ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 21, 2013) – Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., outlasted a field of Spec Racer Ford drivers to take his second career win at the 50th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs® on Saturday at Road America. Defending champion Cliff White, of Huntsville, Ala., and Todd Harris, of Portland, Ore., finished behind Schofield on the podium.
Schofield earned his second National Championship and extended his consecutive podium streak to seven years in a row in the No. 61 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford, averaging 90.457 mph in the 13-lap, 52-mile race to win by 0.878-second.
Schofield started on the SafeRacer pole but, as the leaders raced to turn one, the No. 14 Impress Communications machine of Paul Marino and the No. 63 PM Racing machine of Neil Lund touched and shot into the outside wall and across the track. Both cars saw heavy damage, but the drivers were out of the car and ok.
Race officials covered the incident with a local yellow, keeping the rest of the four-mile circuit under green flag conditions.
Drafting down the long straightaways, the lead pack was 10 deep through the early stages. Schofield took his turn up front as White’s No. 58 Thompson White Racing Spec Racer Ford worked up from his seventh starting position. White used some precision, aggressive driving to move to second place with a pass in Canada Corner, and then moved to the lead for the first time in the same place on the next lap.
Schofield and White swapped the lead, with Schofield settling back in front on lap eight. The lead pack caught a lapped car in the Kink, a single-line, lightning fast corner at Road America, on lap 8, and Schofield had to tap the break to stay behind it. That gave Harris an opening to take the lead.
That only lasted until turn five on the next lap, when Schofield once again moved back to the lead.
“I knew I wanted to be up front,” Schofield said. “I didn’t want to fall back any further than third. I actually pulled a gap and thought I could maybe get away, because I saw there was some racing behind me. But we ran into a backmarker in the Kink, so I didn’t just lift; I actually had to brake, and it could have been pretty nasty. But I let him go by me each way. I was going to push Mike, and then Mike went wide coming onto the front straightaway, so that caught me up to Todd. Cliff went by me, and when they said five laps to go, I see his weaknesses, I’ve raced him enough, I know where he’s good and I know where he’s bad.”
Schofield, White, and Harris’ No. 24 Pro Drive Racing/HMS Spec Racer Ford pulled a gap on the lead pack to decide the podium amongst themselves, and with two to go it was down to Schofield and White.
Schofield earned just a couple of car lengths on White, and raced to the finish. Always a front-runner at Road America, Schofield unloaded with a quick car and, with limited track time, prevented any of the other front runners to tweak their setups to catch up.
“I just pushed him away from Todd. We were going to make this a two-car race, and we were going to make this clean and fair. So I just conserved my tires and just sat behind him, because basically my car was on the rails. The rain played into my hands because my car is phenomenal here. There was only one good [qualifying] session, and I took advantage of the good session.”
White, who won the title a year ago, had a failing wheel bearing on the final lap and couldn’t truly challenge Schofield. That left him pleased with the runner-up finish.
“This all started Tuesday during qualifying,” White said of his drive to the front. “It was a tactical error; we put old tires on for that session, and also screwed up our shocks. So we ended up starting seventh. Our goal was to be in the top three or four at the end of the first lap. I don’t know if that actually happened, but I knew I was close. I know that the level of this competition in this class is remarkable, and I’m just happy to be here racing against these two great competitors for a second year in a row.”
Harris was thrilled with the third-place finish after a runner-up a season ago, and the Portland-native is already looking forward to the 2014 Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the west coast.
“This whole time, this whole team has known that the 2013 Runoffs is the jumping off point for 2014, pure and simple,” Harris said. “I said, let’s get what we can get. [Mazda Raceway] is not a home track for me. I’ve run it quite a few times, but it’s much more of a home track than this one.
“I hope that everybody will make the trip out. I mean, we want to race the full field. Brian is in the same position as me. If he can get his drivers to come out, he gets to go. If he can’t, he probably can’t go. I’m going to keep baiting him for everything it’s worth. I told him, if I have to say something bad about his mother, I will. Come on, come race me. He’s an awesome driver, and it’s a privilege to drive against him.”
Jeff Beck, of Ingleside, Ill., hung in the lead pack early in the race and ran as high as second in the No. 31 Lindell/Ryan Spec Racer Ford before finishing fourth. Bruce Myers finished fifth in the No. 28 Seacoast Physiatry machine.
