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Sep 02, 2014 - 04:10 PM
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Max Mallinen Sweeps Topeka SCCA Majors Event
Posted by: newsla on Sep 02, 2014 - 04:09 PM
Sports Cars
Max Mallinen Sweeps Topeka SCCA Majors Event


Max Mällinen put his stamp on Heartland Park race track in Topeka, Kansas with a sweep of the pair of Formula F races this past weekend in the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour. The 16-year-old drove his No. 10 Swan Motorsports Spectrum/Honda to two wins and added another track record performance to his quickly-growing open-wheel racing resume.

 

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Coming off a track record at Grattan last weekend, Mällinen found a different kind of race track in Kansas with the former site of the National Championships offering up 2.2 miles of high-speed corners that like to eat tires off cars through-out a run.

For Saturday’s race, Mällinen lowered the track record from 1:26.853 to 1:23.447 during qualifying, and out qualified six-time SCCA National Champion Michael Lewis and June Sprints winner Cliff Johnson.

With the green flag in the air a few hours later, Mällinen took the lead and never looked back – going flag to flag and beating second place by just under 27 seconds. Every lap was under the existing race track record.

On Sunday, Mällinen would take pole again but as the race developed to lap five, the Spectrum’s fuel pump started to fail, limiting his pace. This meant the high school junior had his hands full with a choking car. The race unfolded to a battle among the top three with 10 lead changes, with the trio darting through slower lapped cars.

Lapped traffic hindered the No. 10, pushing Mällinen back to third and 1.2 seconds off the lead battle. On the last lap the leaders came together in the carousel, giving Mällinen the opportunity to slide past to the top spot.

"I liked the high speed, flowing turns of the circuit. I am always fast on high speed courses and really enjoyed the races,” said Mällinen. "One of the large challenges of the track is tire management. The track surface is very abrasive and hard on tires. With the many fast, long turns, the tires have a lot of load put on them. Mirl [Swan] set the car up quite nicely which allowed me to push hard."

A double win in Topeka adds to first place performances at Road America earlier in the summer, making it four wins in seven starts.

The lights out summer run by Mällinen means he has completed his goal of qualifying for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Laguna Seca in October. Mällinen will be among the youngest ever to compete for the National Formula F Championship.


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