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SCCA Eastern Conference Majors visit Palm Beach International Raceway

Danny Steyn held on for a third-place finish in the 2013 SCCA Runoffs at Road America.
Danny Steyn held on for a third-place finish in the 2013 SCCA Runoffs at Road America.Mark Weber/SCCA

From Jan. 10-12, the SCCA Eastern Conference Majors Tour will mark the first U.S. Majors Tour event held at Palm Beach International Raceway, though SCCA is no stranger to the track. The facility will host rounds 3 and 4 of their 14 race season at the raceway, with two 20-minute qualifying sessions taking place on Friday afternoon.

In September 2012, the Sports Car Club of America rolled out the U.S. Majors Tour as the top level of amateur racing in this country. The Majors Tour replaces what was previously called “National” SCCA racing, split into a season-long championship in four geographic Conferences. With much of the country still shivering in the cold, the second event of the Eastern Conference schedule will attract the best amateur racers from the East Coast and from across the United States.

The 11-turn, 2.034-mile permanent road course has hosted several tests for major race teams in the past, as well as historic races as well as SCCA Regional and National races. The course had also been used for Formula Drift and as a part of the ARCA Racing Series.

This is the second leg of the back-to-back opening race weekends for the Eastern Conference. Last weekend, Rounds One and Two were contested at Sebring International Raceway. More than 300 drivers spent the opener further north at the historic track, and many of those reappear on the entry list at Palm Beach. Temperatures into the 80s will greet this week’s racers, though a chance of rain is in the forecast.

Racing gets underway at the facility on Saturday, Jan. 11, with 30-minute timed races beginning at 10 a.m. The fun continues on Sunday, Jan.12 with races lasting 25 laps or 40 minutes, whichever comes first, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Live Timing & Scoring and lap notes via the SCCA® Pit Board are available for all sessions through the SCCA website. An entry list, event schedule, and more is also available online. The pre-event entry list of 203 entries is 50 ahead of last year’s race numbers.

There are lots of amateur road racing groups in the United States, but the clear leader of top drivers is with SCCA. Though most are weekend warriors who take vacations from their full-time jobs to attend races, it’s a craft taken seriously. Bobby Rahal, Mark Donohue, Roger Penske, Michael Andretti, and actor/driver Paul Newman got their start in SCCA Club Racing. More recently, you could have seen current stars Boris Said, Graham Rahal, Sam Hornish or J.R. Hildebrand at an SCCA Club race.

The headlining class, in terms of entries, will be that of Spec Racer Ford. It’s clear to see that these racers have been waiting impatiently to get back to the racetrack, as 34 drivers are entered to take the green flag. Defending Conference Champion Cliff White is off to a strong start, doubling up with wins at Sebring last weekend. He will be at PBIR to keep his winning streak alive.

Spec Miata also boasts a strong entry list of 26 competitors. One driver to watch will be Danny Steyn, who finished his 2013 Runoffs race in third place. So far this season, Steyn has been strong finishing in the top-10 and top-five in the opening rounds of the conference schedule.

Fans may attend the event at PBIR as guests of the SCCA for a $5 fee. Admission allows spectators into the garage areas for up-close visits with the drivers and cars.

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