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, […]


February 2018

Regional Executive News

by Barbara McClellan  

I just returned from the SCCA National Convention held in Las Vegas where I got to meet many members of this great organization to which we belong.  There were over 480 members there representing all aspects of our club—Road Racing, Solo, Rally Cross.  The National Staff members were there as well as all our governing leaders.  I had the opportunity to meet our President and CEO, Mike Cobb, and was very impressed with his vision for the future of our organization which is to be the preferred motorsports community in the US, built on fun, shared passion and access to an exhilarating motorsports experience.

Our racing season starts in mid February with our Drivers School.  A lot of planning has gone into that school.  By the time you have the opportunity to read this column we will have already had a Chiefs Meeting, a Stewards Meeting and training for specialty crews.

Everyone needs to remember that it takes a lot of effort to make everything go smoothly—many volunteers put in many hours to make it happen.  Your Board of Directors is made up of volunteers as well.

That being said—your Board is here for you.  We want to hear how we can make your motorsports experience better and we’re always open to suggestions.  Call us, email us, stop us at the track and let us know what we can do to keep our sport fun, fair and safe.

2017 Regional Champions from A to Z; Ross Bentley’s Speed Secrets; How to Qualify for the Runoffs; Decoding SCCA Road Racing Classes


January 2018

Introducing the NEWEST Race Class: SSC5

by Tim Sullivan

How many classes of cars are in SCCA…  more than one would think!  Now there is one more!  The new SSC5 (Spec Sealed Corvette 5th Gen)

So what does it take to get into this class.  Simple..  a stock (somewhat) 5th Generation Corvette (1997-2004, ZO6’s excluded)  Pretty simple..  The C5 Corvettes, when they came out, were great handling cars.  Chevrolet had a C5 racing team.  The new LS Gen 3 engine was phenomenal, and pretty bulletproof.  They are plentiful, and the price is right.  The first two cars in this class were purchased for $7500 and $6700.  The cars are out there!

But, you say, you can’t just race it stock.  No..  we have a uniform set up for them, much like the Spec Miata’s.  But the cost is reasonable.  We have made some deals to get the main components (supplied by LG racing) at a discount.  The first build came in at just about $20,000.  Not much more than the good old Spec Miata..  but a bit more horsepower and fun.

The “snapshot”  and some photos of the new car are in the January 2018 issue –>

Geno and Bruce’s Indy Adventure; Tiz Time – Frank Emmett Retires; Over Analyzing Your Autocross Results; Competition Licensing School Requirements and more


December 2017

Regional 13 & 14 and Enduro Ends the Season

It was beautiful fall weather for the season’s finale race at Thunderhill Raceway Park, warm and sunny all weekend.The midday’s were hot and everyone was in hydration mode. A whole season with no rain racing. By now the number of actual novices were hard to be found. The overall entries were good for the last race of the year and after the Runoffs. And there were 23 entries for the last RDC Martin Illgen Endurance Race.

Full story along with these are in this issue:

Who was Naughty and Who was Nice; SFR Solo Round 12; Year-end Fun Photos; Sacramento Enduro; How to Qualify for the 2018 Runoffs

Regional 13 & 14 and Enduro Ends the Season It was beautiful fall weather for the season’s finale race at Thunderhill Raceway Park, warm and sunny all weekend.The midday’s were hot and everyone was in hydration mode. A whole season with no rain racing. By now the number of actual novices were hard to be […]