CUNNINGHAM TOPS WORLD CHALLENGE FIELD AT ST. PETERSBURG; SCHWARTZOTT TAKES T2 WIN ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Overcoming the combination of a very wet track and dry tires, Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., topped 24 T1 and T2-Class SCCA...
CUNNINGHAM TOPS WORLD CHALLENGE FIELD AT ST. PETERSBURG; SCHWARTZOTT TAKES T2 WIN
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Overcoming the combination of a very wet track and dry tires, Peter Cunningham, of West Bend, Wis., topped 24 T1 and T2-Class SCCA World Challenge competitors to take the T1 and overall win on the streets of St. Petersburg for the 1997 season-opener. Cunningham, driving the No. 42 Comptech RealTime Racing Acura NSX, averaged a yellow-flag-delayed 46.779 mph en route to his third-consecutive series win (including Reno and Sears Point in 1996) in a victory over Mark Dixon, in the No. 5 LM Race Engineering Pontiac Firebird. Finishing first in T2, and third overall, was Peter Schwartzott, in the No. 41 Schwartzott Motorsport Honda Prelude Si. Schwartzott finished 15.532 seconds ahead of series rookie Pierre Kleinubing, who made a sensational debut driving the No. 43 Comptech/RealTime Racing Honda Prelude. The 40-lap, 67.6-mile race was run under yellow for the first nine laps when a light rain turned to a deluge, bringing out a red flag as the race was declared a "wet" start and all competitors were offered a 10-minute window to switch to rain tires. When the race finally went green, still on lap nine, T1 pole-sitter Lou Gigliotti, in the No. 1 LG Motorsports Saleen Mustang, was quickly passed by Cunningham, who slipped and slid his way around the eight-lap, 1.69-mile circuit for three laps before Dixon passed for the lead, his first time at the front of a World Challenge field. Nine laps later Dixon, who had built a half-circuit lead, overshot turn eight, a mistake that cost him the lead as Cunningham just pulled by as Dixon rejoined the field. "I saw a green traffic signal down at the end of the track and headed for it," said Dixon. "It was too late when I realized that it was outside of the track and I was into the runoff area." As the race continued rain slackened, drying the course and giving the advantage to Cunningham, who was able to pull out to a 44.753-second margin of victory. Defending T2 Class champion Michael Galati finished third in the Comptech/RealTime Racing Acura Integra GS-R.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Results from Saturday's 40-lap, 67.6-mile SCCA World Challenge race, part of the Kash N' Karry Florida Grand Prix at St. Petersburg, with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any). Touring 1 Class 1, (2), Peter Cunningham, West Bend, Wis., Acura NSX, 40. 2, (10), Mark Dixon, Goodrich, Mich., Pont Firebird, 40. 3, (1), Lou Gigliotti, Garland, Texas, Saleen Mustang, 40. 4, (3), Terry Borcheller, Crysler River, Fla., Ford Mustang, 39. 5, (9), Duane Grahovec, Palos Park, Ill., Chevy Camaro, 39. 6, (6), Chris Camadella, Milford, Pa., Camaro, 39. 7, (12), Keith Mitchell, Chicago, Ill., Ford Mustang, 38. 8, (5), C. David Seuss, Charlestown, Mass., Saleen Mustang, 37. 9, (7), Simon Gregg, Jacksonville, Fla., Saleen Mustang, 36. 10, (8), Ron Johnson, LaJolla, Calif., Saleen Mustang, 35. 11, (11), Doug Frazier, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Saleen Mustang, 35. 12, (4), Rob Fellows, Ontario, Can., Saleen Mustang, 14, Mech. Time of race: 1 hour, 26 minutes, 42.265 seconds. Average speed: 46.779 mph Margin of victory: 44.752 seconds Fastest race lap: Peter Cunningham, 1:23.678 (72.707 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-9, #1 Gigliotti; laps 10-12, #42 Cunningham; laps 13-21, #5 Dixon; laps 22-40, #42 Cunningham
Touring 2 Class 1, (3), Peter Schwartzott, Niagara Falls, N.Y., Honda Prelude Si, 40. 2, (1), Pierre Kleinubing, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Honda Prelude, 40. 3, (5), Michael Galati, North Olmsted, Ohio, Acura Integra GSR, 40. 4, (7), Paul Booher, Pinellas Park, Fla., Saturn SC, 40. 5, (4), Taz E. Harvey, Danville, Calif., Honda Prelude, 39. 6, (11), Lu Ryba, Huntington Beach, Calif., Oldsmobile Achieva, 39. 7, (9), Jim Lovett, Chicago, Ill., Honda Prelude Si, 38. 8, (12), Fred Meyer, Dallas, Texas, Honda Prelude Si, 36. 9, (10), Dino Hamilton, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Dodge Neon, 36. 10, (2), Alain Chebeir, Pelham, N.Y., BMW 328is, 34. 11, (8), Johannes vanOverbeek, Pleaston, Calif., BMW M3, 34. 12, (6), David Rosenblum, Langhorne, Pa., Saturn SC, 14, Mech.. Time of race: 1 hour, 27 minutes, 36.55 seconds. Average speed: 46.296 miles-per-hour Margin of victory: 15.532 seconds Fastest race lap: Peter Schwartzott, 1:26.849 (70.052 mph) Lap leaders: laps 1-19, #43 Kleinubing; laps 20-27, #3 Booher; laps 28-40, #41 Schwartzott