2024 Sebring Hoosier Super Tour: Sunday Notebook

Sunday saw the second of two competition days at Sebring International Raceway in Florida during the first Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour (HST) event of the 2024 season. Nearly 380 entries were part of the January 12-14 weekend hosted by SCCA’s Central Florida Region.

Practically the complete opposite of Saturday’s opening round, Sunday morning greeted drivers with cool and dry conditions. As the day progressed, however, rain came and made things quite tricky around the historic 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit during contests scheduled for either 14 laps or 35 minutes.

Formula for Excitement: Formula F (FF) was one car class that made up the day’s third run group. Seven drivers were in the FF field, but the two out front put on a show.

Sebastian Naranjo started on pole in the No. 08 Ares Elite Vision/Mateo Naranjo Racing Mygale SJ2014, and Saturday FF winner John Robinson was alongside in the No. 19 Lee Racing/Cricket Farm Motors Swift DB6 car. Naranjo shot to the lead early, but Robinson stayed with him. The duo swapped the top spot several times, but it was Naranjo who reached the checkered flag first.

“That was extremely fun racing with John (Robinson),” Naranjo said afterwards. “I was under pressure. But I just tried to be smart, patient, and not get overworked. I waited things out, then attacked when there was an opportunity.”

Formula Vee® (FV) was also part of the third race group. And while there wasn’t an epic battle out front for the lead, something pretty amazing still occurred. Saturday winner Stevan Davis, in the No. 80 ButlerEngines/QuixoteRacing/Hoosier Vortech machine, led most of the race again Sunday. In the end, he somehow established a 13-second margin of victory over runner-up Donnie Isley in an Agitator 016 car.

FV contests are often decided by tenths of a second or less. Davis’ winning margin was fairly unique, but the humble driver has a decade of experience at Sebring, so perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising.

Bounding B-Specs: No matter weather conditions, and no matter the track, B-Spec drivers always seem to have a great time racing one another. They are patient, skilled, fearless, and downright tenacious when it comes to achieving victory. Sunday’s B-Spec Sebring race certainly confirmed that fact.

Chris Daughtery, driving the No. 00 Toyota TRD Yaris, won his first-ever HST race Saturday on new Goodyear spec tires mandated in 2024 for B-Spec competition. He followed up that performance with a third-place finish Sunday.

Ahead of Daughtery on Sunday was leader Frank Schwartz in a Mini Cooper Clubman. Behind Daughtery sat Stewart Black in the No. 40 Bill Black Autosports Chevrolet Sonic. Schwartz had the lead for several laps, but Black swooped in at the last moment to grab glory.

“The Goodyear rain tire is second to none,” Black proclaimed while holding his first-place trophy. “I didn’t get a great start … but I got third and just wanted to stay there. I knew this was a long race, and I just wanted to wait it out. Chris (Daughtery) and Frank (Schwartz) were racing hard and going at it. I just picked my time, made a good pass, and went hauling the mail down through Turn 17. Man, what a great race. That was so much fun.”  

SMX for the Record: The 2024 Runoffs® at Road America in October will see the first-ever Spec MX-5 (SMX) driver crowned an official SCCA Road Racing National Champion. This weekend in Sebring, however, saw the first two SMX winners in Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour competition.

On Saturday, Michael Borden earned the very first HST victory for SMX driving the No. 42 Advanced Autosports/Netsplice Mazda MX-5 Miata. On Sunday, Rocco Pasquarella and his No. 195 Mazda MX-5 Miata earned victory after chasing down leader Justin Adakonis on a wet track.

“I knew I’d be fast in the rain,” Pasquarella said sheepishly afterwards. “I knew this race was long, and I just picked off cars one by one.”

Adakonis, in the No. 18 TKG Motorsports SMX Miata, did not leave the weekend empty handed. On Saturday, he turned a lap of 2:31.578 to establish the new SMX lap record at Sebring.

More Track Records: Adakonis wasn’t the only driver to set an SCCA lap record at Sebring. Tony Ave, the reigning GT-3 National Champion, drove his No. 44 Acura RSX around Sebring in only 2:18.529 on Saturday to reset the GT-3 track record on his way to victory.

