Morgan Burkhard's Graduation, Facebook Marketplace Comes Through, and the Pavement is Fast on Sunday at Mid-Ohio

It finally happened – we spent a dry, hot full sun weekend at a 2024 Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour. After a wet Friday, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course heated up, and stretched into the 80s for Sunday’s 20-lap (or 35 minute) races.

There was a lot of great racing, and a lot of fun, and even a graduation. As always, it was truly a family affair at Mid-Ohio.

Pomp and Circumstance
If ever there was a racing family, it’s the Burkhards. John and Beth have been SCCA members for years, as racers and as workers. In fact, they were collectively last year’s Workers of the Year for the “start” category.

So it’s not always 18-year-old son Morgan who gets the attention. But on Sunday, it was definitely about Morgan.

Young Burkhardt finished second in Saturday’s Spec Racer Ford race, and had a tough run to a fifth-place finish on Sunday. Most importantly, he also graduated from high school on Sunday afternoon – even though he was at Mid-Ohio.

Even though his race was on Sunday morning, it was six hours home to Charlestown, West Virginia – too far away to make the three p.m. ceremony with his 280-plus Washington High School class.

It turns out the decision was a difficult one.

“At first, it wasn’t difficult at all,” Burkhard said. “Now that it’s happening, it’s important and a big stepping stone to growing up. It’s bittersweet, but ultimately I’d rather be here.”

Burkhardt’s senior year hasn’t exactly been traditional, anyway. It started with a Tire Rack pole in Spec Racer Ford at the Runoffs and saw him run in the breakaway group for the win until an unfortunate suspension failure cost him a finish. He parlayed that into the Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year Award, and then started in January as a driver for Victor Gonzalez Racing Team in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Currently he sits 10th in the TCR point standings there.

Because of all of that, he’s missed some senior activities. He even decided after looking at his schedule that it would be best to spend his senior year taking classes remotely, holding his spot in the top 30 of his class.

But he’ll always be the kid who took his first victory lap two months before he was actually born (credit dad for driving that one, and mom for telling the pit lane workers she’d cleared it with her doctors before jumping in). Hopefully he also continues to feel the support from the SCCA community in all his future endeavors, both academically and on the race track.

Social Media Can Be Good
Every once in a while, social media comes through. It saved the weekend for Nic Hammann.

Hammann brought his brand new Nissan 370Z to the track this weekend and, well, Saturday didn’t go so well.

“Yesterday was the first official race for the car, we’d had two test days,” Hamman said. “Halfway through the race, the oil temperature got hot and I noticed something in the diff was locking up. I think the pinion bearing went.”

So what to do, just pack up and go home? That’s not what any racer would do.

“I went on Facebook Marketplace and searched Nissan 370Z diff, found one in Kentucky 180 miles away,” Hammann said. “My dad and I got in the car and went down there, and I think we got there about five o’clock (on Saturday evening).”

Then it was 180 miles back, arriving right about dusk. They installed the “new” diff and made it back to the hotel around 12:30 on Saturday night. It was a quick night’s sleep, and then back to the track at six to add fluid.

Did we mention he raced in group one? That meant firing up the car and heading out onto the track without a hardship lap, trusting a guy on the internet who just happened to have a differential sitting in his garage. Oh well, there was nothing to lose – the old one wasn’t going to work either.

But it did work, to the tune of a race win. Not bad for a brand new, home built (literally, in his two-car garage) race car for the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin native who now lives in Charlotte. That’s right – Elkhart Lake, home of Road America, and 2024 home of the Runoffs. Guess what the goal was, and why a race finish was so important?

“You don’t know what you’ve got, but we figured we’d just see how it goes,” Hammann said. “It worked great.”

But what of the random person in Ashland, Kentucky, who had a differential for a Nissan 370Z just sitting in his garage? Did he know it was headed for the race track and a Hoosier Super Tour victory? Reader, he did not.

“I don’t think he knew,” Hamman said. “I just grabbed it and left.”

Pavement Power
Back on Friday in this space, we talked about Mid-Ohio’s new pavement and how it was, as expected, much improved in the rain. But because of the rain, we also had to wait to see how it might perform in the dry.

The verdict? Very well.

Multiple track records fell throughout the weekend, and even in the heat of the day cars were able to have grip. Five stars, would recommend.

Sunday Winners

Sunday’s races features 27 class winners on at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Those class winners, with name and car, are below (all results listed are provisional, with weekend sweeps designated with an (*) – official results can be found on the event page here):

American Sedan: Gregory Eaton, Ford Mustang
B-Spec: Rob Piekarczyk, Honda Fit
*E Production: Lance Loughman, Datsun 240Z
*F Production: Mason Workman, Mazda Miata
*H Production: Steve Sargis, Triumph Spitfire
*Formula 600: Sven de Vries, Novakar J7
*Formula Atlantic: Nicho Vardis, JDR F1000
*Formula Continental: John LaRue, Citation Snipe FZ
*Formula Enterprises 2: Jim Libecco, Formula Enterprises/Mazda
Formula F: Zachary Rivard, Van Diemen RF99/Honda
*Formula Vee: Andrew Whitston, Protoform P2
GT-1: Ryan McManus, Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Gian Buffamonte, Ford Mustang
GT-3: Armen Megregian, Mazda RX-7
*GT-Lite: Michael Lewis, Mazda RX-7
*GT-X: Dan Speer, Chevrolet Camaro
Prototype 1: Darryl Shoff, Elan DP02
Prototype 2: Mike Reupert, Stohr WF1
*Spec Miata: Tyler Brown, Mazda Miata
*Spec MX-5: Justin Adakonis, Mazda MX-5
*Spec Racer Ford 3: Bobby Sak, Spec Racer Ford
*Super Touring Lite: Max Gee, Honda Prelude
*Super Touring Under: John Schmitt, Honda Accord
*Touring 1: Hugh Stewart, BMW M3
*Touring 2: John Heinricy, Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Touring 3: Nic Hammann, Nissan 370Z
*Touring 4: Marc Cefalo, Mazda MX-5