TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 12, 2008) – J.R. Osborne, of Atlanta, won his first-ever C Sports Racing National Championship at the 45th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka. Chris Farrell, of Salt Lake City, and Jim Downing, of Alpharetta, Ga., completed the podium.
Osborne, who started fourth in the No. 4 Rilltech/Goodyear/Redline Oil Stohr WF-1/Suzuki, got a great jump at the start making it three-wide coming down the front straight heading into Turn Alpha. At this point, he picked up two spots and was right behind the rear deck of polesitter Farrell for the first lap.
On lap two, Osborne passed Farrell in Turn Six for the lead and never looked back. At one point, he had nearly an 18 second lead. But, on lap 13, his car began to misfire. This misfire slowed Osborne’s pace, shrinking his margin of victory to 5.182 seconds.
“I got a good start,” Osborne said. “I’m pretty good at that. I got alongside Jean-Luc [Liverato]. He didn’t see me and we hit. Then he moved over and that’s when he hit Chris [Farrell]. Chris dove it in deep into Turn One, I’m proud of him. I ducked in behind [Chris] and followed him around for a bit. Once I got in front I tried to run conservative laps and then backed it off to make sure everything made it to the end.
“Around lap 13, I went into a false neutral, hit the rev limiter and the engine started missing. I thought I might have damaged something. I was really concerned, because if you have a mechanical problem, it just gets worse, it doesn’t get better. I was doing 1:26’s pretty consistently and all of a sudden I did a 1:35! I got on my radio and asked where Chris was. They told me ‘don’t worry about it,’ and that wasn’t what I wanted to hear, because I knew he was coming. The last lap it kind of cleaned up a little bit. I was able to go a little harder on that last lap, but if there had been anymore laps, I don’t think I would have been here right now. It’s great to be able to finish and be a part of this. I had a great race. With all the problems we’ve had, to be able to sit here feels fantastic.”
Driving the No. 58 C&M mfg/GDR Engines/Hoosier Tire Stohr WF-1/Suzuki, Farrell got a good start and took the early lead once the three-wide cars settled into single file by Turn Two. Unfortunately, his lead was short-lived and Osborne passed him. Once Osborne made his move, Farrell had to concentrate on running consistent lap times in order stay with Osborne. But, in the end, Farrell came away with a solid second-place finish.
Downing, driver of the No. 63 Downing Atlanta Inc Peach Day-01/Mazda, spent the early part of his race engaged in a heated back-and-forth battle with fourth-place finisher Bill Goldkind, of Holbrook, N.Y. The two drivers exchanged positions on four consecutive laps before Downing took third place for good on lap 10.
Harvey Goldman, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, finished fifth. John Metzger, of Charleston, W. Va., was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing four positions throughout the race. The C Sports Racing race will air at 1 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, Jan. 21 on SPEED.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 45th-consecutive year in 2008. The best amateur drivers from across North America will compete on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event began with four days of qualifying, Oct. 6-9, and is now concluding three days of National Championship racing, Oct. 10-12. Live timing, lap notes, results and photos are all available at www.scca.com/runoffs.