Three days of qualifying have wrapped up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for the 2021 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. With that, 26 Tire Rack Pole Award winners are slated to lead their respective classes to the green flag over the next three days as nearly 875 competitors do their best to earn a Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing National Championship on IMS’ 15-turn, 2.592-mile road course.
It’s been four years since SCCA last brought the Runoffs to The Brickyard, and that visit in 2017 was the first ever SCCA National Championship conducted at the legendary venue. That means there is a record book for SCCA qualifying at IMS, and that record book changed a great deal as of tonight. Of the 26 car classes, new qualifying lap records were set in 18.
IMS Qualifying Notables
The big “winner” in qualifying has to be Andrew Aquilante, who actually won the very first Runoffs race ever held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway four years ago. Aquilante, the defending GT-2 national champion, took the Tire Rack Pole Award in that same class on Thursday driving the No. 33 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette. Earlier in the day he also secured a Tire Rack Pole Award in the Touring 1 class driving the No. 33 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Ford Mustang. For Aquilante, that brings his total up to 18 Runoffs poles overall.
In H Production (HP), defending national champion Steve Sargis drove his No. 18 Carbotech/Hoosier Triumph Spitfire to a 13th Tire Rack Pole Award. Eric Vickerman, in the No. 10 Austin-Healey Sprite, had a good showing Wednesday to sit atop the HP group for a moment. But Sargis stormed back Thursday to lock down the top spot. Keep an eye on this class during its Friday morning race because Sargis, Vickerman and Vesa Silegren, in the No. 60 Honda CRX, all broke the previous Runoffs HP qualifying track record — so things could get interesting.
Michael Lewis, in the No. 12 Goodyear Jaguar XKR, also got his 13th Tire Rack Pole Award by qualifying first in the GT-1 class. That field was led on the opening day of qualifying by A.J. Henriksen in the No. 44 Dodge Challenger SRT. Then David Pintaric, driving the No. 57 Ford Mustang, held the top spot Wednesday before Lewis locked down pole for Sunday’s race, which could take place in wet conditions if current weather forecasts are correct.
Spec Miata, one of the two largest classes at this year’s Runoffs with a field of 72 cars, was led by defending national champion Preston Pardus over the opening two days of qualifying. But it was Brian Henderson, in the No. 97 BDL Motorsports car, who jumped up and grabbed the Tire Rack Pole Award on Thursday. That’s the first Runoffs pole for Henderson, who bested Pardus’ No. 42 by only 0.004 second.
The other giant field is Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, which also has 72 challengers racing for Runoffs glory this year. There, Franklin Futrelle and his No. 97 MecoInc of Augusta/ComprentMtrsprts car were ahead of the throng all three days of qualifying. That’s the first pole for Futrelle at an SCCA National Championship.
Other first-time Tire Rack Pole Award winners this year include American Sedan’s Drew Cattell, in the No. 28 SpaceMonkeyRacing/Engines by JB Cadillac CTS-V; Touring 4 racer Stephen Blethen, in the No. 50 RST Performance Racing/KONI Shock Mazda RX-8; Formula 500’s Ryan Mayfield, in the No. 34 VRS/Satellite Racing Scorpion S1 Suzuki; Formula Enterprises 2 driver Max Grau, in the No. 71 Rennkraft Motorworks SCCA FE2 Mazda; Formula Continental competitor Trent Walko, in the No. 91 Global Racing Team Van Diemen RF08; Formula X’s Vaughn Glace, in the No. 95 Pantera Motorsports/Wright Racing USF 2000 MZR Mazda; and B-Spec stalwart John Phillips, in the No. 43 PRP/G-Loc/CARS Mini Cooper.
Tire Rack Pole Award winners each receive some nifty swag and $500 to spend at Tire Rack. Below are provisional polesitters across the 26 different classes with driver name, hometown, SCCA region, car and fastest lap time. Entries with an asterisk (*) indicate a new Runoffs qualifying track record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- *American Sedan: Drew Cattell; Ferndale, MI; Detroit Region, Cadillac CTS-V, 1:50.427
- *B-Spec: John Phillips; Sealy, TX; Houston Region, Mini Cooper, 2:03.121
- *E Production: Jesse Prather; Topeka, KS; Kansas Region, BMW Z3 2.5L, 1:48.181
- *F Production: Craig Chima; Akron, OH; Neohio Region, Lotus Super Seven, 1:51.082
- *H Production: Steve Sargis; Frankfort, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region, Triumph Spitfire, 1: :54.417
- *Formula 500: Ryan Mayfield; Orlando, FL; Central Florida Region, Scorpion S1 Suzuki, 1:42.619
- *Formula Atlantic: James French; Sheboygan, WI; Milwaukee Region, Ralt RT41 Toyota, 1:29.701
- Formula Continental: Trent Walko; Trafford, PA; Steel Cities Region, Van Diemen RF08, 1:36.787
- Formula Enterprises 2: Max Grau; Indianapolis, IN; Indianapolis Region, SCCA Mazda FE2, 1:36.395
- *Formula F: Jonathan Kotyk; Oviedo, FL; Buccaneer Region, Mygale SJ14 Honda, 1:44.359
- Formula Vee: Andrew Whitston; Neenah, WI; Milwaukee Region, Protoform P2, 1:57.479
- Formula X: Vaughn Glace; Pittsburgh, PA; Steel Cities Region, USF 2000 MZR Mazda, 1:38.596
- *GT-1: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; San Diego Region, Jaguar XKR, 1:35.279
- *GT-2: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, PA; Philadelphia Region, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:39.665
- GT-3: Troy Ermish; Tracy, CA; San Francisco Region, Nissan 350Z, 1:44.758
- GT-Lite: Christopher Bovis; Overland Park, KS; Chicago Region, Honda CRX, 1:51.819
- *Prototype 1: Lee Alexander; Springfield, TN; Tennessee Region, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 1:29.011
- Prototype 2: Tim Day Jr.; Scottsdale, AZ; San Francisco Region, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 1:33.235
- *Spec Miata: Brian Henderson; Fredericksburg, VA; Washington DC Region, Mazda Miata, 1:57.695
- *Spec Racer Ford 3: Franklin Futrelle; Evans, GA; Atlanta Region, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 1:49.520
- *Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Florida Region, Mazda MX-5, 1:51.665
- *Super Touring Under: Joe Moser; Wilmette, IL; Detroit Region, Honda CRX SI, 1:47.078
- Touring 1: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, PA; Philadelphia Region, Ford Mustang, 1:42.292
- *Touring 2: Kurt Rezzetano; Phoenixville, PA; Philadelphia Region, Ford Mustang GT, 1:47.509
- *Touring 3: Marshall Mast; Denver, PA; Philadelphia Region, Ford Mustang EcoBoost, 1:51.591
- *Touring 4: Stephen Blethen; Bow, NH; New England Region, Mazda RX-8, 1:54.397
Photo by Jon Krolewicz / Staff