Kleinubing RSX 4th at Road America
RealTime driver best Acura in fast race at home track
August 23, 2003 -- Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
It was all a matter of top speed, as three-time SCCA Speed Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing was denied a podium finish on the final lap at the ultra-fast Road America circuit here.
Series points leader Bill Auberlen roared through the 36-car field after spinning to last place on the race’s opening lap, getting back into the top-10 by lap 10. He passed Kleinubing’s RealTime Racing Acura RSX on the final lap to take third.
Kleinubing is 61 points behind Auberlen for the series Driver’s Championship. Acura remains in second place for the Manufacturer’s Championship, by 14 points to BMW.
“I know the RealTime Racing Acura is one of the fastest cars on the track anywhere we go,” said Kleinubing, “but that BMW, especially with Bill driving it, is just so much faster in terms of ultimate speed. We did out-qualify him, though.”
Kleinubing’s familiar orange & white #42 RSX was gridded fifth for the race; his year-old track qualifying record was topped by 26 of the 36 starters. Five manufacturers qualified cars in the top six positions.
The team entered five Acuras this weekend – two of the speedy RSX models, and three of the championship-winning Integras.
Rick Gilhart, making his second start in a RealTime-prepared Integra, wound up with a 22nd place finish in his car. His fastest race lap in the #39 machine was quicker than his best qualifying effort.
New to RealTime Racing this weekend was young Lawrence Loshak of Glendale, Wis. In his first professional road race, Loshak qualified his #43 Integra 32nd, and moved up nine spots to finish 23rd.
The team’s two candidates for series Rookie of the Year honors, Zac Mazzotta and Kevin McKee, finished 26th and 27th, numbers not indicative of their performance this weekend. Both slid off course on the same lap, but in different corners of the 4.048-mile Road America circuit, and lost a lap to the leaders while getting out of the track’s gravel traps. Mazzotta was driving his #46 Acura RSX, while McKee drove the #44 Integras.
Mazzotta ran as high as 16th place after being gridded 21st, while McKee started 35th and got as high as 27th.
During the weekend, SCCA Pro Racing announced that one team crew chief from either the World Challenge GT or Touring Car series would receive a new special honor at season’s end – the Zimmermann Cup, named in honor of the late Jerome Zimmermann, the team’s long-time crew chief who died last month as the result of a motorcycle accident.
In six years as crew chief for RealTime Racing’s Acuras, Zimmermann guided the team to five Touring Car Driver’s Championships for Kleinubing, Michael Galati and team owner Peter Cunningham.
The announcement of the award, made at the drivers meeting, was met with a round of applause. Mitch Wright, Vice President and General Manager of SCCA Pro Racing, said the award would go to a crew chief “whose excellence in racing is exemplified with similar attributes that Jerry showed for the sport – dedication, passion and success.”
The next outing for RealTime Racing will be Sept. 5-6 at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif.
Road America’s Touring Car event will first air on the SPEED Channel, Saturday, September 6, at 1pm EST.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Gemini Technologies, Goodridge, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.