6 OCTOBER 2018 scca.com
WELCOME TO THE SCCA
The soothing chirp of a smart phone’s bird alarm begins to sound. It’s 4: 30 a.m., on a Saturday, and another weekend of baseball starts with an 8 a.m. game an hour’s drive away.
When I’m not at an SCCA event, this is the story of my summer. The car is loaded with baseball bags,
chairs, drinks, snacks, blankets, umbrellas, extra clothes, and a few other “just in case” items. Between
my two boys, there were 78 baseball games and countless practices this season. I can’t begin to add
up the miles driven, hours spent in the car and sitting at a baseball field, number of meals eaten on the
road, and pounds of dirt removed from my car. But I love it. I love the competition. I love their passion
for the sport. I love the camaraderie. And, most of all, I love experiencing it with my family and friends.
Replace the baseball references with racecars, tires, and tracks and this sounds a lot like
the life of a racer or race worker. I’m lucky enough to have both in my life. While baseball and
racing may seem very different, they are actually more alike than you might think, especially
when it comes to racing at the National Championship Runoffs. Stay with me here…
There are many lessons learned from both baseball and racing. It takes hard work to be
the best you can be. You must learn to overcome adversity, and how you respond to that
adversity helps define your path forward. These sports also teach us to have humility. Win
with class and lose with dignity. There is always something to be learned. Keep your eye
on the ball. Bo Jackson said, “Set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there.”
The Runoffs is the culmination of all of these; hard work, adversity, humility, and goals. It
also requires heart, passion, and commitment. Racers from all over the country and a few
from abroad converge together for one week of ultimate competition. Like my summer, these
drivers and their crews have had a season full of early mornings and late nights. They’ve
spent countless hours driving to events, wrenching on cars, and watching video in an effort
to prepare for the Oct. 16-21, 2018, event at Sonoma Raceway. Many of these racers
have not yet competed against one another this season. It’s the one chance to see how
they stack up against the best of the best. Will the hard work and preparation pay off?
At this 55th running of the SCCA Runoffs, and every Runoffs that has been and will be,
the work doesn’t stop when you pull into the paddock. It starts over again with qualifying, or
tournament pool play for those following the baseball analogy. Racers get three days to solidify
their starting position in the final round – the National Championship race. The Runoffs race
is our Club’s World Series Game 7, one of the greatest treats in sports. It’s a single-elimination
face-off; a one-game playoff; a winner-take-all showdown. All of the season’s wins and losses,
track records, races that ended early – everything that happened previously is behind you.
There have been many Saturdays where I watched my son’s team get run-ruled in the third
inning and they walked away defeated. But they showed up Sunday, with a clean slate, a fresh
attitude, and fought back through bracket play to end up in the championship game. It’s no
different at the Runoffs. Put yourself in the right position, and anything could happen. Anything.
This is what sets the Runoffs apart and makes it special. It’s our legacy. The energy
at this event is palpable. It brings with it all of the drama, excitement, and emotion that
you’d expect from any championship event. It’s the moment our racers prepared for. A
season – and in many cases a lifetime of dedication – led them to this race, at this track, for
this moment. It’s where memories are made and dreams are realized. At the end of the
week, 28 racers will have hit their walk-off grand slam, an SCCA National Championship.
So, everyone should plan to be at Sonoma Raceway this October to take part in this great show.
If you can’t be there in person, support your Club by following along online. This is the annual event
and competition we love. This week showcases the passion we all share for this sport. We love the
camaraderie, having fun with cars and, most of all, sharing this experience with our family and friends.
TAKE A SWING AT THE RUNOFFS
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