RACE: National Runoffs: Friday summary

First Eight SCCA National Champions of 2009 Crowned at Runoffs ELKHART LAKE, Wis., (Sept. 25, 2009) -- Eight SCCA National Club Racing Champions have been named, including two first-time winners and one Wisconsin native. Additionally, the first...

First Eight SCCA National Champions of 2009 Crowned at Runoffs

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., (Sept. 25, 2009) -- Eight SCCA National Club Racing Champions have been named, including two first-time winners and one Wisconsin native. Additionally, the first four SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep trophies were handed out.

Race One: Dentici Takes GT-Lite National Championship on Home Turf

Jim Dentici, of Oconomowoc, Wis., took his second-career GT-Lite National Championship at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Defending GTL National Champion Christopher Bovis, of Lawrence , Kan. , and Robert Lentz, of Chantilly , Va. , completed the podium.

Starting second, Dentici immediately moved past polesitter Bovis on the opening lap, pulling into the lead as the field exited Turn One. Bovis was able to draft back up to Dentici on the long front straightaway to start lap two, but was unable to make a move for the lead. From there, Dentici continued to extend his gap on Bovis, winning the GTL National Championship by 11.510 seconds.

Dentici also set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:33.285 (93.943 mph) en route to his fifth-career Runoffs win.

Lentz fell behind Peter Shadowen on lap nine to drop to fourth position. Lentz waited until the final corner of the last lap to pull alongside Shadowen for a drag race up the hill to the finish line. Lentz would take the final podium spot by 0.031-second.

Shadowen, of Loxahatchee , Fla. , finished fourth. Rob Mcfarlane, of Happy Valley , Ore., completed the top five in his No. 27 Loyning's/Hoosier Toyota Celica.

Barry Bannon, of Saint Cloud , Fla. , was named the Sunoco Hard Charger, for advancing nine positions during the race in his No. 46 Goodyear/Redline Oil/Goodyear Honda CRX.

Race Two: Miller Captures CSR National Title

Matt Miller, of Orland Park, Ill., made the most of his rookie appearance at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, capturing the C Sports Racing title by just 0.128-second over Jacek Mucha, of Laval, Quebec. James French, of Sheboygan , Wis., finished third to complete the podium.

Miller qualified second, but took advantage of his front-row starting spot to claim the lead into Turn One. Polesitter Brian French, of Sheboygan , Wis., was the first to challenge Miller, retaking the lead on the second lap entering Turn One, but Miller grabbed the lead again in Turn Five of the same lap.

Staying cool through further battles with Brian French's son, James, and Mucha over the race's closing laps, Miller was able to hold the lead for the 13-lap, 52-mile race.

Mucha earned his fifth career runner-up finish in CSR. Despite turning the race's fastest lap in a time of 2:04.996 (115.204 mph), Mucha fell just short of making the pass for the lead.

James French's third-place finish came after passing his father for second on lap three, then dueling with both Miller and Mucha for the remaining 10 laps.

Brian French finished the race in fourth. Jim Downing, of Atlanta , Ga., finished fifth after starting seventh.

Samuel Damon, of Auburn , Calif. , earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award after improving five spots to ninth place.

Race Three: Knowles Takes 2009 SCCA Touring 2 National Championship

Don Knowles, of Pittsboro, N.C., captured his fifth-career SCCA National Championship today, winning the Touring 2 class title at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Jason Ott, of Thornton, Colo., and Andy Wolverton, of Papillion, Neb., completed the top three.

Knowles started second but cruised past polesitter Marty at the start and into the lead. The lead trio of Knowles, Grand and Ott began to distance themselves from the field, with Knowles holding the point until lap four, when Grand moved ahead. The gap expanded and compacted over the next five laps.

As the trio exited Turn Three on lap 10 of the 13-lap, 52-mile contest, Grand's Mitsubishi lost a wheel and Ott made a lurid slide off course trying to avoid him. Knowles slipped through into the lead and Ott recovered to remain second. From there, Knowles held on for a 2.650-second win.

It was a career-best finish for Ott, who only ran his BMW four times this year before the Runoffs.

Wolverton, the 2008 National Champion, was enthralled in a race-long battle with William Baten, running primarily in fourth and fifth. On the penultimate lap, Wolverton ran around the outside of Baten in Turn 12 to take the position. Baten tried to take the spot back in Turn One, but bumped the curb and slid in front of Wolverton's Solstice. The two made contact, but both continued, although Baten fell to fifth behind Wolverton.

Alan Kossof, of Wheeling , Ill. , earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing four positions in the race.

Race Four: Mercer Earns Second Sports 2000 SCCA National Championship

Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., captured his second Sports 2000 National Championship in four years with a 2.403-second win as part of the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Corey Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, and Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., rounded out the podium.

Mercer started the race in second, but struggled on the start and fell back to fifth. Mercer battled back, passing a slowing John Fergus for second on lap eight.

On lap 10 of the 13-lap battle, Mercer dove to the inside of race-leader Corey Fergus heading into the hard-braking Turn 5. As Fergus tried to counter, the pair went side-by-side through Turn Six before Mercer slipped ahead. Once on the point, Mercer set sail for his second National Title.

Mercer also ran the fastest lap of the race, turning a time of 2:16.435 (105.545 mph) around the 14-turn, 4-mile road course.

The National Championship win also made Mercer the first-ever Super Sweep award winner.

Corey Fergus surged at the start and held his lead, trailed by his father, John, and Wolf. The younger Fergus held the lead as both veteran drivers faded.

Fergus hung onto the lead until Mercer's pass.

Wolf jumped from his fourth-place starting position at the green flag to a battle for second through the race's opening turns. As Wolf's car faded, he found himself locked in a battle for third, first with David Ferguson and then with Anthony Sleath. Wolf was able to hold on to finish on the podium.

Sleath, of Dearborn , Mich., finished fourth. Ferguson , of Paso Robles, Calif. , finished fifth.

Jack Donnellan, of Chickasha , Okla. , earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving four positions to seventh.

Race Five: McDermid Dominates American Sedan; Wins SCCA Super Sweep

Andrew McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., collected his fifth American Sedan National Championship in convincing fashion at Road America during the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. The win earned McDermid the new SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep Award, making him only the second driver to do so. Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, and Brian Wallace, of Grand Blanc, Mich., completed the podium.

Starting from the pole, McDermid crossed the finish line side-by-side with second-place starter Sloe, but had the lead firmly in hand by Turn One. McDermid then seemingly set his Mustang to autopilot, as he proceeded to open up a 16.458-second margin of victory over the course of the 13-lap, 52-mile race. In his march to the checkered flag, McDermid set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:28.877 (96.724 mph).

With the win, McDermid also collected the SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep award.

Sloe briefly fell behind Wallace in the opening laps before re-taking second place. The second-place finish was Sloe's first podium finish in nine Runoffs starts.

Wallace, who returned to Runoffs competition for the first time since 2005, finished third.

Philip Smith, of New Albany, Ohio, was fourth, while Tom Ellis, of Sunrise , Fla. , completed the top five.

Kenneth Lubash, of Stamford , Conn., just missed out on a top-five finish, but did take home the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing five positions in the race.

Race Six: Lipperini Sprints To Third Career SCCA National Championship In Showroom Stock C

Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Penn., captured his third-career National Championship in Showroom Stock C at the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. 2008 Champion Joe McClughan, of New Braunfels , Tex. , and Morgan Hill, Calif.-native Ali Naimi completed the podium.

Lipperini led start-to-finish to claim a 5.74-second victory. Lipperini also collected the SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep.

McClughan, just eight weeks removed from quintuple bypass surgery, and Naimi spent most of the first part of the race in a four-way battle for second place. Naimi made one run at McClughan heading into Turn Three on Lap 12. After that pass failed, Naimi couldn't get close enough for the remainder of the 13-lap, 52-mile race.

