February 2019

SEASON OPENER MARCH 16-17, AT THUNDERHILL WILL START FIGHT FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2019

The quest for the top spot in each class Championship will begin in earnest in March on the 16th and 17th at Thunderhill Park. The two-day race weekend will follow a test day on Friday for all comers on the three-mile, fifteen-turn course.

The race weekend should be fun and fierce as the new season allows drivers to shake-off a winter of planning and thinking about what the first race of the season would be like. Top classes, including Spec Racer Fords and Spec Miatas expect full fields as do the Spec Mustang and IT classes. “This is real racing,” noted veteran driver David Vodden. “Not many people get to do this stuff and even fewer find victory lane and earn the #1 ranking at year end.”

The two-day format is expected to generate more entries as teams save time and money with the more efficient race schedules. The weekend offers Regional Races # 1 and 2. There are 15 total regional races that offer championship points ending with double points for the last three included in the three-day season championship final set for October 25th through the 27th.  Thirteen of the fifteen regional sanctioned races count towards the title point accumulation. Drivers can drop two races if they contend in all fifteen.

Sonoma Majors 2019, Runoffs Special SRF Edition, Wheelworks – Remembering Bob Corbitt, Thunderhill Report


January 2019

Wheelworks – Looking forward to 2019

by Blake Tatum

2019 will bring some changes to the San Francisco Region. First off, Reno Region is going to work with us a put on the very first time trail event. It will be part of the 2019 Tire Rack Time Trials National Tour and will be held April 13/14 at Thunderhill Raceway Park.  Tony Rodriguez has been appointed the chief of time trails with the region.  Tony has been the guy spearheading the time trials cause. He has been the man most responsible for getting the board to approve the event.  For those of you that do not know what a time trails event is, think AutoCross on a race track. For more information on a Time Trial event go to https://timetrials.scca.com.

Another change is we will have a Majors event at Sonoma and our first Super Tour Event.  This is a good news bad news situation.  The good news is we will have two events at Sonoma Raceway, which is a very popular track amongst our members.  Also the good news is we will have our first Super Tour event. For those that have not been to a Super Tour they offer a professional announce crew, sector timing, and a high level of competition. This will be a three day event with a test day associated with it.  The bad news is the Sonoma event will be very unique and will feature a Sunday/Monday schedule which obviously presents challenges for staffing and attendance.  The bad news component is that we will not have our highly successful Thunderhill Majors event which after several trying years has been one of our best events each year.

2019 will also see a Pro Formula USA Winter Series run at the Sonoma Majors Race.  Read about this and more in the January issue –>

Runoffs Report Special SFR Edition; People of the Runoffs; Notes from the Archive – Ferrari; SFR Solo Round 15


December 2018

2018 Fresno Solo Finale

With summer heat over, and the Big Fresno Fair in the past, Fresno SCCA returned to take over the asphalt at the fairgrounds one last time to close out the 2018 season. The weekend of November 10 and 11 saw autocrossers from across the valley (and beyond!) battle between the cones for a last chance to grab championship points.

In what’s become an annual tradition, Fresno SCCA opened its final weekend with a standard autocross Saturday, and closed with the popular enduro format, a multi-lap run autocross, on Sunday. Unfortunately for team Fresno, it’s becoming another tradition to see out-of-towners show them up on their home turf.

Read all about the event in the December issue of The Wheel –>

SFR Edition of Runoffs Results; Solo Rounds 15 & 16; Fresno Solo Season Finale; Pro Spec Racer Ford Race at COTA


November 2018

Season Ending Regionals 13 & 14

by Lynne Huntting

The SFR Season Finale was a three-day three race weekend and celebration at Thunderhill Raceway Park over the Labor Day holidays. It was SFR’s Double Regional 13 & 14 with double points on the 3-mile track, and the Spec Miata Festival and a fun race on the 5-mile course.

Saturday night was the dinner and Party for all honoring Tom McCarthy and celebrating the 25th Thunderhill Anniversary and the 70th SFR Anniversary. All that packed into just three days.

The Saturday night celebratory festivities were enjoyed by a large crowd in the Roger Eandi Club House. Dinner filled the room and the patio, with an ongoing slide show put together by the McCarthy family showing many photos of Tom, his family and Thunderhill. Son Terry McCarthy and RE Barbara McClellan emceed the program, which including celebrating the two anniversaries and Tom McCarthy.

Read the race recaps in the November issue –>

Regionals 13 & 14; SFR Solo II piggy backs on AAS race for Round 12; SFR Pre-Season Maintenance; Sacramento Solo Enduro; SFR at Sacramento Auto Show


October 2018

Hall of Fame Inductees 2018

The San Francisco Region Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the two latest inductees for the Class of 2018. Both will be inducted on Saturday night November 10 during the SFR Annual Awards Banquet at the San Ramon Marriott in San Ramon.

Dave Arken began his career with SFR as a gifted driver of several different cars winning many races, setting lap records and winning several championships. Not content with this he began teaching at at the annual SFR Drivers School.

He also was elected to the Region Board of Directors and went on to be a member of the Club Racing Board (CRB) helping to write the rules for SCCA.

Sterling Edwards was an early member of the San Francisco Region as it was just beginning. Like so many others he began as a driver, but later focused his activities as a race organizer. He held discussions with the President of Del Monte Properties in the summer of 1949 about having a race on some of the roads on Del Monte’s property. He became the Chairman for the Pebble Beach races and helped lay out the course for those now famous races. Without his efforts during those first two very successful years, it is very unlikely that the purpose-built race course at Laguna Seca would have happened.

Hall of Fame Inductees 2018 The San Francisco Region Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the two latest inductees for the Class of 2018. Both will be inducted on Saturday night November 10 during the SFR Annual Awards Banquet at the San Ramon Marriott in San Ramon. Dave Arken began his career with SFR […]


September 2018

2019 Driver’s School to Feature Seminar by Previous National Champions

by Clint deWitt

For the first time next year the SF Region Drivers’ School, which is scheduled for the Presidents’ Day weekend (February 16-17-18), will feature a day-long seminar by a distinguished group of SF Region drivers who have gone on to win one or more National Championships – epitomizing the dream of every SCCA racer (whether he or she will admit to it or not).

Undeniably, an SCCA National Championship has a certain mystique!  There is something about winning a National Championship that not only sets you apart, but makes you look as though you can do no wrong!  Well, that’s quite far from the truth, really.  Just ask Jim Devenport, who won the 2016 National Championship in the super-fast Prototype 1 Class at Mid-Ohio.

In his path to a National Championship, he learned a valuable lesson with respect to setting the priorities in his racing budget, namely that at least in certain instances any savings could be false economy!  Here is that lesson in his own words:

“One idea that failed so badly made me realize the single most important thing to setting up your car correctly.  It is to only adjust your suspension settings for maximum performance when running brand new tires within their best performance window.  Otherwise you’re just chasing a degrading tire issue…a rabbit hole if there ever was one.  My faux pas was buying what looked to be a lightly used set of tires shortly after I started racing 12 years ago.“

Following Jim’s advice may not win you a National Championship, or even a Regional Championship, but it can surely help you along that path.

If you are interested in starting racing next year, be sure to sign up for the February 16-17-18 SF Region Drivers’ School at ThunderHill and graduate with a full competition SCCA license – and a full day of important tips from SF Region’s cadre of of over 50 National Champions!

Until next month, this is Clint deWitt

For Faster Lap Times, Try Flagging; Board Candidate Statements; Solo Chapters Join Forces; Wheelworks: Where do we go from here?


August 2018

Sonoma Major Sprint Race Coverage

The Feature races appear in the print version of the August issue of The Wheel. Here is the summary of the sprint races held on Saturday.

SPRINT RACE GROUP 3

Fifty-one of the 61 Group 3 entries raced, and seven of the 11 classes had at least one driver. The GT2 class has 23 entries. ITE had one.

Preston Calvert/No. 177 Porsche had the overall and GT1 pole. Michael Lewis/No.12/122 Jaguar, who was entered both as a GT1 and GT3, was gridded second, as a GT1 and concurrently on the GT3 pole in tenth position. He did this by qualifying the GT1/No.12 in the first qualifying and as a GT3/No.122 in the second qualifying. Lewis was able to take advantage of his front row GT1 starting position to run and win the GT3 race.

Calvert, from WDC Region, led the first two laps before being passed by Michael Fine/No.66 Camaro. Calvert maintained his second place position for the rest of the 11-lap race, and won the GT1 class. Fine led for four laps before suffering mechanical problems and retired. Before he pitted, he turned the fastest race lap of 88.972 mph.

