• Follow all the Runoffs action live via online Timing & Scoring here: http://www.sccahost.com/sccalive/
• For detailed coverage of the 50th SCCA National Runoffs, go to scca.com/runoffs. The races can also be seen live Sept. 20-22, on www.SpeedcastTV.com.
Kautz Nips Hazleton at Stripe to Win Formula F Title at SCCA Runoffs
Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., narrowly beat Reid Hazelton, of Burlington, Wis., by 0.100-second Saturday to capture the Formula F title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Road America. Jeff Bartz, of Plymouth, Wis., finished third.
Kautz, the Saferacer polesitter, and Hazelton treated SCCA race fans to the closest race finish of the weekend so far and they did it in grand fashion. Both drivers swapped the top spot several times throughout the 13-lap race. Leading on the final lap, Kautz drove his No. 88 Braeburn/Two Dogg/Hoosier/Euroquipe DF3D Honda into Turn 1 and slid wide, allowing Hazelton to take the lead in the No. 01 Hoosier/LMI Averill Stuff/Farley Engine Van Diemen RF92 Ford.
Now leading, Hazelton did everything he could to keep Kautz behind him, but Kautz broke late in Turn 5 and retook the lead. But the two weren't done. Hazelton passed Kautz in Canada Corner and held the lead coming out of the final corner up the hill. At the stripe, Kautz passed Hazelton for the final time – securing back-to-back Formula F National Championships and his third career FF title. Kautz's pass at the line earned him the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
“It was a great race, the whole race,” Kautz said. “We [Kautz and Hazelton] were battling a little harder than we should have at the start. And then, I could see Reid decide hey, there's too many people coming out to play, let's pull away a little. So we worked together. We kind of worked together, and the last couple of laps the gloves came off. I think the last lap, I went from first to second to first to second to first. So that's a fun race, a real fun race.
“I did go wide – there's that fine line with carrying entry speed and the car pushing – and I went in just a little too wide. You know, when you have somebody staying with you the whole race, you got to let that last lap count. And, I was hoping to get away a little bit, because I knew he was really fast down into [Turn] 5. I went through [Turn] 1 a little too quick, and the car pushed wide on me, and he got by me. Then, I got by him down in [Turn] 5, and then he got back by me in Canada (Corner), and then I got by him up the hill. So it was just good, hard racing. Somebody needs to put this guy [Hazelton] in a fast, (aerodynamic) car. It was great fun.”
“Yeah, it was close pretty much from start to finish,” Hazelton said. “Jeff [Bartz] kind of caught up to us, once me and Tim [Kautz] started to fight for it a little bit. I decided that was not the way to go about it once Scotty [Rubenzer] came up on us too. So then, we just worked together to establish a little bit of a gap. We both tried a couple different things to see where we stood. He tried up the hill and I tried in [Turn] 5. On the last lap, we had some lapped traffic that I tried to use, and Tim was just a maniac on the brakes in [Turn] 5, and he took it and he had it. So I knew the last place I was going to have it was in [Turn] 12. And, as we went up the hill, he just pulled right by.
“It's good to finish, and finish well. We've been hit by the Runoffs gremlins, and they definitely made me earn this one. Traditionally, we do pretty well during the week, and then on race day for whatever reason something happens that kind of throws a wrench in the works.”
Hazelton turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap with a 2:21.037 (102.101 mph) en route to his career-best Runoffs finish – second. His previous best was a fifth-place finish last year.
Bartz started fourth in the No. 33 Hoosier/SBS/Two Doggs/Subway Van Diemen RF 92 Honda and moved to third after the first lap. At that point, he was engaged in a three-way battle for that position. A battle dropped him as low as sixth on laps four and five. But, he put his head down and slowly worked his way back to third, where he finished. Bartz's third-place finish was a Runoffs career-best for him.
“In the beginning, I was right up there with Tim and Reid,” Bartz said. “But, on the second or third lap, I fell back there a little bit with [Scott] Rubenzer. Toward the end, I got around those guys and put my head down. I just ran out of laps.”
“[The podium] means a lot, just because it's my hometown, and it's just a fantastic opportunity.”
Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., finished fourth in the No. 13 Morgan's Collision Center/Storage B Spectrum 012b Honda. Cliff Johnson, of Stillwell, Kan., finished fifth in the No. 4 Alpine Litho-Graphics/Farley Engine Piper DF5 Honda.
Stan Townes was the Sunoco Hard Charger after improving 10 positions. He started 24th and finished 14th.
Provisional results for Saturday's Formula F 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), Tim Kautz, Geneva, IL, Piper DF3D Honda, 13.
2, (2), Reid Hazelton, Burlington, WI, Van Diemen RF92 Ford, 13.
3, (4), Jeffrey Bartz, Plymouth, WI, Van Diemen RF00 Honda, 13.
4, (6), Scott Rubenzer, Brookfield, WI, Spectrum 012b Honda, 13.
