Monday, December 5, 2011

Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports are Making History

By Sarah Barnes

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 '09, the Runoffs classic happened the very first time in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., its 6th spot since it began. The place was near Level 5 Motorsports' home base in Madison, Wisc. The team, which Tucker created in 2008, had been young but had experienced some great achievement 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 begin, and then he led the T1 field through turn one. In turn 2, he lost the top placement to rival John Buttermore, of Pontiac, Mich., who eventually makes podium behind Tucker. Tucker was hot on the tail of Buttermore's Nearbrook Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, keeping his 2nd place standing even with pressure from behind in driver Lance Knupp of Fenton, Mich., the 3rd driver to eventually reach the podium that day.

The very best 3 drivers fought it out through the race. Tucker followed Buttermore carefully, awaiting a chance to surpass him. In turn 5, Buttermore's error became Tucker's window, and Tucker passed him to regain charge in lap 4, right before turn six.

Tucker didn't look back for the remainder of the 13-lap, 52-mile race. As soon as he crossed the checkered flag, Tucker had sped to a 1.42-second lead for the first place finish in his first Runoffs appearance. Along the way, he recorded the quickest lap of the race, with a 2:22.000 lap while in 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."

Shortly after Tucker overtook Buttermore, the Chevrolet lost stability because of braking, which helped Knupp's No. 37 Dodge Viper to operate into the second-place spot. Even as Buttermore decelerated the pace, he still achieved the third-place podium finish.

During 2009, Tucker had been in the midst of proving himself the top driver in just his 3rd year of professional racing. His decisive victory at the Runoffs, considered one of the top sports car races on earth, added to his growing number of victories during 2009. Going into this year's 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 several several racing series. The 2009 SCCA Runoffs at Elkhart Lake, Wisc., were the start of 2 years of mind blowing success for Tucker and his awesome Level 5 Motorsports team.

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