Runoffs Report - Wednesday Evening

“It’s my Christmas”

Flinn Lazier is making his third Runoffs start at the 55th running of SCCA’s National Championship at Sonoma Raceway.  He’s a competitor in the hotly contested Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) class, which is making its first-ever appearance at the Runoffs.  And while Flinn, a college student, has only a short history with SCCA racing, his family has a long and successful history in motorsports.

Flinn's father, Buddy Lazier, won the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and 2000 IRL Championship. Bob Lazier, Flinn's grandfather, won the 1971 Formula B SCCA National Championship and was CART’s Rookie of the Year a decade later. Jaques Lazier, Flinn's uncle, also won an SCCA Runoffs in 1996 driving in Formula Vee. Some may think that would put a lot of pressure on Flinn to excel, but that simply isn’t the case.

“I’m doing this for fun,” Flinn said about the Runoffs this year. “It’s not a vacation; we’re still here to work. But it’s also family time. We do our best to have the best results, but there’s no pressure. This is a really special week for me, personally. The fact I get to come out here for a week and do what I love, it’s the best time of year for me. It’s my Christmas.

“I’m excited,” Flinn added about the FE2 National Championship event this year. “We have a small field, but if you look at drivers in the lineup for FE2, it’s exciting. There’s a high level of competition.”

After two days of qualifying, Flinn currently sits second.  But it also seems this young man, currently living in Colorado where temperatures have already dipped and snowfall occurred, is going to relish his week in sunny Sonoma, California no matter what happens. It’s truly a case of someone having fun with cars and enjoying the SCCA lifestyle.

Location, Location, Location.
Sonoma Raceway and the surrounding area are absolutely beautiful, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering it’s nestled in the hills on the edge of Napa Valley just a short distance from San Francisco – a worldwide tourist destination. Sure, the area has some of the highest property values in the country. But for automotive enthusiasts, that value doesn’t stop with homes as the region also attracts some of the most amazing cars.

Tucked away at the top of the track property is a motorsports industrial park of sorts, and a stroll through the low metal buildings can often give a better show than most museums. On any given day, classic vintage Porsches and the occasional exotic car might become passé when parked next to pristine Lola Sports Racers, nine-time Runoffs-winning Huffaker cars and as some folks saw Tuesday, eight vintage Formula One cars that included a John Player Special Lotus and a couple ‘70s-era McLarens being loaded into containers for a trip to a vintage event in Japan.

Sure, it’s great to see the Runoffs at Sonoma Raceway -- which is easily one of the finest spectator tracks in North America. But those who take the time to look around will find plenty of other #funwithcars being had.

Speaking of fun with cars, the final day of qualifying for this year’s Runoffs begins Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time from Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. Audio-only coverage of the last day of qualifying, where Tire Rack Pole Award winners are decided, will feature commentary from the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast team consisting of Mike Wolfe, Bob Steele and Gregg Ginsberg.  Along with the audio feed, will have live timing and scoring for each qualifying group.

Photo: Flinn Lazier prepares for another Runoffs qualifying session at Sonoma Raceway.