2023 Hoosier Super Tour Watkins Glen: Sunday Notebook

The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour (HST) penultimate “regular season” event for 2023 took place June 2-4 at Watkins Glen International (WGI) in the state of New York. It was a fabulous weekend hosted by SCCA’s Glen Region, and brought together skilled drivers from far and wide.

Sunday saw 35-minute or 14-lap races for each of the eight run groups around WGI’s legendary 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit. That layout includes The Boot and Inner Loop/Bus Stop portions of the circuit. Weather conditions were perfect for fast laps, which is why numerous track records fell throughout the weekend.

Won’t Be Outdone: In the first run group, the Formula Vee field had fantastic races both Saturday and Sunday. After Alex Scaler finished second on Saturday to Andrew Whitston in his No. 12 Rocket Motors/LOA Con/Milio's/Apex Branding Protoform P2 car, he stormed back Sunday to claim victory in the No. 79 AdvantageMotorsports.com/Autowerks Scaler Mk1 machine. He took the lead on the last lap with a gutsy move around the outside in Turn 8, then fended off Whitston for a 0.101sec victory.

Formula 600 drivers took note of the FV battle, and decided to duplicate the fun in their Sunday race. Saturday winner Keith Joslyn started on pole in the No. 55 Hoosier/ASI Signage Innovations/Mitchell Racing/Formula X-1/QRE/Spirit Motorsports Scorpion Rotax car, and was leading when a full-course yellow came out.

As the race restarted just past the event’s halfway point, Joslyn got swallowed up by Calvin Stewart, James Weida and David Lapham. Weida and his No, 22 Weida Apartments/Formula X-1 Scorpion W1 ended up out front, but Stewart and his Novakar Blade F600 were in hot pursuit.

With only a couple laps left, Stewart fell off the pace and pulled into pitlane. Turns out he accidently tripped the car’s kill switch. That gave Weida the breathing room he needed to bring home victory, and Joslyn recovered to finish second.

“I tried to keep my tires warm because I knew Calvin would be fast at the restart,” Weida said while holding his first-place trophy. “I tucked in under him, then just tried to pull away. I also tried not to wreck anybody because we were all running really close for a long time.”

Heroic Efforts: Wearing a very colorful driver’s suit adorned with a Wonder Woman emblem on the front, Amber Stephenson climbed into her Toyota Yaris and proceeded to lead the first half of the H Production race Sunday. That’s saying something because Saturday winner Enrik Benazic, in the No. 11 All Star Sheet Metal Honda Civic, was right on her bumper the entire time.

Just past the race’s midway point, Benazic got by for the lead. However, it was then Stephenson’s turn to harass the leader. For several laps the two racers ran nose to tail, and side by side, swapping the top spot from one corner to the next. After a fantastic battle, it was Benazic who ultimately emerged as the winner by only 0.521sec over Stephenson.

“Amber is going to give all of us hell from this point on because she is super good, and her car is amazingly fast,” Benazic said of his challenger afterwards. “That was one of the top two races I’ve ever had. I tried to do everything possible to keep her behind.”

Touring 4 (T4) driver Marc Cefalo also turned in a heroic effort Sunday. After he and his No. 00 Planet Miata Mazda MX-5 took flight Saturday following contact with another car, Cefalo spent his evening wrenching on the wounded vehicle. But the team got everything sorted, and he was on grid for Sunday’s race.

Not only did Cefalo make the race, he was competitive in the event, too. Midway through the contest, Cefalo had moved to third. By lap 10, he was the leader – but was under pressure from Saturday’s T4 winner, fellow Mazda MX-5 driver Jaden Lander, as well as Nick Leverone in a Subaru BRZ. Even so, Cefalo and his car remained resilient and slowly expanded the lead until victory was achieved.

“I did a hardship lap first thing in the morning, and the car was fine,” Cefalo said with a tone of surprise in his voice. “I had to put my head down today and stop looking at the mirrors after we got to the front, then just be consistent.”

Stop the Sweep: Several drivers swept the HST weekend at WGI, taking wins in the same class on Saturday and Sunday. There were also some competitors on the verge of a sweep when fellow racers swooped in to snap broom handles.

That was the case in B-Spec where Saturday winner Steve Introne, in the No. 12 Sripath/Black Hog Beer/ Purpose Energy/Veloce Engineering/Boston Mobile Tire/Mini Peabody Mini Cooper, was leading Sunday at the white flag. But Richard Hromin swept by Introne on the last lap to claim victory in the No. 103 RP Performance/PAW/ VCF Mini Cooper.