After Fine pitted, GT2 driver, Michael McAleenan/No.2 BMW from Northwest Region went from third to first, winning overall and the GT2 class.

The GT2 class was competitive. Sean Wheeler/No.60 BMW was running fourth in class, sixth overall when he widened his line in T6A on the second lap. This dropped him back to 22nd. He recovered and charged forward, gaining positions with every lap. Wheeler finished seventh in class, thirteenth overall.

Just before halfway, GT2 driver from Northwest, Todd Clarke/No.107 BMW was racing hard in ninth position. He went wide in Turn Four, and then hit the tires hard enough in Turn 11 to dislodge them and cause a ‘situation.’ He was OK but the Safety Car came out to move him and the tires. It was a long cleanup, using six Course Marshals, two tow trucks and two crash trucks. The race ended under caution, short of the 25-minute mark, and no time for Victory Laps.

Charlie Hayes/No.22 Miata in T1 ran one lap and pitted. Another ‘participant’ was Lance Stewart/No.11 Porsche Cayman who didn’t qualify and ran two laps for T1 credit. Bob Kelley/No.9 Viper had a brush with Robert Roumimper/No.54 Datsun 240Z. Both were GT2’s. Roumimper was able to continue, and finish one lap down; but Kelley slowed and pulled off and retired in Turn 11 with body damage.

Class winners were:

GT1: Calvert; Rob Davis/No.95 Camaro; and Cal Club’s Scott McPherson/No.57 Porsche.

GT2: McAleenan; William Brinkop/No.78 Corvette; and Spencer Trenery/No.5 Porsche. GT3: Lewis; Collin Jackson/No.53 Nissan 240SX; and Taz Harvey/No.88  Mazda RX7. T1: Kristopher Olson/No.49 Acura; Darrell Anderson/No.50 Mustang; and Igor Lyustin/No. 71 Acura.

SMG: Beau Bridges/No98 Mustang; Ken Pedersen/No.39 Mustang; and Clark Nunes/No.70 Mustang.

ITE: Randall Macintosh/No.135 Corvette.

AS: Christopher Qualls/No.173 Mustang from Cal Club

Remaining Sprint Race Groups

Sonoma Major Feature Races, SFR Solo Round 7, Sacramento Solo Round 6, Thunderhill Report, Wheelworks: Farming


July 2018

SFR Double Regional 7 & 8 Featuring the Spec Racer Ford Festival

There were six Regional Groups, with a standard SFR regional schedule – 8:30/9am starts, sound windows in effect, and earlier than 5pm finishes each day. Thursday was the Test Day.

The Announce Team selected the Driver of the Weekend, Mark Means, who raced his No.45 1991 Miata SSM in Group 7.  This was his first-ever race victory and he drove a great race. Means fought off his nearest competitor within 500 feet of the finish line on the last lap. So new to winning, he didn’t even know how to pick up his Checkered Flag or run a Victory Lap.

SRF FESTIVAL RACE

SFR driver, Bill Booth/No.57 was on pole. He led the first three laps before being passed by Houston Region driver, Scott Monroe/No.47 who had gridded third and moved up. Monroe held on for the remaining laps to take the Checkered Flag. His Margin of Victory was 0.644 seconds, the second closest of the day. Booth dropped back and finished third, but turned the fastest lap of the race at 79.929 mph. Finishing second was Lee Douglas/No.2 of Oregon Region, who started fourth and moved up to second by Lap 6. Rounding out the top five were Michael Boyle/No.53, who has started second and Scott Peterson/No.54, who gridded eighth.

For the complete race report, read the July issue –>

SFR Regional 7 & 8, Why Race a Spec Racer, Autocross from Fresno, Sacramento and Bay Area, Five Year Planning Effort


June 2018

Secrets of a Concours Judge

​by Clint deWitt

photos by Morris H. Lum

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for concours.  What car enthusiast isn’t beguiled by the brass era cars or the Duesnbergs and other speedsters of the 20s and 30s?

My own love of sports cars came on a camping trip at age 10 or 11, when our bus parked next to the most beautiful car I had ever seen.  It looked like it was going 100 mph standing still.  It was an Austin Healey 100, and it made the staid American sedans of the early 50s look like transportation for frumpy old ladies!   It was followed shortly in my mind’s eye collection by the timeless XK120 Jag, the truly gorgeous gullwing Mercedes, the beautiful little Alfa Guilietta roadster, and my all time favorite, the super-slippery bathtub Porsche.

