ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 1, 2005) – Tri-Point Motorsports’ Dino Crescentini, of Malibu, Calif., capped off the most successful day in his SCCA Pro Racing SPEED Touring Car career as he posted the fastest lap times in both practice sessions Friday. -30-
The 2004 Rookie of the Year had never been on the top of any leaderboard (practice, qualifying or race) of any World Challenge event in his career before today.
Driving the No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Centrix/Tri-Point Mazda 6, Crescentini sliced his way through the 1.8-mile street course, setting the Touring Car pace with a 1:24.654, 0.288-sec. ahead of RealTime Racing’s Peter Cunningham, who goes into the weekend’s action looking for his 30th-career World Challenge win.
“Street courses rule,” Crescentini, who led both the morning and afternoon sessions, said. “I’ve had a lot of great experiences with street courses in the past, and you couple that with a car that is handling just perfectly for this track, it’s a combination that, for me, is long overdue.
“I’m enjoying it immensely, [we have] a great team and we had perfect conditions to go fast.”
Western Florida provided sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 80s all day long, giving the entire SPEED Touring Car field a chance to stretch its legs on its only day of practice.
Behind Cunningham’s No. 42 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, Chip Herr, of Litiz, Pa., led for the first half of the second practice session before finishing the day’s action with the third-fastest lap time at 1:25.001.
Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., wound up fourth after practice, posting a 1:25.021. The RealTime Racing driver ran into problems soon after, however, impacting a wall and sustaining damage to the right-front quadrant of the No. 43 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Kleinubing retired from the session after the incident.
Crescentini’s Tri-Point teammate Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., made a late push at the end of the second session in his No. 72 Mazdaspeed/Tri-Point Motorsport Mazda 6 and finished fifth (1:25.146).
SCCA SPEED Touring Car next turns its attention to Saturday’s 30-min. qualifying session, set to begin at 1 p.m. (Eastern). The SPEED Touring Car race is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday.
All SCCA SPEED World Challenge qualifying and race action can be followed live on the Web at www.world-challenge.com.
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