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Saanich racer Bill Okell eyes nationals
Just two races in, Bill Okell of Saanich is off to a good start in his bid to qualify for the Sports Car Club of America’s national championships.
Driving a modified MG Midget in the F production class, Okell posted fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the events held at Thunderhill Raceway Park road course near Sacramento, Calif. The results left him sitting fifth in the point standings for the SCCA’s Western Conference, heading into this weekend’s races in Los Angeles.
“Every time we went out we just got faster and better,” said Okell, who was invited to drive a car owned by fellow racer Chuck Horton. Both are under the umbrella of the San Francisco-based Huffaker Engineering team.
“I think they were content that I could be competitive and brought the car back in one piece and didn’t wreck it,” Okell said.
The conference schedule lists six race weekends with two races each. Drivers need a minimum of four race starts to be eligible for nationals – known as the run-offs – and the top 10 in the standings qualify. The run-offs happen Oct. 7 to 12 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Okell hopes to get his third and fourth races in this weekend, but will be in tough competitively, as the L.A. races tend to attract the largest number of drivers in his category. Regardless of his results, he plans to run at Seattle International Raceway next month and possibly Portland in July.
With the run-offs being held on the West Coast for the first time in 45 years, many drivers from California, Oregon and Washington, and a few from B.C., have put together ambitious race schedules for 2014, Okell said.