One of the last Hagerty Race Day contests Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway during the 60th running of SCCA’s National Championship Runoffs® was H Production (HP). The 24-car field took to the 18-turn, 3.27-mile circuit, and things got frantic into Turn 1 as competitors tried their best to improve positions early in the 15-lap event.
The end of lap one saw Tire Rack Pole winner Chris Schaafsma, from Wheaton, IL, leading in the No. 1 Hoosier/Race-Keeper/G-Loc/NGP Volkswagen Golf. Second was Steve Sargis, in the No. 18 Hoosier/Carbotech Triumph Spitfire. Third was Will Perry, who started fifth in a Honda CRX Si, and right behind him was Chris Albin driving the No. 3 Over The Limit Racing/Hoosier Volkswagen Golf.
By the third lap, Schaafsma had a three-second lead on Sargis, and Albin had gotten around Perry for third. After that, the top three positions did not change the rest of the race. Schaafsma, the defending HP National Champion, slowly extended his lead to what ended up being a 16-second advantage on runner-up Sargis. And during that run, Schaafsma turned a lap of 2:14.681, which reset the HP race lap record at VIR.
“My team that helps me, volunteering their time, did such a great job helping us find just a little bit more in every part of the car,” Schaafsma said, who now has two Runoffs gold medals to his name. “The car was much easier for me to drive than it has been in years past. I’m super happy and super proud of my team.”
Sargis worked hard to keep in contact with Schaafsma in the opening corners, but just couldn’t get the job done. From there, he ran unchallenged the entire way in second to make his 22nd Runoffs podium appearance.
“I lost Schaafsma’s draft at the beginning,” Sargis said. “So, I knew I was pretty much in trouble then. But I don’t think I could’ve ran with him anyway. He was just too fast and too good today.”
Albin finished another 18 seconds back in third to earn his third visit to the Runoffs podium.
“The car ran great,” Albin said. “Schaafsma let me have his spare shocks last night. So, after qualifying third, we changed everything, and it drove awesome. I could even hold it flat through the Climbing Esses.”
The real battle in HP happened behind the top three finishers. There you had Perry in fourth, who had been reeled in by Enrik Benazic in a Honda Civic Si, Vesa Silegren in a Honda CRX, Mike Ogren in a Volkswagen Scirocco, and Jason LaManna in a Volkswagen Rabbit.
Benazic, Silegren, Ogren, and LaManna had been dicing it up lap after lap for most of the race. When they caught Perry on lap 11, they quickly demoted him to eighth. But a lap later in Turn 4, LaManna and Benazic made contact, thus removing them from the battle.
Silegren and Ogren stormed around the circuit a few more times, and were still nose-to-tail when they approached the finish line. It was Silegren who ended up claiming the fourth spot by only 0.148sec over Ogren. Perry then held on to finish sixth.
The Sunoco Hard Charger award went to Edward Werry, who started 22nd and finished in 13th position.
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 H Production race at the 2023 SCCA® National Championship Runoffs, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, and laps completed.
1, (1), Chris Schaafsma, Wheaton, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 15.
2, (2), Steve Sargis, Hartford, WI, Triumph Spitfire, 15.
3, (3), Chris W Albin, Maryland Hts, MO, Volkswagen Golf, 15.
4, (7), Vesa Silegren, Cleveland, TN, Honda CRX, 15.
5, (4), Mike Ogren, Dunedin, FL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 15.
6, (5), Will Perry, Sale Creek, TN, Honda CRX Si, 15.
7, (11), Angus Crome, Maryville, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 15.
8, (10), Greg Gauper, Hubertus, WI, Honda Civic Si, 15.
9, (6), Enrik Benazic, Farmingdale, NY, Honda Civic Si, 15.
10, (12), Scott Hileman, Johnstown, OH, Volkswagen Scirocco, 15.
11, (14), Matthew Benazic, Whitestone, NY, Honda Civic Si, 15.
12, (16), Michael Miller, Moore, SC, Austin-Healey Sprite, 15.
13, (22), Edward Werry, West Deptford, NJ, Honda Fit, 15.
14, (15), Joe Camilleri, Toronto, ON, Volkswagen Scirocco, 14.
15, (18), Frank Schwartz, Davisburg, MI, Mini Cooper, 14.
16, (24), John Fine, Norcross, GA, Honda Civic SI, 14.
17, (21), Jerry Oleson, Aurora, CO, Austin-Healey Sprite, 14.
18, (13), Kendall Jones, Armada, MI, MG Midget, 12.
19, (23), Tom Broring, Derwood, MD, Triumph Spitfire, 12.
20, (9), William Trainer, Lake in the Hills, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 10.
21, (19), Vincent LaManna, Ontario, NY, Volkswagen Rabbit, 9.
22, (8), Jason LaManna, Rochester, NY, Volkswagen Rabbit, 11.
DNF, (20), Jack Schulz, Monett, MO, MG Midget, 4.
DNF, (25), Taylor Hyatt, Fayetteville, PA, Volkswagen Golf, 4.
DNS, (17), Charles Guest, Greensboro, NC, MG Midget, .
Length of Race: 49.05 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 34:00.944 (avg. 86.519 mph)
Margin of Victory: 16.327 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 2:14.681 (87.407 mph)
Lap Leaders: #1, Laps 1-15
Sunoco Hard Charger: #53 Edward Werry
Photo caption: Chris Schaafsma defended his H Production National Championship on Sunday during the 2023 Runoffs at VIR.
Photo by Jeff Loewe