- Runoffs results reflect impact of Honda Racing Line Program
- Podium sweep in Super Touring Light
- Honda, Acura drivers also win T4, FF, STU, GT-3, GT-L, FP, and HP
Honda and Acura racers won eight Sports Car Club of America national championship titles, including a podium sweep in the competitive Super Touring Light category and a fourth consecutive Formula F title, at the 2015 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, contested this weekend at Daytona International Speedway
A total of 64 Honda and Acura racers, the largest Runoffs field for the manufacturer since the start of the Honda Racing Line grassroots motorsports program in 2009, traveled to the famed Daytona circuit in Florida September 21-27, for this year’s 52nd annual national championships, taking part in 12 of the 28 classes.
In addition to the record turnout, it also was a weekend of record results for Honda and Acura drivers, with eight national championships – the highest total ever for the Honda Racing/HPD program – and podium finishes in three other races, giving Honda Racing victories and top-three results in 11 of the 12 classes contested at this year’s Runoffs.
“This has been just a fantastic Runoffs for our Honda Racing Line members,” said Jeff Barrow, HPD manager, commercial motorsports. “Our drivers and teams contended for victory in a dozen races, and the results speak volumes for both our grassroots motorsports efforts in recent years and the skills of our racers.”
Philip Royle, of Winnetka, Calif., led every lap in his Honda Civic Si to win the Touring 4 race on Friday, Honda Racing/HPD’s first championship of the weekend. Royle came to Daytona with a brand new 2015 Civic Si, after qualifying for the Runoffs with a 2013 model, and put the new car on the pole before leading from flag-to-flag for a 5.663-second victory. Michael Tsay brought his Honda Civic Si home third for a 1-3 Honda finish.
“The car is brand new. It had only seven miles on it when I got it in August to replace my previous Civic, and we began to turn it into a race car,” Royle said. “Now, with a national championship, it has about 225 miles on it! Meanwhile, Mike’s [Tsay] car, which is a 2012 Civic, has thousands of racing miles on it, yet we ran the full 14 laps together. That’s the beauty of this class.”
Tsay avoided an opening-lap skirmish in Turn 1 to improve from sixth on the grid for his third-place finish. “We were three across at the start,” Tsay said. “I got bumped in the rear in Turn 1, the tail slid out and I thought I was done, but I just kept my foot in it and merged back into traffic. It was a tough run trying to catch up with Lance [Stewart, who finished second], but he had just a little bit more.”
Super Tourlng Light
Honda Civics also dominated the popular Super Touring Light class race on Saturday, claiming the top four finishing positions and five of the top seven in a large, 37-car starting field.
A last-lap pass to reclaim the lead gave Kevin Boehm his first SCCA National Championship in dramatic fashion around the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. Boehm edged the Acura Integra GS-R of defending class champion Cliff Ira, while Deuce Keane II led a pack of three for third in his Honda Civic Si. Darin Treakle rounded out the top four finishers, just a tenth of a second back in his Civic.
Boehm led most of the 14-lap contest, but saw his advantage evaporate with two to go when Ira closed the gap on the banking and drafted around Boehm for the lead. But a missed shift by Ira exiting the “Bus Stop” chicane on the final lap gave Boehm the opening he needed to complete his own pass on the banking and claim the title.
“It was pretty clear that Cliff had a great car and that he was going to catch me, so I started to plan in my mind what I was going to do when he got to me,” Boehm recounted. “In the end, with a little bit of luck, it worked out. The last two laps, it seemed I was a little better under the brakes, so I tried to use that to my advantage. It seemed I was getting a little better run through the Bus Stop, so my last-ditch effort was to not lead the last lap and try to be close enough to use his draft. Luckily, I didn’t have to do that. I hate it for Cliff that I have to win that way, but I’ll take it for sure.”
Fourteen drivers in the 25-car Formula F field utilized the HPD L15A7 engine at Daytona, and Rick Payne came from 10th on the starting grid to draft his way to Honda’s fourth consecutive victory in the highly competitive class on Sunday, in one of the most exciting race finishes of the weekend.
Payne made a great race start in his Van Diemen RF99 Honda, gaining three positions in the run to the first turn. He then steered clear of two incidents that eliminated four of the top 12 starters in the race’s first five laps, moving him to fourth and in contention for the win.
“Starts have always been my thing,” Payne said. “I love them. I don’t know how I ended up 10th on the grid. We didn’t feel like a 10th-place car going in, I know that sounds a little cocky, but that’s a fact. We did not feel like we had a 10th-place car, so I just kind of made a bit of a move at the start. A couple of guys touched wheels, but I got through and sort of set myself up to run with the leaders.”
When race leader Tim Kautz brushed the wall while heading into the Bus Stop chicane while leading on Lap 13, Bill Valet took the lead and was closely followed by Jason Generotti and Payne. On the 14th and final lap, Payne drafted by both Generotti and Valet in one major move entering the Bus Stop, then held them off in the final run through Turns 3 and 4 of Daytona’s NASCAR oval for a narrow .110 of a second victory.
In addition to the races highlighted above, Honda Racing/HPD drivers also emerged victorious in the races for Super Touring Under, GT-3 and GT-Lites; and F and H Production. Honda drivers also finished second and third in B-Spec; second in Prototype 1; and third in Formula Atlantic. A full list of Honda Racing/HPD champions and podium results appears below.
Video News Releases from this weekend’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs can be found on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. CPG provided video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events throughout the 2015 season, and the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Honda Performance Development [HPD], through the Honda Racing Line, offered contingency awards totaling $35,000 at the 2014 Runoffs, plus trackside support throughout the week. HPD also hosted trackside hospitality exclusively for Honda/Acura competitors and their team members, providing an infield paddock tent where competitors could prepare and maintain their cars, and lunches for drivers and crew members.
Founded in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines, and operates at race circuits around the world from its headquarters in Santa Clarita, California. HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases “fun” products for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.
Launched in 2009, the Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed participants in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing. The Honda Racing Line was formed to provide its members with a direct connection to Honda Performance Development and its unparalleled record of success at the highest levels of motorsport. For more information about HPD and to register for the Honda Racing Line, please visit http://hpd.honda.com.
2015 Honda/Acura SCCA National Championship Runoffs Victories and Podiums:
|Super Touring Lite:||1. Kevin Boehm, Honda Civic Si
2. Cliff Ira, Acura RSX
3. Deuce Keane II, Honda Civic Si
|Touring 4:||1. Philip Royle, Honda Civic Si
3. Michael Tsay, Honda Civic Si
|Formula F:||1. Rick Payne, Van Diemen Honda|
|Super Touring Under:||1. John Schmitt, Honda Civic|
|GT 3:||1. Joe Kristensen. Acura RSX|
|GT Lite:||1. Jim Dentici, Honda CRX|
|F Production:||1. Kevin Ruck, Acura Integra|
|H Production:||1. Brian Linn, Honda CRX|
|B Spec:||2. David Daugherty, Honda Fit
3. Brian Price, Honda Fit
|Prototype 1:||2. Jim Devenport, Norma M20FC Honda|
|Formula Atlantic:||3. Brian Novak, Swift 014a Honda|