26 move on to next round in quest of Chicago Region Triple Crown ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (June 22, 2003) -- Twenty-six wins, a 40th birthday celebration, and three days later, it's over. As awards were being handed out and trailers were being...
26 move on to next round in quest of Chicago Region Triple Crown
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (June 22, 2003) -- Twenty-six wins, a 40th birthday celebration, and three days later, it's over. As awards were being handed out and trailers were being packed up, the 48th Kohler/SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints® ended on Sunday with some hopes of a Chicago Region Triple Crown being dashed and others just beginning.
There were several surprises along the way, making the event at Road America memorable for many. Brad Stout kept his hopes of a second Chicago Region Triple Crown alive and joined 25 other winners in their pursuit for the award, but surprisingly to many, past winners Brian Kelm and Mike Cyphert weren't among them.
After three morning final qualifying rounds for Groups Seven, Eight and Nine, Group Three's Formula Fords and Formula 500's got the day's racing schedule started. The FF class didn't miss a beat, placing the first eight final positions with John LaRue, of Muncie, Ind., taking the checkered flag by better than four-and-a-half seconds over Jason Byers', of Livonia, Mich., Hoosier/RSR Racing Van Diemen RF99. Tom Reinsel wrapped up the top three. LaRue qualified second and never dropped below third in the 13-lap race. Justin Pritchard led the most laps during the race, but on the 12th lap, found out first-hand how fast Canada Corner can end a race day when he was forced off course while battling for the lead.
"I'm really fortunate to have these guys," said LaRue, referring to his competition. "There were three cars out there which were absolutely amazing. We all gave each other room when we were passing but we did learn that you can't put three (cars) into Canada Corner at one time. I'm just lucky I was on the outside and was able to get out."
F500 competitor Justin Gaver, of Milwaukee, Wis., snuck into the top 10, ninth overall. Gaver, who qualified second in his Zorn-Cochrane KBS MK7, won the F500 class going away, grabbing the lead away from pole-sitter Calvin Stewart, of Novi, Mich., by lap four and never giving it away. Stewart didn't finish the race, dropping out on lap six. Rusty Cook, of Stone Mountain, Ga., drove his way to second behind Gaver, and 14th overall. Steve Jondal, of Somerset, Wis., grabbed the bronze trophy.
"I had a rough start," said Gaver. "But it all came together midway through and we pulled it out. We worked hard to get this together and it paid off."
In Group Four, the largest group of the Sprints, which crowned six separate class winners, it was more a test of longevity than speed, especially in E Production, where top-qualifier Tony Rivera couldn't make it to the end, spinning on the track (after braking hard in order to avoid another car) and smacking a wall during lap seven at the beginning of the front straightaway. Rivera walked away from the accident, but was diagnosed with a concussion after being examined by medical personal. It was a disappointing end for Rivera, who had come into the race posting two record-breaking qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday.
With Rivera out, the door swung wide open for the rest of a field that also battered the old track qualifying mark set by Rivera in 2001. Second-qualifier, David Lemon, of Signal Hill, Calif., claimed the win by more than five seconds in his Mazdatrix/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-7. Lemon broke out early and led start-to-finish to capture the EP Sprints crown. Jon Brakke, of Fargo, N.D., ran his Calibrated Combustion Motorsports Mazda Miata to second place and Ken Kannard, of East Troy, Wis., finished third. Brakke's brother, Mark, of Coon Rapids, Minn., grabbed fourth.
Steve Sargis, of Frankfort, Ill., never trailed in his Hoosier Tires/SBS Batteries Triumph Spitfire and blew out the rest of the F Production class, finishing four spots ahead of the next FP entry, Maple Park, Ill.-resident Dieter Griesinger's Spitfire 1500. Sargis' run also gave him a spot in the top 10, finishing eighth overall.
Jonathan Goodale, of Conifer, Colo., who qualified fourth in his TRRotorsport/Hoosier/Bimmerhaus Susuki Swift GTI, made his move in the later stages of the race and took advantage of a mistake by then-leader Karl McColl to win the G Production event. He finished 22nd overall. McColl led the first eight laps and had a sizeable lead, but went off course on lap 12 and did not finish, giving Goodale the chance to be first.
Robert Nelson, Rockton, Ill., brought home the GT4 crown with an impressive run on Sunday. He guided his Team Hurley Racing/Abbott Plastics Nissan Sentra to a 16th place finish overall.
Jim Dentici, of Oconomowoc, Wis., captured the GT5 first-place award and placed 19th overall. Dentici's Fiat 128 3P also was the fastest in the qualifying sessions.
Jerry Lee Oleson, of Aurora, Colo., also made a sweep of the weekend by placing first in the H Production class race after posting the highest qualifying time of the class over the weekend.
Group Five won the award for longest delay of the event when Michael Reupert impacted a wall in his class DSR Prince SR5 on the front straightaway just as the race was beginning. The incident caused debris to fly on to the track, forcing a 30-minute delay so that the starting grid could be reset and restarted.
After the restart, Rennie Clayton, of San Francisco, Calif., ran his Hoosier Tire/Toyota Ralt RT41 to the overall win along with the Formula Atlantic class title. He beat out Tom Jagemann, of Two Rivers, Wis., who was in his Jagemann Stamping Co Ralt RT41 ride. Three more FA cars completed the top five. Brian French, of Sheboygan, Wis., Bernie Sunier, of St. Louis, Mo., and Jim Gustafson, of Sussex, Wis., filled in the remaining spots.
In the C Sports Racer Class, Jeff Miller, of neighboring Plymouth, Wis., won the class title in his Kohler/Millennium/Hoosier/Cyclo Wynnfurst. Keith Young, Jr., of Dallas, Texas, and Canadian Jacek Mucha, of Laval, Que., joined Miller on the podium.
