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Race Report - Sunday
Peter wins the race, takes over 1st in the World Challenge Championship Series
The day is very cold. We stayed in Colorado Springs and the windshield on the Tahoe was frozen this morning. It is ski jacket and knit cap weather. The mornings practice session goes well. We made some changes after qualifying and hoped to go better. Although we were not as fast as we were yesterday, we were the fastest in the morning warmup. We are very hopeful for the race although we are starting from the second row. This is an interesting track. One like we have not driven before. The track is a 1 mile oval with a road course inside. Thus, the road course which we run totals 1.3 miles. The course uses 2/3 of the oval which has a 10 degree bank. And although the distance on the oval made it look like it would favor the high horsepower cars, we were able to use the Porsche's handling to our benefit to get through the fast section of the course actually a little bit faster than the big cars.
By race time, the weather has warmed up only a bit. We are told that the weather is sunny only 5 miles away, but it is still cloudy and cold here. Probaly less than 50 degrees. We decide to start with the set-up that worked in the morning warmup. We exect it to be a tough race. Before the race a TV announcer asks me what we hope to do. I tell him that it is essential that we not only win the race, but that we must lead the most laps and keep Bobby Archer who is leading in the points from leading a single lap. If we do that, we will take over the lead if he is fourth or worse, but we will be close if he is 2d or third.
At the start of the race we are third into turn one. John Heinricy in a Corvette leads the first lap. Bill Cooper who was grided second passes John after the first lap and leads the second lap, we are a very close third. I am waiting for an opening and on the third lap we get it. We get a good run on the oval and are very close when Cooper who is leading slows, we get inside him and Heinricy at a hairpin in the infield and make the pass. Not a scratch. No rough stuff. 3 good drivers driving well. From then on during the race it probably seems uneventful from a ousider's point of view.
We make a little ground on Heinricy early, but I notice that Archer is right with him and we need to get away form Archer, but it is also important that we win. This is a very mentally draining race.
Heinricy is never out of my mirrors. We start to gain ground on Archer, but the Corvette never is more than 2 seconds back. We push hard. I would like to build a safe lead, but we just can't get away from him. Turns 1 and 2 are very difficult each time. That is the place we need to make up time and it is scarry each time. Drive down low in turn one and put your foot full to the floor. The car slides up the banking toward the concrete wall comming out of turn two, but you have to do it each time or you just don't go fast. Courage my friend...it takes bunches of courage. As we encounter traffic it works to our advantage early in the race, but it works against us late.
With two laps to go, we have led from laps 3 to
43 and I keep thinking, 'you have led most of the race, you damn well better
lead the lap that counts.' We encounter infield traffic and I start around
a car that moves the way I don't expect and I am blocked and the Corvette
is right there. He almost hits me as I move back in front of him and around
the slower car coming through the last turn. 2 laps to go and the Corvette
is not 10 feet behind me. Reach deep. Turn one is tough but this is no
time to be a whimp. Drive in, hold my breath and feel the car slide right
up to the wall. Not 2 feet seperate me from the wall and I will not lift
off the gas. At 140 MPH it looks really hard. But we make it, and the car
doesn't wiggle. We have gained 10 yards on the Corvette as we head back
into the infield. Don't make any mistakes here. My crew chief David
Moore says "One to go...you can do it" and I think, 'I sure hope so'. As
I come out of the infield with one lap to go, I am a tad bit too fast and
the rear of the car slides toward the wall a bit. Correct, lift off the
gas, 'damn it' I have given the Corvette an opening for the last time into
turn 1 and 2. Dig deep again. Same drill. Stay low, gas on hard early and
hope you did it right, you won't get another chance. Perfect. The car gets
right up to the wall and we now have and extra 10 yards. Through the infield.
Back out on the banking and the Corvette is centered in my rear view mirror.
He is clearly behind us and we take the checkered flag. How sweet
it is. On the last lap the crew radios that Archer had been passed and
that he was in forth place. We calculate the points over the radio on the
cool-off lap and we believe we are in the points lead with one race to
go. This was a very tough race. When pushed like this in the
past I might have crumbled, but we didn't have a choice if we hoped to
win the championship. A good drive and a great job by the crew. David once
again did a great job in getting the car ready. Mark and Robie who
helped out over the weekend did a good job getting us through qualifying
and ready for the race and I was happy that David flew in just before the
race to be with us. One race left. Laguna Seca
next weekend. Stay tuned.
