Indianapolis, Ind. (September 30, 2017) – Any time a thirteen-time champion appears in your mirrors, it’s a bad sign. But for 19 laps on Saturday during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs American Sedan race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Peoria, Illinois’ Bryan Long looked like the experienced champion on his way to the gold medal. John Heinricy, who has earned more titles than all but one driver in the history of the Club, was held to a silver medal, while Kevin Fandozzi, of St. Joseph, Michigan, finished third.
Long started from the Tire Rack pole in his No. 34 Hoerr Racing Prod/Roux/Pagid/Alcon Ford Mustang, and led every lap on the way to his first title.
That wasn’t decided, however, until the final run to the checkered flag. Racing inches apart through the final four corners, without contact, Brown got a run out of the final and to the yard of bricks to claim a 0.359-second win.
“This is incredible,” Long said. “We’ve been doing this a long time. We’ve built a lot of our own cars through the years, just as a family. This is a dream come true.
“When you have one of the best in multiple classes right behind you, you’ve got no choice but to give it all you’ve got and run hard. It was an exciting 19 laps, for sure. I was able to get a little bit of a lead, John had his hands full with the Cadillac for a while. I was definitely keeping an eye on that. At the end, he made it really interesting. We were able to hold through, but thankfully it was a 19-lap race.”
Heinricy added his second runner-up finish of the weekend, and his 21st overall, after sitting behind the No. 27 Space Monkey Racing Cadillac CTS-V of Drew Cattell until a pass down the Hulman Straight on lap 11. Heinricy’s No. 56 Hoosier/Mobil 1/Hawk Chevrolet Camaro quickly opened up some ground on the Cadillac, and set sail for Long’s Mustang.
By lap 16, Heinricy had closed to the tail of Long, and slipped and slid his way through the corners looking for a way around. It never came, however, and Heinricy kept the second-place finish.
“It was just an awesome race,” Heinricy said. “I had a big smile on my face and was laughing for half of the race, it was so much fun. I was just getting the giggles because we were running so hard, and the tires were getting tired and sliding, and the brakes were starting to lock, and you just watch what’s going on and can’t believe it’s happening. And it kept happening. Nobody goes away and spins out, it just keeps going. It’s just incredible fun. I don’t think I’ve had that much fun in years in a race. It was really good.”
Fandozzi, a two-time champ in his own right, slid over to the American Sedan class after years in touring cars. Though new to the class, the former champ drove his No. 12 Hoosier/Hayworth Brakes/Carbotech Chevrolet Camaro SS from tenth place, holding off Philip Smith’s Camaro until Smith dropped off, and then finding himself all alone and more than 25 seconds behind the lead battle at the finish.
“This year was an experiment for me to build an A Sedan car, and it’s been a great, fun ride,” Fandozzi said. “Running with these guys, the cars are so much fun. Every lap, every turn, I thought to myself ‘how is this car still running like this?’ I was just having a blast.
“I truthfully didn’t know where I was. I just kept running hard, and I passed as many people as I could. It’s a real honor to be up here with these guys. Bryan must have run a perfect race to stay in front of Mr. Heinricy here. For me to even be in their zip code, it’s a special day.”
Danny Richardson’s No. 15 Hoosier/PAW/Auto Gear/Pro-System Chevrolet Camaro finished fourth, followed by Stephen Ott’s No. 87 Steve mOttorsports Ford Mustang. Tim White drove from 25th on the grid to 11th at the flag, to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
Defending class champion Andy McDermid’s tough week continued. McDermid had to tow back home to Howell, Michigan after an opening lap, opening session incident on Monday to repair the car. The champ then started from the back of the field in the No. 24 WeatherTech Ford Mustang, drove to seventh in seven laps, and then saw his weekend end with a blown right front tire on lap eight and the most spectacular 27th-place finish in Runoffs history.
The 54th SCCA National Championship Runoffs, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from Friday, September 29 through Sunday, Oct 1.
While the live broadcast of all 28 National Championships is available at SCCA.com and Motor Trend OnDemand, each race will be on demand in the coming weeks.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Provisional results for Saturday’s American Sedan (AS) race at the 54th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Bryan Long, Peoria, IL, Ford Mustang, 19.
2, (2), John Heinricy, Clarkston, MI, Chevrolet Camaro, 19.
3, (10), Kevin Fandozzi, St Joseph, MI, Chevrolet Camaro SS, 19.
4, (7), Daniel Richardson, Derwood, MD, Chevrolet Camaro, 19.
5, (6), Stephen Ott, Pennsburg, PA, Ford Mustang, 19.
6, (14), Craig T Weidner, Cadillac, MI, Ford Mustang, 19.
7, (11), Beth Aquilante, Alexandria, VA, Pontiac Firebird, 19.
8, (9), Patrick Madden, Titusville, PA, Ford Mustang, 19.
9, (22), Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, KS, Pontiac Firebird, 18.
10, (13), Mark Wheaton, Easthampton, MA, Ford Mustang, 18.
11, (25), Tim White, Omaha, NE, Ford Mustang Cobra, 18.
12, (20), Boyd Lear, Garden City, KS, Chevrolet Camaro, 18.
13, (21), Mark Muddiman, Belleville, MI, Ford Mustang, 18.
14, (23), Kelly Lubash, Stamford, CT, Chevrolet Camaro, 18.
15, (17), Matt Regan, Addison, IL, Ford Mustang, 18.
16, (15), James Jost, Allentown, PA, Ford Mustang, 18.
17, (19), Michael Thompson, Vacaville, CA, Chevrolet Camaro, 18.
18, (27), Matt Naegle, Phoenixville, PA, Chevrolet Camaro, 18.
19, (4), Philip Smith, New Albany, OH, Chevrolet Camaro, 17.
20, (28), Andy Schniedermeyer, Florissant, MO, Chevrolet Camaro, 17.
21, (29), John Barnett, Covina, CA, Chevrolet Camaro, 17.
22, (8), Matt Jensen, River Hills, WI, Chevrolet Camaro, 15.
23, (3), Drew Cattell, Ferndale, MI, Cadillac CTS-V, 13.
24, (5), Amy Aquilante, Phoenixville, PA, Pontiac Firebird, 12.
25, (12), Brian Himes, Slidell, LA, Ford Mustang, 12.
26, (18), John Lechner, North Olmsted, OH, Ford Mustang, 9.
27, (30), Andrew McDermid, Howell, MI, Ford Mustang, 7.
28, (26), Mitchell Mohler, Flagstaff, AZ, Ford Mustang GT, 2.
DNS, (16), Scott Sanda, Western Springs, IL, Cadillac CTS-V, .
DNS, (24), Chris Qualls, Yorba Linda, CA, Ford Mustang Cobra, .
Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 35:49.968
Average Speed: 82.463 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.359 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: No. 34 Long 1:51.507 (82.463 mph)
Lap Leaders: No. 34, laps 1-19
Sunoco Hard Charger: No. 7 Tim White
Photo: Bryan Long on the way to his AS title.
Credit: Jay Bonvouloir/SCCA