2013 SCCA Runoffs
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Working the SCCA National Championships is a corner marshal treat. It’s great to meet people from around the country that are dedicated to the corner marshal specialty. COR member Patrick Lundin from the Pacific Northwest made the trip this year as well as our old friend Bob Stream, Al Woodward made trip from Colorado to work all week. Ed Kajko was scheduled to arrive on Thursday evening to work the race days.
Corner Captain Bob Stream (with orange whistle) on-the-job during the FV winners lap
It was great to see Patrick and catch up on current events. I promised Patrick I would come out and work the Rose Cup soon. I met Paul from Cal Club, we discussed the prospect and realities of having the runoffs at Laguna next year. I also worked with Sue from Cendiv. Flag Chief Brian Sill from the Texas Region always does a great job making sure all the various requests from the marshals are met. It was nice to catch up with Assistant Flag Chiefs Randy, Rich, and Joyce as well. To a person they are all excited at the prospect of having the runoffs at different venues, and a little sad seeing the event move from Road America.
Practice for all the groups was held on monday. There was lots of action, crashes, spins, you name it. There was a little of everything. A lot of the sessions were black flagged for major cleanup. Weather? Wet to begin the day, but it dried out by mid-morning. I was assigned to ‘the kink’ (turn 11 & 11A).
Tuesday began qualifying proper. I was assigned to turn 3/3A. Turn 3 is a fast downhill 90 degree left with lots of grassy runoff and a big gravel trap to catch those that go straight off. We had a couple of American Sedan Mustangs spin, get together and end up stuck in the gravel. A Spec Miata went straight off, skipped across the gravel trap and crashed, nose first into the concrete barrier! Another Spec Miata spun after turn 3 and smashed tail first into the concrete barrier about 200 yds downstream. A Formula Madza broke and coasted into our station, and a Formula Atlantic broke and coasted into 3 and a Formula 500 lost his final sprocket and coasted into 3. Other than that it was boring! The weather was warm and dry.
Qualifying 2 was on Wednesday, the group schedule gets shuffled so that folks that qualified in the morning on Tuesday, get a qualifying session in the afternoon on wednesdays, and vice-versa. This shuffling continues for Thursday qualifying 3. Wednesday it was rainy and cool. It rained off an on, almost all day. No one improved their times from Tuesday, however a surprising number of cars took to the track. Being from the Rocky Mountain Division, where wet races are a rarity, it’s odd to see cars driving around in a driving rain. The drivers are driving on their tippy toes, so it gets a little boring and uncomfortable standing on the corners. I was working corner 8.
I was assigned to turns alpha/1 on Thursday (Qualifying day 3). It poured rain all morning, lightning was in the area and some of the sessions were cancelled as the corner marshals sat in there cars waiting for the storms to pass over. Many of the sessions were delayed, and even when the track was open, only a couple of cars ventured out. The Tuesday qualifying times were holding up. No one was improving.
Friday – Race day 1. I was assigned turn 9. Turn 9 is at the beginning of the carousel, just past the Johnsonville Brats – ‘Speedville’ bridge. The weather was cool and overcast, the track was wet from some overnight rain, but a dry line appeared about 5 laps into the first race. The racing was close and fast, not much action at 9 but from the radio traffic, the other corners were very busy.
Saturday at Turn 13 started wet from overnight rain and it was cold and overcast. This caused several cars in the early races to spin as they came up out of Canada Corner. We had a 2 production cars spin and hit the wall across track from 13. One BMW hit the wall so hard that it broke the front wheel assembly off. More than 1 FB cars ended up in the grass as well. One hit the wall and high centered on a dirt mound, the driver became frustrated when we would not cross the track during the race to push start him back into the race, that he jumped out of the car and went running back into the paddock. We didn’t see him again. The hook came and picked the car up after the race, and disappeared with it back into the paddock.
Eventually the track dried and we were treated to some superb close racing on a glorious fall day in Wisconsin.
Sunday was an Asst Flag Chief day for me. Asst FC Joyce and I were busy running ‘write-ups’ from flag marshals to race control. We were kept pretty busy. The EP race was extremely close, there was some last lap contact causing a spin and a change of position between the first and second place cars. The contact as described by the corner marshals resulted in a disqualification of one of the racers dramatically impacted the race results. This happened a couple of times Sunday afternoon and demonstrates the impact of the corner marshals on the event. In addition to providing first responder safety, corner marshals play a crucial role in keeping the racing fair.
The racing was GREAT, the last race of the week resulted in the closest finish in runoffs history. First and second were separated by 0.007 seconds in the GTL race.
Congratulations to Mark Mercer (2013 S2000 National Champion) and Mike Pettiford (On the Podium, 3rd in T1) and all the RMDiv racers that made the runoffs this year.
After the races Sunday all the corner marshals gathered at the Road America Center for ‘the toast’. This is a traditional toast held after the last race at the runoffs each year. We hoist a glass and honor those drivers and workers that have taken the final checkered flag, old friends passed and friends we have yet to meet that share our love of camaraderie and sports car racing. In the name of the worlds fastest feline, that terrific tabby, the bloodshot blur with fur, Brian Redmonds Cat.
See you at Laguna.
The following is a list of RMDivision drivers who participated at the 50th SCCA runoffs, and their finishing positions:
Kirk Kindsfater, 6th;
Tyler Hunter 8th;
Dwight Rider, DNF;
Steve Ott, 4th;
Jake Latham, DNF;
Chris Ash, DNF;
J.R. Osborne, DNF;
James Steihr, 7th;
Dave Loken, 9th;
Bill Kephart, 10th;
John Butkovich, 11th
Bob Melvin, 15th;
Bill Hingston, 5th;
Brent Louzon, 15th;
Paul Jensen, 17th;
Rafer Chambers, 18th;
Rick Harris, DNF;
Bob Neumeister, 39th;
Jim Stinehelfer, 14th;
Jon Goodale, 10th;
Alex Burnett, 14th;
Jerry Oleson, 18th;
Mark Mercer, 1st;
Chris Helt, 5th,
Steve Meyer, 7th;
Kyle Watkins, 30th;
Wade White, 19th;
Anthony Simmers, 4th;
Bob Schader, 27th;
Kyle Watkins, 31st;
Michael Pettiford, 3rd;
Michael Pettiford, 10th;
Jason Ott, 4th,
Tommy Boileau, 8th,
Jim Leithauser, 10th.
Dave Muramoto, 13th
Dan Spirek, DNF;
Lothar Kremer, 17th;
A hearty congratulations on spending the time and effort to earn an invite to the runoffs.
Corner Marshal Incentive Program
Some of the SCCA drivers put their money where their mouth is this year in an effort to entice more corner marshals. A Participation fund was established. This fund will be split evenly among the corner marshals that worked all 6 CoR race days. An additional Sponsorship fund was established to reward the corner marshal that recruited the most new corner marshals. The awards will be presented at the annual mini-convention. Details on the mini-convention will be announced soon.
The results of this effort are listed below. The names in blue are eligible for the ‘Participation’ Award.