John Buttermore, of Wixom, Mich., caught lightening in a bottle when he led from flag to flag to win his second consecutive Touring 1 National Championship at the 49th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., and Tim Hund, of Norfolk, Va., finished second and third, respectively.
Driving the No. 52 Hoosier/Carbotech/Stoptech Chevrolet Corvette, Buttermore started from the Gumout pole position, led into Turn 1 and never looked back. He was never seriously challenged for the lead. In fact, he beat Aquilante, the 2007 T1 National Champion, by 21.611 seconds over the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course.
“It was pretty smooth,” Buttermore said of his race. “Everything went according to the plan that we had. We wanted to get out and see if we could break the draft and get away. Running into the back of the STO traffic made things interesting. It went very well for me [getting through the STO traffic] because I got them before the Kink and Andrew got shaved off behind. That didn't help him. Once we got that gap, I ran four or five laps at 100 percent and then put it back to 90 percent and cruised with it.”
Buttermore turned the Hawk Performance fast race lap with a 2:21.825.
Early on, Aquilante battled Michael Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., for second, swapping spots several times in the opening laps. But, as the race settled in, Aquilante took firm control of second in his No. 36 Phoenix/Hoosier/Hawk Ford Mustang Boss 302, which is where he finished. Unfortunately, Pettiford lost his bid for a podium finish when his No. 41 GO 4 IT Racing Schools/Hoosier Tire Chevrolet Corvette C6 cut a left-rear tire on lap nine, forcing him to pit. He finished ninth.
“I am a little upset about the start,” Aquliante said. “But, it was it is. I'll get over that. I thought I had a chance to race with him [Buttermore], but obviously John was the class of the field. When Mike [Pettiford] got alongside of me we went side by side, I knew I had to get back around Mike in order to have a chance to chase down John. He [Pettiford] hung with me pretty good for the first lap. When we came up on some of the slower cars in STO, it got kind of got messy. But, it was a pretty good race.”
Hund, who started seventh in the No. 22 Old Dominion Metals Dodge Viper, drove an impressive race moving up four spots to finish a career-best third in the T1 National Championship. Hund's previous best T1 finish was seventh last year. He was also the race's Sunoco Hard Charger.
“Someone made me mad in qualifying yesterday,” Hund said. “I drive a lot better mad because I'm normally a pretty happy guy. I told the guys, ‘I'm just going to go with it.' This time, I was a little more driven. I think I had a much better race because I concentrated harder and was much more driven.
“This means a whole lot to me [about his career-best third place Runoffs finish]. I'm not exactly the young guy up here. I kind of break the age curve here a little bit. Seventh was my previous best finish. To get third is quite an honor against guys who are great. I certainly was not in the hunt with these two guys [Buttermore and Aquilante], but we battled with some of the other guys who were a little bit more my ability. We had a good race with some great racers out there.”
Oli Thordarson, of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., finished fourth in the No. 11 Alvaka Networks/949 Racing/RPM Moto Chevrolet Corvette C5 and Joe Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., finished fifth in the No. 33 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette C6.
The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available through Sunday at www.SpeedcastTV.com/scca and later available on demand from the same site.
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Provisional Results from Thursday's Touring 1 National Championship Race with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), John M Buttermore, Wixom, MI, Chevrolet Corvette GS, 13.
2, (2), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, PA, Ford Mustang Boss 302, 13.
3, (7), Tim Hund, Norfolk, VA, Dodge Viper, 13.
4, (5), Oli Thordarson, Trabuco Canyon, CA, Chevrolet Corvette C5, 13.
5, (6), Joe Aquilante, Chester Springs, PA, Chevrolet Corvette C6, 13.
6, (4), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Chevrolet Corvette C5, 13.
7, (9), Natha Waldbaum, Omaha, NE, Chevrolet Corvette C5, 12.
8, (8), Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, CA, Chevrolet Corvette GS, 12.
9, (3), Michael Pettiford, Louisville, CO, Chevrolet Corvette C6, 11.
10, (10), Michael Waszak, Glen Ellyn, IL, Chevrolet Corvette C5, 9.
Overall Time of Race: 31:21.321
Average Race Speed: 99.505 mph
Margin of Victory: 21.611 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:21.825
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 101.534 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #22 Tim Hund
Lap Leaders: #52 – Laps 1 – 13