Above: John LaRue taught the youngsters a lesson on his way to a Formula Continental Runoffs victory. Credit: Shawn Lumley
John LaRue, of Muncie, Indiana, had a pretty good week at the 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB. On Sunday, the last day of competition on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, LaRue started on the Tire Rack pole and immediately grabbed the lead, which he never relinquished on his way to a second Runoffs win, the first in Formula Continental.
“I was playing a consistency game most of the race,” LaRue said after exiting his No. 17 Hoosier/Hyperco Citation Snipe FC. “It worked out real well for us. But these other guys are tough competitors. I knew they would be a handful if they got in front of me.”
Second place, however, was a hot potato for most of the event. Nigel Saurino, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the No. 9 Quantum Racing/Hoosier/Elite Engines Van Diemen RF05, held the second spot until he spun on lap six and stalled. At that point, younger brother Joshua Saurino, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the No. 2 QuantumRacing/Hoosier/Elite Engines Van Diemen RF05, took over the spot with Robert Allaer, of Lithia, Florida, in the No. 52 LTD Motorsports/Martini/Coors Light car right behind.
Joshua and Allaer fought tooth-and-nail for a bit, but Allaer then spun his car working lap 13 and smacked into a tire wall, leaving Joshua to roll along all on his own in second – until three laps later when he spun and handed the position back to Nigel, who held that runner-up spot to the finish.
“The minute my car started going tail out, I knew exactly what happened,” Nigel said about the spin that dropped him back early in the race. “I realized the race for a win was over, which is a hard pill to swallow. But I’ll take second if they’re going to give it to me.”
For Joshua, a third-place finish may not be what he was looking for out of this year’s Runoffs, but still took something positive away from the week.
“At first I thought I had it. Thought I wouldn’t spin,” Joshua said about gifting second place to his older brother. “Once it started going around a little more, I thought ‘oh, no.’ But there’s nothing better than family racing for sure. It adds a positive aspect to the Runoffs.”
Daniel Weyls, of Medina, Ohio, in the No. 4 CW Delivery/ArmsUp Motorsports Van Diemen DP08 finished fourth. Fifth place went to the No. 46 Blue Chip Diesel/Still River Design Van Diemen DP08 of Douglas Rocco from Sandisfield, Massachusetts, who also won the Sunoco Hard Charger award from his seventh starting position.
The 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions this year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, from Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25.
- Click here to stream the live broadcasts of the 53rd running of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB until 6 p.m. ET.
While the live broadcast of all 28 National Championships is available live at SCCA.com, each race will be on demand in the coming weeks.
Provisional results for Sunday’s SCCA Formula Continental National Championship at the 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), John LaRue, Muncie, IN, Citation Snipe FC, 23.
2, (2), Nigel Saurino, Tulsa, OK, Van Diemen RF05, 23.
3, (3), Joshua Saurino, Tulsa, OK, Van Diemen RF05, 23.
4, (5), Daniel Weyls, Medina, OH, Van Diemen DP08, 23.
5, (7), Douglas Rocco, Sandisfield, MA, Van Diemen DP08, 22.
6, (6), Gary Machiko, Allison Park, PA, Van Diemen RF98, 22.
7, (4), Robert Allaer, Lithia, FL, 13.
Overall Time of Race: 32:30.140
Average Race Speed: 95.871 mph
Margin of Victory: 23.906 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: Nigel Saurino, 1:22.049 (99.073 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #46 Douglas Rocco
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-23, #17 John LaRue