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-place starting position 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 in his No. 4 Hoosier/Motionwear/GMR Nissan 300ZX on lap three, Boden was able to cruise to a 13.750-second victory over the 13-lap, 52-mile race. The win was easily Boden's best Runoffs finish in six starts, topping a previous best of 11th place.
"This is awesome," Boden said. "What a long wait from Thursday to today! It's a great event and great competition. Unfortunately, it seemed like a lot of the frontrunners had some issues early on. I sure do love to race, but after the second lap there wasn't much of a race left. I'm sorry those guys had misfortunes, but we'll take it.
"I believe I immediately took over third on the start. I'm not sure what happened to Duane [Davis], if he had some gearbox issue or what. I got him coming out of Turn Five, which is typically a hard place to pass, since his car has so much power. I was able to get inside him and I was chasing down Mason, who had a pretty good lead, but I saw puffs of smoke constantly. I was trying to catch him and race him, but blew up down the back straight. I had a big moment coming into Turn Five, when I got into his oil and got really squirrelly. I stayed out of that the rest of the race."
When Davis, of Camas, Wash., spun into the Turn 14 gravel trap on lap one, and with Mason, Tom Patton, and Scott Ferguson all experiencing mechanical difficulties early while running in the top five, the closest battle on the track was between Jurczyk and Goughary for second place.
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 meant that Jurczyk was home free for his 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.