Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., captured his second Sports 2000 National Championship in four years with a 2.403-second win as part of the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Corey Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, and Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., rounded out the podium.
Mercer started the race in second, but struggled on the start and fell back to fifth in the No. 34 Ferenco/Hoosier Tires Lola 2003 91/90. Mercer battled back, passing a slowing John Fergus for second on lap eight.
On lap 10 of the 13-lap battle, Mercer dove to the inside of race-leader Corey Fergus heading into the hard-braking Turn 5. As Fergus tried to counter, the pair went side-by-side through Turn Six before Mercer slipped ahead. Once on the point, Mercer set sail for his second National Title.
Mercer also ran the fastest lap of the race, turning a time of 2:16.435 (105.545 mph) around the 14-turn, 4-mile road course.
"I never get a very good start," Mercer said. "It isn't unusual for me to start fourth or fifth, and when people went by me it didn't bother me a bit. I just started concentrating, and doing what I like to do. I kept catching everybody, and finally caught up to Bart [Wolf]. I figured we could run together for a while, but that didn't last too long. I got by him, and he wouldn't stay with me. I was pulling up on John [Fegus] for a while, and it worked out really well. I had a great race, I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad to be back racing again.
"Corey looked like he was having a little bit of trouble. I learned a lot by following Bart through [Turn Five] a number of times. Once I got in front of Corey, I had learned some tricks from his dad, John, which let me stay in front of Corey to the end."
The National Championship win also made Mercer the first-ever Super Sweep award winner. The award has four components; a driver must win one of nine key National races, a Divisional Championship, a National Championship and the newly created nationwide point standings - all in a single class. The award was announced at the 2009 SCCA National Convention.
Corey Fergus, driving the No. 07 Hoosier Tires/Fergus Companies Carbir CS2, surged at the start and held his lead, trailed by his father, John, and Wolf. The younger Fergus held the lead as both veteran drivers faded.
Fergus hung onto the lead until Mercer's pass.
Wolf, in the No. 28 Goodyear/Wolf Motors Carbir CS2.8, jumped from his fourth-place starting position at the green flag to a battle for second through the race's opening turns. As Wolf's car faded, he found himself locked in a battle for third, first with David Ferguson and then with Anthony Sleath. Wolf was able to hold on to finish on the podium.
Sleath, of Dearborn, Mich., finished fourth in the No. 13 Goodyear/Wolf Motors Carbir CS2.8. Ferguson, of Paso Robles, Calif., finished fifth in the No. 75 Veracity Racing Data Van Diemen FRS-03.
Jack Donnellan, of Chickasha, Okla., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving four positions to seventh in the No. 6 Quantum Mechanics/Kechi Energy Lola 598.
The Sports 2000 National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results from Friday's Sports 2000 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, (2), Mark Mercer, Aurora, CO, Lola 2003 91/90, 13.
2, (1), Corey Fergus, Powell, OH, Carbir CS2, 13.
3, (4), Bart Wolf, Elkhart Lake, WI, Carbir CS2.8, 13.
4, (5), Anthony Sleath, Dearborn, MI, Carbir CS2-A1, 13.
5, (6), David Ferguson, Paso Robles, CA, Van Diemen RFS-03, 13.
6, (9), Joseph Moran, Laguna Hills, CA, Carbir CS2, 13.
7, (10), Jack Donnellan, Chickasha, OK, Lola 598, 13.
8, (7), Michael Bautz, Machesney Pk, IL, Lola T90/90, 13.
9, (8), Jim Shanel, Saint Charles, IL, Lola T89/90, 13.
10, (13), Charles Duncan, Cottage Grove, WI, Lola 88/90, 13.
11, (12), Courtney Jahn, Oconomowoc, WI, Lola 89/90-09, 13.
12, (3), John Fergus II, Powell, OH, Carbir CS2, 7.
DNF, (11), Michael Macnider, Elmhurst, IL, Lola T87/90, 1.
DNS, (14), James Richmond, Darien, IL, Lola 88/90, 0.
Time of Race: 29 minutes, 59.942 seconds
Margin of Victory: 2.403 seconds
Winner's average speed: 104.003 mph
Fastest race lap: #34 Mark Mercer, 2:16.435 (105.545 mph)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-9, Corey Fergus; laps 10-13, Mark Mercer
Sunoco Hard Charger: #6 Jack Donnellan
Attached image: S2000 National Champion Mark Mercer
Credit: John Steflik