Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, held off a charging Matthew Mair, of Miami, Fla., to earn the Formula Enterprises National Championship and SCCA Super Sweep at the 2010 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway. Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, completed the podium at Road America.
Though their finishing order mirrored their starting order, the podium trio had their hands full for the entire 13-lap, 52-mile race.
Gumout Polesitter Rettich had a perfect start in his No. 17 Hippi Racing/Wine Country Motorsports Formula Enterprises/Mazda and held the lead as the field streamed into Turn One. He would not stay there for long. Second-starting Mair worked the draft on the front straight to slingshot past Rettich and into the lead in Turn One the following lap.
Just as Mair and Rettich began to open a gap on the rest of the pack, a full-course caution was issued on lap four for the No. 91 Jay Motorsports/Buckholz Wall Systems SCCA Formula Enterprises/Mazda of defending FE National Champion Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, who was stuck in the gravel at Turn Six.
"I was drafting Scott and I finally got close to him in Corner Three, then passed him in Five, then I just held it," Mair said. "I was really upset (when double yellow came out) because I was opening quite a gap.
"On the restart, I came up over the hill and saw the green flag. I just stayed to the inside with no one behind me and just kept on going."
Mair held his lead in the No. 33 Valvoline/Robinson Motorsports Formula Enterprises/Mazda on the lap seven restart, but Rettich only waited until Turn Five to make his move.
"Matthew got a pretty good launch (on the restart)," Rettich said. "I was in-between gears and he got on the power and he got a little ahead, but I just stayed on the power along the inside of the wall and corrected my position. I was able to come through Three and set myself up for a pretty good position.
"I knew I wanted to make my pass in Turn Five because I should have been able to hold the lead in the Carousel and it should be looking pretty good."
As Rettich and Mair pulled away from the field, the battle heated up for the final podium spot. Initially, the fight was between Tyler Walsh, of Excelsior, Minn., Brian Novak, of Dearborn, Mich., and Jason Wolfe, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, but as the laps ticked by, Gallagher, who had a poor start and was charging back through the field, entered the frame.
"The car was really bad on the start," Gallagher, who won the Formula 500 Title Friday said. "It didn't want to handle and then, in the middle of the race, I really picked it up. At the beginning of the race the car was not at its prime."
Driving the No. 00 Jay Motorsports/CTL Engineering SCCA Formula Enterprises/Mazda, Gallagher was around Novak and into third for the first time on lap 10. The pair continued to exchange the position all the way to the final lap.
"I didn't really know where I passed everyone, I just knew I needed to brake deeper to get the job done and get up front," recalled Gallagher. "At the end of the race, the last couple of laps, Brian Novak and I were racing wheel-to-wheel trying to out-brake each other with the drafting as well.
"(On the final lap) We went into Turn One side-by-side, then we switched at Two and again at Three. I think I finally overtook him at five."
As Gallagher finally secured third, ahead of them, Mair had caught Rettich and turned the fastest lap in the process, a 2:14.247 (107.265 mph). Mair took one last shot at the lead in Canada Corner, but thought better of it. Rettich crossed the line with a 0.624-second margin over Mair, averaging 89.999 mph.
"Toward the end I started to have to pick up the pace, when [Mair] started getting close enough to start drafting me and he started out-braking me a little bit," Rettich said. "I knew I had to pick up the pace. I knew if I drove well and hit my marks it would be pretty hard for him to pass me."
In claiming his first-ever SCCA National Championship, Rettich also won the prestigious SCCA Super Sweep. He won the prize by collecting a Runoffs win, the Central Division FE Championship, the FE National Points Championship and winning not just one, but two key events during the 2010 SCCA Safe Racer National Racing Series.
Novak finished fourth in the No. 69 AiM Data/Jay Motorsports/Hoosier SCCA Formula Enterprises/Mazda, ahead of Matthew Schneider, of Lexington, Ky., in the No. 31 Jay Motorsports SCCA Formula Motorsports/Mazda.
Keith Carter, Dennis Marklein, Steve Stadel, Carl Przyborrowski and Jay Leeman completed the top 10.
Marklein was named the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race for advancing eight positions in the race.
Now in its 47th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial.
Attached image: Scott Rettich leads the FE field through Turn Five.
Credit: SCCA/Mark Weber
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Saturday's Formula Enterprises National Championship Race, part of the 47th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete. All cars have Mazda engines.
1, (1), Scott Rettich, Camden, OH, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
2, (2), Matthew Mair, Miami, FL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
3, (3), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, OH, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
4, (6), Brian Novak, Dearborn, MI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
5, (11), Matthew Schneider, Lexington, KY, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
6, (9), Keith Carter, Tinley Park, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
7, (15), Dennis Marklein, Dodgeville, WI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
8, (10), Steve Stadel, Scales Mound, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
9, (13), Carl Przyborowski, River Forest, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
10, (12), Jay Leeman, Guttenberg, IA, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
11, (14), Keith McDonald, Ranson, WV, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
12, (16), Joseph Sturm, Neenah, WI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
13, (4), Tyler Walsh, Excelsior, MN, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 12.
14, (8), Jason Wolfe, Mount Vernon, OH, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 12.
15, (7), Dean Oppermann, Plainfield, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 11.
DNF, (5), Nick Evans, Powell, OH, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 3.
Time of Race: 34:40.027
Winner's average speed: 89.999 mph
Fastest race lap: #33 Matthew Mair, 2:14.247 (107.265 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1, #17 Scott Rettich; 2-6, #33 Matthew Mair; 7-13, #17 Rettich
Sunoco Hard Charger: #22 Dennis Marklein
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps