Juan Marchand, of South Haven, Mich., captured his first SCCA National Championship Saturday, winning the Formula Mazda race and SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Bruce Lawrence, of Sanford, N.C., and Darryl Wills, of Deer Park, Texas, completed the top three.
Marchand started his No. 44 Gingerman Raceway/JuanMarchand.com Formula Mazda from the pole but quickly lost the lead to fourth-starting Mike Anderson, who got the holeshot on the field in his No. 42 HASA Pool Products entry from the outside of the second row. Marchand would not run second for long, however, as he got the run and out-broke Anderson entering Turn Five, and sped away to, at one point, a 10-second lead, before finishing with a 4.097-second victory, averaging 103.134 mph.
With his win, along with his Divisional points title, two qualifying event wins and the nationwide points title, Marchand captured the inaugural Formula Mazda Super Sweep.
"I actually like a start like that," Marchand said of the race. "I don't know if Mike [Anderson] had a jump on me and then we went side-by-side for a moment and Mike got around. That made it interesting. You always want someone out in front of you for a moment to get you going. I have no problem with that. Mike didn't have the speed at all. His straightaway speed could not match my car. So, it didn't take long to get around him and build that gap.
"This feels great. I am really happy. I can't wait to go see my family and my friends. It's just been a great week. The race itself, I just put my head down for the first 10 laps. I saw Bruce [Lawrence] fighting it out with Mike Anderson and the gap was substantial. I was able to stay ahead and pace myself. After 10 laps, my car started acting up again, running out of fuel in the Carousel. I had to endure a lot of things in the race.
"I want to thank Gingerman Raceway and Dan Schnitta for helping me realize my dreams. Goodyear, Mazda and I want to thank Chuck Freiberg for lending me a brand new engine just before the Runoffs. It was really fortunate that a customer would lend me his engine for such a big, important event. I want to thank the SCCA and I look forward to doing more racing with Mazda in the future. I want to devote myself to this even more so."
Marchand also set the fastest lap of the race, at a 2:17.543 (104.695 mph).
Lawrence started his No. 53 the speed connection/Tre Amici Formula Mazda fifth, but moved to third right away, behind Marchand and Anderson. Lawrence moved to second on lap eight when Anderson's car got stuck in fourth gear. From there, he ran by himself to a runner-up finish in his first-ever Runoffs appearance.
Wills started second in the No. 02 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda but fell back at the start. From there, he gradually worked his way back up to take the final spot on the podium. It was Wills' career-best Runoffs finish.
Dale Vandenbush, of Green Bay, Wis., advanced from sixth to finish fourth in his No. 01 Formula Mazda. James Harrelson, of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., finished fifth in his No. 25 Formula Mazda after starting eighth.
Jim Anderson, of Fort Collins, Colo., was named the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing seven positions to finish eighth in his No. 45 SAINT Formula Mazda.
The Formula Mazda National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results from Saturday's Formula Mazda National Championship Race, part of the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Juan Marchand, South Haven, MI, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
2, (5), Bruce Lawrence, Sanford, NC, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
3, (2), Darryl Wills, Deer Park, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
4, (6), Dale Vandenbush, Green Bay, WI, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
5, (8), James Harrelson, Owens Cross Roads, AL, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
6, (9), Samuel Lockwood, Cumming, GA, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
7, (12), Steve Clark, Colorado Springs, CO, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
8, (15), Jim Anderson, Ft Collins, CO, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
9, (14), Samuel Ryan, White Haven, PA, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
10, (13), Russell Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
11, (16), Philip Miller, Lake Charles, LA, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
12, (17), David VanHooser, Enid, OK, Star Formula Mazda, 12.
13, (7), Joe Garner, Stockbridge, GA, Star Formula Mazda, 12.
14, (4), Mike Anderson, Anza, CA, Star Formula Mazda, 9.
DNF, (10), Brian Julien, Waukesha, WI, Star Formula Mazda, 5.
DNF, (11), Kenneth De Nault, Cedar Falls, IA, Star Formula Mazda, 4.
DNF, (3), Jason Vinkemulder, Spring Lake, MI, Star Formula Mazda, 0.
Time of Race: 30 minutes, 15.107 seconds
Margin of Victory: 4.097 seconds
Winner's average speed: 103.134 mph
Fastest race lap: #44 Juan Marchand, 2:17.543 (104.695 mph)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-13, Juan Marchand
Sunoco Hard Charger: #45 Jim Anderson