- 54 Honda, Acura racers compete at Sonoma Raceway
- Four titles include podium sweep in Formula F
- Honda, Acura drivers also win Super Touring Under, Prototype 1 and Touring 1
Honda and Acura racers won four Sports Car Club of America national championship titles, including a podium sweep and seventh consecutive Formula F title, at the 2018 SCCA National Championship Runoffs, contested over the weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
A total of 54 Honda and Acura racers traveled to the challenging Northern California road course for this year’s 55th annual national championships. It was a weekend of success for Honda and Acura drivers, with four national championships and podium finishes in Formula F and three other races, giving Honda Racing victories and top-three results in seven of the 12 classes it contested at this year’s Runoffs.
“This has been another strong Runoffs for our Honda Racing Line members,” said John Whiteman, HPD manager, commercial motorsports. “Our drivers and teams spent the 2018 season earning the right to compete for victory in a dozen classes, and the results speak volumes for both HPD’s grassroots motorsports efforts in recent years and the skills of our Honda and Acura racers.”
Super Touring Under
Kevin Boehm started his HPD/HART Honda Civic from the pole and never looked back, leading all 20 laps of the Super Touring Under race to claim his third SCCA National Championship, to go with two previous wins in the GTL division. Increasing his lead by more than a second each lap, Boehm cruised to a 49-second victory over the BMW M3 of Ian Barberi.
“After we got out of Turn Two [on the opening lap], I just put my head down and tried to hit my marks,” Boehm said. “It’s great to be able to make this Honda Civic come out and show what it’s capable of achieving.”
Just behind the leaders, an opening-lap crash eliminated the Honda Prelude of Nathan Pope, who had started on the outside front row, second; while third qualifier Ryalan Hazelton was an early retirement. Kevin Koelemeyer brought his Honda Civic home fourth after a race-long battle with the Lotus Exige S of Nicolai Eighanayan that highlighted the event.
It was Acura’s turn to shine during the Touring 1 contest, as Kristopher “Kip” Olson dominated, taking the lead from his outside front row starting position at the green flag, building a 12-second lead through the first half of the 20-lap race, then maintaining that advantage to the checkers. This was Olson’s first National Championship, in only his second appearance at the Runoffs.
“It’s just joy. Happiness. A feeling of reward after all the hard work,” Olson said following his win in the No. 49 Driving Ambition Acura NSX Turbo. “Have fun, be safe first … and everything will work out. And today, it did. I got lucky.”
In another flag-to-flag win for Honda, Jonathon Kotyk piloted his K-Hill Racing Mygale-Honda to a resounding victory in Formula F for his first National Championship. Former Runoffs champion Tim Kautz finished second, and Chuck Horn ran third as Honda powered 19 drivers in the 22-car Formula F field.
“We made sure we were sorted in practice and then when qualifying came around we got a lot closer,” Kotyk said. “We just made sure we had a good strategy for the race, so we could pull away, and that’s exactly how the race played out for us.”
Behind Kotyk, the battle for podium spots was punctuated with tense moments. The first came on Lap Five when Kautz bumped wheels with the Piper DF3D Honda driven by Bob Perona while battling for third. Both drivers slowed momentarily, with Kautz resuming first. Kautz then chased down the second-running Horn, and passed into the Silver Medal position, second, when Horn was victimized by a quick spin in the final laps. Perona recovered from the incident with Kautz to take the checkers in fourth, with Denny Renfrow rounding out the top five, all using Honda power.
The fastest class at this year’s Runoffs, the Prototype 1 race saw Jim Devenport come from behind to take his Norma M20F Honda to victory and earn his first SCCA National Championship title.
Devenport, of Modesto, California, started in second but briefly fell back to fourth in the opening-lap shuffle of positions. By Lap Six, he had worked back to second place, but was nearly eight seconds behind leader Perry Richardson. However, running as much as a second a lap quicker, Devenport closed the gap over the next 10 laps, eventually passing Richardson around the outside of the hairpin Turn Seven on Lap 18 to claim lead. Richardson continued to challenge for the final two laps, but Devenport held on to win by four-tenths of a second.
“I had to work my way around [eventual fourth-place finisher Parker] Nicklin, and then Richardson was gone,” Devenport said. “But my lap times were gaining on him, so I kept digging and eventually, once he was in sight, it was a whole lot easier.”
In addition to the races highlighted above, Honda Racing/HPD drivers scored podium finishes with second-place results in Prototype 2 and E Production; and a third-place in Super Touring Lite. A full list of Honda Racing/HPD champions and podium results appears below.
Social media content and video link highlights from this weekend’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway are available on HPD’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) page, and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Honda Performance Development [HPD], through the Honda Racing Line, offered contingency awards totaling up to $117,000 for podium finishes in eligible classes at the 2018 Runoffs, plus a tow fund contingency and starting money in each class. Honda Performance Development again supplied onsite technical support throughout the event.
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.
2018 Honda, Acura SCCA National Championship Runoffs Victories and Podiums:
|Super Touring Under:||1. Kevin Boehm, Honda Civic Si|
|Touring 1:||1. Kip Olson, Acura NSX|
|Prototype 1:||1. Jim Devenport, Norma M20FC Honda|
|Formula F:||1. Jonathon Kotyk, Mygale Honda|
|2. Tim Kautz, Piper DF3D Honda|
|3. Chuck Horn, Swift DB-6 Honda|
|Prototype 2:||2. Jeff Shafer, Ligier JS49 Honda|
|E Production:||2. Joe Moser, Honda Prelude Si|
|Super Touring Lite:||3. Cliff Ira, Acura Integra GSR|