The Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs is the winner-take-all title fight for SCCA Road Racing glory. For 2019, this on-track battle has wound its way to the northeast, where it will pit racers against one of the best racetracks around: VIRginia International Raceway. Who will rise to the top and claim Runoffs gold? We’ll find out for sure when the green flags fly on Oct. 11-13; for now, though, all we can do is guess. As it turns out, guessing is a specialty here at SportsCar magazine – and we will be sharing those guesses with you here throughout the week.
In Part 2 of Who Will Win the Runoffs we looked at the thundering machines of the Grand Touring category, now it’s time for some finesse in the open-wheel ranks.
Oh, and pro tip: Log on to scca.com/runoffs on Oct. 11-13 for live timing, plus a video stream of all the racing action as it happens!
When Formula Vee hits the track for its championship race, there will be a notable absence in the field as perennial front-runner and defending National Champion Michael Varacins has opted to instead try his hand in Formula Continental. But even if he were racing in FV this year, we might give the nod to Andrew Whitston anyway. You see, Whitston holds the track record at VIR, and has a pair of silver Runoffs medals in the class already.
Jonathan Weisheit has been quick this year and could easily find himself standing on the podium come the end of the race. Similarly, Mitchell Ferguson came out on top at the VIR Super Tour on one day, so it’s very likely he could join Whitson and Weisheit when it comes time to spraying the Mazza sparkling wine on the podium.
As is always the case with a class that lives and dies by the draft, there are a number of dark horses who could shake things up. Keep an eye on Donnie Isley, and past National Champions Steven Davis, Roger Siebenalier, and Rick Shields.
Tyler O’Connor is a Runoffs rookie, and we think he has the stuff to get it done at VIR. O’Connor scored a podium both days at the VIR Super Tour and has recorded wins at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen. He’s fast, and we think he’ll be SCCA’s next FF National Champion.
David Livingston Jr. was on the podium at the Mid-Ohio Super Tour and has shown strong this season, positioning himself for a Runoffs podium run. Alex Scaler is moving over to FF this year after a podium finish at Sonoma in Formula Vee, and while he’s still learning the intricacies of the car, we think he will get himself sorted in time to find the final step on the podium.
Wildcards, should they enter, include Runoffs rookies Misha Goikhberg and Dexter Czuba.
By all accounts, the F500 race at VIR should be one of the best in recent years, as we will see 2017 National Champion Wiley Clinton McMahan face off with 2015 National Champ Calvin Stewart. McMahan scored first blood pulling off a pair of wins at the VIR Super Tour, resetting a track record that previously belonged to Stewart.
Eric McRee has had a great season, with Super Tour wins at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio, along with podium finishes at VIR, making him our choice for third place.
Russell Strate Jr. and John Walbran will be in the hunt should any of our frontrunners slip up.