Mercer Takes Exciting Sports 2000 SCCA National Championship
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 21, 2013) -- Mark Mercer, of Aurora, Colo., earned his third Sports Car Club of America National Championship, winning Sports 2000 at the 50th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs®. Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., and David Doran, of Cincinnati, Ohio, completed the top three at Road America.
With planned changes in the Sports Racing category of SCCA, it marked the 34th, and final, Sports 2000 race as a class, with Mercer becoming its second most decorated driver, tying Bob Lobenberg with his third title.
Mercer started from the SafeRacer Pole Position in his No. 34 Ferenco/Hoosier Tires Lola 90/91 Ford, and held the lead from start to finish in the 40-minute limited, 10-lap race around the four-mile circuit. His win did not come easy, though, as Wolf's No. 8 Goodyear/Lake Street Carbir CS2.8 Ford was charging at the finish, challenging for the position through Canada Corner and into Turn 13 on the final lap.
In the end, Mercer was able to nose ahead entering Turn 13, taking the win by 0.510-second.
"I knew Bart was back there and he was the one that would catch me if anybody could," Mercer said. "The breaks went in my favor, for the most part.
"I just tried to keep [Wolf] back there. He was better than me under braking in two places that I knew of. I kept on driving as fast as I could and kept trying to get a run through the traffic. It was a great race. It was very intense. I liked it and I wish there would have been more Sports 2s here to enjoy it. Our class is leaving us, so this is the last one."
Wolf started fifth after much of qualifying during the week was rained out, and had to work past Doran, Tony Sleath and Michael Bautz to get to the runner-up position. Wolf closed up on Mercer on lap six, but caught traffic and fell back to nearly three seconds behind. On the penultimate lap, Wolf set a race lap record at 2:16.283 (106.930 mph), which allowed him to close on Mercer for the final lap.
"It was a great run," Wolf said. "We had a little misfortune in qualifying. I was just trying to enjoy every lap. It was the last race here and the last race for Sports 2000. Just tried to live in the moment and be there. It was just really fun.
"Traffic played a little bit of a factor. Unfortunately, one of the Formula Mazdas had quite a moment in front of me at the top of Turn Six. Luckily, I didn't have a big impact there. So I just started working on trying to catch back up to Mark [Mercer]. Toward the end, the last lap we were right there. [Mercer took] a couple interesting lines into some of the corners to prevent me from passing. Then, finally in 12 we had a little bit of contact. We'll see what transpires from there."
Doran started fourth and moved to the final podium position in his No. 77 Hoosier/Doran Racing Doran JE-1 Ford. It was a lonely run for the 1995 Sports 2000 Champion.
"My race wasn't too eventful," Doran said. "I got a good start and then I just settled in. My car was kind of pushing a little too much. Those guys just kept pulling away. With that push, I just couldn't get out of the corners."
Michael Bautz, who started third, finished fourth in the No. 42 Hoosier/Juliospolishing crib/Artera Lola T90/90 Ford, with Chris Helt completing the top five in his No. 25 Excelle Racing Lola T89/90 Ford.
In addition to taking the Hawk Performance Hot Lap, Wolf also earned the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing from fifth to second.
Mercer's retention of the lead was named the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
The race was run in conjunction with Formula Mazda, which had a startline crash, necessitating a lengthy cleanup. The cleanup resulted in the race running up against its 40-minute time limit, instead of the 13 laps planned.
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, September 20 through Sunday, September 22.
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 Saturday's SCCA Sports 2000 National Championship race at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Mark Mercer, Aurora, CO, Lola 90/91, 10. 2, (5), M Bart Wolf, Elkhart Lake, WI, Carbir CS2.8, 10. 3, (4), David Doran, Cincinnati, OH, Doran JE-1, 10. 4, (3), Michael Bautz, Machesney Pk, IL, Lola T90/90, 10. 5, (6), Chris Helt, Fort Collins, CO, Lola T89/90, 10. 6, (7), Jack Donnellan, Chickasha, OK, Lola 598, 10. 7, (8), Steve Meyer, Longmont, CO, Lola 88/90, 10. 8, (9), William B Niemeyer, Loveland, OH, Doran JE-1, 10. 9, (11), Charles Duncan, Cottage Grove, WI, Lola 88/90, 10. 10, (10), Hawley Chester, Atlanta, GA, Royale RP 38/42, 9. DNF, (2), Tony Sleath, Dearborn, MI, Carbir CS2-A2, 2. Overall Time of Race: 40:30.216 Average Race Speed: 59.254 mph Margin of Victory: 0.510-second Hawk Fastest Race Lap: Bart Wolf, 2:16.283 (105.662 mph) Sunoco Hard Charger: #8 Bart Wolf Lap Leaders: Laps 1-10, Mark Mercer