RACE: National Runoffs: Goodyear preview

SCHUTTE USES DIRT RACING TO IMPROVE SPORTS CAR EFFORTS TOPEKA, Kansas (Oct. 7, 2008) -- The conventional racing wisdom tells young racing drivers that they can best learn car control by racing on dirt. ...

SCHUTTE USES DIRT RACING TO IMPROVE SPORTS CAR EFFORTS

TOPEKA, Kansas (Oct. 7, 2008) -- The conventional racing wisdom tells young racing drivers that they can best learn car control by racing on dirt.

Alex Schutte, the 19-year-old Californian, figures old-fashioned logic works and he found a way to race in both Sports Car Club of America's Formula Ford class and sprint cars. The kid knows what he's doing. He won five races in five starts in the SCCA's San Francisco Region this season and qualified to race in the SCCA's National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka this week.

Schutte, who uses Goodyear tires on his SCCA car, is making his first appearance at the Runoffs. He lives in the Northern California city of Redding and attends Shasta College.

"We've been really pleased with the grip level of the Goodyears, especially in the first two heat cycles," Alex Schutte said.

The Runoffs event is America's amateur racing national championship. There are more than 8,000 licensed drivers in the SCCA and the top drivers in each class in each region earn an invitation to the Runoffs. The winner of each Runoffs race is a national champion.

Qualifying for the Runoffs started Monday and continues through Thursday. Racing starts Friday.

Schutte said Monday before his qualifying session, "We're right near the front of the field. I think it's one of the most competitive fields in the Runoffs, Formula Ford. I guess we'll find out."

Monday's Formula Ford qualifying session was not informative because of rain and most drivers in the class did not even take their cars on the track. Each class has three qualifying sessions during the week.

Schutte's father, Carl Schutte, raced motorcycles and karts and now supports Alex's racing. The Formula Ford that Alex drives is owned by Jon Brandstad.

Alex Schutte decided to try sprint cars in 2007 after starting his career in Formula Ford in 2006. This season he sandwiched his Formula Ford racing around driving in sprint car races in the Midwest and California, driving for team owner Cory Kruseman's driver development program.

"I was telling my Dad how much more comfortable I am with a loose racecar," the younger Schutte said. "I actually prefer it now. It doesn't bind up the car as much when it's loose."

More information on Goodyear Racing is available at www.racegoodyear.com. More information on the SCCA National Championship Runoffs is available at www.scca.com.

-credit: goodyear racing

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Series SCCA
Drivers Cory Kruseman