LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 24, 2005) – Kim Knapp, of Avon, Colo., captured his first National Championship Saturday, taking the E Production class win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Erik Madsen, of Lakeville, Ohio, and Sam Halkias, of Westerville, Ohio, completed the top-three.-30-
The largest field at the 2005 Runoffs, 50-cars, the start of E Production race was sure to be exciting. Starting from the pole position, Tom Thrash appeared to get a good start, maintaining the lead down the back straight. Exiting turn seven, Thrash and fellow front-row starter Buddy Norton III made contact with one another. Going off-course, Thrash made heavy contact with the tire barrier, while Norton III slowed, losing numerous positions. Benefiting from the incident, Lawrence Loshak moved into the lead, ahead of Knapp and Pratt Cole. With a full-course caution displayed for the incident, racing resumed on lap three. Getting a great jump, Bob Neal passed several cars down the front to move into second place. Racing nose-to-tail, Loshak led a train of cars until lap 10, when racing was halted for heavy contact between Paul Pineider and Jon Brakke at the start/finish. Following a 15-minute stoppage, the race resumed with green, white, checkered sprint to the finish. Entering turn seven on the restart, Loshak and Neal made contact, with both cars going off-course. As several cars got into the grass to avoid the incident, John Schmitt inherited the lead ahead of Knapp and Halkias. Racing side-by-side on the final lap, Halkias briefly passed for the lead in turn seven, before Knapp, using the wide line through the turn vaulted into the led. Losing momentum, Halkias was then passed by Morton. Driving error free the remainder of the race, Knapp captured his first National Championship by 1.939 seconds over Morton, who finished second in his first career Runoffs start.
“The restart was tough,” said Knapp. “It was too slow and everyone ahead of me went to the right. I went to the left and went past all of them. It was lots of fun and real exciting. You just have to avoid all the troubles and hope that you get through.”
Schmitt, of Sunbury, Ohio, finished fourth, and Jeff Dernehl, of Woodstock, Ga., completed the top-five.
No. 20 Erik Madsen wins the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing 17 positions, to finish second after starting 19th.
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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