Op-Ed: The Lady Box – A Classing Dilemma

Proposed Club Class Details (Click to Open)

You may or may not have seen discussion about a proposed change to dissolve Ladies classes and replace them with a “Club” Class.  The primary people behind this movement are Heidi Ellison and Rachel Baker, so NAXN has invited them to detail their reasoning behind the proposal.  We also invite anyone with a counter argument to reach out to us.  Reasonable discourse has the ability to improve our sport for everyone involved.

Thomas Thompson
Senior Editor


The Lady Box: A Classing Dilemma

Heidi Ellison at the 2018 Solo Nationals STR-Open

Rachel smiles from under her wide brim hat and reminds me that the showcase drops off at the bottom as the clipboard guy moves out of my way and I ease out of grid. Michelle makes eye contact and throws up the “V” sign as my co driver reminds me the car feels perfect and to trust it as he turns on the camera and moves his toes out of the way. Jen turns, locks eyes with me and says, “No reason.” I lock back, “No reason.” There’s no reason I can’t compete with these guys and that I can’t drive just as fast, I think all the way to the line. A karter girl runs up fresh from her win, quickly fist bumps me and says, “you got this!” I go out feeling nervous, empowered and supported.

I’ve always been a strong person. As a girl I played sports with boys and equally embraced my femininity. Coming from another club with the highest participation of women of all the local clubs and no gender division, I did well in Open in 2014. Yet somehow it still happened. I got pressured into ladies’ class without even realizing it. “Oh, you’ll do really well in Ladies” people said, “here’s a free seat for Ladies’” and “here’s our main lady, you can totally beat her in Ladies’”. “Come drive with us because this is where you belong.” I started to feel like I couldn’t be as good as the guys. I didn’t see any female role models in Open, no one who looked like me. I got trapped in this kind of box. -Heidi


Rachel Baker running B-Street Open

Ladies class… right, that’s where I drive because I’m a female. Yes, there is an option to run open, but how was I to know that that was for me, seeing almost no women running there? Not until a few of my male mentors told me how they believed in me and told me I could run open did I actually go there. I’ve never been interested in being “one of the guys” but some of my favorite hobbies are male dominated.

Am I “too female” to autocross? I wear dresses and fancy hats. The car certainly doesn’t care what I’m wearing. If men and women were all running together I would have seen all the support available sooner and not separated myself from it. I have met some of my dearest friends at autocross and not because we ran the same class. It’s so rewarding to have people of all genders come up and wish me luck, congratulate me, tell me they believe in me, or ask for my help. We all love this sport and making everyone feel supported together is the best way to grow it. -Rachel


Women make up 15% of autocrossers. 79% of those choose to run in Ladies’ class where 4 drivers can share a car, and there is the possibility of easier contingencies and Championships. Men aren’t allowed. As we look into the system that has been in place since 1973, let’s try to examine the data as objectively as possible like autocrossers do, devoid of emotion, while recognizing that some have a personal stake. Let’s set aside any bias and keep the greater significance of women’s roles in Motorsports in mind. We respect the history of the program and recognize our different experiences and backgrounds; however, if we pool our resources and strengths together we can begin to look forward, not only for us but also for the girls and women coming into the sport. Everyone’s opinion on our classing system counts. It’s not fair for anyone to decide the worth of one woman’s view over another, nor to devalue those of men, as this issue affects us all. There is a fatal flaw in only letting women running Ladies’ classes have their voices heard, as they are direct recipients of the benefits which aren’t available to or chosen by everyone. This doesn’t mean we don’t believe in women, quite the opposite, it means we do.

