SCCA Runoffs return to Daytona after 46 years
Photos and story by Larry VanScoy
On Sept 25-27, T2015 the SCCA national runoffs returned to Daytona after a 46 year absence. The 1969 the runoffs were called the American Road Race of Champions (ARRC).
Jerry Thompson won the A/P Championship in his Owens Corning # 7 Corvette. See video. https://www.dropbox.com/s/9qcwyvq60j3szcv/RCRC-Video-931.mp4?dl=0 Allan Barker won the B/P Championship in his V.V. Cook # 80 Corvette in a combined A/P & B/P race of 28 production sports cars that back then included 289 & 427 Cobras, a 904 Porsche and a 911 Porsche.
The SCCA classifies Corvette race cars today in GT1 (tube frame chassis & silhouette bodies); and in GT2, T1 and T2, production cars that have power and weight differences among them.
GT-1 had 5 Corvettes in 11 car field
Five-time winner John Heinricy # 97 Corvette was a would-be contender in the much anticipated GT-1 race against Stewart Bachmann # 68 Camaro and Michael Lewis # 12 Jaguar XJR (Mustang bodied) but suffered driveline problems in practice that could not be repaired in time for the race.
Kyle Kelley, last year’s GT1 winner at Laguna Seca hauled his # 3 Corvette cross country but unfortunately also failed to make the start.
Paige Alexander in her recently acquired 50th anniversary painted # 28 Corvette was out on lap 2 because of a mechanical failure.
Raymond Webb’s #09 Corvette (looks like an Ex Flis racing Grand Am C5 with ACP body) made its way from 9th up to 4th chasing Lewis who led start-to-finish.
GT-2 had 5 Corvettes in 23 car field
John Yarosz # 33 Corvette and Jerry Onks # 96 Corvette had the best duel of the race finishing 7th & 8th just .205 seconds apart after 14 laps.
Overall winner was the #85 Porsche 911 Carerra of John Kachadurian who passed the # 118 Mustang of Robert Kennedy on the last lap followed by four more Porsches.
T1 had 4 Corvettes in 12 car field
Joesph Gaudette in his # 86 2002 Corvette Z06 was chasing down 2 Mustangs and finished fourth.
David Sanders # 77 2003 (ex-Heinricy winning car) had a very close race with a Dodge Viper ACR-X and finished 6th.
Joe Aquilante in his # 32 2007 C6 finished 11th, a lap down behind the # 152 2006 Corvette of John Buttermore 10th.
Andrew Aquilante, Joe’s son won the race in his # 36 Mustang 302. Andrew won the GT2 class in a Corvette last year.
T2 had 7 Corvettes in 17 car field
Bill Collins # 63 2004 Z06 and John Buttermore# 152 2006 C6 both posted laps times below the track record but still finished 5th and 7th behind the winning Mustang of Kurt Rezzelano and a BMW M3 and a Porsche 997.
Natha Waldbaum # 05 2002 Z06, John Shannon # 9 2001 Z06 (in another ex Heinricy winner), Carl Fung # 88 2004 and Christopher Qualls # 173 1999 qualified closely among one another and finished 11th thru 14th respectively.
Concluding note: Phoenix Performance headed by Joe Aquilante prepared 9 of the Corvettes and Mustangs out of 52 (17% or more than 1 out of 6) entries in GT2, T1 & T2 races.