In a wild race with a wild finish, Rhett Barkau from Freeport, Illinois drove the Barkau Automotive/JH Barkau & Sons SCCA FE2 Mazda to the Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) SCCA Championship Runoffs win.
Barkau took an early lead and held a gap until lapped traffic bunched up the leaders and created a heated battle with close racing, some of the contact kind.
In the traffic, Southlake Texas’ Liam Snyder’s No. 28 Snyder Brothers Racing machine took a bump from Paul Schneider in the No. 73 but was still able to grab the lead by passing Barkau in “South Bend” – one of the fastest corners on track. Before Barkau could mount a response, the battle was halted by a full course caution.
The race restarted with four laps to go, and Snyder held off a charge from Barkau and pulled out a slight lead as just behind them Scott Rettich, driving the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Red Line Oil SCCA FE2 Mazda, was hoping to stick his nose in the lead battle.
Snyder wouldn’t hold on for the win, but the race did come down to the final few corners of the last lap to be decided.
“I was behind him and I saw he was getting slick through a lot of the corners so I knew I had to just drive a safe race and wait for his one mess up where I could take advantage of him and that’s what happened,” said Barkau. “I drafted him down the back straight and went side-by-side through Roller Coaster and then I dived inside in 16, and at Hog Pen I pulled out in front.”
Although the race came down to that final corner, the mistake which cost him the win happened entering VIR’s famous Oak Tree Curve.
“There was a whole lot of sun in Oak Tree, I missed my apex and dropped one wheel off and had a horrible straightaway,” said Snyder.
Six-time SCCA Championship Runoffs winner Rettich fought his way through the top five to put pressure on the leaders but struggled with his car’s handling the last few laps and wasn’t able to dice with them for the lead.
“I had an OK start and I was getting ready to run them down,” said Rettich, who worked his way to third before the caution came out. “I had a great restart and it just fell off the last couple of laps, did my best but not quite what we wanted.”
Sandy Satullo, from Hillsboro Beach Florida, finished fourth and Kelton Jago, from Alexandria, Virginia, finished fifth. The Sunoco Hard Charger was Bryan Scheible, who earned the award for driving his No. 15 MBS Racing SCCA Mazda FE2 from eighteenth to twelfth 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 Formula Enterprises 2 race at the 56th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from VIRginia International Raceway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps cadompleted.
1, (2), Rhett Barkau, Freeport, IL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
2, (1), Liam Snyder, Southlake, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
3, (3), Scott Rettich, Columbus, OH, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
4, (4), S Sandy Satullo III, Hillsboro Beach, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
5, (8), Kelton Jago, Alexandria, VA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
6, (7), John Yeatman, Newcastle, CA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
7, (11), Thomas W Burt, Woodway, WA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
8, (9), Todd Vanacore, Ormond Beach, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
9, (14), Alastair McEwan, Miami, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
10, (12), Robert Vanman, Allen, TX, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
11, (16), Jim Devenport, Alamo, CA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
12, (18), Bryan Scheible, Bowmansville, NY, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
13, (19), Keith McDonald, Ranson, WV, SCCA Mazda FE2, 15.
14, (5), Paul Schneider, Charlotte, NC, SCCA Mazda FE2, 14.
15, (6), Dean Oppermann, Plainfield, IL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 12.
16, (13), Eric Cruz, Barhamsville, VA, SCCA Mazda FE2, 11.
17, (17), Craig Haltom, Blountville, TN, SCCA Mazda FE2, 11.
18, (10), Thomas Green, Lake Mary, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 8.
19, (15), Jeff Beck, Ingleside, IL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 6.
20, (20), Mark Schneider, Hollywood, FL, SCCA Mazda FE2, 0.
Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 35:20.647 (83.267 mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.483 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: #28 Liam Snyder 1:52.154 mph (104.963 mph)
Lap Leaders: #01 laps 1-6, 15 #28 laps 7-14
Sunoco Hard Charger: #15 Bryan Scheible