Runoffs Concludes at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 27, 2009) -- Though the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America ended in the rain, it couldn't dampen the spirits of the eight newly crowned champions and two new ...
Runoffs Concludes at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 27, 2009) -- Though the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America ended in the rain, it couldn't dampen the spirits of the eight newly crowned champions and two new SCCA Super Sweep winners.
Additionally, two changes were made to race results from earlier in the week. In A Sedan, first-place finisher Andrew McDermid was disqualified for an unauthorized carburetor modification (GCR 9.1.6.D.1.A.3) and in Touring 3, second-place finisher Kevin Fandozzi was disqualified for unauthorized modifications to a stock part (GCR 9.1.10.D.1.a.3).
Race 18: Evans Cruises to Formula Enterprises National Championship
Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, came from fifth on the grid to win the Formula Enterprises race at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Scott Rettich, of Oxford, Ohio, and Brandon Aleckson, of Watsonville, Calif., completed the podium.
Driving the No. 91 Jay Motorsports/Buckholz Wall Systems SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda, Evans was up to third by Turn Five and around Rettich for second in Turn 13.
Evans then set off in pursuit of leader Brian Novak, of Dearborn, Mich., in the No. 68 NovaRace/Hoosier/AiM Data SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda. Novak didn't waste any time behind Novak, grabbing the lead on lap three in Turn Eight. When Novak spun on the following lap, Evans was left with no challengers and sped away to the Formula Enterprises National Championship by a 6.839 seconds, averaging 105.123 mph along the way. Evans also set the fastest lap of the race en route to his first-ever Runoffs win, a 2:15.658 (106.149 mph).
With Novak's spin, Rettich's No. 17 PDI Communications/Hippi Racing SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda was promoted to second, where he would finish.
Starting eighth, Aleckson moved his No. 83 Dan's Upholstery SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda up to fifth by lap four. Aleckson faced heavy pressure from Scott McQueen, of Huffman, Texas, in the closing stage of the 13-lap, 52-mile race. On their final tour of the circuit, McQueen made a move to the outside of Aleckson in Turn One. The two made contact under braking, sending McQueen's No. 59 Scott McQueen Racing SCCA Formula Enterprises into the gravel trap. Aleckson would continue to the checkered flag to claim the final podium position.
His run from eighth to the podium earned Aleckson the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Paul Schneider, of Charlotte, N.C., finished fourth in the No. 73 Performance MotorsCars of Charlotte SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda. Dean Oppermann, of Plainfield, Ill., completed the top five in his No. 27 International Maxxforce Diesel SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda.
Race 19: Boden Earns First Runoffs Podium in Winning GT2
Mark Boden, of Winnetka, Ill., survived a war of attrition to earn the GT-2 National Championship on Sunday during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Mark Jurczyk, of Chicago, Ill., and James Goughary, of Houston, Tex., completed the podium.
Boden, driving the No. 96 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, moved from his fourth to second on the first lap, making a pass on polesitter Duane Davis in Turn Five. Boden settled in behind leader Gerry Mason, of Fishers, Ind., who had jumped out to an early lead. When Mason had mechanical issues on lap three, Boden was able to cruise to a 13.750-second victory over the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
Jurczyk, driving the No. 2 Players Chicago/Perfect Power Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, had his mirrors filled with Goughary's No. 46 Redline Oil Nissan 350Z beginning on lap two. Goughary hounded Jurczyk, looking for a place to pass under braking at nearly every corner of the 14-turn, 4-mile circuit. While chasing Jurczyk, Goughary turned the race's fastest lap, a 2:20.841 (102.243 mph). The three-time GT2 National Champion lost any chance of a runner-up finish in the final turn of lap eight when he locked his brakes, ran off course and spun.
The spin left Jurczyk home free for a second-place finish. The two drivers had built enough of a gap on the rest of the field that Goughary was able to continue unchallenged in third to complete the podium.
Michael Wheeler, of Miami, Fla., climbed from a thirteenth starting position to finish fourth in the No. 88 Team Wheels Inc./Malspeed Racing Porsche 996 GT3 Cup. The nine position improvement also earned Wheeler the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
Timothy Gray, of Eden Prairie, Minn., finished fifth in the Ryan Companies US Porsche 996 GT3 Cup.
