RACE: National Runoffs: Formula Ford race report

Rubenzer Surprise Winner in Wild Formula Ford Runoffs Race ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 27, 2009) -- Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., captured his first SCCA National Championship in 24 years, winning the Formula Ford race at the National ...

Rubenzer Surprise Winner in Wild Formula Ford Runoffs Race

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 27, 2009) -- Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., captured his first SCCA National Championship in 24 years, winning the Formula Ford race at the National Championship Runoffs after the lead duo crashed in the final turn at Road America. William Valet, of Holbrook, N.Y., and Tom Schwietz Jr., of Winchester, Va., completed the top three.

Rubenzer started fourth in the No. 31 Storage Battery Systems Inc. Citation 95FF and ran third from the start of the race when polesitter Jerermy Treadway's No. 12 Goodyear/Loynings/Stonebridge/Cryo Swift DB-6 failed to accelerate when the green flag flew due to a bad fuel pump. Treadway pulled off at pit out and third-starting Tony Coello, of East Troy, Wis., took the point in his No. 17 pouredfoundations.com/Hoosier Van Diemen RF-01-2 Ford. Coello was not alone, though, as for 51.5 miles of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, he and Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., battled for the top spot.

For the majority of the first 12 laps, second-starting Kautz was scored as the official leader in his No. 88 Braeburn/Hoosier/TwoDogg/Boyce/Nova Piper DF3. But the statistic is deceiving, as Kautz and Coello traded the top spot several times around the four-mile course nearly every lap.

Kautz held the advantage on the final lap, but Coello was primed to try to draft by on the final straightaway. They never made it, though, because entering the final corner on the final lap, the leaders approached a lapped car and tangled trying to get past. With both Kautz and Coello stranded, Rubenzer drove past to score his first National Championship since winning the Formula Vee title in 1985.

Rubenzer won by 14.336-seconds, averaging 99.154 mph.

"I didn't really expect to be here, to be honest with you," Rubenzer said of standing atop the podium. "I've been running pretty good this year, but this weekend the car actually worked really good. In the race, despite that screwy start - that screwed me up, and I dropped back from the front two - I was able to maintain that gap. In fact, I closed on them for a little while but I picked up some leaves on the radiator and everything started running hot. I was really concerned about finishing the race, and I started dropping back.

"I just had a feeling all week that something was going to happen at the end, and I hoped I wasn't part of it. I reaped the benefit today, and sometimes you don't. I just decided which way to go around them and thought 'tough luck, boys, it's my day.' Everyone has their day, and this was mine."

Valet made the most of his first Runoffs experience, bringing his No. 83 Rheingold/Valet Law Firm Swift DB-6 home in second. Four-time Runoffs Champion Schweitz started 11th in his No. 72 Steel Services Piper DF5 and captured his seventh podium finish in third.

David Livingston, of Nashville, Tenn., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing from 17th to fourth in his No. 85 ThermaMasters Swift DB-3. Mike Sauce, of Arlington, Texas, completed the top five in his No. 2 Sportscar Performance/Goodyear Sauce SVM1.

The Formula Ford National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.

-credit: scca

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Series SCCA
Teams HART