The Sports Car Club of America’s 1999 Runoffs was one of their strongest events to date. The published numbers indicated that there were 598-entries and 578-starters. But this year’s edition of the Runoffs will be remembered for the weather. Practice and qualifying took place in ideal conditions but on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the racers faced overcast skies with the constant threat of rain. Most of the drivers were confronted with wet conditions which resulted in some exciting races and unpredictable results.

Brian French qualified second in Formula Atlantic driving a Ralt RT-41. There were plenty of Ralts available in 1999 as the Pro Formula Atlantic series used the new Swift chassis. At the club level, Atlantic cars with carburetors were 50-lbs lighter than their pro counter-parts and competed without a rev-limiter. French chose to go with the carburetor option. He jumped into the lead at the start and led flag-to-flag to score his first National Championship.
Jeff Auberger started third in F500 but made an excellent start leading the field through the Esses. But he was passed before the end of the first lap by pole sitter Aaron Ellis in a Red Devil T-29. Auberger put his KBS MK-8.5 back out front on lap-2 to lead the remaining laps. His margin of victory was 1.225-seconds over Mike Brent in an Invader QC-1.
Roger Siebenaler was chosen as the favourite by SportsCar magazine to win the Formula Vee title – he did not disappoint. Siebenaler qualified second in his Mysterian M2 and captured his first National Championship by 12.29-seconds. Twenty-first place starter Howard Landon had a great race finishing second in a Mysterian M2.
Keith Nunes entered the 1999 Runoffs with an impressive record – 1998 National Formula Ford Champion and winner of every National race he entered in 1999. He raced a Formula Continental Swift DB-6 which was converted to Formula Ford specs. As could be predicted Nunes was the fastest qualifier but ran third for much of the race. By lap-13, he led the field and despite a late race caution would win his second consecutive National title.
Starting on the pole for Formula Continental was Mike Andersen. He recorded a lap of 1:25.565 driving a Van Diemen RF-97. But it was second fastest qualifier James Hanson who held the lead for the first 18-laps. But after a restart on the last lap Hanson spun on an increasingly slick track allowing Andersen to get by and take the National Championship.
Matthew Beardsley was the second fastest qualifier in Formula Mazda. He turned the fastest race lap and led laps four through six but Beardsley was no match for pole-sitter Keith Roberts. Roberts would win the 1999 Formula Mazda National Championship and Beardsley would earn the silver medal.
Qualifying second in F500 was, 1997 National Champion, Michael Brent driving an Invader QC-1. Brent ran second for much of the race finishing behind eventual winner Jeff Auberger. Brent and Auberger set a torrid pace – by lap-12 of the 19 lap race, these two drivers had lapped four cars and were 5-seconds clear of the group contesting third place.
Mark Jaremko drove the new STOHR FF99 in Formula Ford. The Runoffs was only the car’s fifth race and its ongoing development meant it could qualify no better than eleventh. But some steady driving by Jaremko and bad luck for others resulted in a third place finish.
Starting on the pole in Formula Atlantic was local racer, Larry Connor. His Ralt RT-41 used the pro setup which used fuel injection. Although he was the fastest qualifier, he could not match the straight-line speed of eventual winner Brian French. The fuel-injection option had better drivability allowing Connor to keep within striking distance - at the checker he was 1.49-seconds behind French.
The surprise in Formula Vee was 18-year-old Dustin Hodges driving a Caracal D. The relative unknown qualified fastest in a group that included many past champions. Hodges led the first lap but his inexperience in wet conditions caused him to slide off the track. He fell to nineteenth but came back to finish twelfth.
Qualifying second in Formula Ford was the Citation FF of John LaRue. At the start, LaRue was able to pass pole-sitter Keith Nunes and lead the race for the first 12-laps. Unfortunately for LaRue, he selected a softer compound tire and his car did not handle as well as those of his competitors. He was able to hold on for second and also managed to record the fastest race lap.
Driving the No. 19 KBS MK-8 was Fred Edwards Jr. Edwards was part of a successful team that included Thomas Edwards and 1999 F500 National Champion Jeff Auberger. Edwards Jr. started fourth but fell to eighth early in the race. He finished sixth but set a new lap record for F500 which was 0.303-seconds quicker than the fastest Formula Ford race lap.
The Formula Continental race was held on a damp track which made for a very exciting race. The fourth place qualifier was Guy Cosmo in a Van Diemen RF-97. Until the final lap, Cosmo found himself in a race long battle for third with Scott Rubenzer driving a Carbir DS399. But a late race full course caution resulted in a number of changes and Cosmo inherited a second place finish.
Starting on the pole for the F500 race was Aaron Ellis driving a Red Devil T-29. He was able to lead the first lap but fell down the order quickly and retired after completing only 3-laps – he was classified in twenty-ninth. Ellis would get redemption in 2000 – winning his first National Championship by 11.94-seconds.


FORMULA ATLANTICBrian French / Ralt RT-41Larry Connor / Ralt RT-41Cemal Yelkin / Ralt RT-41
FORMULA CONTINENTALMike Andersen / Van DiemenGuy Cosmo / Van DiemenMarty Hahnfeld / Van Diemen
FORMULA FORDKeith Nunes / Swift DB-6John LaRue / Citation FFMark Jaremko / STOHR FF99
FORMULA MAZDAKeith Roberts / Star MazdaMatthew Beardsley / Star MazdaMicky Gilbert / Star Mazda
FORMULA 500Jeff Auberger / KBS MK8.5Michael Brent / Invader QC-1Dave Mitsch / Red Devil T-27
FORMULA VEERoger Siebenaler / Mysterian M2Howard Landon / Mysterian M2Stevan Davis / Racers Wage

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