Ed Hosni, of Galloway, Ohio, led about 500 feet, but it was the 500 feet that counted to win the American Sedan race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs to capture his first National Championship at Road America. Michael Lavigne, of Hooksett, N.H., and Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, completed the top three.
Starting second in the No. 74 Hutter Racing Eng/Hoosier/Russell Ford Mustang, Sloe moved by Gumout Polesitter Andy McDermid, of Howell, Mich., under braking in Turn Five and appeared to be on his way to an easy victory as McDermid retired on lap six with a suspension problem. Sloe stretched the lead to more than 20 seconds before an incident in Turn 14 between Christopher Qualls and John Lechner brought out the caution on lap eight.
The safety car period closed the gap from Sloe to Hosni's No. 17 Lasco Ford/Hoosier Tire Ford Mustang, and when the green flag flew with three of 13 laps remaining, the race was on for the Championship.
“Something happened the lap before the yellow came out,” Sloe said. “It almost seemed like it was electrical. The engine just went pop pop pop. Whatever happened got worse.”
When racing resumed, Hosni was never more than a quarter of a second behind Sloe, searching for a way past. On the final lap, Sloe did his best to defend on Hosni, which allowed Lavigne to join the battle in his No. 42 Auto Re-Nu-It Auto Body/Hoosier Tire Ford Mustang, putting pressure on Hosni.
As the trio exited Turn 14, it was Sloe, Hosni, Lavigne. Cresting the hill, Hosni moved to the left, with Lavigne in tow, to move past the ailing Mustang of Sloe.
Hosni beat Lavigne by 0.172sec. Sloe was another 0.034sec behind.
“This feels incredible. Kind of shocking actually. I didn't expect to be here,” Hosni said. “It was a lot of fun. I have to say thank you to Hoosier Tire and Lasco Ford. Also to my kids that spent all last weekend at the shop with me to get ready for this week.
“When the double yellow came out, I didn't even know what position I was in. I was disappointed because it let Mike [Lavigne] close up on me but then I was like ‘there's Tom'. I realized that I was in second and thought ‘this could be good!' Thank you double yellow!
“After the restart I could see that Tom had some sort of a problem but he could still pull me at the end of the straightaway. But I stayed with him. At the end, he tried his best to keep me behind him. I tried my best to get to the side going up the straightaway and Mike followed me. Couple hundred feet and that was it. Thank you!”
Lavigne, who previously owned the car with which Hosni won the title, earned his career-best finish of second place.
“When Ed finally got back up to Tom, they got a little bit slower because they were fighting each other and I was able to get to the rear bumper of Ed,” Lavigne said. “On the front straightaway coming up to the finish, I had to pick my guy to go with. Ed went to the inside and I saw he had the run so I went with him. It was just a great, great ride. It was awesome!”
Sloe was disappointed with his result, but happy for his friend Ed Hosni.
“I just didn't have the power to get it up the straightaway,” Sloe said. “It wasn't that the engine isn't strong, there was just something wrong. Otherwise the car was flawless. It was fast. We dove it in there in five and just cut laps.
“I was very disappointed when the caution came out. But then I thought ‘maybe this will actually help me.' If there's something going wrong, then maybe with only a couple laps to go the car will make it. I didn't mind it when I started analyzing that there was an issue going on. Turns out, I needed another 200 yards.”
Sloe set a new Runoffs track record at Road America, with a 2:27.247 (97.795mph) to earn the Hawk Hot Lap. Hosni earned the GoPro Hero Move of the Race award for his drive to the win.
David Venhaus, of Milwaukee, Wis., finished fourth in his No. 11 CSR Bobcat Illumination Optics Axis Ford Mustang, followed by Daniel Richardson, of Rockville, Md., in the No. 15 Performance Auto Works/Goodyear Chevrolet Camaro.
Matt Naegle earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award in his No. 85 Rheumatism Racing Chevrolet Camaro for moving up from 24th to 14th.
The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available through Sunday at www.SpeedcastTV.com/scca and later available on demand from the same site.
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Results from Thursday's SCCA National Championship Race for American Sedan at Road America, with finishing position, starting position in parenthesis, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (6), Edward Hosni, Galloway, OH, Ford Mustang, 13.
2, (5), Michael Lavigne, Hooksett, NH, Ford Mustang, 13.
3, (2), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Ford Mustang, 13.
4, (7), David Venhaus, Milwaukee, WI, Ford Mustang, 13.
5, (8), Daniel Richardson, Rockville, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
6, (11), Tom Ellis, Sunrise, FL, Ford Mustang, 13.
7, (13), Chris Pedersen, Mundelein, IL, Ford Mustang GT, 13.
8, (12), Scott Sanda, Western Springs, IL, Cadillac CTS-V, 13.
9, (17), Jerry Post, Sunset, SC, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
10, (19), Tom Himes, Slidell, LA, Ford Mustang, 13.
11, (15), Eric Ritchie, Katy, TX, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
12, (20), Mark Muddiman, Belleville, MI, Ford Mustang, 13.
13, (21), Dennis Careri, Boxford, MA, Ford Mustang, 13.
14, (24), Matt Naegle, Phoenixville, PA, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
15, (22), Kim McDonald, Grand Island, NE, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
16, (9), Aaron Bailey, Shasta Lake, CA, Pontiac Firebird, 12.
17, (10), Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, KS, Pontiac Firebird, 6.
DNF, (1), Andy McDermid, Howell, MI, Ford Mustang, 5.
DNF, (16), Christopher Qualls, Los Angeles, CA, Ford Mustang, 5.
DNF, (14), John Lechner, North Olmsted, OH, Ford Mustang, 5.
DNF, (23), Kelly Lubash, Stamford, CT, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.
DNF, (18), Scott Schweitzer, Lake Orion, MI, Ford Mustang, 4.
DNF, (4), John Heinricy, Clarkston, MI, Pontiac Firebird, 1.
DNF, (3), Thomas West, Standish, ME, Chevrolet Camaro, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 39:50.857
Average Race Speed: 78.298 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.172-second
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:27.247
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 97.795 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #85 Matt Naegle
Lap Leaders: #74 Tom Sloe, laps 1-12; #17 Ed Hosni, lap 13