October 12, 2008 - Topeka, KS - After three days of racing, with more than 700 drivers in 25 classes, Toyota-powered competitors Pete Peterson and David Grant both earned the coveted title of ‘National Champion' in each of their respective classes at the 2008 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Runoffs®, October 10-12. Additionally, Peterson, Grant and first time Runoffs competitor Daniel Stalzer were each awarded the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in their individual races.
Repeatedly named by Car and Driver magazine as one of the "10 Best Motorsports Events," this year marked the 45th Annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs® and the third consecutive year hosted at Heartland Park Topeka. Of the 700 plus competitors who qualified and entered this year's event, 20 were Toyota-powered racers competing in five separate classes.
Long-time Toyota racer Peterson, who also owns a Toyota dealership in Lumberton, N.C., was first to cross the finish line, earning his seventh GT-3 National Championship. After starting fifth, Peterson began closing in on the lead car on lap 6 and eventually made his way up to second by lap 11. He took the lead on lap 13 and maintained it for five more laps to finish the race first. Peterson, driving the No. 98 Valvoline Toyota Celica, had the fastest race lap of 1:40.507, while averaging speeds of 88.388 mph, on the 14-turn, 2.5-mile road course. With seven national championships under his belt, Peterson now sits in fifth on the all time wins list.
"It was a good day," said Peterson after his winning his seventh national championship." "My big plan was to pick off a couple at the start, but that didn't happen so I just fell in line. Cyphert spun in front of me, then Black fell out and we settled down with the three of us into a pretty darn good race. It was pretty amazing how everyone was right there. I can't think of two people I'd rather share this podium with."
Peterson also dedicated his win to friend and former SCCA National Champion Paul Newman.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-native Wolfgang Maike celebrated his 20th anniversary racing a Toyota vehicle, as well as a second place finish at this year's Runoffs. Maike, who was voted this year by Car and Driver magazine as "the one to beat," started the GT-3 race in fourth position and finished only seconds behind eventual race winner Peterson. After he moved up to second position, Maike battled for the win down to the last turn and posted the fastest lap time of 1:40.120.
"It was a good, good race," Maike comments after celebrating another Runoffs podium finish. "We picked them off one by one. My No.13 Toyota Paseo just ran good. We run the 1600, which is the smaller engine of the bunch, but it ran very well. There were several turns that I could have made a move, but I just didn't have the power to complete the pass. I wanted to have a safe race rather than have everyone go home with crashed cars. We had a great race…it was a safe and fast race."
Chad Bacon of Kingsport, TN started the GT-Lite race in ninth and finished on the podium in third with his No. 18 Toyota Tercel. Bacon maintained his third place position from lap 15 through the end of the race (lap 18).
"I never imagined I would be on the podium," replied Bacon. "I knew I didn't have the fastest car and that I'd need some attrition and help. I needed to run my race and that's what I did. I just stayed consistent and tried to do the best I could and it all kind of came my way. It worked out really well."
David Grant of Germantown, Tenn. won the Formula Atlantic (FA) National Championship in his No. 12 Toyota-powered/Hoosier Swift .014, by 0.209 seconds over second place finisher, Mirl Swan. After starting on the outside row, Grant's main mission was to charge ahead of polesitter Swan to capture the win. Grant led all 18 laps of the race and had a breathtaking two-wide battle through turns three, four and five. He posted the fastest race lap of 1:25.224, which is better than the existing Runoffs record and averaged speeds of 104.149 mph on the 2.5 mile road course. Grant also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for his class.
"I'm ecstatic to win a National Championship," Grant said. "I knew I had to get Mirl on the start, or it would have been almost impossible to get by him later. I lucked out and timed the start about as well as I could. From that point, I don't think he lifted at all. One lap he'd be right up on my tail -- he would shoot right up to me. With the aero, it's hard to get up underneath somebody and make a pass."
Mirl Swan of Platte City, Mo. and David Wilcox of Derby Kan. completed the top-three in the FA class, earning Toyota a podium sweep for the weekend. Swan qualified on the pole and finished second in his No. 88 Toyota/Swift 014. Wilcox gained one position after he qualified fourth and finished the race in on the podium in third. Toyota-powered cars claimed the top seven positions in the FA class.
Beginning next year in 2009, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® will be held at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wis.); the sixth venue in the Runoffs' history to host the signature event.
Starting Wednesday 11/12, all 25 races in the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs will receive their own one-hour show on SPEED. Abbreviated television broadcast schedule is as follows:
GT-3 Wednesday, 12/10/08, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
SSC Wednesday, 12/17/08, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
GT-LITE Wednesday, 1/14/09, NOON (ET)
CSR Wednesday, 1/21/09, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
FA Wednesday, 2/4/09, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
The complete broadcast schedule is available at: www.speedtv.com
Log-on to www.toyotamotorsportsmedia.com to access Toyota images
Toyota-Powered Racers Finishing Positions – Heartland Park Topeka
DNF – Did Not Finish, DNS – Did Not Start
Formula Atlantic (FA)
1st, David Grant (No. 12/Swift 014)
2nd, Mirl Swan (No. 88/Swift 014)
3rd, David Wilcox (No. 10/Swift DB4)
4th, Keith Grant (No. 40/Swift. 014a)
5th, Fabio Castellani (No. 97/Swift 014)
6th, Chris Lee (No. 69/Swift 014)
7th, Jeffrey "JR" Walker (No. 93/Swift 014)
9th, Michael Mallinen (No. 71/Ralt-RT41)
DNS, Hans Peter (No. 66/Swift 014)
DNS, Dan Cobb (No.18/Swift 014)
C Sports Racing (CSR)
4th Bill Goldkind (No. 76/Viking)
1st, Pete Peterson (No. 98/Toyota Celica)
2nd,Wolfgang Maike (No. 13/Toyota Paseo)
4th,Milton Grant (No. 75/Toyota Celica)
DNF, Michael Cyphert (No. 76/Toyota Celica)
Showroom Stock C (SSC)
6th, Mark McCaughey (No. 18/Toyota Celica GT)
3rd Chad Bacon (No.18/Toyota Tercel)
9th Daniel Stalzer (No. 41/Toyota Corolla)
11th Roy Lopshire (No.9 Toyota Tercel)
19th Pete Peterson (No. 98/Toyota Celica)
For a complete listing of the event results, log-on to: www.scca.com/runoffs
(Race results are listed by class)
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