LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2004) – The grids are set, and 726 drivers are poised to battle for the gold in 24 separate classes over the next three days at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
All told, 22 track qualifying records were broken. Below are class highlights.
GT-5: Joe Huffaker, of Petaluma, Calif., and Doug Peterson, of Rescue, Calif., will line up side-by-side for the start of what is likely their final races in GT-5. Huffaker earned his 12th-career Runoffs pole, the seventh in his GT-5 Mini Cooper. Both drivers, good friends off the track, have announced that they will move on to another class after 2004. Should one of them win, he will become the only four-time GT-5 National Champion.
GT-2: David Finch, of Ann Arbor, Mich., captured his second-consecutive GT-2 class pole, and the ninth of his career driving his Porsche 944. Finch set a record time of 1:28.439 (91.914 mph) on Thursday to fend of defending race Champion James Goughary, of Houston, Texas.
Showroom Stock B: Jim Leithauser, of Westminster, Colo., led every session of the week in his BMW Z4 to earn his first-career Runoffs pole. Leithauser’s fast lap Thursday morning of 1:44.541 (77.757 mph) set a new class record. Last year’s pole winner Toby Grahovec, of Palos Park, Ill., will start second in his Acura Integra.
H Production: Ron Bartell, of Madbury, N.H., stole the H Production pole position from provisional pole sitter Dan Collishaw, of East Orleans, Mass., today with a lap of 1:40.367 (80.991 mph). It is Bartell’s fifth-career pole position in his MG Midget. He won the Championship in 2000 and 2001.
Formula Atlantic: Dan Cobb, of Green Oaks, Ill., turned the fastest lap ever for an SCCA Club Racing car around Mid-Ohio today to earn his first-career pole, in Formula Atlantic. Cobb’s lap of 1:18.772 (103.194 mph) eclipsed the old mark of 1:19.031 set by Robert Stallings, of Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday. Both drivers will line their Swift .014s up on the front row.
Touring 1: John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., looks like a good bet to become the sixth driver in the 41-year Runoffs history to win four-straight in any class, leading every Touring 1 session en route to his third-straight pole. Driving his Chevrolet Corvette, Heinricy turned a lap of 1:32.687 (87.702 mph) Thursday to break his own track record. Four-time SCCA National Champion Freddy Baker, of Bedford, Ohio, will start second in his Porsche GT3.
F Production: Steve Sargis, of Rockford, Ill., won his fourth-consecutive F Production pole position, the seventh of his career, in record setting fashion, with a fast lap of 1:36.172 (84.524 mph) on Tuesday. Driving his Triumph Spitfire, Sargis was an event-high 0.921-second ahead of second place John Saurino, of Tulsa, Okla.
Formula Mazda: Douglas Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., earned his second-consecutive Formula Mazda Runoffs pole with a record lap of 1:25.539 (95.030 mph) set on Tuesday. Peterson will have a busy day Friday, as his STAR Mazda race in Atlanta is scheduled to conclude at 2:20 p.m. (EDT). The Formula Mazda Runoffs race has a scheduled green of 5:10 p.m.
Sports 2000: Defending National Champion Steve Johnson, of Deerfield, N.H., jumped to the pole in Sports 2000 today with a record lap of 1:26.276 (94.219 mph). Johnson was bold enough to “guarantee” a flag-to-flag win several weeks prior to the Runoffs. Three-time class Champion John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, will start second.
Touring 2: Don Knowles, of Chapel Hill, N.C., made a successful return to Runoffs competition after being away for 25 years, capturing the pole in his Cadillac CTS-V with a record lap of 1:39.286 (81.873 mph). It marks the first-ever Runoffs pole for Cadillac. Toby Grahovec, who also starts second in SSB, will start second in Touring 2 driving a Dodge SRT-4.
Formula 500: Douglas Marsh, of Eastlake, Ohio, captured his second-consecutive Formula 500 Runoffs pole with a record lap of 1:30.176 (90.144 mph). Marsh hopes to have better luck than in 2003, when his car had a mechanical failure on the first lap. Brian Novak, of Dearborn, Mich., will start second.
