Hoosier Super Tour Saturday at The Glen has Curb Enthusiasm, a Prowling Coyote, and Livery Lookalikes

Penultimate on the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour (HST) 10-event schedule for 2024, the May 31-June 2 visit to Watkins Glen International (WGI) is hosted by SCCA’s Finger Lakes Region in the western portion of New York at the southern tip of Seneca Lake.

It’s an incredible destination with a long and legendary 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit for those who love #funwithcars. Saturday morning saw a few 25-minute qualifying sessions to get things started, followed by 25-minute contests for each of the eight run groups under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80-degree range.

Curb Enthusiasm

WGI announced earlier this year that a few changes were made to the track, which set social media and the internet ablaze with thoughts and opinions.

A video featuring Luke Schock, WGI’s Senior Manager of Facilities and Operations, discusses some of those changes. First, a safer barrier was installed at the exit of turn one. A pavement improvement was also made there, as well as the addition of rumble strips to warn drivers it’s time to merge back onto the primary racing surface before turn two.

What piqued the interest of many were changes made to what is referred to as the Inner Loop or Bus Stop. There, 2.5-inch high steel curbs (or kerbs if you’re from Europe) were added at the opening corner. The light-blue guardrail was also extended a bit and moved back from the apex. A couple raised, concrete pads also now sit between the guardrail and curbs to further deter drivers from shortcutting corner entry.

Visually, the Bus Stop/Inner Loop entry looks different to most drivers. Beyond that, perceptions of the change are as varied as driving styles. Some competitors felt there was no difference from previous years, some recognized the difference but didn’t feel it slowed them down at all, and other racers found the new curbing to have a substantial impact on their racing line.

John Heinricy was racing at The Glen before the Inner Loop/Bus Stop even existed at the circuit. He has run more laps and races there than he can even begin to count, and is competing this weekend in the Touring 2 (T2) field.

“The curb there at the entry, when you come up to it, looks really intimidating. There are some real sharp angles there,” Heinricy said. “There is a big hump, which is quite a shocker. Driving my normal line through there, it was so abrupt that I actually pulled a muscle in the back of my neck.”

Being the consummate driver he is, Heinricy adapted admirably and took the T2 victory Saturday in the No. 35 Hoosier/Hawk/Mobil Cadillac CT4 Blackwing.

Coyote Still Prowling

The bulk of SCCA members became aware of Coyote Black in March 2020 when his tattooed visage appeared on the cover of SportsCar Magazine. A Formula 1 fan, Black began road racing in 2018 after building an Acura Integra E Production racecar mostly on his own.

“Nobody else in my family does this, nor a single friend,” Black said in the SportsCar article penned by Philip Royle. “I bought a car, and in three months I had it ready for an SCCA Driver’s School.

“I had never been on a racetrack before that Driver’s School,” Black’s quote continued in the article. “I’d never even been to an actual racetrack. I’d never owned a truck, and I’d never pulled a trailer.”

Nonetheless, he obtained his Competition License, won a Regional championship, and ended up winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year Award for Steel Cities Region and the Washington D.C. Region.

“I relentlessly persevered because I want to do this,” Black stated back then. “This whole journey shows that you can go from a regular guy with no experience, no background – and honestly, for the first year I had hardly any help other than people just at the track.”

Black is back with SCCA this weekend at WGI to compete in HST’s Touring 4 (T4) class, driving the lucky No. 13 Hawk/Mantis Piercing/Goodyear/Fermata/WDL Racing/Ram Mounts Mazda Miata. It’s the first time in two years Black has entered an HST event, but he now has help thanks to a dedicated circle of friends who make up the Mezzanine Motorsports squad.

The March 2020 SportsCar article noted that Black simply won’t quit, latching on to his passion for #funwithcars like a coyote’s jaw locks onto a meal. Turned out that was a Nostradamus-esque prediction.

Lookalike Liveries

Many SCCA members got hooked on motorsports at an early age. They grow up watching great drivers who sparked their passion and imagination over several decades. Some memorable racecars – with colorful and iconic liveries – have an equally passionate following, and homage to a few memorable designs could be seen at WGI this weekend.

Frank Schwartz, an SCCA member since 2008 who has become a sort of Pied Piper for B-Spec, is one of those people with a passion for livery history. He operates Grass Paddock Motorsports, which has a stable of 16 vehicles with designs mostly inspired by classic BMW racecars through the years.

