SCCA Northern Stars Invade Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour made its second stop at the four-mile Road America for the summer, competing in round nine of the season-long championship on Sunday in the first day of the doubleheader.
Temperatures climbed into the eighties with high humidity by the afternoon for the seven race groups, which ran 10-lap races without a single full course caution for the day.
The day opened with a series of drivers crawling away from their closest competition, with Ron Pawley taking the Super Touring Under and overall win in the No. 4 J. Pauley Toyota/Scion Lexus IS300 over Touring 3 winner Mark Boden’s No. 4 Fall-Line Motorsports/Hoosier BMW M3. Boden’s BMW kept a gap to third-overall running Aaron Kaplan’s No. 18 Kaplan Racing Systems BMW M3 through the 10-lap race to take the T3 win.
Daniel Bender was the flag-to-flag leader in Touring 4, fourth overall in the No. 10 Bravo Trailers/BFGoodrich Tires Mazda MX-5.
The closest race was, for a few laps, in Super Touring Lite. Tim Selby had moved his No. 48 Mazda Miata to the rear of the No. 61 Creative Technology Inc. Mazda RX-7 of Rich Walke, but Walke stretched his lead back out to over a second and took the checkered flag.
The three small formula car classes came down to the final eight miles, or two circuits, around Road America.
The battle for the overall lead was also the battle for the Formula F class win, and came down to a shootout between the No. 33 Hoosier/Subway Van Diemen Honda of Jeffrey Bartz and the No. 0 Spectrum 014H of Max Mallinen. Bartz led across the stripe to the one to go sign, with 16-year-old Mallinen in tow. Mallinen used the draft to move into the lead under braking in turn five, and held on to the finish in his U.S. Majors Tour debut. Mallinen is no stranger to SCCA racing, however, as the son of 2011 Formula Atlantic National Champion Michael Mallinen.
That Formula F battle played a role in the finish of the Formula Vee race. Once Charles McCormick’s No. 90 RSE Incorporated Vortec CM1 and Ron Whitston’s No. 5 Subway/Hoosier Protoform P2 shook clear of early contender Bruce Livermore, the two were left to settle the race win on their own. McCormick, already playing out his last lap strategy and driving conservatively with fading brakes, quickly switched mental gears with the Formula F battle came through on the last lap and opened up a small gap between he and Whitston. With some breathing room, McCormick increased his aggressiveness, and held the lead through the final lap to win by 0.221-second.
Jeremy Morales started in the back of the grid for the Formula 500 race, but climbed quickly to the front, aided by polesitter Michael Mueller pulling to pit lane on the opening lap in the No. 24 MJ Mfg/Fibeco/Hoosier Red Devil/Rotax. Morales’ No. 110 Mitchell Racing Services Scorpion S1 held the lead until two laps to go, when the No. 20 Metalloid/Hoosier/AIM Scorpion F600 of Brian Novak whipped past, creating enough of a gap in the closing stages to take a 2.988-second win.
The Production class cars, led by Jon Brakke’s No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars Mazda Miata, worked to the front of the field and steered clear of class competition.
The overall win was decided nearly as soon as Brakke took the green flag, as he cruised to a 55-second win over F Production victor Michael Sturm’s No. 48 Sturminator Design/Hoosier Mazda Miata. Sturm was another eight seconds clear of Dieter Griesinger, running second in FP in the No. 69 Mako Mold Corporation Mazda Miata.