Bob Boileau, of Monument, Colo., took his first SCCA National Championship Runoffs win at Road America in Saturday's Touring 3 race. Kevin Fandozzi, of Saint Joseph, Mich., and Bret Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., completed the T3 podium.
Though he started from the pole, Boileu's first SCCA National Championship did not come easy. As the T3 field took the green flag on a damp track thanks to overnight rain, Boileau's No. 43 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Honda S2000 shuffled back through the field, with a conservative start strategy on the driver's mind.
"All three [Boileau, Fandozzi and Spaude] of us signed up for hardship laps this morning," Boileau said. "I had a suspension failure in the final qualifying session, so I was granted a hardship, because we had to replace everything in the right-rear corner of the car. When I went out, I thought 'oh my gosh, this track is ridiculously slick.' I almost spun on the hardship lap.
"I was sitting on the grid, contemplating what I should do and my friend, Mark Mercer, who won the Sports 2000 National Championship yesterday, had told me to let some guys go by and show me what the track could do and that was some excellent advice. I couldn't stop these guys from going by [Fandozzi and Spaude], but I would have preferred not to have the Volkswagens go by as well. I was pretty far back. I think I may have been all the way back to ninth."
Resetting the fastest lap of the race as the 14-turn, four-mile track continued to dry, Boileau charged through the field, challenging the No. 24 Autobarn Motorsports Volkswagen GTI of Richard Fisher, from Glencoe, Ill., for third by lap six.
"The Volkswagens were pretty hard to pass, but I kept saying 'pace yourself and let the race come to you,'" recalled Boileau. "I could out-corner the Volkswagens, but boy are those things fast on the straights! There was some nose-to-tail bumping, but it was insignificant and no one was turned around. Once I got around them and I had my sights set on these two [Fandozzi and Spaude], it looked a lot like last year. This time I was able to track them down and get them. The track really just came to me. My speed through the Carousel was significantly higher than theirs and coming out of Canada Corner. The track came to me and we won the Runoffs! It's amazing!"
Boileau took over the lead from Fandozzi on lap nine and never looked back, winning the 13-lap, 52-mile race by 2.117 seconds and setting the fastest lap of the race, a 2:36.994 (91.723 mph).
Starting fifth, Fandozzi had a tremendous start in the No. 34 Hoosier/Moton/Insight Driven Chevrolet Cobalt SS, and was already around Boileau for the lead in Turn One. Seventh-starting Spaude followed Fandozzi through and into second. While Spaude fended off the No. 24 Autobarn Motorsports Volkswagen GTI of Richard Fisher, from Glencoe, Ill., Fandozzi was able to hold the race lead for first nine laps. There was no stopping Boileau from claiming the lead on lap nine however, and Fandozzi would have to settle for second.
Defending T3 National Champion Spaude brought his No. 12 TSRacing.com/Red Line Oil/Hoosier Chevrolet Cobalt SS home in third.
Though they gave Boileau and the Cobalts of Fandozzi and Spaude a hard time in the first half of the race, the No. 68 APR Motorsports/Westside VW/Kumho Tires Volkswagen GTI of Aaron Stehly, from Richfield, Minn., and the VW of Richard Fisher finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tenth-place finisher Tony Wedderbum, of North Miami Beach, Fla., was named the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing seven positions during the race in his No. 16 WeatherTech.com Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
The Touring 3 National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.