Race 20: Knuteson Scores Second-Straight F500 National Championship
Jason Knuteson, of Danville, Ind., captured his second-consecutive Formula 500 Title Sunday at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, and Aaron Ellis, of Farmington, Minn., completed the podium.
Knuteson qualified his No. 92 Hoosier Racing/Mitchell Racing Scorpion S1 Rotax fourth on the grid, but made a great start to take the lead going into Turn One. From there, he built what was eventually a 15-second lead before a full-course caution on lap nine to clean up several separate incidents erased the advantage.
The lap-12 restart set up a two-lap dash to the finish, but Knuteson again pulled a gap as polesitter Gallagher in the No. 00 CTL Engineering Invader QC-1 Rotax battled with Michael Brent's No. 41 QRE/Hoosier Invader QC-1 Rotax, allowing the leader to get away. Knuteson won by 4.18 seconds, averaging 83.648 mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
Knuteson also set the fastest race lap en route to victory, with a 2:23.406 (100.414 mph) effort.
Sixteen-year old Gallagher admitted to getting a poor start, but worked his way back to a solid second place before his car developed a handling issue, resulting in two spins on track. Gallagher restarted in second, dropped to third, but worked his way back up to the runner-up spot at the finish.
Ellis started fifth in the No. 43 Carlisle/CFF/Ellis Motorsports Ellis AE06 Rotax and emerged atop a final-lap battle with Brent that saw the two swap positions several times before he secured the position for good in Turn 13.
Brent, who started second, finished fourth, followed by Robert Giesen's No. 0 Subway Sandwiches/Hoosier Tire Red Devil LD 04 Rotax.
Daniel Greening, of Fond Du Lac, Wis., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after advancing 14 positions from start to finish in his No. 03 Bull it Racing/Pro Motorsports Red Devil BR-2K2 Rotax.
Race 21: Meller Races Away With H Production National Title
Dan Meller, of Milwaukee, Wis., dominated Sunday's H Production race at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with a 22.84-second win to claim his first SCCA National Title. Bob Kelly, of Crystal Lake, Ill., and Ron Bartell, of Madbury, N.H., joined Meller on the podium.
Meller led the field to the green flag and immediately drove away, climbing out to an insurmountable margin over the 13-lap, 52-mile race. The home track knowledge also allowed Meller to post the fastest race lap, a 2:40.524 (89.706 mph), in his No. 61 Core Consulting Honda CRX.
Kelly, in the No. 0 TelSystems/Loop Racing Volkswagen Scirocco, used his local knowledge of the 14-turn, four-mile road course to come home in second.
Bartell, a two-time HP National Champion, battled early with Tim Pitts, of Louisville, Tenn., and Greg Gauper, of Hubertus, Wis., for third. Bartell was able to finally out-brake both drivers and pull away. That battle left him too far away to make a serious run at Kelly, and he would take the final podium spot in his No. 4 Hoosier Tires MG Midget.
Gauper finished fourth in the No. 15 Rana Mort Racing/King Motorsports Honda Civic Si, with Pitts just behind in the No. 11 Performance Tuning Volkswagen Golf.
Following the race, the Kelly's Volkswagen Scirocco was disqualified, as it failed the cam shaft and valve gear technical regulations (GCR 9.1.5.E.2.F.4 &9.1). The DQ promoted each of the top five drivers up a position and moved defending HP National Champion and driver of the No. 8 Naples Valley Brand/Goodyear Austin-Healey Sprite, Daniel Collishaw, of Carmel, Ind., into fifth.
Mark Weber, of Saint Louis, Missouri, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving nine positions to ninth place.
The H Production National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
Race 22: Rubenzer Surprise Winner in Wild Formula Ford Runoffs Race
Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., captured his first SCCA National Championship in 24 years, winning the Formula Ford race at the National Championship Runoffs after the lead duo crashed in the final turn at Road America. William Valet, of Holbrook, N.Y., and Tom Schwietz Jr., of Winchester, Va., completed the top three.
