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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
Drago Survives For Back-To-Back Titles In Record Spec Miata Field At SCCA Runoffs
Jim Drago, of Memphis, Tenn., survived a record field of 69 cars to win back-to-back Spec Miata titles at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs®. Voytek Burdzy, of Algonquin, Ill., and Danny Steyn, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., completed the podium at Road America.
Drago became the first person in the eight-year history of the class to win a second National Championship, taking the checkered flag 0.15sec in front of Burdzy. Drago averaged 74.525 mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race that was slowed by one caution for four laps.
The 69 starters was a Runoffs record, breaking the previous mark of 60 set by the same class in 2010. Unfortunately, eight of those Miatas were eliminated in a first lap crash in turn seven, after a spinning car caused a pileup mid pack.
A swarm of Miatas that stretched 16 deep were in the lead group early in the race, where Drago took the lead from the SafeRacer pole in his No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata. Drago missed a shift coming through turn three, with teammate Craig Berry taking the point in the No. 29 Berry Marble and Granite/East Street Racing Miata. His lead lasted until late in lap two, when Steve Gorriaran moved his No. 44 Gorilla Racing/Driven Performance Miata to the head of the pack.
A full course caution to clean up that incident slowed the field on lap three, and 16 cars were within striking distance on the restart. Berry reclaimed the lead on lap nine, but mechanical problems forced him to pull out of the lead and off the track on lap 10.
When Berry pulled off, the No. 74 Reynolds Bros./Race Engineering Miata of Matt Reynolds moved into the lead for the first time. That lasted until just before the front straight, where Erik Stearns found his No. 97 East Street Racing/Ed's 24 Hour Service Miata back in front with a push from Drago and a chance to break away.
There was no getting away for either driver, as Stearn's day ended with one and a half laps to go following contact with his teammate and friend.
“One of my best friends in and out of racing is Erik Stearns,” Drago said. “I went down into five and the car got really squirrelly and just touched him enough to get him out of shape, then he put the car off in six. I'm just sick. It's a little bit shallow as far that goes, because you never want to see that happen to anyone – let alone one of your best friends. I've got a lot of apologizing to do for that one, because I'm sure he's upset. He's got every right to be.”
That incident moved Burdzy, who had started 10th in the No. 41 Advanced Autosport Miata, into the lead temporarily. Unfortunately, it also allowed the second scrum of cars to close on the leaders.
On the start of the final lap, Drago, Reynolds and Elivan Goulart, in the No. 70 SAC Racing/SCDA1.com Miata, freight trained past Burdzy through turn one. Goulart moved up front under braking in five, but Drago had a counter in six. Once in front, Drago had enough of a run to take the National Championship.
“I think we're all a little bit mentally exhausted. It was just a crazy, crazy race,” Drago said.
“I was fortunate enough to win, but there were 15 guys that could have won this race. Any one of these guys could have won. I think everyone tried to be fair. All of us have raced here enough that I think the mindset was to get to the front fast, because the race can be over any lap after lap seven.”
Drago pointed out just how difficult it was.
“You didn't have to tell anybody to try. I think everyone was trying on every lap, on every corner.”
Burdzy knew he was a sitting duck in the draft when he crossed the stripe in the lead with one to go.
“When Jim and Erik had contact in Turn 5, I was in the lead, but my crew guy told me there was one more lap, this wasn't the last lap,” Burdzy said. “And of course, everybody behind me decided at that moment to stop fighting so they drafted past me in the first turn on the last lap.”
Steyn had mechanical troubles during Tuesday's qualifying session, and, with rain the rest of the week, started 26th. He passed several cars on the start, was in 10th on the restart, and worked his way into contention by the finish for his first career Runoffs podium. That march through the field was enough to earn the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
“This is an event, this whole week, where it has to go right from the beginning,” Steyn said. “And unfortunately, on that very cold day on Tuesday, I lost a gear on the second lap of qualifying, and ended up 42nd place. And of course, thereafter the weather never cooperated, and the best I could do was move up into 26th place.
“To get to the podium from 26th place was not something that I was expecting, dreaming of, but the race was very aggressive. A lot of people were making a lot of very significant moves, trying to make up track position, because I think a lot of people feared a lot of laps would be done under yellow. And as that kept on happening in front of me, I kept on moving up. And slowly but surely, I got closer and closer to the front, and eventually challenging for a spot on the podium.”
