RACE: National Runoffs: Lady Luck Motorsports race report

Lance Knupp and Lady Luck Motorsports win SCCA T1 National Championship in Chevrolet Corvette Topeka, KS- Today Lance Knupp overcame huge odds by defeating the over-dog factory Dodge Viper juggernaut at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, to...

Lance Knupp and Lady Luck Motorsports win SCCA T1 National Championship in Chevrolet Corvette

Topeka, KS- Today Lance Knupp overcame huge odds by defeating the over-dog factory Dodge Viper juggernaut at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, to claim his first ever SCCA National Championship, and becoming the first person in six years to defeat five time defending T1 National Champion John Heinricy. Starting from the sixth position on the grid (and the only Corvette in the top seven grid positions) after being out-qualified by the two factory NayKid Racing Dodge Vipers by a full two seconds, Knupp, driving his #37 Hoosier / Hawk / Moton / Phoenix Automotive Center / Chevrolet Corvette, drove like a man possessed, taking advantage of the tire troubles that plagued than race leader and factory Dodge Viper driver Scotty B. White and his Viper team-mate Cindy Lux. White, after only a few laps, had built an eight plus second lead over Lux. A rear tire failure caused White to pit for fresh rubber, while Lux starting slowing as her tires began to fade as well.

Knupp, after spending weeks testing and preparing for the Runoffs, knew that he had a wounded duck in front of him, and set his sights on the previously un-touchable Vipers of Lux and eventual third place finsisher Jeff Robbins, who was having tire troubles of his own. "We pretty much burned the car to the ground trying to reel Cindi in once I heard on the radio that Scotty had pitted. We could see Cindi was starting to have trouble in the braking zones, and through the corners as her tires prematurely began to fade. We had conducted multiple 70+ lap stints testing my amazing Hoosier A6 tires and Hawk DTC-70 brakes leading up to the Runoffs, so I knew that I could give it everything I had to go after the injured Vipers."

By the 16th lap of the 18 lap Championship race, Knupp had pounded his car to the point where he had caught up to Lux and attached himself to her rear bumper under braking. "I could catch Cindi under braking and through the corners, with her fading tires" said Knupp. This was evident on the 16th lap as Knupp made a daring move, diving under Lux into turn six, as Knupp and Lux remained side-by-side, touching mirrors briefly, while negotiating the turn 6-7 complex. Lux, however, used her abundant Viper torque and power to pull past Knupp as they exited turn 7 and launched down the back straight.

Knupp, realizing that he would only have one lap to go the next time past the starter's stand, knew what he and his Corvette had to do. "I knew that I could catch Cindi under braking and through the twisties as her tires had really gone away. Turn 14, leading onto the front straight is a very tight second gear corner, and getting through there well to get a good jump onto the front straight is key. I knew that I would have to make the pass there, and keep Cindi off-line as we entered onto the front-straight for it to stick." Knupp set-up Lux in her NayKid Viper as they went charging down the tight turns 12-14 complex, and was able to dive under Lux entering turn 14, forcing Cindi to enter and exit the corner wide, and giving Knupp the launch that he and his Corvette needed to stay ahead of the powerful Viper down the front straight. "From that point on, I had to push the car as hard as I could to make sure I stayed up-front for that last lap. I have to hand it to Cindi for driving a great clean race. She's a great competitor!"

Knupp also had some comments regarding his Corvette and his crew: "After the race, all of my brake rotors were completely cracked and destroyed, and smoke was pouring out of all of the wheels like I have never seen before! I have to hand it Chevrolet for building a car that can take the punishment that I put it through today, and to Kurt Omensetter at Phoenix Auto Center for prepping a car that could perform so far beyond it's intended limits! I also want to thank Bruce Foss and Hoosier Tires for all of their support and hard work providing us with what was clearly the best tire in the field, as well as Moton for providing their superior remote-reservoir shock technology that let me get my car dialed-in after extensive testing at Heartland Park and Gingerman Raceway in Michigan. It's a testament to all of these guys, this car, and these parts, that I turned my fastest lap of the race on the second to last lap! I also want to thank the GM Performance Division and Superior Chevrolet for providing top-notch track-side support all week."

Lady Luck team mates Al Longtin and Mike Solley also drove great races, finishing in tenth and eleventh places respectively in their Lady Luck Hoosier / Hawk / Moton Chevrolet Corvette's. "I was hoping to finish further up today" said Lady Luck driver Al Longtin. "But the Vipers and Ferrari were just too fast, and Lance just drove like a mad man, with his car on the ragged edge the entire race." "I've never seen anybody drive that hard for an entire race distance like that," added Lady Luck team mate, World Challenge and Rolex GT shoe Mike Solley. "I'm really happy for Lance. He and the Lady Luck crew have worked their tails off for this."

-credit: www.ladyluckmotorsports.com

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers John Heinricy , Scotty B. White