Updated: Tuesday, 10/3/17, 1:30 pm
Indianapolis, Ind. (October 1, 2017) – Jason Isley, of Coto de Caza, California, caught heartbreak in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs H Production race at Daytona International Speedway in 2015, finishing second in a finish-line crash. In 2016, Isley fell less than a second short at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, again the runner-up. In 2017, Isley eliminated all doubts, driving to an 8.339-second win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
The championship was the first for Isley, at least in SCCA road racing. The pilot of the No. 99 RACER.com/Hoosier/TRD Toyota Yaris is also a four-time National Champion in SCCA autocross competition. Christopher Schaafsma, of Wheaton, Illinois, and Ron Bartell, of Madbury, New Hampshire, joined Isley on the podium.
“It’s quite a relief,” Isley said. “I’m appreciative of those podium finishes I had, but second place was getting old. I’m happy to finally get the monkey off my back and put the whole package together. I have to give credit to Jesse Prather. He helped turn it around. We have been really competitive for a couple of years, but we just got to a plateau where we couldn’t go any faster. He found that last couple of horsepower I needed to get the car out front.”
Isley started on the Tire Rack pole, held off Bartell’s No. 4 Hoosier MG Midget for five laps after the start, and steadily began to pick through traffic while others raced behind him. The beginning launch gave Isley the gap he needed to pilot 19 laps around the Indy road course and come home with the title.
“I’d been watching starts all weekend, and I probably changed my mind a million times about what side I wanted and how to do it,” Isley said. “Ultimately, I just figured I was going to bring everyone down as slow as I could because I figured that would give us more time to spread out and hopefully cause less problems. It worked out great.”
The No. 20 Hoosier/AMT Racing Engines/Anze Volkswagen Golf of the eventual silver medalist and the No. 64 Core Consulting Datsun 210 of Daniel Meller teamed up to catch up to Bartell. Contact between Schaafsma and Meller in a Turn 6 slick from oil temporarily slowed Schaafsma and sent Meller into a spin on lap seven. Three laps later, Schaafsma was around Bartell for second place, but didn’t have enough to run down Isley.
Schaafsma’s Runoffs debut followed what was meant to be a brief hiatus in his racing career. An incident in the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints nearly moved the car back to square one, and left him rebuilding the entire front end prior to the Runoffs.
“In 2010, I decided to take a two-year break,” Schaafsma said. “I had been racing ITB (in SCCA Regional races) and I wanted to move to H Production because it looked really fun. This is my first year back, so it turned out to be a longer break than I anticipated.
“We showed up Saturday with about four-fifths of a car. I wasn’t sure I was going to make the first qualifying session. Things got progressively better every day. There’s a great comradery within the Production community, and a lot of people chipped in and helped me. I showed up hoping for a top 10, and I’m really elated with where I am right now.”
Bartell hung with Isley as long as he could, and admitted he didn’t have the speed for Schaafsma once the pair were in open air. The eight-time podium finisher had a good reason for falling back.
“On the second day of qualifying I ruined a rear hub, which turned out to be an unobtanium part,” Bartell said. “I had a choice of going home, going to upstate New York to steal it off my crew chief’s car because he had the only other one in the country, or trying what we did – I ended up running three brakes. That doesn’t work too good, but because I have a welded rear I can get away with it. I had, essentially, half the normal rear brakes and I would have been a sitting duck for anyone that could challenge me because I had to go easy on them. I’m very, very happy I could get it home in third. It didn’t look that way early in the week.”
Vesa Siligren, who started on the front row in the No. 60 Hoosier/HPD/svtek.com Honda CRX, finished fourth – just ahead of two-time defending class champion Brian Linn’s No. 21 Hoosier/Carbotech/Red Line/LinnSpeed MG Midget.
Larry Svaton drove his No. 166 Hoosier/Bayless Racing/MSR Houston Honda Civic to 24th place from his grid position on 44th to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger.
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 Sunday’s H Production (HP) 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), Jason Isley, Coto de Caza, CA, Toyota Yaris, 19.
2, (3), Christopher Schaafsma, Wheaton, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 19.
3, (4), Ron Bartell, Madbury, NH, MG Midget, 19.
