Hoosier Super Tour Buttonwillow 2023: Saturday Notebook

The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park (BRP) has been a fairly wet one so far. Friday saw a moderate and steady rain throughout all of practice and qualifying, which made conditions around BRP’s configuration 25a extremely tricky. That rain kept falling on the 3.02-mile layout all Friday night and into Saturday morning, which flooded portions of the circuit.

SCCA’s Cal Club, which is hosting the Hoosier Super Tour (HST) event Feb. 24-26, 2023, in the southern portion of California’s Central Valley, worked alongside BRP track staff to set up pumps with the hope that excess water could be removed. However, there was just too much standing water for the full course to be used for competition.

Pivoting as quickly as possible, the decision was made to alter the course layout for Saturday activities. Luckily, BRP has multiple course configurations, and West Loop configuration 27 was put into use. That is basically the western portion of the circuit, which wasn’t under water.

Even with the extended morning delay, drivers across all seven run groups got out just before noon for 12-minute qualifying sessions around the shorter 1.83-mile circuit. Following that, 20-minute contests were executed for all race groups.

No Rain for Racing: After the morning’s drama, it was great to see the first race group, Spec Miata, head out for their Saturday event in dry conditions. Polesitter Austin Varco was flanked at the start by his father, David Varco. Austin, who was on Hoosier slicks, got out to an early lead over David, who was running rain tires. Clement Lee fell into third behind the two Varcos.

About halfway through the race, David ended up pulling his car off track, and Austin went on to an uncontested win in his No. 2 Aardvarc Racing Mazda Miata.

“The Hoosier slicks were sticky, and they worked. The track was damp right at the start, but then it really started to dry up,” Austin said afterwards. “I’ve been practicing leading on the simulator … just practicing being up in front and not looking in my mirrors. That was the big challenge for today.”

Touch-and-Go in E Production: Polesitter Joe Carr, driving a Mazda MX-5, took the early lead in an eventful E Production race. Carr, however, drove off track soon after in dry conditions, which opened the door for Glen McCready to take the lead. Carr fell to second, but was being hounded by Mike Anderson in a BMW 325is.

Anderson quickly got by Carr, and closed in on McCready. He closed in so tight, in fact, that he touched McCready’s rear. After that, Anderson had another issue and soon pulled his car into the pits. That left the road open for McCready to claim victory in the No. 4 TC Design Mazda MX-5.

“I didn’t even feel the love tap from Mike,” McCready said. “Mike should’ve actually won that race. He was flying out there. He probably had at least a second a lap on me.”

Double the Fun: Caleb Shrader put forth a solid performance Saturday in the dry at BRP. In Spec Racer Ford Gen3 competition, Shrader was doing battle with Mike Miserendino at the front when a full-course yellow bunched up the field. At the restart, Miserendino was in the lead with Schrader tucked in right behind.

On the last lap, Shrader dove inside Miserendino as the pair entered the righthand Pacific corner. Miserendino then moved to the inside of Shrader as the two exited the turn, and the duo dug it out down the straight to see who could get the advantage, which Shrader ultimately earned on his way to victory in the No. 99 Liquid Death/Flat Out SCCA Enterprises SRF3 car.

“I started on pole next to Mike, and then Mike and I got a comfortable gap on Robert Edmison,” Shrader said. “But after two laps, my engine cut off in Riverside. So, that’s how Mike got by me. Then, my motor turned back on randomly, and I stayed with Mike the entire time.

“On the last lap, I was way too far back to make a pass in turn one. So, I waited until turn two because I know that’s where Mike’s biggest weakness point was. I went for it, made it work, we were clean about it, and I won the race.”

Later in the day, Shrader was back out on track to compete in the Formula Enterprises® 2 race. There, he tussled with John Yeatman and Matthew Romer before an incident blocked the track, and all cars were brought into pitlane.

