Grahovec Captures Showroom Stock B
Toby Grahovec, of Chicago, Ill., captured his second-career Showroom Stock B title with a 1.357-second victory over Lee Niffennegger, from Delaware, Ohio, at the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Michael Scornavacchi, of Manheim, Pa., completed the podium.
Driving the No. 86 Classic BMW/Hoosier Tire BMW Z4, Grahovec launched from his third-row starting position to the lead in the first corner of the race. Grahovec managed to pull away from the field early, as track conditions continued to dry after overnight rain at the four-mile facility. The two-time champ also held off a small challenge from Niffenegger late in the 13-lap race, which ran concurrently with the Touring 3 class.
"It was a dream start, I couldn't believe it," Grahovec said. I got a nice run on Chad [Gilsinger], he missed a gear. I almost ran into the back of him. Going into one, Mike [Scornavacchi] let me go without blocking. I knew I had to get a good first lap, because these guys are really fast in the dry and I didn't think I had the pace. With it being damp, I thought we had a good shot today. The first few laps were pretty sketchy, especially going through the Carousel and the Kink. I was surprised that it had so much grip and stuck.
"When we caught up to the T3 guys, that was hard work. One guy put me off in 13 and I went through the grass. That's when Lee [Niffenegger] caught up. I think he cut it to under a second. It's just awesome to be back on top, especially after the rough week we had. We had a lot of problems on the car, and it's great to get this done."
Grahovec's move at the start of the race also earned him the Sunoco Hard Charger award for improving four positions.
Niffenegger, the SSB defending champion, qualified second in the No. 42 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Tires Honda Civic Si and held that position throughout the entire race. As the track dried, Niffenegger closed on Grahovec, but didn't have a lane to make the pass.
After Grahovec and Niffenegger slipped by polesitter Scornavacchi and his No. 25 Hoosier/Carbotech/Phoenix BMW Z4, Scornavacchi settled in to the third position. A tight battle in the early laps gave way to a comfortable cushion, and Scornavacchi earned his podium position.
Chad Gilsinger, of Marysville, Ohio, finished fourth in the No. 07 HondaRacing/HPD/BFGoodrich Honda Civic Si. Jeff Jensen, of Monument, Colo., finished fifth in the Pikes Peak Acura/Hoosier/Honda Acura RSX-Type S.
Matthew Staal, of Torrance, Calif., turned the race's fastest lap on his way to a seventh-place finish. Staal ran a lap of 2:44.161 (87.564 mph) in the No. 53 Honda Racing/BFGoodrich Honda Civic Si.
The Showroom Stock B National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.