Richard Spicer, of Laurel, Md., captures his third career Spec Racer Ford National Championship on Friday at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, crossing the finish stripe just ahead of Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, and Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla.
Each of the three podium finishers took turns on the point of the 13-lap, 52-mile race, with the lead changing hands officially three times at the timing stripe, and many other times unofficially. Spicer's No. 65 Spicer Racing Engines/Hagerman Spec Racer Ford held off a final charge, driving defensively on the final lap as the three-car breakaway each surged toward the checkered flag.
Schofield, running second, went for the win on the final corner under braking. Running wide, Schofield not only lost Spicer but opened the door for Rettich's No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Springboro Car Wash Spec Racer Ford.
Rettich closed to the bumper of Spicer up Road America's final hill to the checkered flag, but fell 0.092-second short – the third closest margin of victory in Runoffs history since the transponder era began in 2003.
Spicer earned his third career Spec Racer Ford title, and first since 2002 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“It has been quite a few years since I was here [in the winner's circle],” Spicer said. “I've put a lot of work into the year. I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew it was going to be a good, clean race. I made my car wide on the last lap, but if he was going to pass me he was going to have to do it on the outside.
“My strategy was to keep Brian out of the lead for the first half or three-quarters of the race and it worked out. I knew when Brian was back in the mix, I knew it threw what I was thinking out the window and we'd come up with something else. I chose to lead the last lap, and here we are.”
Rettich finished with his second consecutive runner-up finish in Spec Racer Ford. Rettich led laps three through six before giving way to Spicer, with Schofield leading the opening two laps from third on the grid.
“My team gave me a great car,” Rettich said. “I led a few laps there in the middle, but we weren't quite fast enough to get away. I tried to set myself up to be in a strong position. If I was second or third going into the last lap, I knew I had a chance. I had a strategy going into this race, and I stuck to that strategy, it just didn't play out with a win.”
Schofield, the defending champion in the class, earned his fifth consecutive Runoffs podium. The three were joined in the lead pack for the first half of the race by Cliff White's No. 58 Spec Racer Ford before White fell out on lap 9 with a broken right rear wheel and suspension part.
“This is a real tight field, all three of us have been racing all year in the Pro Series,” Schofield said. “Early on in the race I fell back – Cliff White was racing a little bit and I thought these guys were going to get away. I put my head down, ran them down, and once I caught them I thought I would save the car a little bit.
“On the last lap, in Turn One, I went by Scott. I didn't want to make the pass in Turn Five, so I said, well, I'll just make it in Canada Corner. Richard was driving a really wide car, and I don't blame him. In 14, I said, I'm not going to finish second, I'm going to win this thing or finish third. I went for it, and it didn't stick, but all in all it was a good weekend and it's good racing with these guys.”
Tray Ayres (No. 7 Ayres Racing Spec Racer Ford) and Scott Goolsbey (No. 79 Lindel Motorsports Spec Racer Ford) led the second pack of cars, completing the top five in the race. Ayres also turned the Hawk Fast Lap of the race in 2:37.944 (91.172 mph).
Denny Stripling, from McKinney, Texas, who started 23rd in the No. 14 Lightspeed Motorsports Spec Racer Ford, finished 11th to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs 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. More information is available at www.scca.com.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Friday's Spec Racer Ford National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (2), Richard Spicer, Laurel, MD, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
2, (4), Scott Rettich, Camden, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
3, (1), Brian Schofield, Lakeland, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
4, (7), Tray Ayres, Woodstock, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
5, (11), Scott Goolsbey, Prior Lake, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
6, (9), Jim Marinangel, McHenry, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
7, (6), Todd Harris, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
8, (8), Dean Cunningham, Orland Park, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
9, (5), Jeff Beck, Ingleside, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
10, (15), Lee Hill, Brandon, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
11, (23), Denny Stripling, McKinney, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
12, (13), Steve Fogg, West Linn, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
13, (19), Richie Stanley, New Smyrna Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
14, (21), Grayson Strathman, Topeka, KS, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
15, (14), Andrew Charbonneau, Delray Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
16, (25), Chris Current, Silver Spring, MD, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
17, (20), Jean-Luc Liverato, Alpharetta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
18, (28), William Douglas, Appleton, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
19, (29), Matt Gray, Chaska, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
20, (18), Peter Jankovskis, Lisle, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
21, (27), Kerry Bonner, Katy, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
22, (33), Jim Murray, Bend, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
23, (22), Mark Hutchins, Lincoln, NE, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
24, (32), Tom Burt, Bainbridge Island, WA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
25, (35), Jim Nelson, Westminster, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
26, (37), Todd Butler, Yamhill, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
27, (26), Art Kopp, Libertyville, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
28, (24), Bruce Myers, Greenland, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
29, (17), Chad Galloway, New Smyrna Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 11.
30, (10), Rick Bartuska, Inverness, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 10.
31, (34), Wade White, Vail, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 9.
32, (3), Cliff White, Vail, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 8.
DNF, (30), Lee Douglas, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 5.
DNF, (16), Steve Pence, Reston, VA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 2.
DNF, (36), Roy Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 1.
DNS, (12), David Donovan, Fort Lauderdale, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
DNS, (31), Tim Gray, Eden Prairie, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
Time of Race: 34:35.760
Winner's average speed: 90.184 mph
Hawk Fastest race lap: #79 Scott Goolsbey 2:37.944 (91.172 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1 - 2, #61 Brian Schofield; 3-6, #17 Scott Rettich, 7-13, #65 Richard Spicer.