RACE: National Runoffs: Friday races report

First Nine Champions Crowned At SCCA Runoffs TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2006) -- The first nine Champions were crowned Friday at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas -- As Big As You Think at Heartland Park Topeka. The day...

First Nine Champions Crowned At SCCA Runoffs

TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2006) -- The first nine Champions were crowned Friday at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas -- As Big As You Think at Heartland Park Topeka. The day saw five drivers score their maiden titles, while three drivers successfully defended their 2005 crowns.

Race One: C Sports Racing

Polesitter Hans Peter, of Overland, Park, Kan., won his first C Sports Racing National Championship at the SCCA National Championship in convincing fashion. Mark Jaremko, of Spokane, Wash., and Wade Carter, of Woodinville, Wash., completed the top three.

Driving the No. 74 Swift .008 Viking, Carter grabbed the early lead from the outside of row one heading into the first corner. He would hold the lead until Peter passed him in Turn Six on lap four.

Once Peter took the lead in his No. 66 Phenix Label Swift. 014 Viking, he put on an impressive driving display opening up nearly a 7.5-second lead on lap 13 of the 18 lap race. With a comfortable lead over second-place finisher Jaremko, Peter did not have to push the car and didn't, as Jaremko narrowed the lead to a little more than three seconds on the last lap. Although Peter captured his first national championship by only 1.826-seconds over Jaremko, Peter was never seriously challenged throughout the race.

Race Two: GT-2

Wayland Joe, of South Barrington, Ill., claimed his first GT-2 Championship at the 2006 SCCA National Championship. Michael Muren, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Tom Patton, of Hamilton, Ohio, completed the podium at Heartland Park Topeka.

Joe made quick work of polesitter Muren and put his No. 99 Soak Porsche GT3 Cup into the lead on the opening lap. From there it was a nose-to-tail battle between Joe and the No. 96 Porsche 944S of Muren. After several looks to the inside, outside and everywhere in-between, Muren made his move on Lap Seven in Turn Eight to regain the top spot. Muren's joy was short-lived, when only two laps later he navigated Turn One wide and headed into the grass, handing the lead back to Joe who seized the opportunity and never looked back.

Race Three: Showroom Stock C

Polesitter Pete Taylor, of Ortonville, Mich., led flag-to-flag to capture his second Showroom Stock C National Championship in as many years at the SCCA National Championships. John Saucier, of Midwest City, Okla., and Ralph Porter, of Kokomo, Ind., finished second and third, respectively.

The start of the race saw two of the grids top five starters sustain car damage, as nine-time SCCA National Champion John Heinricy, of Royal Oak, Mich., tried a late-braking move on second-starting Joseph McClughan, of New Braunfels, Texas, going into turn one. McClughan shut the door on Heinricy forcing him into the dirt where Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Pa., had no where to go but into Heinricy. As a result, both cars sustained damage, with Heinricy's No. 33 Phoenix Chevrolet Cobalt unable to continue.

Piloting the No. 43 Hoosier/Carbotech/Motorcity Mini Cooper S, Taylor was happy to see all of this action going on behind him as he slowly opened up a lead he would never relinquish, winning by 4.935-seconds at an average speed of 71.034 mph. At one point, Taylor opened up a nearly seven-second lead by turning the race's fastest lap with a 2:05.311.

Race Four: Formula Continental

Niki Coello, of East Troy, Wis., claimed his second consecutive Formula Continental title and the Formula Continental Triple Crown at the Runoffs. Cole Morgan, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., and Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, filled out the podium.

The No. 81 Pouredfoundations.com Van Diemen RF01 of Coello led the race from start to finish, but not without some pressure from the No. 11 Swift DB6 of Cole Morgan. Morgan was all over the gearbox of Coello early in the race and peeked to the inside of Coello on Lap two in the Carousel. Morgan made slight contact with the rear of Coello, damaging his car's front wing in the process. Coello pulled a steady gap on Morgan from that point forward, and despite a full-course caution for an incident on the front straight that bunched the field back up, Morgan was unable to challenge Coello for the win.

Race Five: Showroom Stock B

Don Knowles, of Pittsboro, N.C., won back-to-back Showroom Stock B National Championships in 1978 and 1979 and today -- 27 years later -- he won his third SSB National Championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Chad Gilslinger, of Maryville, Ohio, and Toby Grahovec, of Chicago, completed the top three.

