Rettich Dominates Formula Enterprises Race, Wins Super Sweep at SCCA Runoffs
Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, dominated the Formula Enterprises race at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America and, in the process, also won the prestigious Club Racing Super Sweep. Reece Everard, of Lake Orion, Mich., and Brandon Kennedy, of Bear, Del., finished second and third, respectively.
Rettich started from the SafeRacer pole position in the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/PDI Communications SCCA Formula Enterprises. The only part of the race Rettich did not lead was the first four corners of the race. Rettich passed then-leader Paul Schneider, of Mint Hill, N.C., in turn five to retake the lead and opened up a gap.
On lap two, Rettich's lead was erased by the race's only caution. The yellow came out after Tilden Kinlaw, of Lumberton, N.C., and Matthew Cutter, Sterling, Ill., made contact in turn six. Both cars spun, sustained damage and did not finish.
The race went green again on lap four. On the restart, Rettich got a great jump and never looked back. He drove a dominant race, winning by 47.021 seconds. Additionally, he turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap of the Race with a 2:14.220 (107.287 mph) en route to winning his third-career Formula Enterprises National crown. He turned his fast lap on the penultimate lap of the 13-lap race – demonstrating he was not slowing down.
“I knew I had the car to beat,” Rettich said. “We had a great setup. I gave myself a pretty good start. Schneider was pretty aggressive, but fair. He got to the outside of me and I let him go because I knew I could get back around him. I passed him going into turn five on the first lap. He broke deep and got to the inside of me. We went two-wide at the entry and I came out ahead.
"Then, I put my head down and started pulling away. I didn't like to see the full course caution. But, I got a good solid restart – made no mistakes. I started opening a gap again. I was a little nervous with three laps to go when I saw a couple competitors off, so I was hoping there wasn't going to be a full-course caution. Luckily there wasn't and I went on to the win.”
Rettich was the third driver of the 50th Runoffs to win the prestigious Club Racing Super Sweep. The Super Sweep is the most difficult on-track award for a driver to claim, as it requires a U.S. Majors Tour Conference Championship, a win in a key, designated Majors race, the nationwide point championship, and a National Championship at the Runoffs, all in the same class.
Rettich has been a Super Sweep winner in each of his three Championship seasons.
“Winning the 50th Runoffs, winning the Super Sweep, and the Triple Crown, just feels incredible,” Rettich said. “Certainly, it is a great accomplishment. A lot of dedication and time goes into winning this.”
Everard started 10th in the No. 3 HGS Automotive SCCA Formula Enterprises. Through solid driving, and some attrition, he was third heading into the final lap. At that point, Everard was right behind Kennedy in the No. 14 Osinga Construction Inc Hage Tool & Machine SCCA Formula Enterprises. Everard passed Kennedy in turn one for second place, and Kennedy returned the favor in turn five. But, the two weren't done swapping spots. Everard saw an opportunity to pass Kennedy in Canada Corner and he took it. Everard held on for second – his first-career Runoffs podium finish.
“Those last few laps, I saw Brandon ahead of me,” Everard said. “I knew I just had to put my head down and try as hard as I could, and I finally caught up with him.
“That last lap, I knew I had to do something. I passed him in turn one, but I knew that wasn't going to be the last of it. I knew he would be coming back. I knew in turn five he would get alongside me. In Canada Corner, I had an edge on him, so I figured I would wait until then, and it paid off. It was a good finish.”
The turn 12, last-lap pass earned Everard the GoPro Hero Move of the Race. He was also the Sunoco Hard Charger after improving eight positions. He started 10th and finished second.
Kennedy started sixth and was up to fourth after one lap. By lap eight, Kennedy's No. 14 machine was in second. At that point, Kennedy was reeled in by Everard over final five laps. That's when Kennedy and Everard traded spots three times before Kennedy had to settle for the final podium spot. Kennedy's third place finish was his first-career Runoffs podium.
“It was a great battle,” Kennedy said of his race with Everard. “I could see him gaining on me in my mirror for six, eight laps. I wanted to hold second. But, Reece is a tough competitor. He got me going into [turn] one, I got him back going into [turn] five. I was sliding the car, doing everything I could to keep him behind me. He got me in Canada [Corner], and I couldn't get him back.
“If I had some more experience, there might have been some tricks up my sleeve, but I did everything I was told to try to do. He just managed to do more than I did.”
