Scott Tucker, of Overland Park, Kan., dominated the Super Touring Over field to take the first win at the 49th SCCA National Championship Runoffs on Thursday at Road America. Mark Pauly, of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Lance Stewart, of Miami, Fla., joined him on the podium.
The win was Tucker's second-consecutive National Championship in STO and fourth overall. Tucker won the Gumout Pole Position in qualifying and pulled the No. 55 Hoosier Porsche 996 out to a 4.865-second lead on the opening lap.
Tucker managed the gap from the second place car and outlasted the attrition in the rest of the field. David Pintaric's No. 40 Kryderacing/Carbotech/Hoosier Dodge Viper ACR pulled to pit lane on lap nine with a broken push rod and out of second place, and then third-place Jerry Onks pulled his No. 96 Wilwood Brakes/VetteSport/Hoosier Chevrolet Corvette off in Turn Two on the same lap.
With his two closest challengers gone, Tucker pulled away to a 37.843-second margin of victory, averaging 102.781mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile run and turned the fastest lap of the race in 2:17.626 (104.631mph) around the 14-turn, 4-mile circuit.
“We started developing that car last year for this class,” Tucker said. “That was kind of a hurry-up job, so it gave the guys the whole year to really tear it apart and develop it, so they made my job easy. They've tested it a few times, and this is almost a shootout race, developing for this race and this track. They did a tremendous job, it's all them.”
Tucker has raced worldwide in a number of series, but keeps coming back to the Runoffs.
“I got my start in SCCA racing, and this is the real genesis of sports car racing in America,” Tucker said. “This is where every body has to start. I try to give back as much as I can. Guys like Mark, the first time here he's on the podium, and he's hooked. Some people call it grass roots, but it's the origin where every thing starts. The racing is tough here.”
Pauly, making his first appearance at the Runoffs, earned the silver medal in the No. 81 Industrial Control Mfg BMW M3. Not only was Pauly at the Runoffs for the first time, it caps his first season of SafeRacer National Series racing. Pauly also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
“It's an awesome day,” Pauly said. “This is my first time at the Runoffs and my first year racing National races. I never really thought at the beginning of the year that I'd even make the Runoffs, let alone a podium. After seeing all the qualifying times yesterday, I figured I'd just start the race and finish the race. That was my goal. Fall-Line, they just prep an awesome car. I couldn't do it without those guys, without the car, without the coaching.
“They came on the radio and said you're P2, just manage the car and bring it home in one piece. They helped me keep a level head and not make mistakes and here we are.”
Stewart started in the rear of the field in the No. 37 Specialty Vehicle Logisitics Ford Mustang, and then climbed through the field as cars began to fall by the wayside. When Pintaric and Onks fell out, Stewart was on the Runoffs podium for the first time since a runner-up in 1987 in Showroom Stock B.
“It's a total gift,” Stewart said. “We're running a [Touring 3] car, and we were out here just trying to get the car dialed in for later on in the week. We wanted to see how it would do, and I thought at best maybe I'd end up in fifth. I pulled into the pit lane and they said I was on the podium. The guys did a great job, the car worked perfectly. We were trying out these BFG tires and they worked really well. We're really happy with the car.”
“We're just glad to be here. It's good to see Scott and what he did with that Porsche. I drove that car years ago and I know it's a great car. We had a good time and we're glad to be here.”
Pratt Cole (No. 88 Western Metals Transport Ford Mustang) and Pintaric completed the top five.
Now in its 49th 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 through Sunday 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.
Provisional Results from Thursday's Super Touring Over National Championship Race with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps completed:
1, (1), Scott Tucker, Overland Park, KS, Porsche 996, 13.
2, (4), Mark Pauly, Bettendorf, IA, BMW M3, 13.
3, (9), Lance Stewart, Miami, FL, Ford Mustang, 12.
4, (5), Pratt Cole, Salt Lake City, UT, Ford Mustang, 11.
5, (2), David Pintaric, Canfield, OH, Dodge Viper ACR, 8.
6, (3), Jerry Onks, Murfreesboro, TN, Chevrolet Corvette, 8.
DNF, (6), Scotty B White, Auburn, WA, Ford Mustang, 3.
DNF, (11), Richard Jones, Scio, OH, Ford Mustang, 2.
DNF, (8), Steve Zink, Fort Worth, TX, Ford Mustang V-6, 1.
DNS, (7), Mark Kirby, Leawood, KS, Ford Mustang, 0.