It was cool and overcast Sunday morning when Tire Rack Pole Award winner John Heinricy, of Clarkston, Michigan, led the Touring 4 (T4) field to its 2020 SCCA® National Championship race start in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He immediately jumped out to a lead, chased by T4 defending champion Nick Leverone in the No. 186 Subaru BRZ. Then came the No. 42 Coinigy/Advanced Autosports Mazda MX-5 of Michael Borden and the BMW 320i of Chi Ho.
After a shaky start, Ho worked his way back up to third, but spun into the grass and out of contention on lap four. In the meantime, Heinricy and his No. 35 Hoosier/Hawk/Mobil 1 Toyota 86 established a nearly 6-second gap on Leverone, with three more seconds back to Borden in third. But as the 13-lap race neared its conclusion around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit, everything changed.
Borden, from Greenfield, Wisconsin, tightened up the gap to Leverone, of Mendon, Massachusetts. At the same time, Heinricy looked to be slowing down as both Leverone and Borden quickly descended on the leader. On lap 11, the trio dove three-abreast into Turn 5, and Borden came out ahead.
Borden hammered away the few remaining laps for his first-ever Runoffs win—in his first-ever appearance at SCCA’s National Championship. To sweeten the moment, Bordon also claimed SCCA Super Sweep honors as he was the U.S. Majors Tour® Northern Conference champ in T4, the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour class champion, and a Runoffs victor.
“This is pretty crazy,” Borden said. “I had a pretty good feeling coming into this weekend. Even this morning, I woke up and had that feeling where this was my day.”
Behind Borden, Leverone was trying to catch up to the leader, but it would prove impossible. He settled for a runner-up finish and his second Runoffs podium appearance in 13 starts.
“He ran a great race,” a gracious Leverone said about Borden afterwards. “He did a great job to get back to our bumper. It was a crazy race.”
Heinricy nursed his ailing machine home to a third-place finish and his 25th podium appearance at the Runoffs.
“I was having some trouble with the clutch on the car, similar to last year,” Heinricy admitted. “But there was still racing going on. You never give up. But the race didn’t quite work out for us.”
Behind the podium battle, Steve Bertok, of Lexington, South Carolina, drove his Mazda MX-5 to a comfortable fourth-place finish. The fifth spot, however, was under contention most of the race as Mazda RX-8 driver Richard Dickey, of Columbus, Indiana, was able to hold off Roldan de Guzman, of Seattle, Washington, and his Scion FR-S
Kevin Fryer, from Bloomington, Illinois, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after starting 12th and finishing in the seventh position.
The 57th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs®, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America, Friday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct 11.
Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live along with an audio race call—supplied by the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team—and live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.
Official results for Sunday's Touring 4 race at the 57th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Road America, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (3), Michael Borden, Greenfield, WI, Mazda MX-5, 13.
2, (4), Nick Leverone, Mendon, MA, Subaru BRZ, 13.
3, (1), John Heinricy, Clarkston, MI, Toyota 86, 13.
4, (5), Steve Bertok, Lexington, SC, Mazda MX-5, 13.
5, (7), Richard Dickey, Columbus, IN, Mazda RX-8, 13.
6, (9), Roldan de Guzman, Seattle, WA, Scion FR-S, 13.
7, (12), Kevin Fryer, Bloomington, IL, Mazda MX-5, 13.
8, (10), Colin Koehler, Spanaway, WA, Scion FR-S, 13.
9, (8), James Ebben, Appleton, WI, Mazda MX-5, 13.
10, (14), Derrick Ambrose, Brush Prairie, WA, Mazda 3, 13.
11, (11), Brent Simonson, Millersville, MD, Mazda RX-8, 13.
12, (16), Ralph Porter, Kokomo, IN, BMW Z4, 13.
13, (13), Sergio Zlobin, Houston, TX, Mazda RX-8, 13.
14, (15), Paolo Salvatore, San Antonio, TX, Ford Mustang V6, 13.
15, (17), Richard Grunenwald, Hilliard, OH, Ford Mustang V6, 13.
16, (18), Matthew Miller, Canal Fulton, OH, Ford Mustang V6, 13.
17, (20), Steven Christopher, Bonner Springs, KS, Mazda MX-5, 12.
18, (19), Michael Dalton, Skokie, IL, Pontiac Solstice, 12.
19, (2), Chi Ho, Orlando, FL, BMW 320i, 6.
DNF, (6), Richard Mooney, Dane, WI, Mazda MX-5, 0.
Length of Race: 53 miles
Overall Time of Race: 34:38.338 (avg. 91.153 mph)
Margin of Victory: 00.589 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: #06 Ho, 2:37.881 (92.302 mph)
Lap Leaders: #35 laps 1-10; #42 laps 11-13
Sunoco Hard Charger: #98 Kevin Fryer
Photo: 2020 Runoffs Touring 4 Champion Michael Borden
Photo Credit: Jay Bonvouloir