5, (9), Cliff Johnson, Stilwell, KS, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
6, (8), Russell Ruedisueli, Rochester Hls, MI, Van Diemen RF99 Ford, 13.
7, (5), James Stiehr, Evergreen, CO, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
8, (14), Marc Blanc, New Glarus, WI, Swift DB16 Ford, 13.
9, (12), David Loken, Littleton, CO, Swift DB1 Honda, 13.
10, (16), Bill Kephart, Colorado Springs, CO, Vestal 10F Honda, 13.
11, (13), John Butkovich, Pueblo, CO, Van Diemen RF00 Honda, 13.
12, (11), Ed Midgley, Geneva, IL, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
13, (17), Greg Case, Peoria, IL, Stohr FF Ford, 13.
14, (24), Stan Townes, Santa Clara, CA, Swift DB1 Ford, 13.
15, (19), Robert Melvin, Lakewood, CO, Van Diemen RF93 Ford, 13.
16, (21), John Vlasis, Cudahy, WI, Piper DF-2H Honda, 13.
17, (15), Randy Acock, Robstown, TX, Van Diemen RF98 Ford, 13.
18, (20), Michael Rand, Sharon, CT, Crossle 30F Honda, 12.
19, (23), Alan Murray, Monticello, MN, Swift DB1 Ford, 12.
20, (22), Doug Fisher, Wakefield, RI, Van Diemen RF92 Ivey, 12.
21, (18), Michael Lewis, Poway, CA, Vestal 09F Honda, 8.
22, (3), Lewis Cooper, Grosse Pointe, MI, Van Diemen RF00 Ford, 7.
23, (7), John Benson, Dade City, FL, Swift DB3 Ford, 7.
24, (10), David H. Livingston Jr, Nashville, TN, Swift DB3 Ford, 6.
Overall Time of Race: 30:54.526
Average Race Speed: 100.942 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.100 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:21.037
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 102.101 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #6 Stan Townes
Lap Leaders: #88 – Laps 1-13
SCCA F Production Title Fight Goes To Carpenter
The F Production race at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs promised to be a prize fight between the three top qualifying cars. Mark Carpenter, of Charlotte, N.C., finished out front for his second career National Championship, followed by Eric Prill, of Topeka, Kan., and Kevin Ruck, of Delaware, Ohio.
Carpenter officially led all 13 laps and 52 miles of Saturday's race, averaging 93.378 mph and winning by 1.823 seconds. In this case, the box score doesn't tell the story of the race.
The No. 30 GGS Technical Publications Acura Integra piloted by Carpenter didn't get the start that he had planned from the SafeRacer pole, but had recovered enough to hold the lead through the first turn. Prill's No. 7 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier/Hawk Mazda Miata pulled alongside the leader from the second row up the front straight to the inside, while Charlie Campbell's Miata moved outside of Ruck from the same row.
Exiting the corner and down the hill to turn five, the running order was Carpenter, Prill, Campbell's No. 89 Hoosier/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata, and Ruck's No. 73 Hoosier/Honda Performance Development Acura Integra. Ruck drove deep to the inside of Campbell in turn five, slotting in behind Prill, and the three eventual podium finishers moved ahead of the field.
Carpenter would lead flag-to-flag for his second career championship, even with his mirrors full of his two closest competitors. Brake smoke from the right rear tire of the championship Acura didn't slow Carpenter, who was making his first Runoffs appearance since his last title in 2009.
“Our decision to go racing didn't happen until June of this year,” Carpenter said. “It's a little different feeling this time around. In such a short period of time, my guys did a great job getting the car together, even on the trailer, to get it out of the garage. I was tripping over it in my garage for two years. It's definitely a different feeling.
“A lot has happened over the last few years of my life. Things are changing constantly, and even though I've been out of the driver's seat, I've still been at the track. People don't realize it, but I've been working in pro racing [as an engineer] for the last couple of years. I've learned a lot of things at the track, actually, that have helped my driving. There's a lot I've picked up on. It's different this time around, but it feels just as sweet as 2009 for sure.”
Ruck's power up the front straight to begin lap two put the pair of Acuras back up front. Prill's Miata pulled right to the tail from turn five through turn 14, and the Acuras gained an ever so slight advantage on Road America's long straights. Even with the differences in the two makes of cars, lap times were nearly identical.
As if to display those differences on lap seven, Prill moved around Ruck for second in Canada Corner, but Ruck powered back past up the front straight.
The scenario replayed itself again on lap 11, beginning with Prill making the GoPro Hero Move of the Race on a pass to the outside around the Carousel.
By the final lap, Ruck's Acura didn't want to go into fourth gear. Prill, in a reversal of fortune, pulled Ruck up the front straight and into second place with four miles to go. Prill also turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap on lap nine, running a lap of 2:33.091 (94.062 mph).
The podium finish is the third for Prill, who also serves as the SCCA VP of Marketing and Communications.
“I really enjoyed myself,” Prill said. “I came here this year with two goals – one to win the pole, and that didn't happen, and one to win the race, and that didn't happen – but I still have a smile on my face, because I had a good time. I think I did the best I could do. And congratulations to these guys, because they did a great job.
