This week, the Sports Car Club of America’s premier winner-take-all road race, the National Championship Runoffs, kicked into high gear at Road America. There, some 600 drivers will battle in 26 classes in the hopes of becoming one of the select few who can call themselves an SCCA National Champion. Most will fall short. However, thanks to SportsCar magazine, SCCA’s official publication, and its annual Runoffs predictions, it’s possible to get some insight into who to watch in each class when the races take the green this weekend, running from Friday, Oct. 9, to Sunday, Oct. 11.
The Runoffs event schedule can be found here, and SCCA will stream all 26 races live on SCCA.com.
In this installment of our multi-part Runoffs preview, we take an inside look at American Sedan, B-Spec, Super Touring Lite, Super Touring Under, and the Touring classes to see who could become SCCA’s next national champions.
It was no surprise that Greg Eaton took the American Sedan championship last year, and it’s likely he’ll win again in 2020. It was an easy call because Virginia International Raceway is his home track. This year’s challenge is rather different, though, and the Northern Virginia-based driver is making multiple trips to Wisconsin to be ready for this year’s contest.
“We’re trying really hard this year, that’s for sure,” Eaton tells us. “I’ve taken every opportunity I could to go up to Road America and get track time. There’s a little of bit of pressure for sure this year, and I’m trying to race everywhere I can with Andy McDermid and the guys [in American Sedan].”
Eaton, however, is well aware that he’s not going to drive away with an easy championship. “Andy McDermid has eight championships,” Eaton says.
“The guy’s done it all. When we go to Mid-Ohio, he knows every square inch of the track. So, to try and keep up with him will be difficult, that’s for sure. Then you’ve got Danny Richardson, and Mike Lavigne is extremely fast. And you can’t count John Heinricy out, either. That guy’s a serial killer in a car.”
B-Spec drivers have been working hard for a renaissance for their class, and last year they put an impressive 25-car field on track at VIR. This year, they’re on target to match that performance.
Two-time B-Spec champion David Daughtery is favored to win this year, with competitors Fritz Wilke and last year’s runner-up Tony Roma also on the podium. However, 2019 National Champ John Phillips and last year’s third-place finisher Brandon Vivian will both be on hand for the race, so there’s a deep bench to beat on Road America’s long straights. Daughtery is a thinking and planning driver, so he’s got the competition thoroughly analyzed.
“Riley Salyer,” Daughtery says. “Man, that kid is really getting it, and he’ll be right there. Tony Roma will be very tough in his Sonic, as will Brandon Vivian. They were both top three last year.
Super Touring Lite
Joe Moser has moved over from E Production this year, and we think he’s got what it takes to lead STL at Road America, and he’s got a very special motivation to win.
“This is my first year of racing without my dad,” Moser reveals. “Not only was he my best friend, but he was my long-time racing partner and more recently, my crew chief. We won a lot of races together. He was the best, and racing the Runoffs won’t be the same without him.”
Moser will compete in a Honda CRX with STL history. “It’s a new car to me, but it has a long tradition of winning under the ownership of Sam Myers,” Moser reveals. “The car won the Indianapolis Runoffs in 2017 with Adam Roberts behind the wheel, so I have a strong legacy of performance to uphold.”
STL always delivers exciting racing, and this year’s entry list promises close battles. In particular, 2018 and ’19 National Champ Danny Steyn will be there, and he agrees that Moser is the driver to beat.
“The prediction is spot on, 100 percent,” Steyn says of our assessment. “We raced at the Sprints, and Joe Moser is an exceptional wheel man.”
Super Touring Under
“Irish Mike” Flynn took third place at last year’s Runoffs, but we think he’ll use the power of his BMW 330 to hit the top step of this year’s Runoffs podium.
“My wife bought me this BMW for my 50th birthday,” Flynn says. “It used to be a Techmark World Challenge car, and it’s the perfect car for STU, I think. It’s not the strongest car, but I think it’s a very strong car.”
Flynn got close to the STU podium with fourth-place finishes in 2011 and ’12 at Road America before moving away from the class. Now with his ex-World Challenge BMW, he’s checking his mirrors.
“They’ve all got me worried,” Flynn admits of the other drivers in the class. Flynn listed numerous drivers to watch, but one that’s rocketed to the top during this week’s qualifying session is David Fiorelli in a Subaru BRZ.
Five of Andrew Aquilante’s nine SCCA National Championship titles came in T1. Basically, it’s ridiculous to pick against him in this class. But who does Aquilante think will be chasing him and his Phoenix Performance Mustang this year? “I’d say Mark Boden, since it’s his home track,” Aquilante says. “And really, anyone showing up considering it is never over ‘til it is over.”
We agree with his assessment, and we’d certainly add Tim Myers and James Candelaria to the list of contenders.
Fall-Line Motorsports is not anticipating a stellar performance in T2 this year. We think they’re wrong. And with that, we think it’s Fall-Line’s Alan Kossof and Mark Boden who will duke it out for the top step.
“Yes, it will be close racing among the Porsches,” Kezman agrees, although he foresees other cars leading the pack. “The front of the field will most likely be BMW, Corvette, or Mustang.”
Who does Kezman see battling for the win? “Mark Boden and Kurt Rezzetano…will be strong, as will anyone in a BMW E92 – that thing is a rocket in a straight line.”
“Road America is a track that I have been going to since I was 12-years old,” says two-time Runoffs champ Derek Kulach. “At that time, I was my dad’s crew and would help with anything a kid was allowed to do at the track.
“My first Runoffs I attended in full competition was 2013 at Road America. Since then, I have been back several times and think of Road America as one of my top five favorite tracks. At home on my sim rig, I have run well over 2,000 laps there since it was announced we were going back.”
And we thought Kulach was going to win before he told us this.
His list of potential contenders includes Marshal Mast, Jason Ott,
and Rob Hines, with wild cards Richard Baldwin, Jason Knuteson, and Ross Murray.
Michael Borden has basically come out of nowhere and is running at an unbelievable pace, bettering the likes of SCCA racing legend John Heinricy and talented wheelman Nick Leverone. But, with that, Borden admits that the T4 Runoffs race will be like no other he’s experienced.
“I think that the success I’ve experienced [this season] will help me bring confidence into the Runoffs, but it will be different from the races throughout the season,” Borden admits. “I used other classes to my advantage when I could, but that won’t be a factor at the Runoffs.