Clint McMahan, of Covington, Georgia, drove away from the Formula 500 field on Friday at VIRginia International Raceway on his way to a 30.163-second SCCA National Championship Runoffs victory and a second career title. Calvin Stewart, of Novi, Michigan, and Eric McRee, of Lapeer, Michigan, finished on the podium after swapping positions twice in the last lap.
McMahan started from the Tire Rack pole, set a new track record with a lap of 1:57.884 (100.126 mph) and led all 15 laps on his way to a gold medal. His No. 34 Satellite Racing/Jim Murphy Corpion FDS 007/Suzuki covered the 15 laps on the 3.27-mile track in 29:31.207, averaging 99.695 mph in the caution-free race.
“Coming from the Road to Indy in 2016, I learned what competition really was,” McMahan said. “Those guys refer to it as ‘inch perfect.’ My first experience with my engineer there, he slammed his hand on the table and told me I was six inches off the apex. I thought, hey, that’s pretty good. He slammed his hand down and repeated himself and I realized he was not nearly as enthusiastic about it as I was. So you learn to be inch perfect every time. You have to capitalize anywhere that you can.”
Stewart started second in his No. 07 SabbathTruth.com/Hoosier Novakar Blade F600/Suzuki as McMahan pulled away from the field. His pressure came from McRee, who hounded Stewart step for step for the final six laps of the race. McRee’s No. 46 John E. Green/Fastrack Motorsports Novakar J10/Suzuki moved around Stewart going into the ‘rollercoaster’ complex of Turns 14 and 15 coming to the white flag signaling one lap to go. Stewart stayed in the draft and was on the brakes hard into Turn 2, moving back in front and holding off McRee on the final circuit.
The podium is the third of Stewart’s Runoffs career.
“It was a tough race,” Stewart said. “We had a rough week, this was the third motor that we put in and number three wasn’t as good as one or two. All in all, we had a little bit more on the top end, and Eric had me in a lot of the low speed, especially at the end. I saw him coming and knew if I didn’t get by then, it wasn’t going to happen.”
McRee finished third for his first Runoffs medal.
“We had a good battle going,” McRee said. “We were pretty much matched on pace for the longest time, then he got a little gap. I guess his tires started going away a little bit toward the end and it was like a dog chasing a rabbit. I was going after him. I had a legitimate chance to get him again on the last lap, but unfortunately a lapped car got in between us in the esses and that was the gap he needed.”
Aaron Ellis moved around David Lapham on the final lap to take fourth, with Lapham crossing the stripe in fifth. Tim Friest earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award, improving four positions from his place on the grid to finish 11th.
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 presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team, is also available at http://www.SCCA.com/live, as well as live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.
ALTON, Va. — Provisional results for Friday’s Formula 500 race at the 56th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from VIRginia International Raceway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (1), Clint McMahan, Covington, GA, Scorpion FDS 007 Suzuki, 15.
2, (2), Calvin Stewart, Novi, MI, Novakar Blade F600 Suzuki, 15.
3, (3), Eric McRee, Lapeer, MI, Novakar J10 Suzuki, 15.
4, (5), Aaron Ellis, Farmington, MN, Ellis Motorsports AE13 Suzuki, 15.
5, (4), David Lapham, Waterford, MI, Novakar J10 Suzuki, 15.
6, (9), Jeremy Morales, Glen Head, NY, Scorpion S1 Suzuki, 15.
7, (7), Jeff DeLong, Atlanta, GA, KBS Mk V Suzuki, 15.
8, (10), Jay Beckley, Marlton, NJ, Quadrini Racing Invader QC1 Rotax, 14.
9, (8), H Cory McLeod, Charlotte, NC, Red Devil Red Devil Rotax, 14.
10, (13), Jack Walbran, Saint Louis, MO, Scorpion S1 Suzuki, 14.
11, (15), Timothy Friest, Leavenworth, KS, KBS Mk VII Rotax, 13.
12, (12), F Russell Strate Jr., Alden, NY, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 8.
13, (6), James Weida, West Lafayette, IN, Scorpion S1 Rotax, 3.
14, (11), Robert Gray, Yorktown Heights, NY, Quadrini Racing Invader QC1 Rotax, 2.
15, (14), Chuck McAbee, Sykesville, MD, Quadrini Racing Invader QC1 Rotax, 1.
Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 29:31.207 (99.695 mph)
Margin of Victory: 30.163 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: #34 McMahan 1:57.572 mph (100.126 mph)
Lap Leaders: #34 laps 1-15
Sunoco Hard Charger: Timothy Friest