KENDALL TAKES CLEVELAND ATCALL TRANS-AM CLASSIC CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 29, 1996) -- Tom Kendall, driving the ...
KENDALL TAKES CLEVELAND ATCALL TRANS-AM CLASSIC
CLEVELAND, Ohio (June 29, 1996) -- Tom Kendall, driving the #11 All Sport Body Quencher Ford Mustang Cobra, passed his teammate Boris Said for the lead and was never seriously challenged, finishing 11.330 seconds ahead of Greg Pickett to take his second win of the season at the ATCALL Trans-Am Classic at Burke Lakefront Airport, part of the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland.
The 42-lap, 99.54-mile race was off to an exciting start as Said and Dorsey Schroeder jumped into first and second, respectively, past pole-sitter Paul Gentilozzi, who rapidly fell back with mechanical problems. One lap later, Schroeder, in the #12 Raybestos Ford Mustang Cobra, spun at turn four, putting Kendall in second and Ron Fellows, in the #3 Sunoco/AER Manufacturing Chevrolet Camaro, in third.
"I just got greedy," said Schroeder. "The spin was 100 percent my fault. I got a run coming out of (turn) one, then we all went down the straightaway and were three abreast going into turn two. I had the wrong position for turn two, but had good position for turn three on Paul Gentilozzi. I should have just tucked in and followed and protected my position, but I chose to do an outside pass. I got off the racing line and into the gravel and debris that it just stayed sideways, spinning in turn four. I was really worried about damaging the tires. It through my rhythm off, and I drove like an idiot for the next five or six laps. Then Tom (Gloy) was calming me down and finally we came to grips with where we were and what we had to do: Put our head down and muscle our way along."
A great three-way battle ensued for the next 12 laps, with Kendall, of Apopka, Fla., taking over the lead from Said on lap 14, with Fellows following into second four laps later. From there, the race settled down with Greg Pickett, in the #6 Rain-X/Cytomax Camaro in fourth, Brian Simo, in the #22 Valvoline Mustang Cobra fifth and Scott Sharp, in the #33 Rain-X Oil Energizer Camaro sixth.
"Boris was doing a great job," said Kendall. "I thanked him for holding off Dorsey from leading a lap and picking up the bonus point. Then when Ron (Fellows) started to catch me, I was in a bit of a tough spot. I said I need to go by--we have a deal on the team where neither of us will go by without asking to go by. It's been a while since I've had a teammate that I can work with that well."
On lap 34, Fellows' motor let go, dropping the Canadian star out of the race to end his day in 25th, while Said, suffering a cut tire, had to drop into the pits on the same lap, ending his day in ninth, improving one position after a quick pit stop.
Benefitting from Fellows' and Said's misfortune was Pickett, who moved up to second to score his 44th top-three finish, surpassing his tie with Trans-Am legend Mark Donohue for all- time top-three finishes.
Schroeder made a spectacular recovery from his early spin, slicing his way through the field to finish third and earn the DynoMax Turn On the Power Award and maintain his Drivers' Championship points lead.
Finishing seventh to earn the Raybestos Rising Star of the Race Award was Dino Crescentini, in the #93 AutoSpecialty Camaro, and Jon Gooding, in the #16 Mountain Dew Mustang Cobra, earned the OPTIMA Batteries Quick Charger Award with his 11th-place finish from his 27th-place start.
After eight races, Schroeder leads the point standings by eight, 213 to 205 over Kendall, followed by Galles, 171; Pickett, 153; Sharp, 149; Simo, 146; Bill Saunders, 140; Fellows, 139; Gentilozzi, 135; and Said, 129.
In the Manufacturers' Championship, Ford and Chevrolet are tied at 62 points each. The Trans-Am next competes on the streets of Minneapolis for the Children's Grand Prix of Minnesota, July 7.