ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 26, 2005) – The Kohler®/SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints® had to show some resolve Sunday, but came through to provide a great final day to close the three-day event at Road America.-30-
First it was rain in the form of showers that all but rendered the morning’s final qualifying sessions useless. Then, as racing got underway, the full-course caution bug bit several groups, slowing lap speeds in several of the four 13-lap races to a crawl around the 4.0-mile course.
The last race of the day, however, rebounded beautifully in the 15-lap Group 8 finale, giving all enthusiasts quite the show as three more drivers joined 20 others in their season-long quest for the Chicago Region Triple Crown.
Group 4 set the messy tone as Chris Menninga, of Des Moines, Iowa, came from behind to claim the first Sprints crown on Sunday in his Formula Atlantic Swift D14. After action resumed after a full-course caution on lap 11, Graham Rahal, of New Albany, Ohio, dodged inside in his BobbyRahalAutomotiveGrp/BoschRenier Star Mazda Pro to briefly take the lead from Menninga at turn one.
Unshaken, Menninga used a similar inside move a short time later to regain the lead for good. Brian French, of Sheboygan, Wis., FA’s first-day fast qualifier, started and finished third.
If yellow wasn’t Niki Coello’s favorite color going into the Sprints, it might be now as the East Troy, Wis. driver used the late caution to erase nearly 15 seconds worth of a lead held by Brian Tomasi, of Elgin, Ill. and earn the win by 0.1-sec. in Formula Continental in his Pouredfoundations.com Van Diemen RF 01. Tomasi wasn’t in any danger of finishing lower than second in his Hoosier Racetire/Nova/RMX/Subway Van Diemen RF 01 as Justin Pritchard, of Granville, Ohio, came in third, but well back in his Hoosier/Elite Engine/Piper Engine Piper DF 5C.
The Group 5 race, which saw 70 Spec Racer Fords take to the track, started off innocently enough early Sunday afternoon before dissolving into a wreck fiesta after eight laps. On lap 9, a three-car incident coming out of Canada Corner forced a full-course caution that bunched the SRF field up for the final two laps.
Eventual race-winner Jeff Beck, of Ingleside, Ill., led the rest of the way after getting the lead on the fifth lap and was able to coast into the winner’s circle as another incident at Canada Corner on the penultimate lap caused a black-flag finish. Chris Funk, of Kansas City, Mo., in his Tru Vue Glass/Crescent Cardboard SRF, finished second, while Mike Miserendino, of Los Angeles, Calif., who led early on, finished third after falling all the way to sixth in his Team Widget SRF.
Touring 1 competitor Pete Looby, of Sioux Falls, S.D., won a caution-filled Group 6 race that started slowly and never recovered. Looby started fourth on the grid in his Orthopedic Institute Chevrolet Corvette, but darted to the front where he would stay for the duration. Polesitter Lance Knupp, of Fenton, Mich., valiantly tried to catch Looby, but Looby ran the fast lap (2:28.621) of the Group on the 12th lap of the 13-lap lace to cement the victory. David Roush, of Shelby, Ohio, started second in his Kumho Tire/Red Line Oil/Hawk/Corsa Chevrolet Camaro Z06 and finished third.
Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., traded blows with Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, as the two battled for the A Sedan win. In the end, it was McDermid’s Lane Automotive/Goodyear/Red Line Oil Ford Mustang taking the win, and sixth overall, by nearly three seconds over Sloe’s Russell Automotive Mustang. Kyle Watkins, of Broomfield, Colo., held the class lead early, but wound up finishing third in his Hoosier/Sensible Auto Mustang.
Bill Baten, of Indianapolis, Ind., grabbed hold of the Touring 2 lead early on and ran virtually untouched the rest of the way in his Online Architecture/Baten ADR Chevrolet Camaro Z28 to earn a Sprints win (13th overall). Mark Boden, of Wilmette, Ill., started first in the class in his Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 and finished second, while George Biskup, of Naperville, Ill., wound up third in his BiskupMotorsports/Control Solutions Dodge SRT-4.
