Sunday, May 27, 2001

Auto Racing Insider


Delhi native living childhood dream

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kevin Doran grew up in Pete Rose country, but he didn't dream of becoming a Red. Instead, he wanted to be Roger Penske.

        “I've been in racing, I guess, since I was about 5 years old,” said Doran, a Delhi native who's now 40. “As a kid, one of my buddies and I had it figured out. He'd be the driver, I'd be the owner, and we'd have our own race team.”

        His buddy moved on to other things, but Doran has become a major-league car owner.

        His Doran Lista race team, based in Cincinnati, is one of the top teams on the Grand American Road Racing circuit.

        Last weekend, Doran's Ferrari team won the prestigious Six Hours of the Glen endurance race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., featuring drivers Fredy Lienhard (Doran's co-owner), Mauro Baldi (a For mula One veteran) and Didier Theys (former Indy-car driver).

        Doran moves in the same circles as Penske and other major car owners. In the annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race — which Doran has won four times - his drivers have included two-time Indy 500 winners Al Unser Jr. and Arie Luyendyk.

        Doran's resume includes numerous victories on the Grand-Am road circuit. Last year, his team finished second in the owners' points race.

        Doran's late father, Jim, was a big name in Cincinnati racing. Jim Doran raced at local tracks as an owner and car builder and ran the old Queen City Speedway until it closed in 1988.

        Kevin once drove at Cincinnati-area short tracks.

        “I realized I could do better as a crew chief,” he said.

        Doran worked the Indy 500 pits right out of high school, as part of Pancho Carter's crew in the early 1980s. He was crew chief for Lyn St. James at Indy two years ago.

        His team's success has helped Doran outgrow the current Doran Racing facilities, in an industrial complex off Fields-Ertel Road. This summer, Doran will open a new facility in Lebanon.

        “The race we just won is one of the top road races in the country, along with Daytona, Sebring and Atlanta,” Doran said. “And now we're getting ready to open our new place. The dreams I had as a kid ... this is all part of that.”

        LANIGAN AGAIN: Darrell Lanigan (Union, Ky.) finished sixth in last week's ARCA stock-car race at Charlotte, N.C. He also finished sixth in Kentucky Speedway's ARCA race May 12.

        At Charlotte, Lanigan charged from an 18th-place start and finished on the lead lap.

        FULTZ HOPES: Jeff Fultz, the Blue Ash native who made his first NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying effort at Charlotte on Thursday night, said he will be back.

        Fultz, 30, failed to qualify for tonight's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

        As a one-car team with a limited budget, Fultz's effort was restricted by the loss of his qualifying motor in practice Tuesday.

        “We had to run the race motor in qualifying, and you lose about 40 horsepower,” he said. “If we had that, I think we might have gotten in.”

        Fultz, a star on the NASCAR Gatorade All-Pro regional circuit, plans more Winston Cup qualifying attempts later this year, perhaps at Michigan and then Charlotte again.

        Fultz said Richard Childress, car owner for the late Dale Earnhardt and several others, spoke to him at Charlotte.

        “He said I ran a perfect (practice) line,” Fultz said. “I think he's gonna run four teams next year, and he might be looking for drivers.”

        Fultz wants to become the first Greater Cincinnatian to make a Winston Cup race since the early 1990s, when former Hamilton driver Rodney Combs competed.

        E-mail tgroeschen@enquirer.com.

       



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