DENVER (Aug. 13, 2006) – Denver University junior Brandon Davis took his first ever win in front of a hometown crowd in unbelievable fashion, edging teammate Eric Curran by 0.005-second to take the closest-ever SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship race win today at the Grand Prix of Denver. Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., was third.
After starting second in his No. 20 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, Davis fought with both Curran and Kleinubing for the lead throughout the race. Believing he had a better car than teammate Curran in the closing laps, he made his final bid for the lead going into the long last turn on the final lap of the 30-lap, 49.71-mile event. The two emerged onto the front-straight side-by-side, with Davis moving to the left to even bump his teammate as they drag-raced to the finish. In the end, Davis won by about two inches, confirmed to be 0.005-second. He averaged 65.183 mph throughout the race on the 1.657-mile circuit.
“It’s indescribable,” Davis said of his first professional racing win. “I’m almost in a state of shock right now. I really didn’t have any expectations like this. I told the guys that as long as I came out with a top five finish that I’d be happy. I just kept hanging in there.”
Kleinubing led early from his fourth-straight pole in the No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. A bold move from fifth-starting Chip Herr (STaSIS/Clear Capital Audi A4) on the standing start put him in position to fight Randy Pobst (Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6) for second place going into corner one. However, the two made contact, knocking Pobst, who is Kleinubing’s chief rival in the Championship, back several positions and Herr to the pits with suspension damage.
Kleinubing led Davis for the first three laps before Curran moved to second and began to challenge for the lead in his No. 43 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura RSX. The trio of teammates also came under fire from the No. 18 Fred Baker Audi/STaSIS Audi A4 of series newcomer Adam Pecorari, who made a bold bid for the lead from third on lap five into the brake zone for turn nine. The Audi slid wide, allowing all three Acuras back by, but it also gave Curran the opportunity to move ahead of Kleinubing into the lead.
Davis was by the point leader, into second, on lap seven, and battled Curran for the remainder of the race, leading laps 19 through 25 before Curran re-took the point coming off the final restart on lap 26. Davis put his four-door TSX inside Curran’s two-door RSX as the two came through the final corner to take the white flag, but Curran held the point. Davis held off a bid from Kleinubing for second, who was busy fending off the No. 72 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 of Jeff Altenburg and Charles Espenlaub’s No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Mazda 6. After re-grouping and re-attaching himself to Curran’s rear bumper, Davis made the move in the final corner once more.
“In the last few laps, I knew I had a better car than Eric [Curran] but I didn’t know where I was going to do it,” Davis, who became the youngest series winner at 20 years and 268 days, said. “Last lap, last turn—there was no later time that I could do it, so it was either going to happen or it wasn’t. It feels great to come back here and get the win in Denver with some of my best friends here on the podium with me.”
The main question as the two cars came across the finish line was who won, as the timing and scoring system initially put Curran on top of Davis, but with no margin between the them. However, visual evidence confirmed that Davis won by mere inches, and the backup timing system confirmed the margin.
“I knew I won,” Davis said confidently. “There were no turns coming up and I was trying to make my shifts as quick as possible and I was watching Eric’s nose to the left of me a little bit and I could see that, as we crossed the line, that I was just a touch in front of him.
Curran joked about Davis’ move across the straight to make slight contact with his teammate as they raced for the finish line.
“I think he saw a turn there that no one else saw!” Curran said.
To which Davis replied, “There was no way I was going to lose at that point. No way!”
Curran was a whisker away from matching his victorious effort from 2005 at Denver, but was happy for his young teammate.
“Obviously, I wish I would have won, but it’s good to see Brandon up there,” he said. “I was unsure. I didn’t know if I’d won or not and I was on the radio going ‘who won?’ and nobody was telling me anything because they didn’t know either.
“I really struggled going into that brake zone. Brandon’s car was much better going into there. I protected, what I thought was enough. But we were side-by-side and drag racing out of the last turn. I don’t think he wanted me to win the race with that move he made at the finish! Good close racing, lot of fun.”
Kleinubing had a steady race to fend off the charging Mazda pair to keep his amazing string of six podium finishes in six 2006 races.
“I had a good race and a good car at the end,” Kleinubing said. “I was a little surprised. These guys banged fenders a little bit and banged the wall. I had a better car at the end than they did, probably because I conserved it a little more. I just wasn’t able to close enough to make a move on them. Otherwise, I would have!”
