Reports from Friday's first set of National Championship races from the 50th SCCA Runoffs at Road America.
STU: Goulart Opens 50th SCCA Runoffs With Thrilling Win In Rain
Elivan Goulart, of Shelton, Conn., battled all race long in the rain with Marc Hoover, of Cameron Park, Calif., coming out on top in Super Touring Under to take the first race of the weekend at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Joel Weinberger, of Hinsdale, Ill., finished third.
Rain showers fell just before the start of the race, but it didn't curtail the fight as Goulart averaged 86.176mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race to win by just 0.286 second.
Goulart started second in the No. 72 KRUGSPEED/www.SCDA1.com Lotus Exige, and right away took the battle to Hoover's SafeRacer pole-sitting No. 98 Hooverspeed/NRA/Necksgen/Redline Mazda Miata. With rain falling, the power of Hoover's Miata seemed to almost be a disadvantage, pitching him sideways exiting corners from the start.
The Lotus took the lead for the first time in turn six of the opening lap, and while Hoover settled in, Goulart stretched out the lead by a couple of seconds. Hoover rejoined the battle by lap six, and Hoover was back in front on lap seven.
With the track still soaked, lap eight brought even more drama. The pair swapped the lead three times in corner five, six and through the carousel, with Goulart emerging with the lead again.
With Hoover in tow to the finish, Goulart never put a wheel wrong. Hoover's last chance at the lead was a strong run out of the final corner and to the checkered flag on the final lap, but Goulart escaped with the narrow final margin and his fourth National Championship. Goulart also turned the Hawk Hot Lap, running a 2:44.539 (87.517 mph).
“It's an exciting feeling to be back here again,” Goulart said. “We won in '01 and '02, then took a little break and won Spec Miata in 2011. That was a similar situation, where the pass was made in the same corner for the national championship. We didn't come last year, but I thought, for the 50th, we've got to come back. So I'm glad to have four in a row now.
“This is one of the most exciting races I've been in in a long time. Marc did a phenomenal job driving. A few times out there, I thought he was going to go off. And just when I thought that – he was throwing it sideways and everything – I thought that I had this. Then he saved it. I was like, ‘Aww, come on.' But my car was really hooked up in the rain. It handled really well and the braking was great on it. He had more power, so it was a balance, give and take. And as he said, we were doing similar lap times, but it came down at the end to that final move. I was glad to be in the right place at the right time, that's basically what it boiled down to.”
Hoover spent much of the race fighting a huge slide with the power down, going perpendicular to the track on a number of instances, but collecting it up before ending his day. Hoover was thrilled with his second-place finish, the fourth podium of his Runoffs career.
His sideways slides earned his the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
“It was a whole lot of fun, is what it looked like from my seat,” Hoover said. “I had my advantage and he had his advantage. The biggest advantage he had was age. He wore the old man out.
“It was a 100 percent workout, 100 percent of the time. Elivan, he got the move in the carousel. I knew we were going to bump, but I was hoping we weren't going to bump too hard. He was so much better off there than I. We got into a corner, his car would rotate; my car pushes, then it snaps, that's just what it's going to do. I was like, hang onto it. I had a lot of fun with it. I don't think either of the two of us were concerned with throwing the car away. We were going for it. That's the way you're supposed to do it. It was just a fun race with a great prize at the end.”
Though the battle for the win was a minute and a half ahead of any other competitors, Weinberger earned his fourth-consecutive STU podium with a steady drive. The class veteran started ninth in the No. 9 Continental Audi/Castrol/BFGoodrich Tires Audi A4, using the all-wheel-drive in the rain to keep his car on track and climb through the field.
That progression earned Weinberger the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
“Well, I was certainly doing the rain dance overnight, because that was really my only hope to get a podium spot,” Weinberger said. “We had a rough week. We had a lot of issues with the car. I didn't spend a lot of time in the car this year because I had the exemption for the national championship, and I focused on another class. So I think that lack of seat time in this car kind of set me back.
“It was pretty slick out there. There was some pooling there on the outside edges, and you didn't want to track out too far. Even what you thought was the rain line wasn't quite the rain line. It was kind of weird. It was challenging and visibility was tough early on, getting through the pack.”
