Hoosier Super Tour Buttonwillow 2023: Sunday Notebook

Sunday’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park (BRP) started right on time. And while weather conditions were a lot better, portions of the 3.02-mile circuit intended for use this weekend were still waterlogged. So, Sunday races for all seven run groups were again held on BRP’s 1.83-mile West Loop circuit. The difference being Sunday races were longer at either 28 laps or 35 minutes.

This third event of the season -- taking place Feb. 24-26, 2023, and hosted by SCCA’s Cal Club – faced inclement weather Friday and the first half of Saturday. Sunday, however, was dry with mostly sunny skies. It was certainly a pleasant change enjoyed by all the competitors and event volunteers.

Spec Miata Split: Spec Miata (SM) racer Austin Varco managed a victory last year during the Sunday Hoosier Super Tour (HST) SM race at BRP, and repeated that feat yesterday with ease. Sunday, however, things were a bit different.

Varco was again on pole to start the race, and again jumped out to an early lead. This time, however, Clement Lee was able to keep pace in second driving the No. 87 RM Autosports/G-LOC Brakes Mazda Miata. On lap 12, Lee was even able to get by Varco for the lead.

Lee remained out front for most of the race, with Varco tight on his bumper. On the last lap, Varco pounced and moved to the front. However, Lee came back late in the lap to claim victory by only 0.072sec over Varco. And not far behind those two was Evan Jacobs in third.

Strategic SRF3 Soiree: Caleb Shrader and Mike Miserendino finished first and second in Saturday’s Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) race, and started alongside each other Sunday with Shrader on pole. It was Miserendino, however, who completed the first lap in the lead, and actually went on to lead all but one of the opening 21 laps.

That being said, holding on to that top spot was no simple Sunday drive. Shrader was right behind Miserendino the whole time, and Robert Edmison was in the mix, too. Going into the Pacific turn lap after lap, you could hear Miserendino pushing his tires to the limit, hoping to keep Shrader behind him.

“It was a dogfight with Caleb,” Miserendino said. “He was smart. He made me wear my stuff out. I was dirt tracking around some of the turns. He drove a great race, and I think there was one lap where we traded the lead three times.”

As the race progressed, Edmison lost contact with the leaders, leaving Shrader and Miserendino to sort things out for the victory. On lap 22, Shrader got by Miserendino for the lead. Thanks to race traffic, Shrader was able to then create a gap back to Miserendino, and was first to the checkered flag a few laps later in the No. 99 Liquid Death/Flat Out SCCA Enterprises SRF3 car. Miserendino finished second, and Edmison was third after doing battle for a bit with Mark Ballengee.

“Basically, I just wanted to push Mike because he was faster at the beginning of the race,” Shrader said of his  Sunday strategy. “Once he started to wear his tires out a little bit, that’s when I wanted to get by.”

Later in the day, Shrader also came home a winner in the Formula Enterprises® 2 (FE2) race driving the No. 99 Bulldog Motorsports/Liquid Death SCCA Enterprises Mazda FE2 car. With two wins on the weekend in SRF3, and another two wins in FE2, Shrader walks away as the winningest driver for the weekend at BRP.

Close to a Comeback: Tristan Littlehale has won his fair share of races over the years at BRP. On Saturday, he started on pole and won the GT-2 race with ease driving the No. 08 TC Design Motorsports BMW M3.

On Sunday, Littlehale again started on pole, but things didn’t go as smooth this time. He and another competitor made contact at the start, and Littlehale spun. That dropped him all the way back to fifth. Meanwhile, Ian Barberi stormed out to the GT-2 lead.

Littlehale immediately started a charge back to the front. By lap four, he had moved into second place. By the seventh lap, he was only two seconds behind Barberi. Littlehale’s attack, however, stalled through the middle portion of the event as the GT-2 leaders worked through race traffic.

Undaunted, Littlehale kept at it and was soon filling Barberi’s mirrors with only a couple laps remaining before the checkered flag. On lap 27, Littlehale made his move and took the lead. But Barberi had no intention of just giving up. Instead, he found some wiggle room coming out of the Phil Hill portion of the circuit, and challenged Littlehale in the Star Mazda Turn. The two drivers exited Star Mazda together, and danced through the Esses. And first to the finish line was Barberi’s No. 74 TC Design Motorsports BMW M3.

Prototype 1 Performance: Jim Devenport, driving the No. 23 Cranbrook Group Inc. Elan DP02, came into Sunday’s Prototype 1 (P1) race having already won Saturday’s challenge. But that certainly didn’t mean fellow competitors were just going to hand him another victory.

In this case, defending P1 National Championship Runoffs winner Chip Romer was the man who was going to make Devenport’s day tough. In fact, Romer had the pole Sunday, with Devenport alongside at the start. And to send a message, Romer jumped out to the early lead.

Unshaken, Devenport pushed along until he took the lead from Romer on lap eight. Yet, he was unable to ditch his rival. Things got even more intriguing when a full-course yellow on lap 17 bunched everyone back together.

At the restart, things immediately got interesting again. Would it be Devenport who triumphed, or Romer who would display dominance? Unfortunately, another full-course yellow came out, which forced an early end to the race. With that, the P1 sweep on the weekend went to Devenport.

“It was a really, really good race,” Devenport said while holding another first-place trophy. “Chip was quite a bit quicker than us coming out of a couple corners.”

Georgia on Our Mind: With BRP’s competition completed, HST now heads back east to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for a March 10-12, 2023, engagement hosted by SCCA’s Atlanta Region. That will be the fourth event on HST’s schedule this year, and registration is already open for drivers and workers looking to be part of the action in Braselton, Georgia.

The popular Hoosier Super Tour enhanced video and audio broadcast will also be part of HST’s stop at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. But before then, recapture the excitement of HST’s BRP visit with on-demand video playback of the event in a few days at the SCCA YouTube channel. Also find post-race video interviews with some Saturday winners, and Sunday victory podium celebration videos, at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page.

Sunday Race Winners: Below are provisional race winners from Sunday’s Hoosier Super Tour at Buttonwillow Raceway Park with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. An asterisk (*) denotes drivers with a weekend sweep in the class.
*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®: Troy Shooter; Mission Viejo, CA; Van Diemen RF99
*Formula Enterprises® 2: Caleb Shrader; Tigard, OR; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Edward Erlandson; Burbank, CA; Swift DB-6 Honda
*Formula Vee: Mark Edwards; Los Angeles, CA; Glamdring
*GT-1: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; Mazda RX-7
GT-2: Ian Barberi, Pleasanton, CA; BMW M3
*GT-3: Collin Jackson; Langley, BC; Nissan 240SX
GT-Lite: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; Mazda RX-7
Spec Miata: Clement Lee; San Diego, 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: Kevin Mitz; Campbell, 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: Scotty B. White; Auburn, WA; Ford Mustang
*Touring 2: Norm Benson; Paso Robles, CA; Ford Mustang GT
*Touring 3: Ross Murray; Marina del Rey, CA; Ford Mustang
Touring 4: Izzy Sanchez; San Mateo, CA; Toyota FR-S

Photo: Ian Barberi, in the No. 74, and Tristan Littlehale, in the No. 08, put on a great GT-2 race Sunday at Buttonwillow Raceway Park during the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour. Barberi won the battle Sunday.

Photo by Wedrick Campbell (First Place Visuals)