Lexington, Ohio (Sept. 24, 2005) – Chuck Hemmingson, of West Des Moines, Iowa, outlasted a bruising SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler Touring 2 race Saturday morning at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to earn his first-ever Runoffs win and give Subaru its first Runoffs title. Kristian Skavnes, of Sparta, N.J., and Don Knowles, of Pittsboro, N.C., finished second and third, respectively.-30-
Starting second on the grid, Hemmingson bolted past polesitter Dave Schotz, of Simi Valley, Calif., in his Subaru/Rotary Lift Subaru Impreza WRX STi to take an early lead as various others in the 43-car field sent each other sprawling off the 2.258-mile course.
Though the carnage continued beyond the opening lap, Hemmingson managed to build a two-second gap between him and Knowles’ Phoenix Performance Goodyear Pontiac Firebird. That lead disappeared on Lap 9 as a full-course caution, brought on by oil on the track at Turn 1 that sent multiple cars into the gravel, bunched the field back.
After the three-lap caution ended, Hemmingson sprinted away again, only to be reeled in by both Knowles and Skavnes’ Subaru/Goodyear/Valvoline Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Knowles bumped Hemmingson from behind going into the Esses. Only splendid driving by Hemmingson kept the Subaru on the track, and Knowles, showing great sportsmanship, remained in second place.
From there, Hemmingson broke away once again (to eventually win by 0.636-sec.), leaving Knowles and Skavnes to battle for second, where Skavnes eventually took the spot.
“I got tapped a couple of times at the start, but that wasn’t near as exciting as when Don touched me,” Hemmingson said. “I didn’t really expect that one. I was ready to save the first one, but the next one surprised me. I was pretty sideways, and had my foot on the throttle. I didn’t want to let off and lose a bunch of positions. I like being in the lead.
“You know, he bumped me and then gave me the chance to recover and get back to racing again.”
William Baten, of Indianapolis, Ind., put together a solid run to finish fourth after starting 13th, and William Ziegler, of Stamford, Conn., finished fifth.
No. 16 Michael Santos wins Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing 16 positions to finish 10th after starting 26th.
Now in its 42nd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crown the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 23 class titles this year, with eight races being run Friday and Saturday and seven on Sunday.
Celebrating its 61st anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 60,000 member motorsports organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events of a variety of disciplines, including road racing, autocrossing, road rally and rallycross.
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