Goulart, who won the Super Touring Under race earlier on Friday, crossed the stripe in fourth. Nick Leverone finished fifth in the No. 90 Flatout Motorsports Miata and turned the Hawk Hot Lap with a lap of 2:44.204 (87.696 mph).
Joey Jordan, Reynolds, Alex Bolanos, Justin Elder, and Jeff Luckritz all cracked the top 10 in the race.
Brian Wisler earned the Sunoco Hard Charger after improving from 59th on the grid to 18th, a 41 position improvement in the No. 59 X Factor Racing/Philips Race Prep Miata.
Provisional results for Friday's SCCA Spec Miata 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), Jim Drago, Memphis, TN, Mazda Miata, 13.
2, (10), Voytek Burdzy, Algonquin, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
3, (26), Danny Steyn, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Mazda Miata, 13.
4, (11), Elivan Goulart, Shelton, CT, Mazda Miata, 13.
5, (16), Nick Leverone, Bellingham, MA, Mazda Miata, 13.
6, (23), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, CA, Mazda Miata, 13.
7, (8), Matt Reynolds, Boerne, TX, Mazda Miata, 13.
8, (20), Alex Bolanos, Miami, FL, Mazda Miata, 13.
9, (29), Justin Elder, Lakeville, MN, Mazda Miata, 13.
10, (28), Jeff Luckritz, Saint Joseph, MI, Mazda Miata, 13.
11, (40), Mark Drennan, San Jose, CA, Mazda Miata, 13.
12, (6), L. Patrick Sandlin, Cordova, TN, Mazda Miata, 13.
13, (38), Peter Arthur John Tonelli, Westborough, MA, Mazda Miata, 13.
14, (12), Matthew Ferris, Pawling, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
15, (22), Jerret Gerber, Dodgeville, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
16, (34), Scott Brunk, Harpers Ferry, WV, Mazda Miata, 13.
17, (50), Henry Van Vurst, Pompano Beach, FL, Mazda Miata, 13.
18, (59), Brian Wisler, Grapevine, TX, Mazda Miata, 13.
19, (30), Anthony Geraci, Glen Head, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
20, (44), Marc Cefalo, Swoyersville, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
21, (36), Michael Novak, Highland, MI, Mazda Miata, 13.
22, (14), Ted Cahall, Clyde Hill, WA, Mazda Miata, 13.
23, (31), Michael Ross, Friendswood, TX, Mazda Miata, 13.
24, (9), Tom Brown, Muskego, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
25, (45), Amy Mills, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
26, (42), Brett Fenske, Charlotte, NC, Mazda Miata, 13.
27, (24), Jamey Randall, Watertown, MN, Mazda Miata, 13.
28, (43), Whitfield Gregg, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
29, (64), Keith Mellen, Joliet, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
30, (67), Kyle Watkins, Broomfield, CO, Mazda Miata, 13.
31, (48), Richard Mooney, Madison, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
32, (49), John Costello, Dallas, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
33, (47), Peter Naumburg, Albuquerque, NM, Mazda Miata, 13.
34, (39), Josh Bilicki, Richfield, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
35, (51), Jeff Van Bendegom, Middleton, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
36, (58), Domenico Leuci, Binghamton, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
37, (54), Douglas Spencer, Livonia, MI, Mazda Miata, 13.
38, (52), Michael Crawford, Pittston, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
39, (57), David Cox, Pleasant Prairie, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
40, (61), Michael Makus, Oshkosh, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
41, (62), David Schroeder, Des Moines, IA, Mazda Miata, 13.
42, (46), Greg Blaser, Eau Claire, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
43, (63), Roger Pogorzelski, Mount Prospect, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
44, (55), Lon Blaser, Eau Claire, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
45, (69), Spencer Patterson, Pittsburgh, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
46, (4), Daniel Bender, Glencoe, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
47, (65), Greg Kasprzyk, Yatesville, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
48, (66), Kristen Novak, Highland, MI, Mazda Miata, 13.
49, (56), Jim Kettelkamp, Bettendorf, IA, Mazda Miata, 13.
50, (68), J Jay Simaras, Waukesha, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
51, (5), Steven Gorriaran, Providence, RI, Mazda Miata, 12.
52, (3), Erik Stearns, Van Buren, OH, Mazda Miata, 11.
53, (13), Jason Knuteson, Danville, IN, Mazda Miata, 11.
54, (19), David Bednarz, Ann Arbor, MI, Mazda Miata, 10.
