Matt Reynolds, of Fair Oaks, Texas, has long established himself as a major player in the Sports Car Club of America’s E Production class. But when it comes to even-numbered years, he’s made himself nearly unbeatable.
Reynolds added his third SCCA Runoffs National Championship on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, following up his wins in 2014 and 2016 to continue his pattern of on-again, off-again gold medal jaunts. Reynolds finished 23.006 seconds ahead in the 20-lap, caution-free race after starting from second, taking the lead at the start, and rolling to the win in the No. 71 Reynolds Bros. Racing/Hoosier/JPM Mazda Miata.
“It feels great,” Reynolds said. “These are two great guys to share the podium with. Joe and I had a great race back at Mid-Ohio, and Aaron and I have been racing for years. He’s always right there, especially at the start of the race.
“We came out here over the summer to learn some things, and it’s definitely more technical than a lot of the stuff we have down in the south. It’s all pretty flat, and this has a lot of off-camber, blind-apex turns. You have to suck it up and just go sometimes.”
Aaron Downey moved from third on the grid to just behind Reynolds at the start in the No. 50 Mazda/Goodyear/G-Loc Brakes/Avande Mazda RX-3, trying to keep pace. As Reynolds slowly ticked off laps to creep away, Downey and Tire Rack Pole Award winner Glen McCready went side-by-side in a battle for second. The pair made door-to-door contact coming out of Sonoma’s Turn 7, breaking momentum but keeping the battle moving forward.
McCready appeared to get the worst of the deal, slowing temporarily down the front stretch but then continuing the race. By then, Joe Moser’s front-wheel-drive No. 63 Hoosier/King Motorsports Honda Prelude had gone around the briefly slowed McCready and caught Downey in the runner-up position.
Moser went around Downey for second on lap seven, and the pair battled for three laps before the Honda crawled away. Once in front, Moser snuck away and, though unable to challenge Reynolds, was a comfortable 12 seconds ahead of Downey in third.
“The strategy in the race was to get out, let these guys run a bit, and let the car come in and up to temps,” Moser said. “Around lap four, the car really just locked in and I was going three quarters of a second faster than my qualifying time. It was a change in strategy for us. We’re thrilled with where we ended up.”
Downey’s highly stressed RX-3 was the third different car on the podium, giving Downey seven in his career. It was a great finishing position for Downey, who kept the oldest car on the podium moving until the checkered flag.
“There wasn’t much more left in the car,” Downey said. “I don’t think this is necessarily the perfect track for my car, so I’m extremely happy with third place.”
McCready kept his No. 4 TC Design Motorsports Mazda MX-5 moving forward to land in fourth position during his Runoffs debut. Darren Dilley’s No. 88 CheapFastRacing Mazda RX-7 survived a battle with three-time National Champion Jesse Prather for fifth position.
Joe Carr earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, moving from 17th on the grid to 13th at the finish in his no. 12 Carr Racing/Huffaker Engineering/Veloce Honda S2000.
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 Sunday’s E Production 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, (2), Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, TX, Mazda Miata, 20.
2, (4), Joe Moser, Wilmette, IL, Honda Prelude Si VTEC, 20.
3, (3), Aaron Downey, Rossmoor, CA, Mazda RX-3 SP, 20.
4, (1), Glen McCready, Redwood City, CA, Mazda MX-5, 20.
5, (6), Darren Dilley, Hillsboro, OR, Mazda RX-7, 20.
6, (5), Jesse Prather, Topeka, KS, Mazda RX-7, 20.
7, (9), Philip Royle, Thousand Oaks, CA, Mazda RX-7, 20.
8, (8), Larry Cooper, Sparks, NV, Datsun 240Z, 20.
9, (11), John Mueller, Santa Ana, CA, Mazda RX-7, 20.
10, (7), Kale Swifts, Surrey, BC, Mazda RX-7, 20.
11, (13), Kurt Frietzsche, Mountain View, CA, Mazda RX-7, 19.
12, (12), William Lamkin, Broomfield, CO, BMW 328i/is E36, 19.
13, (17), Joe Carr, Petaluma, CA, Honda S2000, 19.
14, (15), Mark Weber, Saint Louis, MO, Mazda Miata, 18.
15, (16), Guy Ruse, Boulder, CO, Mazda RX-7, 18.
16, (10), Anthony Jimerson, Vallejo, CA, Mazda RX-7, 7.
17, (19), Brandon Droese, Goleta, CA, Mazda RX-7, 0.
DNS, (14), Rick Kosdrosky, Lafayette, IN, Lotus 7 America, .
DNS, (18), Garey Raymond, Los Angeles, CA, Porsche 914-4, .
Length of Race: 50 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 36:07.889 (avg. 83.694 mph)
Margin of Victory: 23.006 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:46.518 (85.169 mph)
Lap Leaders: #71 laps 1-20
Sunoco Hard Charger: #12 Joe Carr