Follow all the live timing and scoring and get results at www.scca.com/runoffs. Live Twitter stream is available @SCCALive. Follow this weekend's races on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCCAOfficial.
The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available through Sunday at www.SpeedcastTV.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Weida's First Runoffs Podium An SCCA National Championship In Formula 500
James Weida, of West Lafayette, Ind., earned his first SCCA National Championship Runoffs podium in a big way on Friday at Road America, winning the Formula 500 National Championship. Aaron Ellis, of Farmington, Minn., and Steven Jondal, of Somerset, Wis., completed the podium.
Weida averaged 99.114 mph in the No. 22 Weida Aparments/Formula X-1 Scorpion S1 Rotax over the 13-lap, 52-mile race to win by 11.471 seconds. Weida turned the Hawk Hot Lap of 2:22.600 (100.982 mph) on his way to victory.
“It feels really good,” Weida said of his win and first podium. “I don't know how to act up here; these guys have been here before, but I haven't, so it's all new to me.”
The race opened with CJ McAbee, of Topeka, Kan., braking late into the first corner and moving from third to the lead in his No. 15 AJ's Import Garage/Hoosier AJ's 2012/Rotax with the GoPro Hero Move of the Race, opening a small gap on the field.
Hometown racer and two-time defending champion Michael Mueller, of Plymouth, Wis., caught McAbee on the opening lap and drafted past on the front straight to take the lead. The pair swapped the lead at least five times on the second lap, and the battle kept up until McAbee pulled into pit lane on lap five, out of the race with a broken pipe.
Mueller's No. 24 MJ Manufacturing/Fibeco/Hoosier/HRP Red Devil/Rotax held the lead until Weida tracked him down on lap eight. Weida took the lead going into Turn One on lap nine, and soon after the eventual champion made the pass for the lead, Mueller stuck his hand up to alert the approaching drivers and exited the course at Turn Five with a mechanical failure of his own.
Now comfortably in front, Weida had clear sailing to his first National Championship.
“I thought I was a sitting duck on the start,” Weida said. “I think I was sixth or seventh after Turn 5. CJ [McAbee] got a good run, and Michael Brent came from nowhere – I thought he was almost in the grass. And then, Jondal came screaming by everybody. I thought I had totally missed the setup, and felt terrible, going from first to sixth or something like that.
“The first lap, my car was really loose, and then it started handling better. My crew started telling me that I was running faster, so I took my time catching him. I just concentrated on my driving and reeled him in.”
Behind Weida was a skirmish that started for fourth, and with attrition became a battle for second and third.
The No. 43 Carlisle/CFF/Ellis Motorsports Ellis AE06/Rotax of Ellis, the No. 38 Jondal Machine/Hoosier/Red Devil Red Devil T-8/Rotax of Steven Jondal, and the No. 31 T&R Fabricating TR1 Stinger of Steven Thompson were three deep, moving through the field as the leaders fell out.
Ellis got clear of Jondal and Thompson on lap 11, and marched to his fifth-career podium.
“After the race got going, and started to settle down, I was in fourth place there and had a pretty good battle with the two Steves,” Ellis said. “I thought if I could break away from there for a while, I thought I might have had a good chance to catch back up with James. At the first part of the race, I could still see him. By the time we got to dicing a little bit, we lost a little time to him, and I couldn't see them after that. I was holding on to what I thought was fourth place, and it worked out.”
Jondal and Thompson continued to duel until lap 12, when Thompson ran wide through the kink and into the grass. Thompson almost gathered it up in the fast, tricky corner, but brushed the left wall and ended his day a lap too soon, in 12th place.
That allowed Jondal to finish with an unexpected podium, not knowing of the attrition of the leaders up front.
“It was a great race,” Jondal said. “It was a lot of fun. I had no idea that I was even in third place. I don't have my helmet wired or anything like that. I was back in the pack. We were just dicing the whole time, and had cars flying around us. A couple of times I thought he just pulled away from me, and Mike [Ellis], after the first lap and a half, he went by me and I never saw him again. You can't get any more fun for the dollar than this. It was a great time.”
Kris Larsen, of Kewaunee, Wis., finished fourth in the No. 17 L&L Racing powered by HRP Scorpion/Rotax, with Michael Brent, of Bethel, Conn., finishing fifth in the No. 47 Hoosier Tire/QRE Invader QC1/Rotax.
