Alexander Wins C Sports Racing SCCA Championship
Gilsinger Holds Onto T3 Class Victory in SCCA National Championship Runoffs
Lee Alexander, of Las Vegas, Nev., captured his first Sports Car Club of America National Championship Sunday, winning the C Sports Racing class at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Jason Miller, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and James French, of Sheboygan, Wis., completed the podium at Road America.
Alexander started his No. 48 Factory 48/APE Raceparts Stohr WF1/Suzuki from the SafeRacer Pole Position, but saw second-starting Miller move to the lead in Turn 5 on the first lap. One lap later, Alexander returned the favor, and he sped away to a 6.903-second victory, averaging 116.957 mph over the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
“My girlfriend lives out here, so I spent the summer out here and had a chance to race with these guys at all the local events,” Alexander said. “I really learned a lot from these guys. They have so much experience here and I learn something every time.
“I had a weird shudder in the car and I thought it was the slipstream behind Jason initially, but when I did get by him it didn't go away. My crew got on the radio with me and told me that I'd lost an endplate on the front of the car. It made for an interesting race. I thought the mirrors were going to vibrate off the fenders!
“Jeff Shaffer did some testing in our car and he set a benchmark for me to try to get to, which I didn't quite get to, but that was very helpful. I knew the car could do a 1:58.5 because Jeff did that, and I didn't know if I could do it. It was fun to break two minutes [in qualifying]. I really, really wanted to try to do it in the race, but it just wasn't going to happen today.”
Miller chose a low-downforce setup on his No. 8 Kohler/Millenium WynnFurst/Kohler, a move that may have allowed him to move to the lead early, but ultimately made the racing difficult in the high-speed sections of the track. The runner-up finish was a career-best for the hometown driver.
“We knew we needed to create a low-downforce car to see if I could get Lee,” Miller said. “We were able to get the lead, but Lee returned the favor and pulled away. At that point, I wanted to make sure I was maintaining the gap and see if I could catch up.
“I saw James coming and diving to the inside in Turn 14 and I tried to maintain the outside line. Luckily we both got through the corner and it all worked out. I'm really happy that the car performed so well and I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to race with.”
French started sixth in his No. 46 Motorsports Enterprises Ltd. Swift 014/Toyota after only turning a qualifying time on Thursday due to being in school all week. He worked his way around three-time Champion Steve Forrer, Dudley Fleck and Kirk Kindsfater en route to challenging Miller for the runner-up spot in the closing laps.
“I didn't qualify as well as I would have liked to because I only had one session, so I started from P6,” French said. “I just had to fight my way through it and get up as high as I could. The battle with Jason at the end was very intense.”
French turned the race's fastest lap for the Hawk Performance Hot Lap at 2:01.324 (118.690 mph) and also was presented the GoPro Hero Move of the Race for his drive up to finish third. He also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for advancing three positions in the race.
Forrer finished fourth in the No. 84 K-Hill Motorsports/Forrer Supply Ralt RT-41/Toyota, followed by Fleck in his No. 74 Mazda/Hoosier/Coors Light Van Diemen DP02/Mazda.
Provisional results for Sunday's SCCA Sports 2000 National Championship race 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), Lee Alexander, Las Vegas, NV, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 13.
2, (2), Jason Miller, Sheboygan Falls, WI, WynnFurst Kohler, 13.
3, (6), James French, Sheboygan, WI, Swift 14, 13.
4, (5), Steve Forrer, Milwaukee, WI, Ralt RT41, 13.
5, (3), Dudley Fleck, Cedar Rapids, IA, Van Dieman DP02 Mazda, 13.
6, (7), Kirk Kindsfater, Eaton, CO, Speads RS011A, 13.
7, (9), Miles Jackson, Maple Valley, WA, Stohr OD1, 13.
8, (8), Brian French, Sheboygan, WI, Ralt RT 41, 13.
9, (4), Jacek Mucha, Laval, QC, Swift JMS 016a CP Mazda, 13.
10, (11), Bob Wheless, Reidsville, NC, Stohr WF1, 13.
11, (10), Jim Downing, Atlanta, GA, Peach Day-02 Mazda, 13.
12, (12), David Watson, Kleinburg, ON, Stohr WF1, 13.
13, (13), Joseph Schifini, Las Vegas, NV, Stohr WF1, 12.
Overall Time of Race: 26:40.584
Average Race Speed: 116.957 mph
Margin of Victory: 6.903 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: James French, 2:01.324 (118.690 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #46 James French
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Jason Miller; laps 2-13, Lee Alexander
Chad Gilsinger, of Marysville, Ohio, held on to win Sunday's Touring 3 (T3) race in the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, leading all 13 laps at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track. Second was Kevin Fandozzi of Conshohocken, Pa., and third was Scotty B. White of Auburn, Wash.
Gilsinger averaged 93.958 mph and set the race's fastest lap, 2:31.400 (95.112 mph).
Gilsinger – the SafeRacer polesitter who drove the No. 07 BFGoodrich/HPD/H&R Acura TL SH-AWD – had established a lead in excess of eight seconds, but won by only 1.834 seconds. Much of his advantage was lost on the final lap, when he became caught behind a lapped car through turn 12, which was covered by a local caution. Despite that, he was able to earn his second National Championship in the Runoffs; he also won the race in 2010.
“I was basically in cruise mode at that point, and was coming up on lapped traffic,” Gilsinger said. “He was going overly slow, and he was pointing me by. As we were going down into Canada (Corner), as I got alongside him, I noticed a yellow flag. I didn't want anything to screw up the win, so I almost stopped to let him back by, so we could get past the incident, before I passed him after the incident so there was no question.