55, (2), Craig Berry, Tyler, TX, Mazda Miata, 10.
56, (17), Tom Sager, Naperville, IL, Mazda Miata, 8.
57, (7), Andrew von Charbonneau, Boca Raton, FL, Mazda Miata, 7.
DNF, (60), James Suhr, Springboro, OH, Mazda Miata, 3.
DNF, (27), Luke Bickham, Dallas, TX, Mazda Miata, 1.
DNF, (37), Steven Powers, Mesa, AZ, Mazda Miata, 1.
DNF, (15), Todd Lamb, Atlanta, GA, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (21), Thomas Roberts, Naperville, IL, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (18), Chris Haldeman, Anna, TX, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (32), Brian Schofield, Lakeland, FL, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (33), Michael Collins, Mount Airy, MD, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (41), Charlie Campbell, Corry, PA, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNF, (53), Matthew Van Vurst, Pompano Beach, FL, Mazda Miata, 0.
DNS, (25), Andrew Carbonell, Miami, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (35), Jeff LaBounty, Cape Coral, FL, Mazda Miata.
Overall Time of Race: 41:51.923
Average Race Speed: 74.525 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.150 second
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:44.204
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 87.696 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #59 Brian Wisler
Lap Leaders: #29, laps 1, 8-9; #44, laps 2-7; #97, lap 10; #2, laps 11, 13; #74, lap 12
Yelkin Captures First-Career Formula Atlantic Crown at SCCA Runoffs
SafeRacer polesitter Sedat Yelkin, of Canfield, Ohio, drove flag-to-flag to capture his first-career Formula Atlantic national title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Keith Grant, of Germantown, Tenn., finished second, while Michael Mallinen, of Liberty Lake, Wash., finished third.
Starting from the pole, Yelkin got a great start in the No. 75 Everclear Swift 014a Toyota. Early on, Grant challenged Yelkin for the top spot riding just behind Yelkin's rear wing for the first seven laps. But, Yelkin kept Grant behind him for the entire 13-lap race, winning by 8.3777 seconds.
“The beginning was pretty much reminiscent of most of the races that Keith and I drive,” Yelkin said. “He's one of the best drivers I've ever driven with in my life. From the start, just like every time we come to Road America, he and I duke it out lap after lap. But, because of that, we have kind of learned each other's tendencies. Through the years, we we're able to learn how to drive a very clean race. He [Grant] keeps me honest. I want to thank him for driving a clean race.
“That being said, I knew all I had to do was to break the draft in the beginning. Our cars are so similar. The chassis are similar. They create similar amounts of drag. I knew I had a good motor. But, when you're stuck in the draft, it's another story. When Michael and Keith started getting together, I knew I could get away and that was my chance. So, I seized the opportunity and was able to put some distance on them. ”
For his winning effort, Yelkin was awarded the Go Pro Hero Move of the Race and he also turned the Hawk Hot Lap with a time of 2:03.222 (116.862 mph).
Grant started second in the No. 40 Polestar/Hoosier Swift 014a Toyota and battled Yelkin for position. But after Yelkin began to pull away, Grant was soon under siege from Mallinen. In fact, the Mallinen briefly moved into second on lap nine, while Grant fell to third. On lap 10, Grant regained second place, which is where he finished. This was Grant's sixth-career Runoffs podium finish and his 12th career top-five.
“When we took off, Sedat was able to pull over ahead of me going into Turn One ,” Grant said. “I tried to stay there for seven laps. I did everything I could to get up into his draft. He continued to drive a consistent, clean race. He was just dead on in all of his turns. When we got to lap eight, he got to the point where he was pulling away. He had a lot more horsepower than us today. That made it really tough. Whenever we got to the straightaway, he could get off the turns really well. It made it tough for us. Congratulations to him. He did a good job today.
“Michael kept me honest the whole time. He and I always have a good time racing each other. He dove down and outbraked me going into Canada Corner and I told him I wasn't going to let him do that. I returned the favor in Turn One and continued on from there. But, he was all over my tail when I was trying to outbrake Sedat in several other turns. Sedat was able to protect the line. Shoot, I did everything I could to protect my line with Michael right there behind me. It was a good race.”
Mallinen, the 2010 Formula Atlantic National Champion, started third in the No. 71 Swan Racing/MAZDASPEED Motorsports Swift 016a and briefly dropped to fourth after the first lap. On lap two, Mallinen passed Jason Byers, of Livonia, Mich., for third. From there, Mallinen had his sights set on second and battled Grant late – swapping the second spot a couple of times before the checkered flag. Mallinen's third place finish gave him four-career Runoffs podium finishes.
