Indianapolis’ own Max Grau, in the No. 71 Rennkraft Motorworks car, led a 28-car Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) field to the start Friday morning during the first Hagerty Race Day at the 58th SCCA National Championship Runoffs race around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 15-turn, 2.592-mile road course.
Grau held the lead on the opening lap. He was followed by C. Russell Turner, Jeff Shafer, Bailey Monette and Scott Rettich. On lap two, Monette spun his No. 5 OPTECH SCCA Mazda FE2 and dropped back to 13th. Then on lap six, Turner pulled his No. 32 PCS car out of the race.
By the midway point of the 19-lap event, Grau had extended his lead to 7.8 seconds over the No. 92 ONE Motorsports machine of Shafer who was just ahead of Columbus, Ohio, driver Rettich. T.J. Acker was fourth in the No. 62 Bulldog Motorsports car, and fifth was the No. 47 Hillenburg Motorsports racecar driven by Darryl Wills.
The lead Grau built was erased on lap 10 when a full-course yellow came out and bunched up the field. At the restart on lap 12, Grau maintained the top spot, but was unable to reestablish his large gap on Shafer, Rettich, Acker, Wills — and a charging Monette who had fought back to the sixth position. But a lap later, another full-course yellow came out.
The second restart occurred with only two racing laps remaining. Grau got a sluggish restart, and Shafer moved to his inside while Rettich, in the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Red Line Oil SCCA Mazda FE2, moved to Grau’s outside. Braking as late as he could, Rettich slipped around Grau and took the lead. Shafer slotted close behind in third while Acker was passed by Wills and Monette.
On the last lap, Rettich skillfully defended his lead going into Turn 1. Grau and Shafer began to mix it up a bit, which gave Rettich the breathing room he needed to claim the FE2 victory and his seventh Runoffs win.
“There’s been a few times we’ve had the car to beat and didn’t win. Today, we didn’t quite have the car to beat,” Rettich said in pit lane after the race. “I just went on my experience and race craft, drove clean and hard, and came away with a win.”
Behind Rettich, Shafer passed Grau to secure a runner-up finish, which made for a fifth Runoffs podium appearance for the Las Vegas resident in four National Championship races.
“That was nerve wracking, I’ll tell you that,” Shafer said afterwards. “It went green and Max didn’t take off. I actually ran into the back of him and bent my endplate. That’s how Scott got a run on the both of us.”
Grau finished third 0.299 behind Shafer for his second Runoffs podium appearance.
“I had the pace; I just couldn’t execute,” Grau admitted. “That’s the bottom line. There’s not really more to it than that.”
Monette of Milton, Georgia, managed to fight back to claim fourth place, and Willis of League City, Texas, finished fifth. The Sunoco Hard Charger award went to Kelton Jago in the No. 29 SCCA Mazda FE2 car, gaining 11 positions.
The 58th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs®, the Pinnacle of American Amateur Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at the Racing Capital of the World—Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Indiana—during the Hagerty Race Days Friday Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 3.
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.
Below are official results for Friday's Formula Enterprises 2 race at the 58th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (5), Scott Rettich, Columbus, OH, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
2, (2), Jeff Shafer, Las Vegas, NV, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
3, (1), Max Grau, Indianapolis, IN, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
4, (4), Bailey Monette, Milton, GA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
5, (7), Darryl Wills, League City, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
6, (6), T.J. Acker, Saugus, CA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
7, (13), Paul Schneider, Charlotte, NC, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
8, (10), Blake Pigeon, Austin, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
9, (19), Amy Hollowell, Greenwood, IN, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
10, (9), Jason Pribyl, Glenview, IL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
11, (22), Kelton Jago, Midland, MI, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
12, (14), John Yeatman, Cave Creek, AZ, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
13, (18), James Regan, Longmeadow, MA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
14, (20), Thomas Green, Lake Mary, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
15, (16), Gabe Fehribach, Ferdinand, IN, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
16, (25), Jeff Read, Vacaville, CA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
17, (23), Eric Cruz, Barhamsville, VA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
18, (24), Sam Harrington, Finksburg, MD, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
19, (15), Corey Condit, Scottsdale, AZ, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
20, (28), Doug Schumacher, Cedar Rapids, IA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
21, (26), Roy Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
22, (21), Gray Fowler, Gilbert, AZ, SCCA Mazda FE2, 16.
23, (8), Todd Vanacore, Ormond Beach, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 14.
24, (12), Tom Burt, Woodway, WA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 13.
25, (17), Lee Rackley, Clinton, NC, SCCA Mazda FE2, 12.
26, (11), Robert Vanman, Allen, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 19.
DNF, (27), Keith McDonald, Ranson, WV, SCCA Mazda FE2, 8.
DNF, (3), C. Russell Turner, Montpelier, VA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 5.
Length of Race: 49 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 39:07.676 (avg. 75.518 mph)
Margin of Victory: 00.594 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:36.655 (96.541 mph)
Lap Leaders: #71-laps 1-17, #17-laps 18-19
Sunoco Hard Charger: #29 Kelton Jago
Photo caption: Rettich wheels the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Red Line Oil SCCA Mazda FE2 to the top podium finish at the 2021 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
Photo by Jay Bonvouloir
Words by Jim Llewellyn