Northern Conference Completes Road America Rounds Despite Afternoon Rain
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 27, 2014) – It appeared that Sunday’s SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour Round 10 dodged a bullet when a rainstorm fell during the lunch hour and dried before racing resumed. A return appearance one lap into the high horsepower sedan group, late in the afternoon, shuffled the event on Sunday at Road America.
Despite the dramatic shower, a full day of races was complete at the four-mile circuit. Each group ran a 13-lap race.
Group 1: Like Saturday, Ron Pawley’s No. 4 J. Pauley Toyota/Scion Lexus IS300 walked away from the field for a dominating overall and Super Touring Under win, never seriously challenged for position on his way to the title. Aaron Kaplan settled into second place and scooted away from his Touring 3 competition to do the same, taking the win in class in the No. 18 Kaplan Racing Systems BMW M3. Rich Walke, driving the No. 61 Creative Technology, Inc. Mazda RX-7 in Super Touring Lite, and David Daughtery, driving the No. 8 Nissan/Hoosier/Carbotech/Enkei Nissan Versa in B-Spec, also completed weekend sweeps.
Daniel Bender appeared poised to sweep Touring 4, keeping his No. 10 Bravo Trailers/BFGoodrich Tires Mazda MX-5 ahead of Jim Ebben’s No. 1 Mazda/Hoosier/Lamers Racing Mazda RX-8 in the early stages. Bender spun on lap seven, falling out of the lead, and then pulled out of the race for good on lap 11 to allow Ebben to race to the checkered flag.
Group 2: Once again, Formula 500 and Formula F came down to two car battles on the final lap.
After leading from the opening lap, Brian Novak’s No. 20 Metalloid/Hoosier/AIM Scorpion F600 was chased down and passed moving up the front straight by the No. 9 Novakar Blade F600 of Calvin Stewart, who had started the race from the rear of the field. Once in front, Stewart held on for the final circuit, taking the overall and Formula 500 class win.
Once again, Formula F was a battle between local racer Jeffrey Bartz and 16-year-old Max Mallinen. The two swapped the lead several times early in the race, with the No. 33 Hoosier/Subway Van Diemen Honda of Bartz taking the lead into turn one to start the final lap. Mallinen took the lead under braking in turn five, but Bartz once again stole it back. Mallinen, good under the brakes, got a run through Canada corner and had the lead going through the final turn. Bartz pushed too hard trying to close the gap and spun, letting Mallinen run to the checkered flag and settling for second.
Charles McCormick’s No. 90 RSE Incorporated Vortec CM1 ditched Ron Whitston’s No. 5 Subway/Hoosier Protoform P2 in the closing laps after swapping the lead early, sweeping the weekend in Formula Vee.
Group 3: Like Saturday, the best cars in E Production, F Production, and H Production at Road America got in front and ran away with victories.
The result was weekend sweeps for Jon Brakke’s E Production No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata, Michael Sturm’s F Production No. 48 Sturminator Design/Hoosier Mazda Miata, and Lawrence Loshak’s H Production No. 1 ETE Reman/HYPERformance Honda CRX, all by more than 16 seconds.
Group 4: Once again, the Spec Miata race was a two car battle that took the full 13 laps to sort out. Both Tom Brown and Justin Elder tried to hang with the No. 80 Cahall/Driving Coach/Hawk Mazda Miata of Todd Lamb and the No. 41 Advanced Autosports Miata of Voytek Burdzy, but the two front runners found themselves alone by mid race.
The two worked in tandem until the start of lap 11, when Burdzy pulled out of line and the pair crossed the start/finish stripe side by side. Burdzy held the lead, with Lamb tucked in close, for laps 11 and 12.
Ripping up the front straight to start the final lap, Burdzy moved inside while Lamb tried to use the fast line to the outside of the righthander. Burdzy held him off there, and again through five, a traditional passing zone. Lamb held his position until Canada Corner, where he went deep on the brakes and carried a wide line through that tight right hander.
Going through the final corner, Burdzy again took away the inside and forced Lamb to run hard wide to the outside to set up the final drag race to the checkered flag. Burdzy crossed just a half car length in front of Lamb to take the win.
Justin Elder (No. 19 SunDrop Citrus Soda Miata), Tom Brown (No. 27 Advanced Autosports Miata) and Ted Cahall (No. 81 Hawk Mazda Miata) completed the top five.
Group 5: The Spec Racer Ford race took shape when a two car incident brought out a full course caution on lap six, and a lap nine restart with the field bunched in a four-lap sprint to the finish.
With two laps to go, the top five were in a line behind teammates Kelly Toombs and Chris Funk in the No. 36 KC Racing Spec Racer Ford and No. 54 KC Racing SRF, respectively. Jeff Beck, who started 12th in the No. 31 Lindell/Ryan SRF, Robert Mumm (No. 11 Auto Stuff Fuel Injector Service SRF), and Rick Bartuska (No. 15 M/K Industries/Mundelien SRF) followed close behind.
Toombs, for all practical purposes, won the race with two laps to go. Despite the deep field behind him, Toombs opened up a lead of more than five car lengths to start the final lap. With a scrum for position behind him, he crossed the finish line 1.120-second up on Funk. Beck joined the KC Racing teammates on the podium.
Group 6: Everything went into the blender on lap two of the big bore group, when the skies opened up just as the race was settling in.
