ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 20, 2013) – SafeRacer polesitter Sedat Yelkin, of Canfield, Ohio, drove flag-to-flag to capture his first-career Formula Atlantic national title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Road America. Keith Grant, of Germantown, Tenn., finished second, while Michael Mallinen, of Liberty Lake, Wash., finished third.
Starting from the pole, Yelkin got a great start in the No. 75 Everclear Swift 014a Toyota. Early on, Grant challenged Yelkin for the top spot riding just behind Yelkin’s rear wing for the first seven laps. But, Yelkin kept Grant behind him for the entire 13-lap race, winning by 8.3777 seconds.
“The beginning was pretty much reminiscent of most of the races that Keith and I drive,” Yelkin said. “He’s one of the best drivers I’ve ever driven with in my life. From the start, just like every time we come to Road America, he and I duke it out lap after lap. But, because of that, we have kind of learned each other’s tendencies. Through the years, we we’re able to learn how to drive a very clean race. He [Grant] keeps me honest. I want to thank him for driving a clean race.
“That being said, I knew all I had to do was to break the draft in the beginning. Our cars are so similar. The chassis are similar. They create similar amounts of drag. I knew I had a good motor. But, when you’re stuck in the draft, it’s another story. When Michael and Keith started getting together, I knew I could get away and that was my chance. So, I seized the opportunity and was able to put some distance on them. ”
For his winning effort, Yelkin was awarded the Go Pro Hero Move of the Race and he also turned the Hawk Hot Lap with a time of 2:03.222 (116.862 mph).
Grant started second in the No. 40 Polestar/Hoosier Swift 014a Toyota and battled Yelkin for position. But after Yelkin began to pull away, Grant was soon under siege from Mallinen. In fact, the Mallinen briefly moved into second on lap nine, while Grant fell to third. On lap 10, Grant regained second place, which is where he finished. This was Grant’s sixth-career Runoffs podium finish and his 12th career top-five.
“When we took off, Sedat was able to pull over ahead of me going into Turn One ,” Grant said. “I tried to stay there for seven laps. I did everything I could to get up into his draft. He continued to drive a consistent, clean race. He was just dead on in all of his turns. When we got to lap eight, he got to the point where he was pulling away. He had a lot more horsepower than us today. That made it really tough. Whenever we got to the straightaway, he could get off the turns really well. It made it tough for us. Congratulations to him. He did a good job today.
“Michael kept me honest the whole time. He and I always have a good time racing each other. He dove down and outbraked me going into Canada Corner and I told him I wasn’t going to let him do that. I returned the favor in Turn One and continued on from there. But, he was all over my tail when I was trying to outbrake Sedat in several other turns. Sedat was able to protect the line. Shoot, I did everything I could to protect my line with Michael right there behind me. It was a good race.”
Mallinen, the 2010 Formula Atlantic National Champion, started third in the No. 71 Swan Racing/MAZDASPEED Motorsports Swift 016a and briefly dropped to fourth after the first lap. On lap two, Mallinen passed Jason Byers, of Livonia, Mich., for third. From there, Mallinen had his sights set on second and battled Grant late – swapping the second spot a couple of times before the checkered flag. Mallinen’s third place finish gave him four-career Runoffs podium finishes.
“At the start, the front row rolled away a little bit quicker than I did,” Mallinen said. “So, the start was not great. But, we got back into it. After lap one, I passed Byers to take third. Then, I got into a chase with these two [Yelkin and Grant]. The three of us were running very close for the first five or six laps. It was good fight. I felt like I had the faster car during that period of time. I backed off a bit in Turn One and a couple of other places. Sedat gapped us around lap seven. Then, Keith and I had a good fight – traded some spots. The car ran great. I switched from a Toyota to a Mazda this year. I think it made a real good run. It showed that it’s an equal car and that it’s just as fast as these other guys. It was a good race.”
Byers finished fourth in the No. 28 Swan/Hoosier/TRD Swith 014a Toyota. Ethan Ringel, of Windermere, Fla., finished fifth in the No. 7 One Formula Racing Swift 016a.
J. R. Smart, of Fitchburg, Wis., was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing eight positions throughout the race.
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 Friday’s SCCA Formula Atlantic 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), Sedat Yelkin, Canfield, OH, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
2, (2), Keith Grant, Germantown, TN, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
3, (3), Michael Mallinen, Liberty Lake, WA, Swift 016.a, 13.
4, (4), Jason Byers, Livonia, MI, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
5, (7), Ethan Ringel, Windermere, FL, Swift 016a, 13.
6, (9), Matt Miller, Orland Park, IL, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
7, (5), Jean-Luc Liverato, Alpharetta, GA, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
8, (6), Tyler Hunter, Denver, CO, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
9, (10), John Burke, Rumson, NJ, Swift 014a, 13.
10, (12), Gaston Kearby, Corpus Christi, TX, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
11, (19), J.R. Smart, Fitchburg, WI, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
12, (18), Robert Corliss, Monterey, CA, Swift 014a, 13.
13, (20), Snake Livernash, Spanaway, WA, Swift 008a, 13.
14, (21), Charles C. Duncan, Broomfield, CO, Swift 016a Mazda, 13.
15, (16), Bruce Hamilton, Monkton, MD, Swift 014a Toyota, 13.
16, (14), Fabio Castellani, Streamwood, IL, Swift 014a Toyota, 12.
17, (15), Bruce Crockett, Red Lion, PA, Swift 014a, 12.
DNF, (11), Jacek Mucha, Laval, QC, Swift JMS 016 CP Mazda, 4.
DNF, (13), Dwight Rider, Aurora, CO, Ralt RT41 Toyota, 4.
DNF, (8), Jeff Kowalik, Cape Coral, FL, Swift 016a Mazda, 1.
DNS, (17), Richard Zober, Croydon, PA, Swift 016a Mazda, .
Overall Time of Race: 27:03.594
Average Race Speed: 115.300 mph
Margin of Victory: 8.377 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:03.222
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 116.862 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #09 J.R. Smart
Lap Leaders: #75 – Laps 1-13
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