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History In the Making: Scott Tucker's 2009 SCCA Runoffs Debut

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Scott Tucker, SCCA Runoffs

History In the Making: Scott Tucker's 2009 SCCA Runoffs Debut

Shelley Baughman
Level 5 Motorsports
September 28, 2011

Scott Tucker, owner and driver for Level 5 Motorsports, has made history this weekend at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. By taking the victory lap, he nabbed his third consecutive SCCA titles, an historical feat that only a select few drivers have ever accomplished.

In 2009, the Runoffs classic was held for the first time in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., its sixth location since it began. The location was close to Level 5 Motorsports' home base in Madison, Wisc. The team, which Tucker founded in 2008, was still young but had enjoyed some good success already in the 2009 season. Tucker competed and won in the Hawk Performance Touring 1 race.

His No. 55 Ferrari 430 Challenge had the pole position to start, and he led the T1 field through turn one. In turn two, he lost the leading position to competitor John Buttermore, of Pontiac, Mich., who eventually would make podium behind Tucker. Tucker was hot on the tail of Buttermore's Nearbrook Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, keeping his second place status even with pressure from behind in driver Lance Knupp of Fenton, Mich., the third driver to eventually reach the podium that day.

The top three drivers fought it out throughout the race. Tucker followed Buttermore closely, waiting for an opportunity to overtake him. In turn five, Buttermore's mistake became Tucker's window, and Tucker passed him to regain the lead in lap four, just before turn six.

Tucker didn't look back for the remainder of the 13-lap, 52-mile race. By the time he crossed the checkered flag, Tucker had sped to a 1.42-second lead for the first place finish in his first Runoffs appearance. In the process, he recorded the fastest lap of the race, with a 2:22.000 lap during the competition.

"Both Buttermore and Knupp were formidable competitors for the duration of the race," Tucker said. "I was caught sleeping for a second there, when Buttermore overtook me, but he got a little wide in turn five, and I was able to take advantage of that. It really could have been anyone's podium today; both of those guys put up strong, consistent races. I had to be continuously focused because I knew if I made a mistake, either one of them would be right there to pick it up."

Not long after Tucker overtook Buttermore, the Chevrolet lost stability due to braking, which allowed Knupp's No. 37 Dodge Viper to work into the second-place spot. Even as Buttermore decelerated the pace, he still pulled off the third-place podium finish.

In 2009, Tucker was still in the midst of proving himself an elite driver in just his third year of professional racing. His decisive victory at the Runoffs, considered one of the best sports car races in the world, added to his growing list of victories in 2009. Going into the 2011 Runoffs, Tucker was a different driver; he had not only two Runoffs wins under his belt, but a variety of other first-place and podium finishes from five different racing series. The 2009 SCCA Runoffs at Elkhart Lake, Wisc., were the start of two years of explosive success for Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports team.

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Shelley Baughman has been keeping a close eye on Scott Tucker, owner and driver, of Level 5 Motorsports throughout the past year to keep you posted about the success of the dream team. To get more information about Tucker, check out http://www.planetlemans.com/?s=scott+tucker

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