Some, like Tim Gray’s No. 60 Ryan Companies US Chevrolet Camaro or Tom Patton’s No. 50 Red Line Oil/Hoosier Tire Sunbeam Tiger tried to come to pit lane for rain tires, but without a real pit crew, ended up several laps down. Others, like eventual GT-1 winner Dave Ruehlow’s No. 31 Ruehlow Racing Chevrolet Corvette, sucked it up and continued as their lap times fell by more than a minute per lap. Ruehlow actually pulled to pit lane at the end of lap nine because his windshield was fogged, and ended his day early as the last GT-1 machine still braving the elements.
As the race shook out, Fall-Line teammates Matt Slavens and Gregory Schermer, both in Touring 2 cars, found themselves in the overall lead and battling. Schermer’s No. 149 Fall-Line Motorsports/Posh Racing Porsche GT3 closed the gap from over 35 seconds to less than five with just a handful of laps to go, but Slavens immediately lowered his lap time by nine seconds in the No. 34 Fall-Line Porsche GT3 to pull the rug out from under Schermer’s comeback hopes, and the pair finished first and second.
Scott Sanda kept knocking out lap after lap in his No. 73 Tro Manufacturing Cadillac CTS-V, judging the weather correctly and running laps within 20 seconds of his opening lap, even after the rains fell. Picking off car after car, Sanda finished the race third overall.
With Tim Kezmen third in Touring 2 and fourth overall in the No. 144 Calypso Lemonade/Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche GT3, GT-2 winner Craig Anderson’s No. 33 Hoosier/Cobalt Friction/Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Corvette and Touring 1 winning Matthew O’Toole’s No. 35 BMW M3 finished in the top six overall as the only cars on the lead lap.
Group 7: Unlike the quick fendered cars, the fastest open wheel machines knew that the race needed to be run on wet weather tires. The question would be, with the showers now stopped, if it would cause a problem at the end of race.
That didn’t come to fruition with everyone on the same strategy and the track just wet enough to keep the tires under each car, and Fabio Castellani proved himself the quickest in the rain. Castellani won by 1:32.711, a huge margin of victory in the No. 97 Hoosier/ABRO/Pro-One Swift 014/Toyota.
Jeff Beck was equally impressive in the wet, winning Formula Enterprises in the No. 62 Formula Enterprises/Ford. Beck started 25th, but moved to third overall on the opening lap and ran seven laps in second place, overall, before Richard Zober’s No. 66 Zober Industries Swift 016a/Mazda moved around him on lap nine.
Brian Hall’s Prototype 1-winning No. 69 Audi Hoffman Estates/Hoosier Stohr WF1 joined the class winners and Reece Everard’s No. 61 HGS Automotive Formula Enterprises on the lead lap at the finish.
Dale VandenBush’s No. 12 Lake Effect Motorsports Formula Mazda bested Saturday winner Jason Vinkemulder’s No. 10 Vinkemulder Financial Formula Mazda in their season long back and forth rivalry. Mike Reupert pulled to pit lane late and checked with his No. 7 Sunshine Metals Nostendo 1 crew, but went back on track and held on for the Prototype 2 weekend sweep. Jim Victor grabbed the Formula Continental win in the No. 17 Smith Barney/Arms Up Motorsports Firman RFR.
The Northern Conference Majors Tour wraps up at Grattan Raceway, August 23-24, with the season finale. The next U.S. Majors Tour event is in the Eastern Conference next weekend, August 1-3, for the Eastern Conference final.
Elkhart Lake, Wis. - Provisional race winners for Sunday’s SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour Round Ten from Road America. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.
American Sedan: Scott Sanda, Western Springs, Ill., Cadillac CTS-V
B-Spec: David Daughtery, Fortville, Ind., Nissan Versa
E Production: Jon Brakke, Fargo, N.D., Mazda Miata
F Production: Michael Sturm, Grafton, Wis., Mazda Miata
H Production: Lawrence Loshak, Grafton, Wis., Honda CRX
GT-1: Dave Ruehlow, Oconomowoc, Wis., Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Craig Anderson, Dundee, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette
Formula 500: Calvin Stewart, Novi, Mich, Novakar Blade F600
Formula Atlantic: Fabio Castellani, Streamwood, Ill., Swift 014/Toyota
Formula Continental: Jim Victor, Davenport, Iowa, Firman RFR
Formula Enterprises: Jeff Beck, Ingleside, Ill., Formula Enterprises/Ford
Formula F: Max Mallinen, Liberty Lake, Wash., Spectrum 014H
Formula Mazda: Dale VandenBush, Green Bay, Wis., Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Charles McCormick, Clarkston, Mich., Vortech CM1
Prototype 1: Brian Hall, Spring Grove, Ill., Stohr WF1
Prototype 2: Mike Reupert, Hubertus, Wis., Nostendo 1
Spec Miata: Voytek Burdzy, Shiller Park, Ill., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Kelly Toombs, Prairie Village, Kan., Spec Racer Ford
Super Touring Lite: Rich Walke, Hawthorn Woods, Ill., Mazda RX-7
Super Touring Under: Ron Pawley, Greenwood, Ark., Lexus IS300
Touring 1: Matthew O’Toole, Wilmette, Ill., BMW M3
Touring 2: Matt Slavens, Davenport, Iowa, Porsche GT3
Touring 3: Aaron Kaplan, Evanston, Ill., BMW M3
Touring 4: Jim Ebben, Appleton, Wis., Mazda RX-8