AUSTIN, Texas (March 25, 2017) – It’s been four years since a Sports Car Club of America® premier amateur road racing series has made a stop at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas. That changed Saturday when Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour competition began at the Hermann Tilke-designed track, currently home of Formula One’s United States Grand Prix.
The weekend, hosted by the SCCA’s Lone Star Region, got off to a great start in the very first race featuring more than 40 Spec Miata drivers. Andrew Charbonneau and Chris Haldeman filled the front row, but it was Jim Drago, in the No. 2 East Street Racing/Saferacer Mazda Miata, who came to the front by the end of lap one. Haldeman tucked in right behind the leader for a few laps, but Drago soon built a gap. That cushion, however, wasn’t permanent. By the last lap, Haldeman had closed the gap and passed for the lead. But then for the next three miles, Drago and Haldeman swapped the top spot a couple times, with Drago ultimately coming out ahead.
“Chris (Haldeman) was shadowing me the whole race,” Drago said afterwards. “Toward the end, my car got a little sloppy and I missed a shift coming out of Turn 11. Chris closed the gap, and then we swapped positions a few times. We passed each other two or three more times, then went side-by-side into Turn 19. I came out with the lead, but it was an absolute pleasure racing with Chris. He was tough and fair.”
An equally entertaining race was provided later in the afternoon by the Spec Racer® Ford field. It was Scott Rettich, a perennial winner, who again led the pack to the checkered flag in his No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Red Line Oil SCCA Enterprises Spec Racer® Ford. But the journey to the front was by no means easy.
“I didn’t have the best start in third and ended up falling back to about seventh,” Rettich said. “I managed to work my way back up to fourth, then third and settled in to close on the leaders. I ran them down, got into second and stayed there through the middle part of the race. With about three laps to go, we caught a slower car. I made my move for first there, then opened up a gap. It was a really fun race.”
Another frequent victor, Michael Lewis, won the GT-1 race Saturday in his trusty No. 12 Goodyear Jaguar XKR. But that was almost not the case.
“The car ran pretty well. But we had a left-front tire going soft,” Lewis said. “Thankfully, it waited ‘til the cooldown lap to fall apart. It was probably my fault because the tire was there for me the rest of the day even though the track was hot and slick.”
A second day of Hoosier Super Tour competition from Circuit of the Americas begins Sunday at 8:30 a.m. local time with 15-lap or 40-minute races. Follow all the action live at www.scca.com/live.
Below are provisional race results from Saturday’s Hoosier Super Tour at Circuit of the Americas with Class: Name, Hometown and Car.
-American Sedan®: Phillip Waters; Grand Prairie, TX; Chevrolet Camaro
-B-Spec: John Phillips; Sealy, TX; Honda Fit
-E Production: Matt Reynolds; Fair Oaks, TX; Mazda Miata
-F Production: Eric Prill; Topeka, KS; Mazda Miata
-H Production: John Trenery Jr.; Sugar Land, TX; Austin Healey Sprit
-Formula 500: Jack Walbran; St. Louis, MO; Scorpion 2006
-Formula 1000: John LaBrie; Draper, UT; Phoenix Race Works F1K12
-Formula Atlantic®: Dudley Fleck; Cedar Rapids, IA; Mazda Swift 016
-Formula Continental®: Robert Armington; El Dorado Hills, CA; Van Diemen RF00
-Formula Enterprise: Justin Gordon; Lake Worth, FL; Van Diemen
-Formula F: David Livingston Jr.; Nashville, TN; Spectrum 14H
-Formula Mazda: Jarret Voorhies; Kissimmee, FL; Formula Mazda
-Formula Vee®: Charles Hearn; Houston, TX; Volkswagen Vortech
-GT-1: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; Jaguar XKR
-GT-2: John Vining; Azle, TX; Chevrolet Monte Carlo
-GT-3: Mike Vess, Plano, TX; BMW M235iracing
-GT-Lite: Peter Shadowen; West Palm Beach, FL; Honda CRXsi
-Prototype 1: Lucian Pancea; San Antonio, TX; Stohr P2
-Prototype 2: Jeff Shader; Gulf Breeze; FL; Stohr WFI
-Spec Miata: Jim Drago; Memphis, TN; Mazda Miata
-Spec Racer® Ford 3: Cliff White; Huntsville, AL; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
-Spec Racer® Ford: Scott Rettich; Columbus, OH; Spec Racer Ford
-Super Touring® Lite: Nick Leverone; Mendon, MA; Mazda MX-5
-Super Touring® Under: Luis Rivera; Angleton, TX; Mazda Miata
-Touring 1: Joseph Gaudette; Manassas, VA; Chevrolet Corvette Z06
-Touring 2: Mike Vess, Plano, TX; BMW M235iracing
-Touring 3: Paul Kwiecinski; Northbrook, IL; Mazda MX5
-Touring 4: Don Knowles, Pittsboro, NC; Mazda RX-8
Photo: Michael Lewis took the GT-1 win Saturday at Circuit of the America’s Hoosier SCCA Super Tour event.
Photo Credit: Digital Automotive Depictions