Donohue Doubles at Mid-Ohio: Super Touring Report, Results, and Standings
14 August 1997Lexington,Ohio-In a dominating fashion David Donohue served notice on the rest of the Super Touring field. The Dodge driver not only won both heats but also took pole position for both races. With two races left in the season, Donohue has positioned himself for the stretch run.
Friday qualifying was a battle royal between Donohue, Neil Crompton, Dominic Dobson and Peter Cunningham. The four drivers all qualified within a half-second of each other. Donohue, in setting fastest time, broke the existing track record in the first session with a time of 1:27.343 for a speed of 93.067mph. Honda driver Neil Crompton was right on his heels with a time of 1:27.497 for a speed of 92.903. In fact all four drivers broke the existing track record.
The Independent's Challenge qualifying was dominated by Ford driver David Welch. The week-end for Independent's Challenge series leader Randy Pobst was a throw-away. The team discovered on Friday that the BMW was operating on seven cylinders. Rather than not compete at all the team chose to go to the back-up car. By rule, Pobst would race but could not score valuable championship points.
The second session of qualifying was a virtual repeat of Round #1. Donohue again dominated the qualifying with a new lap record of 1:27.165 for a speed of 93.257mph. Crompton, Cunningham and Dobson completed the top four. David Welch was again the top qualifier for the Independent's.
The two races on Saturday were conducted in the late afternoon. One team member quipped at the start of race #1 "the teams will need to bring out the headlights for race #2." Donohue made a brilliant start pulling out a three car-length lead by the time the cars entered the "carousel" section of the 2.25 mile circuit. Crompton, Dobson and Cunningham were putting on a fabulous display of back and forth racing. Finally on lap #11, Crompton decided to put the issue to rest as to who would finish second. Going into the "esses" area of the track Crompton feignted an outside move only to move inside of Dobson. Dobson reacted to thwart the attack. Dobson's move was too late as Crompton was alongside. By the time the two drivers entered the quick right-hander Crompton was past. Peter Cunningham must have recognized a weakness in Dobson's style of entering this turning area as he pulled off a similar move in the exact spot on the last lap of race #1. In the Independent's Challenge Darren Law worked his way from an eighth starting position to finish fifth over-all. David Welch appeared to have handling problems from excessive tire wear and dropped to seventh place.
The second race was started in twilight conditions. Donohue once again made a brilliant start. Behind him Crompton, Cunningham and Dobson were having another slugfest. Dobson, starting in fourth place, moved past Cunningham going into the first turn. Going into turn #8, Dobson decided to put a bit of a NASCAR-style move on Crompton. Nudging Crompton's bumper, Dobson put Crompton into the weeds. Crompton went into a wild spin. After collecting his car, Crompton found himslef in last place. Crompton then set about to drive one of the best recoveries of position that the series has seen this year. Lap by lap Crompton moved up through the field. Ironically, Crompton's recovery to finish in third place was helped by Dobson. On lap ten, going into turn #7, Dobson missed the braking point. Locking up all four wheels, Dobson ended up in the gravel trap which brought out a two-lap full-course caution. This allowed two things to happen. Peter Cunningham was able to pull up on leader Donohue and Crompton was able to set the stage for his final assault. The race went back to green conditions with two laps left. Cunningham was all over Donohue on the re-start. Donohue had missed a shift on the re-start which allowed Cunningham to pull even. Donohue recovered enough to hold Cunningham off. Behind them Crompton finally passed Forrest Granlund, who had turned in a brilliant performance, on the final turn for third place. It was one of the best races of the season. For Independent's Challenge leader Randy Pobst the fact that Law and Grandlund split the two races was perhaps the best news of all. Pobst dropped out the lead but not nearly as much if Bob Schader won both events. On to Vancouver!
David Treffer -- The Auto Channel
Results Race #1 Driver Marque Laps Qualified 1)David Donohue Dodge 17 1 2)Neil Crompton Honda 17 2 3)Peter Cunningham Honda 17 4 4)Dominic Dobson Dodge 17 3 5)Darren Law* BMW 17 8 6)Forrest Granlund Honda 17 7 7)David Welch Ford 17 5 8)Randy Pobst BMW 17 6 9)Bob Schader Mazda 17 9 10)Roberto Quintanilla Honda 0 10 Margin of Victory:3.418 seconds Fastest Race Lap:Neil Crompton Lap Leaders:David Donohue 1-17 *Independent's Challenge Winner:Darren Law Results Race#2 Driver Marque Laps Qualified 1)David Donohue Dodge 15 1 2)Peter Cunningham Honda 15 3 3)Neil Crompton Honda 15 2 4)Forrest Granlund* Honda 15 9 5)David Welch Ford 15 5 6)Darren Law BMW 15 6 7)Bob Schader Mazda 15 7 8)Dominic Dobson Dodge 12 4 9)Randy Pobst BMW 10 8 10)Roberto Quintanilla Honda 0 10 Margin of Victory:0.569 seconds Fastest Race Lap:David Donohue Lap Leaders:David Donohue 1-15 *Independent's Challenge Winner:Forrest Granlund Championship Standings Driver Marque Points Previous Standing 1)David Donohue Dodge 240 1 2)Peter Cunningham Honda 220 2 3)Neil Crompton Honda 192 4 4)Dominic Dobson Dodge 191 3 5)Bob Schader* Mazda 146 6 6)Darren Law BMW 138 7 7)Randy Pobst BMW 135 5 8)David Welch Ford 111 8 9)Forrest Granlund Honda 88 9 10)Mark Jonak BMW 36 10 Manufacturer's Challenge Honda-251 Dodge-246 Toyota-26 *Independent's Challenge Leader-Bob Schader Next Race-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada August 29-31