SONOMA, Calif. (June 23, 2006) – With a 1:23.899 (85.388 mph), Chip Herr, of Litiz, Pa., led the first of two SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car practice sessions Friday morning at Infineon Raceway. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was second fastest, followed by Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., as the SPEED Touring Car field prepared for Saturday’s Round Four race, part of the Dodge/Save Mart weekend.-30-
Weather conditions were nearly perfect as clear skies, temperatures in the upper 70s and calm winds provided the backdrop for the 20-minute session.
Using the conditions to his advantage, Herr, in his No. 17 STaSIS Motorsports/Clear Capital Audi A4, nailed down his quick time near the midway point of the session on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile track, a configuration that is being used for Sunday’s NASCAR Dodge/Save Mart 350 race and is new to most of the SPEED World Challenge field.
“This isn’t my home track, but I’ve done a lot of testing here,” Herr said. “We were here about two weeks ago. I think that there are only a couple of us, Jon Prall, Justin Hall and Christian Miller, who were here and ran this configuration.
“We felt pretty good about the run, but we didn’t have times to compare to. The only thing we had to compare to was Jon and Justin. We were a little quicker than they were, but I do think this is a BMW track. I know Randy is going to be quick in the Mazda, and Peter [Cunningham] and Pierre are always quick. But, I do feel good about my car.”
While Herr set his time early and held a sizable margin over the rest of the field for a few laps after, Pobst, along with the rest of the field, began to slowly reel Herr’s mark back in.
Both Pobst’s time of 1:24.139 (85.144 mph) in his No. 73 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 6 came just before the end of the session, as did Kleinubing’s 1:24.418 (84.863 mph) in his No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX.
No. 97 Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., was fourth in his Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsport Mazda 6 with a 1:24.540 (84.741 mph), ahead of Peter Cunningham, of Grafton, Wis., who turned a 1:24.639 in his Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Acura TSX.
The second and final SPEED Touring Car practice session is set for 6 p.m. (EDT) today.
To follow practice, qualifying and race action live via live timing, visit www.world-challenge.com, select the Infineon event homepage and click on the SCCA Pit Board Presented by SRT, which provides real-time lap notes and timing information.
For other information, visit www.world-challenge.com.
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