Cunningham Outlasts Foes for 40th WC Victory
Cunningham, who had already locked up the inaugural GTS Drivers’ Championship, and RealTime Acura teammate Nick Esayian, who had already clinched the second spot in the points, knew the outcome of this race wouldn’t affect either’s year-end status, so they were racing for pride and the ‘W’.
The matching Acura TSXs lined up first and fourth, but after the standing start drag race down the long front straightaway to Turn 1, a swarm of rear-wheel-drive GTS competitors drove past, knocking them back to sixth and ninth.
Cunningham worked his way back through the field to third by the end of the first lap. But as he and Ernie Jakobowski’s Porsche Cayman were battling for position, the Corvette of Kyle Kelley drafted past as they crossed the starting line to begin Lap 2 of the 21-lap sprint around the 3.08-mile perimeter circuit.
After dispatching the Porsche, the Acura gave chase to the Corvette and on Lap 6 found its way by. Now up to second place, Cunningham began to reel in the leader, 17-year-old Ben Crosland, in a Ford Mustang FR500S.
By the 13th lap, the TSX was pressuring the Mustang and finally found an open door approaching the final corner. The two raced side-by-side cleanly onto the front straight and Cunningham was able to keep the lead and edge away from there.
Meanwhile, Esayian was filtering through the pack in similar fashion, moving up to fifth by Lap 5 and to fourth on Lap 7. As the race ran caution-free, Nick did his best to catch the third place Mustang of George Winkler. With a lap to go he had him in sights but ran out of time, missing the podium for only the third time in 2010.
On the strength of the two RealTime cars scoring 10 poles and 19 top-three finishes throughout the year, Acura collects its ninth World Challenge Manufacturers’ Championship, breaking the tie with Porsche, which owns eight.
Catch all the action from the Miller race in a two hour special on VERSUS, October 30th at 3:00p Eastern.
The RealTime Racing team is sponsored by Acura Motorsports, Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, Sparco, Hawk Performance, Brembo, A-SPEC, BOSCH, and Total Auto Body.