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SCCA National Runoffs - McCallum Earns First-Career Formula Mazda National Championship

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ELKHART LAKE, Sept. 21, 2012: Alan McCallum, of Houston, Texas, won his first-career Formula Mazda National Championship in impressive fashion from his 11th starting position at the 49th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Doug Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla. finished second and Steve Jenks, of Walpole, Mass., finished third.

Early in the race, McCallum did a nice job knifing his way through traffic in his No. 11 Alan McCallum Racing Star Formula Mazda to find himself behind Peterson on lap nine. McCallum looked to pass Peterson a couple of times, but thought better of it. On lap 10, McCallum finally passed Peterson for the lead. But, McCallum was not out of the woods yet. Both drivers had to contend with lapped traffic on the final lap, but McCallum held on for a 1.242-second win.

“It was an exciting race,” McCallum said. “There was a lot of action. I had to tell myself to stay calm. Guys are focused on going forward, especially those mid pack and further back. They are not necessarily looking in their mirrors so there is a lot of moving around across track and I had to plan ahead.

“This is the greatest feeling I’ve had yet in my racing career. These guys, I’ve known them for a few years now, are great race car drivers. I respect them a lot. I am honored to be here.”

McCallum was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing 10 positions throughout the race. Those 10 passes combined for the GoPro Hero move of the race.

Gumout pole winner Peterson battled Darryl Wills, of Deer Park, Texas, early in the race. In fact, Wills briefly led the race on lap four before Peterson almost immediately retook the top spot in his No. 87 3 Star Formula Mazda. It looked like Peterson might drive off with his second-career (won it in 2004) Formula Mazda Championship, but a hard charging McCallum tracked him down and Peterson finished second.

“I am not a big fan of blocking,” Peterson said. “So, I let these guys pass me and I would just out brake them and then try to get back around them.

“I spent a lot of time looking in the mirrors. Darryl Wills took the lead for about a lap or so. I got back around him. Robert Noell got around me. I was able to get back around him. I was able to do that with everybody except Al.”

Peterson turned the Hawk Performance fast race lap with a 2:15.600 (106.195 mph).

Jenks started third and fell as low as fifth in his No. 68 High Impact Company Star Formula Mazda. But, worked his way back to third by lap 10 and held on for his first-career Formula Mazda SCCA Runoffs podium.

“This is very exciting,” Jenks said of his finish.

“This was an exciting race,” Jenks said of his finish. “I started third. But, at one point, I think I may have been as far back as fifth or sixth. It was a typical Formula Mazda race. There were cars everywhere. It was very clean for a race I was a part of. I was able to get by Darryl [Wills] after Alan [McCallum] passed him. I got by Robert [Noell] when he spun in the first turn. From there, I was just seeing if I could catch the draft of these guys [McCallum and Peterson]. I was hoping they might carry it in deep one time.

“This is our second year at the Runoffs. We were fourth last year and it’s fun to get one more step up this year.”