The eventual third place for Naimi was his best career Runoffs finish.

John Phllips, of Sealy, Texas , finished while Jonathan Start, of Caledonia , Mich. , completed the top five.

Eric Van Cleef, of Huntsville , Ala. , turned the race's fastest lap and was running in second place when a transmission problem forced him out of the race with two laps to go. Van Cleef turned a race-best 2:49.975 (84.718 mph) around the 14-turn, 4-mile Road America circuit.

Daniel Geiger, of Minneapolis , Minn. , earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving 10 positions to finish 10th.

Race Seven: Carpenter Takes Thrilling F Production Race

Mark Carpenter, of Charlotte, N.C., came from sixth on the grid to take his first F Production National Championship at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Defending FP Champion Rick Harris, of Derby, Kan., and Eric Prill, of Topeka, Kan., completed the podium at Road America.

Starting sixth, Carpenter took advantage of a wild opening lap, advancing all the way to second as cars bumped and battled around him. Swapping positions numerous times with then-leader David Bryson, of Clemmons, N.C., Carpenter also had to hold off charges from Harris and Prill.

While leading on lap four, Carpenter ran wide in Turn 14, rejoining the lead pack in fourth and handing the lead back to Bryson. Carpenter made is way back to the lead by lap seven and when Bryson's car slowed to a stop with three laps remaining in the 13-lap 52-mile race, the FP title was Carpenter's for the taking.

After inheriting second from Bryson, Harris had his hands full holding off Prill. As the pair made their final trip out of Turn 14 toward the finish line, Prill alongside Harris. At the checkered flag, it was a photo finish, with Harris barely edging Prill for second.

Brian Linn, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was fourth while Kevin Ruck, of Delaware, Ohio, completed the top five.

Though he did not take the checkered flag, Bryson did set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:34.051 (93.476 mph).

Christopher Patrick, of Derry , Pa. , won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing 10 positions during the race.

Race Eight: Swan Captures Formula Atlantic Win at SCCA National Championship Runoffs

Mirl Swan, of Austintown, Ohio, captured the Formula Atlantic title at the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America on Friday. Swan's 8.034-second win topped runner-up Jason Byers, of Livonia, Mich., and Sedat Yelkin, of Canfield, Ohio.

The runaway win for Swan came after a full-course caution from lap two through four following Jose Parades' contact with the wall.

On the ensuing restart, Swan was able to pull away from the field and never looked back on his way to the victory. That included turning the race's fastest lap, in a time of 2:04.125 (116.012 mph).

The title capped a tremendous season for Swan, who captured the SCCA Super Sweep award.

Both the second and third-place finishers were nearly involved in a first-lap incident that eliminated fourth-place qualifier David Grant from the race. Yelkin was hit from behind by Grant, bending his rear wishbone. Grant spun and was suddenly nose-to-nose with Byers, who just missed the contact.

Both Yelkin and Byers were able to continue and were in the top-five when the caution flag flew.

Byers took the second green flag in fifth position and picked off three cars in successive laps on the front straight to land in second position. Byers set sail for Swan, but didn't have enough for the front-runner.

After the incident with Grant, Yelkin spent the majority of the race fighting with Keith Grant, of Germantown, Tenn. (and brother of David), who has started on pole.

Jeffrey Kowalik, of Winneconne, Wis., finished fifth.

Vince Gaddini, of Auburn , Calif. , earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, climbing from a 15th starting position to 11th.

The 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs continues on Saturday, Sept. 26, with the first races commencing at 8:30 a.m. (CDT). All races are broadcast live on www.speedcasttv.com/scca. A full schedule, results and photos are available at www.scca.com/runoffs.

-credit: scca

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Jacek Mucha , Joel Lipperini , Keith Grant , John Fergus , Jim Downing , Tom Sloe , Bart Wolf , David Ferguson , Don Knowles , Mirl Swan , Corey Fergus , Brian French , James French , David Grant
Teams HART