Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., completed a dream week of racing at Road America, winning the GT-1 Title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs and the SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep award a week after winning the Muscle Milk; SCCA Trans-Am Finale. Peter Mohrhauser, of Kenosha, Wis., and Michael Lewis, of Poway, Calif., completed the GT-1 podium.
Starting from pole in the No. 36 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Ford Mustang, Ebben timed the start perfectly and held his lead as the field streamed into Turn One. Second-starting Mohrhauser in the No. 99 Chevrolet Corvette gave chase to Ebben, and nearly had an opportunity to take the lead in Turn Six, but opted to play it conservative on the first lap. No more passing opportunities would present themselves as Ebben's lead continued to grow and the 2003 GT-1 National Champion claimed the 2009 Title by 15.635 seconds.
"I had a good start," Ebben said. "It took a while for the tires to come in. Once the car got going, it ran great. The brakes started getting a little soft about halfway in and the engine temperature was running a bit hot. It was getting up toward the red line, but it seemed to stay there, so we got lucky."
Ebben's Runoffs win, combined with a win in the nationwide point standings, the Central Division GT-1 Championship and a key National Club racing win earned him the first-ever SCCA GT-1 Super Sweep Award. Ebben also set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:07.407 (113.024 mph).
Unable to catch Ebben, Mohrhauser circulated the 14-turn, four-mile road course on his own for the majority of the race, crossing the finish line second.
Driving the No. 12 Goodyear/Cyclo Products Jaguar XKR, Lewis started and finished third.
With such a dominant performance from the top three cars, the best battle on track became the battle for fourth between Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Amy Ruman, of Kent, Ohio. Ruman took several looks at Kelley's No. 3 UPR.Com/APEX Chevrolet Camaro entering Turn 12 but couldn't make it stick. On the final lap, Ruman's No. 23 McNichols Co/Goodyear/Cenweld Chevrolet Corvette pulled alongside Kelley in Turn 14. The two made contact and both cars spun into the grass. Fortunately, the Kelley and Ruman had built enough of a gap to sixth-place that they were able to continue and cross the finish line in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Kelley's drive from 16th on the grid to fourth at the finish earned him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
The GT-1 National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs concludes.