LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept. 6, 2012) – Sports Car Club of America members generally focus on one discipline—rally, road racing or Solo. Sam Henry is proof positive that one doesn’t need to be typecast, as he will tackle the Tire Rack SCCA Solo® National Championships, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® and the SCCA RallyCross® National Championships over the next month.
Henry, of Republic, Mo., started racing in motocross, but after sustaining a number of injuries, subscribed to the old saying “with age, comes a cage.” He got his SCCA start in the Solo program with his brother, Martin, and competed in three-straight Nationals from 2000-2002. He moved to road racing thereafter, competing in American Sedan before moving to Spec Miata.
“Spec Miata is some of the best racing in the Club,” Henry said. “But the engineer in me wanted to get into something that I could tinker with a little bit more, which led to F Production.
“My main focus is the F Production road race car, but I ended up buying so many donor and parts cars to keep that car running that I ended up with a couple of spare chassis and some extra go-fast parts. The first car that I put together was kind of a bottom-of-the-barrel build, and that became the RallyCross car. It makes an absolutely perfect car for that sport.”
Despite his recent experience on pavement, it was in RallyCross that he earned his first National Championship in 2011, perhaps drawing from his previous experience racing on dirt with two wheels.
“I didn’t expect the Miata to do that well in RallyCross, but it actually did very well. It’s a very lightweight car with independent suspension. That was last year.
“This year, I still had a bunch of parts on the shelf and an extra set of F Production bodywork. I figured I’d cut the lid off another car, put the bodywork on and go try Solo in D Prepared with it. I’m still developing the car, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.”
Henry’s goals this year are lofty, but attainable given his previous success.
“My goal is to trophy in all three events,” he said. “At the Runoffs [where he finished less than a tenth of a second off the podium in 2011], I really think FP is really deep this year, with eight or nine drivers that can win the thing. Getting in the trophies there would be a real honor.
“I’d like to get a trophy here in DP, but it may be a little bit early. I still have a lot of development to do with the car. And in the RallyCross, I’m shooting for the win.”
Henry was fifth after first-day runs in his Springfield Dyno/Goodyear/SafeRacer Mazda Miata, one position out of the trophies. He is co-driving with his father, Lester, who is making his first-ever run at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships.
“This car is really new,” he said. “I ran a couple of local events and the Tour at Blytheville, but there’s still a lot of development to do.”
Henry will be the second driver to run the triple in the same year. SportsCar Magazine editor Philip Royle did the feat in 2010.
Henry finished his Club Racing season up in grand fashion, scoring seven wins to reach the maximum allowed 84 in the Midwest Division. His F Production race will take place Sunday, Sept. 23 at Road America.
The RallyCross National Championship will run Oct. 5-7 at Tulsa Raceway Park, Tulsa, Okla.
The 40th Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships are running through Friday at the Lincoln (Neb.) Airpark. Follow the action through live timing at www.sololive.scca.com, live audio from the east course at www.ustream.tv/channel/solo-nationals-east and from the west course at www.ustream.tv/channel/solo-nationals-west, or on Twitter @sccalive.