SVRA Banquet Celebrates Champions

2023 Champions Celebrated During Season Kickoff in Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (February 25, 2024)  The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) community came together on Saturday night to celebrate all of its 2023 champions, while also kicking off a new race season at Sebring International Raceway during the Sebring SpeedTour weekend. The event honored all of SVRA’s 2023 sprint and endurance champions, while also recognizing a series of drivers and mechanics through a group of special awards. The event featured the Sebring SpeedTour Grand Marshal, founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Bill Warner, as the keynote speaker. 

With Warner sharing photos and stories of not only the favorite cars he’s owned, but also his days as a racer, photographer and journalist, he had one last surprise before taking his seat. Tony Parella, the founder of SVRA’s parent company, Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH), awarded Warner with the PMH Trailblazer Award for his contributions to motorsports and the vintage community. 

“What a great night in Sebring,” said Michael Printup, COO of PMH and President of SVRA. “Gathering all of our champions, our competitors, enjoying a meal and stories—having Bill Warner as the Grand Marshall of the weekend and keynote speaker of tonight’s banquet—it was really special. I’m still getting to know everyone involved in SVRA with our competitors spread across the country, but it’s such a warm, friendly environment. The camaraderie and sportsmanship among this group is second to none, and that was palpable as we gathered tonight. I’m excited to continue to grow and foster that environment in the premiere vintage racing organization in the country.”  

An SVRA Champion who is making his first start in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli this weekend, Jonathan DeGaynor, was honored as the 2023 Most Improved Driver. From Bloomfield, Mich., DeGaynor races a Devin in Group 6—winning the Group 6 GT championship and finishing third overall in the SVRA Sprint Championship—and also added a Mustang to his program last season to compete in Group 10.  

Harlan “Rob” Crow was honored as SVRA’s Rookie of The Year. Racing a Swift Formula Ford in Group 2, Crow finished third in Group 2 PCF and eighth overall in the Group 2 points. The 25-year-old Texan earned his first-career win in at Circuit of The Americas in November. 

Centerville, Texas-native Jerry Robinson was named the Amateur Mechanic of the Year. Racing a Dodge Viper, Robinson won the Group 12A MP4 class, finished second overall in Group 12A, and ranked second in the Endurance Series. Preparing and developing his own car, Robinson ran 11 races in 2023 and saw every checkered flag.

Troy Ermish was named the Professional Mechanic of the Year. Racing in Datsun 510, he won class 8BS, and finished third overall in Group 8. With his business, Ermish prepares many Datsun 510s for fellow competitors at West Coast events; his cars are immaculately prepared and reliable to make it to the finish. 

A new award this year saw Wayne Baker recognized for the Most Active Gold Medallion Car. Attending four events with his 1967 Porsche 911S, Baker’s car meets stringent standards to ensure it is accurately prepared and presented, competing today with the same specifications for how it was originally raced.  

Customers Bank, a partner of PMH, also used the evening as an opportunity to honor a member of the SVRA community with their “Driven to Make a Difference Award.” Created to honor those who excel on and off the track, the award winners are those who show a commitment to philanthropy and impacting their community in a positive way. Rick Fraser—a father, entrepreneur, pilot and racecar driver—supports the military, his neighbors and his employees. In his own company, he’s never had a layoff, no matter how slow things have gotten; he’s helped other business owners keep the lights on, and has helped countless friends and family who have fallen on hard times. 

In SVRA’s overall Sprint Series standings, Nathan Byrd (2017 AF 01) was honored as the champion with 324 points. Stephen Lisa (2009 Norma M20F) finished second with 192 points, and Jon DeGaynor (1959 Devin Evolution) ranked third with 180 points.  

Scott Fraser (1958 Austin Healey Sprite) was the Group 1 champion, while Bob Hatle (1989 Swift DB-3) won Group 2. Tom Brown (1963 Triumph Spitfire) was first in Group 3; Andrew Myers (1996 Carbir CS2) took Group 5A and Travis Engen (1962 Lotus 23B) won Group 5B. Anthony Lisa (1973 DeTomaso Pantera GR3) won Group 6A, Scott Shadel (1969 Chevrolet Camaro) won Group 6B and Jon DeGaynor (1959 Devin Evolution) won Group 6GT. David Jacobs (1971 Chevron B19) finished first in Group 7, with Jim Lenehantaking Group 8 (1976 Porsche 914/6).  In addition to winning the Sprint Series overall, Nathan Byrd was also champion of Group 9 (2017 AF 01) and Group 10GT (2015 Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup 3.8L). Jeff Rocco (1993 Pontiac Grand Prix) took Group 10SC, and Stephen Lisa (2009 Norma M20F) won Group 11. In Group 12A, Rick Ortman (1992 Chevrolet Corvette) was champion, while Brian Thomas Himes (1989 Ford Mustang) took Group 12B. Alan Schommer (1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata) was the Miata NB Group champion. 

In the SVRA Endurance Series, Nathan Byrd (2017 AF 01) was honored as the champion with 156 points. Jerry Robinson and co-driver Bobby Archer (2010 Dodge Viper) finished second with 130 points. Andrew Myers (1996 Carbir CS2) finished third with 110 points. 

Tom Brown (1963 Triumph Spitfire) won the Group 3 Championship in the Endurance Series, while Andrew Myers (1996 Carbir CS2) took the Group 5A title. Nathan Byrd finished first in Group 9, and Jerry Robinsonand Bobby Archer took trophies as co-champions in Group 12A. 

SVRA takes to the track for one last day of racing at the Sebring SpeedTour on Sunday. Several of the races will be live streamed on the SpeedTour TV YouTube channel. Next up on SVRA’s schedule is the Thunderhill SpeedTour at Thunderhill Raceway Park, March 1-3. Registration is open now at SVRA.com