TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2006) – Polesitter Rick Gilhart, of Cincinnati, drove flag-to-flag to capture his first T3 National Championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. Scott Shelton, of Los Angeles, and Joel Lipperini, of Pittson, Pa., completed the top three.-30-
In the final SCCA National Championship race of the day, Gilhart led the field to the green flag in his No. 55 Hoosier/Mothers/Manheim Auctions Mazda RX8 and was never seriously challenged for the lead, winning by 0.940-second over Shelton’s No. 15 Mazdaspeed/Hoosier/Mothers Mazda RX8.
“I was pushing it extremely hard,” Gilhart said. “I knew these guys were behind me. At the start, we had a real problem with the cars that had more horsepower. Our strategy was to be in first and second by the second turn. We braked real late and it worked out. We [Gilhart and Shelton] were one and two. Joel [Lipperini] got into a little dirt there and Scott [Shelton] saw a little opening and got right through.”
Piloting the No. 84 Mazdaspeed/Mothers Mazda RX8, Dennis Holloway, of Huntington Beach, Calif., finished fourth and Joe Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., finished fifth in his No. 33 Hoosier/Phoenix Chevrolet Cobalt. Rob Piekarczyk, of Parma, Ohio, won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the race award for advancing seven positions throughout the race, starting 18th and finishing 11th.
Now in its 43rd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think annually crowns the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 25 class titles, with nine races on Friday and eight Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first year that the Runoffs is held at Heartland Park Topeka.
Celebrating its 62nd anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 55,000 member organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events in a variety of disciplines, including road racing, Solo, road rally and rallycross.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=688