Wills Takes Formula Mazda SCCA National Championship, Super Sweep at Road America

Wills captures Formula Mazda National Championship, Super Sweep (Weber photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Darryl Wills, of Deer Park, Texas won the Formula Mazda National Championship, while also becoming a Super Sweep winner at the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Douglas Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Alan McCallum, of Houston, Texas, joined Wills on the podium.

Wills started from the Gumout pole in the No. 1 Hillenburg Motorsports Star Formula Mazda and dropped one spot at the race start. Wills trailed Peterson for the first two laps before he passed Peterson in the Carousel and never looked back. He won by 10.308-seconds over Peterson to earn back-to-back Formula Mazda National Championships.

“Doug has been beating me off the start for two years,” Wills said. “I don’t know what he does. I’ve studied the film. But, he gets me off the starts. When he started pulling away, I was like ‘oh well, it’s a 13-lap race.’ I wasn’t too worried about it because he’s been outgunning me for eight or nine race now. So, you kind of get used to it.

“The oversteer he [Peterson] had in the carousel was vicious. I almost ran over him the first time he did it because my car was flat out from Turn Eight to Canada Corner. It’s funny we were sitting on the grid and Doug said, ‘You sure got a lot of wing in that car.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I do.’ I’ve tried that [car] trimmed out and it doesn’t go through the carousel worth a flip. So, I had a real advantage in the carousel.

“I been racing for 37 years and, not to boast but I’ve gotten championships in motorcycles – I’ve done just about everything on wheels – and when I got into road racing 10 year ago the Triple Crown was the big one. Then, they came out with the Super Sweep and those are really tough to get. I am very proud of what we did. It took a big effort to get those.”

Wills set a new Runoffs race lap record with a 2:14.732 (106.879 mph), earning him the Hawk Fast Lap of the race.

Peterson got at great start in the No. 87 3 Dimensional.com from his second starting spot. In fact, he led the first three laps before a severe oversteer condition caused him to relinquish the lead to Wills – a lead he never got back and finished second.

“I was fortunate to get the start that I did,” Peterson said. “I knew Darryl would give me room when I needed room and that we wouldn’t touch or, if we did touch, it would be minor. I’m just getting long in the tooth and the motor is getting just a little on the weak side. But, Darryl and Alan are great drivers. We all have great cars and the difference between us is very small. Even though the lap times can show some pretty big differences in different parts of the race, the cars as equal as they can be – with little nuances or setups.

“I had a little bit of oversteer through the carousel. So, I could not do that flat. Darryl just ate me alive through the carousel. But, I had a great race. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the world except right here racing.

“I was keeping an eye on him [Peterson]. We had the wing trimmed out quite a bit so braking is a little bit of an issue. I couldn’t do the carousel even close to being flat [out]. We’ve battled back-and-forth in a number of races. Like I mention, he is a very good driver. He has an excellent car. I am grandpa of four beautiful grandchildren. So, I’m just out there pedaling as fast as I can.”

Peterson won the Formula Mazda National Championship in 2004 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

McCallum started fourth in the No. 19 Moses Smith Racing Star Formula Mazda and briefly ran as high as second before settling into third, which is where he finished.

“I got a really great start,” McCallum said. “I think coming out of Turn One I was in second behind Doug [Peterson]. Then, Darryl got me going into [Turn] Three. The car was hooked up. I got Moses Smith from Texas Autosports. He’s my crew chief, chief mechanic and my driving coach. I am really lucky to have somebody like that on my team. Racing with these guys is a lot of fun.

“My thought process was just to run clean, consistent laps as fast as I could. I thought that maybe Darryl and Doug would do more battling – give me a chance to catch up. I thought maybe a few FE’s (Formula Enterprises) get in the mix. But, that was not meant to be. But, this feels awesome. I was super excited to come here.”

Steve Jenks, of Cincinnati, finished fourth in the No. 68 High Impact Company Star Formula Mazda, while Jason Vinkemulder, of Spring Lake, Mich., finished fifth in the No. 18 Vinkemulder Financial Star Formula Mazda.

Mel Kemper, of Toledo, Wash., was the Sunoco Hard Charger for advancing four positions to finish seventh.

Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.

Follow the action on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or the SCCA, Inc. Official Facebook page at facebook.com/sccaofficial. More information is available at www.scca.com.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Provisional Results from Friday’s Formula Mazda National Championship Race, part of the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.

1, (1), Darryl Wills, Deer Park, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
2, (2), Douglas Peterson, Bonita Springs, FL, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
3, (4), Alan McCallum, Houston, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
4, (3), Steve Jenks, Cincinnati, OH, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
5, (6), Jason Vinkemulder, Spring Lake, MI, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
6, (5), Dale Vandenbush, Green Bay, WI, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
7, (11), Mel Kemper, Toledo, WA, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
8, (10), Curt Harrelson, Owens Cross Roads, AL, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
9, (7), Juan R Marchand, South Haven, MI, Star Formula Mazda, 13.
10, (9), Robert Noell, Cary, NC, Star Formula Mazda, 12.
11, (13), Russell Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 12.
12, (12), Ken De Nault, Cedar Falls, IA, Star Formula Mazda, 12.
13, (8), Stuart Rettie, Houston, TX, Star Formula Mazda, 8.

Overall Time of Race: 30:24.763
Average Race Speed: 102.589 mph
Margin of Victory: 10.308 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: #1 Darryl Wills, 2:14.732 (106.879 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #4 Mel Kemper
Lap Leaders: #87 – Laps 1 – 2, #1 – Laps 3 – 13

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