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The Callahan Report: SCCA National Championships - More Champions Crowned

12 October 1997

LEXINGTON, OH: The SCCA continues to crown national champions at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The Valvoline Runoffs continued today at this beautiful race track in the hills of North Central Ohio.

[ SCCA Collage ]

There were eight races today in eight different classes. The racing wraps up tomorrow with the final eight races. The racing included seven races yesterday.

In action today, Ross Thompson of Phoenix, AZ took the American Sedan National Championship. Thompson beat Chris Bernard of CA by almost 5 seconds. Both drivers were in Chevrolet Camaros. Ross Murray came home third in a Ford Mustang. The top ten had an even mix of Ford Mustangs (4) and Chevy Camaros (6).

Thompson tried to get a bit of a jump on the field at the start of the race. The chief started didn't like what he saw, so the field had to make an extra lap. They were waved off again. The race finally got underway on lap 3.

American Sedan Top Ten with finishing position, (starting position), driver, hometown, region, car:

1. (1) Ross Thompson,Phoenix, Ariz., Ariz Chevrolet Camaro
2. (3) Chris Bernard, San Francisco, Calif., KC, Chevrolet Camaro
3. (4) Ross Murray, Marina Del Rey, Calif., CSCC,Ford Mustang
4. (2) Tim Selby, Jonesboro, Ind., Indy,Chevrolet Camaro
5. (6) Jerry Post ,Allendale, N.J., NNJ, Chevrolet Camaro
6. (7) Bob Hahn, Nacogdoches, Texas, Hous,Ford Mustang
7. (10) David Beghtel, Ft Wayne, Ind., FtWn,Chevrolet Camaro
8. (12) Vince Meyers, Annapolis, Md.,WDC,Chevrolet Camaro
9. (5) Eric Butze,Memphis, Tenn.,MidS,Ford Mustang
10. (19) Tom Himes, Slidell, La., Delt Ford Mustang

In the showroom stock B class, It was Michael Galati of the North East Ohio region who grabbed the national championship. Galati drove his Mazda Miata to a 6.5 second advantage by the end of the race over home state rival, David Roush. He was also driving a Mazda Miata. In fact, the top five cars were Mazdas.

Michael Galati was selected for the Stack, Inc. "Drive of the Race" award and Chad Melnik was selected for the "Outstanding Drive" award, also sponsored by Stack, Inc.

Showroom Stock B (SSB) Top Ten with finishing position, (starting position), driver, hometown, region, car:

1. (1) Michael Galati,Olmsted Twsp, Ohio, NeOh,Mazda Miata
2. (3) David Roush,Shelby, Ohio,OhV,Mazda Miata
3. (7) Gail Baker,Santa Rosa, Calif.,SanF,Mazda Miata
4. (4) Eric Morehouse,Fountain Valley, Calif,CSCC,Mazda Miata
5. (5) Vincent Ocuto,Mohawk, N.Y.,CeNY,Mazda Miata
6. (17) Chad Melnik,Tallmadge, Ohio,NeOh Nissan 240SX
7. (8) Phil Croyle,Boca Raton, Fla.,Fla,Mazda Miata
8. (12) Erich Heuschele,Oxford, Mich.,Det,Dodge Neon
9. (10) Tony Suever,Westlake, Ohio,OhV,Mazda MX-5
10. (6) Ken Simonson ,Strongsville, Ohio,NeOh,Mazda Miata

In Formula Fords, it was "Back Home Again In Indiana." Hoosier drivers finished one-two in the competitive series. John LaRue of Muncie, IN was the winner, followed by same region member Bruce May of Plainfield, IN. LaRue's margin of victory was mere 0.3 seconds.

The finish was a surprise as John Horgas and ChrisWinkler were the cars to beat. The two got together at turn 11. Winkler flipped his racer into the tire barrier. Horgas' day was also done. This left the door open for LaRue. He led only the last lap.

Dan Rinehart was selected for the Stack, Inc. "Drive of the Race" award and Chris Winkler was selected for the "Outstanding Drive" award, also sponsored by Stack, Inc.

Formula Ford Top Ten with finishing position, (starting position), driver, hometown, region, car:

1. (6) John LaRue,Muncie, Ind., Indy,Citation
2. (11) Bruce May, Plainfield, Ind.,Indy,Swift DB-1
3. (4) Clark Cambern, Farmington Hills, Mich.,Det,Swift DB-1
4. (12) Andrew Scherfenberg,Houston, Texas, Hous Swift DB-1
5. (15) Michael Kolthoff,Hamilton, Ohio,Cinc,Swift DB-1
6. (18) Stan Townes,Santa Clara, Calif.,CSCC,Swift DB-1
7. (16) Tim Dunn,Russell, Ohio,NeOh,Swift DB-1
8. (8) David Anderson,Pittsburgh, Pa.,StCt Swift DB-1
9. (22) Bill Ferdon ,Montclair, N.J., NNJ ,Van Diemen RF-9
10. (17) Dan Rinehart,Janesville, Wis.,BhV,Swift DB-1

In the showroom stock C class, the start of the race looked like a demo derby. There were cars in the grass and in the guardrails at nearly every corner. Neal Sapp was the eventual winner as the race finally settled down.

Neons took 9 of the top ten spots in the race. Leon Neal finished 0.7 seconds behind Sapp in the 39 car field.

There was a late race caution with four laps to go. The national champion Sapp said. "The track was real greasy. Leon presssured me the whole way. I was glad to see the checkered flag!" He continued, "The yellows hurt me. I had to drive to protect my lead. It was a dogfight to the end. I flipped the mirror up so I wouldn't see Leon behind me."

Showroom Stock C (SSC) Top Ten with finishing position, (starting position), driver, hometown, region, car:

1. (4) Neal Sapp,Ellicott City, Md.WDC,Dodge Neon
2. (2) Leon Neal,Southfield, Mich., Det, Dodge Neon
3. (14) Larry Ray, Sugar Land, Texas, Hous,Plymouth Neon
4. (10) Gene Harrington,Louisville, Ky.,Ky,Dodge Neon
5. (17) Bill Verdien, Milwaukee, Wis., Milw,Dodge Neon
6. (18) Henry Van Vurst,Pompano Beach, Fla.,CFla,Mazda Miata
7. (6) Ralph Porter,Kokomo, Ind.,Indy,Dodge Neon
8. (15) Tim Connolly, Banks, Ore., Ore ,Dodge Neon
9. (22) Carl Young ,San Jose, Calif.,SanF,Plymouth Neon
10. (8) Larry DuLude,Easton, Conn. ,NNJ,Dodge Neon

Other National Championships awarded today included Super Vee, Formula 500, D Sports Racing, and G Production. The top three finishers are listed.

Formula Vee
1. (1) Jonathan Rufener, Ft Myers, Fla,
2. (13) Jeff Salcedo, Des Plaines, Ill,
3. (3) Randy Harris, San Anselmo, Calif,

G Production
1. (8) Hugh Armstrong, Wilmot, Wis.
2. (2) Steve Sargis` Frankfort, Ill.
3. (6) Kevin Allen` Green Cove Spgs, Fla

D Sports Racing
1. (1) Michael Reupert ,Hubertus, Wis.
2. (6) Al Beasley Jr.,Windham, Ohio
3. (3) Lutrell Harms,Sonoma, Calif.

Formula 500
1. (1) Michael Brent,Bethel, Conn.
2. (3) Wesley Wilfong,Charlotte, N.C.
3. (2) David Lapham,Bronxville, N.Y.

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel