LEXINGTON, Ohio (September 23, 2016) – Jim Devenport, of Modesto, Calif., earned his first SCCA National Championship on Friday with a Prototype 1 class win at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB. Kirk Kindsfater, of Eaton, Colorado, and Jim Hallman, of Kitchener, Ontario, earned their first Runoffs podium finishes.
Devenport’s No. 23 Cranbrook Group/Bulldog Motorsports Norma Auto Concept M20/Honda took the checkered flag under a full-course caution, winning from the Tire Rack pole position and taking the SCCA Super Sweep after winning his U.S. Majors Tour Conference Championship, the national point championship, a key regular season event and, now, the Runoffs.
“It’s been such a journey,” Devenport said. “We started three years ago at the Runoffs, I got into this at 50 and I’m 61 now. It’s been a long time getting here, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
The eventual champion led the opening stanza, through a full-course caution on lap three to retrieve one of the high-strung race machines that had stopped on track. Gianpaolo Ciancimino, the 2015 class champion, took the lead on that lap six restart, however, turning the fastest lap of the race in 1:19.407 but then slowed on course just one lap later.
Ciancimino’s No. 1 K-Hill Motorsports Swift 014/Toyota refired in sixth, then climbed his way back to second, far behind Devenport. That run ended again on lap 17 when he pulled off the track between turns one and two.
With Ciancimino out, Kindsfater’s No. 32 Rill Tech/Ortho Center/Hoosier Speads RS11/Yamaha inherited another position, moving from sixth on the grid to his first podium position.
“We started out the week poorly,” Kindsfater said. “I came last Thursday for the good test day, and I broke a stub axle down in nine at about 100 miles per hour and it put me in the wall. I tore the floor out and the diffuser, so the guys put it back together. I went home, back to Colorado, and came back Tuesday.
“Finally [Thursday] I was where I should have been last Thursday, so I had some confidence today. I knew if I picked my driving up a little bit that we’ve had a good chance.”
Following along, the Canadian Hallman drove his No. 6 Stohr WF1/Suzuki moved from eighth on the grid to third when, under the final full-course caution to retrieve yet another stalled car, the No. 38 Hurley Racing Products LSRII pulled off himself and out of third place.
“You need to finish, and there were a lot of cars off and a lot of spinning and a lot of hard racing,” Hallman said. “You’ve got to be there at the end, and it’s an unfortunate way to get it but I’ll take it. I’ve been sixth, fifth, fourth, and now, third, so we’ll look for second year.
“Saturday morning I was in Italy, then a flight home to Toronto, then a drive down to Mid-Ohio, so I was a little bit jet lagged all week. We had early morning sessions, so I could get a nap in the afternoon. This is a new car for me, so I’ve had 20 minutes in it prior to this week. That wasn’t really smart, and we had some engine problems on Tuesday and I didn’t get any good laps. Thursday was my first hard driving session and I went into today to just keep my nose clean, drive for the daylight and don’t do anything stupid.”
Naris Nilubol, in the No. 49 Young Racing Stohr WF1/Suzuki, and Jason Miller, in the No. 0 Kohler/Millennium/Hoosier WynnFurst/Kohler, completed the top five. Miller ran as high as second early, but spun in the carousel and put himself deep in the field. Nilubol was the Sunoco Hard Charger, improving six positions on the grid.
The 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions this year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, from Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25.
While the live broadcast of all 28 National Championships is available live at SCCA.com, each race will be on demand in the coming weeks.
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Provisional results for Friday’s SCCA Prototype 1 National Championship at the 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), James Devenport, Modesto, CA, Norma Auto Concept M20 FC Honda, 21.
2, (6), Kirk Kindsfater, Eaton, CO, Speads RS11 05 Yamaha, 21.
3, (8), Jim Hallman, Kitchener, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 21.
4, (10), Naris Nilubol, Bethesda, MD, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 21.
5, (4), Jason Miller, Elkhart Lake , WI, WynnFurst Kohler, 21.
6, (9), Jim Downing, Brookhaven, GA, Peach Mazda Rotary, 21.
7, (12), Greg Bell, Ottawa, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 21.
8, (11), Darryl Shoff, Reading, PA, Elan DP02 Mazda, 21.
9, (7), Rob Shick, Ortonville, MI, Hurley Racing Products LSRII BMW, 19.
10, (3), Tim Day Jr, Scottsdale, AZ, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 19.
11, (2), Gianpaolo Ciancimino, Coral Springs, FL, Swift 014 Toyota, 16.
12, (14), Bob Wheless, Reidsville, NC, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 13.
13, (5), Keith Carter, Calabogie, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 3.
14, (13), John Gyann, Darien, IL, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 35:09.143
Average Race Speed: 80.936 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.726 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: Gianpaolo Ciancimino, 1:19.407 (102.369 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #49 Naris Nilubol
Lap Leaders: Lap 1-5, #23 Devenport; Lap 6, #1 Ciancimino; Lap 7-21, #23 Devenport
Photo: Jim Devenport, Prototype 1 National Champion
Credit: Jay Bonvouloir