Rubenzer started fourth and moved to third in the No. 31 Storage Battery Systems Inc. Citation 95FF and ran third from the start of the race when Jerermy Treadway failed to accelerate when the green flag flew due to a bad fuel pump. Third-starting Tony Coello, of East Troy, Wis., took the point in his No. 17 pouredfoundations.com/Hoosier Van Diemen RF-01-2 Ford. Coello was not alone, though, as for the next 51.5 miles of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, he and Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., battled for the top spot.
Kautz held the advantage on the final lap, but Coello was primed to try to draft by on the final straightaway. They never made it, though, because entering the final corner on the final lap, the leaders approached a lapped car and tangled trying to get past. With both Kautz and Coello stranded, Rubenzer drove past to score his first National Championship since winning the Formula Vee title in 1985.
Rubenzer won by 14.336-seconds, averaging 99.154 mph.
Valet made the most of his first Runoffs experience, bringing his No. 83 Rheingold/Valet Law Firm Swift DB-6 home in second. Four-time Runoffs Champion Schweitz started 11th in his No. 72 Steel Services Piper DF5 and captured his seventh podium finish in third.
David Livingston, of Nashville, Tenn., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing from 17th to fourth in his No. 85 ThermaMasters Swift DB-3. Mike Sauce, of Arlington, Texas, completed the top five in his No. 2 Sportscar Performance/Goodyear Sauce SVM1.
Race 23: Ebben Takes GT-1 Title and Super Sweep at Home Track
Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., completed a dream week of racing at Road America, winning the GT-1 Title at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs and the SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep award a week after winning the Muscle Milk0x00ae SCCA Trans-Am Finale. Peter Mohrhauser, of Kenosha, Wis., and Michael Lewis, of Poway, Calif., completed the GT-1 podium.
Starting from pole in the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Ford Mustang, Ebben held his lead as the field streamed into Turn One. Second-starting Mohrhauser in the No. 99 Chevrolet Corvette gave chase to Ebben, and nearly had an opportunity to take the lead in Turn Six, but opted to play it conservative on the first lap. No more passing opportunities would present themselves as Ebben's lead continued to grow and the 2003 GT-1 National Champion claimed the 2009 Title by 15.635 seconds.
Ebben's Runoffs win, combined with a win in the nationwide point standings, the Central Division GT-1 Championship and a key National Club racing win earned him the first-ever SCCA GT-1 Super Sweep Award. Ebben also set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:07.407 (113.024 mph).
Unable to catch Ebben, Mohrhauser circulated the 14-turn, four-mile road course on his own for the majority of the race, crossing the finish line second.
Driving the No. 12 Goodyear/Cyclo Products Jaguar XKR, Lewis started and finished third.
With such a dominant performance from the top three cars, the best battle on track became the battle for fourth between Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio. On the final lap, Ruman's No. 23 McNichols Co/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette pulled alongside Kelley's No. 3 UPR.Com/APEX Chevrolet Camaro in Turn 14. The two made contact and both cars spun into the grass. Fortunately, the Kelley and Ruman had built enough of a gap to sixth-place that they were able to continue and cross the finish line in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Kelley's drive from 16th on the grid to fourth at the finish earned him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Race 24: Crook Steals DSR Title in Inaugural Runoffs Appearance
Garry Crook, of Pensacola, Fla., overcame a poor qualifying position, tricky weather conditions and an 18-car D Sports Racing field to win a National Title in his first appearance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Michael Crowe, of Largo, Fla., and Lawrence Loshak, of Milwaukee, Wis., joined Crook on the podium Sunday at Road America.
Crook, driving the No. 41 Vision Contstruction Stohr WF1 Suzuki dove to the inside at the start and by Turn Three sat in fourth place. Crook was second by the beginning of lap two and took over the lead from then-leader Charles Dempsey, of Brooksville, Fla., in Turn One. The lead stretched to almost 11 seconds at the end of lap three when, with a light rain falling, Dempsey spun and made contact with the wall in the Kink to bring out a full-course caution and erase Crook's lead.