Timothy Friest earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, improving from 20th on the grid to 11 in the No. 86 XTRacing/Rod End Supply/Mobile Reason KBS MkVIII/Rotax.
Provisional results for Saturday's Formula 500 national championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), James Weida, West Lafayette, IN, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 13.
2, (5), Aaron Ellis, Farmington, MN, Ellis AE06 Rotax, 13.
3, (4), Steven A Jondal, Somerset, WI, Red Devil T-8 Rotax, 13.
4, (9), Kris Larsen, Kewaunee, WI, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 13.
5, (7), Michael Brent, Bethel, CT, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax 494, 13.
6, (10), Jeff Jorgenson, San Francisco, CA, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax, 13.
7, (14), Jack Walbran, Saint Louis, MO, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 13.
8, (16), Jay Beckley, Marlton, NJ, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax, 13.
9, (17), H Cory McLeod, Charlotte, NC, Red Devil , 13.
10, (18), Jeff Blumenthal, Independence, OH, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax 493, 13.
11, (20), Timothy Friest, Leavenworth, KS, KBS MKVII Rotax, 13.
12, (6), Steven Thompson, Royal Oak, MI, T&R Fab TR1 Stinger Rotax, 12.
13, (22), Don Colanero, Mount Laurel, NJ, KBS MKV Rotax, 12.
14, (19), Joseph Palmer, Coppell, TX, NovaKar J9 Rotax, 12.
15, (23), David Vincent, Leavenworth, KS, KBS Mk VII Rotax, 12.
16, (21), Charlie Schlismann, Homewood, IL, KBS Ramblebee Mk 7 Rotax 494, 12.
17, (26), Chris Hodde, McKinney, TX, KBS MK7, 12.
18, (28), Glen Smeal, San Marcos, TX, Red Devil T-2000 Rotax, 12.
19, (25), Chuck McAbee, Jacksonville, FL, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax, 12.
20, (27), Owen Henley, Barksdale, TX, Red Devil Rotax, 11.
21, (12), Darrel Greening, Fond Du Lac, WI, Red Devil BR-2K2 Rotax, 9.
22, (2), Michael Mueller, Plymouth, WI, Red Devil Rotax, 8.
DNF, (13), Brian Brothers, Lake Orion, MI, T&R Fab TR1 Stinger Rotax, 5.
DNF, (24), F Russell Strate, Alden, NY, Rocktech , 5.
DNF, (3), C.J. McAbee, Topeka, KS, AJ's 2012, 4.
DNF, (11), Jeremy Morales, Glen Head, NY, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 3.
DNF, (8), Keith Joslyn, Grand Island, NY, QRE Invader QC1 Rotax, 0.
DNF, (15), Herb Noble, Marion, IA, Scorpion S1 Rotax 494, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 31:28.737
Average Race Speed: 99.114 mph
Margin of Victory: 11.471 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:22.600
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 100.982 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #86 Timothy Friest
Lap Leaders: #24 laps 1, 3-9; #15 lap 2; #22 laps 9-13
Loshak Wins H Production, Second SCCA title
Lawrence Loshak, of Grafton, Wis., earned his second SCCA National Championship in six hours Friday at Road America, winning the H Production class at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs. William Trainer, of Lake of the Hills, Ill., and W. Jay Griffin, of Titusville, Fla., completed the podium.
After coming from last place to earn the Formula 1000 National Championship in the morning, Loshak started from the SafeRacer Pole Position in the No. 02 ETE Reman/RMW Auto/Hoosier Honda CRX and led into Turn One, but chaos ensued behind as Griffin and Tim Pitts made slight contact battling for second, with Pitts' No. 11 Performance Tuning Volkswagen Golf spinning in the middle of the track.
The rest of the 28-car field avoided Pitts, but as the scattering cars came back onto the track, several got together, including the No. 03 ETE Reman/Roy Carrera/HPD Honda CRX of defending Champion Mike Moser, which made heavy impact with the wall at Turn Two. The ensuing cleanup brought out a black flag, with the cars stopping in pit lane for 15 minutes.
The field was re-set in grid order, minus Moser, Ron Bartell and Brooke Fairbanks, and restarted the race working lap three. Loshak got a clean restart, but had trouble getting the car to downshift into fourth gear in Turn One. That bobble dropped him to fourth place, promoting Trainer's No. 17 Volkswagen Scirocco to the lead.
