This two day points event took place at Virginia Tech’s Duck pond lot nicknamed the Cage and was loaded with loud tire screaming varmints both days.
The lot has a consistent downhill slope making the course very readable except in a few portions of the lot that for drainage reasons have a hump which made for some interesting transitions. In particular there was one gate on Sunday where drivers drove straight over one of the humps then turn left and then right. Many slowed over the hump and their time slips paid dearly for it because it required more commitment and course memorization. I personally kept the hammer down and slid the car through the maneuver with the appropriate amount of counter steer.
For shade many people set up EZ-up tents on the grassy hillside at the top of the lot near the starting line and had a great view of the entire course. Course designer Glen Thompson put together two great courses that made the most of the lot’s perks and avoided the handful of parked cars/storage bins that Virginia Tech students had left over the summer.
For the first event in a long time there was more than one F125 kart present and a two day battle between Juan Jaramillo and James Newman resulted in Newman winning Saturday’s confrontation and Juan winning on Sunday with both drivers taking FTD (Fastest Time of the Day) for each day of the weekend. Jisu Kim came in 3rd place both days but closed the gap further on Sunday by coming within 2.8 seconds of Juan. Formula Jr. B saw Zachary Clemens, son of David Clemens the Tech Chief and Corvair master, learning car control skills that every parent should want their child to know. I predict a future full of FTDs in Zachary’s future if he’s learning this much this early.
This year CSP battle has much resembled a Call of Duty Black Ops death match between three different Miatas. The rusty but ever trusty light blue Miata of Pete Johnson, the Red Bull Miata of Mick Seal and the Combs’ Blue Bullet were all present both days and even more drivers were at the wheel of each car. Pete shared his car with its former owner Justin Rest and Justin showed that he must have been made of stainless because there was no rust buildup from taking time off from autocross by taking the class win on both days. Comb’s “Rent-a-Miata” was busy with Lynn, Ray Schumin, Jason Combs and Phillip Gillet. Ray took the Blue Bullet to 3rd place behind Justin (1st) and Pete (2nd) on Saturday and Phillip took the car to another 3rd place finish Sunday with Ray not far behind in 4th. Mick’s Red Bull Miata also earned a ticket to the HOV lane with 3 drivers on Saturday and Sunday with the highest scoring driver being Tim Windle who scored 4th place Saturday and Suzanne Hodges with a 6th place finish on Sunday. Out of the car owners/builders Mick had a rough weekend finishing 9th both days with Lynn scoring 5th on both days. In total there were 9 drivers in CSP on Saturday and 10 on Sunday making CSP the biggest class on both days.
Next according to population was that of my class, STS. With 6 drivers Saturday and 7 on Sunday the class wasn’t far off from CSP in terms of participation. Much like CSP the leader board didn’t change much in both days with Scott Krzastek winning both days and Joseph Banks scoring a close second. On Saturday Brock Clayton took 3rd place and on Sunday some guy who writes a blog about regional level autocross finished 3rd (me). This event was Andrew Jones’ first event on a new suspension, which was bolted in on Friday evening, with his newly acquired Miata and served as a test and tune to find what setup worked best with the car. Andrew finished 5th on both days. Brock’s car was also new to him but Brock’s level of experience with the little cars helped propel him to the previously mentioned 3rd place finish Saturday and 4th place finish Sunday. I’m confident as each of these cars develops that STS will continue to be the automotive equivalent to a knife fight.
DSP shrank on this event with Steffen Clark in his ’84 Colt taking an easy win Saturday with no competition and facing Ford Northen’s GTI on Sunday beating Ford for the weekend win. Steffen has stepped up the DSP arms race by switching from the harder compound road race tires that Ford and Mark Snodgrass run and moving to the softer Hankook C71 R-compound tire. Needless to say the Colt stayed on 3 wheels for nearly the entire event.
C-stock has been getting bigger this year with Wendy Bergstein in a ‘99 Miata, Cliff Palmer Jr in a ‘08 RX8 and David Miller in a ’06 Miata making nearly every event. Cliff took the win Saturday in his screaming RX8 and Wendy arrived on Sunday to take the win. Miller scored 3rd on Saturday and 4th on Sunday but more notably was the subject of a Roanoke Times article and video about autocross (http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/289702).
What do an Acura Integra, CRX, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mazda MX6 and Toyota Prius all have in common? No, this isn’t one of those “So they all walk into a bar…” jokes rather it’s the lineup of the Street Modified Front Wheel Drive class for Saturday. That’s right not only is a Prius autocrossing but it’s also in a modified class. Paul Sexton, a Toyota technician, brought his lowered V710 shod ’08 Prius out for some fun on Saturday and drove it to a 3rd place finish (out of 6 drivers in SMF) and an overall finish of 22nd of 69 cars (and karts) for Saturday. Miroslav Valent took the win in his ’95 Integra with Jim Rimel behind him in 2nd place with his CRX on Saturday. Sunday saw the Prius, Integra and Eclipse gone with only Rimel’s CRX taking the win over Michael Hastings ’92 Mazda MX6.
In the Novice class Matt Russel won both days which officially makes him no longer a novice. The Novice class at the Blue Ridge Region SCCA is scored by PAX time and if you finish first place you can no longer be in the Novice class. Tim Russel, Matt’s father, was proud to see his son take home the win in the father-son second gen MR2. Tim kept the 1st place MR2 in 1st place in STR beating Rob Leslies S2000 on both days.
In the TIRE class which groups all classes not in the Street Touring category but still choose to run street tires (tread wear 140+) saw Glen Thompson winning on Saturday in his ‘91 Miata and James Koiner’s ’93 Nissan Sentra SE-R taking the win on Sunday.
The top 3 fastest times of the day on Saturday belonged to James Newman 58.219 (‘07 Hutless Kart), Juan Jaramillo 59.694 (‘06 Kosmic Kart) and Justin Rest 62.494 (90 Miata…an actual car). The top 3 PAX times for Saturday were David Wampler 53.030 (’06 STI), Justin Rest 53.620 (’90 Miata) and Brian Hertweck 53.683 (’08 Corvette).
The top 3 fastest times of the day for Sunday were Juan Jaramillo 57.971 (’06 Kosmic Kart), James Newman 58.284 (’07 Hutless Kart) and Martin Kriz 59.257 (’06 STI). Take another look at that grouping and you’ll wonder how an ’06 STI was only 1.286 seconds slower than a shifter kart with a very capable driver. It seems like Martin Kriz can bend time and space to his will the way he drives that ’06 STI. Speaking of Martin, the top 3 fastest PAX times of the day belonged to Martin Kriz 50.902 (’06 STI/time-travel machine), Anthony Hodges 52.805 (95 Plymouth Neon) and David Wampler 53.247 (’06 STI).
Saturday’s event saw 69 drivers and Sunday increased to 79 drivers. In all it was a great two day event that helped raise money for Virginia Tech’s Formula SAE team where engineering students build and race a formula race car. The Car Club at Virginia Tech (CCVT) had a strong showing on their home turf with maroon shirts everywhere which is good because my Madison Motorsports buddies and I don’t plan on taking it easy on them at the College Challenge Autocross in the fall (I couldn’t resist…) Playful joking aside CCVT hosted a great event and everyone that was there was already talking about how much they were looking forward to more events at that lot. I only wrote about a fraction of the results and class battles that took place that weekend so to find out more, view the total results sheet or see more photos please visit www.brr-scca.org.