straightaway," Sofronas said of his second-career podium finish. "I am sure everybody could see that coming down the front straight. I would catch P.D. [Cunningham] in the The Kink and try to get around him under braking, but it would take a pretty risky move to get him in Canada Corner. But, not doubt the Tecmark BMW was stellar. It was well balanced. It had incredible brakes from PFC until the end. I just couldn't reel in P.D. enough to try to make a move at the end, which is what I was biding my time for. Overall, [second] place is nice after a little bobble at Mosport. I am really looking forward to Road Atlanta. We're going to hopefully have a few more things to compete with against these guys."

Altenburg finished third in his No. 72 Tri-Point/Mazdaspeed Mazda 6 after he passed James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., on the last lap of the race in turn one. Heading into the turn, Clay broke the rear suspension on his No. 36 Bimmerworld/Ground Control BMW 325i, which forced him wide and into the turn one gravel where the car came to rest on all four wheels after rolling once.

Bob Endicott, of San Pedro, Calif., held on for a solid fourth place performance in the No. 64 King Motorsports/Mugen Power Acura RSX, after a late race battle with Sweden's Nic Jonsson, who finished fifth. Endicott also set a new fast race lap record with a 2:29.617 (97.400) en route to winning the UrbanRacer.com Hot Lap Award.

Bill Auberlen, who finished seventh, leads the SPEED Touring Car Drivers' Championship with 217 points, followed by Jonsson (202), Matt Plumb (195), Sofronas (174) and Cunningham (153).

BMW leads the SPEED Touring Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 60 points, followed by Acura (42), Nissan (27) and Mazda (18).

Today's race will air at 12:00 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 29 on SPEED Channel.

Round Nine of the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship heads to Road Atlanta Sept. 22-25, as part of Petit Le Mans.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams RealTime Racing , HART