Loshak spent the next two laps gaining ground on Trainer and Pitts, finally taking the lead from Trainer entering the Kink.
“You know, sometimes when you get a run, you gotta go,” Loshak said of the move into the most daunting corner of Road America. “You follow them around, kind of get a judge of character of who you're racing with, and these guys have been awesome. If I didn't feel safe, I wouldn't have done it. I got a run, and we were very respectful of each other when we went through there. I was ready to go two-wide with him. You gotta do it, especially at the National Championships. It worked out.”
From there, Loshak gradually pulled away to a 11.257-second win in the time-limited, 10-lap race.
“We knew Tuesday was going to be the money day because of the weather coming in, and then we saw the schedule and Formula 1000 first and then I didn't even take my helmet off, got a ride on the golf cart, and hopped in the CRX,” Loshak recalled of running the different cars back-to-back. “No doubt there's an adjustment, but in some ways it's helpful because you're so used to going so fast in the formula car, you carry more speed.
“It's obviously completely different, but Production is where I started. I always wanted to go open-wheel or sports racing, but I always come back. I love the tin tops, and H Production is just so cool. I'm used to E Production or DSR, and they're basically ticking time bombs. H Production, the package we have to run, the thing can't make enough horsepower to hurt itself. That's just a delight for a race car. [Mike] Moser let me take it for a spin this year, and that was really all I had planned for this year until I got that phone call for Formula B.”
It was the third win for the CRX that Moser owns, joining Dan Meller's 2009 win and Moser's 2012 win.
Loshak's other titles came in E Production (2006) and D Sports Racing (2009), and he joined Jerry Hansen, John Heinricy and Tom Schweitz as the only drivers to win the Runoffs in four different classes in its 50-year history. He also became the 17th driver to win two Championships in the same year.
“It's amazing. Winning never gets old. This Runoffs, it's an emotional one. It's special, it was a tough road to get here, I don't know what the future holds. I love racing.”
Trainer gained separation from the rest of the pack to score his career-best finish of second.
“When you're in a race with who I will call ‘Mr. Runoffs,' who won all season, who won a National Championship this morning, it was really quite a moment,” Trainer said of leading the race. “I think Lawrence missed a shift and I got around him, so I pulled out and thought ‘oh my gosh, I'm actually leading the Runoffs.' I had nothing but clear track in front of me. I kept watching, and as long as I didn't see his car, I felt safe!
“All of a sudden I saw the yellow and black coming, and he caught up with me. I knew I had a good car, and it was just a lot of chaos. It was an interesting race, but it was a lot of fun. That top-10, the whole field actually, was pretty good. When you're out there, you just hear all the footsteps, and you just try to stay on point and not mess up.”
Griffin was in a five-way battle for the final podium position with his No. 6 Boles Motorsports/Hoosier Tire Honda CRX Si, losing the spot in Turn 12 on the final lap, but regaining it from 2011 Champion Greg Gauper in Turn 14 and winning the drag race up the front straight.
“I thought I was third going into Canada Corner, and I just blew it,” Griffin said. “I made a huge mistake and I couldn't get a gear going into the turn. Greg [Gauper] got up next to me. Going into 14, Greg left an opening, and I went for it. He chased me up the hill in the draft, and I saw him coming, I was hoping I was going to have enough.
“I feel most elated to finish this race. I've never finished this race in six attempts. The podium is just icing on the cake!”
The move to regain third was deemed the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
Gauper finished fourth, 0.041-second off the podium in his No. 15 Rana Mort Racing/King Motorsports Honda Civic Si. Matt Brannon came from 10th on the grid to finish fifth in his No. 2 Midwest-Bayless Italian Auto Fiat X-1/9.
Alex Burnett, of Louisville, Colo., finished 14th after starting 27th to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Chris Albin, whose day ended on lap seven against the Turn Seven wall with Bob Kelly, earned the Hawk Hot Lap award for turning the race's fastest lap of 2:43.026 (88.329 mph) in his No. 3 Hoosier/247-parts.com/AMT Engines Volkswagen Golf. Neither driver was injured in the incident.
Provisional results for Friday's SCCA H Production National Championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Lawrence Loshak, Grafton, WI, Honda CRX, 10.
2, (3), William Trainer, Lake In The Hills, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 10.
3, (2), W. Jay Griffin, Titusville, FL, Honda CRX Si, 10.
4, (6), Greg Gauper, Hubertus, WI, Honda Civic Si, 10.
