Scott Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., captured his first SCCA National Championship in 24 years, winning the Formula Ford race at the National Championship Runoffs after the lead duo crashed in the final turn at Road America. William Valet, of Holbrook, N.Y., and Tom Schwietz Jr., of Winchester, Va., completed the top three.
Rubenzer started fourth in the No. 31 Storage Battery Systems Inc. Citation 95FF and ran third from the start of the race when polesitter Jerermy Treadway's No. 12 Goodyear/Loynings/Stonebridge/Cryo Swift DB-6 failed to accelerate when the green flag flew due to a bad fuel pump. Treadway pulled off at pit out and third-starting Tony Coello, of East Troy, Wis., took the point in his No. 17 pouredfoundations.com/Hoosier Van Diemen RF-01-2 Ford. Coello was not alone, though, as for 51.5 miles of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, he and Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., battled for the top spot.
For the majority of the first 12 laps, second-starting Kautz was scored as the official leader in his No. 88 Braeburn/Hoosier/TwoDogg/Boyce/Nova Piper DF3. But the statistic is deceiving, as Kautz and Coello traded the top spot several times around the four-mile course nearly every lap.
Kautz held the advantage on the final lap, but Coello was primed to try to draft by on the final straightaway. They never made it, though, because entering the final corner on the final lap, the leaders approached a lapped car and tangled trying to get past. With both Kautz and Coello stranded, Rubenzer drove past to score his first National Championship since winning the Formula Vee title in 1985.
Rubenzer won by 14.336-seconds, averaging 99.154 mph.
"I didn't really expect to be here, to be honest with you," Rubenzer said of standing atop the podium. "I've been running pretty good this year, but this weekend the car actually worked really good. In the race, despite that screwy start - that screwed me up, and I dropped back from the front two - I was able to maintain that gap. In fact, I closed on them for a little while but I picked up some leaves on the radiator and everything started running hot. I was really concerned about finishing the race, and I started dropping back.
"I just had a feeling all week that something was going to happen at the end, and I hoped I wasn't part of it. I reaped the benefit today, and sometimes you don't. I just decided which way to go around them and thought 'tough luck, boys, it's my day.' Everyone has their day, and this was mine."
Valet made the most of his first Runoffs experience, bringing his No. 83 Rheingold/Valet Law Firm Swift DB-6 home in second. Four-time Runoffs Champion Schweitz started 11th in his No. 72 Steel Services Piper DF5 and captured his seventh podium finish in third.
David Livingston, of Nashville, Tenn., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing from 17th to fourth in his No. 85 ThermaMasters Swift DB-3. Mike Sauce, of Arlington, Texas, completed the top five in his No. 2 Sportscar Performance/Goodyear Sauce SVM1.
The Formula Ford National Championship race will be available on demand at www.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results from Sunday's Formula Ford National Championship Race, part of the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (4), Scott Rubenzer, Brookfield, WI, Citation 95FF, 13.
2, (6), William Valet, Holbrook, NY, Swift DB-6, 13.
3, (11), Thomas Schwietz Jr, Winchester, VA, Piper DF5, 13.
4, (17), David Livingston Jr, Nashville, TN, Swift DB-3/89, 13.
5, (10), Michael Sauce, Arlington, TX, Sauce SVM1, 13.
6, (8), Stanmore Townes, Santa Clara, CA, Swift DB-1, 13.
7, (5), Marc Blanc, New Glarus, WI, Swift DB-16, 13.
8, (14), Darren Brown, Richardson, TX, Vector TF-93K, 13.
9, (12), John Benson, Dade City, FL, Swift DB-1, 13.
10, (21), Wesley Cunningham, Houston, TX, Swift DB-1, 13.
11, (22), Mark Keller, Snohomish, WA, Swift DB-1, 13.
12, (23), John Luxon, West Chicago, IL, DF2 Piper, 13.
13, (20), James Mohrfeld, Houston, TX, Swift DB-1, 13.
14, (2), Timothy Kautz, Geneva, IL, Piper DF3, 12.
15, (3), Tony Coello, EAST TROY, WI, Van Diemen RF-01-2, 12.
16, (16), Reid Hazelton, Burlington, WI, Van Diemen RF-92, 12.
17, (9), Lewis Cooper, Grosse Pointe, MI, Van Diemen RF-00, 12.
18, (19), John Vlasis, Cudahy, WI, Piper DF-2, 12.
19, (24), Daniel Helman, Huffman, TX, Crossle 25, 11.
20, (15), Jim Roberts, Rolling Meadows, IL, Swift DB-6, 9.
21, (13), Michael Kolthoff, Hamilton, OH, Swift DB-6, 8.
DNF, (1), Jeremy Treadway, Putnam Station, NY, Swift DB-6, 0.
DNF, (7), Russell Ruedisueli, Rochester Hls, MI, Van Diemen RF-99-K, 0.
DNS, (18), Bill Kephart, Colorado Springs, CO, Vestal 09F, 0.
Time of Race: 31 minutes, 27.964 seconds
Margin of Victory: 14.336 seconds
Winner's average speed: 99.154 mph
Fastest race lap: #88 Timothy Kautz, 2:22.859 (100.799 mph)
Lap leaders: Lap 1, Tony Coello; laps 2-10, Tim Kautz; lap 11, Tony Coello; lap 12, Katuz; lap 13, Scott Rubenzer
Sunoco Hard Charger: #85 David Livingston Jr.
Attached: Scott Rubenzer takes the Formula Ford win
Credit: John Steflik