Three days of qualifying concluded Thursday evening at the 2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs being held this year at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. As such, there are now 28 Tire Rack Pole Award winners who will lead their respective classes to the green flag over the next three days as nearly 500 competitors do their very best to earn a win on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile circuit. Racing begins Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time with a free, live video broadcast available online via SCCA.com/live. But before then, honors go to the Tire Rack Pole Award winners listed below, who each receive a commemorative sign and lapel pin, a certificate of achievement, $500 to spend at Tire Rack, and a MOMO steering wheel.
History was made during the final day of qualifying for the 55th National Championship Runoffs when Flinn Lazier managed to grab the Formula Enterprises 2 Tire Rack Pole Award in his Tivoli Lodge/Bell Helmets/Stockit Mazda FE2 racecar. It didn’t come easy as Liam Snyder set the pace in his Snyder Brothers Racing SCCA Mazda FE2 over the first two days. But Lazier emerged atop the heap by only .045 seconds on Thursday. This is the first time FE2 has competed as a class at the National Championship, and the third generation of Laziers to claim a Runoffs pole. Flinn’s grandfather, Robert, accomplished the feat in 1972; and in 1995 it was Flinn’s uncle, Jaques, who grabbed another Runoffs pole for the family.
Robeson Clay Russell jumped from fourth to first in his Angry Llama/SVN/Comprent SRF3 on qualifying day two to lead the top five, all of who were within a second of one another. On Thursday, only a few drivers improved their times, but none were able to wrestle the Tire Rack Pole Award away from Russell, his first Runoffs pole.
The always close Spec Miata class was no exception this year as the top 10 cars used all three qualifying sessions to put up fast times within a second of each other. At the top of the thicket of roadsters was Ken Sutherland whose day-one effort in the Wyatt Fire Protection/Miatacage.com Mazda Miata couldn’t be bested. This is Sutherland’s first National Championship pole.
The fight for the E Production was tight over three days of qualifying. Matt Reynolds set the pace on Tuesday behind the wheel of the Reynolds Bros. Racing/Hoosier/JPM Mazda Miata. But Glen McCready in the TC Design Motorsports Mazda MX-5 made himself known Wednesday by establishing the lap to beat. Both drivers were back at it Thursday, but neither could better their times from the previous day, so the Tire Rack Pole Award goes to McCready in his first-ever Runoffs appearance.
The H Production (HP) pole fight was between two drivers who previously claimed National Championships in the class. Defending Runoffs Champion Jason Isley held the top spot in qualifying the first two days in his TRD/Hoosier/OS Giken/RACER.com Toyota Yaris. But on Thursday, two-time National Champion Brian Linn, driving the Hoosier/Carbotech/LINNSpeed MG Midget, stormed back to claim the Tire Rack Pole Award by only 0.062 second over Isley.
Formula Vee showed one of the best battles amongst the open-wheel classes with the top spot hotly contested by a couple drivers. Day one ended with a pair of Andrews in the top spot – Andrew Thomas, in the Autowerks/Hoosier/Car-O-liner Vector AM-1, followed by the Subway/Hoosier/Carbotech Protoform P2 of Andrew Whitston. Skip Streets made a move on Wednesday to set the fastest time, which held on Thursday, giving Streets his first Tire Rack Pole Award in the Hoosier/Ron Chuck/Pops/Traci Mysterian M3 vehicle.
The story in Formula Enterprises was also a good one as Mark Snyder and his Snyder Brothers Racing SCCA Mazda FE skipped qualifying on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, Mark moved to the front of the class and set a time that held the following day, which produced his first Tire Rack Pole Award. Mark’s twin brother, Liam, almost claimed the pole in the FE2 class, but fell just short by less than one second.
Michael McAleenan, Andrew Aquilante and R. Spencer Trenery kept GT-2 qualifying interesting all week. McAleenan, in the Smith Alling/Lowe Group Racing BMW M3, set fast lap Tuesday only to be outdone Wednesday by Aquilante in the Phoenix/Hoosier/Hawk Ford Mustang. But by the end of Thursday, Trenery and his Fantasy Junction Chevrolet Camaro had moved to the top spot to claim his first-ever Tire Rack Pole Award.
The GT-Lite class also held a surprise for onlookers Thursday. Local favorite Joe Huffaker, piloting the Huffaker Eng./Goodyear/G-Loc Brakes MG Midget, set the best time Tuesday, then sat out qualifying Wednesday. On Thursday, Huffaker was back on track, but it was Troy Ermish and his LSEnergy/Rebello Racing Nissan PL510 who set a time that was 0.082 second quicker for his very first Tire Rack Pole Award.
