Justin Hille Takes Flag-to-Flag Spec Miata Victory in the SCCA Runoffs at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (September 24, 2016) – Justin Hille, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, took the lead at the start from the Tire Rack pole and led every lap to win Saturday’s Spec Miata race at the SCCA National Champion Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Driving his No. 48 Hilltrux/Roush/V2/East Street Mazda Miata, Hille earned his first National Championship in his second Runoffs appearance after a 10th place Spec Miata finish last year in his Daytona debut.

Michael Carter, of Savannah, Georgia, finished second in the No. 08 Rossini Racing Products Mazda Miata while Elivan Goulart, of Shelton, Connecticut, finished third in the No. 70 S.A.C. Racing/SCDA1.com/Hoosier Mazda Miata.

Hille led a four-car breakaway throughout the race that included Carter, Goulart and Jim Drago in the No. 2 East Street Racing/Mazdaracers.com Mazda Miata.

Carter and Drago each took a shot at passing for the lead in the race’s closing laps, but in the end Hille held on to lead Carter across the finish line by .379 of a second.

“My car was falling off in the last five or six laps and I was doing everything I could to hang on to it,” Hille said. “I knew Michael was going to try and make a move somewhere. He got a perfect run near the end, set it up perfectly and I think we were side-by-side for a second on the straight. We made a little contact but it was still good, clean racing.”

Making his Runoffs debut, Carter ran third in the lead group of four for the majority of the race. He slipped through for second when Drago pulled alongside Hille on the back straight to challenge for the lead on lap 15.

“When Drago pulled to the inside to try for the lead I thought that I had a chance because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to clear Justin,” Carter said. “I was able to run in under braking, got behind Justin’s bumper and pushed him by, and I cleared Drago under braking. That was about it and I knew it was going to be a good race from there between me and Justin.”

Carter made his own back-straight move on Hille on the last lap of the race.

“I had been planning that move for the last seven laps,” Carter said. “I was just trying to get the best run I could possibly get out of the Keyhole. It was pretty much a perfect run, I was on Justin’s bumper and went to the outside in the esses. We were about even going into turn four, but I guess I got in the marbles outside the groove, and that was about it. That was my only chance.”

Elivan came out on top of a tussle with Drago with two laps to go when the two came together in the Mid-Ohio esses.

“My car was phenomenal under braking but unfortunately we were a little down on power,” Goulart said. “I was able to make that up under braking but Drago was a bit stouter down the straight. Once I got by him for third my goal was to keep him behind me. At the end, we both turned in for the corner, made slight contact, but we were able to keep it going, keep it on the track and we made it through for a podium finish.”

Drago finished fourth while Alex Bolanos charged from 13th on the grid to finish fifth in his No. 57 Autotechnik/G-Loc/Apex Alignment Mazda Miata.

Kyle Webb won the Sunoco Hard Charger award for improving a race-high 12 positions to finish 12th in his No. 99 Nova Brown Notforgotten/ESR Mazda Miata.

The 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB, the Pinnacle of American Motorsports, crowns Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions this year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, from Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25.

While the live broadcast of all 28 National Championships is available live at SCCA.com, each race will be on demand in the coming weeks.

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Provisional results for Saturday’s Spec Miata race at the 53rd SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with finish position, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car and laps complete.

1, (1), Justin Hille, Ypsilanti, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
2, (2), Michael Carter, Savannah, GA, Mazda Miata, 23.
3, (7), Elivan Goulart, Shelton, CT, Mazda Miata, 23.
4, (3), Jim Drago, Memphis, TN, Mazda Miata, 23.
5, (13), Alex Bolanos, Hialeah, FL, Mazda Miata, 23.
6, (10), Michael Gagliardo, Chicago, IL, Mazda Miata, 23.
7, (5), Adam Roberts, Hilliard, OH, Mazda Miata, 23.
8, (11), Andrew Carbonell, Miami, FL, Mazda Miata, 23.
9, (6), Jordan Smart, Ypsilanti, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
10, (4), Max Nufer, Wildwood, MO, Mazda Miata, 23.
11, (15), Dean Busk, Chandler, AZ, Mazda Miata, 23.
12, (24), Kyle Webb, Centerville, OH, Mazda Miata, 23.
13, (22), Jonathan Davis, Seven Hills, OH, Mazda Miata, 23.
14, (18), Voytek Burdzy, Algonquin, IL, Mazda Miata, 23.
15, (9), Michael Novak, Highland, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
16, (23), Frank Todaro, Dublin, OH, Mazda Miata, 23.
17, (26), Spencer Rutherford, Nicholasvillle, KY, Mazda Miata, 23.
18, (17), Cory Collum, Cape Coral, FL, Mazda Miata, 23.
19, (20), Daniel Setili, Bloomfield Hills, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
20, (16), Jason Kohler, White Lake, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
21, (27), Alex Piku, Grosse Pointe, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
22, (32), John Carter, Tampa, FL, Mazda Miata, 23.
23, (34), Jeffrey Luckritz, Saint Joseph, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
24, (30), Anthony Geraci, Glen Head, NY, Mazda Miata, 23.
25, (31), Charles Campbell, Corry, PA, Mazda Miata, 23.
26, (14), Nick Leverone, North Smithfield, RI, Mazda Miata, 23.
27, (33), B Clark Cambern, Dewitt, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
28, (29), Jesse Prather, Topeka, KS, Mazda Miata, 23.
29, (28), Jesse Schmidt, Fitzwilliam, NH, Mazda Miata, 23.
30, (39), James Randall, Watertown, MN, Mazda Miata, 23.
31, (36), Christopher Ciufo, Livonia, NY, Mazda Miata, 23.
32, (35), Eric Matoy, Leonard, MI, Mazda Miata, 23.
33, (21), Joshua Bilicki, Richfield, WI, Mazda Miata, 23.
34, (42), Domenico Leuci, Binghamton, NY, Mazda Miata, 23.
35, (41), Michael Lattanzio, Aliquippa, PA, Mazda Miata, 23.
36, (38), Richard Astacio, Stamford, CT, Mazda Miata, 23.
37, (44), James Henson, Mansfield, OH, Mazda Miata, 22.
38, (8), Erik Stearns, Van Buren, OH, Mazda Miata, 21.
39, (43), Brandon Fetch, Waldwick, NJ, Mazda Miata, 21.
40, (37), David Ciufo, Livonia, NY, Mazda Miata, 17.
41, (40), Eric Pratt, Rockford, IL, Mazda Miata, 13.
42, (12), Selin Rollan, Miami, FL, Mazda Miata, 6.
43, (19), Steven Powers, Mesa, AZ, Mazda Miata, 3.
44, (45), Daniel Harding, Dover, OH, Mazda Miata, 2.
DNS, (25), Matthew Reynolds, Boerne, TX, Mazda Miata

Length of Race: 52 miles
Overall Time of Race: 39:30.544
Average Speed: 78.869 mph
Margin of Victory: .379 of a second
Fastest Race Lap: No. 08 Carter 1:40.764 (80.672 mph)
Lap Leaders: No. 48, laps 1 – 23
Sunoco Hard Charger: No. 99 Kyle Webb

Image: Justin Hille led every lap to win Saturday’s Spec Miata race at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 

Credit: Jay Bonvouloir