Ladies’ classes don’t support all women in autocross, they only support those who opt to be separated. This separation makes the women who choose to run Open anomalies, going against the lady-grain and many are continually pressured back. It marginalizes us literally and figuratively, even if by choice. Ladies’ classes are the manifestation of accepting negative traits, projecting them onto all of us and reinforcing the falsity that we can’t drive as well, handle the pressure of competing with everyone, and that men are inherently harmful creatures. The “just leave us alone” tactic doesn’t work, not only because the “biological weaknesses” and “nurture deficiencies” excuses get projected onto all women in autocross, but because the class and its benefits (4 in a car, lower bar for Challenges, etc.) lock out the majority of members based on a driver’s license gender designation, which is being expanded from F and M in some states. This divisiveness multiplies and becomes kind of “Handmaid’s Tale-y” when you add in the narrative being officially whispered to us… “women need a gentler approach”, “husbands and bf’s please don’t scare your lady on ride alongs”, “Ladies, karters are the future-remember this is a family sport”, “Open is the men’s class”, “focus on fun not data”, “camaraderie, not driving”. It becomes this vortex where we aren’t surrounded by diverse mentors, talent, and competitors, and the issues we have in general as women get compounded and we end up limiting our potential.

Our current class structure leads to a tiny fraction of top female drivers vying in Open at Tours, where they often can’t make class numbers in ladies, and then “cleaning up” in Pro L classes. Some justify this by saying it’s “to support their team” and while we understand racing is expensive, it’s expensive for everyone. Using gender as a qualifier leads to car owners trying to fill their Open seats with only men and asking women to take the easier chances at contingencies in Ladies’, and persistent pressure from other women to help fill classes so they can win. This dynamic creates an imbalance and contributes to an unspoken hierarchy where women have been referred to as “golden gooses” and make us “less valued” for Open seats. We support all women wherever they choose to drive, however the issue is with the unfairness and the negative effects of that system, especially on women. Many say Ladies’ classes helped them when they started, but that was the only system in place. The number of participants running Ladies’ classes are on a downward trend and women in Open on the rise. Mazda is leading the support and encouraging this trend with a new contingency in 2018 for women running Open. Women don’t need separate Ladies’ classes to start autocrossing, they just need to see women.

Picture a new landscape where we all compete alongside each other but still have choices.  Women in autocross are still a minority and we want to preserve the positive aspects of ladies class, but in the form of support, not exclusion-ism, a tactic often used against us.  We should begin to set up a viable transition away from this antiquated system. Let’s build strong, encouraging women’s groups that focus on us as drivers with data sharing and course walks, as well as camaraderie.  We need to develop mentoring programs, replace lady-contingencies with need-based lady scholarships, develop recruitment programs that focus not only on wives and girlfriends on the sidelines, but reach women likely to have an interest and aptitude such as in engineering schools, car clubs, IT and automotive programs. Let’s get women into visible positions in our clubs as instructors, novice chiefs, safety stewards, board members, and role models competing together and not off in the margins.  We can recognize our differences while focusing on our strengths.  Women tend to be better listeners, have better memories, lower body weight, think in a web (watch the tree, contemplate course layout, driving plan), multitask better, be less ego-driven, connect both sides of our brains better, have more acute senses in sight, sound and touch (which helps to read in-car data), and are more flexible in learning. These attributes enable us to train in the strengths we lack.  We appreciate that the old system was relevant in the 1970’s, but it doesn’t mean we need to hold on to it forever.  Let’s align in practice with the new Welcoming Environment Statement and work towards a class system defined by car parts not body parts, and we ask that you support this ideology as we work the details out together.  Sometimes you have to think outside of your box and make a change.

Every member’s voice matters. If you want to work towards a non-gender classing system please submit a letter to https://www.crbscca.com (Solo Events Board, EO, Title: Support for Non-gender Based Classing).

Rachel Baker & Heidi K. Ellison
#DrivingForwardTogether

2018 Solo Nationals: Preview

It has been another great regular season for autocross, and now it is time for the Big One. The 2018 SCCA Solo National Championship has exceeded all expectations for attendance; and a new class, Solo Spec Coupe (SSC), garnered so much interest it was awarded championship status in the first year. The event sold out in just over four days, requiring the registration cap to be raised from 1350 to 1400 (plus Junior Karts). The waitlist has since cleared but there will still be close to 1400 competitors. So brace yourself for the largest Solo Nationals in history, and use our preview to know what to look during the first week of September.

