TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 12, 2007) – Polesitter John Robinson, of St. Cloud, Fla., earned a hard-fought second Formula Ford National Championship at the 2007 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by AT&T at Heartland Park Topeka. Tony Coello, of Palmyra, Calif., finished second, while Steve Oseth, of Leesburg, Va., was third.
Starting from the front row, Coello powered his No. 17 www.pouredfoundations.com Van Dieman RF-01-2 to the early lead and continued to lead for the first six laps before relinquishing it to Robinson. Driving the No. 19 Cricket Farm Motors/Goodyear/Lee Racing, Robinson did everything he could to shake Coello from his rearview mirrors, but unfortunately for Robinson, Coello regained the lead on lap 14.
“I got conservative and started making a few mental mistakes,” Robinson said of Coello’s lap 14 pass. “He [Coello] caught up to me. The track was colder than it had been all week and that affected the race. If the sun had come out, things may have been different. I went off at nine – just went straight off – and I figured ‘just keep it straight and don’t hit anything,’ As it was, I only lost two car lengths to him. I figured that was the race. I figured that second was better hitting the wall.”
With one lap remaining, Coello looked well on his way to winning his first National
Championship until he drove off course coming out of turn six and gave the lead back to Robinson for good. Robinson won the 18-lap event by 2.105-seconds over Coello.
“This was about as much fun as I have had in a long, long time,” Coello said. “Near the end of the race, I broke my own cardinal rule – run your own pace and don’t do anything crazy when you get into a lead. John had gotten in the dirt and had gone off the track and I opened up a little lead. I got conservative. I hadn’t gone through that turn that slow all week. I got the revs too low and when I got the revs up to where they should have been, they just spun the rear tires. I did everything I could just to keep it out of the wall and to keep it from spinning. I gave the lead to John, just a bad move on my part.”
“I was really surprised to see Tony go off there,” Robinson said.
Piloting the No. 36 Hoosier Tire/DBM Racing Citation FF-94, Oseth spent the entire race battling eventual fourth place finisher Ethan Shippert, of Petaluma, Calif.
Timothy Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., finished fifth after starting 14th. Mark Blythe, of Edwardsville, Ill., won the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing 12 positions throughout the race, from 23rd to 11th.
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.
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