TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 12, 2008) - Andrew McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., earned his fourth career Championship in a shortened American Sedan race at the 45th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka. McDermid battled 11-time Runoffs winner John Heinricy, of Royal Oak, Mich., who finished second, and Jason Von Kluge, of Ann Arbor, Mich., finishing third.
Heinricy, driving the No. 58 Pontiac Firebird, slipped past polesitter McDermid in the No. 24 Felice Racing Engines Ford Mustang at the start of the race, and the two veteran drivers quickly pulled away from the field. McDermid shawdowed Heinricy through each turn for the first 10 laps, and the pair locked nose-to-tail crossing the start/finish line to begin lap 11.
Under pressure, Heinricy just missed the preferred line in Turn One and dropped a wheel off the inside of the track. Using that opening, McDermid snuck by on the outside of the corner and led as the pair completed the lap.
On lap 12, while now-leader McDermid continued to battle with Heinricy, Andrew Brown, of Kearny, Mo., slid off track and made hard contact with the wall in Turn Eight in the No. 27 Steel Tech Chevrolet Camaro. That incident brought out a red flag to check Brown’s condition, with the field stopped on the front straight. The raced reached its 40-minute time limit with the field still parked, bringing out the checkered flag. Brown was alert and awake following the incident.
With no chance to resume the battle, McDermid celebrated a SCCA Chicago Region Triple Crown® -- a Division win, SCCA June Sprints title, and a Runoffs crown -- with a tire-smoking burnout on the front straight.
“It was cool right out of the gate,” McDermid said. “It was a good clean start. Everybody seemed to behave themselves pretty well. By about Turn Three John and I were hard at it and we just never let up. He'd get me in spots. I'd get him in spots. It is always a blast racing with John because he is clean. We tear each other's mirrors off and think it's funny. It's all good. That is the way racing ought to be. We had great race. All my guys worked their butts off all week.”
Jason Von Kluge finished third in the No. 78 JVK Motorsports/Steeda-Hoosier Ford Mustang. Von Kluge fell behind Kyle Watkins at the start, and after clearing Watkins in just a couple of laps he was not able to close the gap on the leaders.
Shawn Gray, of Fayetteville, Ark., finished fourth, just ahead of Michael Lavigne, of Hooksett, N. H.
Kristian Smith, of Brighton, Mich., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving eight positions to seventh place.
The American Sedan race will air on SPEED Wednesday, Jan. 28, at noon (EST).