“At the start, the front row rolled away a little bit quicker than I did,” Mallinen said. “So, the start was not great. But, we got back into it. After lap one, I passed Byers to take third. Then, I got into a chase with these two [Yelkin and Grant]. The three of us were running very close for the first five or six laps. It was good fight. I felt like I had the faster car during that period of time. I backed off a bit in Turn One and a couple of other places. Sedat gapped us around lap seven. Then, Keith and I had a good fight – traded some spots. The car ran great. I switched from a Toyota to a Mazda this year. I think it made a real good run. It showed that it's an equal car and that it's just as fast as these other guys. It was a good race.”
Byers finished fourth in the No. 28 Swan/Hoosier/TRD Swith 014a Toyota. Ethan Ringel, of Windermere, Fla., finished fifth in the No. 7 One Formula Racing Swift 016a.
J. R. Smart, of Fitchburg, Wis., was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing eight positions throughout the race.
Provisional results for Friday's SCCA Formula Atlantic 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), Sedat Yelkin, Canfield, OH, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
2, (2), Keith Grant, Germantown, TN, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
3, (3), Michael Mallinen, Liberty Lake, WA, Swift 016.a, 13.
4, (4), Jason Byers, Livonia, MI, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
5, (7), Ethan Ringel, Windermere, FL, Swift 016a, 13.
6, (9), Matt Miller, Orland Park, IL, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
7, (5), Jean-Luc Liverato, Alpharetta, GA, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
8, (6), Tyler Hunter, Denver, CO, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
9, (10), John Burke, Rumson, NJ, Swift 014a, 13.
10, (12), Gaston Kearby, Corpus Christi, TX, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
11, (19), J.R. Smart, Fitchburg, WI, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
12, (18), Robert Corliss, Monterey, CA, Swift 014a, 13.
13, (20), Snake Livernash, Spanaway, WA, Swift 008a, 13.
14, (21), Charles C. Duncan, Broomfield, CO, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
15, (16), Bruce Hamilton, Monkton, MD, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
16, (14), Fabio Castellani, Streamwood, IL, Swift 014a Toyota, 12.
17, (15), Bruce Crockett, Red Lion, PA, Swift 014a, 12.
DNF, (11), Jacek Mucha, Laval, QC, Swift JMS 016 CP Mazda, 4.
DNF, (13), Dwight Rider, Aurora, CO, Ralt RT41 Toyota, 4.
DNF, (8), Jeff Kowalik, Cape Coral, FL, Swift 016a Mazda, 1.
DNS, (17), Richard Zober, Croydon, PA, Swift 016a Mazda, .
Overall Time of Race: 27:03.594
Average Race Speed: 115.300 mph
Margin of Victory: 8.377 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:03.222
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 116.862 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #09 J.R. Smart
Lap Leaders: #75 – Laps 1-13
Sloe Outpaces Field in SCCA National Championship Runoffs American Sedan Race Win
Tom Sloe of Newbury, Ohio, claimed the American Sedan (AS) class victory in the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs on Friday at Road America, leading from start-to-finish in the 13-lap race. Finishing second was Michael Lavigne of Hooksett, N.H., while John Heinrich of Clarkston, Mich., finished third.
Driving the No. 74 Hutter Racing Engineering/Hoosier Ford Mustang, Sloe, the SafeRacer polesitter, survived a midrace battle with Andy McDermid of Howell, Mich., to earn his second career Runoffs win. His margin of victory was 15.975 seconds, and he averaged 96.080 mph around the 14-turn track.
The dominating victory Friday came a year after another strong performance by Sloe, one that ended in disappointment. After establishing a large lead in last year's AS race, Sloe's car suffered a broken in-take valve near the race's end, and he was passed heading up the hill to the start/finish line, dropping to third.
This year, Sloe battled McDermid during the first half of the race. The two ran nose-to-tail at the halfway point, with McDermid mounting a passing attempt for the lead. But when McDermid's No. 24 WeatherTech/Felice Performance Engineering Ford Mustang began to suffer handling problems on Lap 7, Sloe built an insurmountable lead. He pulled away, and ultimately added another first-place trophy to go along with the one he earned in 2009.
