Up and Running at Road America!
The 57th annual Sports Car Club of America® National Championship Runoffs® has begun at Road America in beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Three days of qualifying began this morning, and by Thursday evening we’ll have our Tire Rack Pole Award winners across all 26 car classes. Audio-only coverage of Runoffs qualifying starts at 8 a.m. today through Thursday with commentary the first two days supplied by longtime Runoffs broadcasters Gregg Ginsberg, Larry MacLeod and Tom O’Gorman. On Thursday, the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team takes over with Mike Wolfe, Bob Steele, Andy Delay, Brian Donati and Ginsberg providing coverage. Qualifying commentary can be heard trackside and on 87.7 FM for those lucky enough to be on site at Road America. For those elsewhere, follow Runoffs qualifying audio coverage along with two camera feeds—Start/Finish and Turn 5—at SCCA.com or get audio-only coverage from the Performance Motorsport Network.
Sunoco 260 Tuesday
The opening day of qualifying is special at this year’s Runoffs as it’s Sunoco 260 Tuesday. The driver in each of Tuesday’s 26 car classes whose best qualifying time comes closest to including .260 will get 10 free gallons of Sunoco race fuel for their car—which can be collected on Wednesday from the Sunoco Fuel Truck.
But why is it called 260 Tuesday? Well, Sunoco’s 260 race fuel has been highly regarded for many years. Still available today, Sunoco’s 260 GT is a street-legal (in most states), oxygenated, unleaded gasoline designed for high performance street cars, muscle cars, classics, street rods, motorcycles, and the like. With a 100 octane rating, Sunoco 260 GT allows increased boost levels in supercharged or turbocharged applications as compared to lower octane “pump” gas. It is engineered to not harm catalytic converters or oxygen sensors, and contains a comprehensive additive package for greater engine protection and reduced fuel system deposits. It is compatible with two-stroke synthetic and mineral-based engine oils, and safe for carbureted and fuel injected engines.
Sunoco has been powering victories on and off the track for nearly 135 years, and has been the Official Fuel of SCCA for nearly two decades.
GT-3: Two Championships, One Race
The GT-3 class has qualifying sessions each day before the lunch break. That will be a class to watch as GT-3 racers fight for an SCCA National Championship and the GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI championship, too.
The GT-3 Challenge is a series boosting participation in the GT-3 class and is supported by Mazda, Max Papis Innovations, Penske Racing Shocks, AiM Sports, Hoosier Racing Tire, Goodyear Tire, Ave Motorsports and Bell Racing Helmets. During the “regular” season, there were four GT-3 Challenge events featuring two points-earning races each weekend. Points were awarded to the top 20 finishers with winners earning 25 points, and 21 points going to second. Points were then doled out to others starting with 18 and descending to a single point for the 20th finisher. But the SCCA National Championship race will be included in the GT-3 Challenge points tabulation, and Runoffs results are multiplied by four — so lots of competitors are still in the championship hunt.
Coming into the Runoffs, Paul Young leads the field in his Ford Probe with 96 points. Ken Nelson, driving a Nissan 200SX, is second with 78 points. Mazda RX-7 drivers Michael Lewis and Stacey Wilson are tied for third having each amassed 50 points. And George Cichon, also driving a Mazda RX-7, sits fifth with 46 points.
The 2020 GT-3 Challenge champion stands to receive one day of free coaching from pro driver Max Papis, just as 2019 champion Jeff Dernehl received this year (see story here). If the GT-3 Challenge champion drives a Mazda, he or she will collect upwards of $5,000 in contingency awards from Mazda. Read more about the GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI here, and check out this story for more info on Mazda’s support at the Runoffs.
Image credit: Jon Krolewicz, SCCA Staff