34 OCTOBER 2020 scca.comRUNOFFS PREVIEW
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The Formula Atlantic class is shapingup to be another Mirl Swan benefit.
His prep shop has eight FA goldmedals to its credit, and our picks forfirst and second are his cars. HansPeter and Michael Mallinen havewon before in Swan cars, and thisyear looks to continue that trend.
Hans Peter won three titles atTopeka in the 2000s, and he is backafter a long layoff. He eased back intoracing three years ago with a doublewin at the June Sprints. In 2018, heduplicated that. For good measure, hewas at the Road America Historics inJuly and won twice. He knows the track,has a winning record, and is primed.
Peter does have a beef, though.
A competition adjustment, he says, has
slowed the Swift 016 he runs, so Mirl
thinks that the Swift 014 chassis is faster
under the current rules. Consequently, he
notes, “If someone experienced shows up
in an 014, they will be stiff competition.”
Besides Mallinen, others who could
challenge include Richard Zober, who
had two FA wins at the June Sprints
this year, Lee Alexander, and Dudley
Fleck. Then there’s J.R. Smart who is
entered in a Swift 014, so we might
find out if Peter’s theory is correct.
Robert Armington is having a strong
year in Formula Continental. He was
the class of the field at the June
Sprints and should be hard to beat
come October. “We would have had
a double win weekend if it wasn’t for
a back-marker in Turn 14 on the last
lap,” says Armington. “But we kept
plenty up our sleeve for the Runoffs.”
He has also not over complicated
his strategy to end on the podium:
“Qualify well, get out to the
pointy end of the group, and
stay out of trouble,” he says.
Rob Allaer has won before, and isunlucky not to have more wins. He isalways a threat and may well be thebiggest challenge that Armingtonwill have to face this year. Tim Minoris never to be discounted, and thesame is true of John LaRue. BrianTomasi has two golds to his creditand has worked himself back intoshape after taking a break.
And, while it’s unlikely he’ll becontending for the win this year, awild card is Michael Varacins. Theseven-time FV champion has slowlybecome more competitive in FC andwe feel it’s only a matter of time beforehe breaks out in this class, too.
While Formula X is a new classto the Runoffs, this year itappears to be Formula Mazdaunder a different name.
Moses Smith has always sparkledin FM and this may be the year that hetakes the top step. Jason Vinkenmulderand Robert Noell are certainly inthe mix, and one to watch is JarretVoorheis – he has shown speed but hasbeen hampered by bad luck. If thingsgo smoothly, this could be his year.
An unknown factor is the SCCA ProRacing Ligier F4 racecar, which is FXlegal. Should someone fast show upwith such a car, all bets are off.
FORMULA ATLANTIC, FORMULA
CONTINENTAL, AND FORMULA X
WORDS Tom Schultz | MAIN IMAGE Mark Weber
1.Hans Peter 3
2. MichaelMallinen 1
3. Richard Zober
1. Robert Armington
2.Rob Allaer 1
3. Tim Minor 1
1. Moses Smith
2. Jason Vinkemulder
3. Robert Noell
FAS T FORMULA
(ABOVE) HansPeter should add tohis Runoffs victorycount this year in FA.
Robert Armington’sRunoffs run in FCcould very well endwith him earninghis first NationalChampionship.
(OPPOSITE,BOTTOM) FX is anew Runoffs class, butthe racecars will lookfamiliar. Driving an FMcar, Moses Smith willbe first at the stripe.