LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 26, 2004) – Mark Dennis, of Rochester, N.Y., captured his first-career National Championship Sunday, dominating the G Production class race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course while his competition beat on one another behind. Mark McAllister, of Webster, N.Y., and Bill Wessel, of Madison, Wis., completed the top three.
Starting alongside polesitter and two-time defending Champion Kent Prather, Dennis took the lead at the start in his No. 80 Nissan/Goodyear/CDA Machining Nissan 510. From there, he clicked off fast lap after fast lap to speed away to a 24.67-second win, averaging 78.097 mph.
"This is what my brother [Kevin] and I have been working for,” said Dennis. “He was second in this car last year and I was second in it the year before. We've been trying hard to win and there are a lot of hours in the garage in this. I'm glad I could run a clean race. It was great that I could get in front and stay out of trouble. Kent [Prather] is a very good driver and I knew that if he got ahead it would have been a lot of trouble to get back in front. The key was to get into the lead at the start. Every lap that I came around I saw cars all over the place so it was essential to stay clean."
Behind Dennis, the battles were fierce for the remainder of the top 10, with several contenders coming together and ending their runs. On lap five, while battling for third, Prather and Andy Deatherage, of Cleveland, Ohio, came together in turn one, damaging both cars enough to remove them from contention. Working lap 17, the battle for second was tight, when Chuck Mathis, of St. Jacob, Ill., and Jeff Winter, of Arvada, Colo., came together, again in turn one, resulting in heavy damage to both cars.
That promoted Wessel to second, but he spun one lap later to promote McAllister, who started ninth, to the silver medal.
Chris Albin, of Maryland Heights, Mo., and Paul Stoltze, of Dripping Springs, Texas, completed the top five.
Now in its 41st year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crown the best amateur road racers in North America Champions. More than 700 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 24 class titles this year, with eight races being run each day from Friday through Sunday.
Celebrating its 60th Anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 60,000 member motorsports organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events of a variety of disciplines, including road racing, autocrossing, road rally and performance rally.
Link to: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=174