TEAMMATE SAPP IN WILD SPEEDVISION TOURING CAR RACE AT ROAD ATLANTA
BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 29,
2000) – Mike Fitzgerald, of Phoenix, Ariz., passed teammate Neal Sapp,
of Elicott City, Md., in the
final corner to win his
first Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car race at Road Atlanta. Brazilian
Pierre Kleinubing finished
Driving the No. 12 Pure Image/TCKlineRacing.com
BMW 328Ci, Fitzgerald started from the pole and led the initial 20 laps
25-lap, 63.5-mile contest
until a bobble in turn five allowed Sapp to pounce. Driving the No. 2 TCKlineRacing/Pro
Parts BMW Ci,
Sapp led the next four laps.
On the final lap, Fitzgerald pulled alongside on the back straight, with
Sapp able to outbreak him
going into turn nine. A
bobble in turn 10 gave Fitzgerald the run he needed to pull alongside as
the two came down the hill into
the 12th and final turn,
with Fitzgerald taking the inside line, the lead and the win.
"I drove the car as hard
as I could after Neal got by, but couldn't catch him," said Fitzgerald,
who won his first Speedvision
World Challenge race at
Texas, but in the GT class. "Seeing the white flag was a surprise because
our radios didn't work. I
got a run coming out of
turn seven and pulled alongside, but I knew he had the line. I stuffed
it in second [gear], instead of
third, so I could really
pull out of the corner. He got a little squirrely–that allowed me to pull
"If the flagstand would have
been further down the straightaway, I think I would have gotten him back,"
said Sapp, who
earned his fourth runner-up
finish. "He got the inside line coming through 12, but I had good speed.
It helps, but we need a little
more help to win the championship."
Kleinubing drove the No.
42 BuySellorHold.com/RealTime Racing Acura Integra R from fourth on the
grid to third at the start,
but didn't have enough for
the lead duo.
"I ran times faster in the
race than I did in qualifying, but I still couldn't keep up," said a disappointed
Kleinubing, who holds a
12-point advantage in the
championship point standings over Sapp–three less than coming into the
weekend. "I've gotta take
Mike [Fitzgerald] out to
dinner for getting by Neal. Losing three points is better than losing six."
Alfred duPont, of Kennett
Square, Pa., started second, but fell to fourth at the start, where he
finished. Hugh Plumb, of
Chadds Ford, Pa., was fifth.
Fitzgerald was also awarded
the Borla Performance Award for his move on Sapp at the end of the race.
Following Kleinubing (174)
and Sapp (162) in the points are Kevin Schrantz (145), Don Salama (123)
and Paul Alderman (113).
With his win, Fitzgerald
moved from 14th to sixth in points, with 108.