LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 2, 2009) – SCCA National Club Racing drivers hit Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the only time in 2009 this past weekend, with 185 drivers fighting for 29 class wins and qualification for the first leg of the SCCA Super Sweep. Racers were met with bright sunshine and temperatures in the upper 60s for a day of racing around the famed 15-turn circuit.
Bill Baten, of Indianapolis, Ind., had the overall and Touring 2 class well in hand until his Chevrolet Camaro lost a wheel on the 19th, and final, lap of the race. Baten’s misfortune turned into celebration for William Moore, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, who took a 20-second overall and T2 win in his Pontiac Solstice GXP over Jeff DeGrieck’s Lotus Exige S. The battle of the race was in Spec Miata, where polesitter Mark Bennett, of Lagrange, Ohio, led flag-to-flag, but withstood numerous pass attempts from former National Champion Harry Manning throughout the race, eventually winning by just 0.148-second. Richard Cullen, of Marshfield, Mass., won SSB from the pole in his Honda Civic Si and played a role early in the Spec Miata battle, splitting the leaders for the first eight laps. Tony Swan, of Ypsilanti, Mich., was the sole Touring 3 entrant in his Honda S2000 and Brian Bogert, of Schnecksville, Pa., was the lone SSC car.
Ryan McManus, of Westfield Center, Ohio, led all but the first turn on the first lap to score the GT-1 and overall race win in his Ford Mustang. Peter Mohrhauser, of Shakopee, Minn., started third in his Chevrolet Corvette and got the jump on the field, briefly taking the lead entering Turn One before sliding off course and to the back of the pack. Mohrhauser fought his way back up to second and within two seconds of McManus before traffic derailed him with two laps to go. In Touring 1, polesitter John Buttermore, of Pontiac, Mich., led early in his Corvette, but David Pintaric, of Canfield, Ohio, went to the lead on lap two in his Dodge Viper. That lead lasted until lap seven, when Pintaric spun and handed the lead and the eventual win to Buttermore. Pintaric set a track record while trying to chase down the eventual winner, who also ran under the old track record. Tom Patton, of Hamilton, Ohio; Mike Cyphert, of Cleveland, Ohio; Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich.; and Robert Pfeffer, of Avon, Ind., each went flag-to-flag to win GT-2, GT-3, American Sedan and Super Touring O, respectively. McDermid broke the American Sedan track record by more than a second in the process.
Nick Evans, of Dublin, Ohio, put on a driving clinic, winning overall in his Formula Enterprises, beating even the faster classes and setting a new class track record in the process. Evans was followed for much of the race by Formula Mazda class leader and defending National Champion Franklin Futrelle. However, with one lap to go, Futrelle’s car went off song on the front straight, handing the lead and eventual win to Juan Marchand, of South Haven, Mich., who started sixth in class. Canadian Jacek Mucha won Formula Atlantic in his Swift, topping polesitter Daniel Bruggeman for second overall. While he was outqualified by son Corey, John Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, was able to come out on top of a race-long family battle to take Sports 2000 in his Carbir. Jon Staudacher, of Kawkawlin, Mich., had a dominating run in his Staudacher to win D Sports Racing. John Metzger, of Cross Lenes, W.V., ran uncontested in C Sports Racing.
Mark Defer, of Streetsboro, Ohio, took the overall and Formula Continental race win in group four, breaking Mike Andersen’s six-year old track record with a fast lap of 1:26.381 in the process. Defer took the lead on lap 10, when polesitter and early leader Gerald Szukulski retired, and led a Van Diemen sweep of the top three FC positions, with John LaRue and Dave Stevens completing the podium. Young Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, captured his second-consecutive Formula 500 National race win, coming from third on the grid to take the victory in his Invader QC-1.Russell Ruedisueli, of Rochester Hills, Mich., also came from third on the grid to take a 13-second win in Formula Ford. Former National Champion Jeff Loughead, of Darien, Ill., won Formula Vee from the pole in his Vortech.
Jim Simaras, of Oconomowoc, Wis., won a wild small bore race, taking E Production and the overall win in his Mazda RX-7. Simaras started third, but went to the lead when early leader John Schmitt’s Honda Prelude lost a motor in spectacular fashion on lap two, causing second-place Sam Halkias to spin his Triumph TR-6 and be clipped by F Production leader Kevin Ruck’s Acura. After a lengthy race stoppage to clean up the oil, Simaras broke away while the battle for F Production ensued between Ruck, of Delaware, Ohio, and Joe Walker, of Richland, Mich. Walker finally got his Lotus Super 7 past on lap 11 to take the win and set a new track record of 1:39.449 in the process. Mason Workman’s Mazda was second, followed by Ruck. Jason Barfield, of Granville, Ohio, battled with Nick Evans early in Spec Racer Ford. However, when Evans retired on lap 13, it was smooth sailing for a 10-second win over Scott Rettich. Bob Eichelberger, of Imperial, Mo., captured his first-career National win in his first visit to Mid-Ohio, driving an Austin-Healey Sprite in H Production, and Daniel Stalzer, of Plainfield, Ill., won GT-Lite in his Toyota Corolla.
All of the class-winning drivers in Runoffs-eligible classes have now completed the first leg in their quest for the SCCA Super Sweep. To complete a Super Sweep, a driver must: win one of nine key National races, earn a Divisional class points championship, take class win at the Runoffs® and win the newly formulated nationwide point structure, all in the same class.
For more information on the SCCA Super Sweep, click here. For the most up-to-date Nationwide National point standings, click here.