TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 12, 2007) – Local driver Chris Bovis put on an impressive driving display in front of his hometown fans to win his first GT-Lite National Championship at the 2007 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T at Heartland Park Topeka. Joe Kristensen, of London, Ontario, finished second, while Peter Zekert, of Maryland Heights, Mo., was third.
In the second race of the morning under overcast skies, Bovis grabbed the early lead from the polesitter Kristensen heading into Turn One, followed by Zekert. Driving the No. 18 Goodyear Honda CRX, Bovis used his home track knowledge to keep both Kristensen and Zekert behind him early.
On lap four, Zekert motored his No. 45 BOOBLE/RedLine/Goodyear Nissan 200SX past Kristensen for third place, while Bovis opened up nearly two second lead. By lap six, the leaders were more than 22 seconds ahead of the field.
For the next two laps, Zekert and Kristensen were locked in an intense battle for position until Kristensen drove his No. 24 Kristensen Auto Development Acura Integra deep into Turn Three retaking second place.
With his sights set on the leader, Kristensen managed to cut Bovis’ lead to under a second with three laps left in the 18-lap race. Unfortunately for Kristensen, the first and only caution of the race came out on lap 17 to remove Dan Hall’s No. 77 Dan Hall & Auto Machine Shop Nissan 200SX from the Turn 14 wall.
The race ended under caution giving Bovis his first SCCA National Championship.
“Our strategy was to push Joe and wear his tires out, but we got by him at the start and then Joe was pushing me trying to get me to wear my tires out,” Bovis said. “Things looked good in the mid part of the race, but towards the end, I was getting a little bit slower and we were going the same speed unfortunately. It got awful tight. The yellow flag came out and it is hard to say if I could have held him off. Joe was running awful fast and I want you to know that he raced me totally clean. I have to thank him for that.”
Zekert, who had run up front most of the race, fell off the pace late in the race due to a broken gear box leaving him with only the first three gears.
Four-time SCCA National Champion Jim Dentici, of Oconomowoc, Wis., was the Sunoco Hard Charger. He advanced 25 positions throughout the race, from 29th to fourth. William Pintaric, of Youngstown, Ohio, finished fifth.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by AT&T, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 44th-consecutive year in 2007. The best amateur drivers from across North America convene on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course each fall in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event begins with four days of qualifying, Oct. 8-11, and concludes with three days of racing, Oct. 12-14.
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