SCCA Road Racing takes center stage this week at Road America for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Subway. Qualifying begins on Monday, with racing action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Live timing and scoring is available at www.scca.com/runoffs, with this weekend's races broadcast live on www.SpeedCastTv.com.
Here are some things to look for:
Crowning the Nation's Best Since 1964
The country's best amateur road racers have been gathering each fall for 47 years at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; presented by Subway. In 2010, more than 600 drivers in 28 classes are competing for the title of National Champion.
Road America, Version 2.0
The SCCA Runoffs return to Road America for the second year after its inaugural appearance in 2009. Road America is just the sixth track to host the National Championship event, following Riverside International Raceway (1964, 1966 and 1968), the road course at Daytona International Speedway (1965, 1967 and 1969), Road Atlanta (1970-1993), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (1994-2005), and Heartland Park Topeka (2006-2008).
Launch of the Heinrocket
John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., is just one of the many former National Champions competing at this year's Runoffs. Heinricy, however, is the active leader in Championships, holding the title on 11 separate occasions. This year, he'll try to add to the crown in the Touring 1 class, where he won five straight from 2001 through 2005 at Mid-Ohio. Heinricy is driving a Torvec/Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette C5 at this year's event, and is third on the career wins list behind Jerry Hansen (27 titles) and Duane Davis (13).
Young Guns Shining Through
The National Championship Runoffs has long been used as a spring board for launching successful careers. Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Skip Barber all won titles on their way to successful pro careers; more recently, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal and versatile superstar Boris Said have done the same. Who could be next? 16-year-old Tommy Boileau, of Monument, Colo., is among the favorites for a Touring 3 title in a Honda S2000. Sean Rayhall, a 15-year-old from Winston, Ga., is on the Formula Enterprises entry list after becoming the youngest SCCA Pro Racing Champion in this year's Pro Formula Enterprises series, but may miss the event because of a broken foot suffered on the eve of the Pro Series finale. Corey Fergus, of Powell, Ohio, is searching for a win as a 22-year-old in Sports 2000 after finishing on the podium in 2009. Scott Rettich, of Oxford, Ohio, is an established veteran compared to the others at the ripe old age of 26, but could challenge in both the Formula Enterprises and Spec Racer Ford classes, where he led the season-long, Nation-wide point standings.
Cheeseheads for Championships
Among the drivers entered at the National Championship Runoffs are 54 drivers who hail from the Badger State. A host of those are former National Champions, including Niki Coello (East Troy, Wis.), a four-time champion in Formula Continental, entered this year in Formula Continental and Formula 1000; Jim Dentici (Oconomowoc, Wis.), a five-time Champion in GT-3, GT-5 and GT-Lite, running this year in GT-Lite; Cliff Ebben (Appleton, Wis.), a two-time champion in GT-1 and defending his crown in the same class; Steve Forrer (Milwaukee), who won two titles in Formula Atlantic and this year will compete in C Sports Racing against Brian French (Sheboygan), who also holds a Formula Atlantic crown; Lawrence Loshak (Milwaukee), a former E Production champion competing in D Sports Racing; Harry Manning (Racine), who is a Showroom Stock B winner now racing in Spec Miata; Dan Meller (Milwaukee), an H Production Champion looking for a second title; Jeffrey Miller (Elkhart Lake), a six-time winner in DSR and CSR who has won titles in the '70s, '80s and '90s and would like to add one at his hometown track in the 2000's; Scott Rubenzer (Brookfield), who didn't realize after a Formula F win in 1985 that it would take until 2009 to win again and would like to add a third trophy this year; and Michael Varacins (Burlington), the defending Formula Vee National Champion.
Drive For Five
Spec Racer Ford is the SCCA Club Racing class with the highest participation numbers, which just means that, for the past four seasons, Mike Miserendino has beaten more drivers than anyone at the Runoffs. Even if the Los Angeles resident were to win his fifth consecutive Championship this season, he'd still fall two years shy of the seven-consecutive Spec Racer Ford titles earned by Warren Stilwell from 1994-2000.