Somehow on Sunday, Formula Enterprises® 2 (FE2) reigning Runoffs Champion Charles Russell Turner lowered the FE2 lap record to 2:06.179 around Sebring. While he won the class on Saturday, fellow competitor Jason Conzo made life a lot more difficult Sunday. In fact, Conzo grabbed the lead a few times, and was pressuring Turner again on the last lap during the fifth race group. That’s when rain started to fall, and Turn 17 saw both FE2 aces spin. But Turner gathered up his car and made it first to the finish.

Now to NOLA: With the first HST weekend of the year now wrapped, the series next heads to Avondale, LA, and NOLA Motorsports Park located just outside New Orleans. That circuit is back on HST’s 10-event schedule for the first time since 2018, and the party will be co-hosted Feb. 17-18, 2024, by SCCA’s Lone Star Region and Southwest Division.

The 2.75-mile circuit with 16 turns was designed by Alan Wilson – whose other layouts include Barber Motorsports Park, GingerMan Raceway, and Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The venue, opened in 2011, has hosted a multitude of pro racing series over the years, including Trans Am and IndyCar. Driver and worker registration is open now for that two-day event.

Action from NOLA will be presented live, online and for free thanks to the popular Hoosier Super Tour broadcast. Before then, the Sebring weekend can be revisited with on-demand video playback available in a few days at the SCCA YouTube channel. Also find post-race video interviews with some Sebring 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 Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Sebring International Raceway with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. An asterisk (*) denotes drivers with a weekend sweep in the class.
*American Sedan®: Thomas West; Standish ME; Cadillac CTSV
B-Spec: Stewart Black; Greensboro, NC; Chevrolet Sonic
E Production: Bryan Heitman; Kansas City, MO; Mazda MX-5
*F Production: Cliff Ira; Kansas City, MO; Honda Del Sol
*H Production: Mike Ogren; Dunedin, FL; VW Scirocco
*Formula 600: Keith Joslyn; Grand Island, NY; Scorpion Rotax
Formula Atlantic®:
Brandon Schwarz; Saint Charles IL; Ligier JSF3
*Formula Continental®: Robert Allaer; Grosse Pt. Woods, MI; Van Diemen RF02
*Formula Enterprises®2: C. Russell Turner; Montpelier, VA; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Sebastian M. Naranjo; Edwards, IL; Mygale SJ2014
*Formula Vee®: Stevan Davis; Danielsville, GA; Vortech
*Formula X: Ken De Nault; Cedar Falls, IA; Formula Mazda
GT-1: Michael McAleenan; Tacoma, WA; Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO
GT-2: Justin Elder; Lakeville, MN; Chevrolet Camaro
*GT-3: Tony Ave; Maiden, NC; Acura RSX
*GT-Lite: Chris Bovis; Overland Park, KS; Honda CRX
*Spec Miata: Connor Zilisch; Mooresville, NC; Mazda Miata
Spec MX-5: Rocco Pasquarella; Boca Raton, FL; Mazda MX-5
Spec Racer® Ford Gen3: R. Clay Russell; Spartanburg, SC; SCCA Enterprises SRF3
*Prototype 1: Todd Vanacore; Ormond Beach, FL; Elan DP02
Prototype 2: Bart Wolf; Elkhart Lake, WI; Ligier JS51
Super Touring® Lite: Danny Steyn; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Mazda MX-5
Super Touring® Under: Todd Clarke; Fox Island, WA; BMW 330Ci
Touring 1: Hugh Stewart; Milford, CT; BMW M3
*Touring 2: Mark Boden; Winnetak, IL; Porsche 997.1
Touring 3: Scotty B White; Auburn, WA; Ford Mustang
Touring 4: Matt Spicuzzi; Waterford Township, MI; Mazda RX-8

Photo: Rocco Pasquarella treads his way to SMX victory Sunday at Sebring International Raceway during the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour.

Photo by Dave Green