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 Virginia International Raceway from Oct. 11-13. Each day, RACER.com will explore some background stories from the 56th running of the Runoffs. -Ed.
Formula F celebrates 50 years with the help of Honda engines
Formula F got its start in Britain in the 1960s, but didn’t arrive at the SCCA Runoffs until 1969. That makes this year’s Runoffs race the 50th anniversary for the class. For most of its history, the class was known as Formula Ford, named for the Ford 1600cc “Kent” engine that powered the cars.
The availability of Kent engines began to dwindle over the years, so starting in 2011 the SCCA allowed a newer 1.5-liter Honda engine, derived from the Honda Fit, to be used. Thereafter, the class was known simply as Formula F.
“50 years of innovation is worth about 6 or 7 seconds a lap around here [at VIR],” states Alex Scaler of Advantage Motorsports. “A professionally done top-of-the-line brand-new Kent engine has more top end than a Honda, but you’ve got to rebuild it every race. The Honda’s just more consistent.”
Tyler O’Connor set the fast time in Tuesday’s qualifying session driving a new Formula F (pictured above) with the Honda engine.
“It’s a pretty awesome start to the Runoffs,” O’Connor said, “With Team Pelfrey, we have a really good setup and we were able to get a good lap right away. In terms of budget, the Honda engines are really reliable, and we feel like one of our best engines is five years old.”
Virginia state legislator competes in GT-2
Danny Marshall is more than the force behind Synergy Racing. He also represents the area around Danville in the Virginia House of Delegates.
“I’m not a politician,” he says. “I’m doing a public service.”
As one of the founders of Synergy Racing, Marshall has raced in the Rolex series for years, competing 12 times in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“When we were racing professionally I would sit on the house floor with my laptop while all the guys were at Daytona, and I was checking lap times,” he jokes. “But I was elected to serve so I was not going to leave early. I’d get on a plane and fly from Richmond to Daytona and get in the car.”
Synergy’s garages are located on-site at VIR, and Marshall has a special connection to the track.
“I came to the first race here in 1957 with my father, when Carroll Shelby won,” he recalls. “And I came to the first IMSA race here when Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg won.”
Marshall’s pro racing resumé is extensive, but until this year, he had never taken part in SCCA Road Racing.
“When I saw that the Runoffs would be here, I figured it was a bucket list thing to do,” he says. “I went through the whole process to get qualified and it was really easy. It’s been an enjoyable experience.”
Runoffs drivers compete for Super Sweep championships
An SCCA Super Sweep happens when a driver wins a Majors Conference Championship, the Hoosier SCCA Super Tour point standings, and the National Championship Runoffs, all in a single class. Last year, just one driver (Robeson Clay Russell in SRF3) managed to do it.
This year, many drivers have a shot at earning a Super Sweep, but each of them has to win the Runoffs to earn this rare award. Because the Runoffs count as a Super Tour event, the stats get difficult to calculate, but here are the drivers who have a clean shot at a Super Sweep title if they win their class at the Runoffs:
- John Philips – B-Spec
- Charles Moran – Formula Continental
- Mark Snyder – Formula Enterprises
- Liam Snyder – Formula Enterprises 2
- Scott Rettich – Formula Enterprises 2
- Tyler O’Connor – Formula F
- Owen McAllister – Formula Mazda
- Ken Kannard – F Production
- David Fershtand – GT-1
- Graham Fuller – GT-Lite
- Mike Cummings – H Production
- Christopher Salyer – H Production
- Tim Day – Prototype 2
- Mike Miserendino – Spec Racer Ford 3
- Danny Steyn – Super Touring Lite
- Cooper MacNeil – Touring 2