Thomas Thompson

SS | AS | BS | CS | DS | ES | FS | GS | HS
SSR | SSC
STH | STS | STX | STU | STR | STP
SSP | ASP | BSP | CSP | DSP | ESP | FSP
SM | SSM | SMF
XP | CP | DP | EP | FP
AM | BM | CM | DM | EM | FM | FSAE
KM | FJA | FJB
CAMC | CAMS | CAMT

 



SS – Super Street – 28 Entries – 8 Trophies
2017 Champion: Scott Fraser
SSL – Super Street Ladies – 11 Entries – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Laraine Wilkinson

Porsche GT3s, Cayman GT4s, Z06 Corvettes, an NSX, a GTR, Super Street (SS) has the cars connoisseurs discuss, little kids dream of, and autocrossers envy.

Only one driver from the last year’s Super Street (SS) Top-5 returns this year. Scott Fraser (1st – 2017) who had a narrow victory in 2017 to claim his second SS victory in a row has moved back to CAM-S. That leaves Ambrose Fung (5th – 2017), Monty Pack (6th – 2017), Jason Kohler (7th – 2017) and Keith Brown (8th – 2017) as the returning trophy winners.

Normally, the clearing of space at the top of the class would be enough to pick one of these drivers to take home the jacket. Fung was fastest last year of those remaining in the class Keith Brown has a few championships under his belt from a decade ago, but a few interlopers to the class may snatch the hardware this year. 2017 B-Street Champion Ryan Clark is swapping out a 2006 Cayman S for a 2016 Cayman GT4 and stepping up to SS. Josh Lipman says we should also watch out for G.J. Dixon (SSR 5th – 2017) and Pat Salerno (Missed 2017). Both are in the 1st driver (aka “Tire Warmer”) position but both are multi-time national champions and should be in the running for trophies and possibly a victory.

They will all be watching out for Mark Daddio, in a 2007 GT3. Daddio is a proven “alien” in our sport. Having racked up 12 National Championships in various classes, he hopes his first year in SS will be lucky number 13 (which would be the 2nd most open championships ever). Is Daddio a sure thing? Will something besides a Porsche win?

In SSL, Kristi Brown (2nd – 2017), Sharianne Ziola (3rd – 2017), and Jocelin Huang (SSRL 3rd – 2017) should be the main competitors for the top spot with Laraine Wilkinson (1st – 2017) moving to FPL this year. The favorite should be Brown who won in 2016 and was a cone away from repeating last year. Huang won the class in 2015 before trying her hand at open in 2016 and SSRL in 2017. With 11 drivers SSL is one of the best subscribed ladies classes so a new champion could easily appear.

By Thomas Thompson



AS – A Street – 66 Entries – 18 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jason Frank
ASL – A Street Ladies – 4 Entries – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Kandy Johnson

A Street (dubbed ‘Murica) is on track to take over STR as the most subscribed class in this year. Trump will likely take credit of this as the class grows from last year’s 55 to this year’s 67 drivers.

Matt Jones is the only top five finishers last year to return to the class, and he is coming in hot with 5 podium finishes so far this year in the Champ/Match Tour and ProSolo combined. But if podium finishes provide any indication of performance at Lincoln, John Wolf and William Bostic will certainly bring a good fight as they have been on the podium this year 8 and 5 times respectively.

New to the class this year are Nick Barbato, Daniel Gross, Todd Kean and David White, all of whom were past Champions in different classes, so they will certainly make the competition very tough for everyone.

Christopher Laprus and Jeremy Pittenger are quick in the new to them C5 Z06 this year, but do not count them out just because it is their first trip to Lincoln.

You may have heard the 718 Cayman could disrupt A Street, so we look forward to see what Yury Kholondyrev can do in this car.

Fun Fact: A little more than 50% of last year’s A Street drivers have either gone to another class or not attending this year, including last year’s champ, Jason Frank.

