TOPEKA (KSNT) – “It’s kind of like the Olympics of road racing,” said driver Eric Prill.
“Going to the track as a kid, that’s what we did,” said driver Jesse Prather. “We didn’t go on vacation, we went to the races.”
The 53rd running of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs begin Friday and run through the weekend in Ohio. Nearly 600 drivers, from all across the country, will be competing in 28 different races.
“We all do this for the fun of it, for the love of it,” said Prill “But when it comes time to get on the track and battle it out, it’s pretty intense. Sometimes it ends in tears, but there’s always one at the end of the day who’s standing on top of the podium as a national champion.”
“It’s such an end goal for us,” said Prather. “A driver can drive his entire racing career and go to many championships and never win. When you do win, the sense of accomplishment is huge. And then you just want to keep on going.”
The national championships were held at Heartland Park from 2006-2008, before the SCCA decided to alternate tracks each year. Last year was at Daytona. Next year is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For these drivers, getting their own cars ready to race is what it’s all about.
“You try and touch every aspect of the car,” said Prather. “From the engine, the transmission, the suspension, the brakes, the rear end, as well as getting the car aligned and tuned properly to make the most amount of horsepower and make the car handle as good as it possibly can. And that’s really the key to success is having the whole package. And then of course you have to drive it.”
“This is a car that I built,” said Prill. “It’s a car that I towed to the track. I’m the cook, I’m the chief mechanic, I’m the chief engineer. The only assistance we’ll get is from our friends. Our friends that are out there racing with us. To be able to come home and maybe stand on top of the podium with that gold medal around your neck. It would just be such a sweet thing.”
Prather races Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in Ohio.
Prill races Sunday at 10:15 a.m. in Ohio.
You can watch the races LIVE online at http://www.SCCA.com