After three consecutive runner-up finishes, Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., finally climbed the top step of the Spec Racer Ford National Championship podium at the 2010 SCCA Runoffs Presented by Subway. Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, and Mike Miserendino, of Los Angeles, completed the podium at Road America.
Starting from the Gumout Pole Position, Schofield defended his lead well at the start, keeping his No. 61 PM Racing SCCA Spec Racer Ford out front as a cluster of cars shuffled behind him. By the time the field returned to the start/finish line, the top six cars had broken away into a nose-to-tail train that included Schofield, Dakota Donovan (No. 75 SCCA Spec Racer Ford), Miserendino (No. 11 MBI Racing SCCA Spec Racer Ford), Jeff Beck (No. 31 Lindell Motorsports/Ryan SCCA Spec Racer Ford), Jim Marinangel (No. 5 McHenry Savings Bank/Elite Autosports SCCA Spec Racer Ford) and Scott Rettich (No. 17 Hippi Racing/Wine Country Motorsports SCCA Spec Racer Ford).
When Beck, of Ingleside, Ill., spun in Turn Five on lap four, it gave Miserendino the opportunity he needed to move into second and Rettich the window to sneak around Marinagnel, putting him up to fourth. With all the action unfolding behind him, Schofield began to pull a small gap on the rest of the field.
While attempting to pass Miserendino on lap six, Donovan, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ran wide, enabling Rettich to pass both cars and move into the runner-up spot. Miserendino and Donovan would swap positions two more times before Donovan's engine expired on lap 10, ending his race.
With one lap to go, Schofield, Rettich and Miserendino caught lapped traffic. Rather than intensify the battle, it placed lapped cars between the three, ensuring that Schofield would have no challengers en route to his first SRF National Championship.
"It feels great, finally," Schofield said. "I've worked hard at it. You know, we really focused to win this race and we finally got it done.
"We had some glitches earlier on in the week. We broke a suspension piece. We only really got one good qualifying lap, which was good enough for the pole. We still had more speed in the car. It scared me all week. I tried to stay off the curbs, even in the race. I knew I had more speed if I could use the curbs, but I was afraid to use them because of what happened earlier on in the week."
Schofield crossed the line 0.852-second ahead of Rettich, averaging 90.325 mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
"In the race, I got scared there at the end," Schofield added. "They were on the radio yelling that there was coolant and oil and I slowed up with two [laps] to go. These guys, they just came charging. They didn't slow down going into Canda [Corner] and I knew I had to put in the best two laps of my life. I did that and brought it home."
Rettich, who won the Formula Enterprises National Championship and SCCA Super Sweep on Saturday, set the fastest lap of the race, a 2:38.309 (90.723 mph) and new Runoffs lap record, en route to a second-place finish.
"I did my best at the start," Rettich said. "But, being on the outside really wasn't the place to be. I'm pretty sure I fell back to sixth, but I was at the tail end of the lead draft. I spent a couple of laps staying in position in the lead draft. Then, I just kind of waited to make my move and get myself in a better position.
"I'm not exactly sure [how I got to second]. I think there was a little contact or a mistake and I went from fourth to second on the same lap. [Beck] spun on his own and, I believe, that lap, I passed Marinangel late in the lap."
A third-place finish ended a streak of four SRF National Championships for Miserendino, who crossed the finish line 1.841 seconds behind Rettich.
"I had a great start," Miserendino said. "We were on the inside line. Brian [Schofield] was leading the way. I got on the gas with him (Schofield) and Dakota [Donovan] in the front and we made it to Turn One in third. It really was an awesome start and it helped me get right up in the thick of things right away.
"I think Scott [Rettich] and I were pretty even. I caught [lapped traffic] at the apex in the Kink, which is absolutely the wrong place. But, I don't think I could've gotten around Scott anyway. I would've liked to have tried, but hey, I don't think I could've gotten there anyway."
Marinangel, of McHenry, Ill., finished fourth, followed by Beck, who recovered from his spin for a fifth-place finish.
Cal Harris, William Douglas, James Gray, Kerry Bonner and JD Pfetzing completed the top 10.
Lance Mussler, of Crestwood, Ky., was named the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing 16 positions, from 28th on the grid to 12th at the finish.
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 broadcast of all 28 National Championship races aired live throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and will be available later On Demand from the same site.
Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Sunday's Spec Racer Ford 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, (1), Brian Schofield, Lakeland, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
2, (4), Scott Rettich, Camden, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
3, (5), Mike Miserendino, Los Angeles, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
4, (7), Jim Marinangel, McHenry, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
5, (2), Jeff Beck, Ingleside, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
6, (11), Carl Harris, Houston, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
7, (9), William C Douglas, Appleton, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
8, (8), James C Gray, Minneapolis, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
9, (17), Kerry G Bonner, Katy, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
10, (18), JD Pfetzing, Englewood, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
11, (14), Lauren Scarpace, Birmingham, MI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
12, (28), Lance Mussler, Crestwood, KY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
13, (15), Craig Zaph, Los Angeles, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
14, (26), Ken Tripkos, Topeka, KS, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
15, (16), Tom Miserendino, Los Angeles, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
16, (27), Peter Jankovskis, Lisle, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
17, (19), Jeffrey S Barrow, Clover, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
18, (25), Reid Johnson, Hamel, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
19, (21), Jeff Wisniewski, Ingleside, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
20, (30), Matthew Gray, Chaska, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
21, (29), David Schumitsch, Merrill, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
22, (32), Roy Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
23, (31), Ian Keith James, Barrington, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
24, (23), John Annis, Tampa, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
25, (24), Paul E Jankovskis, Camarillo, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
26, (10), Jean-Luc Liverato, Alpharetta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
27, (33), Frederick W Scarpace, Dearborn Hgts, MI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
28, (3), Dakota Donovan, Fort Lauderdale, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 10.
29, (20), Wade White, Vail, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 10.
DNF, (13), Scott Goolsbey, Prior Lake, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 4.
DNF, (22), Timothy Gray, Eden Prairie, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 3.
DNF, (12), Ralph E Green, Charleston, WV, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 1.
DNS, (6), Jason Barfield, Granville, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
Time of Race: 34:32.526
Winner's average speed: 90.325 mph
Fastest race lap: #17 Scott Rettich, 2:38.309 (90.723 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1-13, #61 Brian Schofield
Sunoco Hard Charger: #24 Lance Mussler
Attached image: Brian Schofield leads Scott Rettich at Road America
Credit: SCCA/Mark Weber