Phoenix: Race report

STEELE THUNDERS TO FIVE STRAIGHT IN NEW SILVER CROWN OPENER AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Dave Steele put together 50 solid laps in the new generation Silver Crown car to win the inaugural race for the cars and his fifth straight in the "Copper World ...

STEELE THUNDERS TO FIVE STRAIGHT IN NEW SILVER CROWN OPENER

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Dave Steele put together 50 solid laps in the new generation Silver Crown car to win the inaugural race for the cars and his fifth straight in the "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix International Raceway.

Steele qualified fifth quick in the 12-car field, but took advantage of two penalties to start from the outside of the front row, then hid from Bud Kaeding and teammate Brian Tyler for the victory, his second today. The Tampa, Fla. native also won the National/Western Midget Car Series race earlier in the afternoon.

"Anytime you win its good," said Steele, who led the field driving a C&R chassis owned by Team Six-R Racing. "It's a special champ car race and I wanted to win this for my crew. They spent all nighters putting this racecar together, and they gave 100 percent. They put a lot into it. Chris Paulsen (President and Owner C&R Racing and chassis constructor) really built a nice racecar. He has smart engineers working on that car. We qualified tight and I ran about as good as I could run that tight."

Steele jolted ahead of Tyler in the first turn of the race, and endured a pair of charges from Kaeding, who moved to second after the first lap. But Steele upped his advantage nearly a third of a straightaway by Lap 8, and extended that to a straightaway a handful of laps later.

Kaeding, who secured the event's second-fast time in Saturday's qualifications only to start sixth due to qualifying outside his original spot, kept his DRC chassis close to Steele for a while. Following the event' s only caution -- which occurred for an oil cleanup in Turn 3 on Lap 18 -- Kaeding stayed close for a couple of laps, but Steele inched away to post a margin of victory by 3.341 seconds.

Behind, Tyler, Aaron Pierce and Wayne Reutimann Jr. fought each other early before being separated in the closing laps.

Dave Darland and Greg Furlong, who finished sixth and seventh respectively in the race, were a part of the toughest battle on the track, running nose-to-tail for the majority of the event.

Tim Barber and Jerry Coons Jr., the other half of the C&R Racing stable, suffered mechanical failure and did not finish the race. They finished eighth and ninth.

Bryn Gohn, who make wall contact twice in Saturday's took the green flag and took a handful of laps before pulling in, and he finished 10th. Rodney Weesner finished 11th after presenting his car on the grid.

Pablo Donoso, who crashed in Sunday morning's practice session, was treated and released in the infield care center. He was credited with 12th in the race.

Steele leads the early points standings for the Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering, with the next race scheduled for March 25 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

-usac-

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Dave Darland , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Tim Barber , Aaron Pierce , Pablo Donoso , Wayne Reutimann , Bryn Gohn , Jerry Coons Jr.