While sitting on pitlane under a red flag, Shrader’s team conducted some work on his No. 99 Bulldog Motorsports/Liquid Death SCCA Enterprises Mazda FE2 car. SCCA rules do not allow that, so he was penalized and had to restart at the end of the field. From there, Shrader charged back up to regain the lead and go on to victory.

“My throttle got stuck when we came in to stop for the red flag. So, my team had to fix that,” Shrader said. “I had to restart dead last out of everyone, and within a lap I was already back to first.”

Another person to earn two wins Saturday was veteran driver Ross Murray. First, he claimed the Touring 1 victory driving the No. 174 New Zealand Seafoods Ford Mustang. He then used the same car in the day’s last race group to triumph in the Touring 3 class.

Afterwards, a smiling Murray ruminated about his Saturday, saying, “We always appreciate what the corner workers, the staff, and SCCA do to put these races on. But this weekend, specifically, has just been an awesome effort to even allow us to race with the weather that we had.”

Sunday’s Schedule: Competition continues Sunday morning from BRP with 35-minute or 17-lap races commencing at 8:40 a.m. Pacific Time. Spector entry is FREE for those who would love to experience the trackside excitement in person.

If you can’t make it to the track, follow the action live online with the new Hoosier Super Tour enhanced video and audio broadcast. Gregg Ginsberg and Brian Bielanski will be calling the play-by-play action, and DriversEye Live will provide live video from upwards of 12 cameras positioned around the circuit.

Watching the HST Buttonwillow broadcast online is simple. Live coverage is streamed at the SCCA YouTube channel and SCCA Facebook page. Post-race video interviews with many winners from Saturday, and Sunday victory podium celebration videos, will be viewable at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page. And as always, live Timing and Scoring is also available throughout the weekend at www.scca.com/live.

Saturday Race Winners: Below are provisional race winners from Saturday’s Hoosier Super Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park with Class: Name, Hometown and Car.
American Sedan: Christopher Qualls, West Los Angeles, CA; Ford Mustang
B-Spec: Thomas Lepper, Benicia, CA; Mazda 2
E Production: Glen McCready, Redwood City, CA; Mazda MX-5
F Production: Taz Harvey, Danville, CA; Mazda MX-5
H Production: Bill Okell, Victoria, BC; MG Midget
Formula Atlantic: Greg Labadie, Redondo Beach, CA; Pro Formula Mazda
Formula Continental®: Tom Hope, Downey, CA; RFR FC
Formula Enterprises® 2: Caleb Shrader, Tigard, OR; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Eric Poulsen, Clovis, CA; Piper DL7-Honda
Formula Vee: Mark Edwards, Los Angeles, CA; Glamdring
GT-1: Michael Lewis, Poway, CA; Mazda RX-7
GT-2: Tristan Littlehale, San Jose, CA; BMW M3
GT-3: Collin Jackson, Langley, BC; Nissan 240SX
GT-Lite: Tim Linerud, Belmont, CA; Volkswagen GTI
Spec Miata: Austin Varco, Bonita, CA; Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford Gen3: Caleb Shrader, Tigard, OR; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
Prototype 1: Jim Devenport, Alamo, CA; Elan DP02
Prototype 2:  Tim Day Jr., Scottsdale, CA; Stohr WF1
Super Touring Lite: Jonathan Neudorf, Scottsdale, AZ; Mazda Miata
Super Touring Under: Marc Hoover, Shingle Springs, CA; Mazda MX-5
Touring 1: Ross Murray, Marina del Rey, CA; Ford Mustang
Touring 2: Norm Benson, Paso Robles, CA; Ford Mustang GT
Touring 3: Ross Murray, Marina del Rey, CA; Ford Mustang
Touring 4: Scotty B White, Auburn, WA; Ford Mustang

Photo: SCCA volunteers were tested during Saturday’s Hoosier Super Tour as last-minute adjustments were required to cope with a flooded Buttonwillow Raceway Park.

Photo by SCCA Staff