The 1984 Champion Spark Plug Road Racing Classic (Runoffs) took place during the third week of October at Road Atlanta. This was the twenty-first consecutive running of the event to determine the Sports Car Club of Americas (SCCA) National Road Racing Champions.

Almost 550 drivers from seven geographical regions within the United States earned an invitation, based on their performance during the year, to participate at the Runoffs.

There were National Championships for twenty-two different classes. These race groups fall into one of five different categories:

  • Production Category – There are four classes in the production category – E Production (EP), F Production (FP), G Production (GP) and H Production (HP). These production-based vehicles are grouped according to their performance potential. Sports cars such as the MGB, Porsche 914, Alfa Romeo Spider, MG Midget, etc., are most often associated with this category.
  • Grand Touring Category – Five classes are identified as Grand Touring – they include Grand Touring 1 (GT1), Grand Touring 2 (GT2), Grand Touring 3 (GT3), Grand Touring 4 (GT4) and Grand Touring 5 (GT5). These vehicles are also grouped according to their performance potential. The quickest class, GT1 features cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette, while at the other end of the spectrum, GT5 includes the Mini Cooper and Honda Civic. These vehicles are allowed a larger number of modifications than the production category.
  • Showroom Stock – Four Showroom Stock categories, Showroom Stock (SSGT), Showroom Stock A (SSA), Showroom Stock B (SSB), and Showroom Stock C (SSC), were created by the SCCA to accommodate performance street cars with a minimum amount of modifications required to race. Showroom Stock A includes the more powerful vehicles such as the Mazda RX-7, Triumph TR8, Datsun 280ZX, etc. Changes to these vehicles are for safety purposes.
  • Sports Racers – These are purpose-built closed-wheel race cars. There are four classes within this group – A Sports Racer (ASR), C Sports Racer (CSR), D Sports Racer (DSR) and Sports 2000 (S2). Sports Racers include a variety of chassis’ which may be constructed by the competitor or a race car manufacturer. With the exception of Sports 2000, which must use a 2.0-liter Ford engine, there is also a wide range of engine options used by the teams.
  • Formula Category – These are also purpose-built race cars. This category includes five classes – Formula Atlantic (FA), Formula Continental (FC), Formula Ford (FF), Formula (F440) and Formula Vee (FV). There are a variety of rules that govern these open-wheel cars.

Drivers would compete on the twelve-turn 2.52-mile road course in an eighteen-lap contest to determine National Champions.

Those in attendance at the 1984 Runoffs will remember that a sudden downpour on lap-11 in corner six caused most of the GT1 field to leave the course. Of the twenty-three starters, eighteen of them were involved in the incident. The leader at the time was Jim Fitzgerald in the No. 33 Bob Sharp Racing Nissan 300ZX Turbo. Fitzgerald qualified second and with the race ending prematurely, he claimed his second National title.
After a couple of podium finishes, Morris Clement earned his first National Championship. During the qualifying session for the GT2 category, Clement was second fastest in the No. 1 Minolta Copiers Nissan 280ZX. Clement eventually got by the pole-winning Mazda RX-7 of Robert Reed. Late in the event, he was challenged by John Hogdal, but Hogal Mazda ran out of gas and Clement won by a margin of 11.31-seconds.
Robert Reed entered the 1984 Runoffs at Road Atlanta with a record that included the 1982 C Production and 1983 GT2 National Championships. Reed returned, driving the familiar No. 45 Rotary Specialties Mazda RX-7. Unfortunately, Reed crashed earlier in the week. However, the team was able to repair the car and he qualified on the pole. Reed was no match for Morris Clement or John Hogdal and finished third.
No surprise here, the A Sports Racing (ASR) National Championship was won by Jerry Hansen. The victory would mark his fourteenth ASR title and give him a total of twenty-seven gold medals. Hansen started on the pole in the No. 44 Kraco / Chevy. He took it easy during the race, allowing other competitors to take a turn out front. He would lead a total of three laps and win by a margin of 3.000-seconds.
Two-time National Champion, Doug Peterson, was entered in GT4 and GT5 this year. In GT4, Peterson was campaigning a new tube frame Renault Encore. He captured the pole by a margin of over a second and set a new record in the process, three seconds faster than last year. Peterson got the jump at the start of the race but was passed by Tom Schwietz. An engine miss prevented him from challenging Schwietz.
Doug Peterson’s second entry in this year’s Runoffs was the No. 11 Fortech Mini Cooper S. He was third fastest after the two qualifying sessions. On the second lap of the race, Peterson passed the Honda Civic of the second-place starter, James Dentici. The following circuit, he grabbed the lead from the pole-sitter, Duane Davis. Peterson remained in first place for the remainder of the contest and earned his third gold medal.
Finishing second in GT5 at this year’s Champion Spark Plug Road Racing Classic was Duane Davis. Davis made his Runoffs debut last season, driving a Renault LeCar and finished third. He returned with a new Renault this year, which was the car Doug Peterson used to win the title in 1983. Davis qualified on the pole but was passed by the eventual winner, Peterson, on lap-3. Davis finished 2.200-seconds behind Peterson.
Finishing in the runner-up position in A Sports Racing was Tom Foster in the No. 18 Tracer TR2 powered by a Volkswagen engine. Foster also competed in the C Sports Racing category driving the same car. Qualifying on the pole, he set a new record. Foster would dominate the race and lead flag-to-flag, winning by a margin of 9.411-seconds on the way to his third-class championship.
Dave Vegher kept his win streak alive at this year’s Runoffs. In his first visit to Road Atlanta in 1982, Vegher won the D Production category driving the No. 48 Lotus Performance Cars Lotus Elan. He repeated this performance the following year. During offseason, the D Production class was combined with GT3. Vegher qualified on the outside of the front row and led the GT3 race start-to-finish.
David Bruns decided to debut his latest creation, the Swift DB-2, in this year’s Sports 2000 race at Road Atlanta. Piloting the car was Runoffs veteran Steve Shelton whose best result was in runner-up result in the 1980 Formula Atlantic race. Unfortunately, Shelton rolled the car early in the week and the team’s progress was slowed by repairs. He qualified sixth, a steady drive and attrition earned him the final spot on the podium.
After two podium finishes (F Production – third in 1980 and second in 1982), Larry Moulton earned his place on the top step of the rostrum. Moulton put the No. 47 Temple Machine Turner Ford on the pole with a new qualifying record. He controlled the race until lap-15, when rain caused him to spin and lose a spot. Moulton moved back out front one circuit later and won the F Production title by a margin of 0.624-seconds.
The defending Formula Vee champion, George Fizell, captured his second consecutive National Championship. Fizell qualified on the pole driving the No. 33 DRE Inc. sponsored Zink Z12 SPR. He battled with Jim Brookshire and Bill Noble early in the race, but by lap-5 Fizell was in the top spot for good. He was able to pull away from the field and won by an uncharacteristic margin of 7.275-seconds.
Perhaps the most interesting car entered at this year’s Runoffs was the Jaguar XK120M raced by John Anderson in the GT3 class. The Jaguar is powered by a DOHC straight six-cylinder 3.4-liter engine. The car was initially fitted with a motor that produced 350-hp, but it failed on the dyno and the team used their 300-hp engine. Anderson qualified fifteenth in the forty-car field but retired after just three laps.
Sports Renault is not recognised as a National class this season. However, a race was held the weekend before the official Runoff activities began. Over 100 cars at $9,995 have been ordered since last year and fifty-five were on hand at Road Atlanta. Dorsey Schroeder qualified on the pole. Sharing the front row with him was Ben Burrell. However, it was Willy Lewis who grabbed the victory and earned a $2,500 payday.

