RACE 7: Formula Enterprises | Thursday, 2:00 p.m.
1 Scott Rettich Ohio Valley
2 Patrick Gallagher Ohio Valley
3 Paul Schroeder San Francisco
Scott Rettich does little but win. He has won the last two FE titles, and racks up National wins in both FE and SRF with great regularity. There is little reason to think that he will change the pattern at this year's Runoffs. True, Patrick Gallagher did beat him at this year's June Sprints, but when all the chips are on the line, Rettich's experience and race craft should prevail, if narrowly.
Rettich has four wins in his Springboro Car Wash FE as of the end of June, while Gallagher has two in his Jay Motorsports example. Gallagher's June Sprints win was in the rain – could this have been a deciding factor? If it rains at the Runoffs, will Gallagher repeat the win? It's possible.
Paul Schroeder so far has three wins and three second places, enjoying a very good year indeed. He has shown that he can win, and could do so this fall. Jason Wolfe has two wins, as does Patrick Linn. Both are contenders. Scott McQueen is a perennial contender who is always around the top of the order. Any of those three could gain a step on the podium if things fall their way.
However, Rettich and Gallagher have shown the speed necessary to win the Runoffs. They have shown themselves to consistently be at the head of the pack, and we expect more of the same this September. This should prove to be a great race.
RACE 8: Formula Mazda | Thursday, 2:00 p.m.
1 Darryl Wills Houston
2 Doug Peterson Buccaneer
3 Jason Vinkemulder Milwaukie
With one of the most successful spec racecars in SCCA history, a Formula Mazda race is always a close thing. Darryl Wills will be back to defend his two-year championship streak, but Doug Peterson thinks he has what it takes to claim this year's crown. Peterson is leading the points in the competitive Southeast Division; this, doubled with his 2004 championship in the class and his strong second-place finish at the 2011 Runoffs, all give credibility to his ambition.
“This is my year to win, and Darryl [Wills] will be second,” Peterson says.
Peterson showed up to the June Sprints and got caught up in a tremendous crash at the start that brought out a red flag, so there's no knowing how he would have fared in that race.
Jason Vinkemulder took the Sprints honors after the restart, and he's also confident of running at the front courtesy of the setup homework he's been doing this year.
“Goodyear has made a new tire for Formula Mazda and it is a significant improvement from the previous generation tire,” says Vinkemulder. “This season we have been focusing on getting the most out of the tire. Some of them are large departures from our old setup window. It's been fun! Setups we couldn't get away with before are now breaking track records.”
Dark horse contenders could include Dale VandenBush. George Jackson and Robert Noell both showed well at the Sprints, and Alan McCallum turned in a podium performance at last year's Runoffs. With the cars so evenly matched, anything is possible.