TJ Acker, Mike Miserendino, Denny Stripling, and Tray Ayres, who were all in the lead pack early in the race, finished in the top 10, as did Keith Verges. Acker’s No. 62 MBI Racing Spec Racer Ford turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap in a 2:38.034 (91.120 mph).
Scott Rettich, who crashed his primary car in Tuesday’s fast qualifying session and moved to a back-up car for the rest of the week, started 45th and moved all the way to 15th to earn both the Sunoco Hard Charger and the GoPro Hero Move of the Race.
SCCA President Jeff Dahnert noted memorable drives for Steve Fogg, in his No. 21 Lisa Alex and Emily Racing/Pro Drive entry, and John Tipton, in his No. 23 Pro Drive Racing/Flat Out car, who finished 14th and 17th, respectively after starting outside of the top 50.
The 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions at Road America, Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.
Follow all the live timing and scoring and get results at www.scca.com/runoffs. Live Twitter stream is available @SCCALive. Follow this weekend’s races on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCCAOfficial.
The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available through Sunday at www.SpeedcastTV.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Provisional results for Saturday’s Spec Racer Ford national championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Brian Schofield, Lakeland, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
2, (7), Cliff White, Huntsville, AL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
3, (5), Todd Harris, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
4, (3), Jeff Beck, Ingleside, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
5, (4), Bruce Myers, Greenland, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
6, (9), TJ Acker, Santa Clarita, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
7, (2), Mike Miserendino, Bakersfield, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
8, (11), Denny Stripling, McKinney, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
9, (8), Tray Ayres, Woodstock, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
10, (10), Keith Verges, Dallas, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
11, (13), Richie Stanley, New Smyrna Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
12, (14), Chad Galloway, New Smyrna Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
13, (16), Mark Greb, Mount Vernon, IA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
14, (51), Steve Fogg, West Linn, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
15, (45), Scott Rettich, Camden, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
16, (18), Chris Current, Silver Spring, MD, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
17, (52), John Tipton, Lake Oswego, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
18, (22), Jim Marinangel, McHenry, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
19, (36), Wade White, Vail, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
20, (19), Tom Panaggio, Land O Lakes, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
21, (23), Tom Riley, New Fairfield, CT, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
22, (49), Tom Burt, Redmond, WA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
23, (38), Robert Mumm, Hales Corners, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
24, (43), Andrew Charbonneau, Boca Raton, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
25, (25), Dana Webster, Duluth, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
26, (33), Tom Miserendino, Los Angeles, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
27, (26), Reid Johnson, Hamel, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
28, (47), Lee Douglas, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
29, (48), Paul Goudy, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
30, (40), Kevin Ferguson, Frisco, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
31, (50), Michael Boyle, Santa Clara, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
32, (46), Howard Allen, Portland, OR, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
33, (35), John Annis, Tampa, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
34, (21), Jim Gray, Minneapolis, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
35, (20), Steve Kohli, Iowa City, IA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
36, (53), Dave Yahn, Erin, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
37, (27), Mark Hutchins, Lincoln, NE, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 11.
38, (42), Ed Smith, Saint Louis, MO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 11.
39, (6), Adam Gottlieb, Wilmette, IL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 9.
40, (28), Darryl Wills, Houston, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 6.
41, (17), Mark Ballengee, Shafter, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 6.
42, (12), Franklin Futrelle, Augusta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 6.
43, (41), Stuart Mullan, Bartonville, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 6.
DNF, (31), William Douglas, Appleton, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 4.
DNF, (29), Michael Greene, Gainesville, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 4.
DNF, (15), Tim Blakeley, Dallas, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 4.
DNF, (39), Tim Gray, Eden Prairie, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 3.
DNF, (34), Bobby Sak, Kalamazoo, MI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 2.
DNF, (30), H Neil Lund, Longwood, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
DNF, (32), Paul Marino, Chatsworth, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
DNF, (44), Matt Gray, Chaska, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
DNS, (24), John Black, Olympic Valley, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, .
DNS, (37), Roy Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, .
Overall Time of Race: 34:29.246
Average Race Speed: 90.457 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.878 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:38.034
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 91.120 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #17 Scott Rettich
Lap Leaders: #61 laps 1-3, 6-7, 9, 12-13; #58 laps 4-5, 10-11; #24 lap 8