ALTON, Va. – Three days of qualifying at Virginia Int’l Raceway concluded Thursday evening during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
Twenty-eight drivers earned Tire Rack Pole Awards, with each competitor set to lead their respective classes to the green flag over the next three days as nearly 600 competitors attempt to win at the beautiful 18-turn, 3.27-mile circuit.
Tire Rack Pole Award winners each receive a commemorative sign and lapel pin, a certificate of achievement,\ and $500 to spend at Tire Rack.
With nearly 55 entries, Spec Racer Ford Gen3 is one of the two largest race classes this year at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Charles Russell Turner held the top qualifying time for the first two days. Brian Schofield stepped up to the plate Thursday and claimed the Tire Rack Pole Award by .172 seconds over Robeson Clay Russell, who was involved in an on-track incident Wednesday.
The largest field of this year’s 56th annual Runoffs is Spec Miata with 60 entries. Todd Buras set a time on Tuesday that nobody could beat the rest of the week, making him the Tire Rack Pole Award winner for the class. Buras grabbed the top spot by .061 seconds over Preston Pardus, and the top seven qualifiers all turned laps in the 2:14 range.
Production classes generated some strong performances over three days of qualifying. Jesse Prather set the fastest time over three days on his way to the E Production Tire Rack Pole Award. In F Production, Eric Prill set a fast lap Tuesday that nobody could beat the rest of the week.
In H Production, Vesa Silegren was the fastest driver after two days of qualifying. By Thursday afternoon it was Steve Sargis who eclipsed Silegren and claimed his second Tire Rack Pole Award in the class.
B-Spec kept things interesting during qualifying with John Phillips claiming the top spot Tuesday, but was unseated Wednesday by Alex Ratcliffe. Then on Thursday it was Frank Schwartz who claimed the Tire Rack Pole Award.
A fantastic fight also developed in American Sedan over three days. Gregory Eaton had the fastest lap to open qualifying. On Wednesday, Daniel Richardson turned a better lap. Thursday saw Eaton come back with a vengeance and put down a lap that earned him the Tire Rack Pole Award, his first in the class.
On Wednesday it was Andrew Whitston who set the fast time in Formula Vee. Nobody could better him Thursday, so Whitston claimed his first Tire Rack Pole Award in the class. Then in Formula F, Tyler O’Connor took his first Tire Rack Pole Award. Formula 500 was ruled all week by Tire Rack Pole Award winner Wiley McMahan.
Defending Formula Enterprises Runoffs champion Mark Snyder gathered up his second Tire Rack Pole Award in the class, but only by .217 seconds over Charles Russell Turner. And the Formula Enterprises 2 Tire Rack Pole Award went to Mark’s brother, Liam Snyder.
The thunderous GT-1 class is one of the fastest at each year’s Runoffs. Tony Ave, in the No. 4 Ave Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, will lead that class to its start Sunday after claiming his second Tire Rack Pole Award in the class. Five-time GT-2 Tire Rack Pole Award winner Andrew Aquilante will be at the front of his field Saturday after qualifying a full second faster than anyone else. Aquilante also claimed the Touring 1 Tire Rack Pole Award on Thursday.
The GT-3 Runoffs race takes on special significance this year as it is also the final event in the new GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI. Drivers Jeff Dernehl, Stacy Wilson and Rob Warkocki are the three finalists in the running for the GT-3 Challenge Championship. However, it will be Michael Lewis who leads the GT-3 field at the start since he claimed this year’s Tire Rack Pole Award, his sixth in the class.
In Touring 3, defending National Champion Marshall Mast set the pace over three days on his way to the Tire Rack Pole. The Touring 4 class was much closer as the No.186 Flatout Motorsports Subaru BRZ of Nick Leverone held the top spot on Tuesday. Then it was T4 defending Runoffs champion John Heinricy who came to the front and took the Tire Rack Pole Award.
Elivan Goulart and his Lotus Exige had the fastest time after Tuesday’s qualifying in Super Touring Under. Defending class champion Kevin Boehm poured it on Wednesday and Thursday to claim the Tire Rack Pole Award by more than a second. Then in Super Touring Lite, Danny Steyn set a time Tuesday that nobody could best the following two days and earned his second consecutive Tire Rack Pole Award in the class.
Robert Iversen was in control of Prototype 2 all three days and took the pole. The class is close as the top five qualifiers all turned laps in the 1:49 range. In Prototype 1, Todd Slusher grabbed his second Tire Rack Pole Award after holding the top position all week.
Below are provisional results from Runoffs qualifying at Virginia Int’l Raceway.
-American Sedan: Gregory Eaton; Woodbridge, Va.
-B-Spec: Frank Schwartz; Ann Arbor, Mich.
-E Production: Jesse Prather; Topeka, Kan.
-F Production: Eric Prill; Topeka, Kan.
-H Production: Steve Sargis; Frankfort, Ill.
-Formula 500: Wiley McMahan; Covington, Ga.
– Formula 1000: Pete Frost; Douglasville, Ga.
-Formula Atlantic: Dario Cangialosi; Chester, N.J.
-Formula Continental: Robert Allaer; Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
-Formula Enterprises: Mark Snyder; Southlake, Texas
-Formula Enterprises 2: Liam Snyder; Southlake, Texas
-Formula F: Tyler O’Connor; New Hartford, Conn,
-Formula Vee: Andrew Whitston; Neenah, Wis.
-Formula Mazda: Anthony Seaber; Hillsborough, N.C.
-GT-1: Tony Ave; Maiden, N.C.
-GT-2: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, Pa.
-GT-3: Michael Lewis; Poway, Calif.
-GT-Lite: Peter Shadowen; West Palm Beach, Fla.
-Prototype 1: Todd Slusher; Las Vegas, Nev.
-Prototype 2: Robert Iversen; Gulf Breeze, Fla.
-Spec Miata: Todd Buras; Melbourne, Fla.
-Spec Racer Ford 3: Brian Schofield; Lakeland, Fla.
-Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
-Super Touring Under: Kevin Boehm; Marysville, Ohio
-Touring 1: Andrew Aquilante; Chester Springs, Pa.
-Touring 2: Cooper MacNeil; Hinsdale, Ill.
-Touring 3: Marshall Mast; Narvon, Pa.
-Touring 4: John Heinricy; Clarkston, Mich.