SCCA Valvoline Runoffs® Diary:|
Lexington, OH, September 22, 2001 —
Where's Warren? Mr. Mid-Ohio decided to skip this year's Runoffs and concentrate on the
Spec Racer Ford Pro Series. We're talking about, of course, Warren Stilwell, who not only has
won seven consecutive national championships in Spec Racer Ford, but has virtually won every club
and pro SRF race held at Mid-Ohio. That left this year's title wide open, but the winner would
certainly be very deserving. Stilwell's dominance overshadowed the fact that there were plenty
of talented drivers in the class, and this year's winner would not be backing into it. After
perhaps the best race of the day, with the lead changing hands amongst three drivers, it was
Richard Spicer from Laurel, MD who drove his Hagerman RacEngineering Spec Racer Ford to victory.
Perhaps the biggest miracle of the race was how the 31 car field made it through the first lap
as cleanly as you can possibly run. This coming from a class that at times has been named
unaffectionately Spec Rambo.
Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. The most controversial race of the weekend so far is Touring 2. It
all started when Douglas Gamble, starting from the fourth spot, bumped the pole sitter off
at the first green flag turn, and took the lead. However, he didn't just bump him, he kept whacking him until he
finally got the job done, and Thomas Oates found himself off the track as well as nearly half the field.
To make matters worse, after a mid-race full course yellow, Gamble took off five turns before the green
flag, opening up a massive lead. For some reason, they gave him the green, and he easily went on to take
the checker. However, before he even started his victory lap, he was already being called to report
to Protest Central. His victory lap wasn't any picnic either, as the crowd booed, hissed, and
gave him the thumbs down. Gamble was eventually given a one minute penalty (take your pick --
unsportsmanlike driving, dangerous driving, jumping a restart...) dropping him to 20th. Brian
Keim, from Northville, MI, was awarded the win in his Goodyear/RedLine/Havoc Motorsports Ford
Mustang. The results were still provisional, presumably because Gamble was appealing the decision.
Not even Johnny Cochran can get him out of this jam.
Here, You Take The Win. F Production seemed like the race nobody wanted to win,
but that is not atypical in production classes. First, Steve Sargis took the lead from the pole
position, but on lap nine, his engine gave out. This handed the lead to Rick Haynes, who held
it for five laps before spinning on his own. He pulled in that lap also with a broken engine. The
lead then went to Joe Huffaker who was able to avoid any trouble en route to victory in his RedLine
Oil/Goodyear/Cycle Huffaker Midget. This is the sixth national title won by Huffaker who is from
Burnout. Andy McDermid from Grand Ledge, MI celebrated his American Sedan victory with the
latest craze -- doing a burnout in front of the large crowd in the esses. Though it sounded louder
than the amount of smoke pouring from his tires, the crowd loved it. Not only that, but despite McDermid
driving his Goodyear/RedLine Oil Ford Mustang to a 30 second victory, the fans enjoyed his hard charging
style, sliding the car through the turns on every lap. Plus, the battles for third on back kept the crowd
One Short Of A Double. David Roush, winner of Showroom Stock C yesterday, attempted to make
it two titles in two days starting second in the Showroom Stock B race. However, Roush dropped back in
the early going, and by the time he worked his way back to second, the leader was long gone. J. Randolph
Saucier from Oklahoma City maintained that lead by running consistently fast laps in his Bancroft Cap Co/Good
2 Go Mazda Miata. Roush had to settle for second, one short of a double, but Saucier got his own double,
winning SSB for the second year in a row.
Talk About Close. It appeared that Larry Connor from Centerville, OH easily had the Formula Atlantic
race wrapped up, such was the lead he had. However, a broken left rear hub on his TKM/BRS/RedLine Oil/Goodyear
Ralt RT-41 slowed him down drastically on the last lap, and Keith Lively pulled up alongside him at the checker,
but Connor held the lead, barely, by .129 seconds. In the other formula car race for the day, teammates Keith
Roberts and Kevin Roberts ran one-two, respectively, for the entire 20 laps, never more than a few car lengths
apart. Keith took the win in the Mobile Electron/Hoosier/RedLine Star Formula Mazda.
Eleven Titles. Duane Davis from Carnas, WA won his 11th Runoffs championship when he guided
his Valvoline/TRD/Toyota/Goodyear Toyota Celica to the GT2 victory. Davis remains second on the all time
title list, but is still far behind the all time championship winner -- Jerry Hansen with 27.
Copyright © 2001 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.