Eric Heinrich, who started third in the No. 10 BFGoodrich/2002Racing.com/Pagid RS BMW M3, hung on to finish fourth, followed by Anthony Simmers. Simmers started 10th in the No. 45 Backcountry Pizza/Autohaus Boulder Volkswagen GTI.
Provisional results for SCCA Friday's Super Touring Under 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, (2), Elivan Goulart, Shelton, CT, Lotus Exige, 13.
2, (1), Marc Hoover, Cameron Park, CA, Mazda Miata, 13.
3, (9), Joel Weinberger, Hinsdale, IL, Audi A4, 13.
4, (3), Eric Heinrich, Milton, MA, BMW E30M3, 13.
5, (10), Anthony Simmers, Boulder, CO, Volkswagen GTI, 13.
6, (8), Charles Tobel, New Hudson, MI, Pontiac Solstice, 13.
7, (13), Andrew Caddell, Graham, WA, BMW 325 E46, 13.
8, (7), David Brand, Muttontown, NY, Lotus Exige SC, 12.
9, (6), Rylan Hazelton, Santa Cruz, CA, Honda S2000, 12.
10, (12), Ronald Pawley, Greenwood, AR, Lexus IS300, 12.
11, (16), John De Barros, Marietta, GA, Mazda 3, 12.
12, (11), Carl Young, Irvine, CA, Chevrolet Cobalt, 12.
13, (14), Tim Anastopoulos, Kenosha, WI, BMW 325is, 10.
14, (5), Toby Grahovec, Royal Oak, MI, BMW Z4 3.0, 8.
DNF, (4), Michael Flynn, Eustis, FL, BMW E46, 0.
DNS, (15), Lance Stewart, Miami, FL, Ford Mustang.
DNS, (17), Ray Huffmaster, Clarkston, MI, Pontiac Soltice GXP.
Overall Time of Race: 36:12.305
Average Race Speed: 86.176 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.286 second
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:44.539
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 87.517 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #9 Joel Weinberger
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, #98 Hoover; Laps 2-6, #72 Goulart; Laps 7-8, #98 Hoover; Laps 9-13 #72 Goulart
Loshak Drives Through the Field to Win Formula 1000 SCCA Runoffs Championship at Road America
Lawrence Loshak, of Grafton, Wis., drove from last to first to capture his first Formula 1000 title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Lucian Pancea, of Bellevue, Wash., and Brandon Dixon, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., completed the podium.
Loshak was the SafeRacer Formula 1000 polesitter, but was late to the grid. In fact, he was still getting buckled into his No. 2 JDR/ETE REMAN/Moon Super Cycle JDR F1000 Suzuki when the entire FB grid left for the pace lap.
“I don't even know what to say,” Loshak said explaining being late to the grid. “Our crew has been together for over a decade. I have no idea how we did that. We were driving up to the grid all nice and calm. When I drove up and they told me there was one minute to go, and then 30 seconds they were going to let the field go. I can't express that feeling, especially when you're sitting on the pole.”
Loshak was at the back of the field when the race went green. He passed 16 cars and was up to fifth after the first circuit. From there, he consistently turned fast race laps, including setting the Hawk Hot Lap with a 2.29.859 (96.090mph).
On the final lap, and without any communication from his team, Loshak did not know he was in second coming down the front straight. He passed Pancea for the lead before Turn 1 and held on to capture his first-career Formula 1000 National Championship by 6.391-seconds at an average speed of 91.116 mph.
“I had no idea what position I was in because I got out so late,” Loshak said. “I didn't have communications. My dash went out with the water. Every time I saw a car, my goal was to catch and pass them. I had no idea what position I was in. I knew I wasn't slowing down until I saw that black and white thing. Mistakes were not an option. I tried to bring home the best result I possibly could for JDR and my crew."
This win was Loshak's third-career National Championship, following an E Production title in 2006 and a D Sports Racing win in 2010.
Pancea started fourth in the No. 92 Newport Villa/STOHR Cars Stohr F1000 Suzuki and passed Dixon for race lead in Turn 8 on the first lap. From there, he was the race leader for the next 12 laps and led at the stripe starting the final circuit. Pancea finished second, a career-best finish at this event.
