TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 14, 2007) – James Goughary, of Jupiter, Fla., cruised to his second-consecutive Formula Mazda National Championship in the final race of the 2007 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T at Heartland Park Topeka. Sam Stuard, of Shippensburg, Pa., and Juan Marchand, of South Haven, Mich., completed the top three.
Under overcast skies, polesitter Goughary grabbed the lead heading into the Turn One on the start and was never really seriously challenged for the lead. Goughary powered his No. 72 RedLine Oil Star Formula Mazda to a 3.495-second win over first time Runoffs competitor Stuard. With the win, Goughary also won the Chicago Region SCCA Triple Crown ®.
“From where I was sitting, it wasn’t an easy race,” Goughary said. “I thought I threw it away that first lap. The cold tires and green race track caught me a little bit off guard. I turned in slightly late going into Turn Eight going straight off the outside and then to the inside of Nine. I came back across and hit a big curb and got about three or four inches in the air and hit my right front so hard that I though I’d knocked the wing off the car. I thought for sure my race was over.
“I saw Sam behind me and I just tried to concentrate on running smooth, consistent laps the best I could and try to build any sort of a gap. I think once I pulled away a little bit, he lost the draft and he was done.
“I was waiting for something to break the whole race. The car was vibrating and shaking the whole race. When the race was over and I pulled in and the crew told me I broke the right front shock right off the car. I’m very fortunate to be sitting here right now.
“This gives me a shot at the Mazda shootout for the MX-5 Cup car again, which I got to do last year, but left without it. Maybe this time I’ll be able to take the prize. I also got the Triple Crown, which is a big thing for me personally. My career has been primarily with SCCA over the past 20 years and the Triple Crown is a pretty unique thing. I’m so glad I was able to do that this year.”
At the race start, Stuard dropped one spot from second to third. Fortunately for Stuard, he was right on the rear bumper of Marchand and was able to slip by him on lap three. Now riding in second, Stuard did everything he could in his No. 48 RamTech/Ski Motorsports Star Formula Mazda to chase down Goughary. But, in the in end, he did not quite have enough. Stuard finished second recording his first-career Runoffs podium finish in his first try.
Starting third, Marchand made a nice move at the start and moved up to second in his No. 45 JRM Motorsports@GingerMan Star Formula Mazda. Once Stuard passed him, Marchand tried to stay with Stuard. But, unfortunately, Stuard proved too much for Marchand to handle and he had to settle for a third-place finish.
Jack Wilfley, of Carbondale, Colo., finished fourth in his No. 06 Star Formula Mazda. He was also the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing five positions during the race. Jaime Slone, of Tucson, Ariz., drove his No. 6 sloneracing.com Star Formula Mazda to a fifth-place finish.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by AT&T, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 44th-consecutive year in 2007. The best amateur drivers from across North America convene on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course each fall in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event begins with four days of qualifying, Oct. 8-11, and concludes with three days of racing, Oct. 12-14.
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