TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2006) – Niki Coello, of East Troy, Wis., claimed his second consecutive Formula Continental title and the Formula Continental Triple Crown at the 2006 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. Cole Morgan, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., and Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, filled out the podium.-30-
The No. 81 Pouredfoundations.com Van Diemen RF01 of Coello led the race from start to finish, but not without some pressure from the No. 11 Swift DB6 of Cole Morgan. Morgan was all over the gearbox of Coello early in the race and peeked to the inside of Coello on Lap two in the Carousel. Morgan made slight contact with the rear of Coello, damaging his car’s front wing in the process. Coello pulled a steady gap on Morgan from that point forward, and despite a full-course caution for an incident on the front straight that bunched the field back up, Morgan was unable to challenge Coello for the win.
“It was nice starting in front,” said Coello, “but I did not like seeing the double yellows come out because I had a pretty good lead and the pace car went around pretty slow, so it was hard keeping the tires warm because it is so cold outside. On the restart I just wanted to get a good jump and just take it easy on the first couple corners because the tires would not be up to temperature. I was able to get a good jump and get through turns one and two and pulled away from there.”
Justin Pritchard finished third in his No. 83 Elite engines/Hoosier Piper DF2006C, followed by No. 16 Russell Lindemann, of Longmont, Colo., in a Rocky Mountain Tire & Auto Van Diemen RF99, and No. 67 Dave Weitzenhof, who started from the pit lane, but battled through the field to finish fifth in his ICP/Quicksilver/Valvoline Citation 95SF. Jim Victor, of Davenport, Iowa, received the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing seven positions.
With the win, Coello earned the first SCCA Triple Crown of the Year, winning the June Sprints, his Divisional Championship and the National Championship.
Now in its 43rd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think annually crowns the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 25 class titles, with nine races on Friday and eight Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first year that the Runoffs is held at Heartland Park Topeka.
Celebrating its 62nd anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 55,000 member organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events in a variety of disciplines, including road racing, Solo, road rally and rallycross.