“I'm in a unique position to see people win these things all the time, and I know the effort that goes into it. I don't think Tony Kanaan, who won the Indy 500 this year, could even experience the same thing that a guy like Mark Carpenter could experience today, something that Kevin has experienced. You know, club racers are the chief engineers, the engineers, the driver, the guy that drives the truck to the track, that loads the trailer. We all have dirt under our finger nails and busted knuckles. This is truly something amazing to what Mark has accomplished today. I'd like to keep trying to do it.”
Ruck's podium was a bit of a surprise, as he almost missed the event after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle crash in August.
“I wrecked my motorcycle about a month ago,” Ruck said. “I took a hard hit, and pretty much had a dead arm for a couple of weeks. I cracked a couple of ribs. Luckily, my doctor knew what my timeline was, and rather than do more MRIs on the shoulder that was damaged, we went straight to physical therapy. It was only about two or three weeks ago that I knew I would even have a shot at being here. But both of these guys were keeping in touch with me, asking if I would be there, so that meant a lot.”
After a big start where he moved ahead of Ruck, Campbell settled in and ran in fourth place for the entire race.
Bill Hingston's No. 08 Little Bill Racing/MAZDASPEED Mazda Miata moved around Sam Henry's No. 37 Springfield Dyno/SafeRacer/Hoosier Mazda Miata for the final time in Canada Corner following a back and forth battle for fifth.
Joe Walker moved up 12 positions from the start in his No. 5 Walker Racing/Hoosier Tires Lotus Super 7 to finish seventh. Gerald Lamb, David Strittmatter and Michael Froh completed the top 10.
Paul Jensen's No. 88 Hoosier/MAZDASPEED/DIY AutoTune Mazda Miata earned the Sunoco Hard Charger for improving 14 positions to 18th.
The 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crown Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing National Champions at Road America, Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.
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.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Provisional results for Saturday's F 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), Mark Carpenter, Charlotte, NC, Acura Integra, 13.
2, (3), Eric Prill, Topeka, KS, Mazda Miata, 13.
3, (2), Kevin Ruck, Delaware, OH, Acura Integra, 13.
4, (4), Charlie Campbell, Corry, PA, Mazda Miata, 13.
5, (6), Bill Hingston, Aurora, CO, Mazda Miata, 13.
6, (7), Sam Henry, Republic, MO, Mazda Miata, 13.
7, (19), Joe Walker, Richland, MI, Lotus Super 7, 13.
8, (10), Gerald Lamb, Oswego, IL, MG B, 13.
9, (11), David Strittmatter, Akron, OH, Lancia Scorpion, 13.
10, (14), Michael Froh, Elkhart Lake, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
11, (15), Michael Sturm, Grafton, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
12, (17), Dieter Griesinger, Maple Park, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
13, (23), Mark Weber, Saint Louis, MO, Mazda Miata, 13.
14, (22), Michael Hart, Mundelein, IL, Turner 1500, 13.
15, (25), Neal Frank, Santa Fe, NM, Mazda Miata, 13.
16, (26), Brent Louzon, Colorado Springs, CO, BMW 2002, 12.
17, (27), Robert Keller, Algonquin, IL, Volvo P-1800, 12.
18, (32), Paul Jensen, Colorado Springs, CO, Mazda Miata, 12.
19, (29), Rafer Chambers, Colorado Springs, CO, Mazda Miata, 12.
20, (31), Jeffrey Norris, Felton, PA, Mazda Miata, 12.
21, (33), Jerry Barker, Hesperia, CA, Triumph Spitfire, 12.
22, (28), Sid Collins, Apopka, FL, Porsche 356, 12.
23, (34), Richard Fohl, Richmond, VA, Morgan 4\4, 12.
24, (18), John Walker, Richland, MI, MG B, 11.
25, (24), Mike Gnadt, Kiel, WI, MG Midget, 8.
26, (21), Chris Patrick, Derry, PA, Triumph Spitfire, 7.
27, (13), Mason Workman, Reynoldsburg, OH, Mazda Miata, 6.
DNF, (12), Scott Lunder, Mentor On The Lake, OH, Honda Civic Si, 4.
DNF, (8), Rick Harris, Longmont, CO, Mazda Miata, 3.
DNF, (20), Steve Hussey, Capitola, CA, Mazda Miata, 3.
DNF, (30), Tony Machi, Greendale, WI, Honda CRX Si, 3.
DNF, (5), Ken Kannard, East Troy, WI, Mazda Miata, 1.
DNF, (9), Larry Funk, Oberlin, OH, Honda CRX Si, 1.
DNF, (16), Chuck Mathis, Saint Jacob, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 1.
Overall Time of Race: 33:24.761
Average Race Speed: 93.378 mph
Margin of Victory: 1.823 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:33.091
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 94.062 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #88 Paul Jensen
Lap Leaders: #30 1-13