TOPEKA, Kan., (October 13, 2007) – Hans Peter, of Overland Park, Kan., went two-for-two at the 2007 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T, taking the Formula Atlantic Championship a day after winning a title in C Sports Racing. Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill., and Patrick Witherspoon, of Lincoln, Neb., completed the top three.
Severe weather had delayed the start of Runoffs racing at Heartland Park Topeka this morning, and although a dry line had begun to form after the first race of the day, the Formula Atlantic field took to the course on rain tires to combat the standing water that remained in many parts of the track.
At the start, SCCA Chicago Region Triple Crown® hopeful Kasemets took the lead into Turn One, but with polesitter Peter filling his mirrors. The No. 66 Phenix Label/Hoosier/Toyota Swift 014 continued to shadow Kasemets for the next three laps, pulling alongside the No. 09 Flexovit/Parallax/Hoosier/MK/Elite/Pabst Swift 014 several times on the front and back straight before finally getting the job done in Turn Seven of lap four. When Peter returned to the front straight, he’d already opened up a 2.250-second lead on Kasemets. The two-time defending C Sports Racing Champion proceeded to cruise away from Kasemets, winning the 17-lap race by 7.379 seconds.
“At the start, I went as good as I could expect,” Peter said. “It was a drag race to Turn One and I had played it about 100 times in my mind last night. I kind of figured that Tonis was more experienced and would be able to get me on that.
“This was my first rain race in an open wheel car. I figured it would be a good idea to stay right behind him [Kasemets] and see what he was doing. I looked for a small weakness his car and I noticed that I had better grip in the slow corners and that he was a little quicker down the straightaway. I watched to see where I could close up on him and I used about the only corner that we have left on this track to pass with the changes. Tonis took the racing line, which was very nice of him, as he could have taken the blocking line, but I got alongside and pushed up the hill. From then on I got about two seconds and I just kept it there.”
After starting the race from pitlane, owing to problems starting his car, Witherspoon was more than thrilled to finish the race in third. Witherspoon also collected the Sunoco Hard Charger Award in his No. 8 Swan Racing Swift, advancing 10 positions from his grid spot of 13th to his third-place finish.
David Wilcox, of Derby, Kan., was holding down the third-place spot until he locked-up going into Turn One on the final lap. Wilcox was able to rejoin the race and finish fourth. Fabio Castellani, of Streamwood, Ill., finished fifth.
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by AT&T, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 44th-consecutive year in 2007. The best amateur drivers from across North America convene on Heartland Park Topeka’s 2.5-mile road course each fall in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event begins with four days of qualifying, Oct. 8-11, and concludes with three days of racing, Oct. 12-14.