ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Friday’s Prototype 2 race during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America was almost a flag-to-flag display of dominance, but the old adage that the only lap that matters it is the last one proved correct yet again.
Greg Gyann emerged as the victor of the Prototype 2 feature after a last-lap pass at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit.
Robert Iversen started from the pole, with Gyann starting second. Trey Ayres and Tim Days Jr. made up the second row.
At the start, Iversen pulled away cleanly while Ayres took the inside line past Gyann to slot into second place. Gyann settled into third with Day bringing up fourth place. Armen Magregian drove his sixth-qualifying No. 31 Grp3 Motorsport/Honda Ligier JS 51 Honda to take up the fifth place slot.
Iversen settled in quickly to work on extending his lead, and the field fell in line behind him. In the second lap, Ayres slowed on the exit of turn 12 — Canada Corner — allowing Gyann to retake second position. “I had a really good run into Canada, and Tray went right on the exit. I was just as amazed as anyone else,” Gyann said afterwards.
The slow exit from Canada left Ayres leading Day, and Mike Reupert, who had already passed Magregian for fifth place. Then on the sixth lap, Day made it around Ayres to take the last podium position. However, Ayres showed his championship mettle, closely chasing Day through the long middle of the race, going side-by-side on several occasions.
At the front, Iversen had everything in hand, hitting his marks and driving clean qualifying-style laps while opening a 15.992-second lead by the 12th lap. Gyann sat in second place, watching Iversen pull away. As the race drew towards its end, Ayres spun under braking in turn five, allowing Day to get away cleanly and cement his claim to the bronze medal.
But as the white flag waved to signal the final lap, something was wrong with Iversen’s car. As he passed start/finish, his engine sounded rough, and he was well off his pace. Gyann made up five seconds by the white flag, then pulled up within sight of Iversen.
“I saw Bob [Iversen]’s car, and I wasn’t even sure it was him. My eyes were cartoon-sized when I realized it was him,” Gyann said.
Gyann made up ground quickly, coming out of the Billy Mitchell curves on the leader’s tail, but waiting until the long haul up to the checker to make his pass. At the flag, it was Gyann over Iversen by .732 seconds, and then Day in third place. Ayres held on for fourth, and Reupert remained in fifth.
“I didn’t think I had any chance,” Gyann exclaimed. “He [Iversen] was gone, but you gotta keep plugging away because you never know what’s going to happen. So here we are, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Iversen’s account is heartbreaking but familiar to Runoffs fans.
“Nothing went wrong till a lap and a half to go. Before then, the car was absolutely perfect. My car was flying,” Iversen said. “With two laps to go, heading into the Carousel, either the pipe came off or we lost a cylinder. I wasn’t sure if the engine was going to last. It was a big disappointment, but a championship is a lifetime goal so I have to keep chipping away at it.”
Day was pleased with his results.
“Our car was not 100 percent this weekend, so third place is a really great outcome for us. Ayres raced me hard and clean,” he said. “We had a whole host of troubles this week, but we know the car’s strong here, so our game plan was to let the race come to us.”