ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Elivan Goulart battled Marc Hoover through a rain soaked race to win Friday morning’s Super Touring Under race and become the first champion at the 50th annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Joel Weinberger finished third.
Rain showers fell just before the start of the race, but it didn’t curtail the fight as Goulart averaged 86.176 mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race to win by just 0.286 seconds.
Goulart started second in the No. 72 KRUGSPEED/www.SCDA1.com Lotus Exige, and right away took the battle to Hoover’s SafeRacer polesitting No. 98 Hooverspeed/NRA/Necksgen/Redline Mazda Miata. With rain falling, the power of Hoover’s Miata seemed to almost be a disadvantage, pitching him sideways exiting corners from the start.
The Lotus took the lead for the first time in turn six of the opening lap, and while Hoover settled in, Goulart stretched out the lead by a couple of seconds. Hoover rejoined the battle by lap six, and Hoover was back in front on lap seven.
With the track still soaked, lap eight brought even more drama. The pair swapped the lead three times in corner five, six and through the carousel, with Goulart emerging with the lead again.
With Hoover in tow to the finish, Goulart never put a wheel wrong. Hoover’s last chance at the lead was a strong run out of the final corner and to the checkered flag on the final lap, but Goulart escaped with the narrow final margin and his fourth National Championship. Goulart also turned the Hawk Hot Lap, running a 2:44.539 (87.517 mph).
“It’s an exciting feeling to be back here again,” Goulart said. “We won in ’01 and ’02, then took a little break and won Spec Miata in 2011. That was a similar situation, where the pass was made in the same corner for the national championship. We didn’t come last year, but I thought, for the 50th, we’ve got to come back. So I’m glad to have four in a row now.
“This is one of the most exciting races I’ve been in in a long time. Marc did a phenomenal job driving. A few times out there, I thought he was going to go off. And just when I thought that – he was throwing it sideways and everything – I thought that I had this. Then he saved it. I was like, ‘Aww, come on.’ But my car was really hooked up in the rain. It handled really well and the braking was great on it. He had more power, so it was a balance, give and take. And as he said, we were doing similar lap times, but it came down at the end to that final move. I was glad to be in the right place at the right time, that’s basically what it boiled down to.”