ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 23, 2008) – The 53rd Annual Piggly Wiggly Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® came to a close Sunday at Road America with a star-studded small-bore race, wild Spec Racer and big bore races and close formula car races showcasing some of the best amateur racers in North America.
Group Five opened the Sunday festivities boasting 19 SCCA National Championships between seven drivers in the 51-car field. Defending E Production Champion Tom Thrash led the field to the green after turning the fastest qualifying time ever by an EP car (2:28.947). He led two-time, defending F Production Champion Jesse Prather (now in EP) early before sliding off course in Turn Six. The same lap, 2003 EP National Champion Jon Brakke moved past Prather in his Mazda Miata. He slowly pulled away to beat Prather to the checkered flag by 24 seconds.
Steve Sargis continued his domination at the June Sprints in F Production, taking the win in his Goodyear/SBS Batteries Triumph Spitfire despite an early challenge from Mark Carpenter’s Acura. Sargis, whose car began to drop fluid in the closing laps of the race, set a new FP track record in the process. Defending National Champion Chris Bovis (Honda/Goodyear Honda CRX) and Bob Kelly (TelSystems/Loop Racing Volkswagen Scirocco) took the GT-Lite and H Production wins, respectively. Kelly set a new HP lap record in his run to the checkered.
An unbelievable 88 Spec Racer Fords took the green for Race Six, with the field running close and (fairly) clean for the opening laps. A mid-race incident necessitated a red flag to clean up and when the race restarted, the battle for the win was between two-time defending National Champion Mike Miserendino and polesitter Brian Schofield, among others. Miserendino took the win by just 0.116-second in his MBI Racing entry. The top six cars crossed the finish line within two seconds of the winner.
While Cliff Ebben got close in his Ford Mustang, he was never able to make a move for the lead on Philip Simms Goodyear/Simms Motorsports Jaguar XKR in GT-1 during Race Seven. Like Race Six, the big-bore race was halted for a lengthy cleanup for an incident, but Simms was able to lead flag-to-flag for the win.
After the restart, Max Lagod was on the move in his Chevrolet Corvette. On the penultimate lap, he made a bold move on third place Todd Harris in Turn Six, but lost the back end and spun, taking Harris off with him. That promoted Mike Canney to the final spot on the podium. Steve Jenkins (Fall Line Motorsports Porsche 911 Cup) and Rob Warkocki (Empcor/Goodyear/Mazda/Red Line Mazda RX-7) took convincing wins in GT-2 and GT-3, respectively.
Race Eight featured a great battle overall between defending Formula Atlantic National Champion Hans Peter and the brothers Grant—David and Keith. While Peter took the gold last year at the Runoffs, David and Keith Grant relegated the polesitter to third place to sweep the top two spots on the podium in their Swift 014s.
Glenn Cooper came to the Road America with a Formula 1000 car that was still awaiting homologation and left with a June Sprints title in his Hellno Kitty Van Diemen F1000 (which received the necessary documentation in time). Niki Coello was back to his winning ways at the June Sprints, taking Formula Continental in his PouredFoundations.com Van Diemen.
The final race of the weekend was a wild one, with 26 Formula 500s and 14 Formula Vees taking the green under threatening skies. As a flurry of 500s battled for the lead as the rain began to fall, 19th-starting James Libecco was slicing through the field. Bob Giesen and Bryan Golay traded the lead while Libecco found his way all the way up to second before retiring with just a few laps remaining. As the tracked dried, Giesen stretched his advantage out in the Subway/Hoosier Red Devil to take the win over Jeff Jorgenson.
As is often the case, Formula Vee came down to the run out of the final corner, with Californian Brian McCarthy taking the win in his BRM Manufacturing Anduril over polesitter Michael Varacins. Several early front runners, including Brad Stout, Bruce Livermore and William Styczynski, were eliminated from contention for the win during the rain shower.
The 53rd Annual Piggly Wiggly Chicago Region June Sprints is traditionally the largest “regular” season SCCA Club Racing National event of the year. This year’s event saw 445 drivers qualify or start in the nine races.
For all results, please click here.