D Sports Racing: It appears that John Hill, of Seattle, Wash., was able to maintain the magic of the two-time defending Champion car. The Runoffs rookie was took over the seat from the defending Champion this year, and put it on the pole with a lap of 1:23.653 (97.173 mph). Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., was just 0.043-second behind in a car he’d never driven prior to Sunday.
American Sedan: Kyle Watkins, of Broomfield, Colo., earned his first-career Runoffs pole, driving his American Sedan Ford Mustang to a record lap of 1:36.868 (83.916 mph). Watkins, who finished second in the 2002 race, spoiled defending Champion John Heinricy’s bid for two poles in the same weekend. Heinricy, who starts second, won the pole for Touring 1.
E Production: Pratt Cole, of Salt Lake City, Utah, captured his second-career pole position with a record lap of 1:34.080 (86.403 mph) in his Mazda Miata. Cole led every session, but found the three-tenths he needed to fend of Tom Thrash, of Houston, Texas, who will start second.
GT-3: Mike Henderson, El Cajon, Calif., and Wolfgang Maike, of Santa Barbara, Calif., will lead the GT-3 class to the green flag on Saturday. Breaking the previous lap record by 1.826 seconds on Wednesday, Henderson captured his first SCCA Runoffs pole position with a lap of 1:30.233 (90.087 mph) in his Mazda RX-7.
Formula Continental: Brian Tomasi, of Elgin, Ill., and Chas Shaffer, of Catlett, Va., will start one-two in Formula Continental. Posting a new lap record of 1:23.808 (96.993 mph) on Tuesday, Tomasi held off several challengers to capture his first-ever SCCA Runoffs pole position by 0.622 second.
Showroom Stock C: The Honda Civics Roger Schroer, of Zanesfield, Ohio, and Ryan Ciechanski, of Sterling Heights, Ohio, will start first and second on Sunday in Showroom Stock C. Posting a new lap record of 1:47.984 (75.278 mph) in Tuesday qualifying, Schroer maintained the pole position throughout the three qualifying sessions to captured his first career SSC pole position at the SCCA Runoffs, and the first for Hankook Tires.
C Sports Racing: Tony Loniewski, of Michigan City, Ind., and Canadian Jacek Mucha will start on the front row in C Sports Racer. Setting a new lap record in qualifying on Tuesday, Loniewski's time proved unbeatable, as he captured his first SCCA Runoffs pole position by 0.614-second, with a time of 1:20.409 (101.093 mph).
Formula Vee: Setting a new lap record on Wednesday, Brad Stout, of Webster Grove, Mo., maintained the top spot on Thursday, to capture his fifth SCCA Runoffs pole position in Formula Vee, with a time of 1:39.691 (81.540 mph). Starting alongside Stout on the front row is two-time National Champion Roger Seibenaler, of Williston, Vt.
GT-1: Lew Larimer, of Hayward, Calif., and Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, will start one-two in GT-1. Posting a new lap record of 1:24.598 (96.087 mph), Larimer captured his first GT-1 SCCA Runoffs pole position during the final qualifying session, bettering Sloe's time by a mere 0.007-second.
FF: Seeking to become the first-ever three time consecutive Formula Ford National Champion, Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, captured his third consecutive SCCA Runoffs pole position with a lap record of 1:28.345 (92.012 mph). Starting second for Sunday's race is Scott Rarick, of Santa Monica, Calif.
SRF: Joseph Colasacco, of Greenwich, Conn., and Richard Spicer, of Laurel, Md., will start first and second in Spec Racer Ford. Setting a new lap record on Tuesday, Colasacco held off challenges from two-time National Champion Spicer, to capture his first-ever SCCA Runoffs pole position with a time of 1:37.730 (83.176 mph).
G Production: Five-time overall and two-time defending GP Champion Kent Prather, of Wakarusa, Kan., and Mark Dennis, of Rochester, N.Y., will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday in G Production. Prather captured his first G Production SCCA Runoffs pole position in over 10 years, having previously captured the pole position 1992, with a lap record of 1:39.915 (81.357 mph) on Thursday.
GT-4: Maintaining the pole position from Wednesday, Wilson Wright Jr, of Stockbridge. Mass., captured his third GT4 SCCA Runoffs pole position, with a lap of 1:35.719 (84.924 mph). Starting alongside on the front row, is Mazziotti, of Wexford, Pa., who posted a time 0.383-second slower than Wright Jr.
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