38 DECEMBER 2018 scca.com
Sometimes the hottest race at the Runoffs isn’t for a
championship – that’s how it was
in this year’s STU race, anyway.
Not that Kevin Boehm looked like
he was going to have it easy in his
Honda Civic that sat on the Tire
Rack pole, namely because he had
Nathan Pope in his Honda Prelude
on outside, qualified a tenth of a
second behind. Rylan Hazelton
and Kevin Koelemeyer sat in the
second row, with Hazelton less than
a second off the pole. On the third
row was Nicolai Elghanayan and Ian
Barberi – these two may not have
been turning pole times, but timing
had them right on top of each other.
Sadly, the front was a race that
didn’t happen. Hazelton pulled off
with mechanical trouble on the pace
lap, leaving Koelemeyer alone in the
second row. Then Pope grabbed
the lead at the start, but spun into
a slick Turn 2 and ended up making
contact with Franklin Church, taking
both cars out of the race. At that
point, Boehm regained the lead and
never lost it, driving to a staggering
margin of victory over Barberi.
“You never really know exactly
SUPER TOURING UNDER
what everybody’s going to do,
because everybody is just kind of
reacting,” Boehm says of the race
start. “I didn’t exactly see all that
happened. I was trying to get a
gap and then I was going to try to
maintain wherever I could until the
end and hope that nobody could
save their tires better than I could.”
Barberi had a fortunate break,
but it was skill that kept him at
the front. Starting sixth in his TC
Design Motorsports BMW M3,
Barberi had charged through
the first lap carnage to take up
the second spot, which he held
throughout the race, earning him
the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
“I really got lucky in that start,” he
says. “Two of us were lucky to avoid
the spin, and I think the people
on the outside had to slow down,
so we were able to skate by.”
Passing the crash, Koelemeyer
took up the third spot, with
Elghanayan just behind. But
while the leaders drove away,
Koelemeyer and Elghanayan put
on a spectacular show. Koelemeyer
held third for the first four laps,
then Elghanayan for three laps,
then Koelemeyer again for 10 laps,
then Elghanayan again to the end.
Throughout the race, the two drivers
cut and diced through every corner.
The battle came down to the
Koelemeyer’s Honda having greater
acceleration and Elghanayan’s
Lotus featuring superior braking
and cornering. The two cars were
side-by-side multiple times every
lap. During the mid-race laps with
Koelemeyer in the lead, Elghanayan
repeatedly tried an outside pass,
but could never make it stick.
On every straight, Koelemeyer’s
Honda would create a lead, only
to lose it again to Elghanayan’s
Lotus Exige S under braking.
That’s how it went until the 18th
lap, when Koelemeyer finally ran out
of tires and slid in Turn 7, making
incidental contact with Elghanayan.
But as the cars pulled into the pit
lane, Elghanayan and Koelemeyer
GOING FOR IT
Kevin Boehm (BELOW) drove a dominating race, crossing the stripe
nearly 50sec ahead of second-place finisher Ian Barberi (RIGH T).
(BOTTOM RIGHT) The battle for third was a race-long shootout
between Nicolai Elghanayan (silver Lotus) and Kevin Koelemeyer (black
Honda), with Elghanayan eeking out the spot in the closing laps.
Pos. Driver/Region (Car) Best Time; 1.
Kevin Boehm/OVR (Honda Civic)
1: 46.118; 2. Nathan Pope/SFR (Honda
Prelude) 1: 46.281; 3. Rylan Hazelton/
SFR (Honda S2000) 1: 46.907; 4. Kevin
Koelemeyer/CFR (Honda Civic)
1: 48.384; 5. Nicolai Elghanayan/CSCC
(Lotus Exige S) 1: 48.476; 6. Ian Barberi/
SFR (BMW M3) 1: 48.554; 7. Franklin
Church/LV (Mazda Miata) 1: 53.161; 8.
Kevin Lachance/CSCC (Acura Integra)
1: 53.197; 9. Whitfield Gregg/NYR
(Mazda Miata) 1: 57.435; 10. Bruce
Trenery/SFR (Acura RSX) 1: 59.227
Boehm – Loss of time for Q1 laps in
violation per Chief Steward - GCR 5. 7. 2
Koelemeyer – Loss of time for Q1 laps in
violation per Chief Steward - GCR 5. 7. 2
Hazelton – Loss of qualifying 2 times per
Chief Steward - GCR 9.1.4.D. 4.F
S TU RACE
20 laps, 50 Miles: Pos. Driver (Laps);
1. Kevin Boehm ( 20); 2. Ian Barberi
( 20); 3. Nicolai Elghanayan ( 20); 4.
Kevin Koelemeyer ( 20); 5. Whitfield
Gregg ( 18); 6. Bruce Trenery ( 18); 7.
Kevin Lachance ( 18); 8. Franklin
Church ( 14); 9. Nathan Pope (1); 10.
Rylan Hazelton (0)
Overall Time of Race: 37: 17.628;
Average Race Speed: 81.086mph;
Margin of Victory: 49.757sec; Fastest
Race Lap: Boehm 1: 46.514
( 85.172mph); Lap Leaders: Pope lap
1; Boehm laps 2-20; Sunoco Hard
RACE 10 | SATURDAY | OCT. 20, 2018 | 8: 30 A.M.
Ohio Valley Region
Carbotech Honda Civic
jumped out and exchanged a crisp
high-five. “[Koelemeyer] and I were
wheel-to-wheel, toe-to-toe the
majority of the race,” Elghanayan
says. “I was watching in the back
and he was sliding going up into
Turn 1, so I was just waiting for
those tires to go. We had two
little love taps but it didn’t disrupt
anything. So that was great.”