ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 20, 2013) – Andy Wolverton, of Papillion, Neb., won his second-career Touring 2 National Championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Road America. Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa., finished second. Matthew Pullano, of Endwell, N.Y., finished third.
Wolverton started second in the No. 86 Raw Racing/Hoosier/Angry Sheep moto Chevrolet Corvette C5 quickly dropped to third when the green flag flew. Wolverton quickly engaged Kyle Kelley, of Huntington Beach, Calif., for second place and passed him at the start/finish line on lap three. From there, Wolverton passed the then-race leader Rezzetano in Canada Corner on lap five for the lead and never looked back. Wolverton set the Hawk Hot Lap (2:24.128, 99.911 mph) en route to the win by 5.950-seconds.
“I had one of those moments where my talents ran out on Lap 1,” Wolverton said of his race start. “Going up the hill, coming out of (Turn) 5, I missed a shift. I’m sure when I watch the video I am going to cringe. It’s got to look just awful and had to jam it into gear. I got it in gear and calmed down, then I started concentrating and trying to get back up to the front, because you can’t keep having mistakes or the fast guys are going to run away from you.
“I started to get confident when I saw them race each other and then they stopped, and that’s when I got nervous and flipped my mirror up and ignored them. Kyle was starting to reel me back in a little bit, somewhat because I was conserving the car in case he got close enough to start racing me. I wanted to have some brakes and some tires left to do what I needed to do. At the same time, I didn’t want to go too slow and conserve too much because if you don’t have to race him, you don’t have to. You want to keep them at a distance. So my crew chief Dave Jones would call in the distance every lap, and keep me informed.”
“This is the first time I won it on track. The first one, in ’08, I was a rookie, very green. I was sharing information with everybody. Don Knowles, who was so helpful to me, told me, ‘You need to stop talking so much.’ And he was right. But that win, I crossed the line in second after an incident with Knowles and [Bill] Ziegler, and they later disqualified Ziegler from the win. It was a bad deal for both of them. I would have been happy to have received third behind them, but I won. This was time first I crossed the line (in the lead) and it was great. I can’t describe it.”
Rezzetano, a Runoffs rookie, started from SafeRacer pole in the No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Ford Racing/Hoosier Ford Mustang GT and led the first four laps before relinquishing the lead to Wolverton in Turn 12. On lap six, Rezzetano missed a shift in Canada Corner and was promptly rear-ended by Kelley in the No. 79 UPR.com Chevrolet Corvette. As a result of the contact, Kelley moved to second, while Rezzetano dropped to third.
On the final lap of the 13-lap race, Kelley looked locked in second place until his Corvette began to smoke with engine troubles. Those issues dropped him out of contention and he finished sixth, elevating Rezzetano to second.
“I got out front, and it was good,” Rezzetano said of his race start. “I had the pole, and figured Andy would be good on the start. I got away a little bit. He and Kyle (Kelley) had a good battle. I think he missed a shift, which is why I was able to get a little bit of a gap. Once I got going, I had a little bit of a transmission issue; couldn’t get it in gear a couple times and slowed down my shifts a little bit. Andy had some power on me, so he caught up pretty quickly. Once those two guys slipped by, I figured I could reel Kyle back in, and then he started having his issues. Once I got back by him, it was fine. I figured I was going to settle for second. The car was good; it was tough. I got a lot heavier car than the Corvettes. We were just trying to feel it out, see how fast we could go. So I am happy. The Mustang, I feel like it ran really well for what it is.”
Pullano started seventh in the No. 07 Pullanopt.com/Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette. He spent the first 12 laps battling Tom Sloe, of Newbury, Ohio, for what seemed to be fourth position. With Kelley off the pace, the two were racing for the final podium spot. The battled heated up coming out of the final corner up the front straight. The two made side-to-side contact nearly the whole way to the checkered flag until Pullano spun in front of Sloe. Due to the contact, Pullano crossed the finish line backwards and eventually made contact with both the outside and inside front straight wall. The car sustained heavy damage, but the Runoffs rookie finished third, while Sloe finished fourth in the No. 97 Hutter Racing Eng/Hoosier/Russell Chevrolet Corvette C5.
“Tom and I had a nice little battle going on,” Pullano said. “He has a lot more experience than I do here. I only got out for two sessions during the week. I was just looking for an opportunity. I had an opportunity a couple laps previously, and ran off the track a little bit. I made up the ground, and I saw that his tires were probably going away. I hit the curbs really hard in (Turn) 13. I got it loose, and I figured he would go to the inside to block, so there was a nice little over-under opportunity. He had some anger issues up the front stretch and got a little argy-bargy. I figured once I got ahead, I would show off and go backwards across the line and show him who's better.”
Pullano had the Go Pro Hero Move of the Race for his backward third place finish. Pullano was also the Sunoco Hard Charger, starting seventh and finishing third.
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 Touring 2 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, (2), Andy Wolverton, Papillion, NE, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
2, (1), Kurt Rezzetano, Phoenixville, PA, Ford Mustang GT, 13.
3, (7), Matthew Pullano, Endwell, NY, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
4, (6), Tom Sloe, Newbury, OH, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
5, (3), Jay Patel, Crown Point, IN, Porsche 911/996, 13.
6, (4), Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, CA, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
7, (5), Don Knowles, Pittsboro, NC, Ford Mustang GT, 13.
8, (8), David Sanders, Exton, PA, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
9, (11), Todd Napieralski, Chelsea, MI, Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE, 13.
10, (10), Andrew Longe, Naples, FL, Porsche 996, 13.
11, (9), Natha Waldbaum, Omaha, NE, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
12, (14), Michael Pettiford, Louisville, CO, Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, 13.
13, (12), Norman Betts, Ann Arbor, MI, Chevrolet Corvette, 13.
14, (13), Gary Mason, Waterford, MI, Porsche 996, 13.
15, (16), CJ Moses, Gainesville, VA, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, 13.
16, (15), John Baldwin, Covington, LA, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti, 13.
17, (17), Scotty B White, Auburn, WA, Ford Mustang GT, 12.
Overall Time of Race: 31:37.436
Average Race Speed: 98.659 mph
Margin of Victory: 5.950 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:24.128
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 99.911 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #07 Matthew Pullano
Lap Leaders: #36 – Laps 1-4, #86 – Laps 5-13