Schmitt Earns Long-Elusive Championship on Friday at Daytona

-Editors Note: Fifth-place finisher changed per final results.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2015) – Capitalizing on a spin from then-leader Eric Heinrich, John Schmitt, of Sunbury, Ohio, earned his first SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB title, and his first podium finish since 2004, on Friday in Super Touring Under at Daytona International Speedway. Anthony Simmers, of Boulder, Colorado, and Oscar Jackson, of Chino, California, completed the podium.

“It’s been a long time,” Schmitt said of his first win. “We put a lot of effort in, running in E Production and now STU and Super Touring Lite, it really feels great to finally win one.”

Schmitt chased Heinrich’s No. 10 BFGoodrich Tires/Pagid/VAC/2002racing.com BMW M3 for the opening five laps, until Heinrich spun going into Turn One and impacted the tire barrier. That contact brought out a full-course yellow, erased Schmitt’s new-found lead and set up a lap-nine restart.

Following the restart, Schmitt’s No. 92 Hoosier/Red Line/HPD Honda Civic had Simmers’ No. 45 Hoosier/Rebay/United Motorsport Volkswagen GTI all over his bumper.

“That was my plan all along,” Schmitt said. “I didn’t know if I could get past [Heinrich], so I just wanted to push him as hard as I could and save my tires. He was really lose the first couple of laps, and really over-cooked it in Turn One.

“Anthony [Simmers] had a couple of good restarts and I was like, oh my goodness, I have to deal with this. He recognized where I was a little loose in the kink and I had to protect the inside line there a couple of times, and he didn’t hit me and we had a really good race. “

Simmers pushed hard to try to force Schmitt into the same situation as Heinrich, but ultimately backed off for his runner-up finish.

“The first part of the race, I tried to stay close, and then I realized I didn’t have anything for these guys,” Simmers said. “I couldn’t stay in the draft, so I decided I would just click it back a notch and try to save my tires to make it to the end and hold on to another podium.

“I got a good restart, and it seemed like maybe [Schmitt’s] tires were going a little bit, and so I tried to push him a little bit at the end. I was able to stay with him after the second restart for some reason, otherwise it was a good fun drive and a clean race. I got up next to him a couple of times, and he gave me room. It was a really fun time out there.”

Jackson kept his No. 16 Jackson Racing/BFGoodrich Tires/Hasport Scion FR-S in third throughout the race, just in front of the hard chargers behind him and narrowly missing some excitement throughout the race.

“It was pretty exciting from my seat,” Jackson said. “I knew this was going to be a tough race, a lot of people would be gunning for the front. I saw a couple of crashes in front of me, I got lucky there. The main thing was, I knew I had to be there at the end, and carry a good race pace. I ran my fast lap at the end, so it was good to get there.”

Ian Mullen, of Bradenton, Fla., finished fourth in the No. 155 RacingBrake/Caveman Enterprises/MSC BMW 328is was the fourth make in the top four, followed by Gary Frierson's No. 141 G an A inc Mazda Miata.

Eric Thompson, in the No. 9 Flatout Motorsports/Kevin Thompson Mazda MX-5, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, finishing 10th after starting 18th.

The 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27.

The live broadcast of all 27 National Championship races is available live at SCCA.com, along with live timing and notes. Each race will be on demand at a later date.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Results for Friday’s SCCA Super Touring Under National Championship at the 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Daytona International Speedway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.

1, (2), John Schmitt, Sunbury, OH, Honda Civic, 14.
2, (3), Anthony Simmers, Boulder, CO, Volkswagen GTI, 14.
3, (6), Oscar Jackson, Chino, CA, Scion FR-S, 14.
4, (7), Ian Mullen, Bradenton, FL, BMW E36 328is, 14.
5, (9), Gary Frierson, Arcadia, FL, Mazda Miata, 14.
6, (12), Steve Rose, Burlington, NC, Mazda RX-7, 14.
7, (8), Charles Lowrance, Sebring, FL, Mazda Miata M, 14.
8, (50), Greg Gross, East Greenbush, NY, Honda S2000, 14
9, (14), Christopher Deshong, Valrico, FL, Honda Prelude VTEC, 14.
10, (18), Eric Thompson, Aberdeen, NJ, Mazda MX5, 14.
11, (17), Danny Statter, Deltona, FL, Dodge Neon Coupe, 14.
12, (10), Thomas Lyttle, Decatur, GA, Mazda Miata, 12.
13, (13), William Phee, Cumming, GA, Acura TSX, 11.
14, (15), Carlos Serrano, Miami, FL, Mazda Miata, 11.
15, (16), Rachel Kullman, Seminole, FL, Mazda Miata, 10.
16, (1), Eric Heinrich, Milton, MA, BMW GULF M3, 5.
17, (5), Ian Girvan, Crawfordsville, IN, Acura Integra GS-R, 4.
18, (4), Carl Young, Salinas, CA, Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe, 0.

Length of Race: 50 mile
Overall Time of Race: 36:27.560
Average Speed: 82.020 mph
Fastest Race Lap: #92 Schmitt, 2:06.754 (101.109 mph)
Lap Leaders: #10, 1-5; #92, 6-14
Sunoco Hard Charger: #9 Eric Thompson

Image: John Schmitt earned a long-elusive National Championship on Friday at Daytona.
Credit: Jay Bonvouloir