ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Brandon Dixon, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., led flag-to-flag in dominating fashion to capture his second-career Formula 1000 title at the 49th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America.
Mike Beauchamp, of Green Bay, Wis., and Jake Latham, of Broomfield, Colo., completed the podium.
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Dixon started from the Gumout pole position in the No. 7 Citation Engineering/Hoosier Tire Citation Suzuki and got a great jump at the start. He took the lead in Turn One and never looked back. Dixon won by more than one lap over Beauchamp.
“On the opening lap, J.R. Osborne was strong,” Dixon said. “I thought he had chance to be a very strong competitor. But, it looked like he had engine problems on the second lap. At that point, there was a pretty big gap. I tried to keep focused, hit my marks and not make a big mistake. There was no reason to drive 10 tenths, but drive hard enough to make the car work well and stay really focused.
“Both [wins] mean a lot to me. Last year, it was disappointing with no one to blame but myself. I wanted this win this year. I wanted it a lot.”
Dixon turned the Hawk Performance fast race lap with a 2:07.543 (112.903 mph), which set a new Runoffs fast race lap record.
Driving the No. 25 Gyrodynamics/Slick Eyewear Van Diemen, Beauchamp started ninth and was in the top five by lap three. On lap six, Beauchamp passed Michael Crowe, of Jamestown, Ky., for third. At this point, Beauchamp and Latham swapped spots several times. In fact, this battle lasted until the penultimate lap when Beauchamp made his final move, passing Latham for a second-place finish.
“I got kind of a bad start,” Beauchamp said. “A lot of the guys behind me got around me. But, attrition played a part. Traffic played a part. I was able to run Jake down a couple of times. Then, he ran me down. Some guys dropped out. Some spun right in front of us, in fact. That certainly helped us move up. It’s incredible to be here.”
Latham started seventh in the No. 5 SCR Performance/GDRE/Rocky Soft Stohr Suzuki and made a brief appearance in the top three by lap five, but soon came under fire from Glen Cooper, of Roswell, Ga., Beauchamp, and Crowe and was shuffled back to fifth.
Undaunted, Latham persevered and was in second with one lap to go. But, Beauchamp got around him on the final lap and Latham had to settle for his second consecutive third-place Formula 1000 National Championship finish.
“I had a real bad start because I was being very conservative,” Latham said. “It’s a new car and I’m not used to open wheels. I wanted to make sure I made it through Turn One. After that, a couple of cars I out-qualified were ahead of me, I was able to get by them. I spent the whole race trying to chase down people.
“The Formula Atlantics had a big affect on my race and I know for Mike [Beauchamp] as well. When they [Formula Atlantic cars] came by Mike would pass me and I would have to pass him again. At the end, you saw how close it was. That last lap was entertaining. There was an Atlantic car right in the middle of us, and I ended up right behind Mike’s wing going through the Kink. I couldn’t quite get him on the brakes into Canada Corner. I thought I might be able to get him through Turn 14. But, he kind of got crossed up and a little bit sideways. I had to brake a little bit on the way out. It was just a run up the hill to the line to see who had a better drive. It was an unbelievably thrilling time.”
Daniel Robinson, of Marquette, Mich., finished fourth in the No. 24 Frontier Medical Devices Novak Van Diemen RF99 and was awarded the Sunoco Hard Charger for his efforts. He started 13th.
Jeremy Hill, of Toronto, Canada, finished fifth in the No. 00 Hoosier Tire Photon VD07 Suzuki.