“It was nice to get this one,” said Sloe, who earned the Go-Pro Hero Move of the Race for the win. “I broke the shifter ball off and only shifted with the stick about three-quarters of the race. But we were determined to finish the last lap. We had them under control and broke an in-take valve. It was more than just a little disappointing last year.”
“I was a little loose there in the kink, but we just brought it home. The motor is a monster, just unbelievable.”
As his car struggled to maintain pace, McDermid was unable to hold off two challengers behind him. Lavigne, who started fourth in the No. 42 Auto Re-Nu-It Auto Body/Hoosier Ford Mustang, took over second on Lap 11.
“I just kept my pace,” said Lavigne, who equalized his career-best finish set last year. “It's hard to stay with Sloe and McDermid. I don't know what they've got, but I've been chasing them for many years; I just can't seem to find what I need. But we'll keep on playing with them, and get it someday, hopefully.
“Toward the end, I saw another champion, John Heinricy, so I had to keep in the throttle because he was going,” Lavigne added. “We ended up second, which I feel blessed for.”
Heinricy nipped McDermid at the checkered flag, driving the No. 56 TAR/Hoosier Pontiac Firebird. For Heinrich, it was his 15th career podium in 21 Runoffs starts; he has 11 wins to his credit.
“We had some trouble during the week, with all of the rain in practice and qualifying, so we didn't get to make a lot of changes on the car,” Heinricy said. “But we knew the direction we wanted to go, and we made the changes today. Finally, we went faster today than we did any session of practice or qualifying throughout the week, so we made great progress. We just kept pushing harder, especially the tires and the brakes. I learned how to use them, and just kept going faster and faster. Everything we did was the right stuff to make the car go. We just didn't start early enough.”
McDermid fell to fourth, though he did set the Hawk Hot Lap of 2:27.687 (97.504 mph). He was followed by Jeffrey Werth of Silver Spring, Md., in the No. 46 AEC/OG Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Scott Sanda, in the No. 73 Tro Manufacturering Cadillac CTS-V, was the Sunoco Hard Charger, picking up 16 positions and finishing 13th after starting 29th.
Provisional results for the Friday's SCCA American Sedan 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), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Ford Mustang, 13.
2, (4), Michael Lavigne, Hooksett, NH, Ford Mustang, 13.
3, (6), John Heinricy, Clarkston, MI, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
4, (2), Andy McDermid, Howell, MI, Ford Mustang, 13.
5, (9), Jeffrey Werth, Silver Spring, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
6, (11), Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, KS, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
7, (5), Philip Smith, New Albany, OH, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
8, (15), Amy Aquilante, Phoenixville, PA, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
9, (13), Thomas West, Standish, ME, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
10, (12), Chris Pedersen, Mundelein, IL, Ford Mustang, 13.
11, (10), Dane Smith, Springdale, AR, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
12, (17), Jerry Post, Sunset, SC, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
13, (29), Scott Sanda, Western Springs, IL, Cadillac CTS-V, 13.
14, (16), Tom Smith, Springdale, AR, Chevrolet 0, 13.
15, (23), Eric Ritchie, Katy, TX, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
16, (24), Mark Muddiman, Belleville, MI, Ford Mustang, 13.
17, (25), Brian Thomas Himes, Slidell, LA, Ford Mustang, 13.
18, (26), Matt Regan, Addison, IL, Ford Mustang, 13.
19, (28), Philip Brabec, Island Lake, IL, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
20, (30), Kim McDonald, Grand Island, NE, Pontiac Firebird, 13.
21, (27), Kelly Lubash, Stamford, CT, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
22, (31), Matt Naegle, Phoenixville, PA, Chevrolet Camaro, 12.
23, (32), Cheyne Daggett, Iowa City, IA, Ford Mustang GT, 12.
24, (36), Sean Maloney, Saint Charles, MO, Chevrolet Camaro, 12.
25, (35), David Venhaus, Milwaukee, WI, Ford Mustang Cobra, 12.
26, (34), Ian Maloney, Saint Charles, MO, Ford Mustang Cobra, 11.
27, (20), Dennis Careri, Boxford, MA, Ford Mustang, 9.
28, (7), Brian LaCroix, Hyannis, MA, Chevrolet Camaro, 7.
29, (19), Chris Qualls, Los Angeles, CA, Ford Mustang, 7.
30, (18), Scott Schweitzer, Lake Orion, MI, Ford Mustang, 6.
DNF, (8), Daniel Richardson, Rockville, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 3.
