In the first SCCA National Championship Runoffs since Honda Racing/Honda Performance Development [HPD] announced the Honda Racing Line program of support for grassroots racers, Honda and Acura drivers won five of a possible seven titles this past weekend at the famed Road America circuit in central Wisconsin.
Bob Boileau highlighted a weekend of outstanding performances by Honda and Acura drivers at the Runoffs, winning the Touring 3 race Saturday in his Team Honda Research-entered Honda S2000. It was Boileau's first SCCA title as the second-generation racer from Colorado builds on the successes of his father, also named Bob, who raced Honda Civics in SCCA competition in the 1970s and ‘80s.
In addition to Boileau's victory in his Honda Racing/HPD-supported S2000, Jim Dentici led a 1-2 Honda finish in the GT Lite race on Friday in his JTM/Ragland Racing Honda CRX, with teammate Chris Bovis finishing second, also piloting a Honda CRX. On Sunday, Dan Meller posted a dominating performance in the H Production race, starting from the pole and leading every lap en route to his first national championship in his Core Consulting Honda CRX.
Acura was well represented with championships in two classes. Joel Lipperini qualified his RaceLabz Acura Integra GS-R on the pole in the Showroom Stock C race and went on to win his third national championship. Mark Carpenter's championship, in F Production, was the first for the North Carolina driver and his GGS Racing team.
Defending Showroom Stock B Champion Lee Niffenegger finished second this year, once again driving his Team Honda Research Honda Civic Si. Heavy rain fell just as the final race of the weekend, E Production, got underway on Sunday afternoon, but John Schmidt managed to move from 12th on the grid to a very close fourth at the finish in his Schmidt Racing Honda Prelude Si.
Each year, racers from across the country compete in 70 SCCA "Nationals", to qualify for one last, winner-take-all event in each of 25 classes: the National Championship "Runoffs". Previous Runoffs champions include Bobby Rahal, Skip Barber, Paul Newman, Doug Peterson and Jimmy Vasser. Other Runoffs competitors through the years have included Michael Andretti, Parker Johnstone, and current Acura America Le Mans Series racer Scott Sharp.
More than 600 drivers participated at this year's Runoffs, the first to be held at the historic, four-mile Road America circuit, located 60 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Thirty seven were Honda and Acura drivers, competing in seven of the 25 classes.
Several Honda Fit engines, as proposed for inclusion in the FF class of open-wheel racers, were displayed outside the Honda Racing/HPD Hospitality Center in the Road America paddock. The display included the prototype Swift DB-1/Honda, an engine installed in a new Citation FF chassis, and a third 1.5-liter Fit FF race engine that has been used for durability testing on HPD's transitional dynamometers at the company's Santa Clarita, California, headquarters.
Through its Honda Racing Line program, Honda Racing/HPD provides support and incentive programs to Honda and Acura racers competing at the SCCA Runoffs and in other forms of grassroots motorsports competition. Additional details on the Honda Racing Line can be found at http://racing.honda.com/hpd.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda's racing company within North America. Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for Honda and Acura's high-performance racing cars and engines. In addition to the new Grassroots Motorsports Initiative, HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and competes in prototype sports car racing under the Acura banner in the American Le Mans Series.
2009 Honda and Acura SCCA Runoffs National Champions:
Touring 3: Bob Boileau, Monument, CO, Honda Team Research Honda S2000
GT Light: Jim Dentici, Oconomowoc, WI, JDM/Ragland Racing Honda CRX
Showroom Stock C: Joel Lipperini, Pittston, PA, RaceLabz Acura Integra GS-R
F Production: Mark Carpenter, Charlotte, NC, GGS Racing Acura Integra
H Production: Dan Meller, Milwaukee, WI, Core Consulting Honda CRX