“In the meantime, these guys (Fandozzi and White) were coming full board,” Gilsinger continued. “It was almost a bad situation, but luckily it turned out okay.”
Gilsinger battled for the first couple laps with David Daugherty, who was making his first appearance in the Runoffs since 2003, but steadily pulled away after three laps. He said he was determined to overcome a lackluster performance from 2012.
“Last year, I brought a knife to a gun fight,” Gilsinger said. “This year, I searched for a gun and found the biggest one. I knew if I could get out front and break off the draft, that I would be okay. David Daugherty has almost as much power as me, and he made a pretty optimistic move on me in Turn 1. I think he lost some momentum after that, and that allowed Kevin to battle him, which allowed me to pull away. I knew if they weren't in my draft, I would be okay. It worked out that way.”
Gilsinger also compared his 2010 victory to that of this year's 50th Runoffs triumph.
“This one was a little easier, I'll admit,” Gilsinger said. “But it's definitely not any less special. Everybody that comes here is very passionate about racing and SCCA and doing the best they can. I'm really happy for myself and Acura, and glad to bring home a win.”
Fandozzi, in the No. 34 Insight Driven Race Engineer Chevrolet Cobalt, spent most of his race battling for and then holding off others for second. On Lap 7, he finally took command of second with an inside pass in Turn 1 on Daugherty, who lost five positions over the next lap-and-a-half before pulling to pit lane with mechanical issues. Two laps later, his mirrors were full of White's No. 3 BFGoodrich Tires/Knight Transport Ford Mustang. The two ran nose-to-tail for the final two laps, with White sliding off the track twice in pursuit of the runner-up spot.
Regardless of who he battled for second, Fandozzi's focus was on Gilsinger.
“I knew that we had to stay with Chad,” Fandozzi said. “Fighting with David wasn't going to help anything. We planned to clean up, go, and get Chad. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough.
“We are lucky to have a very deep field. When you see Scotty White and Chad Gilsinger and David Daugherty – these are top-notch guys. I knew if you could get inside the mix with those guys, anything could happen.”
Fandozzi also earned the GoPro Hero Move of the Race, when he passed White while racing for third – which became the battle for second - on Lap 2.
For White, it marked his first podium since 2005.
“The car was a pretty good hot-rod,” White said. “We had a great time with Kevin. I probably had one good shot, the second-to-last lap, going into (Turn) 1. I don't know if you've ever tried to knock a front-wheel car off the track or not before – it's really difficult because they stay on the track and keep going. So we decided that wasn't worth the effort, the fender. We raced him clean, and Kevin did a phenomenal job. He held onto that car, and I had big eyes there a couple times. I can't wait to come back next year and stand on the gas a little harder.”
Fourth was Jason Ott of Thornton, Colo., driver of the No. 09 BimmerHaus/Hoosier Tire BMW Z4 3.0L. In fifth was Rob Hines of Arlington, Va., driver of the No. 4 Nissan/Hoosier/Carbotech Nissan 350Z.
The Sunoco Hard Charger was Robert Schmidt of Chicago, who took the No. 15 Fall-Line/Jones, Lang & LaSalle BMW M3 from 17th to ninth, an increase of eight spots.
Provisional results for Sunday's SCCA Touring 3 (T3) 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), Chad Gilsinger, Marysville, OH, Acura TL SH-AWD, 13.
2, (4), Kevin Fandozzi, Conshohocken, PA, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, 13.
3, (5), Scotty B White, Auburn, WA, Ford Mustang, 13.
4, (6), Jason Ott, Thornton, CO, BMW Z4 3.0L, 13.
5, (12), Rob Hines, Arlington, VA, Nissan 350Z, 13.
6, (2), Chris J Puskar, Charlotte, NC, Honda S2000, 13.
7, (8), Luke Wilwert, Marysville, OH, Honda S2000, 13.
8, (13), Tommy Boileau, Monument, CO, BMW Z4 Coupe, 13.
9, (17), Robert Schmidt, Chicago, IL, BMW M3, 13.
10, (10), James Leithauser, Westminster, CO, BMW Z4 Coupe, 13.
11, (14), Tim Myers, Atlanta, GA, Nissan 370Z, 13.
12, (19), Derek Kulach, Albuquerque, NM, Nissan 350Z, 13.
13, (20), David Muramoto, Aurora, CO, Nissan 350Z, 13.
14, (18), Richard Kulach, Franklin, TN, Nissan 370z, 12.
15, (21), Mike Kramer, Lewisburg, TN, Saturn Ion Redline, 12.
16, (22), Richard Fisher, Evanston, IL, Volkswagen GTI, 11.
17, (3), David Daughtery, Fortville, IN, Nissan 350Z Nismo, 8.
DNF, (9), Tom J Wickersham, San Ramon, CA, Honda S2000, 5.
DNF, (7), Kevin Boehm, Marysville, OH, Honda S2000, 5.
DNF, (16), Dan Spirek, Parker, CO, BMW Z4 M, 4.
DNF, (11), Alan Kossof, Prospect Heights, IL, BMW M3, 0.
DNF, (15), Richard Baldwin, Madisonville, LA, Nissan 350Z, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 33:12.380
Average Race Speed: 93.958 mph
Margin of Victory: 1.834 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:31.400
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 95.112 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #15 Robert Schmidt
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-13, #07 Gilsinger