SCCA Runoffs in Contention for USA Today’s 10Best – But We Need Your Help

In our humble opinion, the SCCA® National Championship Runoffs® is one of the greatest annual motorsport events in the United States. Every past and current member of the Sports Car Club of America knows it’s true, and it could soon be evident to race fans around the country through the 2024 USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice for Best Motorsports Race poll – but we need your help.

A panel of USA Today’s experts pulled together the list of 20 events for consideration to make its coveted 10Best listing. Now, SCCA members can unite and show support for their Club by casting votes for the Runoffs. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a cent to lend a hand in this endeavor – and you can vote often.

That’s right – this USA Today poll allows anyone to cast a vote once a day until the contest closes on Monday, April 29, 2024, so go ahead and share the link below through your social media accounts so family, friends, coworkers, or whoever can help the Runoffs earn a spot in this 10Best listing.

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Need Convincing? Here’s the History

It was 1964 when SCCA first declared National Championship Runoffs winners. Since then, the Runoffs has evolved into what is now commonly agreed to be the pinnacle of amateur road racing in the United States. In fact, the Runoffs has been named by Car and Driver magazine as one of the Top 10 racing events in motorsports, and Edmunds called the event “an institution.”

Hundreds of drivers compete for National Championship medals each year at the Runoffs. The record for the largest Runoffs entry occurred in 2017 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 969 entries. Meanwhile, the 2024 and 2025 Runoffs will take place in fall at America’s National Park of Speed, which is Road America near Elkhart Lake, WI. Over the years, however, SCCA’s National Championship has been decided at a multitude of tracks.

For the first six years, SCCA’s National Championship alternated between Riverside International Raceway in California (1964, 1966, 1968) and Florida’s Daytona International Speedway (1965, 1967, 1969).

After that – and for the next two dozen years – the Runoffs was held at Road Atlanta in Georgia. That era saw a fantastic period that produced many memorable moments. Then in 1994, the Runoffs moved north to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course through 2005.

In 2006, the Runoffs added a fifth track to its resume: Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, KS. That was followed by a 2009 visit to Wisconsin’s Road America.

In 2014, the Runoffs began a more frequent alternating schedule. To begin the rotation, SCCA selected one of the country’s most historic road courses west of the Rockies: Laguna Seca. It marked the first time the Runoffs took place out west since the event’s final visit to Riverside International Raceway.

Since then, the Runoffs has added stops at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, and VIRginia International Raceway to its history book.

Legendary Runoffs Racers

There’s a lengthy list of people who honed their driving skills with SCCA while on their way to becoming racing royalty. Boris Said, Bob Tullius, Bob Sharp, Scott Sharp, Jim Fitzgerald, Skip Barber, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Doc Bundy, Peter Gregg, Bob Holbert, and Randy Pobst are just a few among that bunch.

Then there’s Jim Trueman, a two-time Runoffs winner. He later teamed up with another two-time SCCA Runoffs Champion Bobby Rahal to win the 1986 Indianapolis 500. Bobby’s son, Graham, also earned a Runoffs medal in 2005 before moving along to the highest level of open-wheel racing in the United States. And you can’t forget Jimmy Vasser and Kevin Cogan when it comes to U.S. open-wheel racing, as both of those men also claimed Runoffs gold medals.

Prior to the Runoffs championship format, many legendary motorsport icons achieved remarkable things within SCCA road racing competition, too. For starters, there’s SCCA Hall of Famer Phil Hill – he took the 1955 SCCA D Modified Championship, and in 1961 became the first-ever Formula One World Drivers' Championship winner from the United States.

Then there’s Mark Donohue, who claimed the 1961 SCCA E Production title before driving cars to championships and poster status in Trans Am and Can-Am. Some of that took place with a team managed by Roger Penske, who also came up through SCCA’s ranks. He himself grabbed some D Modified Championships prior to 1964 – three to be exact – and also clinched SCCA’s 1960 F Modified Championship.

Lastly, we can’t forget about Paul Newman. He didn’t win the most Runoffs championships, but he holds a record within the Sports Car Club of America. Currently, and perhaps forever, Newman is the only driver to earn four Runoffs Championships and an Oscar for Best Actor.

The Runoffs has a long and glorious history – one which should earn it a slot high up on the Best Motorsports list on USA Today’s pole. So, please vote today (…and tomorrow, and the next day, through April 29) to make sure it takes its rightful spot in USA Today’s 10Best.

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Photo by Rick Corwine