TOPEKA, Kan. – The SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour, and the entire 2014 U.S. Majors Tour schedule, wrapped on Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka with six group races and settled the remaining open championships.
Sunday’s schedule featured 21-lap races around the 2.2-mile HPT configuration to wrap the season. Championship battles were settled by scoring the best eight of 12 races within the Conference.
Denny Stripling clinched the Mid-States Conference Spec Racer Ford championship with a pair of wins in his No. 4 Lightspeed Motorsports Spec Racer Ford, walking away from the field to take care of business without any help.
There were a number of scenarios that would allow Stripling to vault Keith Verges’ No. 69 Apex Driving Academy SRF in the standings, but the simplest entering Sunday’s race was for Stripling to win. Starting from pole, he held the lead for the distance and won by a final margin of 12.740 seconds.
That final margin of victory is a bit misleading. Stripling was up four seconds when the field saw the white flag, with Chris Funk’s No. 54 KC Racing SRF battling hard with Verges for second and third place. Funk spun on the final lap, and Verges spun to avoid him, avoiding contact. Both continued quickly, and crossed the line together in order to complete the podium with Jimmy Cote’s No. 20 Micro-Comm Inc. SRF just behind.
Matt Reynolds swept the weekend in Spec Miata, running flag to flag for his win in the No. 73 Reynolds Bros. Racing/JPM/Vintage Connection Mazda Miata.
In a mirror image of Saturday’s race, Michael Mallinen started in front of the field and pulled away in the No. 71 Swan Motorsports Swift 016/Mazda to lap the entire field and take the win.
Stuart Rettie’s No. 21 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda swept the weekend in Formula Mazda, moving around Darryl Wills late in the race. Wills’ second-place finish clinched the Mid-States Majors Tour class championship in the No. 1 Hillenburg Motorsports/Hoosier Tire/Hawk Performance Formula Mazda.
Saturday winner Max Mallinen was an unexpected Formula F winner on Sunday after a last lap incident elevated his No. 1 Spectrum 014H/Honda from third to first.
The race was a three car battle between Mallinen, Bill Kephart, and Cliff Johnson, with all three taking their turn in the lead in a race that featured an official 10 lead changes.
By the final stages of the race, Mallinen had fallen back and Kephart’s No. 37 Vestial 10F/Honda led Johnson’s No. 4 Alpine Litho-Graphics/Farley Engines Piper DF-5/Honda at the white flag. Johnson, looking for an opportunity to move into the lead, tried to move around Kephart in turn three. The two got together, with Kephart going over the top of Johnson’s machine.
Mallinen suddenly found himself in the lead, and picked up the win. Because they had already put a lap on the rest of the field, Johnson limped around for second, with Kephart being towed in but still in third on the final standings.
In Formula 500, Herb Noble held on for the win in his No. 44 Mitchell Racing Services Scorpion 001/Rotax after a battle with Conference champion Timothy Friest. The battle between Noble and Friest’s No. 86 Hoosier/XTRacing/RodEndSupply KBS MkVII/Rotax became the battle for the lead with CJ McAbee’s No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage/Hoosier AJ’s 2012/Rotax pulled to pit lane on lap three.