DNF, (21), Tom Ellis, Sunrise, FL, Ford Mustang Cobra, 3.
DNF, (22), Bill Gray, Fayetteville, AR, Pontiac Firebird, 3.
DNF, (14), Gregory Eaton, Woodbridge, VA, Ford Mustang GT, 3.
DNF, (3), Edward Hosni, Galloway, OH, Ford Mustang, 1.
DNF, (33), Beth Aquilante, Arlington, VA, Chevrolet Camaro, 1.
Overall Time of Race: 32:28.372
Average Race Speed: 96.080 mph
Margin of Victory: 15.975 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:27.687
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 97.504 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #73 Scott Sanda
Lap Leaders: #74 – Laps 1-13
Warkocki Wins Second GT-3 Championship at Runoffs
Rob Warkocki, of Frankfort, Ill., earned his second Sports Car Club of America GT-3 class National Championship Friday at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Joe Kristensen, of London, Ontario, finished second, followed by Mike Henderson, of Alpine, Calif.
Driving the No. 78 TRO Manufacturing/Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-7, Warkocki started third but moved to the point on the first lap of the 12-lap, 48-mile race. His lead did not last long, though, as Kristensen put his No. 4 Acura RSX up front in Turn Five on the second lap.
The pivotal moment of the race came on the sixth lap as the GT-3 leaders worked through the back part of the GT-2 field. Running second, Warkocki and the GT-2 class Nissan 300ZX of Robert Lentz made contact entering Turn 13, with Lentz ending up in the barriers, necessitating a caution period two laps later to clean up the incident.
“We were side-by-side in the corner [Turn 12], but I was on the damp part of the track on the inside,” Warkocki recalled. “He got a better run out of the corner and I let off the gas to give him a little breathing room and he can scoot away. I don't know if he missed a shift. I'm not sure. Because, when I went back to the throttle after I lifted, I'm right on him; right on him to the point that I lifted his rear up and he was gone.
“It was really bad. It's not something that I do. The car looked pretty bad and I hope he's okay. We can fix cars, but fixing people is more difficult.”
Lentz was not injured in the incident.
When racing resumed, just two laps remained, and Warkocki hounded Kristensen, making his move for the lead under braking in Turn Eight. With that pass, Warkocki earned the GoPro HERO Move of the Race, and he held Kristensen off for the final lap around the four-mile circuit.
“In Turn Eight, in 2009, we lost a very good friend of ours named Tom Thrash. He was a fellow GT3 competitor and E Production champion. We were very close friends, and it still hurts. Every time I go through Turn 8, I think of him. Believe it or not, under hard braking there pulling in next to Joe, all I could think about was Tom. He was probably riding with me, it's very emotional.
“The last lap, there was a gamble,” Warkocki said. “I really, really had to push extremely hard to stay ahead of Joe, because he was coming. Again, you have that mindset where you're charging in there and hope there's not enough grip. And you're throwing cares to the wind because, if there's not, it's going to be bad. But if it is, I could win this whole thing. Obviously it paid off for us.”
Warkocki won his first Championship in 2010, but admitted he was better prepared to enjoy the second one.
“This time, I understand a little bit more about what happens,” Warkocki said. “I focused almost 25 years on winning the first one, and I never realized what happens after you win. I sat in this [interview] room almost three years ago, and I didn't even know about this. I didn't know what to expect. And I thought, if I ever win again, if I'm ever blessed enough to do that, I'm really going to enjoy this. I've experienced it now, and I can take a step back and really, really enjoy it. So this time is probably even sweeter than the first time, because I understand. Before, it was such a faraway dream and I didn't ever think I could do this. Now that I've done it twice, it's amazing.”
For Kristensen, it was his third runner-up finish at the National Championship Runoffs.
“I thought it was going to be my day,” Kristensen said. “I looked in my mirror and I saw Rob was a ways back, and we got some traffic there. The yellow came out, and Rob got the better of me on the start. He deserved to win, it was a great race and I loved it.
“I was pretty good through the Kink and the Carousel, Rob was pretty good on the front straight and through turn three. But all in all, we were pretty evenly matched.”
Henderson started his No. 12 Mazda/Red Line Oil/M2 Motorsports Mazda RX-7 from the SafeRacer Pole Position for the third time in his career, but dropped to third on the first lap, a position he would maintain throughout the run.
