In 2013, the contract for hosting The Runoffs at Road America expired. Starting in 2014, the Sports Car Club of America would move their premier event – The Runoffs – to a new venue each year. Prior to this, the club signed multi-year contracts with racetracks to host the annual event. In the first year of this new concept, the National Championships would be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca which is to be followed by Daytona International Speedway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 55th running of the event will move back to the west coast and be held at Sonoma Raceway.

There are National Championships for twenty-eight different classes. These race groups fall into one of eight 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 car 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 larger number of modifications than the production category. For example, they may be constructed with a tube-frame chassis.
  • Touring Category – Four Touring categories, Touring 1 (T1), Touring 2 (T2), Touring 3 (T3) and Touring 4 (T4) 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. Also included in this group, is B-Spec which is the club’s slowest class. Modifications to these economy vehicles - Honda Fit, Mini Cooper, Mazda 2 - are mainly for safety purposes.
  • 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. Within this category, there are two classes – 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 or GM 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’ which may be constructed by the competitor or a race car manufacturer. With the exception of Sports 2000 which must use a 2.0liter 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. Unfortunately, much of the on-track activities were conducted in wet conditions – rain for the final two days of qualifying and a wet track during Friday morning’s races.

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.

2013 marked the 50th running of the Runoffs. And, to commemorate the event, a number of special activities took place. One such these was an aerial photo op. on the front straight of all the entrants participating in this year’s event. Another unique aspect was an open invitation to past National Champions to compete in this year’s event – ordinarily, they would be required to score points to qualify for the Runoffs.
The first race of the 2013 Runoffs was for the STU category. This very exciting contest was held in challenging conditions – an event that started in the rain and ended on a damp track. The two main combatants for the title were Marc Hoover in a Mazda Miata and the Lotus Exige of three-time National Champion, Elivan Goulart. The two drivers swapped the lead a number of times before Goulart captured the win.
One of the past champions attracting a lot of attention was John Morton. Morton won his National titles in C Production driving a Datsun 240Z. He moved to the professional ranks and competed in the Can-Am, F5000 and IMSA series. The highlight of his career was a victory in the 1994 12-Hours of Sebring. At this year’s Runoffs, Morton competed in E Production driving a Datsun 240Z and finished a very creditable tenth.
Unfortunately, the AS championship was decided in the tech shed. The pole-sitter, Tom Sloe was the first driver across the finish line after thirteen laps; however, his Ford Mustang failed the post-race technical inspection as did the Mustang of Michael Lavigne. Sixth place starter, John Heinricy made a last lap pass for what appeared to be for the final spot on the podium but with the disqualifications, Heinricy won his twelfth gold medal.
Chris Farrell was one of the competitors who gave notice early that he would be the driver to beat in DSR. In the first qualifying session, Farrell grabbed the pole-position by a margin of 2.543-seconds. His only mistake during the weekend was taking the wrong position for the start of the race. As a result, Farrell was in second place until lap-2 when the leader, Tom Bootz went off course – from there it was clear sailing to the title.
Making his Runoffs debut and capturing the T2 pole-position was Kurt Rezzetano. Sharing the front row with Rezzetano was the 2008 class champion, Andy Wolverton in Corvette. At the start of the race, Rezzetano shot into the lead while Wolverton made a mistake and lost a couple of positions. Wolverton regrouped and chased down Rezzetano passing him for the lead on lap-5. Wolverton won by a margin of 5.590-seconds.
This would be the last year for the Sports 2000 category as it would be merged into the new Prototype 1 and 2 classes. The Sports 2000 and Formula Mazda cars competed in the same race for their National Championships. At the start of the contest, there was an accident which stopped the race. With only 20-minutes left in the event, the pole-sitter, Mark Mercer took the lead in his Lola 90/91 and captured his third title.
At the drop of the Starter’s flag, the GTL pole-sitter, Robert Lentz driving a Nissan Sentra SER took the lead. Behind him, the fifth-place qualifier, Christopher Bovis moved into second place. After losing the position to Kent Prather mid-race, Bovis reclaimed the runner-up spot. On the last lap, Bovis caught the leader, Lentz and won the drag race out of the final turn to win his second National Championship by a mere 0.007-seconds.
