CRA: Kauffman captures championship at IRP, race summary

Scott Hantz wins Sunoco 100, Joel Kauffman captures Championship Kauffman finishes two points ahead of Hanley in dlosest Championship. Clermont, Ind. (October 20, 2002) - Scoring his second victory of the 2002 Sunoco Super Series season, Scott...

Scott Hantz wins Sunoco 100, Joel Kauffman captures Championship
Kauffman finishes two points ahead of Hanley in dlosest Championship.

Clermont, Ind. (October 20, 2002) - Scoring his second victory of the 2002 Sunoco Super Series season, Scott Hantz drove to winner's circle at Indianapolis Raceway Park in the Sunoco 100 presented by ASI Limited. Hantz made the final pass for the race lead on lap 60, bypassing Junior Hanley. Hantz then held off rookie Bobby Murany to win his ninth career event and his first at the legendary oval. With Joel Kauffman placing seventh and Junior Hanley finishing third, Kauffman won the series championship by two points. This was the closest margin in history of the Sunoco Super Series.

"The story of my season was bad qualifying and this weekend I finally started in the top 10. We had a great car and made it to the winner's circle," said race winner Scott Hantz, who was congratulated by team owner Richard Poe.

Taking advantage of his pole position-starting slot, Junior Hanley darted into the lead spot at the drop of the green flag. Chet Fillip raced in second place with Joel Kauffman, Evan Jackson and Brent Downey rounding out the top five. On the third circuit, 2000 series champion and rookie of the year took sixth place from Chuck Barnes Jr. Then Hantz advanced around Brent Downey and Evan Jackson to grab fourth place by lap 10.

As Hantz made his charge to the front, it was halted when the first of a record tying low number of three caution period occurred on lap 10 when Rick Turner spun his number 26 Great Deals Coupon Magazine Pontiac. When the green flag reappeared, Hantz powered around Kauffman to grab third position. Then on the 19th go-around, Hantz wheeled the EMF Corporation Chevrolet into second position, passing Chet Fillip.

The second caution period occurred on lap 24, when Turner was again involved in spin on the .686-mile oval. After series flagman Keith Ousley displayed the green flag, Hantz and then race leader Hanley began battling for the first position of the Sunoco 100. After spending 19 circuits trying to find a way around Hanley, the event saw a lead change.

Utilizing the upper groove, Hantz drove deep into turn one, pulling beside the number 66 Chevrolet of Hanley. Then exiting the second corner, Hantz completed the pass and was scored as the race leader on the 47th lap. It then looked as Hantz would begin to distance himself from Hanley and the remainder of the field.

While attempting to put a lap on Kris Deckard, Hantz lost the top spot to Hanley on the 51st circuit. Hanley was able to hold the top position, until Hantz again took the top position, with a similar move coming off the second corner.

Rookie Bobby Murany made a charge from his 25th starting position. Murany took seventh position from Bobby Parsley near lap 60 and then Murany also passed Brent Downey on the same lap to advance to sixth.

After retaking the lead of the event, Hantz then pulled away. The final caution period occurred on the 76th circuit when Tom Hernley Jr. spun in the first corner. Through the closing stages of the event, Hantz pulled away from second-place finisher Murany. Trying on several occasions, Hanley attempted to pass Murany for the second place. Hanley was unable to complete the pass and settled for third position. Hanley's third place finish, and Kauffman's seventh place finish, Kauffman captured his first series championship by two points.

Fourth-place honors went to Berlin Raceway Track Champion Fred Campbell. Chet Fillip finished in fifth with Bobby Parsley, Joel Kauffman, Brent Downey, Brian Campbell and Sam Breedlove rounding out the top five.

Joel Kauffman recorded his sixth pole and was the fastest of 50 cars to earn the Tobacco Depot Fast Qualifier Award. Kauffman of LaGrange, Ind., toured the .686-mile oval in 21.775 seconds / 113.414 mph. Bobby Murany was the winner of the Lane Automotive/K&N Performance Filters Hard Charger, finishing in second position after starting in 25th spot. Bobby Murany was the Hubler Group/Blake Carburetion Rookie of the Race. Bobby Murany and Brian Campbell were the winners of the Goodyear Performance Awards. Scott Hantz was the winner of the Sweet Move the Race.

-cRA-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Chet Fillip , Joel Kauffman