SCCA Majors Tour Invades Watkins Glen

F500 podium finishers (from left) Keith Joslyn, Michael Brent and David Lapham celebrate on the podium Saturday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int'l. (Anna Thiel Photo)
F500 podium finishers (from left) Keith Joslyn, Michael Brent and David Lapham celebrate on the podium Saturday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l. (Anna Thiel Photo)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – On the last weekend to score points in the SCCA Eastern Conference Majors Tour, no one was going to relax on Saturday at Watkins Glen Int’l.

As a result, all of the wins were earned, not given, during the BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour event.

Rick Kavitski pulled his No. 24 RDK Engineering Mazda Miata away from the field from pole position and drove to a 7.258-second win in E Production in the day’s opening group.

The battle raged behind him in F Production in the early stages between two former National Champions and a recent podium finisher. Charlie Campbell’s No. 89 Campbell Brothers Racing/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata took the lead on the opening lap, but 2010 champ and polesitter Kevin Ruck moved back into the lead on lap three. Campbell and 2009 champion Mark Carpenter, making a recent return to racing after a two year sabbatical, chased the No. 3 Hoosier/Honda/Cobalt Acura Integra while simultaneously battling for the runner-up.

Ruck opened up a gap while Carpenter’s No. 0 GSS Technical Publications Acura Integra moved into second on lap seven. With a lap and a half to go, Carpenter’s car slowed and pulled off course, elevating Campbell to second.

That mechanical failure would prove especially costly, as Ruck slowed coming onto the front straight to take the checkered flag with a flat front tire. Trying to will his car to the finish line, Campbell whipped past at speed within 20 feet of the stripe, taking the win by just 0.088 second.

GT-1 appeared poised to be a battle, as both Amy Ruman and Dillon Machavern were flirting with the existing class track record in qualifying. Ruman led away from the pole in the No. 23 McNichols Co./Cenwald/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette, and then went to work edging away from Machavern’s No. 29 Heritage Automotive Group/Riggins Engineering Ford Falcon.

Ruman opened up a lead of five seconds by lap 11, when the full course caution flew for a single car incident. The race ended under yellow, saving Ruman from battling off a final charge.

When overall polesitter CJ McAbee’s No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage/Hoosier AJ’s 2012/Rotax pulled to pit lane with mechanical issues on lap six, it left both Joe Parsons and Michael Brent to cruise to Formula F and Formula 500 wins, respectively. Not even a full course caution on lap eight could challenge the runs, as Parsons’ No. 37 Investment Advisors Asset Management Swift DB-6 gapped the field once again on the lap 11 restart. Brent cleared the Formula 500 field in his No. 47 Hoosier Tire/QRE Invader QC-1/Rotax to win that class.

Elivan Goulart and Matthew Ferris pulled away from the Spec Miata field, with Goulart’s No. 70 SAC Racing/ Mazda Miata setting the pace. Ferris ran nearly identical lap times in his No. 06 SAC Racing Miata, but couldn’t find his way around Goulart prior to the completion of the 14-lap race.

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