Andy McDermid, of Williamston, Md., successfully defended his American Sedan title today and, in the process, captured his sixth overall A Sedan National Championship at the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. 11-time Runoffs Champion John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., finished second, while David Venhaus, of Milwaukee, was third.
Early this morning, it rained at Road America and the track conditions were still quite wet to start the A Sedan race. At the race start, Heinricy, third on the grid in the No. 54 TAR/Hoosier/Hawk/Mobil 1 Pontiac Firebird, got a great start coming down the front straight and took the lead in Turn One. Unfortunately, he could not make the lead stick because McDermid, the Gumout pole winner, passed Heinricy in Turn Two.
From there, McDermid was able to make his No. 24 WeatherTech/Felice Perf Eng Ford Mustang stick to track, while other drivers, including Heinricy, had significant slides or spins that cost them positions on the track. McDermid held the top spot for all 13 laps winning by 25.838-seconds over Heinricy.
“John [Heinricy] being right behind me and then coming up next to me will make you stick on your toes and make sure you're paying attention,” McDermid said of the race start. “He's awesome in the rain and he's awesome in the dry. When I got clear of him, I just kept my nose down and had at it.”
“It [the win] really comes down to all of the people who help me. I feel very proud that we've been able to do that. Being able to pass John is a huge event. I really appreciate all of my guys. It feels great to be able to do it. We enjoy racing American Sedan. It's a great class.”
Both McDermid and Heinricy started the race on slick tires, despite the wet conditions and the subsequent rain that fell late in the race. Heinricy's tire choice may have led to a major slide in the Carousel that cost him any shot at chasing down McDermid, who was more than seven seconds in front of Heinricy at the time.
After the race, Heinricy said that intermediate tires might have been the correct choice, but he said that was tough choice to make before the race given the conditions and radar. Heinricy eventually recovered from the spin to finish second.
“I had a good start,” Heinricy said. “Using Andy [McDermid] as a draft helped me get up the front straight. I practice braking pretty late there [in Turn One] in the wet during the week in two of the sessions. When Andy and Tom [Sloe] hit the brakes, I just pulled to right and went deeper, which was good getting into the turn, but getting out of the turn, Andy was able to go around the outside of me. Then, I was a little hot coming into Three and I caught the grass a little bit. That gave Andy a pretty good jump on me. From there on, it was playing catch up trying to run as hard as I could.
“It started raining in the middle of the race. It hurt Andy as much as it hurt me. I did have an off in the Carousel late in the race trying to push as hard as I could to catch up to Andy. It didn't work out, but second isn't too bad.”
Venhaus started ninth in the No. 80 CSR Bobcat Illumination Optics/Axis Ford Mustang and knifed through traffic to be in the top five by lap three. Venhaus spent the first half of the race locked in a battle with Michael Lavigne, of Hooksett, N.H., for third. On lap nine, Lavigne got a little too deep in Canada Corner and slid off track into the gravel. This allowed Venhaus to inherit third, which is where he finished.
“I think we made the right tire choice and put some wets on,” Venhaus said. “At first, I thought it was the wrong choice. But, halfway through the race, it started raining again and I thought we were OK. I lost a cylinder on the first lap so we were down on power big time. It kind of changed our approach to things. We were trying to push it real hard in the braking zones and into the corners. [I] overcooked [Turn] five a couple of times pretty badly. But, I would get through the Carousel and the back half of the track really well. That is where we made up ground on people. We'd get pulled down the straightaways, but on the back side we ran people down again.
“We were able to pressure a couple of people into mistakes and it ended up paying off. He'd [Lavigne] would run me on the straightaways and we'd run him on the back half of the track. I thought if I could get close enough [to Lavigne], I could make a move [on him] in Turn 12. As it turned out, it got wetter in [Turn] 12 as the race went on. That, unfortunately, caught him [Lavigne] out. He backed into the kitty litter and we went on. It was a fortunate turn of events for us.
“This is awesome. We've worked so hard. I've got to thank so many people. This is quite a step up for use this year. We're really pleased to be here.”
Daniel Richardson, of Rockville, Md., finished fourth in the No. 15 Performance Auto Works/Goodyear Chevrolet Camaro. Richardson was also the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing 11 positions.
Tom Ellis, of Sunrise, Fla., drove the No. 57 Palm Express/Steeda/Dawson/Hoosier Ford Mustang to a fifth-place finish.
Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial. More information is available at www.scca.com.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Sunday's American Sedan National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Andy McDermid, Williamston, MI, Ford Mustang, 13.
2, (3), John Heinricy, Holly, MI, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
3, (9), David Venhaus, Milwaukee, WI, Ford Mustang, 13.
4, (15), Daniel Richardson, Rockville, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
5, (8), Tom Ellis, Sunrise, FL, Ford Mustang, 13.
6, (11), Aaron Bailey, Shasta Lake, CA, Pontiac Firebird, 12.
7, (10), Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, KS, Pontiac Trans Am, 12.
8, (6), Thomas West, Standish, ME, Chevrolet Camaro, 12.
9, (17), Kelly Lubash, Stamford, CT, Chevrolet Camaro, 12.
10, (18), Jerry Post, Sunset, SC, Chevrolet Camaro, 12.
11, (13), Pat Wilmot, Roswell, GA, Ford Mustang, 12.
12, (14), Chris Pedersen, Mundelein, IL, Ford Mustang, 12.
13, (21), Christopher Qualls, Los Angeles, CA, Ford Mustang, 12.
14, (19), Dennis Careri, Boxford, MA, Ford Mustang, 12.
15, (5), Michael Lavigne, Hooksett, NH, Ford Mustang, 12.
16, (20), Tom Himes, Slidell, LA, Ford Mustang, 12.
17, (22), Scott Sanda, Western Springs, IL, Cadillac CTS-V, 11.
18, (12), Joseph Trapani, Dushore, PA, Chevrolet Camaro, 11.
19, (16), Scott Schweitzer, Lake Orion, MI, Ford Mustang, 11.
DNF, (4), Jeffrey Werth, Silver Spring, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.
DNF, (2), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Ford Mustang, 3.
DNF, (7), Edward Hosni, Galloway, OH, Ford Mustang, 2.
Overall Time of Race: 37:21.456
Average Race Speed: 83.517 mph
Margin of Victory: 25.838 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: #24 Andy McDermid, 2:50.677 (84.370 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #15 Daniel Richardson
Lap Leaders: #24 Andy McDermid Laps 1 – 1