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Father, Daughter Turn Competition into Family Affair on Track at SCCA Runoffs

Mike Sauce made a promise to his daughter, Megan, when both first started racing against each other in SCCA events.

“I made a commitment years ago,” Mike Sauce said. “I said when you get fast enough to beat your dad, then I’ll quit. Well, I lied.”

Megan Sauce Hutton was more than happy to forgive her dad. After all, that little lie kept Megan and her father racing together and having fun at racetracks around America, a journey they started together nearly 20 years ago and continues today.

The Sauces, both from Arlington, Texas, will race against each other Friday in the Formula F class of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mike Sauce began racing in a Formula 3 car in the mid-1970s, inspired by sibling rivalry.

“I had this older brother who learned to play the guitar, so I had to learn to play the guitar,” Sauce said. “He started racing cars, so I had to start racing cars. I always had to be a little better than him.”

Sauce’s brother ventured into production car racing in the late 1970s, so Mike followed him after buying a Triumph Spitfire. But Mike’s first love remained open-wheel formula car racing, so he returned there in the early 1980s to compete in club races and amateur events.

Mike Sauce’s racing ambitions intensified past the amateur level in the late 1980s and 1990s. He raced Pro Super Vee in 1989 and competed in Formula Atlantic in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Sauce finished second in the Category Two division of Formula Atlantic in 1996 behind current Indianapolis 500 entrant and standout IMSA sports car team owner Michael Shank.

Like many children, Megan Sauce Hutton took an interest in her father’s activities and decided as a grade-schooler she wanted to race. So Mike bought his daughter a kart for her ninth birthday in March 1999.

“Much to her mom’s dismay, she wanted to go racing,” Mike Sauce said of Megan.

Megan Sauce was a natural. Victories came quickly in karting, and at age 14 she tried driving the Swift open-wheel formula car owned by her uncle. She loved it, and Mike Sauce bought her a similar car she still races today in SCCA competition.

The Sauces raced together throughout the mid-2000s through earlier this decade, and Megan continued to gain speed. She won the SCCA Majors Formula F Championship in 2012, beating her father.

That success caused Mike Sauce to remember his promise to quit once his daughter was faster. He upheld his word – for a few years, at least.

But Mike Sauce, who owns an automotive repair business, couldn’t resist the lure of the cockpit and returned to racing with his daughter, a school teacher. Megan welcomed his comeback.

“I’m really fortunate to have gotten to share this opportunity with my dad, to have this bond, this kind of relationship,” Megan Sauce Hutton said. “Most young adults my age don’t have that. I get to share the fun with my dad.”

Said Mike Sauce: “She does really well. She’s a good, solid driver. She’s pretty quick, and she’s pretty safe.

“We definitely race hard. We race hard against each other. When we’re together, obviously we’re going to a little more careful with each other than with somebody else. But nothing makes me more proud, and I have more fun racing against my daughter.”

Mike and Megan Sauce also are sharing the fun this week at IMS with family that lives in the Indianapolis area. Mike Sauce’s older brother Harry is retired Hamilton County judge and practicing attorney from Noblesville, Indiana. He also was an avid SCCA racer and completed all but the final phase of the Rookie Orientation Program for the 1988 Indianapolis 500.

“I’m really excited,” Megan Sauce Hutton said. “There are so many great drivers who have gotten to drive at Indy. I get to join them, get to be a part of that elite crowd that have driven at Indianapolis. Maybe not in the ‘500,’ but that doesn’t make a difference to me. I get to do something that most people only get to dream of doing.”

Mike Sauce knows the feeling. Like many kids, he followed his brother’s lead, picked up a guitar at age 8 and learned how to play. He gravitated to rock music like a moth to a porch light, influenced by The Beatles, The Hollies and Jimi Hendrix, and dreamed of touring with a band.

That dream became reality. Sauce sang and played guitar for a Dallas-area band called Rush that began touring around Texas and the Southwest. The band changed its name to First Rush in 1971 to avoid confusion with a rising Canadian rock band also called Rush. Yeah, that Rush – the progressive rock trio that just was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When Polydor Records signed First Rush in 1978 after the band won the Texas World Music Festival, the record company asked the band to change its name to avoid any confusion with Rush. So First Rush became Stark Ravin, which toured with rock giants AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath around North America.

“We played 300 nights a year for about three years,” Mike Sauce said.

There’s an Indianapolis connection to Mike Sauce’s musical years, too. Stark Ravin recorded many tracks at TRC, a nationally known Indianapolis studio that relocated to Nashville in 2010.

Mike Sauce played with many other bands during his musical career. He left the reunited First Rush – the band returned to that name – last year but still plays guitar and sings in a variety of projects.

“I have a recording studio in my race shop, if you can believe that,” he said.


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