ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 21, 2013) – Tim Kautz, of Geneva, Ill., narrowly beat Reid Hazelton, of Burlington, Wis., by 0.100-second Saturday to capture the Formula F title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Road America. Jeff Bartz, of Plymouth, Wis., finished third.
Kautz, the Saferacer polesitter, and Hazelton treated SCCA race fans to the closest race finish of the weekend so far and they did it in grand fashion. Both drivers swapped the top spot several times throughout the 13-lap race. Leading on the final lap, Kautz drove his No. 88 Braeburn/Two Dogg/Hoosier/Euroquipe DF3D Honda into Turn 1 and slid wide, allowing Hazelton to take the lead in the No. 01 Hoosier/LMI Averill Stuff/Farley Engine Van Diemen RF92 Ford.
Now leading, Hazelton did everything he could to keep Kautz behind him, but Kautz broke late in Turn 5 and retook the lead. But the two weren’t done. Hazelton passed Kautz in Canada Corner and held the lead coming out of the final corner up the hill. At the stripe, Kautz passed Hazelton for the final time – securing back-to-back Formula F National Championships and his third career FF title. Kautz’s pass at the line earned him the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
“It was a great race, the whole race,” Kautz said. “We [Kautz and Hazelton] were battling a little harder than we should have at the start. And then, I could see Reid decide hey, there’s too many people coming out to play, let’s pull away a little. So we worked together. We kind of worked together, and the last couple of laps the gloves came off. I think the last lap, I went from first to second to first to second to first. So that’s a fun race, a real fun race.
“I did go wide – there’s that fine line with carrying entry speed and the car pushing – and I went in just a little too wide. You know, when you have somebody staying with you the whole race, you got to let that last lap count. And, I was hoping to get away a little bit, because I knew he was really fast down into [Turn] 5. I went through [Turn] 1 a little too quick, and the car pushed wide on me, and he got by me. Then, I got by him down in [Turn] 5, and then he got back by me in Canada (Corner), and then I got by him up the hill. So it was just good, hard racing. Somebody needs to put this guy [Hazelton] in a fast, (aerodynamic) car. It was great fun.”
“Yeah, it was close pretty much from start to finish,” Hazelton said. “Jeff [Bartz] kind of caught up to us, once me and Tim [Kautz] started to fight for it a little bit. I decided that was not the way to go about it once Scotty [Rubenzer] came up on us too. So then, we just worked together to establish a little bit of a gap. We both tried a couple different things to see where we stood. He tried up the hill and I tried in [Turn] 5. On the last lap, we had some lapped traffic that I tried to use, and Tim was just a maniac on the brakes in [Turn] 5, and he took it and he had it. So I knew the last place I was going to have it was in [Turn] 12. And, as we went up the hill, he just pulled right by.
“It’s good to finish, and finish well. We’ve been hit by the Runoffs gremlins, and they definitely made me earn this one. Traditionally, we do pretty well during the week, and then on race day for whatever reason something happens that kind of throws a wrench in the works.”
Hazelton turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap with a 2:21.037 (102.101 mph) en route to his career-best Runoffs finish – second. His previous best was a fifth-place finish last year.
Bartz started fourth in the No. 33 Hoosier/SBS/Two Doggs/Subway Van Diemen RF 92 Honda and moved to third after the first lap. At that point, he was engaged in a three-way battle for that position. A battle dropped him as low as sixth on laps four and five. But, he put his head down and slowly worked his way back to third, where he finished. Bartz’s third-place finish was a Runoffs career-best for him.
“In the beginning, I was right up there with Tim and Reid,” Bartz said. “But, on the second or third lap, I fell back there a little bit with [Scott] Rubenzer. Toward the end, I got around those guys and put my head down. I just ran out of laps.”
“[The podium] means a lot, just because it’s my hometown, and it’s just a fantastic opportunity.”
Rubenzer, of Brookfield, Wis., finished fourth in the No. 13 Morgan’s Collision Center/Storage B Spectrum 012b Honda. Cliff Johnson, of Stillwell, Kan., finished fifth in the No. 4 Alpine Litho-Graphics/Farley Engine Piper DF5 Honda.
Stan Townes was the Sunoco Hard Charger after improving 10 positions. He started 24th and finished 14th.
The 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions at Road America, Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.
Follow all the live timing and scoring and get results at www.scca.com/runoffs. Live Twitter stream is available @SCCALive. Follow this weekend’s races on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCCAOfficial.
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.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results for Saturday’s Formula F national championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Tim Kautz, Geneva, IL, Piper DF3D Honda, 13.
2, (2), Reid Hazelton, Burlington, WI, Van Diemen RF92 Ford, 13.
3, (4), Jeffrey Bartz, Plymouth, WI, Van Diemen RF00 Honda, 13.
4, (6), Scott Rubenzer, Brookfield, WI, Spectrum 012b Honda, 13.
5, (9), Cliff Johnson, Stilwell, KS, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
6, (8), Russell Ruedisueli, Rochester Hls, MI, Van Diemen RF99 Ford, 13.
7, (5), James Stiehr, Evergreen, CO, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
8, (14), Marc Blanc, New Glarus, WI, Swift DB16 Ford, 13.
9, (12), David Loken, Littleton, CO, Swift DB1 Honda, 13.
10, (16), Bill Kephart, Colorado Springs, CO, Vestal 10F Honda, 13.
11, (13), John Butkovich, Pueblo, CO, Van Diemen RF00 Honda, 13.
12, (11), Ed Midgley, Geneva, IL, Piper DF5 Honda, 13.
13, (17), Greg Case, Peoria, IL, Stohr FF Ford, 13.
14, (24), Stan Townes, Santa Clara, CA, Swift DB1 Ford, 13.
15, (19), Robert Melvin, Lakewood, CO, Van Diemen RF93 Ford, 13.
16, (21), John Vlasis, Cudahy, WI, Piper DF-2H Honda, 13.
17, (15), Randy Acock, Robstown, TX, Van Diemen RF98 Ford, 13.
18, (20), Michael Rand, Sharon, CT, Crossle 30F Honda, 12.
19, (23), Alan Murray, Monticello, MN, Swift DB1 Ford, 12.
20, (22), Doug Fisher, Wakefield, RI, Van Diemen RF92 Ivey, 12.
21, (18), Michael Lewis, Poway, CA, Vestal 09F Honda, 8.
22, (3), Lewis Cooper, Grosse Pointe, MI, Van Diemen RF00 Ford, 7.
23, (7), John Benson, Dade City, FL, Swift DB3 Ford, 7.
24, (10), David H. Livingston Jr, Nashville, TN, Swift DB3 Ford, 6.
Overall Time of Race: 30:54.526
Average Race Speed: 100.942 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.100 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:21.037
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 102.101 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #6 Stan Townes
Lap Leaders: #88 – Laps 1-13