2012 was the 49th edition of The Runoffs. Since 2009, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) determined its National Amateur Class Champions with a thirteen-lap shootout at Road America. The SCCA’s contract with Road America would end in 2013. Starting the following year, The Runoffs would change venues on an annual basis. The plan was to alternate between the East and West coast tracks. The 2014 edition would be conducted at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, followed by Daytona International Speedway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 55th running of the event will be held at Sonoma Raceway.

There were thirty-classes competing at Road America, but only twenty-eight would crown National Champions. The new B-Spec and Super Touring Lite groups participated but are not Nationally recognized. The twenty-eight race groups fall into one of nine different categories:

  • Production Category – There are three classes in the production category – E Production (EP), F Production (FP) and H Production (HP). These production-based vehicles are grouped according to their performance potential. Sports cars such as the Mazda Miata, Mazda RX-7, Mazda RX-8, Nissan 240Z, MG Midget, etc. are most often associated with this category. However, the rules also accommodate sedans such as the Honda Prelude, Datsun 510, Toyota Yaris, etc.
  • Grand Touring Category – Four classes are identified as Grand Touring – they include Grand Touring 1 (GT1), Grand Touring 2 (GT2), Grand Touring 3 (GT3) and Grand Touring-Lite (GTL). 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, GT-Lite includes the Mini Cooper and Honda Civic. These vehicles are allowed a more significant number of modifications than the production category. For example, they may be constructed with a tube-frame chassis.
  • Showroom Stock Category - Late model production vehicles compete in the Showroom Stock category. Similar to the other groups, these cars are classified based on their performance potential. The only modifications allowed are - a roll cage and safety equipment.
  • Touring Category – Three Touring categories, Touring 1 (T1), Touring 2 (T2) and Touring 3 (T3) was created by the SCCA to accommodate performance street cars with a minimum amount of modifications required to compete. Touring 1 includes the high powered and expensive vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Porsche 911, etc.
  • Super Touring Category – The Super Touring Category allows competitors to make modifications (the addition of wings, engine swaps, etc.) to late-model production vehicles such as the Mazda 6, Acura RSX, Honda Civic, Mazda Miata, etc. There are two classes – in this category: Super Touring Under (STU) and Super Touring Lite (STL) for cars with an engine displacement of less than 2-liters.
  • Sedan Category – There is only one group in the sedan category – American Sedan (AS). American Sedan includes the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac GTO, Ford Mustang and Cadillac CTS-V. Powered by a Ford 302-cu.in. or GM 305-cu.in. engine these cars are permitted to use modified suspensions and upgraded brake packages.
  • Spec Miata – This very popular class is for the Mazda Miata (SM). Miatas produced from 1990 to 2005 compete in this group. Rules are implemented to equalize the competitive advantage of some of the later model years.
  • Sports Racer Category – These are purpose-built closed wheel race cars. There are four classes within this group – C Sports Racer (CSR), D Sports Racer (DSR), Sports 2000 (S2) and Spec Racer Ford (SRF). S2, C and DSR include a variety of chassis’ that 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. SRF is a spec class and teams are not allowed to make any modifications to the car.
  • Formula Category – These are also purpose-built race cars. This is the largest category and includes nine classes – Formula Atlantic (FA), Formula Continental (FC), Formula Mazda (FM), Formula Enterprise (FE), Formula 1000 (FB), Formula 500 (F5), Formula F (FF) and Formula Vee (FV). There are a variety of rules that govern these open-wheel cars.

This year’s event took place during the third week of September under mostly dry but cool conditions.

Competitors would complete in a thirteen-lap race around the fourteen-turn 4.048-mile road course at Road America to determine this year’s National Champions.

The seven-time Sports Car Club of America Champion and GT2 pole-sitter, Pete Peterson, leads the field of twelve competitors into Road America’s corner five on the first lap. Behind Peterson is the No. 0 Porsche GT3 Cup of the other front row starter, Tom Wickersham. Trailing the front row qualifiers are Jim Goughary in the Nissan 350Z, the Mazda RX-7 of Jeff Dernehl and David Finch driving a Porsche 944.
The GT2 race included six National Champions. Starting on the pole was seven-time titlist, Peter Peterson. Sharing the front row with Peterson was Tom Wickersham in the No. 0 Porsche GT3 Cup. Wickersham chased Peterson until lap-9 when Peterson spun off course at turn-fourteen. By now, Wickersham had a comfortable lead of the rest on the GT2 field and earned his first championship by 19.657-seconds.
