RACE: National Runoffs: Nissan preview

Nissan Seeks to Continue Winning Tradition at 2004 SCCA National Championships GARDENA, Calif. --Sept. 24, 2004--With as many as 56 Nissan drivers among the nearly 700 entrants converging on the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington,...

Nissan Seeks to Continue Winning Tradition at 2004 SCCA National Championships

GARDENA, Calif. --Sept. 24, 2004--With as many as 56 Nissan drivers among the nearly 700 entrants converging on the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington, Ohio September 24-26 for the 2004 Sport Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs(R) presented by Kohler, it stands to reason that the numbers are in Nissan's favor. So is history, with Nissan winning a record 85 National Championships since 1967.

"Nissan is very excited about the prospect of seeing this year's field of winning Nissan drivers compete against the best SCCA racers in the nation," said Ron Stukenberg, senior manager, Nissan Motorsports (Nasdaq:NSANY) marketing and operations. "The competition-prepped Z(R)s, Sentra SE-R Spec Vs, 240SXs, 200SXs, Datsun 510s and other vehicles that are competing this weekend all have a good shot to win their respective classes, adding to our 85 National Championships."

Teams qualify for the Runoffs, America's largest sports car weekend, by finishing on top in points in 24 competition classes in the eight SCCA geographic divisions. Nissan drivers will compete in nine of the 24 classes, including Showroom Stock, Production, GT and Touring categories. While Nissans of all vintages going back to 1969 will be represented, eight of the 56 Nissan teams are racing two of Nissan's current models - the high performance Sentra SE-R Spec V and the powerful 350Z sports car.

The race weekend will receive full tape-delayed television coverage on the SPEED network. Each race will have its own one-hour show. This is the fourth straight year the network will televise all of the races.

History is on Nissan's Side

Last year Nissan's powerful 350Z aligned itself with previous Nissan winners when it was crowned a National Champion. In its first season of eligibility, a competition-prepped 2003 Nissan 350Z won the GT2 class title in the hands of driver Jim Goughary. This year, six 350Zs will compete in three separate classes.

The victory was one of three class championships won by Nissan competitors in the 2003 Runoffs, bringing Nissan's total of SCCA National Championships to 85, the most of any car manufacturer. It was also the 15th time since 1967 that Nissan has won three championships in a single SCCA National Championship Runoffs weekend.

"Bob Sharp became the first Nissan driver to win an SCCA National Championship in 1967," said Stukenberg. "In the years since, the list of Runoffs competitors who have gone on to successful professional careers includes Bob's son Scott Sharp (with three SCCA Championships), along with the late Mark Donohue, Jimmy Vasser and Bobby Rahal. Future racing legends will likely be adding their names to the Nissan victors roll again this year."

Nissan Support

As always, Nissan Motorsports will be heavily represented at Mid-Ohio, providing technical assistance and parts support for all participating Nissan racers. Nissan is providing more than $75,000 in contingency and bonus money to successful Nissan drivers in 2004. Nissan Motorsports will also have special displays on hand as part of the company's strong ongoing commitment to racing, especially among the amateur contingent.

"For many of our drivers, they race because it's in their blood, they have a passion for the sport - these drivers don't become rich in Club Racing," said Stukenberg. "If they have the faith in our products to race them, then we're thrilled to share with them the technical expertise we've learned over the years, the parts they need to be successful and reward them for their success."

Also at Mid-Ohio this year, Nissan will have special guest, chiropractic and performance enhancement specialist Jerry Stetz. He will serve as the guest speaker during a pre-race awards dinner in honor of all of Nissan's teams.

-nissan-

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Scott Sharp , Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Jim Goughary , Mark Donohue , Bob Sharp