Steve Sargis, of Frankfort, Illinois, drove away from the H Production field for his eighth win at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs on Sunday at Road America. Mark Brakke, of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and William Trainer, of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, joined Sargis on the podium.
The trajectory of the race changed almost immediately when, on the first lap, leader Christopher Schaafsma slid through the kink, hitting the wall on the right side of the track while under attack from Sargis’ No. 18 Carbotech Triumph Spitfire. Schaafsma walked away unhurt, but the contact resulted in oil on the track and field was brought to pit lane for a black flag.
The race restarted with 15 minutes and 30 seconds to go in the timed race with Sargis, Brakke and Ralf Lindow the top three, and without Tire Rack Polesitter Daniel Meller who retired from the race due to mechanical issues of his own.
Sargis ran away for the final six laps of what became a 40-minute timed race, winning by 10.380 seconds. In 36 career Runoffs starts, Sargis now has 19 podium finishes. This year’s winning car, now a limited-prep car in H Production, was the same chassis that he drove to his last win—eight years ago, that time in F Production.
“It’s good to be here,” Sargis said. “It’s good to be there with that car. It was a project to put together a limited prep H car so my kids could go through driver’s school, and both of them have done that.”
At the restart, Sargis had a basic plan—but not much beyond, other than to push hard.
“I thought if I could get to the carousel before anybody else, I could put a little bit of space between me, because my car does that easy,” he said. “You really just don’t know what’s going to happen. You have to make it up as you go along.”
Brakke earned his first career podium in his 12th Runoff start, driving his No. 04 Mazda2 to a lonely second-place finish. The Mazda2 is a relatively new H Production project for Brakke, sandwiched between more traditional class cars—the 1975 Triumph Spitfire and a 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco—on the podium.
“When Schaafsma got loose in the kink, that changed everything,” Brakke said. “I was hoping to follow a train. I expected Schaafsma, and Meller and Steve to be in that train and I’d have enough ‘oomph’ to keep up with them and we’d see what developed as the race went along.”
“It worked out well. We really didn’t come here thinking we were going to get on the podium. Developing the car has been an interesting process because there aren’t any other competitive Mazda2s in the country. We had to figure out everything from scratch, we couldn’t just buy the bits that someone else proved to work.”
Trainer marched his No. 7 Scirocco to his second-career podium, and first since the Runoffs left Road America in 2013. Trainer was 10th on the grid, fifth on the restart and made his way the rest of the way to the podium after a battle with Mike Origer and Lindow.
“It had been a very frustrating week,” Trainer said. “Qualifying for me didn’t go well and I missed the third qualifying session. I knew the car was good, I just never had a chance to show it. Today, it came together. There’s never a better time for that. The competition this year, I thought was really good. But the car felt really good. It loves the cold weather and it was just so much fun.”
Origer and Lindow came home in fourth and fifth at the finish, respectively. Tom Broring drove from 19th and last on the grid to finish 10th and earn the Sunoco Hard Charger in H Production.
The 57th SCCA National Championship Runoffs crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America, Friday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct 11.
Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live along with an audio race call—supplied by the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team—and live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.
Provisional results for Saturday’s H Production race at the 57th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from Road America, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (3), Steve Sargis, Frankfort, IL, Triumph Spitfire, 10.
2, (4), Mark Brakke, Coon Rapids, MN, Mazda 2, 10.
3, (10), William Trainer, Lake in the Hills, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 10.
4, (7), Mike Origer, Palatine, IL, Volkswagen Scirocco, 10.
5, (6), Ralf Lindow, Bellevue, NE, Volkswagen Golf, 10.
6, (8), Greg Gauper, Hubertus, WI, Honda Civic Si, 10.
7, (11), Vesa Silegren, Cleveland, TN, Honda CRX, 10.
8, (16), Riley Salyer, Longview, TX, Honda Civic, 10.
9, (9), Chris W Albin, Maryland Heights, MO, Volkswagen Golf, 10.
10, (19), Tom Broring, Derwood, MD, Triumph Spitfire, 10.
11, (14), Jack Schulz, Monett, MO, MG Midget, 10.
12, (13), Andrew Wright, Murfreesboro, TN, Triumph Spitfire, 10.
13, (17), Robin Bank, Aliquippa, PA, Volkswagen Golf, 10.
14, (18), Angus Crome, Maryville, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 10.
DNF, (1), Daniel Meller, Milwaukee, WI, Nissan 210, 3.
DNF, (2), Christopher Schaafsma, Wheaton, IL, Volkswagen Golf, 0.
DNF, (5), Lee Fleming, Lake Forest, CA, MG Midget, 0.
DNF, (12), Leanna Wright, Murfreesboro, TN, Mini Cooper, 0.
DNS, (15), Jerry Oleson, Aurora, CO, Austin-Healey Sprite, 0.
Length of Race: 40 miles
Overall Time of Race: 40:48.426 (59.519 mph)
Margin of Victory: 10.380 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: #18 Sargis 2:41.708 mph (90.118 mph)
Lap Leaders: #18 laps 1-10
Sunoco Hard Charger: Tom Broring