SCCA Nationwide Championship Runoffs Thursday pocket book
With qualifying performed, consideration now turns to 3 days of racing on the SCCA Nationwide Championship Runoffs. Twenty-six races over the course of the weekend will decide the nationwide champion in every class. Between now and their race’s finish – an interval that for some might be in a single day whereas others have a few days to consider it – ideas flip to technique and the way a driver desires the 13-lap or 40-minute race to play out.
With lengthy straights and several other good passing alternatives, it’s one thing that drivers want to think about, and take into consideration whether or not they need to be main when the ultimate lap begins. Ask any driver – and we did – the place they’d wish to be when the white flag waves, and so they’ll reply within the lead with a 20-second hole to the second-place runner. In among the high-horsepower lessons, which will very properly be the case. However in lessons with much less energy and equal fields, comparable to spec lessons, the place drafting goes to be a serious a part of the equation, there may be prone to be a lead pack of vehicles starting the ultimate circuit, any of which may win. On condition that state of affairs, the place drivers need to be at that time of the race isn’t all the time in entrance.
Jim Drago (two Nationwide Championships), Spec Miata, beginning third* in his East Avenue Racing Miata: “Second. There are too many locations to cross, and when you’re first with no person there – particularly if it’s an actual windy day – you decide one of many straightaways, and also you’d be a sitting duck. If there’s no wind, perhaps first; however I feel 9 occasions out of 10, second.”
Brian Schofield (two Nationwide Championships), Spec Racer Ford Gen 3, beginning eighth* in his PM Racing SRF: “It is determined by what number of vehicles are round me and what number of vehicles are within the lead group. If it’s one or two, I might say most likely main. If it’s a gaggle of vehicles, I need to be second. But when it’s only one or two, most likely within the lead so I can management what’s going to occur. I’ve sufficient expertise right here I understand how to race this observe, how the draft works … however it’s all going to come back all the way down to that final lap and who’s within the group.”
Zach Whitston, Method Vee, beginning eighth* in his Whitmoore and Assoc./Rocket Motors Protoform P3: “It’s actually onerous to inform. I’ve had numerous success main out of 14 – it may be performed. I’ve additionally failed miserably main out of 14. I fought onerous to steer the Runoffs final yr at VIR within the final flip, I don’t know if I’m going to battle to get that very same place this yr. A variety of it’s the dynamics of who’s round you.”
John Heinricy (15 Nationwide Championships), Touring 4, beginning first* in his Hoosier/Hawk/Mobil 1 Toyota 86: “I most likely need to be within the entrance. It is determined by what the group of vehicles seems to be like, whether or not I need to attempt to work my strategy to the entrance earlier than the final lap, or be prepared. It’s going to rely on the place I’m within the pack and who’s behind me, as a result of the totally different makes behave in another way on the straightaway vs. the corners and on the brakes. Miatas are mild in order that they brake higher and so they nook higher, so my technique there could be totally different than like Chi , who’s acquired a heavier automobile and a sooner straightaway pace.”
Jonathan Kotyk (two Nationwide Championships), Method F, beginning second* in his Mygale SJ14/Honda: “I might most likely simply need to be on the entrance. First, second, third … Actually Id’ wish to be in first to manage the state of affairs, however second isn’t unhealthy both. Hopefully everyone else is a number of seconds again and I don’t have to manage too many individuals. However actually within the first three is the place the distinction is, particularly from Flip 14 to the end, coming to the checker. That’s type of the race. The entire remainder of the lap, I hate to say it, however none of that actually issues, simply place your self accurately. I’ve watched sufficient onboard, I feel so long as you might be sensible together with your automobile positioning, I feel you could be wherever within the high three coming to Flip 14.”
- Beginning positions are provisional at posting time.
Prepare to win
Derek Kulach already has two Touring 3 Nationwide Championships to his identify, one coming in 2016 at Mid-Ohio, after which the next yr at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After a hiatus – taken as a result of he thought his Nissan 350Z, with a smaller restrictor given the automobile after his wins, wouldn’t be aggressive – he’s on a mission to win a 3rd on the observe the place he raced his first Runoffs in 2013.
“The need to come back again right here and win at a observe that could be a very quick, high-pressure, high-risk observe was very interesting to me,” he explains. “In my very own manner, I’ve one thing to show right here, simply coming from back-to-back wins, and restrictors and different issues performed a component in me going to Spec Racer for a yr. Then, feeling just like the had a shot once more, I wished to come back again and show what my driving was in a position to do and what the automobile is ready to do for Nissan.”
To that finish, Derek spent a while on the iRacing simulator. A variety of it. And his intent was not primarily to realize outright pace, however be capable of put that pace down constantly, lap after lap.
“My spouse and youngsters missed me just a little, as a result of I most likely put in about 2200, 2300 laps on the simulator simply attempting various things, simply attempting to get some totally different setups, feeling out the place bumps are. iRacing does an excellent job of that, giving good suggestions fo what a automobile can do.
“Qualifying is concerning the excellent lap, the place race tempo and what you’ll be able to settle into, is what I feel actually counts. A variety of the stuff I used to be doing in testing wasn’t discovering that qualifying lap as a lot because it was discovering 15 constant laps the place there have been no errors.”
Derek, who will begin third in Friday’s race, can also be having fun with the corporate of household and mates on the 2020 Runoffs. For the primary time in a number of years his father, Richard, who’s not too long ago retired as Nissan North America Motorsports Supervisor, is racing with him, as is his brother-in-law, Richard Baldwin.