Scharf, Black Battle Draft In Inaugural Lunken Runway Enduro CINCINNATI, Ohio (August 19, 2001)-John Black, of Tahoe City, Calif., ruled the draft and out-dueled Keith Scharf, of St. Louis, Mo., to win Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing Pro Spec...
Scharf, Black Battle Draft In Inaugural Lunken Runway Enduro
CINCINNATI, Ohio (August 19, 2001)-John Black, of Tahoe City, Calif., ruled the draft and out-dueled Keith Scharf, of St. Louis, Mo., to win Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing Pro Spec Racer series at the first-ever Lunken Runway Enduro on the runways of Cincinnati's Municipal Lunken Airport. Ohio Buckeye B.J. Zacharias, of Cincinnati, Ohio, completed the top-three.
At the start, Chris Funk, No. 0 Pearl Street Brewery Spec Racer, got the jump from his third starting position and made a move to the front to lead the first lap. But it would be John Black, No. 17 Ascent Racing Spec Racer, who would take over on lap two and extended to a five car-length lead for most of the 22-lap sprint.
The real excitement started mid-way through the race, as Funk would make contact with a fox that tried to scamper across the straightaway. The incident caused Funk to drop back and sent Warren Stilwell, No. 28 Stilwell Racing Spec Racer, off-course as he tried to avoid the animal.
As Black continued to lead the field convincingly, Keith Scharf, No. 82 Tech Hyper-V Spec Racer, slowing began to reel-in the leader. Scharf was involved in an early incident with Steve Rehkemper, No. 7 Rehkemper Racing Spec Racer, that damaged the nose of his machine and caused the temperature gauge to skyrocket to above 230 degrees.
"After the contact with Steve, I had to baby the car because I didn't think the temperature would allow me to keep running as hard as usual," said Scharf, who currently leads the championship point standings.
But that didn't seem to slow Scharf down, as he closed in on the leader Black with only two laps to go. Scharf acquired the draft and pushed his car to the limit as he went around Black in turn nine with only one to go.
"That was the point where I said it's all or nothing," said Scharf. "We are either going to blow this thing up or win the whole thing."
Black had other ideas though. He knew that with one lap remaining in a race where the draft seemed to make you or break you, second would be the place to be.
"When Keith went around me with one to go, I said 'perfect'," said Black who was fourth in the points coming into today's race. "I actually didn't want to lead at that point knowing what the draft would do for me."
Black's strategy paid off, as he utilized the draft from second place and took the lead back on the very last turn to bring home his first win off the season. Zacharias, No. 31 Champion Autogroup/Lindell Motorsports Spec Racer, made a picturesque pass on Funk in the last turn to finish on the podium.
"With one to go, Funk was in front of me going in the last corner," said Zacharias. "I made the old outside-inside fake under braking and it worked."
Chris Funk, of Kansas City, Mo., and Warren Stilwell, of Hartville, Ohio, brought there machines in fourth and fifth, respectively, to completed the top-five.
The battle for the point race heats up as Black moves from fourth to third over Jim Goughary Jr. (71 to 67) with only two races remaining. Goughary Jr. was sent to the rear of the grid yesterday after failing post qualifying technical inspection and chose not to start today's race.
With the second place finish, Scharf extends his championship lead to 25 (120 to 95) over Stilwell.
Following the race, Neil Tilbor, No. 8 Taiyo Edge R/C Spec Racer, who finished seventh, was moved to the back of the field as his car did not meet post-race technical inspection.
The KML Greased Lightning Award of $300 went to Robey Clark, of Dallas, Texas.
Clark, No. 53 KC Racing Team Spec Racer, started from the 19th spot and finished 10th.