TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 10, 2008) – After a disappointing DNF in the 2007 Spec Miata National Championship race, Eric Foss, of Fort Worth, Texas, redeemed himself at the 45th SCCA National Championship Runoffs, holding off Steven Gorriaran, of Providence, R.I., to take the Spec Miata title. Sammy Valafar, of Las Vegas, Nev., completed the podium at Heartland Park Topeka.
Starting from pole, Foss kept the hungry Spec Miata field at bay heading into Turn One, but it wasn’t long before the No. 77 Miata Specialists/E-Bargain/Jesus Mazda Miata of Valafar pounced and took over the lead. Foss kept his No. 28 Team Saferacer Mazda Miata glued to the Valafar’s bumper, however, and was able to retake the lead on lap seven as the pair headed into Turn One.
As Valafar fell back into the clutches of Gorriaran and Blake Clements, Foss kept his head down, pulling out a gap of nearly one and a half seconds, before Gorriaran was able to break away from the pack and settle into his own rhythm. With only three laps remaining, Foss’ lead came under threat from Gorriaran’s No. 44 GorillaRacing/Driven Performance Mazda Miata. Though under heavy pressure, the current MX-5 Cup point leader remained poised and crossed the finish line 0.573-second ahead of Gorriaran.
“After last year I didn’t want to do Spec Miata anymore to be honest,” Foss said. “I was really frustrated because of the luck I’d had. I’d built my own car and it was a good car, but I didn’t feel like it was a good car to continue with. This year, I was offered to run with Team Saferacer. The car is amazing. It’s been a great car all week long. We felt like we nailed the setup in testing on Sunday, so we didn’t change much, even though track conditions changed. It was great to be out there in a car that gave me confidence.
“[Steve and Sammy] are some of the cleanest guys I’ve raced with and I’m excited for them too. I knew they’d race me clean and they did that every lap. We were nose-to-tail, side-by-side, and never once did I have a concern. Actually, the racing was a lot cleaner than what happens in MX-5 Cup sometimes!”
Though he dropped back to fourth shortly after Foss retook the lead on lap seven, Valafar successfully moved himself back to third the following lap. He would stay there until the checkered flag to take his first Runoffs podium.
Following an intense late-race battle, Mark Drennan, of San Jose, Calif., finished fourth, followed closely by Aaron McSpadden, of Austin, Texas.
The Sunoco Hard Charger Award went to Andrew Charbonneau, of Delray Beach, Fla., who advanced 13 positions in the race.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 45th-consecutive year in 2008. The best amateur drivers from across North America will compete on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event began with four days of qualifying, Oct. 6-9, and has now commenced three days of National Championship racing, Oct. 10-12. Live timing, lap notes, results and photos are all available at www.scca.com/runoffs.