Swan Captures Formula Atlantic at Runoffs
Mirl Swan, of Austintown, Ohio, captured the Formula Atlantic title at the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America on Friday. Swan's 8.034-second win topped runner-up Jason Byers, of Livonia, Mich., and Sedat Yelkin, of Canfield, Ohio.
The runaway win for Swan, driving the No. 88 Swan Racing/Everclear/Hoosier Swift 014 Toyota, came after a full-course caution from lap two through four following Jose Parades' contact with the wall.
On the ensuing restart, Swan was able to pull away from the field and never looked back on his way to the victory. That included turning the race's fastest lap, in a time of 2:04.125 (116.012 mph).
The title capped a tremendous season for Swan, who captured the SCCA Super Sweep award. The award has four components; a driver must win one of nine key National races, a Divisional Championship, a National Championship and the newly created nationwide point standings - all in a single class. The award was announced at the 2009 SCCA National Convention.
Both the second and third-place finishers were nearly involved in a first-lap incident that eliminated fourth-place qualifier David Grant from the race. Yelkin was hit from behind by Grant, bending his rear wishbone. Grant spun and was suddenly nose-to-nose with Byers, who just missed the contact.
"I had a pretty fair start," Swan said. "It wasn't spectacular, but I had a really good run into one. The incident happened in front of me, and I figured Sedat would have some damage on the rear of his car, for sure. I followed for a few laps, we had a close run of our own. The overall first lap was very exciting. It was good to get out front. Once I did, I just concentrated on my laps and got away."
Both Yelkin and Byers were able to continue and were in the top-five when the caution flag flew.
Byers, in the No. 28 St. Clair Motorsports/ABR Ralt RT-41Toyota, took the second green flag in fifth position and picked off three cars in successive laps on the front straight to land in second position. Byers set sail for Swan, but didn't have enough for the front-runner.
After the incident with Grant, Yelkin spent the majority of the race worrying both about his rear suspension and his battle with Keith Grant, of Germantown, Tenn. (and brother of David), who has started on pole.
Yelkin and Keith Grant swapped positions before Yelkin's No. 75 Everclear/Swan Racing Swift 014 finished less than three-tenths ahead of Grant in the No. 40 Hoosier Tire/Polestar Racing Group Swift 014A Toyota.
Jeffrey Kowalik, of Winneconne, Wis., finished fifth in the No. 77 Northcentral Construction Corp Swift 014.
Vince Gaddini, of Auburn, Calif., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, climbing from a 15th starting position to 11th in the No. 48 Damon Racing Mazda Pro Mazda.
The Formula Atlantic National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.