ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Tim Kautz narrowly beat Reid Hazelton by 0.100 seconds Saturday to capture the Formula F title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Jeff Bartz finished third.
Kautz, the Saferacer polesitter, and Hazelton treated SCCA race fans to the closest race finish of the weekend so far and they did it in grand fashion. Both drivers swapped the top spot several times throughout the 13-lap race.
Leading on the final lap, Kautz drove his No. 88 Braeburn/Two Dogg/Hoosier/Euroquipe DF3D Honda into Turn 1 and slid wide, allowing Hazelton to take the lead in the No. 01 Hoosier/LMI Averill Stuff/Farley Engine Van Diemen RF92 Ford.
Now leading, Hazelton did everything he could to keep Kautz behind him, but Kautz broke late in turn five and retook the lead. But the two weren’t done. Hazelton passed Kautz in Canada Corner and held the lead coming out of the final corner up the hill. At the stripe, Kautz passed Hazelton for the final time — securing back-to-back Formula F National Championships and his third career FF title. Kautz’s pass at the line earned him the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
“It was a great race, the whole race,” Kautz said. “We [Kautz and Hazelton] were battling a little harder than we should have at the start. And then, I could see Reid decide hey, there’s too many people coming out to play, let’s pull away a little. So we worked together. We kind of worked together, and the last couple of laps the gloves came off. I think the last lap, I went from first to second to first to second to first. So that’s a fun race, a real fun race.
“I did go wide – there’s that fine line with carrying entry speed and the car pushing – and I went in just a little too wide. You know, when you have somebody staying with you the whole race, you got to let that last lap count. And, I was hoping to get away a little bit, because I knew he was really fast down into (turn) 5. I went through (turn) one a little too quick, and the car pushed wide on me, and he got by me. Then, I got by him down in (turn) 5, and then he got back by me in Canada (Corner), and then I got by him up the hill. So it was just good, hard racing. Somebody needs to put this guy (Hazelton) in a fast, (aerodynamic) car. It was great fun.”
“Yeah, it was close pretty much from start to finish,” Hazelton said. “Jeff (Bartz) kind of caught up to us, once me and Tim (Kautz) started to fight for it a little bit. I decided that was not the way to go about it once Scotty (Rubenzer) came up on us too. So then, we just worked together to establish a little bit of a gap. We both tried a couple different things to see where we stood. He tried up the hill and I tried in (turn) five. On the last lap, we had some lapped traffic that I tried to use, and Tim was just a maniac on the brakes in (turn) five, and he took it and he had it. So I knew the last place I was going to have it was in (turn) 12. And, as we went up the hill, he just pulled right by.