Matthew Direnzo, of Medford, N.J., earned his first SCCA National Championship at Road America, taking the S2000 win at the 2010 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway. Corey Fergus and his father John Fergus, both of Powell, Ohio, completed the podium.
As the green flag waved, the elder Fergus moved his No. 00 Hoosier Tires/Carbotech Brakes Carbir CS2 from third to second behind son Corey. He could only play the protective father for so long, as Direnzo slipped his No. 17 Goodyear/DiRenzo Racing JRE SR71F by and into second on lap two.
Shortly thereafter, a full-course caution was issued to clean up The Kink, where the No. 88 mdc Carbir c2-2 of Joseph Moran, of Laguna Hills, Calif., made contact with the wall.
Corey Fergus was able to maintain his lead in the No. 07 Hoosier Tires/Carbotech Brakes Carbir CS2 on the lap seven restart, but only until lap eight, when Direnzo made his move for the lead.
"I got a good launch out of the last corner," Direnzo said. "I was really close and I seemed to have a good draft off of him. He defended to the inside down the front straightaway and I was able to go by on the outside. I went pretty deep on the brakes into Turn One. It was tough. I got a little sideways, but thankfully I didn't lose it."
His lead was anything but comfortable for the remaining tours of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, as Corey Fergus stayed in his shadow. The younger Fergus looked to be setting Direnzo up for a pass on the final lap, but it never materialized.
"I was hopeful that something maybe would happen, but I definitely couldn't make the move anywhere," Fergus said. "I couldn't keep up with him on the straightaway, so there was no place to out-brake him or anything because I wasn't close enough.
"I was pushing hard the whole race. I didn't want [Direnzo] to get away from me. I was driving the wheels off that car. That's as fast as it was going to go today. I think the second-to-last lap effort was a little bit better than the last lap. I made a little mistake on the last lap and that cost me a little."
Direnzo crossed the finish line 0.595-second ahead of Corey Fergus and averaged 82.311 mph in the race, slowed by the five-lap caution period. En route to the win, Direnzo set the fastest lap of the race, a new Runoffs S2000 race lap record at 2:16.359 (105.604 mph). It was Direnzo's first SCCA National Championship.
"I'm very relieved," Direnzo said. "I've come to a number of these and I've finished second, third, fourth, anything but winning. I think I even had the pole once. So, I'm really happy to have finally won. Not just for myself, but for everyone who's helped me."
After the full-course caution, John Fergus' race to third was a lonely one. It was his 11th Runoffs podium finish.
"I was a third-place car all week," John Fergus said. "These guys (Direnzo and Corey Fergus) were beating on each other in qualifying and I was the third-place guy. That's where I deserve to finish."
Two-time S2000 National Champion Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., finished fourth in his No. 34 Hoosier Tires/Ferenco Lola 91/90.
Hometown favorite Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., completed the top five in his No. 28 Goodyear/Wolf Motorsports/Lake Street Café Carbir CS2.8.
Sixth-place finisher Jack Donnellan earned the Sunoco Hard Charger of the Race award for advancing five positions during the race.
Michael Bautz, Rob Sherwood, Jim Hallman and David Ferguson completed the top 10.
Now in its 47th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America's Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial.
Attached image: S2000 SCCA National Champion Matthew Direnzo leads Corey Fergus at Road America.
Credit: SCCA/Mark Weber
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Saturday's S2000 National Championship Race, part of the 47th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (2), Matthew Direnzo, Medford, NJ, JRE SR71F, 13.
2, (1), Corey Fergus, Powell, OH, Carbir CS2, 13.
3, (3), John Fergus II, Powell, OH, Carbir CS2, 13.
4, (6), Mark Mercer, Aurora, CO, Lola 91/90, 13.
5, (4), M Bart Wolf, Elkhart Lake, WI, Carbir CS2.8, 13.
6, (11), Jack Donnellan, Chickasha, OK, Lola T598, 12.
7, (7), Michael Bautz, Machesney Pk, IL, Lola T90/90, 12.
8, (8), Rob Sherwood, Saint Louis, MO, Carbir CS-2, 12.
9, (12), Jim Hallman, Kitchener, ON, Swift DB2, 12.
10, (5), David Ferguson, Paso Robles, CA, Van Diemen RFS-03, 12.
11, (13), Bruce Gurney, Albuquerque, NM, Daedalus 1, 12.
12, (9), Andy Voruz, Minneapolis, MN, Carbir CS2.7, 6.
DNF, (10), Joseph Moran, Laguna Hills, CA, Carbir c2-2, 1.
Time of Race: 37.54.302
Winner's average speed: 82.311 mph
Fastest race lap: #17 Matthew Direnzo, 2:16.329 (105.604 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1-7, #07 Corey Fergus, 8-13 #17 Matthew Direnzo
Sunoco Hard Charger: #6 Jack Donnelian
Cautions: 1 for 5 laps