Kip Van Steenburg, from New Smyrna, Florida, captured his second E Production SCCA Championship Runoffs win at the wheel of the No. 4 German Excellence Porsche 944 by holding off podium finishers John Hainsworth and a hard-charging Jesse Prather.
Prather, from Topeka, KS, jumped to a lead in the No. 34 JPM/Hoosier/Carbotech BMW Z3 on the start but his advantage was cut down when Greg Amy spun the fire-engulfed No. 33 Honda Civic to a stop in Turn 1, bringing out a full-course caution.
On the lap-five restart Van Steenburg went hard after Prather and got ahead on the exit of turn one but then missed a shift, handing the lead back to Prather.
“I went to grab the gear and completely missed,” Van Steenburg said, who knew the mistake could make the rest of the race very tough. “When Jesse gets in front of you, you think, ‘I’ll see if he makes a mistake,’ and it’s usually not going to happen.
Rare as it may be, Van Steenburg didn’t have to wait long for the mistake from Prather, who pushed a little too hard on tires cooled from the full course yellow and slid off track in Turn 10.
“The mistake he made is exactly the same as I made in qualifying,” Van Steenburg said. “I was watching in slow motion exactly what I had done.”
From there, the eventual winner took a focus-forward approach and managed the tires on his heavier Porsche to maintain the gap over Hainsworth.
Hainsworth, driving the No. 95 Maximum Attack/Hoosier/Carbotech Mazda RX-7 found himself in unexpected company while driving to second place in a week which saw plenty of adversity, including losing an engine on the test day and having transmission problems in qualifying.
“I got two national champs in front of me, two national champs behind me,” said Hainsworth, “which one of these doesn’t belong?”
The South Jersey Region member proved he did belong, dogging Van Steenburg the rest of the race.
“I was trying to stay on his draft on his bumper waiting for a mistake that never happened,” said Hainsworth.
Meanwhile, Tire Rack polesitter and early leader Prather was putting on a ferocious drive to claw his way back from his spin and get back to the podium. After a few moments to let the dirt escape his car Prather started fighting and set a new track record for E-Production in the process, with a lap of 2:01.631 (96.785 mph).
“I just put my head down and pushed for all the car had,” said Prather, “it was more like qualifying laps than race speed, but you have nothing to lose at that point,” said Prather. “I’m disappointed because the week went so well but all in all you come to the Runoffs and get on the podium it couldn’t be better,”
Finishing fourth was Matt Reynolds of Fair Oaks, TX in the No. 71 Reynolds Brothers/Hoosier/JMP/Mazda/Gloc Mazda Miata followed by Greg Ira from Fort Lauderdale, FL driving the Datsun Garage/Futofab Nissan 260Z in fifth. The Sunoco Hard Charger of the race was Joe Carr, of Petaluma, CA, who drove the No. 12 Huffaker Engineering/Carr Racing/Hoosier Mazda Miata from twenty-first starting position to 13th place.
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.
Provisional results for Friday’s E Production 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, (2), Kip Van Steenburg, New Smyrna Beach, FL, Porsche 944 S2, 15.
2, (4), John Hainsworth, Marlton, NJ, Mazda RX-7, 15.
3, (1), Jesse Prather, Topeka, KS, BMW Z3 2.5L, 15.
4, (3), Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, TX, Mazda Miata, 15.
5, (5), Greg Ira, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nissan 260Z, 15.
6, (8), Rick Kavitski, Freeland, PA, Mazda Miata, 15.
7, (9), Aaron Downey, Rossmoor, CA, Mazda RX-3, 15.
8, (10), Joe Moser, Wilmette, IL, Mazda MX-5, 15.
9, (6), Peter Norton, Pelham, NC, Caterham 7 America, 15.
10, (14), Steve Rose, Mebane, NC, Mazda RX-7, 15.
11, (15), Don Girven, Scottsville, NY, Mazda RX-3, 15.
12, (19), Miner Wilcox, Wingina, VA, Caterham 7 America, 15.
13, (21), Joe Carr, Petaluma, CA, Mazda Miata, 15.
14, (17), Don Tucker, Memphis, TN, Mazda Miata, 15.
15, (20), Steve Smyczek, New Berlin, WI, Mazda RX-8, 15.
16, (22), Charles Vaccaro, Patterson, NY, Mazda RX-7, 15.
17, (25), Darryl Pritchett, Daytona Beach, FL, BMW Z3 2.5L, 14.
18, (12), James Rogerson, Angleton, TX, BMW Z3 2.8L, 14.
19, (26), Donald Walsh, Orrtanna, PA, Mazda RX-7, 14.
20, (7), Kevin Leigh, Harrisonburg, VA, BMW Z3 2.5L, 13.
21, (24), Anthony Black, Irwin, PA, Acura Integra Type-R, 12.
22, (13), Jeff Young, Raleigh, NC, Triumph TR8, 10.
23, (27), Anthony Parker, New Ipswich, NH, Mazda RX-7, 10.
24, (18), Greg Amy, Middletown, CT, Honda Civic Si, 1.
DNS, (11), Robert Garrison, Knoxville, TN, Mazda Miata, .
DNS, (16), Heikki Silegren, Stouffville, ON, Nissan 240Z, .
DNS, (23), Dan Rolfe, Weyers Cave, VA, Nissan 240SX S13, .
DNS, (28), Michael Cooke, Burgaw, NC, Mazda RX-7, .
DNS, (29), Dwight K Cooke JR, Greensboro, NC, Triumph TR4, .
Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 38:45.223 (75.941 mph)
Margin of Victory: 1.209 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: #134 Prather 2:01.631 mph (96.785 mph)
Lap Leaders: #34 laps 1-5; #4 laps 6-15
Sunoco Hard Charger: Joe Carr