Sports Car Club of America’s championship season remains at full throttle Sept. 24-Oct. 2, 2022, with the 59th National Championship Runoffs taking place for only the second time at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) located in Alton, VA, right along the border with North Carolina.
VIR’s 18-turn, 3.27-mile Full Course racing circuit will again be the layout for Runoffs competition. That configuration includes a front straightaway that is 3,000 feet long, and a 4,000-foot back stretch that leads to the circuit’s tricky Roller Coaster portion. The track, with 130 feet of elevation change, also includes challenging sections such as the Climbing Esses, Oak Tree Curve, Hog Pen, and Snake.
With Monday being the last ‘test’ day on course, what comes next is three days of qualifying. Each of the 26 car classes will have 20-minute sessions on track Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to discover Tire Rack Pole Award winners and set the race grids. That is followed by three Hagerty Race Days – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – where an SCCA National Champion emerges in each class following their 15-lap or 40-minute winner-take-all battles.
Monday Evening Festivities
With VIR’s paddocks now brimming with cars, crews, volunteers, drivers, family members, friends, and fans from throughout the country, Monday evening offers an opportunity for socializing before the action gets hot. From approximately 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time, after the last test session concludes, VIR’s track is open for walking. It’s a chance for drivers and fans alike to get a better perspective on the circuit, and get a little exercise before feasting at the evening’s official All Participant Kick-Off Party. Please note that cars, trucks, ATVs, side‐by‐side vehicles, scooters, and two‐wheeled motorized vehicles are NOT permitted on course. Golf carts, team tuggers, pedal bicycles, and ADA Mobility Devices are allowed, but can only travel at a normal walking speed.
Speaking of Monday’s Kick-Off Party, that shindig begins around 6:30 p.m. at The Gallery building located just a tick southwest of the West Grass Paddock found on the Runoffs Facility Map that can be accessed through the online VIR Runoffs Event Guide. Beverages of all sorts will be provided alongside various sandwich sliders, chips and queso, chicken bites, plus vegetables and fruits to keep everyone healthy.
The Kick-Off Party will wrap up around 9:30 p.m. But before then, live entertainment will be provided by the C.C. Coates Band, which plays classic rock, blues, and some original tunes. This event is open to everyone, so head on over and enjoy some free food and entertainment.
Keeping Track of Runoffs Qualifying
The SCCA Runoffs is a sight to behold. If you can get trackside, it’s highly suggested you do. Tickets are reasonable for spectators as single-day admission starts at only $20 (learn more here). SCCA members receive a 20-percent discount on tickets by logging into their membership account portal at SCCA.com. And Hagerty Drivers Club members can get 20 percent off admission by grabbing tickets here.
Those who can’t be trackside for qualifying can follow along online at SCCA.com/live where you’ll find live timing/scoring, and an audio broadcast featuring commentary from longtime Runoffs announcers Tom O’Gorman, Larry “Lefty” MacLeod, Gregg Ginsberg, and special guests.
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – proudly known as Hagerty Race Days – multi-camera video coverage, presented by Mazda, will be broadcast live online at SCCA.com. That presentation can also be accessed through SCCA’s official social media channels at YouTube or Facebook, and features the voices of Greg Creamer, John Fippin, MacLeod, and O’Gorman, with Heyward Wagner covering the action from pit lane.
Over VIR’s public address system trackside during race days, fans will hear the voices of Bob Steele, Mike Wolfe, Chris Stiffler, Tim Groft, Andy DeLay, Taylor Burris, and Wayne Owens – which makes up the Performance Motorsport Network broadcast team that covered Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour events throughout the year. That audio broadcast, along with live timing/scoring, will be available at SCCA.com during Hagerty Race Days.
Special Days to Come
Each day at the Runoffs is special. For starters, you’ve got Sunoco 260 Tuesday, where drivers can win 15 gallons of Sunoco race fuel for their car. Then there’s Hawk Brake-Through Performer Wednesday, where drivers making the biggest improvement in each class earn a set of Hawk brake pads for race cars, tow rigs, or street cars. Qualifying then wraps up Thursday with Tire Rack Pole Day, after which polesitters receive some sweet swag and $500 to spend at Tire Rack. After that, there are three Hagerty Race Days, where 26 newly-crowned SCCA National Champions will spray Mazza, the official sparkling wine of the Runoffs, alongside those skilled enough to also earn podium finishes.
But Sunoco, Hawk, Tire Rack, and Hagerty don’t only support the drivers. These great partners also provide lunch for the hundreds of SCCA volunteers who come out to make the Runoffs happen by staffing registration, grid, corners, timing and scoring, and everything else. So, heartfelt thanks go out to all the volunteers, and SCCA’s partners that support them.
Photo courtesy of VIR