ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Chad Gilsinger held on to win Sunday’s Touring 3 race in the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, leading all 13 laps at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track.
Second was Kevin Fandozzi and third was Scotty B. White.
Gilsinger averaged 93.958 mph and set the race’s fastest lap, 2:31.400 (95.112 mph).
Gilsinger – the SafeRacer polesitter who drove the No. 07 BFGoodrich/HPD/H&R Acura TL SH-AWD – had established a lead in excess of eight seconds, but won by only 1.834 seconds. Much of his advantage was lost on the final lap, when he became caught behind a lapped car through turn 12, which was covered by a local caution. Despite that, he was able to earn his second National Championship in the Runoffs; he also won the race in 2010.
“I was basically in cruise mode at that point, and was coming up on lapped traffic,” Gilsinger said. “He was going overly slow, and he was pointing me by. As we were going down into Canada (Corner), as I got alongside him, I noticed a yellow flag. I didn’t want anything to screw up the win, so I almost stopped to let him back by, so we could get past the incident, before I passed him after the incident so there was no question.
“In the meantime, these guys (Fandozzi and White) were coming full board,” Gilsinger continued. “It was almost a bad situation, but luckily it turned out OK.”
Gilsinger battled for the first couple laps with David Daugherty, who was making his first appearance in the Runoffs since 2003, but steadily pulled away after three laps. He said he was determined to overcome a lackluster performance from 2012.
“Last year, I brought a knife to a gun fight,” Gilsinger said. “This year, I searched for a gun and found the biggest one. I knew if I could get out front and break off the draft, that I would be okay. David Daugherty has almost as much power as me, and he made a pretty optimistic move on me in Turn 1. I think he lost some momentum after that, and that allowed Kevin to battle him, which allowed me to pull away. I knew if they weren’t in my draft, I would be okay. It worked out that way.”
Gilsinger also compared his 2010 victory to that of this year’s 50th Runoffs triumph.
“This one was a little easier, I’ll admit,” Gilsinger said. “But it’s definitely not any less special. Everybody that comes here is very passionate about racing and SCCA and doing the best they can. I’m really happy for myself and Acura, and glad to bring home a win.”