An accident at the start of the HP race brought out the black flag and meant that the contest would be a timed event. Starting on the pole was Lawrence Loshak in a Honda CRX. Loshak led for the first two-circuits before being passed by William Trainer but, he was back out front on lap-5. Loshak would maintain the top spot to the checkered flag. This was his second title of the day having won FB in the morning.
Despite a poor start, James Weida won his first F500 National Championship. Weida qualified on the pole in his Scorpion S1 powered-Rotax but lost positions to Michael Muller, Charles McAbee and Steve Jondal on the first lap. He put his ‘head down’ and by the ninth circuit was in the top spot. From there, Weida pulled away from the field and in the process, he set the fastest race lap and won by a margin of 11.471-seconds.
The inaugural B-Spec National Championship race was filled with a lot of talent. The field included, the 1990 Formula Ford Champion, Tony Kester, the 2011 STU title holder, Joel Weinberger and three-time National Champion and Pirelli World Challenge competitor, Joel Lipperini. But it was third place starter, Charlie James who took advantage of a miscue by the front row qualifiers to grab the lead and win the National title.
The quickest group during the Runoffs week was C Sports Racer. The pole-sitter, Lee Alexander driving a Suzuki-powered Stohr was the only driver to break the two-minute mark – qualifying at a 1:59.638. Alexander lost his advantage on the first lap of the race to Jason Miller in the WynnFurst Kohler. On lap-2, he was back in the top spot and pulled away from the field for his first National Championship.
Sedat Yelkin put his Swift 014.a on the Formula Atlantic pole. Behind him were two former champions – Jason Buyers the defending title holder and Michael Mallinen who won the class in 2011. Yelkin grabbed the lead at the start but was challenged by, the second fastest qualifier, Keith Grant and Mallinen. The subsequent battle between Grant and Mallinen allowed Yelkin to pull away from the field and win the championship.
Ray Huffmaster was competing in STU and STL but after a practice crash in his STU Pontiac Solstice, he chose to withdraw from both classes. As a result, the seat in his STL Mazda RX-8 became available. Huffmaster’s son, Rob was entered in STL driving an older Mazda RX-7 but quickly made the switch to the faster RX-8. The decision paid off as Rob drove away from the field and won his third National Championship.
Another driver taking advantage of the past champions invitation was Pirelli World Challenge driver, Randy Post. Post captured his National titles in Showroom Stock A and C. At the professional level, he won the 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010 SCCA World Challenge GT championships. At this year’s Runoffs, Pobst competed in STL racing a Mazda Miata. He qualified twenty-fourth and finished sixteenth in a field of thirty-three starters.
In FB, Lawrence Loshak was the driver to beat. Loshak, driving the No. 2 Suzuki-powered JDR F1000, qualified on the pole. But just to make things more exciting, he started at the rear of the grid. Actually, Loshak and his crew discovered they forgot his helmet with less than a minute before the start of the race. During the contest, he charged through the field and made the pass for the championship on the last lap.
A massive field of 76 Spec Miatas started the National Championship race. The defending title holder, Jim Drago qualified on the pole but lost four positions on the first lap. Early in the contest, Drago was part of a sixteen-car train that pulled away from the field. On lap-11, he was back in front but lost the lead on the next circuit to Matt Reynolds. There were multiple changes for first place on the last lap but Drago was first to the checker.
The 2010 T3 class champion, Chad Gilsinger entered this year’s Runoffs in an Acura TL SH-AWD. Gilsinger had the field covered after the first day of qualifying. He started on the pole and was 1.327-seconds quicker than the second fastest qualifier, Chris Puskar. From the drop of the green flag, Gilsinger had control of the contest. He led all thirteen-laps and recorded the quickest time of the race.
Second-year racer, Peter Portante grabbed the FC pole position on Tuesday and like most racers, he skipped the final two qualifying sessions. Driving a Van Diemen RF01, Portante battled with fourth place starter, David Grant for first place. The pair traded the lead four times before Grant retired when a mechanical failure caused him to crash on lap-10. With his biggest threat gone, it was an easy run to the checker.
Like many competitors, the GT2 pole-sitter, Andrew Aquilante set his quickest time on the first day of qualifying. The driver of the Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette continued his dominance of the week. Although he lost the top position at the start of the race, Aquilante was back out front before the end of the first lap. He went on to win his second National title of the week and in doing so earned the GoPro Move of the Race.
