Activities around the 60th running of SCCA’s National Championship Runoffs® take place all this week, Sept. 23-Oct. 1 to be exact, at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) located in Alton, VA, right along the state’s southern border with North Carolina.
Just like last year, VIR’s 18-turn, 3.27-mile Full Course racing circuit will be the layout for competition all week. That configuration, a favorite amongst many sportscar drivers, includes a front straightaway that is 3,000 feet long, and a 4,000-foot back stretch that leads to the circuit’s tricky Roller Coaster portion. The track, with 130 feet of elevation change, also includes challenging sections such as the Climbing Esses, Oak Tree Curve, Hog Pen, and Snake.
As Monday is the last ‘test’ day on course, what follows over the next three days is qualifying. Each of 24 car classes will have 20-minute sessions on track beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to discover Tire Rack Pole Award winners and set race grids. Drivers in the Spec MX-5 Challenge series, which is a demonstration class holding its championship during the Runoffs, will have one qualifying session on Thursday, too.
Qualifying is followed by three Hagerty Race Days – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – where an SCCA® National Champion emerges in each class following a 15-lap or 40-minute winner-take-all battle. Spec MX-5 Challenge will have two races, one Saturday morning and the other late Sunday afternoon, to decide the champion of that series.
For a rundown of on-track activities, click the button below to access the current event schedule.
Festivities for Monday Evening
As is the case at SCCA National Championship events, there’s lots more going on than just racing. The social scene gets rolling Monday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time with a Food Truck Rally taking place on VIR’s property at the Pavilion. Everyone is invited to attend that gathering, which will include free beverages. The Pavilion is located just north of the Grass Paddock near Vendor Row, which you can find by clicking on the Runoffs Facility Map link below. And don’t forget to bring along some cash for purchases from food truck vendors.
VIR’s Full Course will also be open for walking at 6 p.m. local time after the last test session ends – that offers an opportunity for drivers and fans alike to get a better perspective on the circuit, and get a little exercise before chowing down at the party. Please note that cars, trucks, ATVs, side‐by‐side vehicles, scooters, and two‐wheeled motorized vehicles are NOT permitted on course during the open walk period. Golf carts, team tuggers, pedal bicycles, and ADA Mobility Devices are allowed, but can only travel at a normal walking speed.
Tracking Runoffs Action All Week
The best way to enjoy the Runoffs is to be at VIR in person, and ticket prices are very reasonable for a motorsports event of this size. An all-event pass, which is good Sept. 22-Oct. 1, is only $70 at the entry gate, and includes parking and paddock access. Or if you’re an SCCA member, go to your Member Account Portal (MAP) at my.scca.com and purchase an all-event pass online through member benefits that includes a 20-percent discount.
Single-day admission is only $20 for qualifying on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as Thursday’s Tire Rack Pole Day. Hagerty Race Day tickets start at $35 per day, and military veterans receive a 50-percent discount. Active members of the military will receive free entry with valid documentation, and children 12 years old or younger are also admitted free with a paying adult.
Learn more at the VIR Runoffs ticket webpage.
Those who can’t be trackside for qualifying can follow along online at the Runoffs Live Timing/Scoring webpage where you’ll find an audio-only qualifying broadcast, as well as current and archived Timing/Scoring data from all on-track sessions. That’s the same audio broadcast that will be heard around VIR on the public address system.
Hagerty Race Days will again include a multi-camera video broadcast, presented by Mazda, delivered directly to smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, or desktops and laptops around the globe. Catch all the Runoffs racing action anywhere with internet access as it happens live. Find the live race action Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in real time at SCCA.com, or at the SCCA Inc. Facebook page and the SCCA Official YouTube channel – links for which you’ll find below.
A four-man team familiar to fans will again anchor the video broadcast, and split duties across Hagerty Race Days. Greg Creamer and John Fippin will share play-by-play responsibilities, and color commentary will be added by Larry “Lefty” MacLeod and Tom O’Gorman. Heyward Wagner will add insight from grid and pit lane, as well as capture the emotion from competitors immediately after races. For those attending the VIR Runoffs in person, audio from the broadcast will air live around the circuit via the public address system.
In addition to live race coverage, Brian Bielanski and Gregg Ginsberg will be joined in 2023 by driver Laurin Brallier for a return of the Runoffs “Inside the SCCA" video podcast presented by Goodyear. On Hagerty Race Days, the trio will get things cranking with a live “Breakfast at the Runoffs” video presentation starting around 7 a.m. Eastern Time before cars head on course. Their coverage then picks up again during daily lunch breaks with the “Halftime Show.” Those presentations will later be archived at The Racing Network YouTube page.
Notable Days to Come
Certainly, the Runoffs as a whole is a special challenge all its own. Within the Runoffs, however, there are some days of note. For starters, you’ve got Sunoco 260 Tuesday, where drivers can win 15 gallons of Sunoco race fuel for their car. Then there’s Hawk Brake-Through Performer Wednesday, where drivers making the biggest improvement in each class earn a set of Hawk brake pads for race cars, tow rigs, or street cars.
Qualifying then wraps up Thursday with Tire Rack Pole Day, after which polesitters receive some sweet swag and $500 to spend at Tire Rack. After that, there are three Hagerty Race Days, where 24 newly crowned SCCA National Champions will spray Mazza Sparkling Wine, the Official Sparkling Wine of SCCA’s National Championship Runoffs.
Sunoco, Hawk, Tire Rack, and Hagerty don’t only support drivers. These great partners also provide lunch for the hundreds of SCCA volunteers who come out to make the Runoffs happen by staffing registration, grid, corners, timing and scoring, and everything else. So, heartfelt thanks go out to all the volunteers, and SCCA’s partners that support them.
Photo: The sun is rising on another SCCA National Championship Runoffs at VIRginia International Raceway