Jim Goughary, of Houston, returned to Championship form with a late-race pass to earn his fourth-career Gumout GT2 National title in the 47th SCCA Runoffs Presented by Subway at Road America. Mark Boden, of Winnetka, Ill., last year's GT2 National Champion and the Gumout pole winner, finished second, while David Cormier, of North Saanich, British Columbia, finished third.
Goughary started second in the No. 46 Redline Oil/Hoosier Tire Nissan 350Z and spent most of the race shadowing Boden's every move, at the time the race leader. For the first 11 of the 13-lap race, Goughary's Nissan filled Boden's mirrors, forcing Boden to drive defensively.
On lap 11, Boden's lead over Goughary was only 0.270-seconds. Goughary put a lot of pressure on Boden and was right behind him in Turn Six when Boden spun. Goughary took evasive action to avoid being collected. The spin allowed Goughary to inherit the race lead.
In an effort to miss Boden, Goughary had to slow down substantially. With Goughary slow and Boden stopped, Boden did not lose much time due to the spin. At the stripe on the last lap, Goughary led was 3.778-seconds and Boden knew it was going to be difficult to catch Goughary. But, on the last lap, Boden ran his fastest lap of the race to narrow Goughary's win to 1.858-seconds.
"I was very concerned about the start," Goughary said. "We have a lighter car with less torque. Last year, I got off to a bad start. I tried to anticipate and overcome that. For me, lying second after the first couple of corners, I felt great. But, being a little bit lighter it takes us a little bit longer to get heat in our tires. Mark [Boden] got away, but I wasn't worried about it because I knew we were going to run significantly faster once we got the tires up to full temperature.
"He [Boden] drove a great race - no mistakes for the first half for sure. I was only catching him by fractions each lap. Finally, I got up to the point where he was worried about me. I was just hoping he'd make a mistake. I really didn't see a way I could get by him cleanly without a mistake. I just tried to keep the pressure on and it worked out this year."
With Boden's second-place finish, this gave him two podium finishes on the weekend. The other podium finish (third-place) was in Touring 2. Boden also set a new fast race lap SCCA Runoffs GT2 record with a time of 2:17.896 (104.427 mph)
"We had a good start, it was nice and clean," Boden said. "[At the start] I think everyone was trying to get some temperature in their tires and it looks like I went a little bit harder [than everyone else] in the beginning. That may have cost me in the end. But, I pushed real hard on the first lap and opened up a gap. I was running very comfortable, very fast lap times. You can't get over confident in this group [GT2], especially with guys like Jim [Goughary].
"I was really working hard to keep him [Goughary] behind me. He had me driving in the rearview mirror. I was consistently missing my marks in Turn One, which I'm sure he got a view of. He put a lot of pressure on. My car was really having a hard time in Turn Six and I didn't really have an opportunity to adjust to it because he was right there. When I got in there and spun, there really was nothing I could do. I gave it everything I had to get him at the end, but it wasn't there. I ran my fastest lap on the very last lap. It was a great race."
Runoffs rookie Cormier got indoctrinated early into just how competitive the Runoffs are. He had four Runoffs Champions starting immediately front of him.
Early on, he had to battle Champions Pete Peterson, of Lumberton, N.C., and Tom Patton, of Hamilton, Ohio. But, he showed the poise of a veteran as he got by those two and was in third by lap four, which is where he finished.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Cormier said of his race. "I had four National Champions starting the race in front of me. Tom Patton, I knew he was going to be tough. I had a good battle with him. Pete Peterson, I've got some red paint on my car [from him]. I knew we were going to be quick. I didn't expect to win it. I felt we would be in the fight, which we were. If we hadn't been held up, we may have been able to get a bit closer. I don't really think I had anything for these guys today. These guys [Goughary and Boden] were real good."
Mark Jurczyk, of Chicago, Ill., finished fourth in the No. 2 Players Chicago Porsche 996 GT3 Cup and was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing three positions throughout the race. Brooks Potter drove the No. 03 AASCO Motorsports Porsche 996 GT3 Cup to a fifth place finish.
Eban Bell, Timothy Gray, Gus Rosenberg, Charles Cook, and Crispin Beaver finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
Now in its 47th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
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More information is available at www.scca.com/runoffs.