Fifty-one competitors took the green flag for the SFR National Championship race. Qualifying on the pole was the 2010 class champion, Brian Schofield of the Central Florida Region. Schofield traded the lead of the race with Todd Harris and Cliff White but was in first place for the most important lap and captured his second title. This was his seventh consecutive National Championship podium finish in a very competitive group.
The biggest threat to Brian Schofield’s title hopes was Cliff White. White qualified his Thompson White Racing prepared Spec Racer Ford in the seventh position. Early in the race, he gained at least one spot every lap and was in first place by the fourth circuit. Todd Harris was out front for one lap but for most of the contest, it was Schofield and White who led the race. At the checker, White came up short by 0.878-seconds.
To no one’s surprise, Scott Rettich captured his third FE National title. Rettich’s qualifying time, set in the first session, was 2.520-seconds faster than the second place starter, Denny Marklein – quite an accomplishment in a spec class. He led the race flag-to-flag and won by a margin of 47.021-seconds. Rettich’s efforts at The Runoffs and during the season earned him the prestigious Club Racing Super Sweep Award.
FP was a battle between the Acura Integra and Mazda Miata. Leading the Acura charge were Mark Carpenter and Kevin Ruck who qualified first and second. Carpenter led flag-to-flag to win his second National Championship. His victory was far from easy as he was under constant pressure from the 2010 class champion, Ruck and the Mazda Miata of Eric Prill. At the checker, the order was Carpenter, Prill and Ruck.
Andrew Aquilante was untouchable in T1. Aquilante qualified on the pole by a margin of 5.358-seconds, driving a Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, this was the same Corvette; he used to win GT2 the previous day - albeit with some changes made to meet the class requirements. At the start of the race, Aquilante pulled away from the field and despite a full course caution midway through the contest, he won by 34.182-seconds.
The first EP car across the finish line after thirteen laps of racing was the Mazda Miata of Matt Reynolds. Unfortunately for Reynolds, he was involved in a couple of altercations during the race. The final incident occurred when he tapped the race leader, Greg Ira and moved him off the racing line. As a result of his actions, he earned a three-position penalty. Ira driving a Nissan 260Z was awarded the gold medal.
The Formula F race was a battle between the Honda-powered Piper DF3D of the pole-sitter, Tim Kautz and the second fastest qualifier, Reid Hazelton driving a Van Diemen with the classic 1.6-liter Ford engine. The two competitors worked together to pull away from the remainder of the field. On the last lap, the battle was on and they passed and repassed each other four times before, Kautz won his third championship.
Wisconsin driver, Cliff Ebben had the GT1 field covered. In Tuesday’s qualifying session, Ebben put the Lamers Racing Ford Mustang on the pole. With the drop of the Starter’s flag, he proceeded to drive away from the field. His task was made that much easier by the battling going on behind him. At the checkered flag, Ebben was 28.410-seconds clear of the runner-up, Doug Peterson. This was his third National Championship.
As expected, Michael Varacins captured the Formula Vee National title. Driving a Speedsport AM-5, the two-time champion qualified on the pole by a very impressive margin of 0.657-seconds in this very competitive class. Varacins led all thirteen laps and his victory was made that much easier by the six-car train battling behind him. At the checkered flag, he was 20.252-seconds in front of the runner-up, Roger Siebenaler.
Dave Weitzenhof is an open-wheel legend at the amateur level. Weitzenhof has six SCCA National Championships to his credit. He earned his first title in 1972 competing in FV. Weitzenhof went on to win five more titles – three in Formula Ford and two in Formula Continental. At the 2013 Runoffs, he went back to his roots and participated in Formula Vee where he started thirty-ninth and finished twenty-third.
Local competitor, Rob Warkocki qualified third in the GT3 category driving the TRO Manufacturing sponsored Mazda RX-7. Before the end of the first lap, Warkocki, the 2010 class champion, was in the lead. The second place starter, Joe Kristensen passed Warkocki on lap-5. Six circuits later, Warkocki was back in the top spot, and despite pressure from Kristensen, he took the victory and earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award.
