LEXINGTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 27, 2005--With approximately one out of every 14 entrants at the 2005 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler racing a Nissan (Nasdaq:NSANY) or Datsun vehicle, it...
LEXINGTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 27, 2005--With approximately one out of every 14 entrants at the 2005 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler racing a Nissan (Nasdaq:NSANY) or Datsun vehicle, it wasn't so much a question of if Nissan would add to its record number of manufacturer championships again this year. It was more of a matter of which of the 45 Nissan drivers competing in seven classes would join the prestigious list of previous Nissan winners.
By the end of a long weekend of racing action at the beautiful Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was John Saurino of Tulsa, Oklahoma who brought Nissan its 87th class title since 1967. Saurino drove his Nissan 240SX to a flag-to-flag victory in GT3, setting a new fastest lap record for the class of 1:32.084 on his way to an 8.478-second margin of victory.
"Our Nissan 240SX was great from the git-go," said Saurino after the race. "We sent the car to Ken Murillo to prepare it, so the credit goes to Ken and Mickey Shreiner, my crew chief." It was Saurino's second consecutive Runoffs win in GT3, his first in the 240SX.
Nissan's championship total could have risen even higher. Jimmy Burke of Cumming, Georgia finished second in the GT Lite class driving a Nissan Sentra.
There were also three third place finishes: Kevin Dennis of Rochester, New York in a G Production Datsun 510, Jim Goughary of Houston, Texas in a GT2 Nissan 350Z; and Terry Watson of Pierrefonds, Quebec City, Canada in a GT3 Nissan 350Z.
Goughary who finished second in GT2 last year and first the year before, had trouble with traffic early in the race. "The Nissan 350Z and its strong motor made a great package and we might have won, but another car slipped ahead of me at the start and I had to waste too may laps getting past him while he weaved from side to side to block me. By the time I did, first and second place were long gone," said Goughary.
"Once again, Nissan Motorsports made a strong showing at the Runoffs and the challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course," said Ron Stukenberg, senior manager, Nissan Motorsports marketing and operations. "We had a chance to win in nearly every class we competed in and John Saurino did a great job of keeping our string of title winning years alive. I'm equally proud of all of our podium finishers, as well as every one of our drivers who made it to the Runoffs."
Teams qualify for the Runoffs, America's largest sports car weekend, by finishing first in points in 24 competition classes in the eight SCCA geographic divisions. Nissan drivers were entered in seven of the 24 classes this year, including Production, GT and Touring categories. A record 11 drivers campaigned Nissan 350Z sports cars in three separate classes.
As always, Nissan Motorsports was heavily represented at Mid-Ohio, providing technical assistance and parts support for all participating Nissan racers. Nisan also has provided more than $75,000 in contingency and bonus money to successful Nissan drivers in 2005.
The race weekend receives full tape delayed television coverage on the SPEED network. Each race will have its own one-hour show. This is the fifth straight year the network will televise all of the races.
NISMO, the premier supplier of high-performance parts and accessories for Nissan vehicles, supports the teams. NISMO now offers a wide range of parts, accessories and apparel through participating authorized Nissan dealers nationwide. For more information on the complete line of NISMO parts and accessories, log on to www.NissanUSA.com/NISMO.