Eric Cruz, of Barhamsville, Va., finished fourth in the No. 86 Cruz Associates, Inc. SCCA Formula Enterprises. Keith McDonald, of Ranson, W. Va., finished fifth in the No. 10 Hoosier SCCA Formula Enterprises.
Provisional results for Sunday's Formula Enterprises national championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Scott Rettich, Camden, OH, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
2, (10), Reece Everard, Lake Orion, MI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
3, (6), Brandon Kennedy, Bear, DE, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
4, (8), Eric Cruz, Barhamsville, VA, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 13.
5, (11), Keith McDonald, Ranson, WV, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 12.
6, (9), Carl Przyborowski, River Forest, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 10.
7, (3), Steve Grundahl, Blue Mounds, WI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 8.
8, (4), Paul Schneider, Mint Hill, NC, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 7.
DNF, (5), Tilden Kinlaw, Lumberton, NC, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 0.
DNF, (7), Matthew Cutter, Sterling, IL, SCCA Formula Enterprises, 0.
DNS, (2), Denny Marklein, Dodgeville, WI, SCCA Formula Enterprises, .
Overall Time of Race: 31:40.080
Average Race Speed: 98.522 mph
Margin of Victory: 47.021 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:14.220
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 107.287 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #3 Reece Everard
Lap Leaders: #17 – Laps 1-13
Reynolds Spins, Comes Back to Win EP Race in SCCA National Championship Runoffs
Matt Reynolds' path to his first national championship Sunday in the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, didn't come easy, nor without a little controversy.
Reynolds, of Boerne, Texas, spun on lap three while leading the 13-lap race, dropping him outside the top 15. Yet, he came through the field and, on the final lap, made contact with leader Greg Ira in Turn Eight, sending Ira wide and giving Reynolds the lead, which he held until the checkered flag. Ira, of Plantation, Fla., finished second, ahead of SafeRacer polesitter Aaron Downey of Rossmoor, Calif.
Reynolds averaged 90.448 mph, and officially only led the second and 13th laps. His race was adventurous from the start. Reynolds was battling with Jim Daniels on the third lap and took the lead when Daniels' No. 76 TheRacingInsiders.com Mazda Miata slid off the track near the Kink. Moments later, Reynolds spun in Canada Corner on his own, and waited to rejoin the field as several cars passed him.
“There seemed to be a lot of oil there,” Reynolds said. “As soon as I turned in, the car started coming around. I just locked it up, but kept it going. It was all on my own.”
He was undeterred, rushing through the field and setting the Hawk Performance Hot Lap of the Race with a time of 2:28.274 (97.117 mph) on lap six. That time was the only lap set under two-and-a-half minutes, and became a single lap Runoffs race record in the class. Picking off cars left and right, Reynolds finally made it to second on lap 11, passing Downey .
With his sights set on Ira, Reynolds closed the advantage to less than a second as the white flag flew, and the pair ran nose-to-tail until Turn 8. As both drivers went through the corner, Reynolds front bumper caught the rear of Ira's No. 2 GlenMartin Nissan 260Z, sending him wide and moving to the lead.
“It was two very competitive drivers and two good drivers going for the same spot,” Reynolds said. “I chose my line, which was underneath, and there was just a little contact. It was a racing incident, and I did apologize to Greg.”
Ira, who led two for a race-high eight laps, told a different version.
“The level of aggressiveness that some people have is different,” Ira said. “I don't think that would fly in another class, but a bump-and-run, for whatever the reason is, isn't a good way to win if you ask me.”
Ira had a final chance, powering up the hill to the finish line, but came up 0.173 seconds short. It marked his fourth consecutive runner-up finish in the class.
“It's getting old,” Ira said. “I'm proud of my team and the effort we put in. There is a lot of back story to this particular car, and how the races have been lost. This may have been the last time we race this car. It was an emotional second-place.
“These old cars we're in, we really have to wheel them,” Ira added. “Winning with one of our older cars is difficult. But I was never comfortable. My head was always down, and I was always trying to click and hit my marks the best I could, for the exact reason that happened at the end. I told myself I was going to raise my aggressive level today because of our need to win so badly.”
Downey bounced around the top five, and led lap three in the No. 5 roundpeg.com/Mazdaspeed Motorsports Mazda RX-3. He took third place, only .201 seconds ahead of Chris Dryden of New Freedom, Pa., who drove the No. 02 PayPal/Carbotech BMW Z3 to fourth.
