TOPEKA, Kan. (June 13, 2006) – Suffice to say, there were more than a few questions heading into last weekend’s SCCA Club Racing National event at Heartland Park Topeka. The venue. The facilities. The track itself. Club Racers from all over the United States wanted to see their competition program’s new championship home, and, more importantly, see it in action.-30-
As the weekend played out, and eight groups (seven national, one regional) featuring nearly 300 drivers from over half the United States (and one from Canada) took in a long look at their surroundings, the variety of questions seemed to, for the most part, melt into one, unified conclusion as the Heavenly Hazel’s Kaw Valley Sprints XVIII drew to a close at Heartland Park (HPT).
“I love the track,” said Formula Mazda driver Doug Yanda, of Westminster, Colo., who finished sixth in class in his first trip to Heartland Park Topeka. “It is smooth. I was at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, and I like this one a little better than that.”
That general positive sentiment concerning HPT was shared by many, including another driver who made an even farther trek than Yanda to take a peek at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® new home.
“It is different, but it’s fun,” said Mike Henderson, of El Cajon, Calif., who finished second in the GT-3 race. Henderson, who started on the pole in the 2003 Runoffs GT-3 race, admitted he entered the weekend not knowing what to expect. “All I knew is what I saw on the map. I knew it was in Kansas. We got here and found the place has nice facilities.”
As smooth as the weekend ran, there were scattered comments that some aspects of the venue needed a little bit more touch-up before the Runoffs later this year.
That detail didn’t escape Heartland Park owner Raymond Irwin, who split time between his official and racing duties by driving in GT-1.
“Although we have completed a lot of buildings and paving in preparation for the Runoffs coming to Heartland Park Topeka, there is still work to be done before October,” Irwin said. “We're confident that the next time racers come to our facility they will continue to be impressed with our progress and completion of other projects."
While there was no mention of specifics, Irwin said that ideas in terms of how and what would be done in the future would be made with participants in mind.
"We received plenty of feedback from the racers,” Irwin said. “And we will work to make their next trip to Heartland Park Topeka that much more enjoyable."
Information for the Runoffs, October 9-15, is available at http://www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=06-runoffs, or by clicking on “Club Racing” and then “Runoffs” at www.scca.com. To receive an entry via fax or mail, contact Deanna Flanagan at 800-770-2055.
Group and Class Winners at Heartland Park Topeka
(Overall Group Winners noted in italics)
Spec Miata: Anthony Coello – Palmyra, Wis.
D Sports Racing: Tom Bootz – Evansville, Ind..
Formula Vee: Brad Stout – St. Louis, Mo.
Formula 500: Jason Knuteson – Danville, Ind.
Formula Ford: Cliff Johnson - Leawood, Kan.
Grand Touring 1: Bill Gray – Fayetteville, Ark..
Grand Touring 2: Gerry Mason – Indianapolis, Ind.
Grand Touring 3: Pete Peterson – Lumberton, N.C.
American Sedan: Monte Cowles – Dumfries, Va.
E Production: Tom Thrash – Houston, Texas.
F Production: Eric Prill – Topeka, Kan.
G Production: Chuck Mathis – St. Jacob, Ill.
H Production: John Salisbury – Gurnee, Ill.
Grand Touring Lite: Peter Zekert – Maryland Heights, Mo.
Formula Atlantic: Keith Grant – Germantown, Tenn..
Formula Continental: Niki Coello – East Troy, Wis.
Formula Mazda: Mike Anderson – Anza, Calif.
C Sports Racing: Hans Peter – Overland Park, Kan.
Sports 2000: John Fergus – Powell, Ohio
Touring 1: Edward Zabinski – Sunny Isles Beach, Fla..
Touring 2: Chuck Hemmingson – West Des Moines, Iowa
Touring 3: Rob Lay – Southlake, Texas
Showroom Stock B: Toby Grahovec – Chicago, Ill.
Showroom Stock C: Joseph McClughan – New Braunfels, Texas
Spec Racer Ford: Chris Funk – Kansas City, Mo..
Group 8 (regional classes only)
ITE: Andy Wolverton – Papillion, Neb..
ITA: Pete Lehr – West Des Moines, Iowa
ITB: R. Britton Brown – Kansas City, Mo.
IT7: Scott Peterson – Parkville, Mo.
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