Evans Cruises to Formula Enterprises National Championship
Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, came from fifth on the grid to win the Formula Enterprises race at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Scott Rettich, of Oxford, Ohio, and Brandon Aleckson, of Watsonville, Calif., completed the podium.
Driving the No. 91 Jay Motorsports/Buckholz Wall Systems SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda, Evans weaved his way from fifth at the green flag to third by Turn Five. A half-dozen corners later in Turn 12, Evans took a look at Rettich for second-place, but couldn't find a way around the polesitter. Instead, he chose Turn 13 to make the pass and move into second.
Evans then set off in pursuit of leader Brian Novak, of Dearborn, Mich., in the No. 68 NovaRace/Hoosier/AiM Data SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda. With Rettich hot on his tail, Novak didn't waste any time behind Novak, grabbing the lead on lap three under braking for Turn Eight. When Novak spun in Turn 12 on the following lap, Evans was left with no challengers. Evans sped away to the Formula Enterprises National Championship by a 6.839-second win margin, averaging 105.123 mph along the way.
"Basically, I got by Mark [Eaton] on the start and Matt [Schneider]," Evans said. "I was able to get by Scott [Rettich] coming out of Canada Corner. He just ran a little bit wide. I think I ran a little bit wide too. I ran down Brian [Novak] and he had a really strong motor. I caught him a little bit in some of the braking zones. I was able to get him going into Turn Eight. After that, I just drove away. I just put my head down and quit looking in my mirrors. I'm not sure what was going on behind me, if there were any battles going on that helped me out. That's pretty much how I got here."
A runner-up in the FE National Championship race last year, Evans also set the fastest lap of the race en route to his first-ever Runoffs win, a 2:15.658 (106.149 mph).
With Novak's spin on lap four, Rettich's No. 17 PDI Communications/Hippi Racing SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda was promoted to second, where he would finish.
Starting eighth, Aleckson moved his No. 83 Dan's Upholstery SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda up to fifth by lap four behind Mark Eaton, of Melbourne, Fla. When Eaton's No. 92 Robinson MotorSports SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda blew a shock on lap seven, forcing the defending FE National Champion to pit lane, Aleckson took over third.
Aleckson faced heavy pressure from Scott McQueen, of Huffman, Texas, in the closing stage of the 13-lap, 52-mile race. On their final tour of the circuit, McQueen made a move to the outside of Aleckson in Turn One. The two made contact under braking, sending McQueen's No. 59 Scott McQueen Racing SCCA Formula Enterprises into the gravel trap. Aleckson would continue to the checkered flag to claim the final podium position.
His run from eighth to the podium earned Aleckson the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Paul Schneider, of Charlotte, N.C., finished fourth in the No. 73 Performance MotorsCars of Charlotte SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda. Dean Oppermann, of Plainfield, Ill., completed the top five in his No. 27 International Maxxforce Diesel SCCA Formula Enterprises Mazda.