"I think we could have done better than sixth."
At the start of the 23-lap race, Cunningham lost a spot to the Porsche Cayman S of Jack Baldwin, but was able to move back ahead of him when the turbocharged Kia Optima of Michael Galati came charging through to take the lead. While sitting in second, Cunningham had to balance his pursuit of Galati's Kia against a strong attack from Baldwin and a Chevrolet Camaro driven by Andy Lee. It was during this scrum that Galati's Kia teammate, Colin Braun, worked his way through to second.
Now third, Cunningham set his sights set on the leading Kias, noticing a fair amount of contact between the teammates. The battle between Galati and Braun really heated up with three laps to go, enabling Cunningham to close the gap and leave just enough room so that he could make a move should either Kia falter. On the last lap, the Kia teammates collided in dramatic fashion in the final corner. Cunningham made an evasive maneuver to avoid both cars, which it seemed would let him slip through home free for the finish line. Sadly, the Acura TSX was hit hard on the right side by Braun, sheering off both wheels and leaving Cunningham stopped just a quarter mile from the finish line. He was credited with an eighth-place finish in the final results.
"For a minute I thought 'hey I might have this,' but the hit took off both right wheels and left me dead in the water," lamented Cunningham. "Sometimes you're able to limp to the finish like the Kias did, but I couldn't move an inch. It was incredibly disappointing considering we had a podium for sure."
Esayian's race was equally dramatic, minus the contact. Looking to make up ground quickly after his hasty qualifying run, Esayian was stunned when the car lost all power on the standing start. He would eventually get the Acura re-fired, but was already a third of a lap behind the field. The adventure did not end there.
"I finally get going and arrived at turn one only to discover, I had no ABS!" Esayian recalled. "So, I basically had to re-learn how to drive the car for all 22 laps.
"All things considered, I'm happy we could get a top-five finish, but I wish it didn't have to be because of Peter's accident. It's was really disappointing to not get the finishes these Acuras are capable of, but I think we can get the job done at Laguna Seca."