5, (10), Matt Brannon, Columbus, OH, Fiat X-1/9, 10.
6, (5), Jason Isley, Coto De Caza, CA, Toyota Yaris, 10.
7, (4), Tim Pitts, Louisville, TN, Volkswagen Golf, 10.
8, (14), Aaron P Johnson, Martinsville, IN, Triumph Spitfire, 10.
9, (13), Sam Moore, Kannapolis, NC, Honda Civic Si, 10.
10, (15), Chris Crisenbery, Parma, MI, Triumph Spitfire, 10.
11, (19), Jack Schulz, Monett, MO, MG Midget, 10.
12, (23), A.L. Drum, Mount Holly, NC, Austin-Healey Sprite, 10.
13, (17), Michael H Miller, Walhalla, SC, Austin-Healey Sprite, 10.
14, (27), Alex Burnett, Louisville, CO, Nissan 510, 10.
15, (25), Mike Cummings, Martinez, CA, Austin-Healey Sprite, 10.
16, (29), Michael Sestili, Lakewood, OH, Honda Civic, 10.
17, (28), Carolyn Bayer-Broring, Derwood, MD, Volkswagen Rabbit, 10.
18, (21), Jerry Oleson, Aurora, CO, Austin-Healey Sprite, 10.
19, (24), John Salisbury, Gurnee, IL, Austin-Healey Sprite, 10.
20, (26), Rob Horrell Jr, Memphis, TN, Austin-Healey Sprite, 9.
21, (30), Dayle Frame, DeWitt, MI, Fiat X 1/9, 9.
22, (8), Chris Albin, Maryland Heights, MO, Volkswagen Golf, 6.
23, (9), Robert Kelly, Crystal Lake, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 6.
24, (12), Andrew Wright, Murfreesboro, TN, Triumph Spitfire, 6.
DNF, (20), Mark Brakke, Coon Rapids, MN, Honda Civic, 4.
DNF, (16), Tom Broring, Derwood, MD, Triumph Spitfire, 2.
DNF, (7), Ron Bartell, Madbury, NH, MG Midget, 0.
DNF, (11), Mike Moser, Milwaukee, WI, Honda CRX, 0.
DNF, (18), Brooke Fairbanks, Spooner, WI, Volkswagen Rabbit, 0.
DNS, (22), William Banner, Grafton, WI, Honda Civic.
Overall Time of Race: 41:56.434
Average Race Speed: 57.224 mph
Margin of Victory: 11.257 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: Chris Albin, 2:43.026 (88.329 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #76 Alex Burnett
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-2, Loshak; laps 3-4, Trainer; laps 4-10, Loshak
Wolverton Wins Touring 2 National Championship at SCCA Runoffs
Andy Wolverton, of Papillion, Neb., won his second-career Touring 2 National Championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa., finished second. Matthew Pullano, of Endwell, N.Y., finished third.
Wolverton started second in the No. 86 Raw Racing/Hoosier/Angry Sheep moto Chevrolet Corvette C5 quickly dropped to third when the green flag flew. Wolverton quickly engaged Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., for second place and passed him at the start/finish line on lap three. From there, Wolverton passed the then-race leader Rezzetano in Canada Corner on lap five for the lead and never looked back. Wolverton set the Hawk Hot Lap (2:24.128, 99.911 mph) en route to the win by 5.950-seconds.
“I had one of those moments where my talents ran out on lap 1,” Wolverton said of his race start. “Going up the hill, coming out of (Turn) 5, I missed a shift. I'm sure when I watch the video I am going to cringe. It's got to look just awful and had to jam it into gear. I got it in gear and calmed down, then I started concentrating and trying to get back up to the front, because you can't keep having mistakes or the fast guys are going to run away from you.
“I started to get confident when I saw them race each other and then they stopped, and that's when I got nervous and flipped my mirror up and ignored them. Kyle was starting to reel me back in a little bit, somewhat because I was conserving the car in case he got close enough to start racing me. I wanted to have some brakes and some tires left to do what I needed to do. At the same time, I didn't want to go too slow and conserve too much because if you don't have to race him, you don't have to. You want to keep them at a distance. So my crew chief Dave Jones would call in the distance every lap, and keep me informed.”
