LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 24, 2004) – John Saurino, of Tulsa, Okla., captured his first-ever National Championship after a wild F Production race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Former Champion Craig Chima, of Akron, Ohio, and Mason Workman, of Columbus, Ohio, completed the top three.
Driving the No. 57 Red Line Oil/Goodyear MG Midget, Saurino battled polesitter Steve Sargis, of Frankfort, Ill., for the first 12 laps, swapping the lead numerous times until Sargis’ Triumph Spitfire began running hot and he retired to the pits. After a full-course caution period to remove a car from the gravel trap, Saurino’s gap over Chima evaporated, and on the last lap, Chima made his move as the two exited the keyhole turn.
Chima took the advantage, but it was short-lived, as Saurino dive-bombed the similar MG at the end of the back straight to take the lead. Chima, who had his gear shift come off and stick the car in third gear, attempted to carry too much speed over the Esses, and spun the car. Saurino sped away to a 12.35-second win, averaging 76.326 mph.
“Once Steve [Sargis] went off [to the pits], I asked ‘Where’s Craig, and what kind of times is he turning?’” said Saurino. “My crew said that he was five or six seconds back, and that he was running the same lap times. The yellow was the last thing I wanted to see because it puts a guy like Craig right behind you. Sure enough, he came by. In the Esses, I dove it in hard and heavy to get by. It’s awesome. It was fun.”
Workman had a steady race in his Mazda Miata to finish third, followed by Jerry Lamb, of Oswego, Ill., and Peter Morton, of Royal Oak, Mich.
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 story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=155