Jack Tippens, of Woodstock, Ill., leaped forward from his second-starting spot in the Showroom Stock B class during the Group 6 race to take the win (23rd overall) in his Anderson BMW/Dora/Fall Line/Hoosier BMW Z4. Harry Manning, of Racine, Wis., started from the top slot in the class in his RosenMazda/Hoosier/Red Line/Hawk/Bosch Mazda Miata and finished second, while Joe Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., wound up third in his Lamers Motor Racing Acura RSX.
In Showroom Stock C, it was Ryan Ciechanski, of Clinton Township, Mich., taking the class checkered flag, his victory coming in his Hoosier/DPR Racing/CIE Motorsports Honda Civic Si. Laurence Wright, of Evanston, Ill, earned silver honors in the TC Kline Racing/Hoosier Mini Cooper S, and Dan Waleke, of Sterling Heights, Mich., came in behind Wright in his Galeana Racing/Vilious Ink Dodge Neon.
No stranger to winning, Formula Mazda competitor Fabio Castellani, of Streamwood, Ill., bolted to the front of the virtually clean Group 7 race and never looked back, adding another victory to his total in his Pro One/MWC/Hoosier/OMP Star Mazda. James Bach, of Saukville, Wis., got as close as 0.3-sec. behind Castellani in his Sportsbook.com Star Mazda, but then watched as the leader nailed the fastest lap of the race (2:19.858) to dash away for good on lap 12 of the 13-lap run. James Goughary, Jr., of
Jupiter, Fla., hung tough for a third-place finish in his Red Line Oil Formula Mazda.
After the Group’s split start put the Formula Ford’s on the four-mile circuit, John LaRue, of Muncie, Ind., followed Castellani’s example and put the FF race away from the very start, finishing first in class and 20th overall in his Valvoline/Goodyear/Carbontech Citation. Tim Dunn, of Chesterland, Ohio, qualified second in his Solon Manufacturing Swift DB 6 and finished there. Similarly, Richard Leslie, Jr., of Honesdale, Pa., started and finished third in his Dom Seddio/Valvoline/Hoosier/FMO Van Diemen RF 99.
Following Group 7’s example, Group 8’s 15-lap affair contested by Grand Touring 1, Grand Touring 2 and Grand Touring 3, was nearly spotless as GT-1’s Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., took advantage of a late off by then leader Peter Mohrhauser, of Racine, Wis., at turn three during lap 12.
Ebben, in his McMahon Group/Hoosier/Baumgart Tire Chevrolet Corvette, trailed by 0.451-sec. at that point, but cruised to the victory after Mohrhauser went off and then continued on to a second-place finish more than 20 seconds behind in his RMS Inc Ford Mustang. Brian Kubinski, of Plainfield, Ill., shuffled through the top five before settling behind Mohrhauser for third in his Diamond Construction/Hoosier/ACI Corvette after an attempt to overtake him at the end.
Gerry Mason, of Fishers, Ind., lost the top spot early on in GT-2, but regained it by lap three and finished on top (12th overall) in his Hoosier Tire/GMR Race Cars Nissan 300 ZX. Marty Flaska, of Bedford Park, Ill., relinquished the lead to Mason and finished second in his Porsche GT3 Cup, while Tom Patton, of Hamilton, Ohio, recovered from an early spin to finish third in his Tire Discounters Sunbeam Tiger.
At the end, it looked like GT-3’s Mike Cyphert, of Burton, Ohio, had an easy time of things as he won the class (22nd overall). However, the true story was a nip-and-tuck battle between his Toyota Motorsports/TRD/Red Line Oil Toyota Celica and the Mazda/Empcor/SecondsfitMotorsports Mazda RX7 driven by Rob Warkocki, of Frankfort, Ill.
The two traded the lead several times while mid-pack traffic, but on lap 11, Warkocki’s Mazda encountered mechanical problems, forcing him to pull off course. After his retirement, Jim Dentici, of Oconomowoc, Wis., finished second in his Honda CRX, and Ken Nelson, of Novi, Mich., filled the third spot in his Motorsport Creative Dodge Daytona.
For a complete list of results for all 23 classes from the entire weekend at Elkhart Lake, visit www.scca.com.
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For results, use this link: http://www.scca.com/Event/Event.asp?Ref=1020|05-junesprints-results