Craig Baltzer wins SCCA Pro Racing/WKA Constructors Championship Shootout
Bettendorf, IA (Dec. 22): 2002 WKA/SCCA Constructors Cup and CIK North American ICC Champion, Craig Baltzer took top honors at the SCCA Pro Racing/WKA Constructors Cup Championship Driver shootout December 16th and 17th at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah Georgia. The Skip Barber Scholarship driver won a fully funded seat in the new 2003 Formula SCCA North American Championship using the new SCCA Enterprises, Van Diemen formula car.
The shootout utilized a 2002 Formula Ford Zetec powered Van Diemen package which was being prepared and maintained by Cape Motorsports. Activities started on Monday Dec.16th with Alan Adams, Mike Bailliez, Adam Pecorari, Steve Welk, and Craig Baltzer all doing 30 minute practice sessions to get themselves comfortable with the track and equipment . Baltzer proved to be quickest-setting a time of 1:07.72. Welk and Pecorari were both next at 1:08.00. After being out of a actual race car for 6 years, Michael Bailliez set an impressive time of 1:09.98. Alan Adams in his very first taste of a formula car of any kind, also impressed onlookers with a time of 1:14.50
The first official competition took place on Tuesday morning and would consist of a head-to- head shootout between ICC class champion Baltzer and ICA champion Welk. Each driver would get one 8 lap run on new tires. Judging would be based on a point system with 60% going toward fastest lap and 40% going toward the sessions average lap time. Any driver going off course would be disqualified from their run, effectively dropping them out of contention.
At approximately 9:30a.m. Baltzer was first to hit the track, he was able to improve on his previous days best by 2 seconds, recording a fastest time of 1:05.77 and an average lap of 1:05.93 round the 2.2 mile road course . After fitting new tires, equalizing the overall weight and reapplying the baseline set up to the car, Welk hit the track. The recent ICA champion set a fastest lap of 1:06.52 while averaging 1:06.86.
"To be honest, those were probably the hardest eight laps I have ever driven," said Baltzer, who was only four tenths off the best time put in by 2002 Zetec Championship Runner-Up and Rookie of the Year Jeffrey Jones during a previous multi-day test with Cape Motorsports. "Steve and I were putting in qualifying lap times out there, but we had to focus on never putting a wheel wrong or risk being disqualified from the shootout. Since this was our first time out on stickers, I wasn't sure what kind of lap time it was going to take to win. Once Steve put in four or five laps, I was finally able to relax." Baltzer's exceptional performance earned him the first seat in next season's Formula SCCA North American Championship.
"This has been the fairest and best run shootout that I have participated in," said Baltzer, 18. "I'd like to thank SCCA , WKA and Cape Motorsports for putting on such a great event. Since we all ran the same car, one at a time, it gave us each an equal opportunity to perform."
"I've been very impressed by each of the drivers here today," said Mitch Wright , SCCA Pro Racing Vice President and General Manager. "On only 30 minutes of practice, they each hustled the car around a very fast circuit and didn't put a wheel wrong all day. They can each leave here proud of their performance.
For more information on the 2003 SCCA North American Championship and Constructors Cup championship, please visit www.sccapro.com