Steve Forrer, of Fox Point, Wis., picked up his second straight C Sports Racing title and his fourth SCCA National Championship with a dominating run at the Runoffs at Road America on Saturday afternoon. Jacek Mucha, of Laval, Quebec, Canada, was second and Jim Downing, of Atlanta, was third.
Running in tandem with the D Sports Racing class, Forrer started from the Gumout Pole Position in the No. 84 K Hill Motorsports/Hoosier/Forrer Supply Ralt RT-41 Toyota and was never really challenged throughout the 13-lap race. In fact, despite starting nearly half a lap behind the D Sports field, Forrer made his way into the top five overall positions by the checkered flag. He gained most of his ground through the middle stages of the race with blistering lap times, including the Hawk Hot Lap at 2:02.782 (117.281 mph) on lap 5.
He went on to win by 23.301 seconds over Mucha. In addition to winning the 2010 C Sports Racing National Championship, Forrer also scored back-to-back Formula Atlantic National Championships in 1996 and 1997.
"It was a great race today," Forrer said. "It was fun. The start is always a challenge. We were side-by-side coming into [turn] one, so that was good. I just stayed steady most of the race and tried to do what I did in qualifying and stay out of trouble. I came up on the Ds and, realistically, last year we were with the S2000s and it's such a speed difference. With the Ds, we were really close and it was clean driving. It was good with that class."
Finishing second for the sixth time in C Sports Racing at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs was Mucha in the No. 07 Phoenix-Innotech JMS 016 Mazda. Mucha came up one position shy in his bid to win the SCCA Super Sweep, but adds a 2011 silver medal to his collection alongside CSR runner-up performances in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2009.
"It started with a small stumble of my engine on the start," Mucha said. "That's why I started in the second position and basically since then, for some time I kept the pace and we were the same distance. As usual when I have to start lapping the D Sports, it never works for me. I caught some of them just before The Carousel and it took me quite a while to pass them and then another two cars in [turn] 14, so I lost contact and basically that was it. After that, I just kept pace so nobody would get me from behind and I didn't see anybody. I didn't see anybody in the front and I didn't see anybody in the back."
Downing provided the highlight of the race with a spectacular pass in Road America's ultra-fast kink [turn 11] on the penultimate lap to take third from Jason Miller, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis. The four-position improvement from his seventh-place starting spot gave Downing the Sunoco Hard Charger Award, and it was Downing's second bronze medal at the Runoffs. The third-place result was his first since 2008 in C Sports Racing and is the latest chapter in a storied motorsports career.
"I was actually surprised I caught him," said Downing of his pass on Miller. "His tires must have been giving up near the end there, because I was catching him in The Carousel. He may have missed a gear going into it or he may have just let up and let me by. I don't know. It was pretty tight. He probably didn't do that. He may have had a glitch, but I was catching him up there and I think it was mostly just grip, the tires getting tired and fortunately I was on Hoosiers, which seemed to be better this weekend.
"We've worked hard all year. We're the only Rotary in the group, so we came to June Sprints to see if we wouldn't embarrass ourselves at the Runoffs. We seemed to be a little quicker than we were last year, so we came. Wednesday we were fifth, which was nice, so we worked on our rain setup on Thursday and then both Brian and James French went right out and knocked me back to seventh. I was a little surprised I caught them at the end. They're a couple of tough guys and know the track far better than I do. The car may have been getting a little tired there too, because it was three or four laps from the end when I managed to get by there."
A spin by Miller in the final turn on the final lap while taking one last shot at Downing allowed James French, of Sheboygan, Wis., to take fourth in the No. 44 Swift 014 Toyota. Brian French, also of Sheboygan, finished fifth in the No. 45 Motorsports Enterprises LTD Ralt RT-41 Toyota and Miller wound up sixth in the No. 8 Kohler/Millenium/Goodyear WynnFurst Kohler.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Saturday's C Sports Racing National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Steve Forrer, Milwaukee, WI, Ralt RT-41 Toyota, 13.
2, (2), Jacek Mucha, Laval, QC, JMS 016 CP Mazda, 13.
3, (7), Jim Downing, Atlanta, GA, Peach Day-02 Mazda, 13.
4, (4), James French, Sheboygan, WI, Swift 014 Toyota, 13.
5, (5), Brian French, Sheboygan, WI, Ralt RT-41 Toyota, 13.
6, (3), Jason Miller, Sheboygan Falls, WI, WynnFurst Kohler, 13.
7, (8), Jean-Luc Liverato, Alpharetta, GA, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 11.
DNF, (9), David Watson, Kleinburg, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 4.
DNF, (10), Sam Souvall, Salt Lake City, UT, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 1.
DNS, (6), William Goldkind, Holbrook, NY, Swift CSR Toyota, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 27:45.085
Average Race Speed: 112.427 mph
Margin of Victory: 23.301 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: #84 Steve Forrer, 2:02.782
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 117.281 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #63 Jim Downing
Lap Leaders: #84 Steve Forrer - Laps 1-13.