With four drivers in this A-Street Ladies, it will be a tight and exciting battle no matter what happens. Last year’s winner will not be competing this year, so the spotlight will likely be on Lana Tsurikova this year.

However, following the win in ESP Ladies last year, Jessy Gauthier has switched to a 718 Cayman. Just like the Open class, we will see if anyone can use the Cayman to dethrone the Z06. Carla Russo and Sara Odioso are poised to shake things up in the class.

A Street begins their competition on the East Course on Tuesday. Stay tuned!

By Gary Tsui



BS – B Street – 45 Entries – 12 Trophies
2017 Champion: Ryan Clark
BSL – B Street Ladies – 5 Entries – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Tara Johns

B-Street for the 2018 Solo Nationals will see just over 40 cars competing for the Championship win, down almost 25% from last year. While the Corvette is still the most popular car in the class, a Porsche Cayman won the class in 2017, and the newly legal BMW M2s have shown strong performances at the Tours and Pros leading up to the National Championship.

B-Street is dominated by Rear-Wheel-Drive sports cars, as only a handful of boost-buggy drivers will be competing. The Focus RS seems to be the All-Wheel-Drive car of choice, with a single STi and Evo bringing the fight to the mostly Two-Wheel-Drive field. Competition will be strong with the likes of Dan Bullis, Doug Rowse, and Brian Heitkotter (just to name a few) hunting for the jacket. Ryan Clark won 2017’s B-Street class in a Cayman, but he will return to Lincoln this year in a GT4 Cayman, putting him in Super Street. Jeremy Foley came in 2nd place last year to Ryan by a slim margin of under two tenths, and will be looking to finish first this year.

B-Street Ladies has 3 entries this year, only half of the entrants as compared to 2017 – Cassie Duckert in an S2000, Shauna Rios in a Cayman, and Susan Fenwick in an M2. Tara Johns, who won in a Corvette last year, will not be defending her title as she has moved to CSL in a ND Miata. Can the S2000 still hang with the new BS cars?

By Mat Peck



CS – C Street – 53 Entries – 14 TrOPHIES
2017 Champion: Daniel McCelvey
CSL – C Street Ladies – 13 Entries – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Anne Robinson

C-Street runs 53 drivers deep in 2018, up from 46 in 2017. The class is still dominated by the ND Mazda MX-5 but will also feature NC MX-5s, Subaru BRZs, Scion FRS, Porsche Boxsters, and Mazda RX-8s. Last year, ND MX-5s locked out the Top 10 positions in CS and I see no reason that will change in 2018. While the winning manufacturer is not really in question, the setup, tire, and damper choices vary significantly among the main contenders and the driving talent pool is deep.
With 2016 and 2017 C-Street Champion Daniel McCelvey moving on to STR in his Mazda, CS will see a different winner in 2018.

The Championship Tour and ProSolo seasons have had distinct battles on each coast and in the middle of the US. Out East, DJ Alessandrini has had a fantastic regular season winning four National events (Finger Lakes Tour, Bristol Tour, Pittsburgh Match Tour, and the New Jersey ProSolo). DJ and his co-driver Dennis Barrett, who pipped DJ for the Oscoda ProSolo win, both look to be very competitive in Lincoln. DJ has been regularly battling with CS veteran Chris Harp and his co-driver, 4-time jacket winner Andrew Pallotta. Andrew has proven year in and year out that he can win in Lincoln in a variety of cars.

Solo veteran Darrin DiSimo has also been very quick in his ND this year taking ProSolo wins in Ft Myers and Blytheville in addition to the Ft Myers Match Tour. Charles Krampert has been getting more and more competitive all year long with a highlight win on his final runs at the Mineral Wells ProSolo.

