DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2014) – Cliff White, of Huntsville, Alabama, notched the win in Spec Racer Ford by a nose at the line in the 52nd SCCA Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB at Daytona International Speedway. Denny Stripling, of McKinney, Texas, finished second and Lee McNeish, of Southbury, Connecticut, completed the podium.
White, in the No. 58 Valvoline/Prism/The Cottages SRF, started on the Tire Rack pole and held the lead into the first turn. During the opening-lap dash for position, Stripling found his way to the rear deck of White from the fifth spot on the grid. From there, the two drivers proceeded to check out from the rest of the field. En route to the win, White led every lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile course. That included holding his position through the lap-three restart, which was the result of contact that left two cars stranded in Turn Five.
“Our plan was to try to jump to an early lead,” White said. “Things are ever-changing here at Daytona. So, phase one was to break away from the field and hope that Denny [Stripling] got swallowed into a passing battle on the infield. I think we were right on the cusp of that working, but then the full-course yellow came out. Then, the strategy changed to making this a two-car race and see what happens on lap 14.
“Our week was set during the first qualifying session on Monday. We brought both generations of SRF cars, which qualified during the same session. We figured we were never going to be faster than our morning session. Our whole strategy rested on being able to qualify both cars during the same session, and it worked.”
Following the opening lap, Stripling, in the No. 5 SEI Motorsports/Lightspeed SRF, kept the pressure on while by staying closely behind the lead driver. Despite taking the lead from White for a moment on lap six and on the last lap, Stripling was unable to score an official lap led at the line.
“In qualifying, I worked with David Donovan and we were able to do pretty well getting toward the top of the grid,” Stripling said. “Heading into the race, the whole plan was to not let Cliff [White] get away. My car had been so good on the infield. I had to see if I could get up to White’s purple people eater, as I like to call it. That is with all respect since both the car and driver are so fast.
“We were gridding in the middle of the guys from the Northeast, so I figured I would just try to hook up with Cliff [White] early. I did that, and he played the game well. He pulled it out and backed off, when he needed. I was trying to figure out which card I needed to play on the final lap, and played it. It was the wrong one as I led the wrong 150 feet, and that’s how it played out.”
McNeish, in the No. 122 SRF, had the third position on lockdown after taking the spot during lap eight. From the halfway point of the race, McNeish ran into problems trying to get someone to work the draft with him in order to challenge the lead draft tandem.
“We were fairly close in to the lead pack early on,” McNeish said. “I don’t think the leaders had started to push that hard, yet. But, then my drafting partner began to slow a bit. I kept holding back, but then figured I couldn’t do that any longer. So, I was isolated for a while. Even with a partner, I don’t know if I could have caught them, but we would have been closer. The top two had them covered; we were close but just not enough.
“This is my first Runoffs, but I’ve run with a bunch of these guys in the Northeast. I worked with those guys through the practice days and we had a plan to stick together in the race. If you don’t have someone to work with here, you’re done.”
Robert Reed, in the No. 3 IceRacing.com SRF, and Derek Schofield, in the No. 9 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford, finished fourth and fifth, respectively, following a final push for position among five drivers.
Reid Johnson, in the No. 78 SRF, was named the Sunoco Hard Charger after starting 39th and finishing 23rd.
The 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowned Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27.
While the live broadcast of all 27 National Championship were available live at SCCA.com, each race will be on demand in the coming weeks.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Provisional results for Sunday’s SCCA Spec Racer Ford National Championship at the 52nd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Daytona International Speedway, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.
1, (1), Cliff White, Huntsville, AL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
2, (5), Denny Stripling, McKinney, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
3, (2), Lee McNeish, Southbury, CT, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
4, (8), Robert Reed, Winchester, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
5, (12), Derek Schofield, Lakeland, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
6, (21), Jacob Pipal, Oakdale, CA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
7, (10), Bruce Myers, Greenland, NH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
8, (3), Herb Sweeney IV, Arlington, MA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
9, (6), Richard Baldwin, Madisonville, LA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
10, (17), John Annis, Tampa, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
11, (25), Justin Weir, Johns Island, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
12, (19), Grayson Strathman, Topeka, KS, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
13, (22), Quinten Nelson, Newark, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
14, (23), Eric Vassian, Atlanta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
15, (20), Clay Sylvester, League City, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
16, (31), Thomas Riley, New Fairfield, CT, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
17, (28), Bill Ladoniczki, Odessa, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
18, (11), Chris Current, Silver Spring, MD, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
19, (16), Joseph Wolf, East Nassau, NY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
20, (27), David Schaal, Saint Paul, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
21, (18), Whitney Strickland, Houston, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
22, (29), Steve Ladoniczki, Palm Harbor, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
23, (39), Reid Johnson, Hamel, MN, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
24, (30), David Livingston, Gainsville, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
25, (34), Kurt Breitinger, Martinez, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
26, (35), David Knoche, Greensboro, NC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
27, (32), Kenneth Reilly, New Canaan, CT, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
28, (38), Gytisha Strickland, Houston, TX, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
29, (7), Daniel McBreen, Atlanta, GA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
30, (37), Thomas Kirchman, Framingham, MA, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 14.
31, (4), David Donovan, Fort Lauderdale, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 13.
32, (33), William Douglas, Appleton, WI, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
33, (36), Jim Tibor, Cortland, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 12.
34, (24), David Auer, Hilton Head, SC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 11.
35, (26), Matthew Harper, Charlotte, NC, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 10.
36, (13), Scott Rettich, Columbus, OH, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 7.
37, (9), Jeff Lehner, Ballston Spa, NY, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 1.
38, (15), Neil Tilbor, New Smyrna Beach, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 1.
39, (14), Mick Robinson, Melbourne, FL, SCCA Spec Racer Ford, 0.
Overall Time of Race: 34:33.608
Average Race Speed: 86.527 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.048-second
Fastest Race Lap: Cliff White, 2:16.700 (93.753 mph)
Sunoco Hard Charger: #78, Reid Johnson
Lap Leaders: Lap 1-14, Cliff White
Image: Cliff White took home his second consecutive SCCA National Championship at the Runoffs Presented by Garmin VIRB at Daytona International Speedway.
Credit: Jay Bonvouloir