There was an accident at the start of the Formula Mazda race involving Sam Lockwood and Ken De Nault. The incident brought out the black flag and the time required to clean-up the track shortened the contest to twenty-minutes. The restart was on lap-3, with, the pole-sitter, Doug Peterson leading the way until he was passed in the ‘Carousel’ by Darryl Wills. Wills led the next seven laps to earn his third National Championship.
For the 2013 season, the Sports Car Club of America combined the Showroom Stock B and C classes into a new category called, Touring 4. Winning the inaugural Touring 4 championship was Michael Scornavacchi from the Florida Region. He put the Angry Sheep Motorsports Ford Mustang on the pole during the first day of qualifying. Scornavacchi’s race was relatively easy, he led flag-to-flag while those behind him fought for position.

GT1Ciff Ebben / Ford MustangDoug Peterson / CorvetteMichael Lewis / Jaguar XKR
GT2Andrew Aquilante / CorvetteTrent Hindman / PorscheJohn Kachadurian / Porsche
GT3Rob Warkocki / Mazda RX-7Joe Kristensen / Acura RSXMike Henderson / Mazda RX-7
GTLChristopher Bovis / Honda CRXRobert Lentz / Nissan SentraSteve Sargis / Triumph Spitfire
E ProductionGreg Ira / Nissan 260ZAaron Downey / Mazda RX-3Chris Dryden / BMW Z3
F ProductionMark Carpenter / Acura IntegraEric Prill / Mazda MiataKevin Ruck / Acura Integra
H ProductionLawrence Loshak / Honda CRXWilliam Trainer / VW SciroccoW. Jay Griffin / Honda CRX Si
Formula AtlanticSedat Yelkin / Swift 014aKeith Grant / Swift 014aMichael Mallinen / Swift 016.a
Formula 1000Lawrence Loshak / JDR F1000Lucian Pancea / Stohr F1000Brandon Dixon / Citation F1000
Formula ContinentalPeter Portante / Van DiemenChristopher Miller / Van DiemenRobert Allaer / Van Diemen
Formula EScott Rettich / Van DiemenReece Everard / Van DiemenBrandon Kennedy / Van Diemen
Formula MazdaDarryl Wills / Formula MazdaBrian Lift / Formula MazdaRobert Noell / Formula Mazda
Formula FTim Kautz / Piper DF3DReid Hazelton / Van DiemenJeffrey Bartz / Van Diemen
Formula 500James Weida / Scorpion S1Aaron Ellis / Ellis AE06Steven A Jondal / Red Devil T-8
Formula VeeMichael Varacins / Speed SportRoger Siebenaler / Mysterian M2Brad Stout / Vortech FV
C Sports RacerLee Alexander / Stohr WF1Jason Miller / WynnFurstJames French / Swift 014
D Sports RacerChris Farrell / Stohr WF-1David Locke / Stohr WF1Tom Bootz / Stohr WF1
Sports 2000Mark Mercer / Lola 90/91M Bart Wolf / Carbir CS2.8David Doran / Doran JE-1
Spec Racer FordBrian Schofield / SRFCliff White / Spec RacerTodd Harris / SRF
American SedanJohn Heinricy / Pontiac FirebirdAndy McDermid / Ford MustangJeffrey Werth / Chevrolet Camaro
B-SpecCharlie James / Mini CooperJoel Lipperini / Honda FitTony Kester / MAZDA 2
Spec MiataJim Drago / Mazda MiataVoytek Burdzy / Mazda MiataDanny Steyn / Mazda Miata
Super Touring LiteRob Huffmaster / Mazda RX-8Chad Gilsinger / Honda CivicJim Drago / Mazda Miata
Super Touring UnderElivan Goulart / Lotus ExigeJoel Weinberger / Audi A4Eric Heinrich / BMW M3
Touring 1Andrew Aquilante / CorvetteJerry Onks / CorvetteMichael Pettiford / Corvette
Touring 2Andy Wolverton / CorvetteKurt Rezzetano / Ford MustangMatthew Pullano / Corvette
Touring 3Chad Gilsinger / Acura TLKevin Fandozzi / Cobalt SSScotty B White / Mustang
Touring 4Michael Scornavacchi / MustangLance Stewart / MustangGreg Vandersluis / Mustang

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