’24 Portland Hoosier Super Tour Sunday: Stock Cars, Tuttle Tutelage, Racin’ Romers

Mother Nature served up an absolutely gorgeous Oregon weekend May 11-12, 2024, for the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour visit to Portland International Raceway (PIR). Skies were sunny all weekend with temperatures in the 80-degree range, and the event went off swimmingly thanks to help from SCCA’s Oregon Region.

HST’s second and final visit to the West Coast for 2024, the two days at PIR represented the seventh of 10 events on this year’s HST schedule. Sunday began with 15-minute qualifying sessions for all six run groups. The afternoon then featured 35-minute or 25-lap contests for each of those groups around PIR’s 1.977-mile, 12-turn circuit.

Stock Car Racing?

There were moments at PIR this weekend where you could’ve thought the HST series was a NASCAR event. That’s because some of the vehicles that ran GT-1 looked like late model stock cars. And in fact, they are late model stock cars.

It’s a rarity to see such vehicles at other HST stops during the year. The PIR HST visit was unique, however, as there were a handful of cars that looked like they’d be right at home on an asphalt short oval. Many of those cars have competed as part of a stock car series with a history of visiting road courses up and down the West Coast.

Darryl Becker Jr. was one competitor driving just such a car. A member of SCCA since last year, he totally digs his racing machine.

“They’re absolutely awesome,” Darryl Jr. exclaimed about the vehicles. “The power, the handling, the shifting, the clutchless transmission, slamming gears and going so fast into corners … it’s all just a rush.”

Four Beckers actually came out to play with SCCA in Portland for the weekend. There was Darryl Jr. and his brother Devin, as well as their father Darryl Sr. and uncle David. But the Becker bunch had a rough three days.

During Friday testing, Darryl Sr. lost an engine and David spun in the oil. While the Beckers worked hard to get both cars back into racing condition, David was unable to continue on with his weekend. Mechanical gremlins also kept Devin from running, and Darryl Sr. was only able to complete seven laps on Sunday. But Darryl Jr. soldiered on and managed to complete Saturday and Sunday races in his Dodge Stock Car.

Other GT-1 racers hoofing similar late model stock cars carried the torch at PIR. Aaron Young, driving a Chevrolet Camaro, earned two second-place trophies. And Tim Adolphson, in a Victory Circle NASCAR Camaro, walked away with two third-place finishes.

Both GT-1 races were won by Ernie Spada in the No. 44 Porsche GT3 Cup machine. It should be noted that Spada had to work hard against the stock cars to earn those victories.

Tuttle Still Going

In 2024, Sports Car Club of America® is celebrating its 80th anniversary. One competitor at this weekend’s HST event in Portland, however, was playing with the Club back when it was only in its 30s.

Tom Tuttle wielded the B-Spec No. 42 Joe Carr Racing Mini Cooper around PIR this weekend at 78 years old. In his early teens, Tuttle had already succumbed to his passion for auto racing. Like many growing up in Northern California during the early 1960s, he cut his teeth playing on the vacant backroads of Marin County, California – which is an ill-advised activity anywhere today.

It was 1969 when Tuttle made his initial foray into SCCA competition, and he’s now been playing with cars – on and off – for the better part of 50 years. In the 1970s, Tuttle drove with the British Leyland team before 1976 saw him earn a Canadian National Championship in F Production. He also grabbed two runner-up finishes in the early ‘70s at Road Atlanta during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs® driving a Huffaker Motorsports MG Midget in G Production.

Tuttle has sat behind the steering wheel of many amazing production racecars over the years. The list includes MGs, MGBs, a Brabham BT29, a Huffaker Genie, and a Lotus Elan 26R to name a few. But he stowed away his helmet after a wreck in 1977 and turned efforts toward building a business.

Just a tick more than three decades later, SCCA Hall of Famer “Little Joe” Huffaker asked Tuttle for help with restoration of a Huffaker/Slick MGB racecar in 2011. When the work was completed, Huffaker Jr. insisted Tuttle hustle the restored car on track – and you don’t say no to Little Joe even if you haven’t raced in 35 years. That opened the door for Tuttle to explore his racing passion once again, and he’s now been back in the mix with SCCA for a decade.

“I had a God-given talent, and racing was the first thing in my life I ever did really, really well right out of the box,” Tuttle said. “I’ve had the passion since I was 13 years old … and it’s hard to stop when you love what you’re doing. It’s been a lifelong passion.”

That passion brought the SCCA San Francisco Region member up from Austin, TX, to again take part in the Portland HST event. In fact, this weekend marks the one-year anniversary for Tuttle and his B-Spec Mini Cooper, which he bought and took delivery of at last year’s PIR event. He immediately swept both B-Spec victories last year, and repeated the feat once again this weekend at PIR in B-Spec.

Victory will always be a goal for Tuttle, of course. But enjoyment of racecars and racetracks is now equally important. That is why Tuttle is currently accumulating points in B-Spec as he works toward qualification for the 2024 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Road America – a track he has oddly never run before.

“If you’re really serious about racing, you’ve got to put in 100 percent,” Tuttle offered as qualified advice for young up-and-comers. “You pretty much have to sacrifice everything to be in the pro ranks. And you have to have that special talent that some people have, and others don’t.

