TOPEKA, Kan. – SCCA National drivers got the first taste of the new Runoffs Configuration at Heartland Park Topeka last weekend, with over 200 drivers taking part in the Kaw Valley Race Group “Last Chance” National. It was the final SCCA-sanctioned event prior to the National Championship Runoffs® Presented by AT&T in October.
Following the changes to Turns One, Two, Eight and Nine, lap times were reduced by anywhere from five to nine seconds from last year’s records, with average speeds climbing as much as 8 mph.
“This is a kick ass racetrack now,” GT-2 winner and Spec Miata track record setter Tony Rivera, of Houston, Texas, said. “There were people concerned about removing hard brake zones for passing, but the track races just fine.
“You can still pass going into Turn One, although side-by-side is not the fastest way through. Turns One and Two are great setup corners now to get a run going into Turn Three. Eight and Nine are now also great setup corners, although it’s pretty tough to pass going into Turn Eight.”
With regard to the high speeds and barrier placement in the new sections, Rivera felt that many of the revered racetracks in North America have similar characteristics.
“[Turn Two] is not any different than The Kink at Road America as far as the potential to have a problem. There are some that don’t like it right now and it’s because the new turns at Heartland don’t have the respect that a corner like The Kink does. It’s too new. I respected it for the potential of what can happen just like The Kink at Road America, and I didn’t have a problem.
“Turns Eight and Nine have so much runoff room, that it’s not hard to push to go fast. I tested the limits and went four-off in both the Miata and the Panoz there and didn’t have an issue.”
The weekend provided some valuable information for Heartland Park staff, and the track plans to have its curbing additions in place this week.
Regarded as the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, the 2007 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T features a full week of action, capped by three days of racing Oct. 12-14 at Heartland Park Topeka. Now in its 44th year, nearly 700 drivers annually travel to the Runoffs to race against the best and fight for the honor of being crowned National Champion.
For more information about Heartland Park Topeka, please visit www.hpt.com.
For results from this weekend’s race, click here: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=241243.
New Track Records set at Heartland Park Topeka Aug. 19, 2007
Class, Driver, Car, Time, Speed
FA, David Grant, Swift 014, 1:26.197, 104.412
CSR, Hans Peter, Swift Viking, 1:28.080, 102.180
DSR, Jean-Luc Liverato, Stohr WF1, 1:31.505, 98.355
GT1, Philip Simms, Jaguar XKR, 1:32.837, 96.944
FC, Brian Tomasi, Van Diemen, 1:35.135, 94.602
FE, Jeff Kester, Formula SCCA, 1:35.299, 94.440
FM, Juan Marchand, Formula Mazda, 1:36.787, 92.988
S2000, John Fergus, Carbir CS2, 1:37.554, 92.257
FF, Anthony Coello, Van Diemen, 1:39.565, 90.393
F500, Jeff Jorgenson, Novakar, 1:40.388, 89.652
GT2, Jim Walsh, Porsche 911 Cup, 1:40.888, 89.205
ST, Scott Tucker, Ferrari 360C, 1:43.817, 86.691
GT3, Pete Peterson, Toyota Celica, 1:43.870, 86.647
EP, Thomas Thrash, Mazda RX-7, 1:44.067, 86.483
T1, Mike McGinley, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:44.316, 86.276
FP, Jesse Prather, Mazda Miata, 1:47.215, 83.943
AS, Philip Smith, Chevrolet Camaro, 1:48.412, 83.017
GTL, Chris Bovis, Honda CRX, 1:49.082, 82.507
GP, Chuck Mathis, VW Rabbit, 1:49.548, 82.156
FV, Michael Varacins, Speed Sport, 1:50.156, 81.702
BP, Jeff Demetri, Ford Mustang, 1:50.304, 81.593
SRF, John Dunn, Spec Racer Ford, 1:50.372, 81.542
T3, Dwight Faitz, Subaru Legacy, 1:51.794, 80.505
T2, Tom Brecht, BMW 335, 1:52.428, 80.051
HP, Brian Linn, MG Midget, 1:52.849, 79.753
SM, Tony Rivera, 1999 Mazda Miata, 1:54.313, 78.731
SSB, Bill Hagerty, 2007 Pontiac Solstice, 1:56.734, 77.098
SSC, Joseph McClughan, 2005 Mazda 3, 1:57.946, 76.306