“I got a run on Steve at the white flag, and got him into turn one,” Hromin said with a grin. “Me and Steve have been working great together … but I can’t lose to him all the time. So, I had to take this one.“

A somewhat similar situation occurred in Sunday’s Super Touring Under (STU) race. Darin Treakle, in the No. 70 Treakle Insurance Agency/Angry Sheep Motorsports BMW 325, jumped out to lead STU on the opening lap. Saturday victor Chip Herr, however, soon held the top spot again in his No. 9 Warwick Autopark/MCS Shocks/Carbotech Brakes/ROUX Helmets/Hoosier Tires Audi A4. Herr looked set to repeat his performance from the previous day, then his car experienced a mechanical issue late in the race. Treakle was then there to push by for a win.

“I just stayed at it,” Treakle said about his race. “I noticed Chip had a little bit of a problem … and a little bit of luck came into play.” 

Breaking More Records: Five new track records were established Saturday at WGI, and some of those records were actually updated Sunday. For instance, Kurt Rezzetano set a new Touring 2 lap record on Saturday in the No. 137 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Ford Mustang. He then went out Sunday and turned a 2:02.535 to reset his own record. And Raymond Davoudi did the same in GT-X, earning a track record Saturday only to reset it Sunday with a 1:53.298 lap in the No. 11 Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

Keith Joslyn set the Formula 600 track record on Saturday. However, that accomplishment stood for less than 24 hours as James Weida turned a 1:58.787 to reset the mark Sunday morning.

Also on Sunday, John Hainsworth and his No. 95 Turf Trade/Max-Attack/Hoosier/Carbotech Mazda RX-7 executed a lap of 2:05.895 to set a new record for E Production; and Richard Hromin did the same in B-Spec on Sunday with a lap of 2:23.570 in the No.103 RP Performance/PAW/ VCF Mini Cooper.

Andrew Aquilante set a new track record in Touring 1 (T1) on Saturday, but didn’t take to the track Sunday. That gave James Candelaria the opportunity to lower the T1 mark late Sunday afternoon to 1:57.796 driving the No. 134 Candelaria Racing Products/Hawk/Hoosier/Summit Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

Lastly, the June Sprints: The 2023 Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour “regular season” comes to a close June 23-25 during the three-day WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints® in Elkhart Lake, WI, at Road America. It has been a giant event for nearly 70 years, and 2023 will be no different.

Drivers and volunteers can still register to be part of the June Sprints party. The event will also be broadcast live, online and for free thanks to the popular Hoosier Super Tour enhanced video and audio presentation. But before that, relive the Watkins Glen weekend with on-demand video playback available 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 Watkins Glen International with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. An asterisk (*) denotes drivers with a weekend sweep in the class.
American Sedan®: Daniel Richardson; Derwood MD; Chevrolet Camaro
B-Spec: Richard Hromin; Stroudsburg, PA; Mini Cooper
*E Production: John Hainsworth; Vineland, NJ; Mazda RX-7
*F Production: Charlie Campbell; Corry, PA; Mazda Miata
*H Production: Enrik Benazic; Farmingdale, NY; Honda Civic
Formula 600: James Weida; West Lafayette, IN; Scorpion W1
*Formula Atlantic®: Larry Howard; Kansas City, MO; Swift 016
*Formula Continental®: Hunter Tatman; Fort Collins, CO; Van Diemen RF06
*Formula Enterprises®2: Charles Russell Turner; Montpelier, VA; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Dexter Czuba; Hollis, NH; Mygale SJ20
Formula Vee®: Alex Scaler; Asbury, NJ; Scaler Mk1
GT-1: John Hellmers; Conklin, NY; Oldsmobile Cutlass
GT-2: Jared Odrick; Lebanon, PA; Porsche 991.2 Cup
GT-Lite: James Gregorius; Lakeville, NY; Mazda RX-7
*GT-X: Raymond Davoudi; Fort Worth, TX; Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Spec Miata: Brian Henderson; Fredericksburg, VA; Mazda Miata
Spec Racer® Ford Gen3: Denny Stripling; McKinney, TX; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
*Prototype 1: John Mcaleer; Roswell, GA; Elan DP02
Super Touring® Lite: Amy Mills; Manson, WA; Mazda Miata
Super Touring® Under: Darin Treakle; Marshall, VA; BMW 325
*Touring 1: James Candelaria; Boca Raton, FL; Chevrolet Corvette
*Touring 2: Kurt Rezzetano; Phoenixville, PA; Ford Mustang
*Touring 3: Dan March; Boiling Springs, PA; BMW 330i
Touring 4: Marc Cefalo;
Swoyersville, PA; Mazda MX-5

Photo: Marc Cefalo’s No. 00 Touring 4 car may have been battered and bruised, but it still emerged victorious at Watkins Glen International during Sunday’s Hoosier Super Tour competition.

Photo by Jeff Loewe