Ruck Takes F Production Title and SCCA Super Sweep
By: SCCA PR staff
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 26, 2010) -- Kevin Ruck, of Delaware, Ohio, used skill and a little bit of luck to win the F Production National Championship and SCCA Super Sweep at Road America. Rick Harris, of Derby, Kan., and Bill Wessel, of Madison, Wis., completed the podium at the 2010 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America Presented by Subway.
Starting third in the No. 73 Hoosier Tire/Engineered Performance Acura Integra, Ruck was charging from the drop of the green flag, taking over the second spot in Turn One as Gumout Polesitter Steve Sargis, from Frankfort, Ill., sped off into the distance in his No. 18 SBS Batteries/Goodyear Tire Triumph Spitfire.
Ruck soon had his hands full with the No. 8 JPM/Goodyear/Red Line Oil of Harris and while the pair fought for the runner-up spot, they were caught by the No. 7 JP Motorsports/Hoosier/ESCP/FIGHT-MS Mazda Miata of Eric Prill, from Topeka Kan.
"I was in third gear at the start and it jumped especially with the cool air today," Ruck said. "My goal was to suck up on Steve and just focus on him and know where he was going to go. The guys in the Miatas got in formation behind me and caught up in back of me."
The two-car battle became a three-car dog fight on lap six, when Harris ran wide in Turn Seven, allowing Prill to get by in Turn Eight. Ruck, Prill and Harris continued to shuffle positions as Sargis opened up a lead of more than eight seconds. On lap eight, however, it was clear that Sargis' car was slowing and his gap to second-place Ruck shrunk quickly. When the battle for second arrived at the back straight, it instantly became a battle for the lead, as the trio blew past Sargis, who had slowed to a crawl.
"[Sargis] never checked out so far that we couldn't see him," Ruck said. "I was looking up and thought 'it looks like he's a little closer.' Then, coming through Five he was just at the top of the hill. Then, I looked ahead to Turn Eight expecting to see his car digging out of Turn Eight and it wasn't. We came through the Kink and he just moved over. It took me about half a lap before I realized (I was in the lead) and I asked 'how many laps are left?'"
With the lead now on the line, Prill made the pass on Harris for second and sailed off in pursuit of Ruck.
"Eric [Prill] and I went back and forth, actually helping each other," Harris said. "Miatas line up real well. He has a different gear box and I know where he is faster and where I am faster. I just had to take it on the chin in a few corners but, that was what I had to do."
Prill closed the gap on Ruck, but his run ended prematurely on lap 10, when his Miata ran wide in Turn 12, then looped around and backed into the tire wall.
In only his second-career Runoffs race, the pressure was now on Ruck to pick his way through lapped traffic and bring it home for the win. The traffic allowed Harris to close on Ruck some in the closing corners of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, but at the checkered flag it was Ruck by 0.930-second, averaging 93.406 mph.
"I was trying to concentrate on getting the best run onto the straightaways," Ruck recalled. "Through One the Miata's were better. The car did good through fourteen and up the hill."
Ruck was also a Super Sweep winner, collecting the Great Lakes Division Division FP Championship, the FP National Points Championship, a key National race win and the Runoffs victory.
It was the third-straight podium finish for Harris, who won FP in his 2008 Runoffs debut and finished runner-up in 2009.
Wessel drove an uneventful race from eighth to third in the No. 47 Goodyear/Nissan Datsun SPL 311. It was his first podium finish since 2004 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"From the start, I fell back a few spots until the old girl cleared her throat," Wessel said. "I think I made my way back to fifth and then from there on it was just some gifts that fell my way. I ran most of the way by myself."
Bob Bramlage, of Junction City, Kan., came home fourth in the No. 83 Spark Wraps/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata.
Sam Henry, of Republic, Mo., was fifth in the No. 37 SpringfeildDyno/SafeRcer/ Goodyear Mazda Miata.
Gerald Lamb, Paul Kullman, Dieter Griesinger, Brian Linn and Serge Lentz completed the top 10.
Before retiring, Sargis set the fastest lap of the race, a record 2:31.590 (94.993 mph).
Michael Engelke, of Chilton, Wis., was named the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race, advancing 16 positions from 28th on the grid to 12th at the finish.
Now in its 47th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial.
source: sports car club of america