“The first part [of the race] was kind of easy,” Pancea said. “I checked my mirrors and saw that I had built a good gap. I thought if I could keep this gap I'll be good until the end. I heard on the radio that there were only five minutes to go and I kept pushing. But, the car started to get squirrely. I had a hard time putting the power down. I think my wet tires started to give way. It was too long in the dry. There was not too much standing water. I saw Lawrence coming. I said I am going to keep it clean and see how it goes. I'm happy to be here. I'm glad it was possible for me to be here for the 50th anniversary.”
Dixon, the Formula 1000 defending National Champion, grabbed the early lead in the No. 1 GDRE/GC&G Services/Hoosier/PFC/Hype Citation 1000, but it did not last long. Pancea passed him halfway through the first lap. Dixon was in second until the penultimate lap when Loshak passed him for position. Dixon held on to finish third.
“I got a good start,” Dixon said. “I was sort of even, or maybe even a wheel up on Jeremy [Hill], as we went into one and was able to take the lead. I was trying to keep whatever pace I could, but Lucian was too quick on that lap. He got a better run out of seven and got by nice and clean on the way into eight.
“Lawrence got by on the next to the last lap. I was struggling little bit putting the power down coming off [the corners]. He drove by me in five.
“It's great to be here. Third is never your target [finish]. But, it's great to be on the podium. The 50th was a big deal. We weren't going to miss this. The history of this event means a lot to me."
Steve Ott, of Houston, finished fourth in the No. 3 Hoosier Tires/Rilltec/Astra Cars Astra Summerhawk. Jose Gerardo, of El Paso, Texas finished fifth in the No. 14 General Labels & Printing L.L.C.
Nicho Vardis was the Sunoco Hard Charger, starting 19th and finishing 12th.
Provisional results for the SCCA Friday's Formula 1000 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, JDR F1000 Suzuki, 13.
2, (4), Lucian Pancea, Bellevue, WA, Stohr F1000 Suzuki, 13.
3, (3), Brandon Dixon, Tuscaloosa, AL, Citation F1000, 13.
4, (7), Steve Ott, Houston, TX, Astra Summerhawk, 13.
5, (9), Jose Gerardo, El Paso, TX, Stohr F1000, 13.
6, (5), Brian Novak, Dearborn, MI, Nova-Piper F1000 Suzuki, 13.
7, (11), Tyler Thielmann, Kiel, WI, Van Diemen RF99 Suzuki, 13.
8, (13), Alex Mayer, Harleysville, PA, Elan DP04 Suzuki, 13.
9, (14), Mike Beauchamp, Green Bay, WI, Van Diemen RF99 Suzuki, 13.
10, (2), Jeremy Hill, Toronto, ON, PHOTON VD07 Suzuki, 13.
11, (8), John LaBrie, Draper, UT, Phoenix F1K.10 Suzuki, 13.
12, (19), Nicho Vardis, Sylvan Lake, MI, RFR F1000 Suzuki, 12.
13, (15), Michael Crowe, Jamestown, KY, Van Diemen RF00, 12.
14, (20), Terry Biner, Sandy, UT, RFR F1000 Suzuki, 12.
15, (21), Richard Franklin, Wilmington, NC, Stohr F1000 Suzuki, 11.
16, (18), James Michael, Fort Worth, TX, Stohr F1000 Suzuki, 10.
17, (17), Jason Slahor, Ellicott City, MD, Van Diemen RF98-F1000, 10.
18, (16), Jason Bell, Tampa, FL, Stohr F1000 Suzuki, 9.
DNF, (6), Jake Latham, Broomfield, CO, Stohr F1000 Suzuki, 2.
DNF, (12), Juan R Marchand, South Haven, MI, NovaDiemen F1K Suzuki, 1.
DNF, (10), Christopher Ash, Centennial, CO, Astra SH-RR1, 0.
DNS, (22), J.R. Osborne, Englewood, CO, Citation F1 Suzuki.
DNS, (23), Glenn Cooper, Roswell, GA, RFR F1000 Suzuki.
Overall Time of Race: 34:14.514
Average Race Speed: 91.116 mph
Margin of Victory: 6.391 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:29.859
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 96.090 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #08 Nicho Vardis
Lap Leaders: #92 – Laps 1-12, #2 – Lap 13