ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 21, 2009) – The 54th running of the Chicago Region June Sprints came to a close at Road America with several new lap records and a couple second generation racers winning one for dad on Father’s Day.
There was no better way to kick of the day’s races than with Group Five and the 69-car strong Spec Racer Ford field. The race was filled with plenty of surprises, even one before the green flag flew, as second-place qualifier Jean-Luc Liverato, of Milton, Ga., stopped in pit lane on the out lap with mechanical troubles. Liverato’s crew was eventually able to get the car re-fired, but only after the rest of the field had gone by. Once the race was underway, polesitter Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., had his hands full with Lee Fleming, of Lake Forest, Calif., and Cliff White, of Vail, Colo. No sooner was the battle for the lead heating up then a full-course yellow was issued for two cars blocking the course in Turn Six. As the large field followed behind the pace car through the stranded cars, congestion caused an additional incident in the area, necessitating a red flag. After a lengthy cleanup, the shortened race was restarted with Fleming’s Champion Motorsports SRF leading the way. Schofield waited until the final tour of the nine-lap race to make his move, but the ensuing side-by-side racing enabled Tray Ayres, of Woodstock, Ga., to sneak by for the win in his Ayres Racing SRF.
In Group Six, Formula Continental driver Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, took a 6.986-second win in his Hoosier/Hill Van Diemen RF-01 over Revere Greist, of Madison, Wis., in a Waypoint Health Innovations Van Diemen. Pritchard and Greist had a brief back-and-forth early in the race, but by lap four it was all Pritchard. Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., put in an equally dominating performance in Formula Ford. Kautz outpaced his nearest FF opponent by more than 18 seconds in his Braeburn/2Dogg/Hoosier Piper DF2D.
Two father-son teams took the green flag in Group Seven. In C Sports Racing, James French, of Sheboygan, Wis., son of Brian French, lapped a good portion of the Group in his Motorsports Enterprises Swift 014. French’s margin of victory over Gary Gibson, of Riverwoods, Ill., was nearly 30 seconds. Corey Fergus, son of six-time S2000 National Champion John Fergus appears to be following in his father’s footsteps. Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, gave his dad the best father’s day gift there is, winning S2000 at the June Sprints in his Fergus Companies Carbir CS2. D Sports Racing went to polesitter Garry Crook, of Pensacola, Fla., in a Vision Construction Stohr WF-1. Crook lost the lead early to Lawrence Loshak, of Glendale, Wis., but retook the spot when Loshak’s Stohr WF-1 dropped out.
SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge competitor Jeff Courtney, of Slinger, Wis., led Group Eight across the finish line. Driving the Kenda Tire Viper Competition Coupe, Courtney claimed the Super Touring Over win, in the classes’ June Sprints debut, after polesitter Bob Woodhouse, of Blair, Neb., spun his No. 13 Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper in the Carousel on lap four. Ronald Pawley, of Greenwood, Ark., won the new Street Touring Under class from pole in a J.Pauley Toyota Scion Lexus IS300. In Touring 1, Lance Knupp, of Fenton, Mich., was gifted the class win in his Hoosier/Carbotech/Moton/LEC Dodge Viper after polesitter John Buttermore, of Pontaic, Mich., dropped out of the race. Knupp set a new track record en route to his win, a 2:24.735. Touring 2 played out similarly, as polesitter William Peter, of Mequon, Wis., hit pit lane early, handing the lead and the win to Bill Baten, of Indianapolis, Ind., in a Hoosier/Batenadr/B Graham Chevrolet Camaro. Tom Sloe, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, went unchallenged for the American Sedan win in a Ford Mustang and set a new track record of 2:30.504. The Group Eight race was shortened to 11 laps after a lengthy full-course yellow for a car fire in Turn 12, no one was injured.
In Group Nine, 2006 Formula Atlantic National Champion Mirl Swan, of Platte City, Mo., had no trouble taking the FA win from pole in his Swan Racing/Hoosier/Everclear Swift 014A. Though Group Nine was interrupted briefly by a full-course yellow for a car trapped in the gravel at Turn Seven, Swan successfully defended his position from the rest of the FA pack on the lap nine restart. Formula Mazda polesitter Franklin Futrelle, of Augusta, Ga., wasn’t as lucky, coming under attack by Jeremy Grenier, of Point of Rocks, Md., and losing the lead. A lap later, Grenier was passed by a hard-charging Juan Marchand, of South Haven, Mich., who had started 39th on the grid. When Grenier’s Ski Motorsports/Hoosier FM became lodged in the Turn One gravel after contact with another car, Marchand was free and clear to take the checkered flag in his JRW/JuanMarchand.com/Gingerman FM. Futrelle in the Meco of Augusta/Goodyear/RedLine FM finished second.
The event closed with the powerful GT machines of Group 10. Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., started the race from the GT-1 pole in his McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Ford Mustang, but lost the lead early to the Bill Gray Racing Chevrolet Corvette of William Gray, from Fayetteville, Ark. Ebben retook the GT-1 lead on lap 10, but had his mirrors full of Gray, who took looks to the inside of Ebben on each approach to Turn One. Unfortunately, there would be no photo finish, as Gray pulled into the pitlane on the white flag lap and Ebben cruised to the victory. Mark Jurczyk, of Chicago, Ill., was around GT-2 poleistter Mark Boden, from Winnetka, Ill., on lap four. Jurczyk would keep a steady gap of a second to a second and a half for the remainder of the race to take the GT-2 win in his PlayersChicago Porsche GT3 Cup. In GT-3, polesitter Robert Warkocki, of Frankfort, Ill., lead from flag-to-flag in his Empcor/Goodyear/Mazda/RedLine Mazda RX-7.
All of this weekend’s winners have earned the first jewel in the Chicago Region’s Triple Crown Award, and are one step closer to completing the new SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep.
Results from Groups Nine and Ten were still provisional at time of press. Full results from the 54th Running of the Chicago Region June Sprints is available at www.scca.com and www.junesprints.com.