RACE: Valvoline Runoffs: Sunday afternoon championship races

By N. Schilke - Motorsport.com Mid-Ohio - Saturday, September 22, 2001 - Temperatures climbed as the sun stayed out today in what turned out to be the best weather day of the week. GT3 Race 20: In what looked to be a good clean start changed...

By N. Schilke - Motorsport.com

Mid-Ohio - Saturday, September 22, 2001 - Temperatures climbed as the sun stayed out today in what turned out to be the best weather day of the week.

GT3 Race 20:
In what looked to be a good clean start changed by the second lap as Wolfgang Maike took the lead over Pete Peterson, John Saurino, Michael Cyphert and Mike Pinegar. Cyphert took over third and Peterson apparently either got bumped or just got loose as he lost several positions. Maike, Saurino, Pinegar, Cyphert, Peterson -- changes in the positions except for first changed every lap. Lots of changes and damage happened in the final laps. Peterson challenged Saurino for the lead after Maike had an earlier spin. Saurino and Peterson came together and Saurino went off and hit the guardrail and lost his spoiler. Cyphert was now in second and started to slow (probable missed gear?) -- Peterson wins his second title ('99).

Top three GT3: Peterson, Central Carolina Region; Maike, California Region; Cyphert, Neohio Region.

The four time National Champion, Peterson said, "Track was pretty greasy; however, the car was great. With three laps to go, the battle between Saurino and myself was pretty good until Saurino got loose or had a different line and came over and we had contact." Maike was having fun even after his spin and he charged back up to second. "I spun and recovered. The goal was to have fun and I had a good time racing my little Toyota which is what I came here to do," said Maike. "Had all-day battles out there and was working hard for the win but my motor went away late in the race -- just happy to bring it home," said Cyphert.

EP Race 21:
Good clean start with at least a field of 39. Track is definitely showing signs of being "greasy" as several cars have gone off course and into the sand plus one four car incident with two staying put -- no injuries. At the halfway point, Pratt Cole lead the way with Grayson Upchurch and Tony Rivera closing on him. Cole pulled away and led the attrition filed race. Upchurch and Rivera maintained their position. 1999 champion, Endicott was one of the many who went off and his day ended early. The Zoom...Zoom.... Mazda of Cole took the checker flag and his second National Championship (first was in 1997).

Top three EP: Cole, San Francisco Region; Upchurch, Atlanta Region; Rivera, Colorado Region.

Cole commented about his run, "Drove the wheels off all race. About halfway into the race, others were spinning off and I had good spotters around track to help me out. This race was sweeter than the first championship. Good racing." Grayson said, "Had nothing for Pratt, tried to get him at the first turn and drove hard the rest of the race." "Had to race as hard as I could to keep up and was glad I got on the podium," said Rivera.

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