RUNOFFS: STL win slips Steyn a super sweep

A light rain greeted the 38-car Super Touring Light field as they headed on course early Saturday afternoon for their Hagerty Race Day event during the 58th SCCA National Championship Runoffs race around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 15-turn, 2.592-mile road course.

Danny Steyn, who was the Tire Rack Pole Award winner, was swamped as the green flag flew to start what was an 18-lap race over 40 minutes. Defending STL National Champion Joe Moser of Wilmette, Illinois, took the lead into Turn 1 driving the No. 36 King Motorsports/Hoosier/Carbotech Honda CRX Si, followed by the No. 74 Honda Civic of Jimmy Llibre. However, the No. 9 OPM Autosports/Rossini Racing/G-Loc Mazda MX-5 of Steyn dashed back up and resumed the lead by Turn 6. But, Llibre fought back at the end of the back straight and regained the lead in Turn 7.

Flip-flopping at the front settled down by the second lap, at which point Steyn built a lead of more than five seconds. But by lap nine, Moser had shaken off the competition and was closing in on Steyn. Then in Turn 4, Moser had side-to-side contact with traffic. While he was able to continue on, the other driver ended up in the gravel and a full-course yellow came out.

At the restart on lap 12 it was Steyn out front followed by Moser, Max Gee, Llibre, and Greg Maloy rounding out the top five positions. Even though Steyn’s previous lead was erased during the yellow session, he got a magnificent restart — partly because there was lapped traffic between himself and Moser when the green flag flew again.

Steyn — who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida — stormed away to what became a margin of victory just slightly more than 16 seconds. That’s Steyn’s third Runoffs victory, and he’s also earned SCCA Super Sweep honors. Known as the most difficult title an SCCA driver can achieve, drivers must win the Runoffs, a Hoosier Super Tour point title, and a U.S. Majors Tour Conference championship — all in the same class in the same season — to earn the honor.

“Normally, I love the rain. But nobody has run any rain laps at Indy, and I’ve never run any rain laps in this car either. It was all an unknown,” said Steyn, whose winning car had trouble starting a mere 15 minutes before it needed to be on grid. “Moser started closing in the middle of the race … so I started pushing the braking zones a little bit deeper. It very much was a controlled race.”

After the on-track contact, Moser’s car didn’t perform entirely the same. Gee, in the No. 22 Carbotech/Hoosier Honda Prelude, hung on to Moser’s bumper the rest of the race, but couldn’t quite get the job done. So, Moser held on for a runner-up finish, marking his sixth podium appearance at SCCA’s National Championship.

“I was struggling with everything out there. Visibility was bad,” Moser said. “The car was getting pretty good when I was catching Danny. But I got a little damage, and the car was toed-in after that. Then, the car was a real handful.”

Just 0.907s behind Moser was third-place finisher Gee from Lucas, Ohio. This is Gee’s second Runoffs podium.

“It was a little slippery for sure,” Gee admitted. “None of us, I don’t think, had any idea what this track was like in the wet coming in. So, that really evened everything out.”

Maloy, in the No. 38 Autosport Honda CRX, finished fourth; and Taz Harvey, driving the No. 8 Honda/Hoosier Acura Integra Type R, managed to grab the fifth finishing spot after passing the No. 57 Auto Business Inc/Slim Chance Mazda MX-5 of Chuck Hines in the final corner on the last lap. The Sunoco Hard Charger award went to Jaden Lander for starting at the back of the field and fighting all the way up to 15th place.

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

RESULTS:

1, (1), Danny Steyn, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Mazda MX-5, 18.

2, (2), Joe Moser, Wilmette, IL, Honda CRX Si, 18.

3, (6), Max Gee, Lucas, OH, Honda Prelude, 18.

4, (3), Greg Maloy, Oak Park, MI, Honda CRX, 18.

5, (5), Taz Harvey, Danville, CA, Acura Integra Type R, 18.

6, (14), Chuck Hines, Cameron, NC, Mazda MX-5, 18.

7, (9), Stephen Johnson, Leawood, KS, Mazda Miata, 18.

8, (4), Jimmy Llibre, Santo Domingo, , Honda Civic, 18.

9, (17), Tom van Veen, Bellingham, WA, Honda Civic CX HB, 18.

10, (16), Amy Mills, Bellevue, WA, Mazda Miata, 18.

11, (12), Mike Taylor, Cumming, GA, Honda Civic, 18.

12, (21), Denny Stripling, McKinney, TX, Scion FR-S, 18.

13, (15), Jake Anton, Bellevue, NE, Mazda Miata, 18.

14, (13), Gonzalo Aponte, St. Cloud, FL, Honda Civic, 18.

15, (44), Jaden Lander, New York, NY, Mazda MX-5, 18.

16, (20), Christopher Childs, Purcellville, VA, Mazda Miata, 18.

17, (10), Nathan Pope, Fremont, CA, Honda Prelude, 18.

18, (11), Joe Smith, Wakarusa, KS, Mazda Miata, 18.

19, (28), William Snyder, Southlake, TX, Mazda MX-5 Spec NC, 18.

20, (23), Sean Duncan, Kalamazoo, MI, Honda Civic VX, 18.

21, (19), Scott Bettinger, Haysville, KS, Mazda Miata, 18.

22, (31), Alan Stubblefield, Tomball, TX, Mazda Miata, 18.

23, (36), Marshall Stocker, Hanover, MA, Mazda Miata, 18.

24, (32), Dan Harding, Dover, OH, Mazda Miata, 18.

25, (24), Hugh McHaffie, Boca Raton, FL, Mazda MX-5, 18.

26, (22), Thomas Lamb, Kalamazoo, MI, Honda CRX Si STL, 17.

27, (35), Edward Eckart, Geneva, OH, Mazda Miata, 17.

28, (42), Nicholas Olivier, Portland, OR, Mazda Miata, 17.

29, (41), Maxwell Kittleson, Brookfield, WI, Ford Focus SVT, 16.

30, (38), David LeCren, Ramona, CA, Mazda RX-8, 16.

31, (29), Stephen Jeu, Houston, TX, Honda Civic, 16.

32, (40), Tim DeRonne, Beverly Hills, MI, Pontiac Solstice, 16.

33, (25), Pedro Colon, San Juan, PR, Acura Integra, 14.

34, (26), Austin Hilliard, Greenville, SC, Honda S2000, 12.

DNF, (39), David McPherson, Ravenel, SC, Mazda Miata, 7.

DNF, (18), Ken Haughwout, Canton, GA, Honda Civic HB, 6.

DNF, (8), William Knight, Tulsa, OK, Mazda MX-5, 2.

DNF, (7), David Palfenier, Miami, FL, Mazda MX-5 RF, 0.

DNS, (27), David Zink, Corona, CA, Mazda RX-8, 0.

DNS, (30), Kristina Etherington, Henderson, NV, Mazda RX-8, 0.

DNS, (33), Peter Davis, Dallas, TX, Acura Integra, 0.

DNS, (34), William Keeling, Houston, TX, Mazda Miata, 0.

DNS, (37), Whitfield Gregg, Bellevue, WA, Mazda Miata, 0.

DNS, (43), Daniel Schaut, Wausau, WI, Mazda Miata, 0.

Race Stats
Length of Race: 47 Miles
Overall Time of Race: 40:17.526 (avg. 69.477 mph)
Margin of Victory: 16.781 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: 2:02.711 (76.042 mph)
Lap Leaders: #74-lap 1, #9-laps 2-18
Sunoco Hard Charger: #04 Jaden Lander