ABOVE: Current Bloomfield Hills and former West Bloomfield resident Bobby Sak won a Sports Car Club of America national championship this past October at Road America in Wisconsin.

ABOVE: Current Bloomfield Hills and former West Bloomfield resident Bobby Sak won a Sports Car Club of America national championship this past October at Road America in Wisconsin.

Photo provided by SCCA


Local race-car driver wins national championship

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published December 3, 2020

 Local race car driver Bobby Sak said it was “exhilarating” to win a national championship.

Local race car driver Bobby Sak said it was “exhilarating” to win a national championship.

Photo provided by SCCA

 Local race car driver Bobby Sak finished first out of a field of 60 at a national championship race this past October.

Local race car driver Bobby Sak finished first out of a field of 60 at a national championship race this past October.

Photo provided by SCCA

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Current Bloomfield Hills and former West Bloomfield resident Bobby Sak can lay claim to something only a small percentage of people can — he is a national champion.

Sak races for Sports Car Club of America, and in October, he finished first in the runoffs in the Spec Racer Ford Gen3 class at Road America in Wisconsin, which earned him a national championship in that class.

There are 26 classes in the Sports Car Club of America overall.

Sak is 42 years old and began racing in the mid 1990s. After previously finishing in the top three on three separate occasions, this year, he broke through to win his first national title.

He finished first out of 60 competitors in the race.

“In amateur racing, the best thing you can do is win the runoffs, win the national championship,” Sak said. “It was really a special race to win. … It’s what we’ve been working for for years. … It was extremely exhilarating and satisfying to finally be able to do it.”

It has been quite the year for the Birmingham Groves graduate, as he also came away with an SCCA Super Sweep Award.

To achieve that, drivers in each class have to win runoffs, the Hoosier Super Tour point standings, and finish first in their respective conference.

Sak, who is married and has two boys, competes in the Northern Conference.

His dad raced for over 15 years, and his mom also did some racing.

According to public relations representative Jim Llewellyn, last year the SCCA celebrated its 75th anniversary.

There has been some interesting history associated with the club, including having people such as Roger Penske, Michael Andretti and Bobby Rahal compete in it.

“I went to these kinds of races as a kid with my dad,” Sak said. “People like Paul Newman raced in the same club that I race in, in Sports Car Club of America. I raced against Paul Newman back when I ran the Trans Am series. I beat (him). ’Course he was, I think, 80 years old.”

Llewellyn said finishing first in a race field of 60 cars is “really impressive.”

“Over the last four or five years, I have had the opportunity to interview and speak with Bobby on the victory podium because he has done very well over the years in the Spec Racer Ford Gen3 class,” Llewellyn said. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch for several years, and one thing I can tell you is when Bobby’s silver No. 19 car is out there on the track, you know that more often than not, he is (going to) be running in that front pack, challenging for a victory on any given weekend.”

Sak said he got a “nice big trophy” for winning runoffs. There was also another reward that may have been even better.

“There’s a little bit (of) money from contingency sponsorships,” he said. “The best prize I won was I get a free set of tires for every race next year. It’s great. That’s about $7,000 worth, so, pretty good prize.”

In the early 2000s, Sak raced in a pro series in which there were “higher stakes” when it came to prize money.

However, driving in the professional ranks and earning a living as a race-car driver aren’t necessarily one in the same.

“There’s a whole lot less paid drivers than I think most people think,” Sak said. “It’d probably be pretty eye-opening to the general population, because lot (of) people think that everybody in IndyCar, NASCAR, is getting paid tons of money. Well, a lot (of) those people are actually paying to be there.”

Sak said he has gotten up to around 151 mph racing, and “for a little four-cylinder engine, that’s pretty good.”

He wears a three-layer fireproof driving suit, fireproof socks, fireproof shoes and a fireproof helmet, along with having a head and neck restraint.

“We’re covered head to toe with fireproof gear,” Sak said.

But despite all the protection, he thinks there is another mode of traveling that is even more dangerous than race-car driving.

“Most people think it’s more dangerous to be on a race track than regular streets,” Sak said. “I wholeheartedly disagree, because we’ve all been trained pretty well in awareness and safety, and everything like that, and no one’s texting.”

Sak works as a logistics manager for a business in Madison Heights during the week and races on some weekends from May through October.

He has paid attention to how many national champions are in races he has been a part of, and to now be among that class is a life changer.

“It’s exciting to know that other people are (going to) think of me as a national champ,” Sak said. “No one can ever take that away, and the goal now is to do it again.”

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