SCCA Northern Conference Wraps Up

The SCCA Northern Conference concluded its season on Sunday. (SCCA photo)
The SCCA Northern Conference concluded its season on Sunday. (SCCA photo)
The SCCA Northern Conference concluded its season on Sunday. (SCCA photo)

BELDING, Mich. – The 2014 SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour wrapped on Sunday at Grattan Raceway with 25-lap races in six groups. The season-long championship battle counted the best eight of 12 races available on the schedule, with a handful of point races coming down to the final stop on Sunday.

Sunday highlights included:

Group 1: Battles through the field marked the first group of the day and sealed Championships in three classes.

Up front, Jonathan Start’s strategy of stretching the lead early in the No. 51 Kalin Construction/Hoosier/Carbotech Dodge Viper before the tires went away worked early as he climbed away from Tom Patton. Start was up more than eight seconds after lap seven and tried to maintain the gap when Patton’s No. 50 Hoosier Tires/Red Line Oil Sunbeam Tiger started chipping away.

On lap 17, Patton tried to go to the outside of Start through the final corner and up the front straight, but lost momentum and fell back just slightly. On lap 21, however, he finally fought his way through, taking over the lead with four laps to go and holding it to the finish. The win clinched the GT-2 Championship for Patton.

The GT-1 title went to Tom Stanford, who swept the weekend in the No. 20 Pote-Stanford Reporting Chevrolet Camaro. Stanford chased Robert Hofmann’s No. 06 B.C. Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro until lap nine, when corner workers started to report fluid leaking from Hofmann’s Camaro. He pulled to pit lane on lap 11, and his crew dumped his cool suit bucket – sending him back onto the track but well behind Stanford.

Joe Kristensen earned his second win of the weekend in GT-3, driving his No. 4 Acura RSX to a dominating win, just feet from lapping second-place Michael Cyphert at the finish. Kristensen had his hands full with Paul Young’s No. 79 Young Racing/Hoosier Tire Ford Probe early, but an overheating issue forced Young to slow and then pull to pit lane before the finish. Young was in conservation mode, as he could have potentially captured the season title. When Cyphert reached the halfway point necessary to score points, he clinched the title in his No. 76 Toyota Motorsports/TRD/RedLine/Hoosier Toyota Celica.

Ed Hosni battled a miss in his No. 17 Lasco Ford/Hoosier Tire/Steeda/Ford Racing/Edelbrock Ford Mustang, talking the lead on lap four, and then falling back to the clutches of the No. 28 KMS Autosport Ford Mustang of Scott Schweitzer on lap 12. Hosni’s miss came at high RPM, and he spent the next several laps figuring how to shift to maximize his lap time. That, coupled with a corded left front tire on Schweitzer’s Mustang that slowed him in the right hand corners, allowed Hosni to pull to the rear of Schweitzer at the finish, but out of time to challenge for the lead.

Group 2: Three groups provided three thrilling races in Group Two, with one high-pressured win clinching a class title.

Early on up front, the Formula 500 machines of Calvin Stewart and Brian Novak diced with the Formula F machines of Russell Ruedisueli and Max Mallinen for both class titles and the overall lead.

Ruedisueli, who needed a weekend sweep to take the Conference Championship coming into the weekend and nailed down the first part with a win on Saturday, got a boost on lap 11 when Mallinen’s No. 10 Spectrum 014H pulled to pit lane with a flat tire.