The Formula Continental® (FC) race Saturday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway during the 60th running of SCCA’s National Championship Runoffs® ended up being a family affair featuring Nolan Allaer and his father, Robert Allaer, who are both from Grosse Pointe, MI.
Nolan, the reigning FC National Champion and 2023 Tire Rack Pole Award winner in the No. 11 Martini/Chandon/LTD Motorsports Van Diemen RF02, got a great start during the second of three Runoffs Hagerty Race Days. He immediately scurried away from the field, and managed to develop a nearly 10-second lead after 10 laps around VIR’s 18-turn, 3.27-mile circuit. During that run he completed a lap in 1:51.169, which reset the SCCA® race record for FC around the course.
Things behind Nolan were interesting as multi-time National Champion Michael Varacins, driving a Van Diemen F2000, slotted into second with Tim Minor following third in the No. 88 Hoosier/Quicksilver/Carbotech Citation US2000 car. Then Robert Allaer, wielding the No. 52 Martini/Chandon/LTD Motorsports Van Diemen RF02, was fourth.
Varacins was unable to keep Minor behind him for more than one lap, and fell further back to fourth after Robert got by on the third lap. Pushing hard, Robert also demoted Minor to third by the seventh lap. But all three looked to have no shot at leader Nolan, until a full-course yellow came out on the 10th of what was a 15-lap race.
While his massive lead had vanished, Nolan was not at all fazed. When the race started again for what would be a three-lap sprint, Nolan sped away once again to ultimately stand atop the Runoffs podium and spray Mazza Sparkling Wine, the Official Sparkling Wine of SCCA’s Runoffs, as a two-time FC National Champion.
“That is incredible,” said Nolan, who is also on pole for Sunday’s Hagerty Race Day Formula F contest. “The SCCA Runoffs is so important to our family. The Club has just been so good to us over the years. It means everything to have a result like this.”
Behind Nolan, his father was able to maintain his runner-up position for a sixth Runoffs podium appearance.
“This is better than I could’ve ever expected. It’s unbelievable,” a beaming Robert said. “This is the happiest I’ve ever been to finish second. My son is the real deal. He’s so fast. And Tim Minor, he’s the class of our Formula Continental class. For me to finish in front of him, I never thought it would happen.”
Minor never quit, and made things interesting for Robert throughout the race. However, he had to settle for a third-place finish, which earned him a fourth trip to the Runoffs victory podium.
“My race was good,” Minor said. “I thought I had pace in the beginning … but I got caught up in some lapped traffic. Then I couldn’t keep my pace. But I’m pretty happy with my week. I just had shoulder replacement surgery in July. So, it’s like god was smiling on me today.”
At the restart, Varacins was holding tight to the fourth spot. But then he spun off at South Bend and was out of the hunt. That shifted Glenn Cordova, in a Van Diemen RF04, up to fourth. But because the field was bunched up after the full-course yellow, Dean Kiriluk and his Van Diemen RF01 had eyes set on fourth, as did Hunter Tatman in a Van Diemen RF06.
The final laps were intense to see who would finish just off the podium. In the end, the spot went to Sunoco Hard Charger Cordova – who was actually starting to breath down Minor’s neck for third. Tatman also got around Kiriluk to earn a fifth-place finish.
The 60th running of SCCA’s National Championship Runoffs®, the Pinnacle of American Amateur Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at VIRginia International Raceway — in Alton, VA — during Hagerty Race Days, Friday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 1.
Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live, and at SCCA’s official YouTube and Facebook social media channels. Live timing and scoring for each race is also available at SCCA.com.
Below are official results for Saturday’s Formula Continental® race at the 2023 SCCA® National Championship Runoffs, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, and laps completed.
1, (1), Nolan Allaer, Grosse Pointe, MI, Van Diemen RF02, 15.
2, (4), Robert Allaer, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, Van Diemen RF02, 15.
3, (2), Tim Minor, Fredericksburg, VA, Citation US2000, 15.
4, (8), Glenn Cordova, Effort, PA, Van Diemen RF04, 15.
5, (7), Hunter Tatman, Fort Collins, CO, Van Diemen RF06, 15.
6, (5), Dean Kiriluk, Orchard Lake, MI, Van Diemen RF01, 15.
7, (6), Chris Scharnow, Saint Petersburg, FL, Van Diemen RF01, 15.
8, (3), Michael Varacins, Burlington, WI, Van Diemen F2000, 15.
9, (10), Kevin Fandozzi, St Joseph, MI, Mygale SJ2012H, 15.
10, (9), Rick Silver, Derwood, MD, Van Diemen RF98, 8.
DNF, (11), John Mirro, Bath, PA, Van Diemen DP08, 6.
Length of Race: 49.05 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 33:08.525 (avg. 88.799 mph)
Margin of Victory: 05.389 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:51.169 (105.893 mph)
Lap Leaders: #11, Laps 1-15
Sunoco Hard Charger: #41 Glenn Cordova
Photo caption: Nolan Allaer defended his Formula Continental National Championship with a race win Saturday at VIR during the SCCA Runoffs.
Photo by Jay Bonvouloir