ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 25, 2005) – Under much cooler conditions Saturday, two Wisconsin drivers took home Kohler/SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints® titles as the first three races of the weekend were run at Road America.-30-
Where temperatures in the 90s slow-broiled event goers on Friday, SCCA Club Racing enthusiasts were greeted with highs in the middle 70s on day two, paving the way for faster qualifying times and three fantastic, 13-lap races during the afternoon.
Brian French, of Sheboygan, Wis., literally ran his Motorsports Limited Ltd. Ralt RT 41 to pieces in the first race on Saturday, but held it together long enough to overtake Canadian Jacek Mucha, who was looking for his second-consecutive C Sports Racer win at the June Sprints, on a dead sprint to the finish line to take the win by 0.051-sec.
Mucha, in his Phoenix/Innotech/Red Line/Hoosier Ralt JMS, appeared to be in control when he ripped off a fifth-lap, quick time of 2:07.379. He then took the lead on lap 6 and then built a 0.384-sec. lead over French going into the last lap.
On that lap, however, French went all out and turned the final mile into a sprint to the finish. Going up the hill after turn 14, French said it was a slower car that was his saving grace and Mucha’s undoing.
“I went one way, he went the other and got boxed in by another car,” French said.
Local driver Jeff Miller, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., finished third in his Kohler Wynnfurst after Jean-Luc Liverato, of Mableton, Ga., encountered mechanical problems on lap 12 and retired.
Miller’s son, Jason, finished fourth overall and took D Sports Racing top honors in his Sterling/Kohler Wynnfurst, beating out the Volo Stohr of Rod Morley, of Provo, Utah, and the Goodyear/Red Line Oil Lola AMW driven by Michael Reupert, of Hubertus, Wis., who finished second and third, respectively.
John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, took control of the S2000 class and never relinquished it, taking the win in his Hoosier Tire/The Fergus Companies Carbir C92 and finishing seventh overall. Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., fought his way through the crowd in his Wolf’s Jeep/Hoosier Tire/NIA Carbir CS204 after starting fourth in class to finish second, and 13th overall, while Steve Forrer, of Germantown, Wis., earned third in S2000 in his ForrerSupply/Hoosier/KHillAMotorspts Carbir.
Group 2, which featured Formula 500 and Formula Vee, perfectly followed the example set by Group 1 as F500 driver Aaron Ellis, of Indianapolis, Ind., roared from behind to the win in his Valvoline/Goodyear/Simpson Red Devil AE 03 to capture his second June Sprints victory in as many years. Polesitter Brian Novak, of Dearborn, Mich., in his Hoosier Tire/HRP Motorsports RaKavon J10, must have felt a touch of déjà vu as Ellis passed him on the last lap, considering the situation was nearly identical to the 2004 F500 race here when Ellis passed Novak for the win. Rusty Cook, of Stone Mountain, Ga., wound up third in his Goodyear Tires/Red Line Oil Maverick 01 after Jason Knuteson, of Danville, Ind., slipped into the gravel at turn one on lap 12, prematurely ending his race.
Someday, folks in charge may very well rename the Formula Vee portion of the June Sprints after Brad Stout. Stout, of St. Louis, Mo., fell behind a Vee pack for a split second before regaining the lead and then pulling away from the field to handily take the win in his Goodyear/Penske/LRE/Noble Vortech.
In classic Vee fashion, three cars battled for two podium spots with Michael Beaumia, of Appleton, Wis., in the BRP/LRE/NOBLE/GOODYEAR/Campbell MSP Lazer MK2B, taking second and Chris Kendall, of Winona, Minn., storming his way to a third-place finish in his Kastrel/LRE/BRP/Noble/GPK/MAK/Jenny Vortech after starting 15th in the class.
The Group 3 race, which included E Production, F Production, G Production, H Production and GT-Lite, got off to a rocky start as cars spun out of control in the back half of the field, causing three entries to retire before ever reaching the start of lap one and many others to sustain heavy damage.
Subsequently, the course went to a full-course caution for the next three laps, through lap four. The delay proved costly for polesitter Ken Kannard, of East Troy, Wis., who was leading the field after the first lap, as the E Production driver pulled off course and retired at turn six with mechanical problems unrelated to the carnage that had occurred behind him at the start.
With Kannard out of the way, the EP race became a two-man dash as Lawrence Loshak, of Glendale, Wis., in his Enginetrans.com/Rapidfyre Honda Prelude, and Jon Brakke, of Fargo, N.D., in his Calibrated Combustion Motorsports Mazda Miata, ran away from the rest of the field.
On the penultimate lap, however, Loshak threw the hammer down and extended his lead from two seconds to six over Brakke before finishing out the race for the class and overall win. Don Girven, of Scottsville, N.Y., finished third in his Mazda RX3.
For about eight laps of the first ten in the F Production portion, Steve Sargis, of Frankfort, Ill., was in command. Unfortunately, the race was 13 laps long. On lap 10, then-leader Sargis pulled into pit row with mechanical problems causing smoke to rise from his SBS Batteries/Adam&Mark Engines Triumph Spitfire.
With his dismissal, Gerald Lamb, of Oswego, Ill., assumed the top spot and never looked back, taking the win, and sixth overall, over Rob Futcher, of Grand Rapids, Mich., in his MG Midget, and Dieter Griesinger, of Maple Park, Ill., in his Spitfire 1500, who finished second and third respectively.
Bill Davidson, of Dexter, Mich., won GT-Lite (eighth overall) by a solid margin over Bill Partridge, of Mooresville, Ind., in his Goodyear/Nissan/Laughlin’s Menswear Nissan Sentra, and Peter Zekert, of Maryland Heights, Mo., in his Booble.com/Red Line Oil/Goodyear Nissan 200sx.
Bill Wessel, of Madison, Wis., went away with top honors in G Production (13th overall) in his Goodyear/Nissan Datsun SPL 311, while Chris Crisenbery, of Parma, Mich., won H Production (24th overall).
Even though the Kohler/SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints have only one day remaining, lots of racing is left as four more qualifying sessions (Groups 5-8) will precede five races, with all action scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. (CDT).
For more information about the June Sprints, including schedules and full results, visit www.scca.com.
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