ABOVE: Mark Boehm en route to victory in STL. (Mark Weber photo)
Runoffs amid Daytona Rising
The sound of the engines at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs has been mixed with the sounds of construction all week long. “Daytona Rising” is the name of a project that is making major changes to one of the nation’s most historic tracks, and will result in a facility that is among the most efficient and fan-oriented in the world.
International Speedway Corporation – owner of Daytona International Speedway – is responding to fan preference for front straight seating by dismantling grandstands around the back half of Daytona’s tri-oval, and building an impressive fan structure along the popular front straight.
When the project is completed, Daytona International Speedway will have stadium-style seating for 101,000 fans, five redesigned spectator entrances, and three levels of grandstands accessible by escalators and elevators, plus more than 60 enclosed luxury suites for media and VIPs. ISC has also doubled the number of restrooms in the main grandstand area.
As the Runoffs proceed, infield spectators can see the flash of arc welders and the sparks of grinders because ISC has committed that Daytona Rising will be ready for business in time for this winter’s Rolex 24 race and the Daytona 500.
Honda on a Runoffs winning streak
Honda drivers and Honda Performance Development have reason to celebrate this week, as they have claimed an unprecedented number of championships and podium positions.
“As of now, we’ve had four championships and six additional podium finishes. This Runoffs has had our highest-ever turnout, with 53 Hondas and 11 Acuras competing. We’re one championship away from our record but we have several races left to run this weekend,” says George Harmon, Assistant Marketing Manager for Honda Performance Development.
Among the Honda championships provisionally claimed as of Saturday afternoon are Touring 4, H Production, Super Touring Under, and Super Touring Light.
“This is a byproduct of the Honda Racing Line, which we started in 2009, and that’s led to a larger presence in SCCA Club Racing. Right now we have 1500 members, and 900 are active. Honda Racing Line is free to join, but you have to renew each year,” Harmon said.
In the Super Touring Lite race, Honda made a sweep of the podium, with champion Kevin Boehm of Marysville, Ohio driving to the victory in his Honda Civic SI (pictured, TOP), while second-place Cliff Ira of Kansas City, Mo. raced in an Acura Integra GS-R. Deuce Keane II of Cocoa Beach, Fla. claimed third in his Honda Prelude.
“I just love racing these cars, and the HPD guys have been here all week helping out, whether it’s looking for parts or finding the right person to talk to. Those guys are just awesome,” Boehm said on the podium.
Goodyear Tires is also happy with its results, having claimed three championships and six podium finishes to this point.
Runoffs Spotlight: F&C volunteer Sean Norman
It was the St. Petersburg Grand Prix that put the racing bug into Sean Norman. The 29 year-old archaeologist from Tampa, Florida saw his first live sports car racing there and just had to get involved.
“I went to St. Petersburg with my dad, and a few weeks after the Grand Prix, I called him up and said that I knew there was amateur racing, and I would like to drive,” relates Norman (LEFT). “He suggested SCCA. So I joined the club and at one of the district meetings, I met our assistant flag chief Ron Offutt. He told me that until I could afford a car, the best thing I could do was to be out on the turns – and I love it!”
That was all four years ago. Now he splits his time between his day job and working SCCA Flagging & Communications, learning all he can for the day he gets his own racecar.
“I’d like to race a Spec Racer Ford ideally, but I’ll probably end up in a Miata like everyone else,” he says.
Until he gets into that as-yet-unknown car, Sean is enthusiastic about his work as an SCCA volunteer.
“I love the activity – the fact that you’re involved,” he explains. “When you’re a spectator, you’re not really part of the action. I like knowing that I’m the person who can do something about it when something goes wrong. You also get a much closer relationship with the drivers.”
You can catch all the action from Daytona by streaming the races live. You can see the complete schedule here: http://www.scca.com/pages/schedule-2. To tune in, go to www.SCCA.com and click the LIVE COVERAGE link.