The 55th edition of the Chicago Region SCCA WeatherTech June Sprints concluded Sunday with the final seven of 10 weekend races at Road America.
Part of the SafeRacer SCCA National Racing Series, 18 more drivers completed the first leg of the SCCA Super Sweep, which honors a driver who wins a major National event during the season, a Divisional Championship, the Nationwide Points Championship and the National Championship Runoffs in the same class.
The opening race of the day for Formula 1000 and Formula Enterprises cars took the green under threatening skies but on a dry track. Second starting Niki Coello, of Waukesha, Wis., got the jump on polesitter Brandon Dixon and pushed his No. 81 Firman Race Cars RFR-09 to a five-second advantage in the opening laps. Dixon began to close the gap, though, and turned the fastest lap in the progress of 2:09.552. His charge fell off with three laps remaining in the 13-lap, 52-mile contest as rain began to fall across the circuit, with Dixon eventually spinning his No. 77 Citation Engineering Citation F1000 on the final lap. Coello won his second class race of the weekend by more than 30 seconds over William McLaughlin's Firman RFR-09.
The opening laps of the Formula Enterprises race featured multiple lead changes between polesitter Scott Rettich, of Oxford, Ohio, and 15-year-old Sean Rayhall, of Winston, Ga. Rettich, the 2009 Runoffs polesitter, took the lead for good on lap four and slowly pulled away in his No. 97 Springboro Car Wash entry. It was Rettich's second-consecutive June Sprints win in FE and he set a new lap record of 2:16.291.
The rain stopped before the Touring 3, SSB, SSC and Spec Miata race took the green, but the course was still damp and officials gave an additional 15 minutes to racers to change tires on the grid. At the start, outside polesitter Bill Steinhoff went to the front in his Touring 3 class No. 74 Hoosier/Summit/Nissan Motorsports Nissan 350Z, but he was quickly overtaken by the front-wheel-drive Volkswagen GTIs of 14th starting (overall) Aaron Stehly and Richard Fisher. The pair battled after a midrace restart following a caution to remove several cars from various gravel traps, and Fisher, of Glencoe, Ill., eventually took the lead for good in his No. 24 Autobarn Volkswagen entry when Stehly made a trip to the Turn 1 gravel trap. Steinhoff finished second.
Defending National Champion Toby Grahovec led the majority of the SSB portion of the race in his No. 84 Classic BMW-sponsored BMW Z4, but Richard Cullen, of North Marshfield, Mass., made a late charge to the lead and the win in his No. 87 BMW Z4.
Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Pa., led flag to flag to win SSC in his RaceLabz/BFGoodrich/RaceShoppe Acura Integra.
Danny Steyn's Spec Miata race got off to an inauspicious start, as he spun his No. 39 Adept Studios/Rossini Racing Mazda Miata quickly on the wet pace lap. He was able to maintain his fifth position on the grid, and worked his way to the front to win over early leader Craig Berry, who started seventh in his No. 29 U.S. Granite Mazda Miata.
By the end of the race, a dry line had formed, dry tires were the way to go for Race Group Six for the Production and GT-Lite cars. Second-qualifying Greg Ira got the jump at the start and put his No. 2 First Coast Auto Sales Datsun 240Z in front for the first seven laps. After hounding Ira for several laps, polesitter Jon Brakke went to the lead on lap eight, only to have Ira back in front on lap nine. The two crossed the stripe in a dead heat on lap 11, with Brakke finally completing the move in Turn 1 to take the checkered flag in his No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata. After the race, stewards ruled that Brakke re-took his grid position after spinning back in the field on the pace lap, a move that goes against regulations. The move resulted in a three-position overall penalty, giving the win to Ira and advancing Robert Hummel to second in E Production in his Mazda RX-7.
Just prior to a lap three, full-course caution to clean up several incidents, Kevin Ruck moved his No. 73 Hoosier/Engineered Performance Acura Integra into the F Production lead past polesitter Ken Kannard's No. 51 Northwest Cable Construction Mazda Miata. Ruck led until Kannard re-took the point on lap eight and never looked back.
The expected battle between the Honda CRXs of Chris Bovis, Jim Dentici and Bob Clark in GT-Lite never materialized, as Dentici and Clark both ended up in the Turn 3 gravel on lap two. Both cars were extracted, but Bovis was able to cruise to an easy win in his No. 4 Honda CRX.
Milwaukee's Mike Moser had a dominating performance in H Production to remain perfect in five races this year in his No. 64 Honda CRX. He drives the same car that Dan Meller won the National Championship in last season. Steve Sargis came out on top of a race-long battle with Greg Gauper to take second place in his No. 18 SBS Batteries/Goodyear Tire Triumph Spitfire.
The sun came out after lunch and provided a perfect setting for the remaining races, starting with Group Seven for Formula 500 and Formula Vee.
Formula 500 polesitter Patrick Gallagher and defending National Champion Jason Knuteson made a two-car breakaway until Knuteson's No. 92 Mitchell Racing Scorpion had a mechanical failure on lap four. That left 17-year-old Gallagher out front by himself and he held on for a 4.010-second victory in his No. 00 CTL Engineering Invader QC1. Aaron Ellis finished second in his No. 43 Carlisle/CFF/Ellis Motorsports Ellis AE06.
Michael Varacins once again dominated Formula Vee. The Burlington, Wis., driver led flag to flag in his No. 65 Speed Sport/Veetech/Hoosier Speed Sport AM-5 and won by more than 22.954secs. Bruce Livermore came out on top of a great battle for second with Brian and Chris Jennerjahn in his No. 37 BBBuilds/Veetech/LRE/BRP/Hoosier Mysterian X-M2.
Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., continued his SCCA Club Racing GT-1 streak after winning the June Sprints and the Runoffs in 2009 by taking a commanding win overall in Race Eight. Driving the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford/Lamers Ford Mustang, Ebben started from the pole position and sped out to an eight-second lead over second qualifying Amy Ruman and her No. 23 McNichols Co/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette. Ruman closed the gap at the finish to 1.929sec, scoring a second-place finish after taking third at last weekend's Trans-Am race.
Defending GT-2 National Champion Mark Boden had an early battle with Mark Jurczyk, actually losing the lead to Jurczyk before his No. 21 Players Porsche GT3 Cup car suffered a mechanical failure on lap four. From there, Boden was never challenged, taking the win in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup.
GT-3 polesitter Rob Warcocki led at the start, but pulled off course with a mechanical issue in his No. 78 Empcor/Goodyear/Mazda/Red Line Mazda RX-7, handing the lead to Pete Peterson, of Lumberton, N.C., who took the win in his No. 98 Toyota/Valvoline/Goodyear Toyota Celica.
Group Nine for Formula Atlantics and Formula Mazdas was an eventful contest, with incidents effecting first place in both classes.
With the Formula Atlantic class leading the field overall, defending National Champion Juan Marchand and Mike Anderson battled for the Formula Mazda class lead until lap the end of lap four, when the two made contact just before the start-finish line and crashed into the wall. Neither driver was injured, but the incident brought out a full-course caution.
A car dropping a significant amount of oil brought the slowed race to a halt to finish cleanup. On the lap nine restart, Sedat Yelkin, of Canfield, Ohio, moved his No. 75 EverClear/K-Hill Motorsports/Hoosier Swift 014 into the overall and Formula Atlantic lead, with polesitter, and early leader, Keith Grant giving chase in his No. 40 Hoosier Race Tire Swift 014a. The scrap went to the final lap, when the pair made side-to-side contact in Turn Five and Grant spun. Yelkin was able to keep moving in the lead and he beat Jeff Kowalik to the finish.
The Marchand/Anderson incident promoted Darryl Wills to the lead in Formula Mazda in his No. 02 Hillenburg Motorsports entry, but he had former National Champion Doug Peterson, of Rochester Hills, Mich., right on his tail. Peterson made his move on the final lap, and put the No. 87 3 Dimensional.com Star Mazda into the lead to take the win.
The final race of the weekend for the 47-car Spec Racer Ford field saved the best for last. Polesitter Brian Schofield led the opening laps in his No. 61 PM Racing entry before Jean-Luc Liverato moved to the point in his No. 8 Expanded Technologies SRF. Liverato's lead was short-lived as 17-year-old Dakota Donovan, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., moved to the front of the five-car breakaway.
Positions two-through-five shuffled in the remaining five laps, setting up a last-lap drafting war. Schofield made his move to the front around Donovan's No. 77 Air Flight Charters SRF first in Turn 5 but it was Scott Rettich, who took the lead as they came to the finish line to lead his only lap in the No. 17 Springboro Car Wash/PDIC SRF, but it was the only one that counted.
Along with his win in Formula Enterprises, Rettich became the second driver to win the 2010 June Sprints in two separate classes, joining Niki Coello, who won in Formula 1000 and Formula Continental.
Celebrating its 55th-consecutive year at Road America, the Chicago Region WeatherTech June Sprints is the largest annual SafeRacer SCCA National Racing Series event, offering racers the opportunity to compete against drivers from all across the country on one of the country's premier racetracks as well as complete one leg of the SCCA Super Sweep. Drivers winning their class will be one step closer to the coveted honor that includes a key event win, a Divisional Championship, the Nationwide Points Championship and the National Championship Runoffs.
Full results for all of the weekend's races are available at www.scca.com.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., -- Class winners from Sunday's Chicago Region SCCA WeatherTech June Sprints races, with class, driver, hometown and car.
Formula 1000, Niki Coello, Waukesha, Wis., RFR-09
Formula Enterprises, Scott Rettich, Oxford, Ohio, Formula Enterprises.
Touring 3, Richard Fisher, Glencoe, Ill., Volkswagen GTI.
Showroom Stock B, Richard Cullen, North Marshfield, Mass., BMW Z4.
Showroom Stock C, Joel Lipperini, Pittston, Pa., Acura Integra.
Spec Miata, Danny Steyn, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mazda Miata.
E Production, Greg Ira, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Datsun 240Z.
F Production, Ken Kannard, East Troy, Wis., Mazda Miata.
H Production, Mike Moser, Milwaukee, Wis., Honda CRX.
GT-Lite, Chris Bovis, Lawrence, Kan., Honda CRX.
Formula 500, Patrick Gallagher, Thronville, Ohio, Invader QC1.
Formula Vee, Michael Varacins, Burlington, Wis., Speed Sport AM-5.
GT-1, Cliff Ebben, Appleton, Wis., Ford Mustang.
GT-2, Mark Boden, Northbrook, Ill., Porsche 996 GT3 Cup.
GT-3, Pete Peterson, Lumberton, N.C., Toyota Celica.
Formula Atlantic, Sedat Yelkin, Canfield, Ohio, Swift 014.
Formula Mazda, Douglas Peterson, Rochester Hills, Mich., Star Mazda.
Spec Racer Ford, Scott Rettich, Oxford, Ohio, Spec Racer Ford.
Image of E Production race winner Greg Ira's Datsun 240Z. Photo by Eric Prill/SCCA