“We were just off on the setup,” said Downey, the recipient of the GoPro Move of the Race after drifting through the Carousel early in the race. “I never lost sight of the leaders. Yes, I did lead a couple times during the race, but I never felt like I had a winning car.”
Finishing fifth was Jesse Prather of Topeka, Kan., who drove the No. 34 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Mazdaspeed Mazda MX-5.
SportsCar Magazine Editor Philip Royle in the No. 42 CureSarcoma.org/Electromotive Mazda RX-7 picked up the Sunoco Hard Charger, advancing 18 spots from 34th to 16th.
Provisional results for Sunday's SCCA Touring 3 (T3) national championship at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with finish position, starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (3), Matt Reynolds, Boerne, TX, Mazda Miata, 13.
2, (4), Greg Ira, Plantation, FL, Nissan 260-Z, 13.
3, (1), Aaron Downey, Rossmoor, CA, Mazda RX-3, 13.
4, (5), Chris Dryden, New Freedom, PA, BMW Z3, 13.
5, (6), Jesse Prather, Topeka, KS, Mazda MX-5, 13.
6, (10), Kevin Leigh, Harrisonburg, VA, BMW Z3, 13.
7, (7), Kenneth W Shreve, Sammamish, WA, Mazda RX-7, 13.
8, (11), James Simaras, Oconomowoc, WI, Mazda RX-7, 13.
9, (9), Sam Halkias, Westerville, OH, Triumph TR6, 13.
10, (13), John Morton, El Segundo, CA, Nissan 240-Z, 13.
11, (18), Don Bunt, Rockford, IL, Nissan 240-Z, 13.
12, (16), Lance Loughman, Lake Zurich, IL, Nissan 240-Z, 13.
13, (12), Steve Smyczek, Brookfield, WI, Mazda RX-7, 13.
14, (35), Robert E. Hummel, McHenry, IL, Mazda RX-7, 13.
15, (19), Charlie Clark, Mission, KS, Mazda RX-7, 13.
16, (34), Philip Royle, Winnetka, CA, Mazda RX-7, 13.
17, (26), Peter Morton, Milford, MI, Honda S2000, 13.
18, (24), Brian Haupt, Spring Hill, KS, Mazda RX-7, 13.
19, (25), Richard Luening, Milwaukee, WI, MG B, 12.
20, (33), Sydney Davis, Angleton, TX, Mazda Miata, 12.
21, (29), James Malone, Willcox, AZ, Porsche 944, 12.
22, (38), George Olsen, Barrington, IL, Austin-Healey 3000, 12.
23, (21), Michael Helm, Union, OH, Toyota MR-2, 11.
24, (2), Jim Daniels, Germantown, TN, Mazda Miata, 10.
25, (8), Rick Kavitski, Freeland, PA, Mazda Miata, 10.
26, (14), Rick Kosdrosky, Granbury, TX, Caterham 7 America, 7.
27, (32), Dan Hedley, Gorham, ON, Honda Prelude Si, 7.
28, (20), Tony Jimerson, Benicia, CA, Mazda RX-7, 6.
DNF, (15), Gary Gist, Del Mar, CA, Mazda RX-7, 3.
DNF, (23), Ron Olsen, Barrington, IL, Mazda RX-7, 2.
DNF, (30), Dwight Cooke, Greensboro, NC, Triumph TR4, 2.
DNF, (17), Rob Coffey, Thunder Ray, ON, Honda Prelude Si, 1.
DNF, (31), Rich Olsen, South Barrington, IL, Mazda RX-7, 1.
DNS, (22), Steve Hussey, Capitola, CA, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (27), Chris Stevens, Shawnee, KS, Mazda RX-7.
DNS, (28), Donald Walsh, Orrtanna, PA, Mazda RX-7.
DNS, (37), Jon Brakke, Fargo, ND, Mazda Miata.
Overall Time of Race: 34:29.691
Average Race Speed: 90.448 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.173 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:28.274
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 97.117 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #42 Philip Royle
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, #76 Daniels; Lap 2, #71 Reynolds; Lap 3, #5 Downey, Laps 4-9, #2 Ira; Lap 10, #76 Daniels; Laps 11-12, #2 Ira; Lap 13, #71 Reynolds.