John Heinricy, of Clarkston, MI, earned his 16th career SCCA National Championship on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Touring 4 race at the 58th SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Michael Borden, of Greenfield, WI, and Brian Laughlin, of Vinita, OK, joined Heinricy on the podium during the first contest of the Hagerty Race Days.
Heinricy’s career championship mark places him second all-time, though this edition was less expected than some of the others. After qualifying sixth in the No. 35 Toyota 86, Heinricy survived three lengthy full course caution periods in a race that ran just 13 of the 19 laps, and only five under green, before reaching the 40-minute time limit.
The 73-year-old Heinricy slipped into third on the opening lap as that corner eliminated five cars in the 47 car field, then got to the lead on the lap five restart when then-leader and Tire Rack pole award winner Stephen Blethen got caught up in his own Turn 1 incident immediately again.
Heinricy lost the lead to Tyler Quance when the race went back to green on lap nine, but regained it later that lap when Quance pulled off course with a flat tire. With Borden’s No. 42 Advanced Autosport/Coinigy Mazda MX-5 hounding him, Heinricy kept the Toyota in front until the final full-course caution came out on lap 12, effectively ending the race.
“It feels real good,” Heinricy said. “We did everything we could to make the car as good as possible and get the car ready for me every time we went out. We had some swings during qualifying, but we knew what we had to do to make the car better. My motto going into this race was it’s not who goes the fastest, it’s who gets their first. I really thought about it while I was going out.”
Heinricy began racing at 37, and shows no signs of slowing down. He remains a distant 11 wins behind career race win leader Jerry Hansen with 27.
“When I moved into second all-time, I didn’t even know,” Heinricy said. “I don’t pay attention to the statistics. What I pay attention to is just winning every race I can, and the statistics will go where they want to go.”
Borden’s runner-up finish came with a giant dent on the passenger side door as he worked through the carnage, in a car that he didn’t expect to run at the Runoffs. Because Borden concentrated on the Mazda Spec MX-5 championship during the regular season, he used a champion’s provisional as the class defending champion and a car from his Advance Autosport team to enter the event. The gamble paid off.
We came into the week with the goal being a top five. Monday was the first time ever the car was on track, so we were shooting for top five in qualifying. I’m just glad I finished that race, much less on the podium.
Like others, Borden’s race almost ended on the first restart in the Turns 1 and 2 chaos.
“The leader tapped his brakes, so I tapped mine and the next thing I know it’s pretty much green and the three cars behind me got a much better run,” Borden said of the restart. “They were all fighting for the inside and I went to the outside and it made it interesting coming to into turn two there. It got to the point where there were two cars sideways in front of me and there wasn’t a big enough gap to go through so I backed off to wait for them to finish spinning. The next thing I know I’m just getting plowed right through them. It’s a testament to Mazda because I can’t believe it finished the race.”
Laughlin kept his No. 27 Mazda/Hoosier/Trees Done Right/JPM Mazda MX-5 clean, moving forward on each restart and battling with Colin Koehler and Rick Delamare for the final podium position. Laughlin’s podium was the second of his career, and the first since a Super Touring Lite runner-up at Laguna Seca in 2014.
“For me, of course you want to win the thing but top five at the Runoffs is pretty good,” Laughlin said. “Before I even got here, I just bought the car last winter and I told myself if I qualified top 20 I’d be happy and top 10 I’d be ecstatic. Here we are on the podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Koehler started 16th and finished just behind Laughlin in fourth, with Rick Delamare in fifth. It’s a career best for Koehler, and the first Runoffs start for Delamare. Brian Price won the Sunoco Hard Charger, climbing from 35th on the grid to 15th at the finish.
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.
1, (6), John Heinricy, Clarkston, MI, Toyota 86, 13.
2, (3), Michael Borden, Greenfield, WI, Mazda MX-5, 13.
3, (19), Brian Laughlin, Vinita, OK, Mazda MX-5, 13.
4, (16), Colin Koehler, Spanaway, WA, Scion FR-S, 13.
5, (17), Rick Delamare, Snohomish, WA, Scion FR-S, 13.
