Huffmaster Keeps STL Title In The Family At 50th SCCA Runoffs
Rob Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., watched his father win the Super Touring® Lite race a year ago. At the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs, the younger Huffmaster drove away to win the class title in the same car. Chad Gilsinger, of Marysville, Ohio, and Jim Drago, of Memphis, Tenn., finished second and third, respectively, to earn their second medals of the weekend.
Huffmaster started the No. 11 Huffmaster Security/Hoosier/Mazda Mazda RX-8 on the SafeRacer pole and drove away from the field at the green flag to a 5.198-second win. He averaged 93.362 mph over the 13-lap, 52-mile race and turned the Hawk Performance Hot Lap in a race-record 2:33.125 (94.041 mph).
The championship-winning car was the same one that Ray Huffmaster drove to the win a year ago, complete with some cosmetic body damage on the front fender. The elder Huffmaster's win did not count as a National Championship, as the class only had supplemental status in 2013.
“It was cool that he won the race last year, keeping it in the family for STL,” Huffmaster said. “He's actually a little frustrated that it's a national championship class this year. But yeah, the damage on the car is still from last year. We haven't done much with the car because we've been running Trans-Am, but we came out for all the test days for this race, and did everything we could to get what we could out of it.
“It was actually pretty much the same as it was a year ago. We took it out to a local track – Waterford race track – and blew the motor. So, we had to get a new motor in and stuff, so we weren't sure how that was going to work or stack up. From last year, we had to move down a tire size and had smaller brakes for the car.”
The title is the third in four tries for the 27-year-old, who adds to his 2007 Touring 3 and the 2012 Super Touring Under title.
“It's really special to win three of four, because it's not that easy,” the three-time Champion said. “The first one in '07 was a rain race, and got a couple breaks that went my way. Last year, the same thing – we had a great car, had a brake problem, then struggled for it. And then this year, I know Jim [Drago] and Chad [Gilsinger] are really good drivers so I knew they were going to give me something. I was just hoping I was going to be able to get a little gap and break them out of the draft and hold that steady for the rest of the race. Three of four – it sounds easy on paper, I guess, but it's not.”
Drago's No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata and Gilsinger's No. 64 BFGoodrich Tires/HPD/H&R Honda Civic Si stayed in a line early to try to keep pace with Huffmaster, but eventually fell into a battle with each other to decide the second position.
Gilsinger moved to the silver medal position going into turn five on lap six, and never relinquished the spot. Gilsinger also earned the Touring 3 National Championship earlier Sunday morning.
“This was my first time running the car all year, so I didn't know what I was going to do in the car or what these guys were going to do,” Gilsinger said. “[Drago] and I fell behind Rob, which gave Rob breathing room. I was content to just stay behind [Drago], but then I noticed that the tires were going off a little bit and he was drifting wide a lot at some of the exits. I was kind of planning for a few laps of how I was going to take advantage of that. I got a good run coming out of (turn) three, and just tucked up behind him and made the move coming into (turn) five. He was great to run with; he gave me plenty of room, and I got by him. He stayed with me as we were trying to catch up with Rob, but he had it in cruise mode. I was just trying to not to make a mistake and fall out of second.”
Drago, Friday's Spec Miata National Championship, will add a bronze medal to his collection.
“It was kind of strange,” Drago said. “Rob and I were talking before the race, and I had never seen Rob and never seen Chad on the track. None of us knew where our gearing was, how fast the cars were, where our braking points were. Rob and I talked – we were very concerned that Chad was just going to blow past us, and then we thought, well, maybe we should start here. We didn't even know where our gears were. So we just decided to go; we would just get through the start as best we could. Even going into turn five, we still didn't know how fast Chad was.
“Truthfully, I don't think any of us were here to just get on the podium – we were here to win. I slipped a little behind Rob, and he opened a two- or three-second gap. I was able to maintain it, but drove the car off. It was a little tight, so I just kept trying to drive it and drive it; it was getting a little worse and a little worse. Chad stayed the same, and it seemed like he was a little more sorted. He slowly reeled me in, and he caught me in [turn] five. I let him go, and I figured I would get in behind him and cool the tires and come back and race him toward the end and see if we could do anything with Rob. He slowly inched away, and my car got a little worse. I knew we had a pretty good gap, so I just tried to maintain position and kept the podium position.”
Luke Wilwert, of Marysville, Ohio, had an eventful race to move to finish fourth in the No. 79 HPD/BFGoodrich Tires/H&R Springs Honda Civic Si. Wilwert and the No. 13 BFGoodrich Tires/Red Line Oil/HPD Honda Prelude of John Schmitt got together in turn 1 on the second lap, spinning Wilwert. The contact ended Schmitt's day, and dropped Wilwert as low as ninth.
Robert Beede finished fifth in the No. 28 Bill Fenton Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires Honda Civic Si.
Rich Walke finished sixth, just ahead of Greg Amy. Amy's No. 33 Honda Racing/HPD/Hoosier started 39th and worked through the field after swapping out his motor earlier in the week to earn the Sunoco Hard Charger. He, and his crew, were also awarded the GoPro Hero Move of the Race for the engine swap and charge through the field.