Danny Steyn, who trailed in Super Touring Lite after day one, found more than a second in his Ocean Machinery/OPM/Nelson/G-Loc MX-5 to take the provisional pole on Wednesday. He then secured his first Tire Rack Pole Award by going a couple of tenths faster on Thursday – making it an all MX-5 front row for the class alongside the Craig McHaffie.
In Touring 1, Kristopher Olsen grabbed the provisional pole by more than a second on Tuesday in his Driving Ambition Acura NSX, but wouldn’t be able to relax while fending off a hard-charging Andrew Aquilante in the Phoenix/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette. Aquilante would get within seven tenths of a second, but Olson grabbed his first-ever Tire Rack Pole Award standing on his fastest Tuesday time.
In Prototype 1, Todd Slusher grabbed his first Tire Rack Pole Award in the TissueOnARoll.com/Cabo Wabo Elan DP02 Mazda by 0.054 second over Jim Devenport in the Cranbrook Group Norma Auto Concept M20 F Honda. And in Prototype 2, Tim Day Jr. claimed his first Tire Rack Pole Award in the Mere Mortal/GDRE/Summit Stohr WF1 Suzuki.
Below are provisional results from Runoffs qualifying at Sonoma Raceway Class: Name, Hometown, SCCA Region, Car and Lap Time.
American Sedan: Andrew McDermid; Howell, MI; Milwaukee Region; Ford Mustang; 1:47.782
B-Spec: Oscar Jackson; Chino, CA; Cal Club; Ford Fiesta; 1:59.321
E Production: Glen McCready; Redwood City, CA; San Francisco Region; Mazda MX-5; 1:45.828
F Production: Joe Huffaker; Petaluma, CA; San Francisco Region; MG Midget; 1:47.588
H Production: Brian Linn; Hermosa Beach, CA; Cal Club; MG Midget; 1:54.070
Formula 1000: JR Osborne; Greenwood Village, CO; Oregon Region; Ralph Firman RFR F1000 Kawasaki
Formula 500: Jeff Jorgenson; San Francisco, CA; San Francisco Region; Novakar J10 Rotax; 1:41.807
Formula Atlantic: Mirl Swan; Brownsburg, IN; Kansas City Region; Swift 016a Mazda; 1:28.176
Formula Continental: Timothy de Silva; Manhattan Beach, CA; Cal Club; Van Diemen RF01; 1:32.571
Formula Enterprise: Mark Snyder; Southlake, TX; Texas Region; SCCA Mazda FE; 1:37.517
Formula Enterprise 2: Flinn Lazier; Vail, CO; Colorado Region; SCCA Mazda FE2; 1:35.040
Formula F: Jonathon Kotyk; Atlantic Beach, FL; Buccaneer Region; Mygale Honda; 1:41.612
Formula Mazda: Bryce Cornet; Norman, OK; Oklahoma Region; Star Formula Mazda; 1:37.598
Formula Vee: Skip Streets; San Clemente, CA; San Francisco Region; Mysterian M3; 1:52.637
GT-1: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; San Diego Region; Jaguar XKR; 1:34.961
GT-2: R Spencer Trenery; Berkeley, CA; San Francisco Region; Chevrolet Camaro; 1:37.017
GT-3: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; San Diego Region; Mazda RX-7; 1:40.947
GT-Lite: Troy Ermish; Tracy, CA; San Francisco Region; Nissan PL510; 1:47.885
Prototype 1: Todd Slusher; Las Vegas, NV; Las Vegas Region; Elan DP02 Mazda; 1:27.714
Prototype 2: Tim Day Jr.; Scottsdale, AZ; Cal Club; Stohr WF1 Suzuki; 1:30.620
Spec Miata: Ken Sutherland; Sherwood, OR; Oregon Region; Mazda Miata; 1:54.355
Spec Racer Ford 3: Robeson Clay Russell; Spartanburg, SC; Central Carolinas Region; SRF3; 1:46.117
Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Florida Region; Mazda MX-5; 1:49.138
Super Touring Under: Kevin Boehm; Marysville, OH; Ohio Valley Region; Honda Civic; 1:46.118
Touring 1: Kristofer Olson; Shingle Springs, CA; San Francisco Region; Acura NSX; 1:39.970
Touring 2: John Kachadurian; Denver, CO; Chicago Region; Porsche 911/996; 1:45.032
Touring 3: Marshall Mast; Narvon, PA; Susquehanna Region; Ford Mustang GT; 1:48.026
Touring 4: Gresham Wagner; Williamsburg, VA; Old Dominion Region; Mazda MX-5; 1:52.339