LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 19, 2005) – The skies over Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course threatened rain for much of Monday’s practice session at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler, but they never delivered, breaking into late afternoon sunshine instead. It remains to be seen whether or not the drivers who teasingly assaulted the record books Monday will carry through with their threat of rewriting them.-30-
After all 23 classes ran in 20, 20-minute sessions Monday, it became apparent that several records are in danger of being broken when qualifying starts Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.
No one was better than Graham Rahal was in Formula Atlantic. The New Albany, Ohio driver smoked the current qualifying and race records (1:18.772 and 1:19.450, respectively) after turning a 1:17.410 in his Bobby Rahal Automotive Group Swift 014. Mirl Swan, of Platte City, Mo., was second with a 1:19.812 in his WR King/Swan Racing Swift 008a, and Ben Beasley, of Painesville, Ohio, was third fastest in FA practice with a 1:20.287 in his Mazda/Hoosier/Drummond Red Line Ralt RX-41.
Touring 1 Champion has been a title reserved only for John Heinricy for the past four years. And while he didn’t endanger any records in T1, Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., ran a solid 1:33.062 in his Phoenix Performance/Goodyear 2003 Chevrolet Corvette, in pursuit of his fifth-consecutive T1 Championship. Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Penn., was second fastest (1:33.772) in his Phoenix Performance 2004 Dodge Viper, while Lance Knupp, of Fenton, Mich., was just behind in his IEC/Hoosier/Hawk/Reddog Saloon 2002 Chevrolet Corvette.
Just taking one practice session wasn’t enough for Heinricy, however, as he also was fastest in A Sedan, where he has won the past two Runoffs. Driving the Tom Aquilante Racing Pontiac Firebird, Heinricy notched a 1:37.429, good enough to beat out the 1:37.734 run by Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., in his Goodyear/Lane Automotive/ Red Line Ford Mustang. Ed Hosni, of Novi, Mich., finished a second behind Heinricy in his RSIG Security Ford Mustang with a 1:38.485.
Amazingly, it seems every year that Brad Stout, of St. Louis, Mo, runs his Goodyear/Penske/LRE/Noble/BRP Vortech a little bit faster. This year is no exception. After turning the fast qualifying lap and race lap in Formula Vee at last year’s Runoffs, Stout is poised to break his own marks after turning a 1:39.446 Monday. Bob Neumeister, of Pueblo, Colo., was just off Stout’s records (1:39.691 – Qual./1:39.624 – Race) with a 1:39.875 in his Red Line Oil Vortech. Stephen Dreizler, of Shell Knob, Mo., was third after recording a 1:40.104 in his his Goodyear/Competition Data Systems Vortech.
Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Pa., has won two of the past three Showroom Stock C titles, but he was only second best in the class Monday, as Pete Taylor, or Ortonville, Mich., ripped off a 1:47.111, a time nearly 0.8-sec. better than the class’ current qualifying mark, in his Hankook Tire/Sky-Tek Engineering 2005 Mini Cooper. Lipperini was second with a 1:47.327 in his Hankook Tire/Speedworkz 1999 Honda Civic, and Jonathan Start, of Caledonia, Mich., was next in his 2004 Mazda 3 with a 1:47.956.
Also threatening to set new records is D Sports Racing’s Steve Ott, of Brighton, Colo., who turned a 1:22.826 in his Racing Concepts/Hoosier Speads RS06. Ott was the only DSR driver to turn a time, not only in the 22’s, but the 23’s as well. Rod Morley, of Provo, Utah, was a distant second-quick with a 1:24.120 in his Volo Motorsports/Consensio LLC Stohr. Jason Miller, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., was third after posting a 1:24.454 in his Sterling/Kohler Millenium WynnFurst.
With the only practice day now complete, qualifying for all 23 classes in the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler begins Tuesday at 8 a.m. (EDT). Showroom Stock C will be the first class on the grid, followed by Spec Racer Ford, Formula 500 and then a combined session between Grand Touring 3 and Grand Touring 2.
The day is scheduled to wrap up with the completion of Formula Ford’s first qualifying session, which is set to begin at 5:40 p.m. (EDT).
To watch all qualifying and race action via live timing and scoring, or for other information including full results and schedules, visit www.scca.com.
Other class leaders after Monday’s practice:
C Sports Racing - Jacek Mucha, Laval, Quebec (CAN), Ralt JMS – 1:21.149
E Production - Kim Knapp, Avon, Colo., Caterham 7 – 1:35.142
Formula Cont. – Ricardo Vassmer, Coral Springs, Fla., Van Diemen RF-0 – 1:24.777
Formula Ford – Dennis Hoinig, Delray Beach, Fla., Swift DB6 1:29.555
Formula Mazda – Jim Goughary, Jr., Formula Mazda – 1:26.753
F Production – Steve Sargis, Frankfort, Ill., Triumph Spitfire - 1:37.664
Formula 500 – Brian Novak, Dearborn, Mich., Rakavon J-10 – 1:31.105
G Production – Woody Deatherage, Cleveland, Ohio, Suzuki Swift GT – 1:40.632
Grand Touring 1 – Lew Larimer, Hayward, Calif., Oldsmobile Cutlass – 1:24.044
Grand Touring 2 – Jim Goughary, Houston, Texas, Nissan 350Z – 1:30.879
Grand Touring 3 – John Saurino, Tulsa, Okla., Nissan 240SX – 1:30.475
Grand Touring Lite – Warren Montague, Manakin Sabot, Va., Toyota Tercel – 1:36.558
H Production – Dan Collishaw, East Orleans, Mass., Austin Healey Sprite – 1:40.500
Spec Racer Ford – Joe Colasacco, Greenwich, Conn., Spec Racer Ford – 1:38.697
Showroom Stock B – Harry Manning, Racine, Wis., Mazda Miata – 1:45.159
S 2000 – John Fergus II, Powell, Ohio, Carbir CS2 – 1:26.948
Touring 2 – Don Knowles, Pittsboro, N.C., Pontiac Fire – 1:38.798
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