ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 1, 2005) – For the first time in his career, Dino Crescentini, of Malibu, Calif., paced practice for Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Round Two race, part of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.-30-
Driving the No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Centrix/Tri-Point Mazda 6, the 2004 Rookie of the Year turned in a fastest time of 1:25.315 (75.953 mph) around the 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit. With all drivers on an even keel as far as experience at the new St. Petersburg course, it is the first time that Crescentini has ever stuck his name a the top of the charts, besting the rest of the field including his two higher-profile teammates, Jeff Altenburg and Randy Pobst. Crescentini comes off of a tough start to his season, in which he went out of the Sebring race on lap two with a mechanical problem.
Three-time series Champion Pierre Kleinubing, who started his SPEED World Challenge career the last time the series raced in St. Petersburg (in 1997), was second fastest in his No. 43 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX with a time of 1:25.434 (75.848 mph). Teammate and opening round winner Peter Cunningham was third, with a time of 1:25.553 (75.742 mph).
Pobst, in the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6, was fourth with a fast time of 1:25.831 (75.497 mph), followed by the Wheel’s America/Okell’s Fireplace BMW 325Ci of Bob Stretch, with a time of 1:26.002 (75.347 mph).
Five-time series Champion Michael Galati was set to debut his new ride in the No. 02 Autohaus Motorsports Mercedes C230, but the car lost a driveshaft before it was able to complete a lap.
Practice resumes for the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship Friday afternoon at 5:05 p.m. (Eastern). To follow the session via Live Timing & Scoring and for more information regarding the event, please visit www.world-challenge.com.
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