Editor's Note: This article has been updated based on official results.
Richard Hromin took a hard fought and tremendously popular victory to open the third and final Hagerty Race Day at the SCCA® National Championship Runoffs® on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, at VIRginia International Raceway. Hronin became the new B-Spec class National Champion in his second career Runoffs start, improving from his runner-up finish a season ago.
An early full course caution in the 15-lap race bunched the field with Hromin, David Daughtery, Coner Kelleher, and Riley Salyer up front, and a spin in Turn 1 on the lap five restart separated the four from the rest of the field to settle the podium positions and order.
Hromin’s No. 11 RP Performance/PAW Mini Cooper and Daughtery led the breakaway, passing when possible without killing the all-important momentum required to keep speed up in the class. The pair of Texans lined up behind them, looking for opportunities but content to just hang close until it was time to finish the race.
With two to go, however, Hromin and Daughtery had opened up just enough of a gap that the race win was in their hands. Daughtery’s No. 01 G-Loc Ford Fiesta visibly had the top end speed on VIR’s long straights, but Hromin’s coupe seemed to be slightly better in each of the other points on the track.
Hromin had the run down the hill, through Hog Pen, and onto the front straight to take the white flag, and at that point the race looked like it would come down to the run out of Oak Tree and down the back straight. Daughtery got in front before the braking zone, but Hromin was last to the center pedal and reclaimed the lead. When Daughtery slid just a bit wide coming back down the hill, Hromin was on his way to his first Runoffs checkered flag.
“The first few laps when we passed each other, we haven’t run against each other at all this year,” Hromin said. “So that was, what does this Ford Fiesta have? What are its advantages and disadvantages? I could go deeper on the brakes. I knew on the last lap I had to nail Oak Tree, and I knew if I could get to the inside of him anywhere, I could probably keep it.”
The win was very popular for the Stroudsburg, PA, driver who races out of the Washington DC Region of the SCCA.
“VIR is part of our Washington DC Region schedule,” Hromin said. “We’ve been coming down here for years, and a lot of DC people are here. I was getting messages and phone calls. It’s overwhelming the amount of support I got. I had sunglasses because I knew if I looked at my girlfriend and saw her crying, I would start crying. It’s just an awesome feeling to go through that.”
Daughtery was penalized following the race for contact made on the first lap, dropping him from second to fourth place. Kelleher was promoted to second and Riley Salyer, in the No. 22 MSR Houston/HandsOnDrivingAcademy Mazda 2 earned the third and final podium position.
While the results declare Hromin and Kelleher as both in Mini Coopers, Kelleher’s No. 14 MSR Houston Mini Cooper is the traditional “backseat” version of the small car compared to Hromin’s coupe version. With Kelleher’s teammate, Tire Rack Polesitter Riley Salyer, drafting with him in his Mazda2, it made four different car specs in the top four. For Kelleher, it was his first career Runoffs podium finish.
“We had a plan all week to just try and stay together, that’s the only way we can hang with these cars,” Kelleher said. “It didn’t come through today. I wish Riley was standing on the podium with me, but I’m glad he’s right behind me. I can’t thank him enough.” Following the race, the friends were able to stand together on the final podium.
Behind Daughtery in fifth was Trenton Kramer, who left the second pack behind but was just shy of the leaders. Matt Wolfe led that second pack across the stripe, coming across the line in sixth after starting all the way down in 19th to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger.
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 Sunday's B-Spec race at the 2023 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, and laps completed.
1, (4), Richard Hromin, Stroudsburg, PA, Mini Cooper, 15.
2, (2), Conner Kelleher, Angleton, TX, Mini Cooper, 15.
3, (1), Riley Salyer, Longview, TX, Mazda 2, 15.
4, (5), David Daughtery, McCordsville, IN, Ford Fiesta, 15.
5, (10), Trenton Kramer, Perrysburg, OH, Mini Cooper, 15.
6, (19), Matt Wolfe, Waterford, MI, Mazda 2, 15.
7, (9), Chris Taylor, Elroy, TX, Mazda 2, 15.
8, (11), Stewart Black, Greensboro, NC, Chevrolet Sonic, 15.
9, (3), Steve Introne, Windham, NH, Mini Cooper, 15.
10, (17), Chris Daughtery, McCordsville, IN, Honda Fit, 15.
11, (18), Jared Lendrum, Queensbury, NY, Mini Cooper, 15.
12, (16), Peter Zekert, Maryland Hts, MO, Honda Fit, 15.
13, (6), Frank Schwartz, Davisburg, MI, Mini Clubman, 15.
14, (22), J B Swan, Braintree, MA, Chevrolet Sonic, 15.
15, (15), Clayton Condrey, Gibsonville, NC, Mini Cooper, 15.
16, (14), Luke Russell, Fort Myers, FL, Honda Fit, 15.
17, (21), George Badger, Pendleton, IN, Mini Cooper, 15.
18, (24), Richard Osborne, Graham, NC, Nissan Versa Note, 15.
19, (23), Anthony Ruddy, Jackson, NH, Chevrolet Sonic, 12.
20, (12), Brandon Lewis, Stewartsville, NJ, Ford Fiesta, 7.
21, (20), Steve Strickland, Marion, VA, Mazda 2, 7.
DNF, (13), Blair Deffenbaugh, Sylva, NC, Honda Fit, 4.
DNF, (8), Clay Keel, Plant City, FL, Mazda 2, 1.
DNF, (7), Josh Schmidt, Kannapolis, NC, Chevrolet Sonic, 0.
DNS, (25), Joe McClughan, Marion, TX, Mazda 2, .
Length of Race: 49.05 miles
Overall Time of Race: 39:58.318 (73.627 mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.462 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 2:23.732 (81.902 mph)
Lap Leaders: #14, Lap 1; #11, Laps 2-7, 11-15; #01, Laps 8-10
Sunoco Hard Charger: #7 Matt Wolfe
Photo caption: The Mini Coupe carried Hromin to a popular B-Spec win.
Photo by: Jeff Loewe