LEXINGTON, Ohio (September 19, 2002) - After three days of qualifying at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the stage is set for 620 of the top club racing drivers in North America to compete for 24 separate National Championships at the Sports Car Club of America Valvoline Runoffs.
With 24 separate races scheduled from Friday through Sunday, 24 drivers have earned the honor of being a Runoffs polesitter.
The 2002 SCCA Valvoline Runoffs polewinners are, in race order:
John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, took his fourth-consecutive Sports 2000 pole position in a Carbir, and looks to take his third win in four years.
Showroom Stock B:
Shelby, Ohio's David Roush, the 2001 Showroom Stock C Champion, took his first-career Runoffs pole in a Mazda Miata. Roush will also attempt to defend his SSC title, qualifying third.
Steve Sargis, of Frankford, Ill., earned his fifth-career Runoffs pole, the second-straight in F Production driving a Triumph Spitfire. Sargis is a three-time G Production class Champion.
Scott Culbertson, of Portland, Ore., captured his first-career Runoffs pole in a Nissan Sentra SE. Culbertson, the runner-up in 2001 and a senior at Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.), plans to enter the Air Force after graduating in the spring.
After having his Wednesday times disallowed for a technical issue, Thomas Oates, of Cape May, N.J., came back to take his third Runoffs pole in Touring Two driving a Chevrolet Camaro Z28.
Brad Stout, of St. Louis, Mo., drove a Vortech to his fourth Formula Vee pole in the last five years and is going for his second-straight Championship.
After going the entire regular season without a pole position, Matthew Roberts, of Torrington, Conn., took the American Sedan pole position in his Ford Mustang. It is Roberts' first-career Runoffs pole.
Ron Bartell, of Madbury, N.H., captured his third-consecutive pole position in an MG Midget, the fourth in his career. Bartell is going for his third-consecutive win, a feat accomplished only once in H Production racing, by Adam Malley from 1997-1999.
Showroom Stock C:
John Fernandez, of Rochester, Mich., recorded his first-career pole in a Dodge Neon and hopes to take his first National Championship on Saturday. Fernandez has been close before, but never a National Champion. He will lead the first race on Saturday to the green flag.
Defending Champion Elivan Goulart, of Shelton, Conn., looks good to repeat, as he took his first-career Runoffs pole in an Invader QC-1. Goulart's fast lap of 1:31.867 (89.346 mph) was a Mid-Ohio Runoffs record.
Spec Racer Ford:
Defending Champion Richard Spicer, of Laurel, Md., captured his second-consecutive pole position as well in the Spec Racer Ford class.
After winning the Touring One National Championship by one lap in 2001, John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., captured his second-career Runoffs pole in a Chevrolet Corvette with a record time of 1:37.292 (84.364 mph).
Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, made a triumphant return to racing after a three-week hospital stay with pancreatitis this season to take the Formula Ford pole. Driving a Piper DF5, it was Pritchard's third Runoffs pole.
Defending Champion Duane Davis, of Camas, Wash., took his seventh Runoffs pole, his second-straight in GT-2, driving a Toyota Celica. Davis edged David Finch with a record lap of 1:31.432 (89.772 mph).
Kevin Allen, of Covington, Ga., earned his third-career Runoffs pole position in a Triumph Spitfire. Allen, who races regularly in the American Le Mans Series, is seeking his first National Championship.
D Sports Racing:
Michael Reupert, of Hubertus, Wis., took his fifth pole position in six years with a record lap of 1:25.814 (95.649 mph) in his Lola AMW. Reupert has always faced tough competition come race day, as he has only won once in that time period.
Joe Huffaker, of Petaluma, Calif., moved into a second-place tie with Jeff Miller on the career poles list, taking his 10th in a Mini Cooper. Jerry Hansen holds the record for Runoffs poles, with 25. The 2002 GT-5 National Championship is the first race on Sunday.
Ben Beasley, of Leroy, Ohio, edged Jacek Mucha for the C Sports Racing pole position with a record time of 1:24.048 (97.658 mph) in his Beasley B-7. The three-time CSR Champion is seeking his second-consecutive win.
Nineteen-year-old Jamie Bach, of Saukville, Wis., set a time in Tuesday's Formula Mazda session and promptly left to take exams at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His time held up, though, to give Bach his first Runoffs pole position.
Mike Pinegar, of Garden City, Mich., surprised the GT-3 field by taking the pole position in his older Mazda RX-3. It has been 12 years since an RX-3 won, and Pinegar faces tough competition from the Toyota Celica contingent, including multi-time Champion Pete Peterson, who starts second.
Twenty-year-old rookie Andrew Prendeville, of Morristown, N.J., edged seven-time National Champion Dave Weitzenhof for his first-career pole, driving a Van Diemen.
In a class dominated by newer technology, Craig Chima, of Akron, Ohio, captured the E Production pole position in a 36-year-old Elva Courier. The pole is Chima's fifth, but the first in a car that competed in the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring.
Tim Cowen, of Ashland, Ohio, earned his second-career Runoffs GT-1 class pole in a Ford Mustang. Two-time defending Champion Jeff Ervin will start third, behind Cliff Ebben. Four-time SCCA National Champion, CART team owner and Oscar winner Paul Newman makes his Runoffs return at age 77. He will start 11th in his Rocketsports Jaguar XKR.
Mike Biangardi, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., has taken the first step toward dethroning two-time defending Champion Larry Connor in Formula Atlantic, setting a qualifying record of 1:19.839 (102.807 mph) to take his first-career pole. The lap was the first under 80 seconds for an SCCA Club Racing car at Mid-Ohio. Connor qualified 0.045-second behind.
The 2002 SCCA Valvoline Runoffs, revered as the "Olympics" of motorsports begins racing at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern). For complete grids and continued coverage, please visit www.scca.org. All 24 National Championship races will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED Channel, beginning November 9.