The thirty-seventh annual Runoffs took place at Mid-Ohio and was the seventh consecutive year the event took place at this track. In 2000, there were twenty-four Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship classes which meant twenty-four races to decide the titles. There were over 600-entries of which 122 competed in the Production classes.

Four of the twenty-four classes competing for a national championship were: E Production, F Production, G Production and H Production. Cars in this category were production based vehicles which were allowed some performance modifications. Many cars in the class were older British and European sports cars but changes in the rules encouraged newer sedan models to compete. The quickest of these four classes was E Production with H Production being the slowest. The cars were classified based on performance potential and engine displacement.

One of the most significant changes the SCCA made to the 2000 event was extending races by a lap. As a result, titles were decided during a 20-lap shootout.

The first lap of the G Production race and twenty-one starters stream into Mid-Ohio’s 'Esses'. Pole sitter Steve Sargis in the red Triumph Spitfire was passed by second place starter Thomas Reichenbach in a Fiat X1/9. Sargis was the defending national champion with additional titles to his credit - 1992 and 1993. He battled with Reichenbach for the lead but the two made contact. Sargis retired on lap-11 with mechanical problems.
Adam Malley was one of the early adopters of the rule allowing sedans to compete in the production classes. His Honda Civic had earned him three consecutive H Production Championships. Malley looked set for another title after qualifying but his front brakes were not legal and his times disallowed. With legal calipers fitted he started from the back of the grid. He passed eight-cars on the first lap but he retired with engine problems.
Thomas Reichenbach driving the No. 32 Fiat X1/9 jumped into the lead at the start of the G Production race. He was in a tight battle with Steve Sargis when the two made contact. The incident damaged the right-rear of Reichenbach’s Fiat. He continued but spun - hitting the tire wall and fell to fourth. Gathering it up, Reichenbach made contact for a second time with Kent Prather’s MGA. A late race charge had him closing on the leader but he came up short and finished second.
Tony and Phil Chiles (a father-son team) each entered Austin Healey Sprites at the 2000 Runoffs. The No. 06 was driven by Tony, who started fifth in H Production – Phil qualified eleventh. On lap-4 when one of his competitors spun and another pitted he claimed third. He challenged the second-place car driven by Dan Collishaw but would settle for the last spot on the podium.
The battle for first in E Product between Grayson Upchurch and John Baucom allowed Rodger Cook in a Mazda Miata and pole-sitter Kim Knapp to catch the leaders. Cook, who had qualified sixth, passed second place, Baucom on lap-16. Then Cook made contact with leader Upchurch – sending the two off-track. Cook lost one position and finished third.
John Baucom was selected by SportsCar magazine as a potential dark horse - having won the G Production title in 1996. Baucom started fifth in his Fiat Spider. After some contact between the top-four qualifiers, he worked his way to the lead on lap-12. Although Thomas Reichenbach was catching him by as much as two-seconds a lap, he was able to hold on and win a second G Production Championship.
Fastest qualifier in F Production was Harold Flescher racing an Austin Healey Sprite. In 1995 Flescher won the National Championship and was second in 1999. He led the first 4-laps but came under pressure from third place starter Bill Niemeyer and Dieter Griesinger up from seventh. Earlier in the week Flescher had problems with the differential and on lap-4 they returned forcing him to retire.
Starting sixth in F Production was Dick Davis. Davis completed the first lap in sixth place but on the next lap dropped to the tenth position. He then began to move up the order when other competitors fell by the wayside. On lap-14, Davis found himself in second place but he was soon challenged by a hard charging Dan Snow in a Fiat X1/9. Snow passed him and the driver of the MG Midget finished third.
This was Kent Prather’s seventeenth National Championship G Production event. Driving an MGA he had won the class title in 1986, 1990 and 1995. At the 2000 event, Prather qualified fourth. At the start, he fell back to fifth but through attrition moved up the order and after contact on lap-12 with Thomas Reichenbach was in second. Reinchenbach recovered and passed him for second leaving Prather third at the checkered flag.
Grayson Upchurch started third in E Production but by the end of the first lap was second. After a yellow flag re-start, Upchurch took the lead. But he battled with John Baucom for first which allowed them to be caught by the third and fourth place drivers. Rodger Cook in a Mazda challenged Upchurch for the lead and the two made contact on lap-19. Upchurch slid off the track and returned to finish sixth.
The No. 36 Austin Healey Sprite was raced by Brian Linn. From his third starting position, Linn moved into the H Production lead on the first lap. On lap-3, he spun at the 'Carousel' and fell to fifth. Linn had a second spin at the “Carousel” on lap-16 which dropped him to eighth. With only 4-laps remaining he was not able to improve his position.
An exciting F Production race was won by the No. 65 of Bill Niemeyer Jr. Niemeyer started third in is MG Midget and moved to second at the start. By lap-2, he found himself battling with the Triumph Spitfire of Dieter Griesinger. Niemeyer and Griesinger made contact on lap-5 which dropped him to eleventh. For the remainder of the race, Niemeyer improved his position taking a lead he would not relinquish on lap-16.
In 1999 H Production pole-sitter, Ron Bartell was knocked out of the lead and in 2000 almost failed to make the start of the race. On the way to the grid, a new ignition set-up failed - the crew replaced it with the old components. Bartell completed the first lap in second and moved into first when leader Brian Linn spun. He would lead the remainder of the race earning his first National Championship.
Kim Knapp driving a Caterham 7 started on the pole in E Production. At the beginning of the race, he dropped to fourth. When Grayson Upchurch and John Baucom, began to fight for the lead he and third place - Rodger Cook turned the event into a four-way battle. On the last-lap, Knapp was behind the leader Baucom. He tried to pass Baucom but the two made contact sending Knapp off track. He recovered to finish fifth.
With wins in G and E Production, John Baucom became the eleventh driver in Runoffs history to win two championships in a single year. Baucom’s chances of winning the E Production class did not look very promising after qualifying tenth. But the Fiat Spider driver persevered through some bumping and banging and a leaking axle seal to win the E Production Championship.
The No. 81 MG Midget of 1985 F Production National Champion Rick Haynes has an off track excursion at the “Esses”. The white MG Midget in the background is Bill Niemeyer Jr. working his way through the field after contact with Dieter Griesinger. Haynes led lap-13 and was in contention for the win until he retired with a broken throttle linkage.

E PRODUCTIONJohn Baucom / Fiat SpiderJohn Schmitt / Honda PreludeBuddy Norton / Caterham 7
F PRODUCTIONBill Niemeyer Jr / MG MidgetDaniel Snow / Fiat X1/9Dick Davis / MG Midget
G PRODUCTIONJohn Baucom / Fiat SpiderThomas Reichenbach / Fiat X1/9Kent Prather / MGA
H PRODUCTIONRon Bartell / MG MidgetDan Collishaw / A H SpriteAnthony Chiles / A H Bugeye

Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017

Return to home page.