In D Sports Racing, Jay Lovett, of Deerfield, Ill., kept his dreams of a Chicago Region Triple Crown alive after winning the DSR class in his Rehabmoney.com Stohr DSR02. Behind him, Jason Miller, of Plymouth, Wis., and James Boehm, of St. Louis, Mo., finished second and third, respectively.
The S2000 class competition was tight, but John Burke, of Rumson, N.J. pulled away for the victory in his Rumson Capital Carbir CS2. Hometown racer Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., finished second and Mark Mercer III finished third.
In Group Six, neither the Formula Continental nor the Formula Mazda race was decided until the final four miles. It took a while to get the cars moving, but after a five-lap, full-course caution, the last lap of the race flew under the green flag, meaning an all out sprint to the finish. Dave Weitzenhof, of Bath, Ohio, qualified second and led after the first lap in his ICP/Quicksilver Racengines Citation 95SF. He dropped back to second after that behind Mike Andersen's Good year/Valvoline/Pi Research/PFC Van Dieman RF 00. Andersen led the next 11 laps before Weitzenhof used the yellow to close the gap between himself and Andersen. As soon as the green flag was dropped, Weitzenhof jumped to the inside of Andersen and scooted past him before the pair made it to turn one. Weitzenhof never relinquished the lead after that.
"I was a rocket down the straights and (Andersen) was better in the corners," said Weitzenhof. "But if we wouldn't have had the yellow flag, I don't think we would have caught him. But that's the way racing goes sometimes."
In the FM class, Fabio Castellani, of Streamwood, Ill., led every lap but the important one. Right as the restart began at the start of Lap 12, James Bach, of Saukville, Wis., went right past Castellani's Pro-One Motorsports car and took the checkered flag. Standing by his B-K Motorsports Inc. winner, Bach was all smiles after the race.
"At the restart, we got a good start and were able to hold off a guy at turn five," said Bach. "This is my first Sprints win ever and I'm just thrilled."
The Group Seven race was red flag/checkered after 10 laps of the originally scheduled 13 laps when Andrew Stabeley's, of Walnut, Calif., Ford Mustang lost his brakes at turn eight, went off course and straddled a tire wall where David Venhaus', of West Allis, Wis., , Ford Mustang, which also reported lost brakes, was being assisted. Venhaus was out of his car and away from the area when Stabeley encountered the wall.
After the mess was cleared and provisional results were released, Bobby Archer, of Ft. Worth, Texas, in his Superclubs/RedlineOil/Hoosier/Cyclo 01 Dodge Viper, was declared the overall winner of the race, followed closely by second-place finisher David Roush's Kumho Tires/RedlineOil/Hawk Cyclo 99 Chevrolet Corvette. Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., finished third overall and took the American Sedan class crown in his Lane Automotive/RedlineOil/Goodyear 01 Chevrolet Corvette. Top qualifier, Scotty White, who had run the fastest class qualifying times ever at Road America, had his day end with a flat tire. (Note -- As of 9:15 p.m., officials had yet to determine the official race finish order.)
In the qualifying sessions, Scotty White's record-breaking qualifying run in the first session on Saturday gave him the pole for Sunday's race. White was joined on the front row by Archer after Archer leaped into the second qualifying spot with the fastest qualifying time of the second session on Sunday morning. Cindy Lux, of Puyallup, Wash., qualified third even though she improved her time from Saturday. The second session was cut short with several cars needing assistance off of the course.
Stan Wilson, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., won the T2 class in his KumhoTires/CarboTech/Tom Oates Chevy 01 Chevrolet Corvette and finished ninth overall.
"I got a good start and got some good spacing," said Wilson. "I came up over the hill at turn seven and saw the red flag. And that was it."
The Group Eight race, featuring GT1, GT2 and GT3, was at least a little better following the hectic finish to the Group Seven event. For the first time all day (to that point), not one full-course caution was flown and those who were supposed to challenge didn't disappoint. Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., broke away from the field in his Hoosier Tire/Baumgart's Tire Chevrolet Corvette and easily won the race overall by more than 27 seconds. Ebben started on the front row along side pole-sitter Brian Kubinski's Hoosier Tire/Diamond Construction/ACI Chevrolet Corvette. Kubinski, of Plainfield, Ill., finished second overall, well off of Ebben's pace. Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, completed the GT1-swept podium.
In the GT3 class, Mike Cyphert, the only Chicago Region Triple Crown winner from a year ago, chose not to run in the second qualifying session in the morning, meaning an all-day wait before firing up his RedLine Oil/Toyota Motorsports/TRD Toyota Celica. Cyphert started on the front row alongside front-qualifier Rob Warkocki, who beat Cyphert's Saturday time of 2:28.486 with a Sunday morning run of 2:28.322. In the race, Warkocki, of Frankfort, Ill., and Cyphert, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, ran neck-and-neck before Warkocki dashed across the finish stripe about half of a car length ahead of Cyphert, spoiling Cyphert's chance at a back-to-back Chicago Region Triple Crown. The two finished 20th and 21st, respectively.
In G2, John Stott, of Norco, Calif., held off James Ferro, of Minooka, Ill., his taking his first step toward the Crown. Stott completed 13 of the 15 scheduled laps in his Apex Motorsports/Mazda Speed Mazda RX-7 and averaged 94.871 mph.
In the last race of the day, Group 9 featured the Spec Racer Fords. Derek Schofield, of Lakeland, FL drove his Philadelphia Mfg Co/PM Racing-sponsored ride to the victory over Scott Goolsbey, of Dublin, Ohio. Jean-Luc Liverato, of Mableton, Ga., finished third.
For complete results of the 48th Kohler/SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints® including official times and finish orders, visit www.scca.com/amateur/club_racing/03junesprints/index.html.