LEXINGTON, Ohio (September 22, 2002) -- Three more Sports Car Club of America National Champions have been crowned, bringing the total to 19, with five more races remaining this afternoon at the 2002 Valvoline Runoffs at Mid-Ohio.
Ben Beasley, of Leroy, Ohio, won his fourth C Sports Racing National Championship in the day's first race in what will appear to be a dominating one-lap victory in his Beasley B-7. Just as the score may sometimes be misleading in a football game, the results won't reflect the battle Beasley waged with Jacek Mucha, of Quebec for the title.
Beasley started from the pole, but was passed by Mucha just as a full-course caution came out. Mucha led laps 3-15 as Beasley hounded him, finally getting past with four laps remaining as the duo lapped third place James Steinhelfer, of Broomfield, Colo. Mucha's car faded in the late laps of the 20-lap contest, allowing Beasley to take the win. Mucha was later penalized one lap for the pass under yellow, but he remained in second place.
"I knew that he would be penalized if it finished this way, but I wanted to win it on the track," said Beasley, who has won four of the last five titles (with brother Al winning in 2000). "I used traffic to the fullest. I was able to trap him behind a lapped car and got by. When I got by I did some quick laps and he dropped back." Joe Huffaker, of Petaluma, Calif., earned his eighth-career SCCA National Championship by winning the GT-5 title for the third-straight year. The win puts Huffaker third on the all-time wins list, behind Jerry Hansen (27) and Duane Davis (12). Huffaker started from the pole and held off an early charge from Jim Rauck, of Grove City, Ohio, to take a 3.844-second win in his Red Line Oil/Goodyear/Cyclo BLMI Mini Cooper. Doug Peterson, of Rescue, Calif., was second.
"The car was phenomenal," said Huffaker, who also owns a Trans-Am Series team. "I got a real nice start, I got on the gas a nanosecond ahead of everybody else, and the car cornered just like it was on rails."
Jack Beck, of Papillion, Neb., finished third, followed by Bill Gilcrease, of Costa Mesa, Calif. and Daniel Robson, of Moore, S.C. Jay Iliohan, of Silver Creek, N.Y., came across third, but was penalized one minute for jumping the start.
Nineteen year-old Jamie Bach, of Saukville, Wis., dominated the Formula Mazda race from the pole, taking a 11.53-second win in his BK Motorsports STAR Formula Mazda. Douglas Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., was second.
"I qualified on the first day only because I had to get back to my classes the rest of the week," said Bach. "I was really glad that my time held up for the pole. The car handled great, although the front brakes began to grab a bit. I could not make any adjustments to change that. I raced a lot this year because it is only my second year of racing cars and I had to learn a lot of tracks. So if possible we ran a regional at a track at which we had to run a National later in the year. So I had a lot of seat time coming into this week."
Bach is hopeful to be in the American Le Mans Series in two years. Completing the top five in the race, which featured a good battle behind Bach, were Kevin Roberts, of Newnan, Ga., James Goughary, Jr., of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Victor Seaber, of Raleigh, N.C.
Saturday afternoon, it was announced that Steve Zink, of Layton, Utah, was awarded the Eagle One Best Appearing Car Award of $1,500 cash. The annual award was presented by Mikel Hartman, Valvoline Motorsports Manager.
For complete results, visit www.scca.org. The 39th Valvoline Runoffs concludes this afternoon with the GT-3, Formula Continental, E Production, GT-1 and Formula Atlantic races.