“Unfortunately, it rained and the track was pretty wet and I was a little bit tentative,” Henderson said. “It was a good thing for me that Rob took the point, because it helped me get around here. I saw a lot of guys going off in front and behind me, and I was tentative. The track dried out, and by that time, I couldn't catch up to them. The yellow got me there, but by that time we had two laps left and I didn't have a lot of tire. It didn't work out for me, but I had a great race.”
Wolfgang Maike finished fourth in his No. 42 Toyota/RedLine Oil/Hoosier Toyota Paseo, followed by Paul Young, in his No. 79 Young Engineering LLC/Hoosier Tire Ford Probe.
Warkocki earned the Hawk Hot Lap award for turning the fastest race lap at a 1:25.688 (98.841 mph), as well as the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing two positions in the race.
Provisional results for Friday's SCCA GT-3 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, (3), Rob Warkocki, Frankfort, IL, Mazda RX-7, 12.
2, (2), Joe Kristensen, London, ON, Acura RSX, 12.
3, (1), Mike Henderson, Alpine, CA, Mazda RX-7, 12.
4, (4), Wolfgang Maike, Santa Barbara, CA, Toyota Paseo, 12.
5, (5), Paul Young, Commerce Township, MI, Ford Probe, 12.
6, (7), Chad Bacon, Kingsport, TN, Toyota Celica, 12.
7, (6), James Hargrove, Surrey, BC, Honda Civic, 12.
8, (11), James Ashe, Prospect, CT, Mazda RX-7, 12.
9, (8), George Cichon, Rockton, IL, Mazda RX-7, 12.
10, (10), Ken Nelson, Novi, MI, Nissan 200-SX, 12.
11, (9), Steven Lustig, Chester, NJ, Acura Integra, 12.
12, (12), Mark Ward, Loxahatchee, FL, Toyota Paseo, 12.
13, (14), Robert Herman, Cairo, NE, Mazda RX-7, 12.
14, (13), Jim Stinehelfer, Frisco, CO, Mazda Miata, 12.
15, (15), Brian Haupt, Spring Hill, KS, Mazda RX-7, 12.
16, (16), Chris Stevens, Shawnee, KS, Mazda RX-7, 10.
17, (18), Dave Dobry, Plymouth, MI, Eagle Talon, 6.
DNS, (17), Jim Speights, San Antonio, TX, Mazda Miata.
Overall Time of Race: 37:34.847
Average Race Speed: 76.635 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.708-second
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: Rob Warkocki, 2:25.688 (98.841 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #78 Rob Warkocki
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, #78 Warkocki; laps 2-10 Kristensen; laps 11-12 Warkocki
Aquilante wins GT2 class race in SCCA National Championship Runoffs
at Road America. Trent Hindman, of Ocean, N.J., finished second.
victory. He drove the No. 36 PhoenixPerformance/Hoosier Hawk Chevrolet Corvette.
Starting from the SafeRacer pole position, Aquilante briefly lost the lead in Turn 1 on the opening lap, slipping to third behind Hindman and Joe Koenig. But, attentive to ever-changing track conditions, he jumped back to the front moments later. He grabbed second from Hindman by Turn 3 and the lead from Koenig in Turn 5. From there, Aquilante set sail to a lead of nearly seven seconds before the only full course caution midway through the race.
On the Lap 12 restart, Aquilante said he “wanted to get into Turn 1 like there was no tomorrow, because I knew I had to clear them. Once their tires were going to come up to temperature it was going to be quite a fight.”
But that fight didn't happen. Aquilante brought the pack to the green flag slowly before jumping to a five-car length lead over Hindman by Turn 1. By the checkered flag, Aquilante had extended his lead to 4.370 seconds over Hindman. Aquilante also earned the Go-Pro Move of the Race and set the fastest race lap of 2:16.717.
“We thought that we had the past champion provisional, so we figured we'd run GT2,” said Aquilante, who earned his first Runoffs win in 2007 in the T1 class Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. “Really, coming into this, I didn't know what to expect. But we figured we'd be pretty competitive.
“After qualifying on the first day, only a tenth of a second separating me and Trent, I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Aquilante continued. “With the rain this morning, it made me really nervous until the track started drying out. Again, with our last minute sort of thing, we have experience with the Hoosier A6 tire, which we've run in touring classes. You're allowed slicks in GT2. We chose not to switch to those, and in the scheme of things, it worked, because on a half-dry, half-wet track, which we've experienced before here, the A6 comes up to temperature.
