With the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs mere weeks away, many racers are in the final throws of prepping for the winner-take-all event. But this year’s Sept. 25-Oct. 1 Runoffs will be different from any other in the event’s 53-year history – this year, the Runoffs will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Never has an SCCA club race taken place at this historic venue, and never has another series raced using the slated 15-turn, 2.592-mile configuration (pictured below and here for a larger version). And with the Runoffs moving tracks each year, it’s unlikely it will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway anytime in the near future. Consequently, anticipation for the event is at an all-time high – a feeling that’s reflected in the number of racers registered.
Within 24 hours of registration opening on July 19, more than 760 SCCA racers had submitted their 2017 Runoffs registration request, up significantly from the 413 drivers who registered during that same time period the year prior. At present, more than 1,010 drivers have committed to attending this year’s event, which puts the Runoffs in line to smash the existing record of 709 drivers – a record that has stood since 2004.
The massive entry count has also created a new problem – some classes will exceed the track’s capacity. SCCA’s calculation for cars per mile during competition puts the cap at 72 cars on the track at Indy at any given time. With Spec Racer Ford Gen3 currently showing more than 100 cars registered and Spec Miata not far behind the century mark, this year’s Runoffs will also feature a “last chance” qualifying race for drivers not qualifying in the top 60 in their class by the end of the day on Wednesday, Sept. 27. For those in the last chance qualifying race, the top 12 finishers will advance to the championship race that weekend.
This will, without a doubt, be one of the most notable SCCA Runoffs in recent years – and it’s an event drivers can’t wait to attend.