Altenburg earned his fifth top five of the season to come home just behind in fourth, followed by Espenlaub, who recorded his second-straight fifth-place finish.
Aston, Pennsylvania’s Pecorari, filling in for Freddy Baker for one race, shined with his sixth place finish and was the top Piloti Rookie. He also turned the fastest race lap, a new record 1:21.119 (73.536 mph).
Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., earned the B&M Holeshot Award for advancing five spots on the opening lap in his No. 38 BimmerWorld Racing/Performance Friction BMW 325i.
Jon Prall, of Los Gatos, Calif., captured the Sunoco Hard Charger award in his No. 11 DIG Motorsports/JustRacing.com BMW 325Ci.
Kleinubing now holds a 28-point advantage over Pobst, who battled for an eighth-place finish, with four races remaining. Peter Cunningham, who was seventh, is third in points, with 139, followed by Davis (129) and Altenburg (120). Acura extended its lead in the SPEED Touring Car Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine to 13 points over Mazda (50-37), followed by Audi (12) and BMW (11).
Today’s race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Saturday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. (EDT), 11 a.m. (MDT). The series travels to Road America next weekend.
DENVER, Colorado - Results from Sunday’s 30 lap 49.71 mile SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car Round Six race, part of the Grand Prix of Denver with finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps, distance behind winner and reason out (if any).
1. (2), Brandon Davis, Denver, Colo., Acura TSX, 30.
2. (4), Eric Curran, East Hampton, Mass., Acura RSX, 30, -.005.
3. (1), Pierre Kleinubing, Coconut Creek, Fla., Acura TSX, 30, -.632.
4. (7), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Mazda 6, 30, -.947.
5. (9), Charles Espenlaub, Lutz, Fla., Mazda 6, 30, -1.379.
6. (6), Adam Pecorari(R), Aston, Pa., Audi A4, 30, -2.371.
7. (8), Peter Cunningham, Grafton, Wis., Acura TSX, 30, -3.482.
8. (3), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Mazda 6, 30, -4.051.
9. (10), Dino Crescentini, Malibu, Calif., Mazda 6, 30, -4.466.
10. (13), Kuno Wittmer, Montreal, Canada, Mercedes-Benz C230, 30, -5.149.
11. (14), Nick Esayian, Encinitas, Calif., Acura RSX, 30, -11.070.
12. (15), Jeff Courtney(R), Slinger, Wis., Audi A4, 30, -11.896.
13. (18), Jon Prall, Los Gatos, Calif., BMW 325Ci, 30, -14.700.
14. (11), Robb Holland(R), Denver, Colo., Dodge SRT-4, 30, -15.820.
15. (16), Christian Miller(R), Newark, Calif., Volkswagen Jetta, 30, -16.840.
16. (20), Charlie Putman(R), Mills, Wyo., Mazda 6, 30, -18.869.
17. (19), James Clay, Radford, Va., BMW 325i, 30, -32.128.
18. (21), Mary Katharine(R), Delray Beach, Fla., Mazda Protege, 30, -32.646.
19. (22), Branden Peterson, Breckenridge, Colo., Honda Civic Si, 29, -1 lap.
20. (17), Seth Thomas, Cumming, Ga., BMW 325i, 18, Susp.
21. (5), Chip Herr, Lititz, Pa., Audi A4, 18, Mech.
22. (12), Dan Aweida(R), Boulder, Colo., Dodge SRT-4, 11, Crash.
Time of race: 45 minutes, 45.403 seconds.
Average speed: 65.183 mph
Margin of victory: 0.005-second, Closest Margin in Series History
Lap leaders: Laps 1-4, #42 Pierre Kleinubing; laps 5-18, #43 Eric Curran; laps 19-25, #20 Brandon Davis; laps 26-29, #43 Eric Curran; laps 30-30, #20 Brandon Davis
Fastest race lap: #18 Adam Pecorari(R), 1:21.119 (73.536 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #42 Pierre Kleinubing, 1:20.886 (73.748 mph)
Cautions: Two for Six laps
B&M Holeshot Award: #38 Thomas advanced five spots on the first lap
Sunoco Hard Charger: #11 Prall advanced five spots start to finish.