4, (2), Vesa Silegren, Chattanooga, TN, Honda CRX, 19.
5, (6), Brian Linn, Hermosa Beach, CA, MG Midget, 19.
6, (9), Eric Vickerman, Howell, MI, Austin-Healey Sprite, 19.
7, (10), Greg Gauper, Hubertus, WI, Honda Civic Si, 19.
8, (13), Enrik Benazic, Farmingdale, NY, Honda Civic Si, 19.
9, (5), Daniel Meller, Milwaukee, WI, Datsun 210, 19.
10, (12), Fred White, Abington, MA, Honda CRX Si, 19.
11, (20), Gordon Jones, Tualatin, OR, BMW 1600, 19.
12, (11), Stephanie Funk, Greenfield, MA, Honda CRX Si, 19.
13, (15), Mark Brakke, Coon Rapids, MN, Mazda 2, 19.
14, (24), Ron Copeland, Maumee, OH, Honda CRX Si, 19.
15, (14), Tom Broring, Derwood, MD, Triumph Spitfire, 18.
16, (21), William Trainer, Lake in the Hills, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 18.
17, (35), Leanna Wright, Murfreesboro, TN, Mini Cooper, 18.
18, (36), Daryl Hileman, Baltimore, OH, Volkswagen Scirocco, 18.
19, (7), Jack Banha, Blue Bell, PA, Volkswagen Rabbit, 18.
20, (32), Rob Horrell, Memphis, TN, Honda CRX, 18.
21, (23), Jack Schulz, Monett, MO, MG B, 18.
22, (38), James Hardesty, Xenia, OH, Honda Civic, 18.
23, (37), Bob Eichelberger, Imperial, MO, Austin-Healey Sprite, 18.
24, (44), Larry Svaton, Alvin, TX, Honda Civic, 18.
25, (30), Robin Bank, Aliquippa, PA, Volkswagen Golf, 18.
26, (39), John Fine, Norcross, GA, Honda Civic Si, 18.
27, (45), David Thurston, Tustin, CA, Fiat X-1/9, 17.
28, (42), Angus Crome, Maryville, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 17.
29, (43), Scott Hileman, Johnstown, OH, Volkswagen Rabbit, 17.
30, (40), Darryl Saylor, Mount Juliet, TN, Honda CRX, 17.
31, (41), Scott Irwin, Fairborn, OH, Honda Civic, 17.
32, (46), Richard May, Zirconia, NC, Austin-Healey Sprite, 16.
33, (25), Neil Verity, Grey Forest, TX, MG B, 15.
34, (18), John Salisbury, Gurnee, IL, Austin-Healey Sprite, 13.
35, (33), Dayle Frame, DeWitt, MI, MG Midget, 13.
36, (31), Cory Markos, Riverside, CA, Honda CRX Si, 12.
37, (16), Andrew Wright, Murfreesboro, TN, Triumph Spitfire, 12.
38, (28), Frank Schwartz, Ann Arbor, MI, Honda CRX, 5.
39, (29), Jerry Oleson, Aurora, CO, Austin-Healey Sprite, 4.
40, (8), Ralf Lindow, Bellevue, NE, Volkswagen Golf, 1.
41, (17), Michael Cummings, Martinez, CA, Austin-Healey Sprite, 0.
42, (22), Jeremiah Reed, Cardington, OH, Volkswagen Rabbit, 0.
43, (26), Joe Camilleri, Toronto, ON, Volkswagen Scirocco, 0.
44, (34), Michael Macqueen, University Park, MD, MG Midget, 0.
DNS, (19), Chris Albin, Maryland Heights, MO, Volkswagen Golf, .
DNS, (27), Vincent LaManna, Ontario, NY, Volkswagen Rabbit, .
Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 37:56.535
Average Speed: 77.878 mph
Margin of Victory: 8.339 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: No. 60 Silegren 1:57.569 (79.368 mph)
Lap Leaders: No. 99, laps 1-19
Sunoco Hard Charger: No. 166 Larry Svaton
Photo: Jason Isley on his way to a long-awaited H Production win.
Credit: Jay Bonvouloir/SCCA