“Hats off to Hoosier on the A6; it's just an awesome tire,” Aquilante concluded. “And it's a good feeling to put Phoenix Performance up top in quite a short matter. It was a three-week conversion build, and it feels good to be able to do something like that.”
While Aquilante was busy, in his words, “disappearing,” Hindman and John Kachadurian battled throughout the race for second. Hindman and Kachadurian ran nose-to-tail the entire final lap, before finishing about six tenths of a second apart at the checkered flag.
For Hindman, the Runoffs rookie came up just short in giving himself a first-place trophy as his 18th birthday present.
“Coming into the Runoffs, there's always that aura around it,” Hindman said. “It's the Runoffs – a lot can happen. I'm just very happy the car came home clean and that we were able to survive the race itself. I'm a little bit disappointed that we were able to bring home the win, but overall, a big congrats to Andrew. Those Phoenix guys were on it all week long, and also, a huge thanks to all the Fall-Line guys. They've done a great job all year. I'd love to come back to the Runoffs, maybe next year, and give a go at it.”
The third-place finish for Kachadurian, driving the No. 80 Grey Fox Racing/Fall-Line/#keepitup Porsche GT3 Cup, was a career best. His previous best finish of fourth came last year in the T2 class.
“We wanted to get a good start and play nice,” Kachadurian said. “I was able to pick up a spot on the first lap when a friend slipped off the track. From there, I knew I had a defending national champion behind me, and too fast guys in front of me. I just tried to keep my nose clean and run a good race. I thought that the yellow would help me, but I knew it was going to take something big to pick up another spot. These guys drove a great race. I've been looking at the back of the No. 41 car much of the season, so hats off to him for the great season. And I knew when I saw Andrew on the entry list, it was going to be a tough job to reach the top step.”
Finishing fourth was Tom Wickersham of San Ramon, Calif., who drove the No. 01 Maine Straight Racing/Michelin Porsche 996 GT3 Cup. In fifth was Mark Boden of Winnetka, Ill., in the No. 40 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup.
James Berkeley, who drove the No. 57 BMG Management/Hoosier/Pabst Chevrolet Corvette, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award, for improving seven positions – 16th to ninth.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Provisional results for the SCCA Friday's GT2 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), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, PA, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
2, (2), Trent Hindman, Ocean, NJ, Porsche GT3 Cup, 13.
3, (4), John Kachadurian, Chicago, IL, Porsche GT3 Cup, 13.
4, (7), Tom Wickersham, San Ramon, CA, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, 13.
5, (9), Mark Boden, Winnetka, IL, Porsche GT3 Cup, 13.
6, (12), Mark Pauly, Bettendorf, IA, BMW M3, 13.
7, (13), Russ Snow, Eden, NC, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
8, (8), Tom Patton, Hamilton, OH, Sunbeam Tiger, 13.
9, (16), Jason Berkeley, New York, NY, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
10, (23), Robert Kelley, Huntington Beach, CA, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 12.
11, (19), Ken Muth, Snohomish, WA, Nissan 240SX, 12.
12, (18), Jason Lee, Dover, NJ, Audi TT Coupe, 12.
13, (21), Bud Matakaetis, North Haven, CT, Nissan 240SX, 12.
14, (5), Pete Peterson, Lumberton, NC, Toyota Celica, 7.
15, (6), Jim Goughary, Houston, TX, Nissan 350Z, 7.
DNF, (10), Robert Lentz, Leesburg, VA, Nissan 300ZX, 5.
DNF, (17), Tim Gray, Eden Prairie, MN, Porsche GT3 Cup, 3.
DNF, (22), Karim Talbot, Carpentersville, IL, Chevrolet Corvette, 2.
DNF, (3), Joe Koenig, Glenview, IL, BMW M3, 0.
DNS, (11), J. Kurt Roehrig, Lexington, NC, Chevrolet Camaro.
DNS, (14), Jerry Onks, Murfreesboro, TN, Chevrolet Corvette.
DNS, (15), Pratt Cole, Salt Lake City, UT, Dodge Viper.
DNS, (20), Tim Myers, Atlanta, GA, Dodge Viper.
DNS, (24), Erich W Joiner, Torrance, CA, Porsche 997 GT3 Cup.
Overall Time of Race: 37:14.457
Average Race Speed: 83.779 mph
Margin of Victory: 4.370 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:16.717
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 105.327 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #57 James Berkeley
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-13, #36 Aquilante
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