Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., captured his fifth American Sedan National Championship Saturday at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Eric Curran, of Holyoke, Mass., and Jeffrey Werth, of Silver Spring, Md., completed the top three.
McDermid started second in the No. 24 Weather Tech/Felice Racing Engines Ford Mustang to defending Champion Tom Sloe's No. 1 Hoosier/Russell Automotive/Hutter Ford Mustang. Sloe got the jump at the green and McDermid settled in right behind Sloe in Turn One, giving him an incidental bump in the process.
"We got together a little in Turn One," McDermid said. "I bumped him in the back and he inadvertently got a little squirrely so I just backed off until he got it back straightened out and back into position."
The pair ran to Turn Five, with McDermid getting his Mustang to the inside of Sloe on the exit. The two cars made contact going up the hill to Turn Six, with McDermid and Curran, who started sixth in the No. 53 JPR Chevrolet Camaro, getting past. By Turn Seven, it was evident that Sloe had a problem, as his car slid through the gravel on the exit and emerged with a flat left-front tire.
"I got a good line in five and Tom went a little long and we got back together and I'm not sure what happened after that," McDermid said. "As soon as the caution came out, I noticed that Tom was not in the field behind us. Eric was right behind so I knew I had to be on the green, 'cause he is really fast. As soon as they dropped the green flag, I kept my head down and knew I had to go forward."
From there, McDermid set sail, and was never challenged, even with a mid-race caution and restart, to take the 14.106-second win, averaging 84.047 mph over the course of the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
"It feels great to win. We worked on the car extremely hard and it paid off," McDermid added. "It went really well, we had a really bad qualifying situation. We had one lap in the dry qualifying and broke a ball joint. The rest of the qualifying sessions were wet. We were on the outside of the front row and we had to give it everything we had to get around Mr. Sloe, as he is extremely good and extremely fast."
Curran returned to the Runoffs after an 11-year absence in which he has established himself as one of the best American professional road racers. The 1999 American Sedan Champion ran consistently in second after Sloe's departure to score his second podium finish in as many Runoffs starts.
"We struggled throughout the week," Curran said. "The first session was fairly wet. The middle session we had was dry and that was the one that really set the fast times. The third session was wet again so we ended up starting in the sixth position. I knew I had to get up with Andy and see if I could run with him. Luckily enough I got a good start and went into Turn One and went on the inside. Some cars got together and I got ahead of all these guys and got behind Andy at Turn Three.
"This team worked really hard this week. I don't think anybody worked harder. That hard work really paid off today. The Mustangs are really fast here. I feel like we brought a knife to a gun fight. They did a good job and deserved the win though."
Curran earned the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing from his sixth starting position to finish second.
Werth is another driver returning to the Runoffs after a long absence. The three-time GT-5 National Champion returned to SCCA competition in 2009 after last competing in 1995. Werth's third place marked his eighth podium finish in as many starts, making him the only driver with more than six Runoffs starts to have a perfect podium record.
Driving the No. 48 WRE LLC/OG Racing/A&C Machine/Hoosier Chevrolet Camaro, Werth held off a charge from Michael Lavigne's No. 42 Auto Re-Nu-It Autobody/Hoosier Ford Mustang in the closing laps, running his fastest lap on the final tour.
"We set up for a full green race," Werth said. "Mike [Lavigne] just kept coming up and Eric, I used him as a rabbit, but kept having that snake on my backside trying to bite my tail. The car ran great. The tires didn't go away and one of my goals was to go flat out through the kink. I did that on the final lap and it ended up being my fastest lap. We had a good time, it's a good track and the car ran as well as expected.
"My last race in GT-5 was Mid Ohio against Joe Huffaker," Werth added. "That was best race I ever had but I had to sell the car. There was no way of topping that race. Another reason why I went away from SCCA is I had to go back to school. I couldn't find sponsors, so I had to make enough money to sponsor myself. I did a little stock car racing for a while and when I sold the stock car I looked for a class that had a unibody car like my GT-5 car and a small block Chevy like my stock car. So we put together this car."
Lavigne finished fourth, followed by Tom Ellis, of Sunrise, Fla., in the No. 51 Averitt/Steeda/Dawson Motorsport/Hoosier Ford Mustang Cobra.
Jim Wheeler, Danny Richardson, Christopher Pederson, Richard Jones and Chris Brannon completed the top 10.
Sloe, who lost a lap while limping back to the pits to change the tire, turned the race's fastest lap of a record 2:27.476 (97.643 mph). He eventually retired from the race on lap 11.
Now in its 47th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway 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/runoffs.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Saturday's American Sedan National Championship Race, part of the 47th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (2), Andy McDermid, Grand Ledge, MI, Ford Mustang, 13.
2, (6), Eric M Curran, Holyoke, MA, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
3, (3), Jeffrey Werth, Silver Spring, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
4, (5), Michael Lavigne, Hooksett, NH, Ford Mustang, 13.
5, (7), Tom Ellis, Sunrise, FL, Ford Mustang Cobra, 13.
6, (10), Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, KS, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
7, (8), Danny Richardson, Rockville, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
8, (12), Christopher Pedersen, Mundelein, IL, Ford Mustang, 13.
9, (4), Richard Jones, Scio, OH, Ford Mustang, 13.
10, (13), Chris Brannon, Mountain Home, AR, Pontiac GTO, 13.
11, (14), John Lechner, North Olmsted, OH, Ford Mustang, 13.
12, (15), Robert E Eubanks, Jacksonville, FL, Ford Mustang, 13.
13, (16), Charles L Dawson, Sebring, FL, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
14, (1), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Ford Mustang, 11.
15, (17), Kyle Watkins, Broomfield, CO, Ford Mustang, 8.
DNF, (9), David Venhaus, Milwaukee, WI, Ford Mustang, 5.
DNF, (11), Christopher Qualls, Los Angeles, CA, Ford Mustang, 4.
Time of Race: 37:07.335
Winner's average speed: 84.047 mph
Fastest race lap: #1 Tom Sloe 2:27.476 (97.643 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1-24 #24 Andy McDermid
Sunoco Hard Charger: #53 Eric Curran
Attached: Andy McDermid en route to the checkered flag at Road America
Credit: Mark Weber