Kevin Boehm of Marysville, Ohio, started the No. 90 HPD/Acuity Instruments/Carbotech Honda Civic from the Tire Rack Pole and escaped a first-lap melee to win Super Touring Unlimited (STU) at the 2018 SCCA Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway.
The win was the third career Runoffs victory for Boehm, who escaped with a dominating 49.757-second margin of victory.
“After we got out of turn two I just put my head down and tried to hit my marks,” Boehm said. “It’s great to be able to make this car come out and show what it’s capable of.”
Ian Barberi jumped from sixth place to second in the No. 174 TC Design Motorsports BMW M3 during the second-corner incident on the start and held down the second spot and captured the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
“I got lucky on that start,” Barberi said, “I was on the inside and was able to skate by.”
After making a pass for second, Barberi tried a tire-saving strategy to hopefully be able to challenge Boehm at the end, but couldn’t close the gap.
Third place was captured by the No. 71 MarcoPolo Motorsports/Muellerized Lotus Exige S driven by Nicolai Elghanayan, who had a ferocious battle with Kevin Koelemeyer driving the No. 111 OPM/HPD/G-Loc/Hoosier Honda Civic.
On the first lap, front-row starter Nathan Pope charged up the hill and his Honda Prelude had a long slide into Turn 2 before getting to the site of the spin. Elghanayan narrowly missed the spinning car but Franklin Church did not, the incident scrambling and separating much of the field almost before the race had begun.
As Boehm checked out and Barberi gave chase, all eyes were on the battle for third between Elghanayan and Koelemeyer – two drivers who didn’t know each other’s names before they climbed from their cars and shared a hug in celebration of their battle.
Elghanayan got around Koelemeyer early, but made a mistake and slid off, giving the position back. Having already shown his hand, getting back by would be a race for the ages.
“I can’t thank Kevin enough for being a clean racer,” Elghanayan said. “He and I were wheel to wheel and toe to toe for the majority of the race and it was an amazing race,”
Koelemeyer tried to defend but couldn’t keep him at bay.
“It was as wide as I could absolutely make it,” Koelemeyer said, alluding to making his car too wide to pass, “Nicoli was the better driver.”
Elghanayan was able to get by for the final podium spot with just a couple of laps to go.
“I saw he was taking the right-hand turn into the Esses really tight to make sure I didn’t get him on the inside, so I was faking him every time,” Elghanayan said, “Finally I went on the outside and I got him.”
The 55th SCCA National Championship Runoffs crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at Sonoma Raceway in California Friday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct 21.
Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live. An audio race call, supplied by the Super Tour Radio broadcast team, is also available, as well as live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.
Provisional results for Saturday’s Super Touring Unlimited race at the 55th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Sonoma Raceway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (1), Kevin Boehm, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic, 20.
2, (6), Ian Barberi, Pleasanton, CA, BMW M3, 20.
3, (5), Nicolai Elghanayan, Santa Ana, CA, Lotus Exige S, 20.
4, (4), Kevin Koelemeyer, Fort Myers, FL, Honda Civic, 20.
5, (9), Whitfield Gregg, Bellevue, WA, Mazda Miata, 18.
6, (10), Bruce Trenery, Emeryville, CA, Acura RSX, 18.
7, (8), Kevin Lachance, Red Deer, AB, Acura Integra, 18.
8, (7), Franklin Church, Las Vegas, NV, Mazda Miata, 14.
9, (2), Nathan Pope, Fremont, CA, Honda Prelude, 1.
10, (3), Rylan Hazelton, Soquel, CA, Honda S2000, 0.
Length of Race: 50 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 37:17.628 (avg. 81.086 mph)
Margin of Victory: 49.757 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:46.514 (85.172 mph)
Lap Leaders: #23 lap 1; #90 laps 2-20
Sunoco Hard Charger: #174 Ian Barberi