SCCA Runoffs notebook: Tuesday

Images by Richard S. James

SCCA Runoffs notebook: Tuesday

SCCA / SportsCar Magazine

SCCA Runoffs notebook: Tuesday

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The SCCA National Championship Runoffs returns to Road America for the first time since 2013. The track hosted the event for four years beginning in 2009 before SCCA began rotating to various other facilities across the country. Road America also hosted the 50th Anniversary Runoffs in 2013.

Racing for Dad

One person who would have taken great delight in the Runoffs returning to Road America was George Bovis, who passed away earlier this year. Bovis was both a past Chairman of the SCCA Board of Directors and a member of Road America’s Board of Directors. For his son, Chris (photo above), that makes this year’s Runoffs special and emotional.

“Road America just feels like home,” says Chris. “My sister and I grew up (here). We had a house in Elkhart, spent our summers here as kids. We don’t ever really remember summers not being up here. It really feels just like home.

“The SCCA community for my Dad and Mom – it was always home to them, too. Everyone has always been so helpful to us within SCCA; it’s kind of like an extended family. So having the Runoffs at our home track, with our core group of friends, it’s special. The Runoffs is always special, but having it here is even more important for our family.”

The family connection has given Chris, a three-time GT-Lite National Champion, extra drive to win in his Honda CRX this year.

“You always put your best foot forward at the Runoffs, but certainly the emotion of this year and being here at Road America, we want to show the best we can. We’ve probably prepared at a greater depth than we have any other year. We’ve looked at every aspect of the car. [Car builder] Jim Dentici has been all over the car. It got taken apart right after the June Sprints and we’ve been refining it and refining it since.

“We always put a lot of effort into the Runoffs, but I think we’ve possibly gone a little overboard this year. We’ve certainly left no stone unturned,” says Chris.

Bovis was quick in the first round of qualifying, setting the fastest time. There will an informal, socially distanced remembrance of George and Betty Bovis, who passed in 2019, in the paddock on Friday.

Busy Weekend for Pardus

If Preston Pardus, who won the Spec Miata National Championship in 2017 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, wins the SM race on Friday, he won’t have a lot of time to celebrate. That’s because later that afternoon he has to catch a plane to North Carolina, where he’ll compete in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval driving the No. 190 Chinchor Electric/Danus Utilities Chevrolet.

In those Xfinity road course races, he has two top 10s, one of which came at Road America. At the SCCA Chicago Region June Sprints at Road America, he finished first in one SM race and second the other, swapping positions with teammate Jim Drago, so he feels pretty good about his chances. And the Charlotte Roval was his best Xfinity event last year, so it could end up being quite the weekend for him.

Pardus wasn’t planning on racing at the Runoffs this year, but it was the COVID-19 cancellations and postponements that actually made it possible.

“We were really focused on the Xfinity road course stuff this year, and we based everything else around that. We were kind of zoned out of the Runoffs since the dates coincided, and this (double) wouldn’t have been possible without COVID cancelling NASCAR practice and qualifying this year.

“Normally Friday is practice day for Xfinity, and you don’t want to give away track time in those cars. When NASCAR said they were cancelling practice and qualifying for the rest of the year, it opened up the possibility of doing this race on Friday, then flying out after the race and be at the track on Saturday for Xfinity.”

  • Free, live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, will occur Friday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 11 at SCCA.com. Bob Varsha will be joined by returning Runoffs broadcasters Ryan Myrehn, Tom O’Gorman and Larry MacLeod while Heyward Wagner again provides coverage from pit lane. For the twelfth year in a row, video coverage will be handled by Apex Broadcast.

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