Since the SCCA Runoffs is an amateur motorsports event, most competitors are also their own crew. The MSR Houston group help each other out so everyone has a good time. (Philip Royle photo)
The SCCA National Championship Runoffs kicks off today at Road America. This year's event has drawn more than 700 SCCA amateur road racers to Elkhart Lake, Wis., to race for SCCA's ultimate Club Racing prize: a National Championship. Twenty-eight of SCCA's road racing classes are eligible to compete at this year's title event, meaning 28 racers will leave with a gold medal – the rest can try again next year
But it's not all about winning. SCCA members frequently band together to make the most of their Runoffs journey, which often includes thousands of miles of towing to the event, saying it's the fun and camaraderie that keeps them coming back.
One such group hails from Texas. Organized by Sydney Davis, this group travels to the Runoffs each year under the MSR Houston banner, a racetrack located southwest of Houston, Texas, meaning most of these competitors towed 1,200 miles to reach SCCA's week-long event.
“I wrangle the house and organize the parking spaces,” says Sydney Davis, who not only works at MSR Houston but is also competing in an E Production Mazda Miata. Alongside her in the paddock is a slew of fellow Texans. Matt Reynolds is contending both E Production and Spec Miata, while Luke Bickham, Michael Ross, Chris Halderman, and Bryan Wisler are all in Spec Miata.
Sydney Davis's E Production Miata gets worked on prior to her Monday practice session.
(Philip Royle photo)
This is the sixth trip to the Runoffs for Sydney, her fifth as a competitor. “This is the first trip to the Runoffs for Bickham, Wisler, and Ross,” Davis says. “Chris has been a few years in a row, and finished second at the [Chicago Region] June Sprints earlier in the year, so he's encouraged by that. Michael Ross also ran the Sprints and had a really good race, so he's encouraged by his performance at the Sprints, too. Of course, Matt Reynolds is going to do well in E Production; the double track time [between EP and Spec Miata] will definitely be a bonus for him.”
Matt Reynolds was picked by SportsCar
magazine, SCCA's official publication, as the odds-on favorite to win E Production. Unfortunately, Halderman wrecked his Spec Miata just weeks before the Runoffs, so he's spending much of his time piecing his car back together in the Runoffs paddock, preparing for Tuesday's qualifying session. But that, according to Davis, is what makes being in a group like this very advantageous.
“You can get a transmission out and a clutch fixed in an hour rather than searching the paddock for parts,” she says. “We're all willing to pitch in and help each other out.”
For a complete schedule of the week's events, click here
Follow all the action live via online Timing & Scoring here: http://www.sccahost.com/sccalive/
• For detailed coverage of the 50th SCCA National Runoffs, go to scca.com/runoffs. The races can also be seen live Sept. 20-22, on www.SpeedcastTV.com.