One of Schwartz’ B-Spec Mini Coopers features a Frank Stella livery from the late 1970s and is currently on display in Greer, SC, at the BMW Museum. This weekend at The Glen, two more works of art prepared by Schwartz are on track in B-Spec. There is the No. 31 Mini Cooper driven by Jim Kelleher that carries a classic BMW Motorsports livery, and the No. 24 Appalachian Race Tire/AACS/Race Track Maps Mini Cooper driven by Schwartz himself that mimics a mid-‘70s Alexander Calder Art Car.

“The BMW Art Cars at Le Mans in the late ‘70s were imprinted on me at an early age,” said Schwartz, who grew up in Germany and has a background in art design. “Those cars were my ‘jam’ growing up, always.”

Another throwback livery this weekend at WGI is on the No. 2 Comprent/Mater Made/Meru Safety Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) Mazda driven by Marshall Stocker. An SCCA member since 2013, Stocker is in his first season of open-wheel competition driving a vehicle that looks like a Benetton PlayLife F1 car from the late 1990s.

For some time, that color scheme has been on the FE2 car that comes out of the Comprent Motor Sports camp. Stocker has no specific emotional ties to the design, but he is aware of the livery’s historical relevance and admits it generates a reaction difficult to describe.

“It makes me feel like I’m stepping into a serious team and a serious car,” Stocker explained. “It’s a car that for all practical matters looks world-class … and it really makes for a more rewarding experience for me.”

These looks from the past had some success in the present on Saturday at WGI. Schwartz won the B-Spec contest by 0.732sec over reigning B-Spec National Champion Richard Hromin, and Kelleher finished ninth. In FE2, Stocker finished a respectable seventh.

Racing Continues Sunday

The fun ain’t done yet at The Glen as there’s a second day of Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour competition that commences at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday. Drivers across all eight run groups will each have 15-lap or 35-minutes races to claim trophies and bragging rights.

Follow all the wheel-to-wheel excitement live, online thanks to HST’s broadcast produced by DriversEye Live and anchored by announcers Gregg Ginsberg and Larry MacLeod. Coverage is streamed via the SCCA Official YouTube channel and SCCA Road Racing Facebook page. Sunday victory podium celebrations can also be viewed at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page.

As always, live Timing & Scoring will be found throughout the weekend at scca.com/live.

Saturday Race Winners

Below are provisional race winners from Saturday’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Watkins Glen International with Class: Name, Hometown and Car.
American Sedan®: Daniel Richardson; Derwood, MD; Chevrolet Camaro
B-Spec: Frank Schwartz; Davisburg, MI; Mini Cooper
E Production: John Hainsworth; Vineland, NJ; Mazda RX-7
F Production: Charlie Campbell; Corry, PA; Mazda Miata
H Production: Vincent LaManna; Ontario, NY; Volkswagen Rabbit
Formula 600: Keith Joslyn; Grand Island, NY; Scorpion Rotax
Formula Atlantic®:
R. Bruce Hamilton; Monkton, MD; Swift 014 MZR
Formula Continental®: Don Betterly; McAdoo, PA; RFR
Formula Enterprises®2: Charles Russell Turner; Montpelier, VA; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Theodore Burns; Fitchburg, WI; Piper DF05
Formula Vee®: Alex Scaler; Asbury, NJ; Scaler Mk1
GT-1: David Pintaric; Canfield, OH; Ford Mustang
GT-2: Lou Gigliotti; Princeton, TX; Chevrolet Corvette Z06
GT-3: Ken Nelson; Novi, MI; Nissan 200SX
GT-Lite: Graham Fuller; Summit Point, WV; Toyota Tercel
GT-X: Rocky T Bolduc; Hudson, NH; Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Spec Miata: Elivan Goulart; Shelton, CT; Mazda Miata
Spec MX-5: Camden Gruber; Winchester, VA; Mazda MX-5
Spec Racer® Ford Gen3: Bobby Sak; Bloomfield Hills, MI; SCCA Enterprises SRF3
Prototype 1: Matthew Romer; Lake Havasu City, AZ; Elan DP02
Super Touring® Lite: Craig McHaffie; Walpole, MA; Mazda MX-5
Super Touring® Under: Darin Treakle; Marshall, VA; BMW 325
Touring 1: Murat Mark Ketenci; Strafford, NH; BMW M3
Touring 2: John Heinricy; Clarkston, MI; Cadillac CT4 Blackwing
Touring 3: Marshall Mast; Denver, PA; Pontiac Solstice
Touring 4: Marc Cefalo; Swoyersville, PA; Mazda MX-5

Photo: Spec Miata drivers attack new Inner Loop curbs at Watkins Glen International during the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour weekend.

Photo by Jeff Loewe