For immediate release
October 2, 1999
Colorado Springs Colorado
PETER KITCHAK GAINS ON TOMMY ARCHER IN WORLD CHALLENGE POINTS BATTLE.
Peter Kitchak Qualified 3d for tomorrow's World Challenge GT race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado Springs, Colorado. John Heinricy of Holly Michigan was the top qualifier in a Corvette and Bill Cooper of Boseman Montana, also in a Corvette was Second.
Heinricy, Cooper and Kitchak were within 12 one hundreths of a second of each other, and all were under the previous track record at Pikes Peak International Raceway, set last year by Terry Borcheller.
Points leader Bobby Archer qualified 6th and failed to gain the one championship available to each of the top five qualifiers. Thus, Kitchak narrowed the points gap from 9 to 8 in the Championship series with 2 races remaining.
Kitchak was driving his Keewaydin/Toad Hall Porsche RSR.
Peter Kitchak, of Excelsior, MN, who has won three races in the series at Mid Ohio, Trois Rivieres, Quebec, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, is one of the favorites for the race. Kitchak, was only 15th in the series standings after the first two races, and has steadily improved his position. He is now 2d in the season championship points race.
Complete entry list and qualifying results can be found at http://www.sccapro.com/wc/99/pikespeak/gt-qualifying.html.
The Pikes Peak International World Challenge GT Race is the 9th stop in a ten race series for the World Challenge GT Championship. The race will take place on Sunday at 12:30 PM Mountain Daylight time. Pikes Peak International Raceway, where the race will be held, is a purpose built racing facility near Colorado Springs, and is not the same site as the famed Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The final race will take place next weekend at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.
Kitchak was fastest in the morning session, and second behind Heinricy in a mid-day practice session.
"Qualifying was a tough session," said Kitchak. '"Our chief engineer was not here today and the weather is colder than we expected. We had to make significant changes in the car during the day to get it to be set up properly. We never did find the correct setting and although the car performed well on the BF Goodrich Tires, we still need to do better tomorrow in the race. We are making some additional changes this evening and hope to be quicker tomorrow for the race. We expect to be in contention."
The Speedvision World Challenge GT series is North America’s leading
professional series for exotic production sports cars with a broad spectrum
of manufacturers competing. The series pits top European sports cars
such as Porsche and BMW against the “big iron” from North America, the
8 liter Dodge Vipers, the Corvettes and the Mustang Cobras. Also included
are the best sports cars from Japan with the turbocharged Toyota Supra
and the Acura NSX competing. Eight different manufacturers are now represented
in the top 12 positions in the driver’s points race.
The Toad Hall Motor Racing Porsches are prepared by Moorespeed Race Engineering in Austin, Texas.
David Moore, president of Moorespeed will be the team’s crew chief, manager and chief engineer. Moorespeed is a specialty race car engineering and preparation shop specializing in Porsche and other race cars.
Kitchak won the 1998 24 hours of Daytona GT-2 class in a 600 hp Twin Turbo Porsche. He recently finished 18th overall, 6th in class and was a driver in the top GT-2 Porsche at the 1999 24 Hours of LeMans. Driving in the American LeMans Series for the Germany based team of Konrad Motorsports, he was also 3d in his class at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 3d at the Grand Prix of Atlanta in 1999.
Kitchak was the Canadian American Ice Racing Champion in 1970 (driving a Porsche on the frozen lakes of the US and Canada) and the International Ice Racing Champion in 1973. He did not drive any race cars between 1974 and 1992 when he started his road racing career. At 58 years old, Kitchak is one of the oldest drivers in the field. "Age is not a factor, " he says, "I stay in good shape and am driving better than I ever have."
Kitchak is a resident of Excelsior, Minnesota. He is 58 years old.
For more information during the Race Weekend contact Peter Kitchak 612-889-0910 (cell phone) or David Moore at 512-751-2996 (cell phone).
More information: Toad Hall Motor Racing:
SCCA World Challenge and immediate results: www.sccapro.com
Series Information www.sccapro.com/wc/index.html
The Keewaydin Group: www.keewaydin.com
Race Reports start Saturday October 2. No practice on Friday, practice and qualifying on Saturday October 2.