Breton Williams, Darin Treakle, and Tom Kraft all cracked the top 10.
Provisional results for Sunday's Super Touring Lite 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), Rob Huffmaster, Clarkston, MI, Mazda RX-8, 13.
2, (3), Chad Gilsinger, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si, 13.
3, (2), Jim Drago, Memphis, TN, Mazda Miata, 13.
4, (5), Luke Wilwert, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si, 13.
5, (6), Robert Beede, Northampton, MA, Honda Civic Si, 13.
6, (10), Rich Walke, Hawthorn Woods, IL, Mazda RX-7, 13.
7, (39), Greg Amy, Middletown, CT, Acura Integra, 13.
8, (11), Breton Williams, Clinton, IA, Mazda RX-7, 13.
9, (16), Darin Treakle, Broad Run, VA, Acura Integra, 13.
10, (23), Tom Kraft, Des Moines, IA, Mazda Miata, 13.
11, (12), Tim Selby, Sheboygan, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
12, (13), Gregory Gale, Reston, VA, Mazda MX-5, 13.
13, (38), Todd Lamb, Atlanta, GA, Mazda Miata, 13.
14, (18), Thomas Lepper, Benicia, CA, Acura Integra, 13.
15, (15), Tom Brown, Muskego, WI, Mazda Miata, 13.
16, (22), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, GA, Mazda Miata, 13.
17, (27), Quinten Nelson, Newark, OH, Mazda Miata, 13.
18, (25), Brett Fenske, Charlotte, NC, Mazda Miata, 13.
19, (29), Whitfield Gregg, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 13.
20, (14), Stephen Wheeler, Geneva, NY, Acura Integra, 13.
21, (24), Peter Keane, Cocoa Beach, FL, Acura Integra, 12.
22, (30), Amy Mills, New York, NY, Mazda Miata, 12.
23, (26), Mike Smith, Elk Grove Village, IL, Honda Civic Si, 12.
24, (31), Jim Kettelkamp, Bettendorf, IA, Mazda Miata, 12.
25, (9), Brian Laughlin, Tulsa, OK, Mazda Miata, 12.
26, (33), Thomas Lamb, Caledonia, MI, Honda CRX Si, 12.
27, (7), Robert Schader, Longmont, CO, Mazda Miata, 12.
28, (32), E. Lawrence Cahall, Indian Creek, IL, Mazda Miata, 12.
29, (36), Tom Hughes, Van Nuys, CA, Mazda Miata, 12.
30, (35), Derrick Ambrose, Vancouver, WA, MAZDA2 , 11.
31, (28), Kyle Watkins, Broomfield, CO, Mazda Miata, 10.
32, (4), John Schmitt, Sunbury, OH, Honda Prelude, 8.
33, (34), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, CA, Mazda Miata, 6.
DNS, (8), Andrew Salzano, Marysville, OH, Honda Civic Si.
DNS, (17), Steven Gorriaran, Providence, RI, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (19), Danny Steyn, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (20), L. Patrick Sandlin, Cordova, TN, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (21), Ted Cahall, Clyde Hill, WA, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (37), Bruce Andersen, Sarasota, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (40), Andrew Charbonneau, Boca Raton, FL, Mazda Miata.
DNS, (42), Ray Huffmaster, Clarkston, MI, Mazda RX-8.
Overall Time of Race: 33:25.104
Average Race Speed: 93.362 mph
Margin of Victory: 5.198 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:33.125
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 94.041 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #33 Greg Amy
Lap Leaders: #11 – Laps 1-13
Farrell Wins DSR National Title and Super Sweep at SCCA Runoffs
It was a big day for Saferacer polesitter Chris Farrell, of Salt Lake City, on Sunday at the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. He won the D Sports Racing National title and, as a result, won the prestigious Club Racing Super Sweep in the process. David Locke, of Lafayette, Ind., and Tom Bootz, of Evansville, Ind., completed the podium.
Though the polesitter, Farrell started on the outside of the front row in the No. 58 C&M Manufacturing/GDR Engines/Hoosier Tires Stohr WF1. This was an interesting decision because it allowed Bootz to take the early race lead. But, on lap two, Bootz hit the Turn 6 rumble strips, which led to his car's kill switch being shut off. Bootz pull off course at Turn 9 and Farrell took the lead. He went on to win in dominating fashion by 10.800 seconds over Locke. This was Farrell's first DSR National title and his third-career Runoffs podium.
“You know, I just wasn't thinking,” Farrell said of starting on the outside pole. “I was on the normal driving line on the straightaway. In fact, even after the start, I hadn't realized I hadn't taken the inside for the pole position. I had no idea. It was just brain fade – totally!
“I was very surprised that he [Bootz] pulled off. I figured I was going to have to chase him down and actually work to get by him. He made it awfully easy for me, so I was pleasantly surprised, because I lost my headrest. I had to hold my head up the whole time at 150 mph. My neck is still pretty sore."