6, (9), Charles Habisreutinger, Spartanburg, SC, Mazda MX-5, 13.
7, (22), Robert Spence, Acworth, GA, Mazda MX-5, 13.
8, (26), James Ebben, Appleton, WI, Mazda RX-8, 13.
9, (14), Garrett Mays, Parker, CO, Pontiac Solstice, 13.
10, (27), Richard Mooney, Dane, WI, Mazda MX-5, 13.
11, (21), Roldan de Guzman, Seattle, WA, Scion FR-S, 13.
12, (24), Alexander Schefer, Arlington, VA, Mazda RX-8, 13.
13, (12), Christopher Windsor, Thurmont, MD, Mazda MX-5, 13.
14, (31), Brent Simonson, Millersville, MD, Mazda RX-8, 13.
15, (35), Brian Price, Middletown, VA, Mazda MX-5, 13.
16, (23), Ralph Porter, Kokomo, IN, BMW Z4, 13.
17, (11), Ryan Heishman, Carlisle, PA, Mazda MX-5, 13.
18, (34), Richard Dickey, Columbus, IN, Mazda RX-8, 13.
19, (28), Michael LaMaina, Oaklyn, NJ, Mazda MX-5, 13.
20, (30), Jason Benagh, Groton, MA, Mazda RX-8, 13.
21, (33), Paolo Salvatore, San Antonio, TX, Ford Mustang V6, 13.
22, (32), Ken Lendrum, Queensbury, NY, Subaru BRZ, 13.
23, (5), Raymond Blethen, Londonderry, NH, Mazda RX-8, 13.
24, (15), Jeremy Butz, Darnestown, MD, Mazda MX-5, 13.
25, (38), Greg Guthrie, Kenosha, WI, Mazda RX-8, 13.
26, (36), Philip Clarke, Oceanside, CA, Subaru BRZ, 13.
27, (18), Jared Lendrum, Queensbury, NY, Subaru BRZ, 13.
28, (41), Jeff Liller, Thurmont, MD, Mazda MX-5, 13.
29, (40), Matthew Miller, Canal Fulton, OH, Ford Mustang V6, 13.
30, (29), Kevin Fryer, Bloomington, IL, Mazda MX-5, 13.
31, (37), Tony Kiratsous, San Jose, CA, Scion FR-S, 13.
32, (44), David Hooker, San Antonio, TX, Mazda Miata, 13.
33, (42), Liam Vail, Littleton, CO, Chevrolet Camaro, 13.
34, (45), Steven Taake, Cypress, TX, Mazda 3 S, 13.
35, (46), Keith Jones, Lorain, OH, Mazda Miata, 13.
36, (43), Chalton Lane, Statesboro, GA, Mazda MX-5, 10.
37, (4), Tyler Quance, Cypress, TX, Mazda MX-5, 8.
DNF, (1), Stephen Blethen, Bow, NH, Mazda RX-8, 5.
DNF, (7), Sergio Zlobin, Houston, TX, Mazda MX-5, 5.
DNF, (2), Thomas Fowler, Cumming, GA, Mazda MX-5, 5.
DNF, (20), Derrick Ambrose, Brush Prairie, WA, Mazda 3, 5.
DNF, (10), Timothy Wise, Santa Cruz, CA, Mazda MX-5, 2.
DNF, (8), Izzy Sanchez, San Mateo, CA, Scion FR-S, 1.
DNF, (13), Chi Ho, Orlando, FL, BMW 320i, 1.
DNF, (25), Felix Borodaty, Hallandale Beach, FL, Toyota 86, 1.
DNF, (39), Richard Grunenwald, Hilliard, OH, Ford Mustang V6, 1.
DNS, (47), Steven Christopher, Bonner Springs, KS, Mazda MX-5, 0.
DNS, (48), Nick Leverone, Mendon, MA, Subaru BRZ, 0.
Length of Race: 34 miles
Overall Time of Race: 38:17.517 (52.799 mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.825 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 1:55.929 (80.491 mph)
Lap Leaders: #50, laps 1-5; #35, laps 6-13
Sunoco Hard Charger: #151 Brian Price