TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 14, 2006) – Jesse Prather, of Topeka, Kan., was the hometown hero today at Heartland Park Topeka, winning a hard fought F Production battle at the 2006 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. Steve Sargis, of Frankfort, Ill., finished second and Harold Flescher, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., finished third.-30-
From the drop of the green flag, Prather in his No. 34 Prather Racing Mazda Miata, was all over the back of the polesitter, No. 57 John Saurino in an MG Midget. A well-planned pass from Prather would not be necessary, as Saurino pulled his car off-course at the Chicane with a broken axel, the result of a quick off in the opening lap.
Now in the lead, Prather had his hands full with the No. 18 Goodyear Tires/Redline Triumph Spitfire of Steve Sargis and the No. 7 Fight-MS/Hoosier Lotus Super 7 of Eric Prill. The three cars were a virtual train for seven laps, with Sargis and Prather exchanging textbook passes for the lead on laps six and eight. Try as he might, looking inside and outside, Sargis couldn’t put it past Prather, who would take the checkered flag, winning his first SCCA National Championship.
Meanwhile, the No. 93 C.A.R.S./Goodyear/Redline of Flescher, clicked-off several fast laps as he charged to the front. Flescher was able to make his way around Prill for third on lap eight, when Prill locked up the right front in Turn 12, flat-spotting his tire and flat-lining his momentum in the process. Prill would finish fourth, followed by the No. 36 RPM Motorsports/Goodyear Tires Mazda Miata of Luis Rivera.
“It is a fairy tale for me,” said Prather of winning his first Championship. “My dad has won six and to win my first here at my home track is just a fairy tale.
“My goal at the start was to stay with John Saurino and I did, but then he broke something. After that, here I am sitting up front and I saw the little red Spitfire [of Sargis] in my mirror. I saw this a month and a half ago on Labor Day, so I knew what he looked like. He passed me in one then and I knew he was going to try it again. He tried me a couple times, then he jumped inside of me in the Carousel. He was right on me and Eric Prill was right behind him. Once Steve got past me, surprisingly I could draft him and I passed him going down into one. But, everything is kind of a blur at this point. This whole thing, what a thrill.”
Tom Lyttle in the No. 43 Ford Capri took home the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing 13 positions.
Now in its 43rd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think annually crowns the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 25 class titles, with nine races on Friday and eight Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first year that the Runoffs is held at Heartland Park Topeka.
Celebrating its 62nd anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 55,000 member organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events in a variety of disciplines, including road racing, Solo, road rally and rallycross.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=693