ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (May 20, 2012) – David Gronke and Bob Schneider closed out three competitive days of Pirelli Cayman Interseries Endurance Cup Championship racing Sunday with victories in the featured sprint race of the Spring Vintage Weekend at Road America.
Gronke, entered as Pro driver this weekend with teammate Steve Jenkins, drove solo in the sprint in his No. 8 white and light-blue striped Cayman S modeled after a Blaupunkt/Joest Racing Porsche 962. Gronke was cool under pressure from more than one Pirelli Cayman Interseries competitor and led his Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR) teammate Wayne Nykyforchyn across the finish line.
Nykyforchyn, also entered as a Pro this weekend co-driving with road racing legend Jack Baldwin, has now earned at least one podium finish in the last three Pirelli Cayman Interseries races he has contested, dating back to last year’s season-ending race at Daytona International Speedway. Like Gronke, he was required to drive the sprint race solo in his white and red No. 11 Cayman S that runs the colors of a Marlboro/Joest Racing Porsche 956.
Schneider topped a Sportsman class field that include Friday night’s overall BADGER 200 Enduro winner Bill Riddell. Schneider had the edge in Sunday’s sprint, however, with a winning performance in his No. 40 Cayman S, themed after the famous Martini & Rossi “Baby” Porsche 935 and prepared by Chris Smith Racing.
Sprint runner-up Riddell, the reigning Pirelli Cayman Interseries Sportsman Champion, capped a great weekend in his RaceLink Cayman S that started with the 50-lap endurance race win Friday evening. Riddell topped not only the Pro Pirelli Cayman Interseries competitors but also every other competitor in the 200-mile race for production and GT cars. Riddell’s green and white-striped No. 80 Cayman S pays tribute to a David Piper Racing Porsche 917K.
Schneider and Riddell were joined on the Sportsman podium by Chuck Smithee, who joined Nykyforchyn in building a three race-weekend podium streak dating back to the 2011 Daytona finale in his white No. 25 Cayman S that pays tribute to the Le Mans-winning Mobil 1 Porsche GT-1. Smithee teams with Schneider at Chris Smith Racing and each driver podiumed this weekend in both the Enduro and the Sprint.
Fourth-place in the Sportsman sprint went to Jeffrey Chelepis in the Ron Rashinski-owned PNR-prepared No. 6 blue and yellow Cayman S that is modeled after the all-conquering Sunoco/Penske Racing Porsche 917-30.
Chelepis and Rashinski won the JRZ Suspension Engineering Fine Tuning Award for their improved performance in Friday’s endurance race and Pirelli Cayman Interseries competitors were showered with even more bonus awards on Sunday. Gronke’s winning run earned him the WeatherTech Floor Liners “Ultimate Protection Move of the Race Award” while Sportsman race winners Riddell and Schneider split the Pirelli Tire Bonus Awards, each earning a pair of P Zero racing tires.
Sunday’s sprint actually saw true-professional driver Kevin Gleason cross the finish line first in a red and white No. 14 Cayman S, which pays tribute to a Richard Lloyd Racing Canon Porsche 956, which he shared this weekend with his father Chris Gleason. Both Gleasons have raced and won in several professional series, including victories in GRAND-AM Road Racing competition, and the younger Gleason competed in a non-points capacity Sunday morning. Chris Gleason also drove the No. 14 to a win in Saturday’s qualifying sprint race.
The Road America race was the inaugural event of the 2012 Pirelli Triple Crown Championship which also includes this year’s Pirelli Cayman Interseries races at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and Sebring International Raceway. Among the prizes for the winner of this exclusive “championship within a championship” will be a VIP trip for two to the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, November 16 – 18, at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, courtesy of Pirelli Tire North America and Napleton Porsche of Westmont.
Next up for the Pirelli Cayman Interseries Endurance Cup Championship is Round 4 of the 2012 series at the Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York, July 28 – 30.