The race resumed with six laps remaining. Crook immediately began to stretch out a lead once again, and after two green flag laps, the gap was back to more than 10 seconds. Crook finished the 13-lap, 52-mile race with a 24.277-second margin of victory.
Crook turned the fastest lap of the race around the 4-mile, 14-turn circuit, a 2:07.008 (113.379 mph). The win, combined with early week electrical problems that relegated Crook to a 10th starting position, provided Crook with the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
The Runoffs rookie earned the SCCA Super Sweep with his win at the Runoffs, combined with a June Sprints victory, a Divisional Championship and the newly created nationwide point standings - all in a single class. The award was announced at the 2009 SCCA National Convention.
Crowe, driving the No. 88 TS Race Engineering/Goodyear/Performance Friction Stohr WF1 Suzuki finished second after starting ninth. On the lap eight restart, Crowe was third, behind Crook and Loshak. On lap nine, Crowe pulled alongside Loshak at the timing stripe and completed the pass under braking in Turn One. Crowe held his runner-up spot to the finish.
Loshak ended the race in third behind the wheel of the No. 02 ETE Stohr/KWS/Datatoys/Goodyear Stohr WF1 Suzuki KWS.
Garrett Kletjian, of Hingham Mass., finished fourth driving the No. 01 Hardshell Motorsports West WX-10 Suzuki and Salt Lake City-native Chris Farrell was fifth in the No. 58 C&M Manufacturing/Team Cobra/Hoosier Stohr WF1 Suzuki.
Race 25: Halkias Wins Wet E Production SCCA Championship
After 21 Runoffs starts, Sam Halkias, of Westerville, Ohio, finally captured his elusive first SCCA National Championship, taking the win in a wet E Production race that brought the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs to a close. Aaron Downey, of Corona Del Mar, Calif., and Wayne Graham, of Santa Barbara, Calif., completed the top three.
As the cars sat on the grid, the skies darkened, but the rain did not begin to fall steadily until the cars were on the pace lap, forcing drivers to predict what tires they would need at the green flag of the scheduled 13-lap, 52-mile race.
The top three cars of polesitter Jon Brakke, from Fargo, N.D., and defending Champion Jesse Prather, of Topeka, Kan., and Greg Ira, of Plantation, Fla., elected to keep dry tires on their cars. Fourth-starting Graham split the difference between slicks and rains on his No. 9 Mariah Motorsports Mazda RX-7 and went with intermediate Goodyears.
Just after the green came out, Brakke spun his No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata, and Prather tip-toed into the lead in his No. 34 Prather Racing/Carbotech/Moss Mazda Miata. The lead would be short lived, though, as Prather spun in Turn Eight, handing the lead to Graham. From there, Graham led the first five laps as the rain became heavier around the 14-turn, four-mile course.
Downey, who started sixth, took the lead from Graham in his No. 5 roundpeg.com/Mazda Motorsports Mazda RX-3 on full rain tires, while Downey wrestled with a fogged windshield. Halkias moved his No. 83 Catawba Island Marina/Goodyear Triumph TR6 into the lead on lap seven. From there, the veteran pulled away until the checkered flag came out at the conclusion of lap 11. Downey spun on the final lap in Turn Eight, and finished 15.499 seconds behind. Halkias averaged 75.594 mph.
Graham also battled fogging issues with his windshield, but held on to finish third, nearly a minute behind the Champion.
John Schmitt, of Sunbury, Ohio, finished fourth in his No. 62 Hoosier/Red Line Oil Honda Prelude, followed by Austin Snader, of Brookshire, Texas, in the No. 64 Snader Racing Mazda RX-8.
Ira, in the No. 2 CU Yacht Charters/First Coast Auto Datsun 240Z, turned the fastest race lap of 3:02.106 (79.075 mph) after pitting for rain tires.
Greg Kasprzyk, of Yatesville, Pa., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing from 31st to finish 12th in his No. 00 GK Construction/Racelabz/Morgantini BMW 325.
All races from the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly.
Full results, photos and podium quotes from the 2009 Runoffs are available at www.scca.com/runoffs.