Local racer and two-time C Sports Racing National Champion, Steve Forrer, made it three in a row. Forrer was third fastest in the qualifying session driving the K-Hill Motorsports prepared Ralt RT41 powered by a Toyota engine. Forrer moved into first place on the second lap and was pursued by the pole-sitter, Jean-Luc Liverato. They both made contact with a slower car on the final lap, but Forrer held on for the victory.
Aaron Downey has been participating in the SCCA Runoffs since 2003. Downey driving the E Production roundpeg.com sponsored Mazda RX-3 has always been quick, with his best result being a runner-up finish in 2009. It appeared as those this might be his year to earn a gold medal. Downey started third but was in first place before the end of lap-1. Unfortunately, his race ended on the eighth circuit with a broken shifter.
The two-time SCCA National Champion, Jon Brakke, put his No. 89 Margaret Peterson Bars sponsored Mazda Miata on the class pole. Before the end of lap-1, he was passed by the Mazda RX-3 of Aaron Downey and Greg Ira driving a Datsun 240Z. By the fourth circuit, Brakke had moved into the runner-up position. On lap-8, Downey retired and Brakke was able to capitalize and led the remainder of the race for his third title.
Super Touring Over was expected to be a ‘two-horse race’ between Scott Tucker and David Pintaric. Tucker was driving the No. 55 Hoosier Tire sponsored Porsche 996 was just 0.289-seconds faster than Pintaric’s Dodge Viper ACR during the qualifying sessions. After eight-laps into the race, Pintaric pitted with an engine problem. Tucker went unchallenged and won his second consecutive Super Touring Over championship.
Two drivers, Jason Knuteson and Michael Mueller were clearly the fastest competitors in the Formula 500 class. Only 0.119-seconds separated the pair in qualifying, but Mueller was 1.287-seconds faster than the third-place starter, Aaron Ellis. Unfortunately, the race between the two never materialized. Knuteson retired on the pace lap and Mueller, driving the No. 24 Red Devil 2004, scored a comfortable victory.
Race twenty-four of the 2012 Runoffs was for F Production. A field of twenty-three competitors enters Road America’s final turn. Starting on the pole is the No. 7 Hoosier Tire / OS Giken / Hawk Brakes Mazda Miata driven by Eric Prill. Sharing the front row with Prill is Steve Sargis in the SBS Batteries Triumph Spitfire. Behind the fastest qualifiers are Charles Campbell and Sam Henry, both driving Mazda Miatas.
The F Production contest was a fantastic battle until lap-11. The fastest qualifiers, Eric Prill in a Mazda Miata and the Triumph Spitfire of Steve Sargis, traded the lead three times before Prill’s race ended with a spin in Canada Corner. The two drivers had built a comfortable lead over the rest of the field and with Prill stuck in the gravel trap, Sargis had an easy run to the checkered flag. This was his seventh National title.
The defending Touring 1 National Champion, John Buttermore, made earning his second consecutive title look easy. It started when Buttermore captured the pole by almost a full second. Driving the No. 52 Hoosier / Carbotech / Stoptech Chevrolet Corvette, he pulled away from the field and opened a comfortable gap. Buttermore set the fastest race lap and led flag-to-flag to win by a margin of 21.611-seconds.
Wow, the defending Formula 1000 National Champion, Brandon Dixon, claimed his second title by a full lap. Dixon was the fastest qualifier driving the No. 7 Suzuki powered Citation. Competitors such as Jeremy Hill, Brian Novak and J.R. Osborne may have challenged Dixon, but they fell out of contention. The last driver to threaten, Dixon was eighth place starter, Glenn Cooper, who retired on lap-11.
There were twenty-four entries in the Spec Miata field. After qualifying, the twelve fastest drivers were separated by a 0.847-second. Starting on the pole was Jim Drago in the No. 2 Mazda Miata. Starting beside Drago was his teammate, Craig Berry. During the race, the two ran in tandem with Berry waiting for Drago to make a mistake. The error never came during the thirteen laps and Drago captured the win.
Starting on the pole in Touring 3 was the defending class champion, Kevin Fandozzi, driving the Hoosier Tire / Moton Shocks sponsored Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Fandozzi led the entire thirteen-laps on the way to his second gold medal, but it wasn’t easy. For the duration of the contest, he was hounded by the Volkswagen GTI of Chicago Region’s Richard Fisher. The margin of victory was 0.743-seconds.
The first lap of the 2012 Spec Racer Ford National Champion at Road America. At the head of the field is the pole-sitter and 2010 class gold medal winner, Brian Schofield, in the No. 61 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford. Following Schofield into corner five is the No. 11 MBI Racing Spec Racer Ford of the third-fastest qualifier and four-time National titleholder, Mike Miserendino. Behind Miserendino are thirty-eight other competitors.
