SONOMA, Calif. – Mirl Swan took the lead on the start, held off the field on two restarts and drove his No. 66 Swan Motorsports/Hoosier Swift 016a Mazda to the Formula Atlantic win on Sunday during the SCCA Runoffs.
The effort was Swan’s third Runoffs victory.
“I focused on getting a really good start, and it was a really good start,” Swan said about the lead he built up before a full-course yellow brought the field back to his mirrors.
Swan had engine trouble early in the week, and it looked like the racing gods might be conspiring against him each time the full course yellow came out, but the eventual winner wasn’t upset at all.
“I was actually really happy because this was the most physically demanding race track I’ve ever raced on,” Swan said. “I could use the break.”
Antony Opheim, driving the No. 31 Ralt RT41 Toyota finished second, but not after a hard-fought battle with Graham Rankin which saw the pair swap second place a few times.
“I could get underneath him, but he would pull on me,” Opheim said. “I was able to tuck under him into (Turn) 10 and it was a drag race. I’m glad both of our brakes stuck because that could have been ugly for both of us.”
Opheim would stay ahead of Rankin’s No. 21 G+C Swift 014a for the rest of the race.
“Graham showed me around the track a few months ago,” Opheim said. “Maybe he’s regretting it now.”
Rankin started in the sixth spot and earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for his run to the podium.
“We didn’t get the best qualifying this week but managed to get going and pick people off, Rankin said, “We kept it clean and had a lot of fun today.”
Dwight Rider, in the No. 10 Ralt RT41 Toyota, finished fourth. Paul Ravaris, driving the No. 5 Madhatter Golf/CR3 Capital Elan Pro Formula Mazda, came home in fifth.
1. (1) Mirl Swan, Brownsburg, IN, Swift 016a Mazda, 20.
2. (3) Antony Opheim, Garfield, WA, Ralt RT41 Toyota, 20.
3. (6) Graham Rankin, Livermore, CA, Swift 014a Toyota, 20.
4. (7) Dwight Rider, Aurora, CO, Ralt RT41 Toyota, 20.
5. (5) Paul Ravaris, Aledo, TX, Elan Pro Formula Mazda, 20.
6. (4) Edd Ozard, Auburn, CA, Swift DB4 Toyota, 12.
7. (2) Spencer Brockman, Westport, CT, Swift 014a Mazda, 5.