“This is the first time I won it on track. The first one, in '08, I was a rookie, very green. I was sharing information with everybody. Don Knowles, who was so helpful to me, told me, ‘You need to stop talking so much.' And he was right. But that win, I crossed the line in second after an incident with Knowles and [Bill] Ziegler, and they later disqualified Ziegler from the win. It was a bad deal for both of them. I would have been happy to have received third behind them, but I won. This was time first I crossed the line (in the lead) and it was great. I can't describe it.”
Rezzetano, a Runoffs rookie, started from SafeRacer pole in the No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Ford Racing/Hoosier Ford Mustang GT and led the first four laps before relinquishing the lead to Wolverton in Turn 12. On lap six, Rezzetano missed a shift in Canada Corner and was promptly rear-ended by Kelley in the No. 79 UPR.com Chevrolet Corvette. As a result of the contact, Kelley moved to second, while Rezzetano dropped to third.
On the final lap of the 13-lap race, Kelley looked locked in second place until his Corvette began to smoke with engine troubles. Those issues dropped him out of contention and he finished sixth, elevating Rezzetano to second.
“I got out front, and it was good,” Rezzetano said of his race start. “I had the pole, and figured Andy would be good on the start. I got away a little bit. He and Kyle (Kelley) had a good battle. I think he missed a shift, which is why I was able to get a little bit of a gap. Once I got going, I had a little bit of a transmission issue; couldn't get it in gear a couple times and slowed down my shifts a little bit. Andy had some power on me, so he caught up pretty quickly. Once those two guys slipped by, I figured I could reel Kyle back in, and then he started having his issues. Once I got back by him, it was fine. I figured I was going to settle for second. The car was good; it was tough. I got a lot heavier car than the Corvettes. We were just trying to feel it out, see how fast we could go. So I am happy. The Mustang, I feel like it ran really well for what it is.”
Pullano started seventh in the No. 07 Pullanopt.com/Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette. He spent the first 12 laps battling Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, for what seemed to be fourth position. With Kelley off the pace, the two were racing for the final podium spot. The battled heated up coming out of the final corner up the front straight. The two made side-to-side contact nearly the whole way to the checkered flag until Pullano spun in front of Sloe. Due to the contact, Pullano crossed the finish line backwards and eventually made contact with both the outside and inside front straight wall. The car sustained heavy damage, but the Runoffs rookie finished third, while Sloe finished fourth in the No. 97 Hutter Racing Eng/Hoosier/Russell Chevrolet Corvette C5.
“Tom and I had a nice little battle going on,” Pullano said. “He has a lot more experience than I do here. I only got out for two sessions during the week. I was just looking for an opportunity. I had an opportunity a couple laps previously, and ran off the track a little bit. I made up the ground, and I saw that his tires were probably going away. I hit the curbs really hard in (Turn) 13. I got it loose, and I figured he would go to the inside to block, so there was a nice little over-under opportunity. He had some anger issues up the front stretch and got a little argy-bargy. I figured once I got ahead, I would show off and go backwards across the line and show him who's better.”
Pullano had the Go Pro Hero Move of the Race for his backward third place finish. Pullano was also the Sunoco Hard Charger, starting seventh and finishing third.
1, (2), Andy Wolverton, Papillion, NE, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
2, (1), Kurt Rezzetano, Phoenixville, PA, Ford Mustang GT, 13.
3, (7), Matthew Pullano, Endwell, NY, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
4, (6), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
5, (3), Jay Patel, Crown Point, IN, Porsche 911/996, 13.
6, (4), Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, CA, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
7, (5), Don Knowles, Pittsboro, NC, Ford Mustang GT, 13.
8, (8), David Sanders, Exton, PA, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
9, (11), Todd Napieralski, Chelsea, MI, Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE, 13.
10, (10), Andrew Longe, Naples, FL, Porsche 996, 13.
11, (9), Natha Waldbaum, Omaha, NE, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
12, (14), Michael Pettiford, Louisville, CO, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
13, (12), Norman Betts, Ann Arbor, MI, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
14, (13), Gary Mason, Waterford, MI, Porsche 996, 13.
15, (16), CJ Moses, Gainesville, VA, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, 13.
16, (15), John Baldwin, Covington, LA, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti, 13.
17, (17), Scotty B White, Auburn, WA, Ford Mustang GT, 12.
Overall Time of Race: 31:37.436
Average Race Speed: 98.659 mph
Margin of Victory: 5.950 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:24.128
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 99.911 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #07 Matthew Pullano
Lap Leaders: #36 – Laps 1-4, #86 – Laps 5-13