INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 30, 2017) - Jonathan Eriksen, of Northville, New York, claimed the Prototype 1 class National Championship on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the SCCA® Runoffs® in an eventful race, outlasting the field for a gold medal. Tim Day, of Scottsdale, Arizona, finished second, while Darryl Shoff, of Reading, Pennsylvania, scored third.
Eriksen earned the checkered flag, his first title, after inheriting the lead from Tire Rack polesitter Jim Devenport and Day. The pair, on separate incidents, went wide off track into the grass.
Starting third, Eriksen fell all the way back to sixth by the second lap. He moved his No. 7 Greene Trucking/SevenE Leasing/GDRE Stohr WF1/Suzuki around Greg Bell on lap three, and was in fourth a lap later.
The clean run left Eriksen in a position to pick up the pieces when others struggled.
“I am so excited. I can’t believe I am a national champion,” Eriksen said. “I had a great start and was able to pick up the pieces at the end of the race.”
An 18-car field completed 15 of the scheduled 19 laps before the race was checkered following an on-track incident involving Shoff and Naris Nilubol. SCCA rules dictate that when a race ends under a red flag, timing reverts to the last fully-scored lap – leaving Shoff’s No. 94 RAACE Elan DP02/Mazda in third place.
Day took a quick lead over Devenport and front-row starter Todd Slusher, of Las Vegas. As Devenport’s tires rose to temperature, he worked lap two, staying tight on Day. Devenport sliced to the inside of Day at the esses to regain the lead. Driving the No. 23 Cranbrook Group Inc. Norma Auto Concept M20 machine, Devenport commanded most of the race, gaining more than a seven-second lead over Day. As Devenport approached lapped-traffic from the Formula 1000 race, which shared the track with Prototype 1 during the session, he missed his brake point in Turn 12, going wide off track. Trying to recover, Davenport looped his car entering back on the track. His seven-second lead fell to a 22-second deficit as Day and Slusher passed Devenport’s stalled car for second and third.
“I was paying more attention to the lapped FB traffic in front of me than where I was on the track,” Devenport said. “I got too deep in the grass but got the car back on the track. I spun then couldn’t get it into gear. Then I finally got it started and was mad as a hornet.”
Day, driving the No. 8 Mere Mortal Hoosier Stohr WF1 Suzuki, held off Slusher and Eriksen with more than a two-second lead. Action between Slusher, Eriksen and lapped-traffic caused dust to pop up and debris to fly, leaving Slusher to lose second place and fall to sixth. Following closely behind, Shoff moved into third.
By Lap 14 and holding a sizeable lead, Day hit oil in Turn 12, sending his car into the grass. Day recuperated but not before Eriksen flew by to take the lead.
“Losing the lead near the end, well that’s racing,” Day said. “I take the highs with the lows. We came to Indy with the goal to get on the podium, and while we didn’t win, we are still very pleased with the results.”
Devenport finished fourth, followed by Greg Bell in the No. 43 The Door Company Stohr WF1/Suzuki. Alastair McEwan, in the No. 36 Paladin 1 Elan DP02 Mazda, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger after moving from 13th on the grid to seventh at the checkered flag.
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.
Provisional results for Saturday’s Prototype 1 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, (3), Jonathan Eriksen, Northville, NY, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 15.
2, (4), Tim Day Jr, Scottsdale, AZ, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 15.
3, (6), Darryl Shoff, Reading, PA, Elan DP02 Mazda, 15.
4, (1), Jim Devenport, Modesto, CA, Norma Auto Concept M20 F Honda, 15.
5, (9), Greg Bell, Ottawa, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 15.
6, (2), Todd Slusher, Las Vegas, NV, Elan DP02 Mazda, 15.
7, (13), Alastair McEwan, Cary, NC, Elan DP02 Mazda, 15.
8, (11), Chip Romer, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Elan DP02 Mazda, 15.
9, (14), Kirk Kindsfater, Eaton, CO, Speads RS11 Suzuki, 15.
10, (12), Jim Hallman, Kitchener, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 15.
11, (16), Steve Nicklin, Henderson, NV, Elan DP02 Mazda, 15.
12, (15), Naris Nilubol, Bethesda, MD, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 14.
13, (19), Bob Wheless, Reidsville, NC, Stohr WF1 WF1 Suzuki, 14.
14, (17), Gary Peck, Rockford, IL, Stohr 01D Suzuki, 14.
15, (10), Jason Miller, Elkhart Lake, WI, WynnFurst Kohler, 5.
16, (7), Johnnie Crean, Kamuela, HI, Dauntless Stohr P1 Kawasaki, 4.
17, (5), Keith Carter, Calabogie, ON, Stohr WF1 BMW, 0.
18, (8), Jim Downing, Atlanta, GA, Peach Mazda Day-02 Mazda, 0.
Length of Race: 39 miles
Overall Time of Race: 23:39.453
Average Speed: 98.607
Margin of Victory: 2.169 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:31.499 (101.921 mph)
Lap Leaders: No. 8 1-2, 11-14, #23 laps 3-10, #7 lap 15
Sunoco Hard Charger: No. 36 Alastair McEwan
Image: Eriksen takes maiden national championship in P1 class
Photo Credit: Jay Bonvouloir