As expected, the last lap of the Spec Racer Ford contest would be a shootout. There were five drivers in contention for the win and three of them would lead during the final circuit. The first competitor in the top spot of the last lap was Cliff White, then Scott Rettich took a turn out front, followed by Brian Schofield ,who made his move in turn-12. Unfortunately, Schofield went wide and was passed by White, who earned his first title.
One of many races at the 49th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America to be decided between two competitors was Formula F. Tim Kautz in the No. 88 Piper DF3D captured the pole. Just 0.144-seconds slower than Kautz was the Van Diemen RF00 of Lewis Cooper. The gap at the finish of the race would be even closer. The two drivers traded the lead, but Kautz captured the win by a margin of 0.077-seconds.
Ten Showroom Stock B drivers enter Road America’s turn-fourteen, the final corner before the front straight, for the start of the 2012 National Championship race. On the pole is Luke Wilwert driving the No. 79 Honda Civic Si. Sharing the front row with Wilwert is the Classic BMW sponsored BMW Z4 of the second-fastest qualifier, Toby Grahovec. Third and fourth on the grid are occupied by Ralph Porter and Ed Zabinski.
After three qualifying sessions, Luke Wilwert recorded the fastest time in Showroom Stock B. Wilwert was driving the No. 79 HPD / BF Goodrich Tires / Alpinestars sponsored Honda Civic Si. He led the contest until the second restart of the race when the third-fastest qualifier, Ralph Porter, grabbed the top spot. A lap later, Wilwert was back in first place and held on for the National Championship in his second attempt.
The 2009 Formula Vee champion, Michael Varacins, qualified on the class pole driving the No. 65 Speed Sport AM-5. Varacins was challenged early by Roger Siebenaler, Gary Blanarik and Chris Jennerjahn. On lap-6, he lost the lead to Jennerjahn for one circuit. In the end, the title would be decided between Varacins and Siebenaler. Siebenaler led going into the final turn, but Varacins drafted past him for the gold medal.
The 2011 GT1 National Champion, Michael Lewis, put the No. 12 Goodyear / Cyclo / Redline Oil sponsored Jaguar XKR on the pole. At the drop of the Starter’s flag, Lewis was followed by the second and third fastest qualifiers, Cliff Ebben and Doug Peterson. Lewis would lead the entire contest for his seventh gold medal. Peterson and Ebben would keep him honest – the margin of victory was 0.478-seconds.
Although not recognized as a National category, competitors from the Pirelli World Challenge B-Spec class were invited to participate in this year’s Runoffs. This group ran with Showroom Stock C in an event titled the B-Spec Shootout presented by Pirelli World Challenge. After a terrific battle with the series regular, Joel Lipperini, Sage Marie in the No. 45 Honda Racing / BF Goodrich sponsored Honda Fit captured the victory.
Seven-time Sports 2000 National Champion, John Fergus, stepped out of the family’s No. 00 Hoosier / Carbotech Brakes Carbir CS2 in favour of his son, Corey. In qualifying, the younger Fergus was 1.500-seconds faster than the second-place starter, Mark Mercer, driving a Lola 90/91. At the start of the race, Fergus gapped the other ten-entrants. Despite slowing on the final lap, he won by a margin of 11.964-seconds.
This year’s American Sedan title went to Edward Hosni. Hosni was gridded seventh for the start of the thirteen-lap event in the No. 17 Hoosier Tires Ford Mustang. During the contest, he moved up the race order and was in second place when there was a full course yellow. With just three laps to go, Hosni was on the bumper of the leader, Tom Sloe. Sloe had an issue and was passed for the win on the final lap in the last turn.
Tom Sloe started the American Sedan race on the outside of the front row. Sloe was driving the No. 17 Ford Mustang. Before the end of the first lap, he had passed the pole-sitter, Andy McDermid, for the lead. Sloe was in first place by over twenty-three-seconds when there was a full-course caution. His lead evaporated and when Sloe encountered what appeared to be an electrical issue, he was relegated to a third-place finish.
Only nine competitors started the Formula Atlantic race, but three drivers put on quite a show. It began when the second- fastest qualifier, Keith Grant, grabbed the top spot. Grant’s ‘moment in the sun’ ended with a mistake that dropped him to fourth. Taking advantage of his error were teammates, Jason Byers and Michael Mallinen. The pair traded the lead with Byers in the No. 28 Swift .014a capturing the victory.
