INDIANAPOLIS – Tire Rack Pole Award winner Andrew Whitston kicked off the afternoon session of the first of three Hagerty Race Days Friday at the 58th SCCA National Championship Runoffs with a polished victory in Formula Vee on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Whitston, a native of Neenah, Wis., swapped the lead several times with Brian Farnham, grabbing the top spot for the final time on the 15th of 19 laps.
Driving a Protoform P2 chassis and representing the SCCA’s Milwaukee Region, Whitston completed an impressive sweep of all eleven races he entered in 2021, culminating in his second Runoffs title in the historic open-wheel category. He won his first FV crown at Virginia International Raceway in 2019.
This year, he fought off challenges from Farnham and third place finisher Andrew Abbott from Livonia, MI, to cross the historic IMS “Yard of Bricks” finish line .107 second ahead of Farnham. Whitston led 17 of 19 laps.
Whitston also claimed the SCCA Super Sweep, the most difficult title for an SCCA driver. To earn the award, a driver must win the Runoffs, a Hoosier Super Tour point title, and a U.S. Majors Tour Conference championship, all in the same class in the same season.
“We did eleven races this year and won every single one of them!” exclaimed Whitson in a Victory Lane interview. “There was so much pressure coming in here today, so this is unbelievable. I’m just thankful to everybody that’s put work into this team this year. This car was so fast and handled so well. I don’t think I’ve had a mechanical DNF (did not finish) since 2013.”
Andrew Abbott’s brother, Brandon, finished fourth, with defending Formula Vee National Champion (and Indiana native) Chris Jennerjahn taking fifth place. Moving from 44th on the 48-car grid to a 26th place finish nabbed Chris Caruso the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.
The final 10 laps were run without caution. Whitston briefly dropped to fourth place on lap 11, but maintained his composure and quickly regained the lead. He and Farnham then broke away from the pack, their task made easier when Whitston’s brother, Zachary — running fourth — locked up his brakes and spun third-place runner Alex Scaler.
Abbott led across the line to complete the 14th circuit, but Whitston was back in front the next time around in a lead he would not relinquish.
“Taking a victory lap with my helmet off and a flag in my hand in this beautiful weather, that was really something,” he said. “I’m just so lucky to be here and grateful to everybody who helped make this happen. To actually finish this year off with a win takes a great weight off my shoulders.”
Farnham drove a strong race in his Silver Bullet FR-1 chassis and thought he had the potential to challenge Whitston for the victory.
“There must have been oil down, because we started to get loose, or our rear tires were going off,” he observed. “I had a little too big of a slide through Turn 10, and if we’d have had one more lap, I might have got to him. But Andrew drove a great race. He was really moving, and it was hard to keep up with him.”
Andrew Abbott finished third at the Runoffs for the second consecutive year. “The race was crazy, but Andy [Whitston] drove a great race,” he said. “The field was pretty stacked this year and times were pretty close throughout the field. Andy has been the class of the field all year, and Brian was right there with him, always up front. It’s Indy, and we’re on the podium…what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”