TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 15, 2006) – Mirl Swan, of Platte City, Mo., mastered a wet Heartland Park Topeka track to win the Formula Atlantic race at the 2006 SCCA National Champions Runoffs, Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. Brothers David and Keith Grant, from Germantown, Tenn., finished second and third respectively.-30-
As a damp green flag waved, Polesitter K. Grant in the No. 40 Hoosier Tire Swift .014a led the field into Turn One, but struggled to find grip through Turn Two as Swan pulled alongside. K. Grant spun into the mud as the No. 88 Swan Racing/WR King Swift moved into the lead, where he rocketed to a seven second lead within a lap.
K. Grant wasn’t the only driver having trouble staying on the track, and on lap two the full course yellow came out. On the lap 6 restart Swan remained unchallenged, but the battle commenced for the second spot as D. Grant in his No. 12 Hoosier Swift .014a got around Kyle Kelley’s No. 33 Upracing.com Swift .014a. John Stickler took advantage of the battle on the following lap, moving his No. 91 Matress City 03 Star Pro Formula into the runner-up position briefly, before D. Grant retook the position for good.
The full course yellow came out again on lap 15 for cars stuck on track, making it a sprint to the end when green-flag racing resumed on lap 17. Swan and D. Grant were untouchable on the restart, but Kelley fell into the clutches of the resurgent K. Grant, who snatched the final podium position away from Kelley in the Carousel.
Mirl finished the race with an average speed of 65.66 mph, and earned his first SCCA National Championship at his home track.
“This is my neighborhood, I’m not only from Topeka, but I grew up five miles from here, so it feels pretty good to win the first National Championship here. It was really tough out there. It was more of a mind game than a speed game today. You had to work so hard to concentrate to keep it on the track. It was cold, the visor was fogging over constantly, and the track was very, very slick, but the car was hooked-up thanks to the fantastic crew I have for this car.”
Following his battle with K. Grant, Kelley would take the checkered flag in fourth, but was disqualified in post-race tech. As a result, David Wilcox, of Derby, Kan., is awarded fourth, followed by Fabio Castellani, of Streamwood, Ill. D. Grant’s advancement from fourth to second was the most forward momentum of any driver in the water-logged race, and earned him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
Now in its 43rd year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think annually crowns the best amateur road racers in North America as Champions. More than 750 competitors have gathered this year to battle for 25 class titles, with nine races on Friday and eight Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first year that the Runoffs is held at Heartland Park Topeka.
Celebrating its 62nd anniversary, Sports Car Club of America is a 55,000 member organization that sanctions and promotes grassroots and professional motorsports events in a variety of disciplines, including road racing, Solo, road rally and rallycross.
Link to story: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=705