Gumout pole winner John Buttermore, of Wixom, Mich., drove flag-to-flag to capture his first Touring 1 National Championship at the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, and Mike McGinley, of Overland Park, Kan., finished second and third, respectively.
John Buttermore wins T1 National ChampionshipThe T1 and STO classes ran a combined race. Buttermore got a great jump from the T1 pole in the No. 52 Hoosier/Carbotech/Stoptech and led the first lap before the caution came out on lap two after contact between two STO cars brought out the caution.
When the race went green six laps later, Buttermore put a sizeable gap between himself and Sloe. In fact, Buttermore was third overall between the two classes. He turned the Hawk Fast Lap of the race with of 2:33.069 (94.313 mph) en route to 8.931-second margin of victory over Sloe to win his first-career Runoffs National Championship.
“We'd prefer it [the race] had gone green the whole way,” Buttermore said. “We spent a lot of time up here working on making the car smooth and consistent. We, maybe, sacrificed a little bit of speed. It was set up to run 13 laps hard. We did our development with Stoptech brakes and Carbotech. Two years ago, I was leading the first five laps of this event and the brakes were on the floor and gave it back. Today, is quite a redemption.
“We knew we were faster than the STO cars at that point, under acceleration especially. I dropped back a little bit [on the restart] to give them [STO driver] some room so that we could get our start at speed and get around them by Turn 1 and not have them affect our race. When I looked back in my mirror after going into Turn 3, I saw Tom had gotten around them too. It cleared us up.
“I am pretty excited. It's a big effort. The last four years I've gotten four medals, all of the wrong color and with three different cars. It's kind of been a hodge podge adventure to finally get this win with the Corvette, which is the best car on the street and on the track.”
Sloe started second in the No. 97 Hutter Racing Eng/Hoosier/Russell Chevrolet Corvette and was side-by-side with Buttermore heading into Turn 1 at the race start. Sloe, a former Runoffs National Champion, did his best to stick right with Buttermore for most of the first lap before the caution flew.
Unfortunately, after the race went green, Sloe fell several seconds behind Buttermore and couldn't quite catch him to win a second Championship. However, his second-place finish this year was some redemption over last year's T1 12th-place finish, when nine T1 cars were involved on a crash at the green flag.
“At the start, I was going to try to outbrake him [Buttermore],” Sloe said. “The C5 is a little bit lighter. Just because they're Corvettes, they're not equal. The C5 needs a little bit of help to compete against the LS3 C6, but I was trying my best.
“I thought I might be able to take a shot at outbraking him down in Turn 1. I didn't clear him. I got in deeper, but I didn't think I could come across his nose without getting touched, so I let him go. Then, I kind of got in the wrong gear going into (Turn) 5, but I had enough momentum to keep that going. Then the caution came out and we just kind of tooled around.
“I had a good restart on the inside coming up against the wall, but John jumped over and I was halfway up. I was into a wall here last year in a T1 and the car basically got totaled. I wasn't going to do another one, so I lifted. I didn't know if he saw me. I needed to do something on the restart and John made a great move through the grass, three-wide, and got away. That was all I could do.
“I lifted so I wasn't in the wall. It will probably haunt me. I will have to look at the film and see what it looks like to see if I made the right mistake or not. It is redemption. But, I'm sitting in the wrong chair. But, that's the way it goes. I am happy to be on the podium.”
McGinley, who started third in the No. 50 Superior Chevrolet Chevrolet Corvette, spent the six green flag laps trying to chance down Sloe. In fact, McGinley knew his best chance to get around Sloe was on the restart on lap eight. But, McGinley couldn't quite get close enough and finished third, tying his career-best T1 Runoffs finish. He also finished third at the 2007 Runoffs.
“It was a real good race,” McGinley said. “It was a lot of fun, but it was a real short race after the caution. I think it was six laps that we were under caution. But, it was very exciting. John kind of did break away from Tom and I. I was on Tom for a little while, but I tried to brake at the same time that he did and I figured out that's not a very good idea, so he gapped me a little bit and stayed ahead the whole time. It was a lot of fun.”
Michael Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., finished fourth in the No. 41 GO4IT Racing Schools/Hawk/Hoosier Chevrolet Corvette GS and David Sanders, of Exton, Pa., finished fifth in the Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was the Sunoco Hard Charger after finishing ninth.
Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial. More information is available at www.scca.com.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Friday's Touring 1 National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1) John M Buttermore,Wixom/MI, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 2, (2) Tom Sloe,Newbury/OH, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 3, (3) Mike McGinley,Overland Park/KS, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 4, (4) Michael Pettiford,Louisville/CO, Chevrolet Corvette GS, 12 5, (5) David Sanders,Exton/PA, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 12 6, (6) Oli Thordarson,Trabuco Canyon/CA, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 12 7, (7) Tim Hund,Norfolk/VA, Dodge Viper, 12 8, (8) Michael Waszak,Glen Ellyn/IL, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 9, (10) Kyle Kelley,Huntington Beach/CA, Chevrolet Corvette, 12 10, (9) David Koller,Spring/TX, Chevrolet Corvette C6, 12 11, (11) Norman Betts,Ann Arbor/MI, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 7.
Overall Time of Race: 41:06.615
Average Race Speed: 70.056 mph
Margin of Victory: 8.931 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:22.069
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 94.313 mph