Cliff Ira drives to the STL podium to honor his dad
Cliff Ira had a special reason to drive hard in the STL race this year.
“We’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “I have two older brothers that have raced at the Runoffs. My brother Greg has done it 14 times and won twice in E Production. My brother Steven did it 10 times in Formula Vee.”
Ira qualified in second position and drove a tough race to finish in a strong second place. On the podium, he talked about his brothers and his father.
“My dad got this all started,” Ira said. “He was on the podium in G Production in 1970. He passed away this year and we thought this was just an awesome time to get Greg back into racing. He hadn’t been racing since 2016 at Mid-Ohio and we got his car out of mothballs and came to VIR”
Ira had a clear message to explain his motivation to win.
“At the end of the day, I want to thank my dad,” Ira said. “He was the most competitive guy I know and he gave us this opportunity and taught us about all of this. I appreciate it.”
Pole positions awarded
The qualifying grids have been set for all 28 competition classes at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Each of the top-qualifying drivers receives a Tire Rack Pole Award package that includes a $500 gift certificate at TireRack.com.
2019’s Tire Rack polesitters are:
American Sedan: Gregory Eaton; Woodbridge, VA; Washington D.C. Region; Ford Mustang; 2:02.938
BSpec: Frank Schwartz; Ann Arbor, MI; Detroit Region; Mini Cooper; 2:22.368
E Production: Jesse Prather; Topeka, KS; Kansas Region; BMW Z3; 2:00.987
F Production: Eric Prill; Topeka, KS; Kansas Region; Mazda Miata; 2:07.436
H Production: Steve Sargis; Frankfort, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region; Triumph Spitfire; 2:14.822
Formula 500: Wiley McMahan; Covington, GA; Middle Georgia Region; Scorpion FDS 007 Suzuki; 1:57.361
Formula 1000: Pete Frost; Douglasville, GA; Atlanta Region; Phoenix F1K.12 Suzuki; 1:54.469
Formula Atlantic: Dario Cangialosi; Chester, NJ; Northern New Jersey Region; Swift 016a Mazda; 1:41.545
Formula Continental: Robert Allaer; Grosse Pointe Woods, MI; Central Florida Region; Van Diemen RF01; 1:51.200
Formula Enterprises: Mark Snyder; Southlake, TX; Texas Region; SCCA FE Mazda; 1:54.710
Formula Enterprises 2: Liam Snyder; Southlake, TX; Texas Region; SCCA FE2 Mazda; 1:51.062
Formula F: Tyler O’Connor; New Hartford, CT; New England Region; Mygale SJ14; 1:59.563
Formula Vee: Andrew Whitston; Neenah, WI; Milwaukee Region; Protoform P2; 2:15.712
Formula Mazda: Bryce Cornet; Norman, OK; Oklahoma Region; Star Formula Mazda; 1:55.124
GT1: Tony Ave; Maiden, NC; Central Carolinas Region; Chevrolet Corvette; 1:43.857
GT2: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, PA; Philadelphia Region; Chevrolet Corvette; 1:50.182
GT3: Michael Lewis; Poway, CA; San Diego Region; Mazda RX7; 1:58.194
GTLite: Peter Shadowen; West Palm Beach, FL; Florida Region; Honda CRX; 2:06.997
Prototype 1: Todd Slusher; Las Vegas, NV; Atlanta Region; Elan DP02 Mazda; 1:42.674
Prototype 2: Robert Iversen; Gulf Breeze, FL; Gulf Coast Region; Ligier JS 49 Honda; 1:49.111
Spec Miata: Todd Buras; Melbourne, FL; Florida Region; Mazda Miata; 2:14.552
Spec Racer Ford 3: Brian Schofield; Lakeland, FL; Central Florida Region; SCCA Enterprises SRF3; 2:04.624
Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Florida Region; Mazda MX5; 2:07.203
Super Touring Under: Kevin Boehm; Marysville, OH; Ohio Valley Region; Honda Civic; 1:59.948
Touring 1: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, PA; Philadelphia Region; Ford Mustang; 1:54.771
Touring 2: Cooper MacNeil; Hinsdale, IL; Chicago Region; Porsche 911 Carrera S; 1:57.537
Touring 3: Marshall Mast; Narvon, PA; Philadelphia Region; Ford Mustang GT; 2:04.918
Touring 4: John Heinricy; Clarkston, MI; Detroit Region; Toyota 86; 2:11.257
Kevin Ruck struggles, but perseveres in F Production
Kevin Ruck has had the kind of Runoffs people dream about, in much the same way that people dream about missing a job interview or blowing a test in school.
“We’ve had a lot of electrical issues through this year,” Ruck says. “Then we had an issue on the dyno last week that led to a new motor and a clutch. We did that in about 48 hours. That was last Friday evening when it went in the trailer to come out here.”
Ruck’s challenges were just getting started, however.
“We ran Monday with no problems,” he says. “No issues. Tuesday it ran great and we were third on grid, just a quarter-second off the pole. Then on Wednesday we were climbing the esses and it started laying flat. Then the water temperature spiked and up around the oak tree, it threw the number one rod out of the block. It was a five-day-old engine.”
As it happened, Tuesday’s qualifying times stood, and Ruck is still third on the F Production grid. So his paddock space has been a buzz of activity in advance of the race.
“We started getting that engine out Wednesday evening, and we’re getting my old trusty spare engine in,” Ruck says. “We don’t race till Sunday morning, so we’ve got a little time to get this running. Hopefully we’ll make it and have a fantastic Cinderella story.”
Ruck will start the F Production race at 11:15 a.m. ET Sunday. You can follow the race live at http://www.scca.com.
Watch the Runoffs live on Webcast
If you can’t be at Virginia International Raceway, you can still watch the racing action as it happens with the live webcast.
Point your browser at SCCA.com/live to catch each race as it happens. Racing starts at 8:15 AM EDT on Friday, and continues until about 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday, and until about 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Greg Creamer is back as the anchor for the event, and he’ll be assisted by journalist Ryan Myrehn, pro racer Tom O’Gorman, as well as Andy Hollis and Larry MacLeod. SCCA’s Heyward Wagner will return handling the post-race interviews from pit lane.
After the live webcast, each race can be selected and viewed any time online. Live and recorded timing and scoring information is also available at SCCA.com/live.
The full schedule of races can be found at SCCA.com/Runoffs.