2006 marked the seventeenth season for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) very successful SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge series.
With SPEED TV back on board as the primary sponsor, SCCA had developed a successful format that continued to attract competitors and fans.
Race weekends included two standing start fifty-minute races – one for the Grand Touring (GT) class and another for Touring Cars (TC).
To prevent any driver/car combination from dominating the class and ensuring tight competition, the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. System is implemented. Introduced in 1995, R.E.W.A.R.D.S. is the acronym for ‘Rewarding of Equalizing Weight Assigned to Reduce Driver Sensitivity.' This weight equalization rule adds or removes ballast from a car based on the finishing position of a driver. The maximum amount of weight that can be removed from a vehicle is 100-pounds. And, no more than 200-pounds can be added to a GT class car and 150-pounds to a Touring Car.
There were eleven-race weekends during the 2006 season – ten-races for the two classes. The Touring cars did not compete at Long Beach and the GT class was not invited to the Denver event. The opening round is in March at Sebring International Raceway, followed by a second event in Florida at Saint Petersburg. The GT category has a race at Long Beach in April and rejoins the Touring Car division for a race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In July, the championship takes a trip to the West Coast for an event Infineon Raceway. Competitors stay in the West for races at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Teams return to the East for events at Road America and Mosport International Raceway. Next, the Touring Cars make a stop at Denver, Colorado. The penultimate round is held at Road Atlanta and the series finale takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Round seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship was held at Road America. Teams would compete on the fourteen-turn 4.048-mile circuit during the Generac 500 weekend.
|The opening lap at Road America for round seven of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring championship. Leading the field into corner eight is the pole-sitter, Tommy Archer, in the No. 5 Autohaus Motorsports Dodge Viper. Behind Archer is the Porsche 911 GT3 of Lawson Aschenbach. Trailing Aschenbach is his teammate, Ricardo Emery, who qualified fifth and third place starter, James Sofronas.|
|Starting on the pole for the second time this season was the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring champion, Tommy Archer. His first pole of 2006 was in round three at Long Beach. Archer, driving the No. 5 Autohaus Motorsports Dodge Viper, led the field into the first turn and went flag-to-flag, winning by a margin of 1.028-seconds. The win marked his sixth career World Challenge victory.|
|Lawson Aschenbach was the second-fastest driver in qualifying. Piloting the No. 66 AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3, he chased the race leader, Tommy Archer, for nineteen laps. Aschenbach was able to maintain Archers pace but was never a threat for the top spot and finished in the runner-up position. His performance moved him ahead of Lou Gigliotti and into the lead for the Driver’s championship.|
|Road America was Leighton Reece’s fourth World Challenge event on the 2006 calendar. In the previous events, he qualified at the front of the grid but issues during the races resulted in a season-high finish of twenty-first. In round seven, Reece started fourth but a pass on the Porsche of Ricardo Emery gave him the last spot on the podium. The change in position also earned him the B&M Oil Coolers Coolest Move of the Race award.|
|The lead in the Driver’s standings appeared to be a moving target. After six races, the top spot in the championship had been shared by Mike McCann, Lawson Aschenbach and as of the last event at Miller Motorsports Park, it was Lou Gigliotti. Gigliotti started and finished fourteenth at Road America driving the LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette. The result dropped him to second in the title chase.|
|The defending series champion, Andy Pilgrim, opened the season at Sebring with a runner-up result and scored third-place finishes at Infineon Raceway and Miller Motorsports Park. Despite his record thus far, he was not one of the championship contenders. The Cadillac CTV-S driver was seventh fastest at the end of the qualifying session. A solid drive during the race netted Pilgrim a seventh-place finish.|
|At Road America, rookie, Michael Greenberg, was making his first start of the 2006 season. Greenberg drove the No. 04 Dodge Viper with backing from Greenberg Cheese and Big Daddy Racing. He qualified thirty-second and the thirty-three-car field. During the race, Greenberg advanced eleven positions to finish twenty-first. For his performance, he earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.|
|Rookie, Ricardo Emery, was delivering some great results in his first year of World Challenge competition. Heading into Road America, Emery had three podium finishes, including a pole and victory at Infineon Raceway. But his results were overshadowed by his AXA Financial teammate, Lawson Aschenbach, who was in contention to win the championship. In round seven, Emery started fifth and finished sixth.|
|The round seven SCCA Pro Racing Speed World Challenge Grand Touring podium at Road America. In the center is the series 2004 Driving champion and race winner, Tommy Archer. Standing on the left side of the rostrum is Lawson Aschenbach. Aschenbach’s results moved him back to the top of the Driver standings. The final spot of the podium is occupied by World Challenge veteran, Leighton Reese.|
|1||1||Tommy Archer||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|2||2||Lawson Aschenbach||Porsche 911 Cup||19||-|
|3||4||Leighton Reese||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|4||8||Mike McCann||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|5||9||Johnny Mowlem||Aston Martin DB9||19||-|
|6||5||Ricardo Imery||Porsche 911 Cup||19||-|
|7||7||Andy Pilgrim||Cadillac CTS-V||19||-|
|8||13||Ritch Marziale||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|9||11||Michael Galati||Volvo S60R||19||-|
|10||12||Bob Woodhouse||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|11||17||Tony Gaples||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|12||10||Rob Foster||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|13||16||Jim McCann||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|14||14||Lou Gigliotti||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|15||18||Lenny Diller||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|16||22||Claudio Burtin||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|17||15||Doug Peterson||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|18||19||Bob Miller||Porsche 911 Cup||19||-|
|19||28||John Bourassa||Porsche 911 T||19||-|
|20||6||Johnny O'Connell||Cadillac CTS-V||19||-|
|21||32||Michael Greenberg||Dodge Viper||19||-|
|22||30||Greg Weirick||Chevrolet Corvette C6||19||-|
|23||31||Bob Taylor||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||18||-|
|24||26||Mark LoPilato||Porsche 911 T||17||Mechanical|
|25||21||Sonny Whelen||Chevrolet Corvette C6||15||Mechanical|
|26||27||Tom Papadopoulos||Aston Martin DB9||14||Mechanical|
|27||3||James Sofronas||Porsche 911 Cup||13||-|
|28||23||Skip Sauls||Dodge Viper||12||Accident|
|29||20||Mike Davis||Mustang Cobra||12||Mechanical|
|30||33||Adam Malmquist||Chevrolet Corvette Z06||9||Mechanical|
|31||25||Adel Elsayed||Dodge Viper||1||Accident|
|32||29||Mike Hartley||Dodge Viper GTS||1||Mechanical|
|33||24||Brian Kubinski||Chevrolet Corvette C6||0||Mechanical|
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