Richard Matthews fights for second.
2002 SCCA South Atlantic Road Racing and Southeast Invitational Club Formula Continental Champion Richard Matthews drove brilliantly to come home in second place in this year's American Road Race of Champions. Matthews started second overall and first in class after beating the class track record in qualifying. He held the early lead but faded when he lost his brakes on the first lap. Eventual class winner Brian Burke of Rochester Hills, MI passed Richard while he was trying to adapt to a car without brakes. Richard quickly learned to use the gearbox and tire scrub to slow the car and re-took the class lead. He got down to 1:33 lap times, quicker than all other class qualifiers, without any brakes! Eventually the strain on the gearbox became too much and it blew on the second last lap, leaving Brian Burke to a well-earned and deserved victory. Richard brought the car home and coasted to a stop just after the finish line.
In an interview after the race Matthews said: "I had two goals for the weekend. One was to break the class lap record held by Keith Roberts. The other was, of course, to win the ARRC. My qualifying time of 1:29.5 easily beat Roberts 1:30.2 and I should have been the one to beat in CFC. I had an agreement with my crew that once I got into the 29's in qualifying I would back off and come in to the pits. Unfortunately the radio was not working well so I did not hear that I did a 29 and I crashed on the very next lap. The car was badly damaged and making the race was doubtful. My crew and I worked most of the night as well as race day rebuilding the car. Countless competitors and workers came by to offer their help or moral support. Without them I would not have made the race. I asked SCCA for one hardship lap to test the brakes, as I had to replace all three master cylinders as well as some brake line. They were too busy to be bothered and said no and then I lost my brakes on lap one. It was a tough race and a real disappointment, although I do want to congratulate Brian on his win. He and his crew went out of their way to help us get back on the track."
Besides being the 2002 SARRC and SIC champion, Matthews also set lap records at Roebling Road and Carolina Motorsports Park in his first year of open wheel competition. Previously he races IT-7 for two years. ARRC likely marks the end of Richards SCCA Club Racing career. He is looking at options for turning professional next year.
Concludes Matthews: "This has really been a dream year. I have really learned a lot and grown tremendously as a driver. Special thanks have to go first to my parents. They have supported me 100% and made all this possible. I'd also like to thank my girlfriend Maggie as well as Andy Brumbaugh, my driver coach and engineer. Everyone has put a lot into this season and I will never forget it."