McCaughey Takes Back To Back SSC Titles At SCCA Runoffs
Mark McCaughey leads on his way to an SSC Championship (Bonvouloir photo)
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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 24, 2011) – Mark McCaughey, of Fayetteville, Ga., drove to his second consecutive title in Showroom Stock C on Saturday during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Ali Naimi, of Morgan Hill, Calif., and Jonathan Start, of Caledonia, Mich., completed the podium.
McCaughey started second in his No. 18 Hoosier Tire/Carbotech/TRD Toyota Celica GTS and moved around Joel Lipperini’s No. 81 BFG/RaceLabz/Raceshopper/Red Line Hyundai Tiburon on the opening lap. Once in front, McCaughey slowly pulled away from the field, finishing the 13-lap, 52-mile race 7.518-seconds ahead, averaging 85.061 mph.
“The start was a pretty good start,” McCaughey said. “Joel was trying to get the gearing right for him, I think, to get the torque out of his Hyundai. I got out of the power band, and we seemed pretty even down the front straight. I didn’t want to battle too much, but at the same time, if you can get in front it’s a big advantage. We went back and forth a little bit, and it was all clean. I was extremely happy with how it turned out, obviously.”
McCaughey turned the Hawk Fast Lap of the race, setting a new Runoffs record at 2:49.290 (85.061 mph).
“Everything you learn, it all adds up,” McCaughey said. “This car, you have to manage because it’s a heavy car. I said it’s a dream come true, twice. I got into racing just to see if I liked it, so to be able to have this opportunity is pretty special to share.”
Behind McCaughey, the action was fast and furious for second place. On lap 11, a five car train for the position ran two wide into Turn Five. Michael Crawford (No. 66 Planet Miata Acura Integra), Start’s No. 06 Hoosier/Red Line Oil MAZDA3, Brian Husting (No. 65 BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet Cobalt, and Naimi’s No. 14 OffLineRacing.com/Hoosier/Mazda MAZDA3 went two-by-two into the corner.
Crawford appeared to lose the car under breaking, slamming into the back of Husting, ending both of their races early and leaving Naimi and Start to battle for second, with Lipperini behind.
Naimi and Start continued the nose to tail battle for the final two laps, with Naimi leading the pair of Mazdas across the stripe to complete the podium.
Naimi earned his best Runoffs finish, and second-career podium finish.
“I saw the whole incident happen,” Naimi said. “As they were spinning, I just happened to get lucky and went the right direction. Jonathan and I missed the mayhem in turn five. He and I race clean all the time, so to me it was a good race. As always, I’m happy to be here.”
Start took the bronze medal for the second consecutive year.
“The whole race was pretty good, we had a good race the entire time,” Start said. “Luckily, I was fortunate not to be involved in the accident in five. I felt it, I definitely got hit on the rear but I was able to keep on going. It screwed up my rear toe a little bit, I had to dance the car around through the corners.
“It was clean and fun, and Ali raced me clean. It was definitely an SSC race, which everyone loves to watch. We love clean racing, love good results, and hopefully this podium becomes more and more familiar.”
Tom Daly, of Minneapolis, Minn., drove his No. 02 Luther Westside VW/BFGoodrich Volkswagen Rabbit into fourth place on the final lap to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger Award, improving from his eighth starting position. Jim Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., completed the top five in his No. 4 Ford/Hoosier/Lamers Racing Ford Focus.
Lipperini was scored in sixth at the finish.
Now in its 48th 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 throughout the weekend 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.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional Results from Saturday’s Showroom Stock C National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (2), Mark McCaughey, Fayetteville, GA, Toyota Celica GTS, 13.
2, (5), Ali Naimi, Morgan Hill, CA, MAZDA3, 13.
3, (4), Jonathan Start, Caledonia, MI, MAZDA3, 13.
4, (8), Tom Daly, Minneapolis, MN, Volkswagen Rabbit, 13.
5, (7), Jim Ebben, Appleton, WI, Ford Focus, 13.
6, (1), Joel Lipperini, Pittston, PA, Hyundai Tiburon, 13.
7, (9), Eric Van Cleef, Huntsville, AL, Toyota Corolla XRS, 12.
8, (10), Peter Keane, Cocoa Beach, FL, Acura Integra, 12.
9, (12), Steve Hendricks, Rosemount, MN, Volkswagen Rabbit, 12.
10, (13), James Place, San Antonio, TX, Acura GRS, 12.
11, (14), Steven Christopher, Olathe, KS, MAZDA3, 12.
12, (15), Brian Bogert, Schnecksville, PA, Toyota Yaris, 11.
13, (6), Michael Crawford, Pittston, PA, Acura Integra, 9.
14, (3), Brian Husting, Irvine, CA, Chevrolet Cobalt, 9.
DNF, (11), John Saucier, Oklahoma City, OK, MAZDA3, 0.
Time of Race: 37:53.687
Winner's average speed: 82.333 mph
Hawk Fastest race lap: #18 Mark McCaughey 2:49.290 (85.061 mph)
Lap Leaders: 1, #81 Joel Lipperini, 2, #18 Mark McCaughey, 3, #81 Joel Lipperini, 4-13, #18 Mark McCaughey.
Sunoco Hard Charger: #02 Tom Daly