SCCA’s Northern Conference Will Wrap up at Grattan
The finale for the Northern Conference U.S. Majors Tour features several championships on the line
The Northern Conference of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour wraps up this weekend at Grattan Raceway in Michigan. Like with some of the other final Majors races, those who are already qualified for the SCCA Runoffs and are not attacking a Conference championship may choose to skip the weekend, especially with the second Majors at Road America having run just two weeks prior. But those who want that title or need the weekend to qualify for the Runoffs will descend on Grattan with full intent.
Touring 4 MX-5 driver James Ebben is one of those. Currently he’s 24 points out of the championship lead, held by fellow MX-5 racer Thomas Bernacki. Ebben, who showed well with a solid finish in Touring 4 at the 2016 Runoffs, is on the early entry list for Grattan. Bernacki is not.
Like Touring 4, Miatas lead in F Production, and the pursuing driver has signaled his intent to show up and make a run at the Majors championship. David Bednarz trails Michael Sturm by only eight points, so if Sturm doesn’t show at Grattan, Bednarz should walk away with the title. In GT-3, RX-7 driver George Cichon is leading the points, but hasn’t entered at Grattan. His competition has entered, however, so if Cichon wants that Conference championship, he’ll have to make the trip.
None of the top contenders in Touring 3 are on the early entry list for Grattan, and if none show, Paul Kwiecinski will take the title in his MX-5.
Formula Enterprise has been hotly contested this year with a good field of drivers, but despite that, Elliot Finlayson has managed a solid lead in the class. Dean Opperman is 31 points in arrears, and neither was entered for Grattan a week out. Formula Mazda hasn’t been particularly well subscribed in the Northern Conference, and the two at the top of the points table only have a few races. Both, however, are entered at Grattan. Jason Vinkemulder leads going in with 75 points, while Steve Johncock has 45. With 25 points on the table per race, this class is still anyone’s game.
Spec Miata is a very close battle, with Chicago-area driver Danny Bender having a 10-point lead over Voytek Burdzy. Bender is on the early entry list for Grattan, so if Burdzy doesn’t enter, Bender will have the championship sewn up. Michael Gagliardo has an outside shot, but it would require something major for him to end up on top of the points.
Finally, Tom Coury is trailing in B-Spec, but the Mazda2 racer has a shot at the title if he goes to Grattan. He sits 14 points out of first.
Once the Northern Conference wraps up this season, only the Mid-States Conference will have races left to run, with that finale coming at High Plains Raceway on Aug. 19-20.