“If you’re just racing with SCCA to have a good time, then relax and enjoy it,” Tuttle continued. “Don’t spend every dime you got. If you’re doing this for fun … don’t get over your head financially. Recognize where you’re at … and enjoy it.”

That’s certainly some sage Tuttle tutelage for everyone to ponder.

Racing Romers

Chip Romer and his son, Matthew, both drove Prototype 1 (P1) cars over the HST weekend at PIR. Frankly, seeing Chip at an HST race isn’t big news. An SCCA member since 2017, the former P1 Runoffs winner appears frequently at HST weekends. His son, too, is a face we’ve become accustomed to seeing since he joined SCCA in 2022.

This year, Chip and Matthew have decided to expand their racing resume further by competing in two Radical Cup North America events. The first one was at Sebring International Raceway, and the second at Barber Motorsports Park as support for an INDYCAR event.

Performing on track in front of the best open-wheel racecar drivers in the U.S., and knocking around the INDYCAR paddock, might be a stressful scenario for a relatively new racer such as Matthew. But having grown up with motorsports, he simply found the experience “cool.”

“I love racing, and I grew up watching my dad race,” Matthew noted. “All racers are all good people. So it’s always fun to be at a track.”

The P1 cars piloted by the Romers are prepped by One Motorsports. By chance, One Motorsports also preps some cars used in Radical Cup competition. That made the decision easy for Chip to try out a new style of car since the group of people involved are folks with which he’s already very familiar. Plus, lessons learned in the seat of an SCCA P1 vehicle transfer over nicely to Radical Cup cars, even though the P1 machine is far superior.

“I’m very happy with the Radical Cup,” Chip said. “They put on a great event … and the cars are very competitive.”

Matthew said he’s been soaking up as much of his father’s expertise as possible. Chip, to his credit, is more than happy to help his son learn the ropes and is relishing race weekends they’re spending together. That being said, Chip isn’t giving away all his secrets.

“He’s picking up things so quickly, but a lot of tricks I keep in my head and don’t share them all,” Chip said with a grin while tapping his noggin. “I’ve learned that you fight against yourself, as well as competitors out on the track. You need to try to better yourself every time. For me, it’s always a challenge … and it’s what makes the sport fun.”

Chip won Saturday’s P1 race in the No. 62 Elan DP02. But if it’s any indication of the future, Matthew Romer won Sunday’s P1 contest in the No. 29 Stella Artois Elan DP02.

Sunday Race Winners

Below are provisional race winners from Sunday’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Portland International Raceway with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. An asterisk (*) denotes drivers with a weekend sweep in the class.
*B-Spec: Tom Tuttle; Austin, TX; Mini Cooper
E Production: Austin Bradshaw; Dundee, OR; Mazda RX-7
*F Production: WC Storms; Maple Ridge, BC; Honda Del-Sol
*H Production: Bill Okell; Victoria, BC; MG Midget
Formula 600: Jeff Jorgenson; Manitowoc, WI; Novakar Model 70
*Formula Atlantic®:
Tony Opheim; Garfield, WA; Swift 014.a/Toyota
*Formula Enterprises®2: Caleb Shrader; Tigard, OR; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
*Formula Vee®: Quinn Posner; Camas, WA; Protoform P3
*GT-1: Ernie Spada; Lake Oswego, OR; Porsche GT3 Cup
GT-2: Brad McAllister; Sherwood, OR; Ford Mustang
*GT-3: Bud Reichard; Seattle, WA; Mazda RX-7
*GT-Lite: Chris Doodson; Chilliwack, BC; Honda CRX
*Spec Miata: Kyle Keenan; Vancouver, WA; Mazda Miata
Spec MX-5: Rafe Abdulali; South Salem, NY; Mazda MX-5
*Spec Racer® Ford Gen3: Calvin Harris; Portland, OR; SCCA Enterprises SRF3
Prototype 1: Matthew Romer; Lake Havasu City, AZ; Elan DP02
*Prototype 2: Tim Day Jr.; Scottsdale, AZ; Stohr WF1
*Super Touring® Lite: Tom van Veen; Bellingham, WA; Honda Civic CX Hatch
*Super Touring® Under: Cameron Wagner; Vancouver, WA; Porsche Boxster
*Touring 2: Scotty B. White; Auburn, WA; Dodge Viper
Touring 3: Chris Hart; Yakima, WA; Nissan 370Z

Back to Mid-Ohio

The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour now heads back to the Midwest for a May 17-19, 2024, engagement at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. That will be stop eight of 10 on this year’s HST calendar, leaving just Watkins Glen International and Road America to go.

The upcoming event will be the first visit to Mid-Ohio since the 2020 season. SCCA’s Ohio Valley Region is ready for the action, which looks to include more than 300 entries. Those who can’t make it out to watch the action in person around Mid-Ohio’s 2.4-mile road circuit can follow the action live online thanks to the Hoosier Super Tour broadcast produced by DriversEye Live.

The free broadcast will be anchored by announcers Brian Bielanski, Rusty Bell, and Tom Michaels. Coverage will again be streamed via the SCCA Official YouTube channel and SCCA Inc. Facebook page. Sunday victory podium celebration videos can also be viewed at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page.

Photo: Tom Tuttle took two B-Spec victories during the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super visit to Portland International Raceway.

Photo by Doug Berger