TOPEKA, Kan. (Oct. 13, 2006) – Polesitter Pete Taylor, of Ortonville, Mich., led flag-to-flag to capture his second Showroom Stock C National Championship in as many years at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kansas, As Big As You Think. John Saucier, of Midwest City, Okla., and Ralph Porter, of Kokomo, Ind., finished second and third, respectively.-30-
The start of the race saw two of the grids top five starters sustain car damage, as nine-time SCCA National Champion John Heinricy, of Royal Oak, Mich., tried a late-braking move on second-starting Joseph McClughan, of New Braunfels, Texas, going into turn one. McClughan shut the door on Heinricy forcing him into the dirt where Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Pa., had no where to go but into Heinricy. As a result, both cars sustained damage, with Heinricy’s No. 33 Phoenix Chevrolet Cobalt unable to continue.
Piloting the No. 43 Hoosier/Carbotech/Motorcity Mini Cooper S, Taylor was happy to see all of this action going on behind him as he slowly opened up a lead he would never relinquish, winning by 4.935-seconds at an average speed of 71.034 mph.
At one point, Taylor opened up a nearly seven-second lead by turning the race’s fastest lap with a 2:05.311.
“We had a plan,” Taylor said of his start. “We wanted to get through turn one and then put our head down and just crank out some good laps. Then we would be OK. I got into turn one and looked up and saw all sorts of cars spinning all over the place. I had a good feeling then. Every time I would look up I would see someone else spinning off. I then put my head down and gave it all that I had.”
Saucier, driver of the No. 31 Kumho/Mazda/Redline/Summit/Gotgrip Mazda 3, and Porter, driver of the No. 32 Hoosier Tire/Dreyer/Reingbold BMW Mini Cooper S, have been racing for 46 and 33 years, respectively and today’s second and third place finishes were both drivers’ first-ever SCCA Runoffs podium appearances. Porter also won the Sunoco Hard Charger of the race award for advancing eight positions throughout the race, starting 11th and finishing third.
McClugan finished fourth in his No. 36 Gotgrip.com/Mazdaspeed Mazda 3, while Sam Ryan, of White Haven, Pa., brought home his No. 70 Kidracer/Hankook Honda Civic Si home fifth.
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.