GT1Jim Fitzgerald / Nissan 300ZX TurboJerry Hansen / Trans AmKen Slagle / Triumph TR8
GT2Morris Clement / Datsun 280ZXJohn Hogdal / Mazda RX-7Robert Reed / Mazda RX-7
GT3Dave Vegher / Lotus ElanHoward Coleman / Mazda RX-3Bruce Short / Mazda RX-3
GT4Tom Schwietz / VW RabbitDoug Peterson / Renault EncoreSam Jones / Datsun B210
GT5Doug Peterson / Cooper SDuane Davis / Renault Le CarJim Dentici / Honda Civic
E ProductionBob Kirby / Porsche 914David Helmick / Porsche 356Don Small / MGB
F ProductionLarry Moulton / TurnerJohn Lawrence / Saab SonnetPhilip Mason / Alfa Romeo
G ProductionBob Boig / Fiat X1/9Jack Brock / A-H SpriteJoseph Hauser / Datsun 1600
H ProductionJames Miller / A-H SpriteJeff Milstein / A-H SpriteRay Yergler / A-H Sprite
Formula AtlanticMichael Angus / Ralt RT-4Riley Hopkins / Ralt RT-4Steve Shelton / ralt RT-4
FormulaContinentalTerry McKenna / Ralt RT-5Dave Ammen / Ralt RT-5George Batchelor / Ralt RT-5
Formula FordJackson Young / Reynard 84FCary Bren / Swift DB-1Dave Weitzenhof / Citation 84F
Formula VeeGeorge Fizell / Zink Z-12Dave Smith / Predator P-3Bill Noble / Lynx B
Formula 440Mike Leathers / Zink Z-19Danny King / Zink Z-19Ray Little / Red Devil T84
A Sports RacerJerry Hansen / Kraco/ChevyTom Foster / Tracer TR2Dale Wise / Brabham/Mazda
C Sports RacerTom Foster / Tracer TR2Chuck Billington / TracerJeff Miller / W1/Kohler
D Sports RacerTom Jagemann / Lola/KohlerPaul Decker / DeckerJeff Miller / Lola/Kohler
Sports 2000Bob Lobenberg / MarchJim Brown / Tiga SC84Steve Shelton / Swift DB-2
Showroom Stock GTKim Baker / CorvetteLuis Sanchez / Datsun 280ZXBen Burrell / Datsun 280ZX
Showroom Stock ALarry Hendricks / Datsun 280ZXDon McWilliams / Datsun 280ZXKen Payson / Alfa Romeo
Showroom Stock BBob McConnell / Citation X-11Garth Ullom / Dodge ShelbyCharlie Henry / Dodge Shelby
Showroom Stock CJim Roberts / Datsun 200SXRick Reynolds / Datsun 200SXRick Gambill / Datsun 200SX

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