TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 15, 2006) – Lawrence Loshak, of Glendale, Wis., had to hold off polesitter Thomas Thrash, of Houston, Texas, on the last corner of the last lap to secure his first SCCA E Production National Championship at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. Bob Neal, of Harbor City, Calif., finished third.-30-
Thrash got a great start in his No. 67 Lucas Auto Mazda RX7 to grab the early lead before a multi-car incident on lap three brought out full-course yellow. It appeared that the No. 89 Mazda Miata of John Brakke, of Fargo, N.D., was spun in Turn Nine. Driving the No. 5 Roundpeg.com Mazda RX3, Aaron Downey, of Corona Del Mar, Calif., made a move on the No. 99 Mazdatrix RX7 of Dave Lemon, but Lemon checked up and the two made contact. Then, Kevin Grant, of Eads, Tenn., slid his No. 74 Rays Auto Collision Mazda Miata into Brakke. The melee got worse when Miner Wilcox, of Charlottesville, Va., slowed down to avoid contact with the other cars off course and just then Meredith Haupt, of Overland Park, Kan., found the No. 75 Carriage & Motor Works Mazda RX7 on top of Wilcox’s No. 65 Checkered Flag Farm Caterham 7.
When the race went green, Thrash opened up a more than two-second lead before Thrash, Loshak and Neal made it three-wide down the front straight on lap 12, with Neal’s No. 08 Mazdatrix/Performance Mazda RX7 officially leading that lap. However, Loshak would take the lead in the Carousel on lap 13. Loshak had opened up nearly a five-second advantage by the penultimate lap of the 18-lap race before Thrash filled Loshak’s mirrors. Thrash looked poised to pass Loshak for the lead on the final lap in Turns 12, 13 and 14, but could not get the job done as Loshak narrowly beat Thrash by 0.455-second.
“Going over Alpha three-wide with these guys was awesome,” Loshak said. “To be honest, if it wasn’t these two guys I don’t know if I would do it. Then the rain came. Everyone was worried about rain all day and we had the hardest slicks on. Then the rain came and thank God I had Goodyears and I just held on. I was sliding all over the place. I knew that Tom [Thrash] was not going to make it easy for me. What a day.”
Greg Ira, of Plantation, Fla., brought his No. 2 Cu Yacht Charters/First Coast Auto Nissan 240z home fourth, while John Schmitt, of Sunbury, Ohio., finished fifth in his No. 62 Hoosier/Red Line/Hondata Honda Prelude. Charles Davis, of Overland Park, Kan., won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the race award for advancing 15 positions throughout the race, starting 41st and finishing 26th.
Now in its 43rd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think annually crowns the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 25 class titles, with nine races on Friday and eight Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first year that the Runoffs is held at Heartland Park Topeka.
Celebrating its 62nd anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 55,000 member organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events in a variety of disciplines, including road racing, Solo, road rally and rallycross.