At a concours you can see each of these marques and countless more, all dressed in their Sunday best, but SF Region is one of only 2 regions, out of the 117 regions in SCCA, that has its own concours program.

Read the whole article in the June issue –>

Casino Fandango Major at Thunderhill, Secrets of a Concours Judge, Compression Test, Notes from the Archives: Pro Racing and more.


May 2018

Wheelworks by Blake Tatum

“Who needs Viagra when you have a race car!”

I am telling you forget the pills and get a racecar!! There is nothing more masculine than having grease under your fingernails and a racecar in your garage.  As the neighbors walk by they will know that you are a person that knows what to do with his tools.  The thrill of revving that race engine does more for your blood flow then any blue pill.  The after glow of a race weekend will last longer then any encounter you my have had and surely does not produce any surprises nine months later.

When I grew up and recess was no longer an option racing cars filled that need.  Nothing said Billy Bad Ass better then being the first guy across the finish line and driving around on that victory lap. The thrill of victory meant there was no agony of defeat. Driving a racecar was my Viagra, it got my blood flowing, it put that hop in my step, it was the reason for making eye contact and walking with your chest pumped out.

Read more in the May issue of The Wheel along with all the following:

Solo Round 2, SFR Regional 3 & 4 at Laguna Seca, Full Body Contact and Spec Racer News, Frank Emmett, Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets


April 2018

HOW TO WIN AN SCCA CHAMPIONSHIP!

In the world in which we live driving a race car in competition is very rare. Winning is even more special and being a Champion in any racing series is truly an exceptional achievement!

You can be an SCCA CHAMPION. Here is how. This year there will be about twelve races for your class occurring over six race weekends or so. You can count only your ten best race finishes or one less than the total of all races run in your class this year. The point system starts with 25 for a win and drops down to eleven points for tenth place and one point for finishing twentieth.

The final race weekend, August 31-September 2nd, at Thunderhill, counts double, meaning you can win the championship if you are close and have a great final weekend at Thunderhill on what is planned to be the 5-mile course.  You must compete in 51% of the races run to be eligible but that is easy enough. Champions and those drivers finishing on the season ending Championship Podium are honored at a special banquet and then recorded into the archives of the Club joining the many great drivers who have achieved similar success over the many years that the SFR SCCA has been in operation.

Want to be a Champion? Run the races, count the points and make it happen. You will be so glad that you did. Your race stories and memories will be your legacy as you race into the status of an SCCA racing legend. Do it now!

HOW TO WIN AN SCCA CHAMPIONSHIP! In the world in which we live driving a race car in competition is very rare. Winning is even more special and being a Champion in any racing series is truly an exceptional achievement! You can be an SCCA CHAMPION. Here is how. This year there will be about […]


March 2018

Thunderhill Report

by David Vodden

This past weekend we lost long-time friend, SCCA supporter and passionate creator of Thunderhill, Tom McCarthy. Because of the lapse of time in the production of the Wheel, I assume that you are well-aware of our shared loss. Much will be written about Tom with statistics about his race wins, his activity as an SCCA Board member and, of course, his role in the creation of Thunderhill Park. Little of what is written will capture the real man that some loved and some did not. From his Iowa farm-life-upbringing to his life-long partnership with Lucy and their building of Du-All Machine in Fremont that produced parts for the best of the best in the new Silicon Valley, Tom was driven to compete and win. He won a lot. Even with his overwhelming passion for racing, Tom’s family was most important starting with Lucy and Terry and Tommy plus his five brothers, Lucy’s family and their precious daughter Tammy whom they lost at a young age due to an auto accident.

Tom raced Triumph Spitfires most of his career adding whatever he needed to continue his quest to be a winner. He was famous for pushing the envelope. Some of his efforts were priceless. He was, naturally, the first President of San Francisco Region Properties, Inc., the corporate name for our DBA – Thunderhill Park.

Read more in the March issue –>

Thunderhill Report by David Vodden This past weekend we lost long-time friend, SCCA supporter and passionate creator of Thunderhill, Tom McCarthy. Because of the lapse of time in the production of the Wheel, I assume that you are well-aware of our shared loss. Much will be written about Tom with statistics about his race wins, […]