Hall of Fame Fun, Rain Dancing and A First Win: The Hoosier Super Tour Visits the June Sprints

Saturday at the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints, the final stop on the 2024 Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour calendar, was primed to be a preview of this year’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Sunoco. But honestly, the record field of competitors is hoping it isn’t.

Not for performance, which was close throughout the day and the nine group races. But for the weather, which threatened to wash out the day but made several of the races run when it was pure wet, some when it was tricky and drying, some when it was dry and then, finally, a full wet group nine to end the day.

And we can’t wait to do it again tomorrow! The forecast is for sun, so mount up those Hoosier Tires and stiffen the roll bars, we’re going dry. Tune in to the broadcast with Gregg Ginsberg and Brian Bielanski right here on SCCA.com all day long, beginning at 8 a.m. CDT.

But in the meantime, here’s what we saw today:

B-Spec Party

The B-Spec field came out in a huge way this weekend. An impressive 35 cars took the green flag, all in the rain. At the end, it was Eric Yagel with his first win at the June Sprints, his first race at Road America, and his first Hoosier Super Tour victory.

“I’ve come close a few times,” Yagel said. “The first time at Road America makes it really cool to win the Sprints. I got a lot of people to thank, but most importantly John Phillips to tell me to always drive in the wet when you get a chance.”

Yagel got into the lead on the second lap, just before the race’s only caution, and then held it again on the green/white/checker restart for a 1.978-second win over Ricky Holmstrom.

Hall of Fame Level Fun

Lest anyone get confused, you don’t have to be fully retired to make the SCCA Hall of Fame.

This weekend’s event features three Hall of Famers prominently, beginning with Grand Marshal Lyn St. James (class of 2017). Mark Weber has never stopped racing, and is back again this season in his F Production Mazda Miata.

And for those who followed the racing career of Peter Cunningham (class of 2018), it’s pretty clear that 42 is a significant number. It’s been the number on the side of his race car whenever possible, which was most often throughout his seven World Challenge drivers championships.

So when 2024 rolled around, it wasn’t lost on Cunningham that it was the 42nd anniversary of his first June Sprints start. The best way to commemorate that? Have his RealTime Racing crew roll out a Honda, adorned with the number 42 (obviously), to enter the GT-3 race one more time.

It worked out pretty well. In a shortened by weather race, he brought his front-wheel-drive Honda Civic home with a race win on Saturday.

Crossover during the Spec Miata race

This morning’s rain finally began to give way around lunch, and the midway point of the Spec Miata race just after lunch was the switch over from wet to dry.

The interesting part? Everyone in the field was on rain tires, save for just two – Danny Steyn and Chuck Mactutus. The crafty veterans nearly pulled off the move, but a full course caution effectively ended the race early and Tyler Brown held on for the win, followed by Ethan Jacobs and Ethan Ayars.

What was their perspective after the wins? It was clear that that the rains were quicker, and likely more confident inducing, at the beginning of the race.

“It was the second heat cycle on the rains, and it was really good for me,” Jacobs said. “It sounds like the people that went out on slicks went from back of the pack all the way to the top 20. I think the slicks would have been the move if it was a full race, but with the double yellow the rains were the right move.”

The post-race evaluation was pretty unanimous – Steyn was coming.

“If you hit pressures right on the rains, the first half was pretty good,” Ayars said. “I think we got saved by the bell. When the yellow came out, Steyn was two seconds quicker than us every lap. I’m glad the caution came out because we needed it.”

Steyn finished the race in 15th.

About That Surface

The weather tossed everything at the field on Saturday, with every possible degree of wet surface at various points.

Some, like Joe Moser, got a taste of both wet and dry. Unfortunately for Moser, it happened in the same session on Friday. When rain came out during the Production car qualifying, it caught the field off guard.

“Wet with slicks was fine until it wasn’t,” Moser said. “We got a downpour and it was instantly hydroplaning. The entire field went into the wall and I wrote off an Integra yesterday (his F Production car).”

But the surface was remarkably fun on full wets, according to Moser,

“Wet on rains has a lot of grip, it’s very predictable, and progressively it lets you go,” he said. “You know when it’s going. It’s so smooth that you’re not going to just hit a bump and be off in the wall. I enjoyed it in the rain.”

Yagel, who won the B-Spec race on rains, agreed – although the B-Spec field was out in the heaviest of the storms.

“You’ve really got to watch out with puddling,” Yagel said. “It puddles real bad in the apex of most corners, but as long as you stay out of the puddles you can pretty much stay on line. That makes it pretty easy to drive. There were some pretty big rivers going across the track and you can’t brake into them. It felt really good out there.”

The hard part is the second cross over. The racing line visibly dried, but it remained wet for those trying to make the pass. That was Moser’s experience.

“When it’s drying, on slicks, it’s tough because the rain line doesn’t dry very quickly but you have a dry patch,” he said after winning the STU race on Saturday. “So you can run single file, but it’s hard to figure out when it’s going to give you enough. Full wet and full dry are amazing, in between is hard to deal with.”

Race Winners

Saturday featured 28 race winners in the 25-minute timed races on the 4-mile Road America. Provisional race winners, with class, name and car are below:

American Sedan: Evan Pecore, Ford Mustang GT
B-Spec: Eric Yagel, Honda Fit
E Production: Tyler Ladd, BMW Z3
F Production: Mason Workman, Mazda Miata
H Production: Jesse Prather, Mazda2
Formula 600: Jason Martin, Novakar J10
Formula Atlantic: Dudley Fleck, Swift 016/Mazda
Formula Continental: Timothy Minor, Citation
Formula Enterprises 2: Adam Jennerjahn, Formula Enterprises/Mazda
Formula F: Sebastian Mateo Naranjo, Mygale SJ2014
Formula Vee: Brandon Abbott, Vector AM-1
Formula X: Ken De Nault, Formula Mazda
GT-1: David Pintaric, Ford Mustang
GT-2: Brad McAllister, Ford Mustang
GT-3: Peter Cunningham, Honda Civic Type R TCR
GT-Lite: Michael Lewis, Mazda RX-7
GT-X: Brett Scroggin, BMW M4 GT4
Prototype 1: John McAleer, Elan DP02
Prototype 2: Lucian Pancea, Stohr WF-1
Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn, Mazda MX-5
Super Touring Under: Joe Moser, Honda CRX Si
Spec Miata: Tyler Brown, Mazda Miata
Spec MX-5: Justin Adakonis, Mazda MX-5
Spec Racer Ford Gen3: Clay Russell, Spec Racer Ford
Touring 1: Mark Boden, Mercedes-AMG GT4
Touring 2: Charlie Peter, BMW M2
Touring 3: Sean Lovett, BMW E46
Touring 4: Marc Cefalo, Mazda MX-5