TOPEKA, Kan., (Oct. 12, 2006) – A cold Heartland Park Topeka track didn’t deter racers from clocking some of the fastest laps of the week at the 2006 SCCA National Championship Runoffs®. Highs in the low 50’s and strong blustery winds only seemed to make the cars faster as six new names jumped to the top of the grid sheets.-30-
Setting a blistering pace in C Sports Racer in the Swift .014 Viking is local Kansan Hans Peter, with a time of 1:31.996. Peter is the only CSR to set a lap under 1:32.00 and sits ahead of Wade Carter, of Woodinville, Wash., whose best effort came on Wednesday with a time of 1:32.780.
The Pontiac Solstice has arrived with a bang on the Showroom Stock B scene, as Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Penn., and Don Knowles, of Pittsboro, N.C., make it an all-Solstice front row. Aquilante bumped Knowles from the pole position in the final day of qualifying with a 2:01.232. This give the Pontiac Solstice it’s first-ever SCCA Runoffs pole.
It will be an all-Porsche front row in Grand Touring 2, where Michael Muren, of Chargrin Falls, Ohio, pulled out the perfect lap, a 1:44.686, to push his Porsche 944S onto pole by over 1.5 seconds ahead of the Porsche GT3 Cup of Wayland Joe, from South Barrington, Ill.
Blake Clements, of Kennedale, Texas, is your new Spec Miata polesitter. Celements turned a time of 2:00.760 on the final day of qualifying, and will start alongside Andre Caddell, of Graham, Wash., on Sunday for the first Spec Miata race in Runoffs history.
Also appearing at the front of their respective grids for the first time this week are Andy Deatherage, of Cleveland, Ohio, driving a Suzuki Swift GT in G Production to a time of 1:55.554, and Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, in A Sedan, driving his Ford Mustang to a pole-winning 1:53.921.
Matthew DiRenzo, of Medford, N.J., hung on tight to his Sports 2000 pole by improving 0.3-second to a 1:40.971 in his JRE SR-71F. James Goughary of Jupiter, Fla., found just the time he needed to defend his Formula Mazda pole by laying down a 1:39.308, just 0.07-second faster than Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio. Both polesitters will be put to the ultimate test when they race on Friday.
The first races of the 2006 Runoffs will commence Friday, October 13th at 9:30 a.m., with C Sports Racer, followed by GT2, Showroom Stock C, Formula Continental, SSB, Formula Mazda, S2, H Production and Touring 3.
This, the 43rd running of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® is the first to be held at Heartland Park Topeka. The Runoffs are commonly referred to as the “Olympics” of grassroots motorsports, where this year 755 entrants in 25 classes are slated to compete for the honor to call themselves the best amateur racers in the country.
2006 SCCA National Championship Runoffs polesitters (not all results are final at time of press):
American Sedan – Tom Sloe, Newbury, Ohio, Ford Mustang – 1:53.921
C Sports Racer – Hans Peter, Overland Park, Kan., Swift .014 Viking – 1:31.996
D Sports Racer – J.R. Osborne, Centennial, Colo., Stohr WF1 – 1:33.340
Formula 500 – Jason Knuteson, Danville, Ind., Scorpion S1 – 1:45.388
Formula Atlantic – Keith Grant, Germantown, Tenn., Swift .014a – 1:30.225
Formula Continental – Niki Coello, East Troy, Wis., Van Diemen RF01 – 1:37.820
Formula Ford – Thomas Schwietz, Winchester, Va., Piper – 1:44.755
Formula Mazda – James Goughary, Jupiter, Fla., Formula Mazda – 1:39.308
Formula Vee – Stephen Oseth, Leesburg, Va., Vortech – 1:55.452
E Production – Thomas Thrash, Houston, Texas, Mazda RX-7 – 1:50.935
H Production – Craig Chima, Akron, Ohio, MG Midget – 1:56.030
F Production – John Saurino, Tulsa, Okla., MG Midget - 1:51.419
G Production – Andy Deatherage, Cleveland, Ohio, Suzuki Swift GT – 1:55.554
Grand Touring 1 – Philip Simms, Orlando, Fla., Jaguar XKR – 1:38.182
Grand Touring 2 – Michael Muren, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Porsche 944S – 1:44.686
Grand Touring 3 – Collin Jackson, Nissan 240SX – 1:45.995
Grand Touring Lite – James Dentici, Oconomowoc, Wis., Honda CRX Si – 1:52.715
Showroom Stock B – Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Penn., Pontiac Solstice – 2:01.232
Showroom Stock C – Pete Taylor, Ortonville, Mich., Mini Cooper S – 2:04.038
Spec Miata – Blake Clements, Kennedale, Texas, Mazdia Miata – 2:00.760
Spec Racer Ford – John Black, Olympic Valley, Calif., Spec Racer Ford – 1:55.867
Sports 2000 – Matthew DiRenzo, Medford, N.J., JRE SR-71F – 1:40.971
Touring 1 – Scotty B White, Puyallup, Wash., Dodge SRT Viper – 1:47.034
Touring 2 – Robert Schader, Boulder, Colo., Nissan 350Z – 1:55.098
Touring 3 – Rick Gilhart, Cincinnati, Ohio, Mazda RX8 – 1:58.043