Super Touring Report, Results and Standings from Cleveland

16 July 1997

Cleveland, Ohio-"I blew it!" Those simple three words summed up the second heat for David Donohue during the Super Touring Car Championship race. Donohue's chance to pocket a $50,000 bonus was lost on lap 10 when he put his Dodge into the weeds at turn 1. Donohue's off-course excursion allowed eventual winner Peter Cunningham and Neil Crompton to slip away.

The week-end was a mixed bag of emotions for Donohue. In the first session of qualifying Donohue's lap time's were three seconds behind teammate and polesitter Dominic Dobson. Struggling to find the correct set-up was a common problem for all of the teams. This was the first time for the Super Touring cars to visit Cleveland. But this was not Donohue's first time to race on the bumpy, flat airfield surface. So the excuse of unfamiliarity with foreign terrain was not available. Dobson turned in a time of 1:18.544 seconds for a speed of 96.526 mph.

In race # 2 qualifying, Donohue found whatever was missing from the earlier session. Not only did Donohue win pole position but he re-set a new qualifying time and track record of 1:18.175 for a speed of 96.982 mph.

In race #1, Donohue knew exactly what he had to do to win the $50,000. Win both races. Starting from sixth place was not exactly the ideal spot to set about the journey. None the less, Donohue did win the race with some aggressive driving and some help from teammate Dominic Dobson, Neil Crompton and Peter Cunningham. With two laps left in the race, Donohue was trailing in fourth place. Then weird things began to happen. First Neil Crompton, who had shadowed leader Dobson for the entire race decided to fight for the lead. Crompton drove to fast into turn 9 and ended up spinning into the tirewall. On the next lap and in the very same spot Dobson and Cunningham came together. Dobson ended up in the tirewall while Cunningham was able to continue after a violent but recoverable spin. The tangle allowed Donohue to slip by Cunningham and to take the victory. A gift by way of three other drivers. The mishap also allowed BMW driver and defending Super Touring Champion Randy Pobst to post his best showing of the year by finishing second over-all and first in the inner-series Independent's Challenge.

Race #2 could easily be called "reversal of fortune." Donohue starting from pole position lost and regathered the lead on the first lap. The top three order during the first nine laps was Donohue, Cunningham and Crompton. Then a funny thing happened on lap 10 into and out of turn 1. All three drivers went into the sharp 130 degree turn door handle to door handle. Donohue, on the inside lane overshot his braking point. This moment of brain-fade or "the red mist" as some would call Donohue's slip allowed Cunningham and Crompton to go on by. Donohue did recover from his mistake but could never find the speed to over-take Crompton or race winner Peter Cunningham. The results paralled that of the earlier race at Portland, OR where Donohue took the first race and Cunningham the second heat.

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel


Results Race #1
Driver                  Marque  Laps    Qualified
-------------------------------------------------
1)David Donohue         Dodge   16      6
2)Randy Pobst*          BMW     16      5
3)Peter Cunningham      Honda   16      3
4)Forrest Granlund      Honda   16      7
5)Neil Crompton         Honda   16      2
6)Bob Schader           Mazda   16      9
7)Walt Puckett          Mazda   14      11
8)Darren Law            BMW     14      8
9)Dominic Dobson        Dodge   15**    1
10)David Welch          Ford     6      4
11)Tom Finnelly         BMW      0      12
12)Roberto Quintanilla  Honda    0      10

Margin of Victory:9.842 seconds
Fastest Race Lap:David Donohue
Lap Leaders:Dobson 1-14, Cunningham 15, Donohue 16

*-First in Independent's Challenge
**-One lap penalty for on track infraction (Rough Driving)

Results Race #2

Driver                  Marque  Laps    Qualified
-------------------------------------------------
1)Peter Cunningham      Honda   19      4
2)Neil Crompton         Honda   19      3
3)David Donohue         Dodge   19      1
4)Randy Pobst*          BMW     19      6
5)Darren Law            BMW     19      7
6)Forrest Grandlund     Honda   19      8
7)Dominic Dobson        Dodge   19      2
8)Bob Schader           Mazda   19      9
9)David Welch           Ford    17      5
10)Walt Puckett         Mazda    0      11
11)Tom Finnelly         BMW      0      12
12)Roberto Quintanilla  Honda    0      10

Margin of Victory:0.508 seconds
Fastest Race Lap:Neil Crompton
Lap Leaders:Donohue 1-9 Cunningham 10-19

*-First in Independent's Challenge

Championship Standings
                                        Previous   
Driver                  Marque  Points  Standing
------------------------------------------------
1)David Donohue         Dodge   168     1
2)Peter Cunningham      Honda   157     2
3)Dominic Dobson        Dodge   129     3
4)Neil Crompton         Honda   120     4
5)Randy Pobst*          BMW     115     6
6)Bob Schader*          Mazda   110     5
7)Darren Law*           BMW      92     7
8)David Welch*          Ford     66     8
9)Forrest Granlund      Honda    64     9
10)Mark Jonak*          BMW      36     10
11)Rod Millen           Toyota   26     13
12)Tom Finnelly*        BMW      24     11
13)Desire' Wilson*      Mazda    18     12
14)Walt Puckett         Mazda    11     14

Manufacturer's Challenge
Honda-180
Dodge-169
Toyota-26

*-Independent's Challenge Leader-Randy Pobst

Next Race-Toronto-July 18-20 

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