TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 11, 2008) – Dan Collishaw, of Carmel, Ind., won his second H Production National Championship at the 45th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka. Matt Brannon, of Columbus, Ohio, and Greg Gauper, of Hubertus, Wis., completed the podium.
Driving the No. 81 Naples Valley Brand Products Austin-Healy Sprite, Collishaw was engaged in a race-long, back-and-forth battle with polesitter Tom Feller. Unfortunately, on lap 15, Feller’s car had a mechanical issue which ended his day, while Collishaw continued to build a sizable lead over then third place driver Brannon. Collishaw went on to win the race by 7.464-seconds over Brannon.
“I thought I was going to get run over at the start,” Collishaw said. “Matt [Brannon] and Greg [Gauper] and the Volkswagen were going to just run me over with my little 948. I shocked the hell out of myself. I got into the first turn ahead of everyone and I thought, ‘what am I doing up here?’ But, then Tom [Feller] quickly passed me back.
“We were really evenly matched. He got onto the back straight better and I’d do a little better through Turn Eight and Nine and catch him [Feller] at the end. We were really close everywhere. He’d make a mistake and I’d take advantage of it. I’d make a mistake and he’d take an advantage of it.
“The full-course caution came out and I cooled down the motor and the tires. I shocked myself again going into the lead in the first turn. Then, I got in the marbles in Turn Two and got a little sideways and [Feller] blasted back by me. It was shaping up to be a real good finish. Then all of a sudden, we came out of Turn 12 and he just slowed up and I actually hit him! I knew he had a terminal problem. I feel bad because he drove the wheels of his car.
“It feels great. This was my first time winning on the track. It’s real special being able to do a real victory lap.”
Collishaw’s previous National Championship came after the provisional winner was disqualified.
Starting fourth in the No. 22 www.midwest-x19.com Fiat X-1/9, Brannon ran a consistent race to stay within in striking distance of the leaders and his consistency paid off. When Feller could not continue, Brannon inherited second place and he could not overcome Collishaw’s more than seven second lead.
Gauper, who started fifth in the No. 15 Rana Mort Racing/Kind Motorsports Honda Civic Si, said the lap nine caution came at just the right time. This gave him the opportunity to cool his tires and engine – just the things he need to do to make a late-race push and it work. Over the final eight laps, he picked up two positions to finish third.
Tim Pitts, of Louisville, Tenn., finished fourth in the No. 11 Performance Tuning Volkswagen Golf. Gary Wittman, of Costa Mesa, Calif., was fifth in the No. 38 Tiodize/Venolia Austin-Healy Sprite. Jamie Blust, of Castle, Colo., was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing nine positions throughout the race. The H Production race will air at noon (EST) Wednesday, Jan. 7 on SPEED.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 45th-consecutive year in 2008. The best amateur drivers from across North America will compete on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event began with four days of qualifying, Oct. 6-9, and has now commenced three days of National Championship racing, Oct. 10-12. Live timing, lap notes, results and photos are all available at www.scca.com/runoffs.