Sunday Hoosier Super Tour at The Glen: Nürburgring Practice, Race 310, One Super Starter

The penultimate Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour (HST) event for 2024 has come to a close. The May 31-June 2 visit to Watkins Glen International (WGI) saw drivers take on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn layout that included both The Boot and Inner Loop portions of the circuit.

An event hosted by SCCA’s Finger Lakes Region, Sunday featured 35-minute or 15-lap races throughout the day in the western portion of New York at the southern tip of Seneca Lake. Weather for the weekend was generally outstanding, with overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 70-degree range most of Sunday. Nearly all eight run groups completed contests in the dry, except for the final race that experienced very light sprinkles midway through the event.

Nürburgring Warmup

Two Spec Racer® Ford Gen3 (SRF3) competitors at this weekend’s HST were traversing WGI’s 3.4-mile, 11-turn layout as a sort of warmup for a European getaway later this year where they’ll face an even more daunting circuit: the Nürburgring.

Those drivers were Denny Stripling, in the No. 4 Lightspeed Motorsports machine, and Judson Holt, in the No. 188 Lupe Tortilla car. For that duo, this will actually be their second go at the mammoth circuit found in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate region, having competed in their first endurance race there just about one year ago as half of a four-man team.

That first adventure started with submission of racing resumes to the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States, which is better known as ACCUS and serves as the National Sporting Authority of the Federation Internationale de l'Autombile (FIA). After securing an FIA competition license through ACCUS, the four racers still had to get a special permit to compete at the Nürburgring. That permit was issued after intensive, on-track sessions in a factory-built BMW M240iR the men rented for the race.

It boggles the mind to think about tackling a track longer than 16 miles with more than 150 corners. Stripling said he watched a few hours of in-car video to prepare, but mostly relied on experience gained over 30 years racing with SCCA at 65 different track layouts in North America.

Considering a Nürburgring race lap took Stripling nearly 10 minutes to complete as compared to the 2:04.36 SRF3 lap record at WGI, does The Glen really share any characteristics with a German track nicknamed The Green Hell?

“There are things as different as can possibly be, and there are a couple things that are similar,” Stripling said. “There are very high-speed, very high-consequence corners at both racetracks. The biggest difference is that Watkins Glen is incredibly smooth with a very consistent surface, and there’s positive camber everywhere. The Nürburgring is the complete opposite of that.”

The four men did well in last year’s six-hour event. They brought the BMW M240iR home fourth in class, and 60th overall in the 110-car field.

“It was quite simply one of the coolest things I've ever had the opportunity to do,” Stripling said. “It is a unique challenge, and there is no other challenge on the planet that even comes close.”

Stripling did well this past weekend at WGI, finishing fourth in Saturday’s race and second on Sunday. Holt finished 13th both Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday SRF3 race was won by Bobby Sak in the No. 9 Elite Autosport/Engineered Heat Treat car. Sunday’s SRF3 race winner was Charles Russell Turner in the No. 123 PCS sled.

Logbook No. 4

The movie 300 is Hollywood’s take on the Battle of Thermopylae. That was a bloody, vicious struggle in 480 B.C. between Spartans and the Persian Empire; with all the combatants being tan, shirtless, and super buff according to Tinseltown.

An entirely different but equally fierce ‘300’ warrior was at WGI this weekend fighting HST battles. That was the No. 32 PixMix Video Services Van Diemen RF ‘92 driven by Raymond Boyer in the Formula F (FF) class.

Plenty of laps around The Glen has Boyer’s car seen, with an actual Ford engine powering the sled. The car came into HST WGI competition seeking its 13th entry in its fourth logbook. With 99 entries per logbook, the weekend’s WGI HST appearance made for the car’s 310th SCCA race.

Boyer, an SCCA member since 1988, imported the car directly from England in the late ‘90s. The vehicle competed in the 1996 Formula Ford Festival, driven by Allan Kelley. But why buy a racecar in England and have it shipped across the Atlantic Ocean? Surely there were plenty of other Formula F chassis to choose from in the U.S.

“Back in the late ‘80s the car to beat was the Swift, which is a very narrow car,” Boyer said. “I tried to fit in the Swift, and I just couldn’t fit.”

