David Donohue, Randy Pobst and Honda Win Super Touring Championships
11 September 1997The battles for the three championships (Driver's, Independents and Manufacturer) of the North American Super Touring were fought over the past six months. After visiting 9 venues and competing in 18 races David Donohue, Randy Pobst and Honda have emerged as champions.
The challenge for the over-all driver's championship was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Going into the last two races, Donohue held an almost insurmountable lead over Peter Cunningham. After Friday's qualifying Donohue grabbed another point for being the fastest qualifier in Race #1 putting the championship even closer to his grasp.
The first race turned out to be the Neil Crompton show. In fact both races turned out to be the Neil Crompton show. The start for race #1 was interesting. Donohue relinquished the lead after a miserable start. Crompton sitting on outside pole grabbed the lead and basically never looked back. Behind him Cunningham, Dobson, Donohue and Independent Challenge driver Randy Pobst were engaged in a four-way battle. Cunningham mounted several charges to try and take the lead from Crompton. Each time Crompton found a way to make his Honda as wide as dump truck. Donohue never challenged for the lead. Even after a miserable start that pushed him back to fifth, Donohue worked his way back to finish third clinching the championship. With Crompton's victory Honda secured the manufacturer's championship
In the Independent's Challenge Randy Pobst and Bob Schader were locked in a very tight points battle. Schader holding a slim three point lead over Pobst had to be concerned over the new found confidence that Pobst's team found after Vancouver. Pobst drove a really good race and took fifth place. More importantly Pobst whittled two points from Schader's lead.
Results Race #1 Driver Marque Laps Qualified 1)Neil Crompton Honda 17 2 2)Peter Cunningham Honda 17 3 3)David Donohue Dodge 17 1 4)Dominic Dobson Dodge 17 4 5)Randy Pobst* BMW 17 6 6)David Welch Ford 17 5 7)Bob Schader Mazda 17 7 8)Ron Emmick Mazda 16 10 9)Dave Jolly Pontiac 15 9 10)Paul Charsley BMW 12 8 11)Forrest Granlund Honda 0 0-No Time 12)Darren Law BMW 0 0-No Time 13)Roberto Quintanilla Honda 0 0-No Time Margin of Victory:1.197 seconds Fastest Race Lap:Neil Crompton Lap Leaders-Neil Crompton 1-17 *Independent's Challenge Winner:Randy Pobst
The second race was more of an exhibition race for Crompton, Donohue, Cunningham and Dobson. Crompton drove another brilliant race perhaps hoping that Cunningham would break thereby opening the door for second-place in the championship. Crompton swept the week-end's races but ended up two points shy of Peter Cunningham.
The Independent's Challenge battle for Pobst and Schader was coming down to the last race of the year. The anticipated fight never materialized as Schader's Mazda broke a CV joint at half-distance. Schader continued on to fight for points but his race was run. Pobst continued on to finish fourth and clinch the championship by three points.
Results Race #2 Driver Marque Laps Qualified 1)Neil Crompton Honda 17 1 2)Peter Cunningham Honda 17 3 3)David Donohue Dodge 17 2 4)Randy Pobst BMW 17 4 5)David Welch Ford 17 6 6)Dominic Dobson Dodge 17 5 7)Ron Emmick Mazda 16 9 8)Bob Schader Mazda 16 7 9)Dave Jolly Pontiac 15 10 10)Paul Charsley BMW 8 8 11)Forrest Granlund Honda 0 No Time 12)Darren Law BMW 0 No Time 13)Roberto Quintanilla Honda 0 No Time Margin of Victory-9.59 seconds Fastest Race lap-Neil Crompton Lap Leaders-Neil Crompton 1-17 Independent's Challenge Winner-Randy Pobst 1997 Final Championship Standings Driver Points Marque 1)David Donohue 304 Dodge 2)Peter Cunningham 282 Honda 3)Neil Crompton 280 Honda 4)Dominic Dobson 230 Dodge 5)Randy Pobst* 188 BMW 6)Bob Schader 185 Mazda 7)David Welch 159 Ford 8)Darren Law 136 BMW 9)Forrest Granlund 88 Honda 10)Ron Emmick 37 Pontiac 11)Mark Jonak 36 BMW 12)Rod Millen 26 Toyota 13)Tom Finnelly 24 BMW 14)Desire Wilson 18 Mazda 15)Roberto Quintanilla 17 Honda 16)Walt Puckett 11 Mazda Manufacturer's Championship Honda 311 Dodge 290 Toyota 26
David Treffer-The Auto Channel