Showroom Stock B and C drivers competed in the same thirteen-lap race. The Showroom Stock C entrants were the second group to receive the Starter’s green flag. Pacing the field through turn fourteen is the pole-sitter, Brian Husting, in the No. 65 Chevrolet Cobalt. Gridded beside Husting is the Hyundai Tiburon of Charlie James. Filling out the second row are Michael Crawford in an Acura and the VW Rabbit of Tom Daly.
Capturing the 2012 Showroom Stock C National Championship was Michael Crawford. Crawford was driving the No. 66 BF Goodrich Tires / A&M Spray Foam sponsored Acura Integra GSR was the third-fastest qualifier. Crawford chased the first and second place starters, Brian Husting and Charlie James, until lap-9 when they went wide at the Kink. He moved into the lead and held the position to the checkered flag.
One of many classes where the pole-sitter led flag-to-flag for the gold medal was Touring 2. Don Knowles was driving the No. 32 Ford Mustang GT earned his sixth National title. Knowles won his first championship in 1978 at Road Atlanta. Knowles was expected to be challenged by the two-time defending champion, Marty Grant. But Grant found himself in a four-car battle that allowed Knowles to gap the field.
Rob Huffmaster captured the Super Touring Under pole by a margin of 2.133-seconds. Sharing the front row with Huffmaster was 2011 class champion, Joel Weinberger, driving an Audi A4. At the start of the thirteen-lap contest, Huffmaster in the No. 7 Pontiac Solstice GXP left the field behind. He maintained a steady gap during the race until the final laps when he extended his lead and took the checkered flag by 10.827-seconds.
A significant milestone was achieved at this year’s Runoffs by Scott Tucker. Driving the West Race Cars prepared WEST WX10 powered Suzuki, Tucker broke the two-minute lap mark for club racers at Road America. In qualifying, he recorded a time of 1:58.594. Interestingly, the second-fastest qualifier, Chris Farrell, came very close to going under two-minutes with a 2:00.107. In the race, Tucker would lead flag-to-flag for the win.
Early in the GT3 race and the eventual winner, John Black, driving the Murrillo Racing Nissan 350Z leads the front runners through turn two. Trailing Black is the second-fastest qualifier, Mike Henderson, driving the No. 12 Redline Oil / Goodyear Tire sponsored Mazda RX-7. Chasing Henderson is another Mazda RX-7 with Jeff Dernehl behind the wheel and the No. 69 Toyota Paseo of Wolfgang Maike.
The reigning GT3 National Champion, John Black, earned a gold medal in 2003, driving a Spec Racer Ford. This year, Black was entered in GT3 and Spec Racer Ford. In the Spec Racer Ford event, he started and finished eleventh. Black fared much better in the GT3 contest. He started on the pole in the Murillo Racing Nissan 350Z but lost the lead early. By lap-3, Black was in first place and won by a margin of 1.959-seconds.
The Formula Continental race would be contested between two drivers. The main combatants were the pole-sitter, Jerry Szykulski in the No. 31 Van Diemen DP08 and Niki Coello, the second-fastest qualifier and four-time champion driving the No. 81 Firman RFR 2000. Coello led the first eight-laps before Szykulski took the point. Coello hounded Szykulski, but his title hopes ended on the final lap when he ran low on fuel.
The top-three finishers in H Production were drivers that competed regularly at Road America. Capturing the victory was Milwaukee’s, Mike Moser, who won his first gold medal driving the ETE Reman / RWM Auto sponsored Honda CRX. Challenging Moser during the thirteen-lap contest was Mike Origer in the No. 0 Volkswagen Scirocco. But Moser was able to pull away late in the event and won by 4.016-seconds.
Super Touring Light was one of two class participating at this year’s that were not recognized as a National class – the other B-Spec. As the race unfolded, it became a two-car battle between the fastest qualifiers, Ray Huffmaster and Jim Drago. They traded the top-spot nine-times during the event with Huffmaster’s No. 31 Mazda RX-8 leading the all-important lap-13. Of note, Huffmaster’s son, Rob, won the STU category.
The 2012 Formula Mazda National Champion, Alan McCallum, won the Sunoco Hard Charger award after starting eleventh on the way to his title. McCallum driving the No. 19 Alan McCallum Racing Star Formula Mazda did not record a time until the final qualifying session. He moved up the race order and by lap-10, McCallum was in the lead. He held off the pole-sitter, Doug Peterson, to win by a margin of 1.242-seconds.
F Production competitor, Mark Weber driving the Goodyear Tire / Red Line Oil sponsored Mazda Miata qualified eleventh fastest and finished eighth. Nothing particularly special about the results as many drivers delivered a better performance at this year’s Runoffs. But none of them could claim fifty Runoff starts or entry in five-hundred National races. Weber’s journey started in 1974 with an Austin Healey Sprite.
