I figure this will be a talking point here soon enough as the races start today, so figured I just start a thread on the runoffs. The runoffs is still very special time for me, as I still have lots of friends racing in it, and it is some of the very best racing on the planet. First off 1000 cars, holy moly, 100 Spec Miata, so many that the first 60 made the grid on times from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday the it was qualifying race among the car 60th back with the top 12 making to the big race this weekend, and what a qualifying race it was. I mostly care about the 3 prod classes, and GTL, but will watch the SM race and several others. The fields are big in Prod, 45 in EP, 42 in FP, and 46 in HP, which I am pretty sure is record large field for HP. Kinda ironic to think that my forum life began about 20 years ago on a forum dedicating to saving HP as a SCCA class The SCCA finally saw the light and made it fairly easy to qualify for the runoffs, now and what hell not, make a big ole party, get as many cars as you can get there, the best of the best are still there. Just for grins, I took the top 20 cars in the three prod classes and look at the separation from the pole time to 20th position, and it is as tighter, if not tighter than a F1 race, so there is talent at those races for sure, and yes Rick 14th place is still bad ass in this field.
So with that said let the conversation begin
EP, I would love to see my friend Jesse Prather win in his RX7, but I think Matt Reynolds in just in a world of his own, that cat can drive. This is Matt 's race to lose.
FP, Well gotta pull for Joe Huffaker and Brian Linn, but Erill Prill is due. lord know it would make most folks happy to see him get a championship in the bank, so if he wins I would be very happy for him. THis should be a great race, don't count anyone in the top 10 out as for being able to win.
HP, well the bigger engine cars are in the top three spots, but Bartel and Linn are carrying the banner for the MGs, of course I will be rooting for them. This track slightly favors the Yaris of Isley, the VWs and Hondas. You better believe Isley in the Yaris will be determined to not let another Daytona mistake happen.
Of course I don't really know the players in SM, but this race ought to be epic, a 72 car field. I now Bob knows these guys, and it would great to hear what he thinks about this race.
Missed the action today due to work, but have been following along via my phone.
EP: Matt Reynolds is in a field of his own. Joe Moser is his front wheel drive equal, but I just think on a track like this, a front wheel drive car will overwork the tires. Those are my top two. Those guys can rip off qualifying laps - lap after lap.
Third is a crap shoot. Kip is very fast and is another really fast Improved Touring guy like Joe. Rick Kavitsk, Chris Dryden, and Jon Brakke have fast cars and rip off fast laps here and there, but lack the consistency over the course of the race and lack the race craft to run with Matt and Joe.
Jesse has the talent - maybe not quite Matt level (and I've seen Jesse admit to such), but I think lack of seat time the last few years may hinder him a little. With that said, either he or Kip for third.
FP: Well I know the results now, but this went just about how I expect. I knew Bob Perona would be in the mix, but with him running Formula F just before, I wasn't sure if he wouldn't be feeling a bit of fatigue. Cool story though as the car he is driving is prepared by the Indian University Motorsports Engineering students. Joe looked to have second locked up, hopefully the engine is good enough for the GTL race. He has another one and was planning on swapping to a GT spec head for the GTL race. I expect him to have a bit more mojo for that one (remember, the car has to weigh more in GTL than it does FP). I expected Ruck to be up a little further, but he was saying on another forum he was having handling problems (car won't rotate - which seems to be a necessity for this course). I know he had a kid this year, so he wasn't as focused as he has been previously. Chuck was a surprise. I know he's a quality car/driver combination, but wasn't sure if he has had enough seat time the last couple years to still be sharp. Looks like Brian's FP program was dialed up a little more this year. He didn't have the "new" engine recipe last year and he was focusing more on HP anyway. We can thank Aaron Kelly for sending Joe back to the drawing board and spurn another round of development. Really happy for Eric as he has been this close so many times now. I felt really bad for Rick when I heard he was up in smoke on lap one, but I saw he was able to keep chugging along.
HP: Isley is going to be tough to beat. He's a multi-time autocross champion and I think this course really suits him well. Brian and Ron certainly have the chassis for the handling component and Ron's car seems to be getting faster. I know he has some pimp shocks on it now. Banha, Siliegren, and Schaafsma are going to be strong too. Dan Meller is the driver of the bunch, but hopefully they have their reliability problems behind them.
GTL: The Hondas have the horsepower, plain and simple. They're going to be tough to beat and I think will lock out the podium. If they one (or a couple) have problems, I expect Huffaker to be there. Sargis seems a little off pace, so he might get it together for the race.
SM: Well, I know the results for this one too, but I would have had my money on Kicera, but any of the top 20 are STOUT drivers. I would have had Matt for the podium and either Haldeman or Pardus for third. I loved the Last Chance Qualifier they had last night. Just like dirt track racing.
FP, yep Good For Eric Prill, he finally got that elusive championship, he had been so close so any times before, he was in control the entire way. I wonder what happen to Huffaker, I guess I will find out soon enough. Rick had a helve first lap, he ended up started 13th, as a couple cars had their qualifying time removed form Wed., and thurs. I counted Rick had moved up to 7th on the first lap, then they showed him smoking, I am guess it was something in the rear end, some sort of oil leak that was getting on exhaust, as Bob mentioned he dropped back some but managed to finish, Rick's car looked good on big screen.
I missed the SM races dammit, never occurred to me it would be so early in the schedule. The FF race was good, you will enjoy it Bob.
Once again, it goes to prove, this is still the premier amateur racing event in the US. Lots of cars and so much talent at the front of the fields.
Dryden and Jesse should be pretty annoyed. Despite what GregC says, SCCA does not have a "maintain gap" rule for a FCY with no pace car. No doubt Kip had them covered anyway, but I'm sure he was just driving around waiting for one to slot out in front of him.
Congrats to Jason. IMO he had everyone beat the day they showed the configuration. Awesome story with Chris in second place. He crashed the car in the kink at the June Sprints. And he and his son put a new clip on it and rebuilt it after work and on weekends right up until the event.
Dan had a mixed bag. They had reliability problems early on. He made a mess of Turn 1, then got speared on the last lap. I'll let Steve take over if he wants on that.
Loc: Virginia International Raceway
Originally Posted By: hoffman900
In-car from the front of Spec Miata:
Lots vintage racers can learn from this. One is just how deliberate in your inputs (be it brake and steering) you can and need to be.
Not just vintage racers, any racers!
Those laps after he unfortunately got knocked off exit of T2 were things of beauty!
-Peter Krause Professional Race Instruction and Coaching Data and Video Sales, Interpretation and Training "The Driver is the Greatest Performance Variable" www.peterkrause.net
Disappointing runoffs completing a very trying year. I managed to drive a top 10 car to a 14th place finish. After 40 years of racing I had problems I have never even seen before and the wounds were all self inflected, a product of poor preparation and being a little off after a few years not racing seriously. But the poor result has had a very good affect on my motivation for next year
Rick, yes that is odd, but as you know too well, sooner or later, we that do this long enough find things we would never imagine to give us any trouble, and of course many of those discoveries happen at the runoffs. Hey man still a hellva first lap and the car looked good on the screen, looked liked you painted it a very brilliant royal blue, got a pic of the car sitting still, I'd love to see that blue closer, I got a blue and silver paint scheme in my mind for the Biscuit, and I want to use very vivid royal blue. I seem to remember your car being a darker royal blue before.