LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 25, 2004) – Mark Sandridge, of Westfield Center, Ohio, captured his second-consecutive National Championship in the Touring 2 class Saturday, and gave Cadillac its first-ever win at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Rob Hines, of Arlington, Va., and Freddy Baker, of Bedford, Ohio, completed the top three.
The race began with second place starter Toby Grahovec getting a jump in his Dodge SRT-4 over polesitter Don Knowles’ Cadillac CTS-V. Grahovec slid wide heading into the Carousel complex on the first lap, but never lifted and rejoined the track in the middle of the Carousel, hitting Jordan Sandridge’s Cadillac upon re-entry. Sandridge’s car was sent into a series of barrel rolls and landed upside down on the tire wall. Sandridge was uninjured, but the incident brought out a lengthy caution.
At the restart, Knowles held the point, but John Fernandez was right on his bumper in a Dodge SRT-4 until lap 16, when he made an inside move in turn one. The two bumped side-by-side, and Knowles’ Cadillac went spinning off to the outside. Fernandez recovered, but not until T.C. Kline’s Nissan 350Z was able to move inside. The two bumped in the keyhole and Kline took the lead. Fernandez loosened Kline over the top of the Esses and re-took the advantage, only to be nudged off at the bottom of the Esses.
That opened the door for Sandridge to become the fourth leader on the lap, but Baker took the lead in his Porsche Boxster in the Carousel. One lap later, Sandridge was back into the lead in the Keyhole, and Hines worked his Chevrolet Camaro into second on the final lap of the race. Sandridge won by 0.623-secon, averaging 63.841 mph in a race shortened to 19 laps due to a 40-minute time limit.
"It was an emotional race,” said Sandridge. “I was coming into the Carousel on the first lap when I saw Toby [Grahovec] off in the weeds. He never lifted and came back on course right into the side of [son] Jordan. I saw Jordan roll but went around the corner and didn't see anything else. I called my crew and told them to get down there and see how he was. I came around the next lap and saw the car upside down. I was really worried. Finally my crew called and told me he was OK, and then they put him on the radio. It was a big relief. When the restart came, I could go racing. If the race had been any longer Freddy [Baker] would have won. I don't think that I could have held him off for one more lap. My tires were shot."
Fernandez, of Rochester, Mich., and Grahovec, of Palos Park, Ill., completed the unofficial top five.
Now in its 41st year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crown the best amateur road racers in North America Champions. More than 700 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 24 class titles this year, with eight races being run each day from Friday through Sunday.
Celebrating its 60th Anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 60,000 member motorsports organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events of a variety of disciplines, including road racing, autocrossing, road rally and performance rally.
Link to article: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=159