Formula Enterprises and Formula Mazda classes were combined into a single race group. Starting on the Formula Enterprises pole was the two-time class champion, Scott Rettich. In the race, Rettich was challenged by Patrick Gallagher until Gallagher had a ‘big off.’ On lap-9, Rettich encountered a shifting problem and fell out of contention. In the meantime, Gallagher had regrouped. He inherited the lead and captured the win.
The ‘bullseye’ on the passenger door of the Mazda Miata driven by the 2012 GT-Lite National Champion, Kent Prather, is an indication of the competitiveness of this race. Prather, a seven-time National Champion, started on the pole. During the contest, he was challenged by the Honda Civic of James Hargrove and Steve Sargis in a Triumph Spitfire. But Prather’s biggest threat came from Robert Lenz, who he beat by 0.023-seconds.

GT1Michael Lewis / Jaguar XKRDoug Peterson / CorvetteCiff Ebben / Ford Mustang
GT2Tom Wichersham / PorscheJim Goughary / Nissan 350ZMark Boden / Porsche
GT3John Black / Nissan 350ZJeff Dernehl / Mazda RX-7Paul Young / Ford Probe
GTLKent Prather / Mazda MiataRobert Lentz / Nissan SentraJames Hargrove / Honda Civic
E ProductionJon Brakke / Mazda MiataGreg Ira / Nissan 240ZKevin Leigh / BMW Z3
F ProductionSteve Sargis / Triumph SpitfireSam Henry / Mazda MiataBill Wessel / Datsun SPL 311
H ProductionMike Moser / Honda CRXMike Origer / VW SciroccoGreg Gauper / Honda Civic Si
Formula AtlanticJason Byers / Swift .014aMichael Mallinen / Swift .014aKeith Grant / Swift .014a
Formula 1000Brandon Dixon / CitationMike Beauchamp / Van DiemenJake Latham / Stohr
Formula ContinentalGerald Szykulski / Van DiemenNicholas Coello / Firman RFRBrian Belardi / Van Diemen
Formula EPatrick Gallagher / Van DiemenJason Wolfe / Van DiemenDenny Marklein / Van Diemen
Formula MazdaAlan McCallum / Formula MazdaDouglas Peterson / Formula MazdaSteve Jenks / Formula Mazda
Formula FTim Kautz / Piper DF3DLewis Cooper / Van DiemenRussell Ruedisueli / Van Diemen
Formula 500Michael Mueller / Red Devil 2004Charles McAbee / AJ's 2012Michael Vacek / Invader QRE
Formula VeeMichael Varacins / Speed SportRoger Siebenaler / Mysterian M2Gary Blanarik / Silver Bullet
C Sports RacerSteve Forrer / Ralt RT-41Jean-Luc Liverato / Swift .014aJason Miller / WynnFurst
D Sports RacerScott Tucker / WEST WX10Lee Alexander / Stohr WF-0Tom Bootz / Stohr WF-1
Sports 2000Corey Fergus / Carbir CS2M Bart Wolf / Carbir CS2.8David Ferguson / Van Diemen
Spec Racer FordCliff White / SRFTodd Harris / Spec RacerBrian Schofield / SRF
American SedanEdward Hosni / Ford MustangMichael Lavigne / Ford MustangTom Sloe / Ford Mustang
B-SpecSage Marie / Honda FitJoel Lipperini / Honda FitShawn Young / MAZDA 2
Spec MiataJim Drago / Mazda MiataCraig Berry / Mazda MiataAndrew Charbonneau / Miata
Showroom Stock BLuke Wilwert / Honda CivicLance Stewart / Ford MustangRalph Porter / BMW Z4
Showroom Stock CMichael Crawford / Acura IntegraAli Naimi / Mazda 3Charlie James / Hyundai Tiburon
Super Touring OverScott Tucker / Porsche 996Mark Pauly / BMW M3Lance Stewart / Ford Mustang
Super Touring LiteRob Huffmaster / Mazda RX-8Jim Drago / Mazda MiataRich Walke / Mazda RX-7
Super Touring UnderRob Huffmaster / PontiacJoel Weinberger / Audi A4Marc Hoover / Mazda Miata
Touring 1John Buttermore / CorvetteAndrew Aquilante / Ford MustangTim Hund / Dodge Viper
Touring 2Don Knowles / Ford MustangMarty Grand / Mistubishi LancerTodd Napieralski / Camaro Z-28
Touring 3Kevin Fandozzi / Cobalt SSRichard Fisher / Volkswagen GTIChad Gilsinger / Honda S2000

Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com 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, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020

Return to home page.