Crook takes DSR title in first Runoffs appearance
Garry Crook, of Pensacola, Fla., overcame a poor qualifying position, tricky weather conditions and an 18-car D Sports Racing field to win a National Title in his first appearance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Michael Crowe, of Largo, Fla., and Lawrence Loshak, of Milwaukee, Wis., joined Crook on the podium Sunday at Road America.
Crook, driving the No. 41 Vision Contstruction Stohr WF1 Suzuki, made a big move at the start of the race. The Floridian dove to the inside at the start and by Turn Three sat in fourth place. Crook was second by the beginning of lap two and took over the lead from then-leader Charles Dempsey, of Brooksville, Fla., in Turn One.
The lead stretched to almost 11 seconds at the end of lap three when, with a light rain falling, Dempsey spun and made contact with the wall in the Kink to bring out a full-course caution and erase Crook's lead.
After four laps behind the safety car, the race resumed with six laps remaining. Crook immediately began to stretch out a lead once again, and after two green flag laps, the gap was back to more than 10 seconds. Crook finished the 13-lap, 52-mile race with a 24.277-second margin of victory.
Crook turned the fastest lap of the race around the 4-mile, 14-turn circuit, a 2:07.008 (113.379 mph). The win, combined with early week electrical problems that relegated Crook to a 10th starting position, provided Crook with the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
"The car was still a little low on power (on Thursday), so we fiddled with it some more on the dyno and they found some other items that they though would help it out," Crook said of his qualifying struggles. "By Friday, we were pretty unsure if we'd have a race car, but we had a qualifying time, so I figured I might as well run, since we were here.
"I don't think there was any secret to the race other than I had a red car [Lawrence Loshak] real close behind me (on the restart). I knew that he would pass me if I didn't do something. He was my motivation. I was watching the track and I saw it drying. While we were doing all the wiggling [under yellow], the officials might have held us up some to let it dry out a bit more. Our tires were all warm and away we went and we just didn't look in the mirrors anymore."
The Runoffs rookie earned the SCCA Super Sweep with his win at the Runoffs, combined with a June Sprints victory, a Divisional Championship and the newly created nationwide point standings - all in a single class. The award was announced at the 2009 SCCA National Convention.
"We were very lucky," Crook said of his Runoffs win. "This is the ultimate in Club Racing. It felt good to be here. It's a great experience and a great track. Road America is one of the top tracks in the world. This isn't just a national thing. This is a world-class track here and everybody in the world knows about this facility."
Crowe, driving the No. 88 TS Race Engineering/Goodyear/Performance Friction Stohr WF1 Suzuki, overcame his own litany of mechanical gremlins this week to finish second after starting ninth. On the lap eight restart, Crowe was third, behind Crook and Loshak. On lap nine, Crowe pulled alongside Loshak at the timing stripe and completed the pass under braking in Turn One. Crowe held his runner-up spot to the finish.
Loshak ended the race in third behind the wheel of the No. 02 ETE Stohr/KWS/Datatoys/Goodyear Stohr WF1 Suzuki KWS.
Garrett Kletjian, of Hingham Mass., finished fourth driving the No. 01 Hardshell Motorsports West WX-10 Suzuki and Salt Lake City-native Chris Farrell was fifth in the No. 58 C&M Manufacturing/Team Cobra/Hoosier Stohr WF1 Suzuki.
The D Sports Racing National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.