Piloting the No. 35 iRacing.com/Phoenix Pontiac Solstice, Knowles grabbed the early lead from polesitter Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., in Turn One and never looked back winning by an impressive 27.381-seconds over second-place finisher Gilsinger, at an average speed of 72.884 mph.

Race Six: Formula Mazda

James Goughary, of Jupiter, Fla., dominated the Formula Mazda field for the 2006 Runoffs, to claim his first National Championship. Mike Anderson, of Anza, Calif., and Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio completed the podium.

After being a Runoffs runner-up three times, James Goughary followed in his father's footsteps, two-time GT-2 National Champion Jim Goughary Sr., by winning his first SCCA National Championship in Formula Mazda. Driving the No. 72 Red Line Oil Mazda, Goughary started on pole, lead the field through Turn One and never looked back, sailing to the checkered flag with fists pumping in the air.

With Goughary checking-out on the rest of the field, all eyes turned to the battle for second where the No. 42 Hasa Pool Products/White Flyer Mazda of Anderson was stalking the No. 17 Keirn Motorsports Enterprises Mazda of Rettich. Anderson carefully planned his attack, and moved into second place with only two laps to go, not enough time for a reply from Rettich.

Race Seven: Sports 2000

Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., captured his first Sports 2000 National Championship in the late stages of the race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, and Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., finished second and third, respectively.

The start of the race was waved off twice by the starter, but when the green flag dropped DiRenzo rocketed his No. 27 Terpsteo/Goodyear JRE SR-71 F to nearly a three-second lead by the end of the first lap. At the time, it appeared that DiRenzo had the race well in hand, opening up a five and a half second lead by lap seven. But, as the laps ticked by, Mercer continued to chase down DiRenzo cutting the lead down to less than a second by lap 13 of the 18-lap race.

By lap 15, Mercer's No. 06 Hoosier Tires Lola 91/90 was filling DiRenzo's mirrors at every turn and finally made the pass on DiRenzo coming out of Turn 14 on lap 16. Just prior to the pass, it appeared that DiRenzo's machine was experiencing mechanical problems and he pulled into pit lane.

Once in the lead, Mercer put it on cruise control for the remaining two laps, winning by 11.873-seconds (at an average speed of 81.983 mph) over the Fergus' No. 00 Hoosier Tires/The Fergus Companies Carbir CS2.

Race Eight: H Production

Tom Feller of Clarkston, Mich., captured his third consecutive H Production title at the 2006 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Craig Chima, of Akron, Ohio, and Don Barrack, of Waterloo, S.C., completed the podium.

From the drop of the green flag, it looked like the show belonged to the polesitter Chima, and his No. 8 Midwest Motorsports /Goodyear MG Midget. But, jaws dropped on lap four when Chima spun on his own in Turn Six. Feller didn't even flinch, as he pwered his No. 71 W.Michigan Import/Goodyear Triumph Spitfire into the lead.

Chima wasn't finished however; setting laptimes nearly a second faster than Feller, Chima chipped away at the gap his spin had cost him and caught Feller on lap seven. Chima regained the lead briefly, until he spun for a second time in Turn 14 and Feller again retook the lead. Feller left Chima behind, despite Chima's best efforts to make a comeback, which was marred by a third spin on lap 15.

Race Nine: Touring 3

Polesitter Rick Gilhart, of Cincinnati, drove flag-to-flag to capture his first T3 National Championship. Scott Shelton, of Los Angeles, and Joel Lipperini, of Pittson, Pa., completed the top three.

In the final SCCA National Championship race of the day, Gilhart led the field to the green flag in his No. 55 Hoosier/Mothers/Manheim Auctions Mazda RX8 and was never seriously challenged for the lead, winning by 0.940-second over Shelton's No. 15 Mazdaspeed/Hoosier/Mothers Mazda RX8.

-credit: scca

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers John Heinricy , Joel Lipperini , Rick Gilhart , James Goughary , John Fergus , Michael Muren , Tom Patton , Bart Wolf , Hans Peter , Joseph McClughan , Pete Taylor , Ralph Porter , Mark Jaremko , Justin Pritchard , Tom Feller , Don Knowles , Scott Shelton , Wayland Joe , Cole Morgan , Scott Rettich , Andrew Aquilante , Niki Coello