Fight to Finish Decides SRF3 Runoffs Champion

ALTON, Va. (Oct. 11, 2019) – In arguably the most competitive class at the 56th SCCA National Championship Runoffs with the second-largest field size of any class made up of 54 qualifiers from all around the country, the Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) national championship was decided by 17 thousandths of a second with a three-wide battle to the checkered at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on Friday.

When the dust settled Roberson Clay Russell, of Spartanburg, North Carolina, held on to take the checkered over Denny Stripling, of McKinney, Texas, in second. Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Florida, finished in a close third. The podium finishers were only separated by .127-second.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” said Russell. “Today was by no means an easy win. These guys beside me raced me hard, but clean, and that’s what Spec Racer Ford is all about. On those final laps, my adrenaline kicked in and I knew I had to just finish this race, and what a spectacular finish it was.”

Right from the drop of the green flag, the entire SRF3 field were vying for position. Drivers plunged two, three and four-wide into the narrow turn one until a train of cars were following pole-sitter and race leader Schofield. Dicing for position, Russell took the lead on lap three over Schofield, but the defending national champion couldn’t shake the hungry No. 61 PM Racing machine of Schofield. Glued nose to tail through the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit, a piece of paper couldn’t fit between the battling duo.

“Today was a typical Spec Racer Ford race,” explained Schofield. “Congratulations to Clay. I know he’s had a rough week. It’s great to be here and I love VIR. I love being up here, just wish I were on the top step. We will try again next year.”

Russell finally got a break from the pressuring Schofield when a caution period grouped up the field. On the restart, Russell in the No. 31 Angry Llama/Comprent pulled the largest gap of the race, but not for long. Tweaking his wrist on Thursday during a qualifying incident, Russell’s injury started to affect his driving, allowing Schofield and a train of six more drivers to catch up.

Chipping away from his fifth-place starting position, Stripling followed the SRF3 motto, “Survive to five, then fight!”  On the penultimate lap, Stripling inserted himself into the battle between Russell and Schofield.

The trio attacked the back straight three-wide. Schofield sandwiched between Stripling (on the outside) and Russell (on the inside), lifted, allowing Stripling and Russell to battle for position through Roller Coaster and Hog Pen.

Stripling saw his opportunity to pounce and his No. 4 Southeast Spec Racer/Lightspeed took the lead exciting Hog Pen. Barreling down the front straight, Russell whipped to Stripling’s inside with Schofield in close pursuit. Giving it everything he had, Russell crossed the stripe in first, claiming his second consecutive SRF3 national title of his career. Russell is the only competitor since SRF3’s inception in 2015 to earn repeat victories.

“My car was spectacular in the Hog Pen,” said Stripling. “I really watched Clay and Brian set the pace for most of the race. It was clearly strategic. We were running about a half second off pace. I hit my marks and caught back up with Clay and Brian. Then I saw an opening and thought – let’s take this three wide. I got a spectacular run and had to even lift so I didn’t hit the back of Clay, and that’s what made the difference today from first to second. I had an absolute blast out there with these guys today.”

Tray Ayres placed fourth while Charles Russell Turner rounded out the top five. Bobby Sak set a new SRF3 track record with a time of 2:04.755 (former record set in 2018 by Todd Lamb with a 2:05.114).

David Anzalone earned the Sunoco Hard Charger, improving 14 positions from 39th on the grid to 25th at the finish.

The 56th SCCA® National Championship Runoffs®, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Road Racing National Champions this year at VIRginia International Raceway along the border of North Carolina and Virginia Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct 13.

Live, online video coverage of Runoffs races, presented by Mazda, is available throughout the three days of competition at SCCA.com/live. An audio race call, supplied by the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team, is also available at www.SCCA.com/live, as well as live timing and scoring for each National Championship race.

ALTON, Va. -- Provisional results for Friday’s CLASS race at the 56th SCCA National Championship Runoffs from VIRginia International Raceway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps completed.
1, (2), Robeson Clay Russell, Spartanburg, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

2, (5), Denny Stripling, McKinney, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

3, (1), Brian Schofield, Lakeland, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

4, (6), Tray Ayres, Gainesville, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

5, (3), Charles Russell Turner, Montpelier, VA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

6, (8), John Black, Olympic Valley, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

7, (10), Dave Ogburn III, San Angelo, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

8, (11), Richard Stephens, Bixby, OK, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

9, (13), Cliff White, Huntsville, AL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

10, (12), Scott Rettich, Columbus, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

11, (4), Bobby Sak, West Bloomfield, MI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

12, (21), Alan Olson, Centreville, VA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

13, (22), Max King, Franklinville, NJ, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

14, (19), David Dickerson, Wall, NJ, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

15, (7), S.Sandy Satullo III, Hillsboro Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

16, (23), James Libecco, Solon, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

17, (14), Todd Vanacore, Ormond Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

18, (18), Matthew Harper, Cornelius, NC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

19, (32), Justin Weir, Charleston, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

20, (25), Justin Claucherty, Jackson, MI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

21, (34), Thomas Weir, Charleston, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

22, (33), Thomas W Burt, Woodway, WA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

23, (26), Darryl Wills, Houston, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

24, (27), Dan McBreen, Atlanta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

25, (39), David Anzalone, Glen Head, NY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

26, (29), Chris Current, Silver Spring, MD, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

27, (24), Michael Greene, Gainesville, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

28, (31), Chuck Newman, Lagrange, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

29, (37), Brian Cates, Gainesville, VA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

30, (38), Allen Massey, Nags Head, NC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

31, (44), Kurt Breitinger, Martinez, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

32, (35), Matt Gray, Chaska, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

33, (30), John Hall, Vienna, VA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

34, (46), Roy Hillenburg, Friendswood, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

35, (42), Mark Fickenscher, Painesville, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

36, (45), Bryan Yates, Clemmons, NC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

37, (47), Wade White, Vail, CO, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

38, (41), Bob Gardner, Savannah, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

39, (17), Derek Kulach, Albuquerque, NM, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

40, (51), Darrel Stein, Allentown, PA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

41, (43), Jason Pintar, Flemington, NJ, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

42, (49), Greg Miller, Lancaster, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

43, (36), Thomas A Panaggio, Tampa, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

44, (52), J Mark Wendling, Wharton, NJ, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

45, (50), Thomas Kirchman, Framingham, MA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

46, (53), Steve Owens, Hudson, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

47, (54), David De Bolt, Cumberland, IN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 15.

48, (15), John Greene, Gainesville, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 10.

49, (16), Richard Baldwin, Covington, LA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 10.

50, (9), Raffaele Sammut, Locust Valley, NY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 5.

51, (20), Bruce Myers, Portsmouth, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 5.

52, (40), Charles Devier, Anderson, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 5.

53, (28), Joseph Sammut, Locust Valley, NY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 4.

54, (48), Steven Minkon, Schwenksville, PA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, 0.

Length of Race: 49 miles
Overall Time of Race: 37:27.543 (avg. 78.566 mph)
Margin of Victory: 00.017 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 2:04.755 (94.361 mph)
Lap Leaders: #61 laps 1-2, #31 laps 3-15
Sunoco Hard Charger: #133 David Anzalone

Photo: SRF3 battled to the finish at the Runoffs

Photo Credit: Mark Weber

 

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