Farrell was the first 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.
“For me, it's like, finally,” Farrell said of his first Runoffs win. “I've been second a couple times and third and broken, and just had so much bad luck at the Runoffs. This feels pretty good.
“I had heard of the Super Sweep, so that was kind of an added treat. It's pretty gratifying. It's nice to have finally done it, and winning the Super Sweep is an added bonus. I chased the Majors this year and had a lot of fun – we had a great time running. So it's very gratifying to have won the Runoffs and the Super Sweep.
Locke started third in the No. 18 Moon's Supercycle Stohr WF1 Suzuki and moved up to second by lap four, a position he would never relinquish. Locke's second-place finish was a Runoffs career-best for him. His previous best Runoffs finish was fifth in 2011.
“It was largely uneventful, other than when Brian Hall spun in front of me,” Locke said of his race. “I had a lot of difficulty getting heat in the tires. I had the same set of tires to last the whole week. I scrubbed those Monday morning, and made them last until today. I think one of the downsides was that they were pretty tired by the race, sliding a lot in the early laps. Brian managed to get by me in (Turns) 5 and 6, and then spun in front of me; I had to get on the brakes in order to keep from T-boning him. After that, I just kind of put my head down and tried to get back in the rhythm and run consistent laps and keep an eye in the mirrors, looking for the CSRs coming from behind.”
Bootz got the good fortune to start from pole in the No. 36 Hoosier/Havoc Motorsports/Bootz Industries Stohr WF1. Shortly after the green flag dropped, Bootz darted into the lead in Turn 1 and led the first lap. But, on the second lap, Bootz hit the Turn 6 rumble strips damaging some bodywork that hit the kill switch on his machine. He coasted to a stop off driver's left at Turn 9.
“Well, our polesitter decided he didn't want the inside of the track apparently,” Bootz said of his race start. “I'm not sure what that was all about, but that's fine. We got a good start. He pulled out a little bit, and I pulled out a little bit, and was able to get out in front. It was going pretty until we got to Turn 6. We hit some rumble strips and the bodywork came up and hit the kill switch, so it shut off.
“Oddly, I figured that's what that was; otherwise, something else would have broken. So then, I had to think about where there might be somebody that could turn it back on for me. Having gone off a lot here, I went to Turn Nine. It worked; the guy ran out and understood what I was yelling, and turned it back on for me.”
By then, Bootz had dropped from first to sixth before he got his No. 36 machine restarted. Bootz put down some consistently fast laps, including the Hawk Performance Hot Lap of 2:04.697 (115.480 mph), to be back in contention for the final podium spot by lap five. Unfortunately, he was too far behind Farrell and Locke to contend for a higher finish.
“Well, it wasn't much of a race; I caught a couple of guys and got around them,” Bootz said. “I just got some good laps and tried to stay consistent. I didn't really know where I was, because I didn't count how many guys I passed. And then, the CSRs were coming up, and I didn't want to get in their way, so I was watching my mirrors and trying to get some halfway decent laps, trying to get into position. Finally, the crew did tell me I was in position three. It worked out in the end.”
Bootz got the GoPro Hero Move of the Race for getting his machine restarted to finish third. Bootz won the DSR National title in 2011. This now gives his four-career podium finishes.
Jim Hallman, of Kitchener, Ontario, finished fourth in the No. 64 Stohr WF1 Suzuki. Brian Hall, of Spring Grove, Ill., finished fifth in the No. 69 Audi Hoffman Estates/Hoosier Stohr WF1.
Doug Piner, of Chapel Hill, N.C., was the Sunoco Hard Charger after improving three positions. He started ninth and finished sixth.
Provisional results for Sunday's D Sports Racing 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), Chris Farrell, Salt Lake City, UT, Stohr WF1, 12.
2, (3), David Locke, Lafayette, IN, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 12.
3, (2), Tom Bootz, Evansville, IN, Stohr WF1, 12.
4, (5), Jim Hallman, Kitchener, ON, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 12.
5, (4), Brian Hall, Spring Grove, IL, Stohr WF1, 12.
6, (9), Doug Piner, Chapel Hill, NC, Dauntless MX-1 Suzuki, 11.
7, (7), Michael Reupert, Hubertus, WI, NosTendo 1, 10.
DNF, (11), Garrett Kletjian, Hingham, MA, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, 3.
DNF, (6), Richard Colburn, Northbrook, IL, NosTendo 2 Suzuki, 0.
DNS, (8), Jim Vogel, Middleton, WI, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, .
DNS, (10), Brandon Dixon, Tuscaloosa, AL, Stohr WF1 Suzuki, .
Overall Time of Race: 26:40.986
Average Race Speed: 107.933 mph
Margin of Victory: 10.800 seconds
Hawk Fastest Race Lap: 2:04.697
Fastest Race Lap Average Speed: 115.697 mph
Sunoco Hard Charger: #00 Doug Piner
Lap Leaders: #36 – Laps 1, #58 – Laps 2-13