ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Lawrence Loshak drove from last to first to capture his first Formula 1000 title at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America.
Lucian Pancea and Brandon Dixon completed the podium.
Loshak was the SafeRacer Formula 1000 polesitter, but was late to the grid. In fact, he was still getting buckled into his No. 2 JDR/ETE REMAN/Moon Super Cycle JDR F1000 Suzuki when the entire FB grid left for the pace lap.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Loshak said explaining being late to the grid. “Our crew has been together for over a decade. I have no idea how we did that. We were driving up to the grid all nice and calm. When I drove up and they told me there was one minute to go, and then 30 seconds they were going to let the field go. I can’t express that feeling, especially when you’re sitting on the pole.”
Loshak was at the back of the field when the race went green. He passed 16 cars and was up to fifth after the first circuit. From there, he consistently turned fast race laps, including setting the Hawk Hot Lap with a 2.29.859 (96.090 mph).
On the final lap, and without any communication from his team, Loshak did not know he was in second coming down the front straight. He passed Pancea for the lead before turn one and held on to capture his first-career Formula 1000 National Championship by 6.391-seconds at an average speed of 91.116 mph.
“I had no idea what position I was in because I got out so late,” Loshak said. “I didn’t have communications. My dash went out with the water. Every time I saw a car, my goal was to catch and pass them. I had no idea what position I was in. I knew I wasn’t slowing down until I saw that black and white thing. Mistakes were not an option. I tried to bring home the best result I possibly could for JDR and my crew.”
This win was Loshak’s third-career national championship, following an E Production title in 2006 and a D Sports Racing win in 2010.
Pancea started fourth in the No. 92 Newport Villa/STOHR Cars Stohr F1000 Suzuki and passed Dixon for race lead in turn eight on the first lap. From there, he was the race leader for the next 12 laps and led at the stripe starting the final circuit. Pancea finished second, a career-best finish at this event.
“The first part [of the race] was kind of easy,” Pancea said. “I checked my mirrors and saw that I had built a good gap. I thought if I could keep this gap I’ll be good until the end. I heard on the radio that there were only five minutes to go and I kept pushing. But, the car started to get squirrely. I had a hard time putting the power down. I think my wet tires started to give way. It was too long in the dry. There was not too much standing water. I saw Lawrence coming. I said I am going to keep it clean and see how it goes. I’m happy to be here. I’m glad it was possible for me to be here for the 50th anniversary.”
Dixon, the Formula 1000 defending National Champion, grabbed the early lead in the No. 1 GDRE/GC&G Services/Hoosier/PFC/Hype Citation 1000, but it did not last long. Pancea passed him halfway through the first lap. Dixon was in second until the penultimate lap when Loshak passed him for position. Dixon held on to finish third.