After trying on a Van Diemen for size at Lime Rock Park, Boyer decided that was the car for him. The problem was no such cars were available for sale in the U.S. Luckily, Boyer picked up an issue of Autosport Magazine, which lo and behold contained a classified ad for the exact type of car he wanted. The rest is history for Boyer and his Van Diemen – a perfect match indeed.

“We may not be the fastest car out there, but we are still having fun,” Boyer said.

The fastest FF car this past weekend at The Glen was the No. 8 Kellymoss Inc. Piper DF05 driven by Theodore Burns. He managed to win both the Saturday and Sunday FF races.

One More Year

The start stand at Road America is one of the easiest to access. Just walk out a glass door, waltz across a walkway, and there you are. Getting to the start stand at WGI is trickier. It’s an 85-degree angle climb up a skinny, steel ladder with a dozen slim rungs to navigate.

Phil Henderson has been making that climb for 64 years. An SCCA member since 1960, he was at his post again this past weekend to get things started during HST races. At 89 years old, he’s an experienced starter for sure.

Over more than six decades with SCCA, Henderson has enjoyed a wide array of activities. He’s been a driver, grid worker, Western New York Region Executive, and even served on SCCA’s Board of Directors. In fact, time with the BoD is something special to Henderson as that was when Sports Renault became an SCCA Road Racing car class – which has evolved into today’s very popular and well-populated Spec Racer Ford Gen3 field. Henderson was also a member of the BoD when SCCA Hall of Famer Nick Craw was hired as the Club’s President.

Obviously, flagging on the start stand has long been a huge part of Henderson’s #funwithcars. He has been completely content slipping on a long-sleeved shirt, lathering up with sunscreen, strapping on a headset, and being prepared for inclement weather atop a stand with no overhead cover.

“I’ve just been having too much fun,” a jovial Henderson said with a chuckle. “This is what I do … and I’m still doing pretty good.”

In 2025, Henderson is thinking about stepping down from the start stand for good. He’ll be 90 years old with 60 years of starter experience to his credit, and both of those are nice round numbers that serve as fabulous milestones. That means drivers and fans thankfully have one more year to give Henderson a salute as they pass by WGI’s start/finish line.

Even though the WGI start stand will never be the same without Henderson, his exit doesn’t mean he’s leaving the Club.

“If somebody needs me for something, I’ll be there,” he said. “I enjoy this immensely.”

Sunday Race Winners

Below are provisional race winners from Sunday’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Watkins Glen International with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. An asterisk (*) denotes drivers with a weekend sweep in the class.
*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®:
Charles Livingston; St Louis, MO; JDR F1000
Formula Continental®: Glenn Cordova; Effort, PA; Van Diemen RF99
Formula Enterprises®2: Jason Conzo; Great River, NY; 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: Barry Boes; Amery, WI; Ford Mustang
*GT-3: Ken Nelson; Novi, MI; Nissan 200SX
*GT-Lite: Graham Fuller; Summit Point, WV; Toyota Tercel
*GT-X: Rocky Tommy Bolduc; Hudson, NH; Lamborghini Super Trofeo
*Spec Miata: Elivan Goulart; Shelton, CT; Mazda Miata
Spec MX-5: Noah Harmon; Orlando, FL; Mazda MX-5
Spec Racer® Ford Gen3: Charles Russell Turner; Montpelier, VA; SCCA Enterprises SRF3
Prototype 1: Todd Vanacore; Ormond Beach, FL; 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

69th June Sprints Up Next

Only one Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour stop remains on the 2024 schedule, and that’s the WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints® taking place June 21-23 near Elkhart Lake, WI, at Road America.

Whether you’re a competitor or spectator, this year’s June Sprints can’t be missed. The entry list is right around 530 entries, which is to be expected as Road America is where the 2024 SCCA Runoffs® takes place in October. So, every single driver is looking at the June Sprints as a way to also prepare for victory at SCCA’s winner-take-all National Championship.

Watch the June Sprints in real-time online thanks to the free Hoosier Super Tour broadcast produced by DriversEye Live. Announcers Brian Bielanski and Gregg Ginsberg will anchor the presentation. Coverage will be streamed via the SCCA Official YouTube channel and can also be accessed via the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page. Sunday victory podium celebration videos will also be broadcast live and archived at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page.

Photo: Longtime starter Phil Henderson gets a race going at Watkins Glen International during the Hoosier Super Tour weekend.

Photo by Jeff Loewe