Out West, Scott Phillips, Andrew Kessel, and Idaho’s 2014 ASR Champion Brian Coulson have each taken National Event wins. Scott and Andrew are co-driving together in Andrew’s ND MX-5 for Solo Nats and both have a shot of taking down the former jacket winners in the class. Scott has a road racing background and took wins at the San Diego Match Tour and the Crows Landing ProSolo. He also won the Fontana ProSolo Super Challenge – all in all a pretty tidy season.

John Hunter, Tyler Kvetko, and Dave Ogburn battled at Spring Nats and finished in the top 3 for the ProSolo and the Tour. Tyler has since moved to SSC, but his win at the Spring Nats Pro proved he could have continued his run of strong CS finishes in Lincoln. John Hunter had the pace in both Spring Nats events but had some cone trouble and finished with a 2nd in the Pro and 3rd at the Spring Nats Tour. The Omaha driver and 2013 CSP Champion has the homecourt advantage and is definitely one of the favorites to take home the jacket this year. 2015 CS Champion Dave Ogburn is co-driving with Deana Kelley in her MX-5 again this year and has taken three National Event wins in 2018. Ricky Crow showed strong pace with a P2 behind Dave Ogburn at the Texas Champ Tour and will be a dark horse candidate at Nationals.

The two reigning CSL champions, Deana Kelley and Anne Robinson, join the CS open crowd this year and will be looking to bring home hardware. Anne is a 5-time champion now including CSL 2017 and 4 DPL titles. Deana dominated CSL in 2016 and finished 2nd in 2017 behind Anne. She has a full season of battling in CS open under her belt and will surely be fighting for trophies in her MX-5 hotrod.

The wild card in this year’s C-Street battle surely is the Dynasty Racing duo of Darren Seltzer and Chi Ho. Chi has won many National road race events and has been very competitive at the last few Runoffs. Darren is the more experienced Solo pilot with two Solo Nats titles in FM to his name in addition to the 2017 T4 Runoffs Championship. Look for these guys to be right towards the top and perhaps take the title back to Florida with them in their convertible Smart Car pit vehicle.

CSL is up to 13 drivers from 6 last year and is an all Mazda shootout except for a lone Porsche Boxster. This year’s CSL battle looks to be a showdown between 2017 BSL Champion Tara Johns, 2016 GSL Champion Maria Mayorga, and Jennifer McBride. These three have had quite the showdown in 2018 with each taking National Event wins when they have faced off. Maria took the Bristol Champ Tour win, Jennifer won the Bristol Match Tour, and Tara won the Charlotte Match Tour by a scant 0.038s over Maria and Jennifer. Look for one these three to take home the CSL Jacket this year, but it will likely be by a very small margin. Former F125L Champion Lisa Garfield, Linda Duncan, and 5-time jacket winner Marchell Fletcher will be looking for the upset.
C-Street Open kicks off during Heat 1 on Tuesday starting with the West Course. CSL runs Heat 4 on Tuesday also on the West Course – be sure to tune in, they will both be shootouts.

By Dave Ogburn

 



DS – D Street – 47 Entries – 13 TrOPHIES
2017 Champion: Mark Scroggs
DSL – D Street Ladies – 8 Entries – 3 Trophies
2017 Champion: Julie Heaton

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, then they’re both T-boned by an interloper wearing a flat-brimmed hat? You’ll need to watch D Street to find out. The unstoppable force is three-time national champion, 2017 DS winner, and 2017 overall ProSolo champ Mark Scroggs in his turbo Camaro. He’s on a collision course with 2016 class champion Dennis Sparks in a Subaru WRX. Sparks and Scroggs won eleven national-level events between them this year, and both emerged undefeated. They haven’t fought over the same piece of turf since the 2017 national championships, though, so it’s hard to say how they’ll stack up. Last year Scroggs won by a wide margin, but since then Sparks has upgraded to a new WRX with wider wheels. Size matters, and that extra half inch of rim could make all the difference.

And what about the interloper? The big news in D Street this year was supposed to be the Civic Type R. Internet pundits everywhere declared it an overdog the moment it was placed in the class, but surprisingly few people made the switch. Two-time national champion Brian Kuehl registered in one, but he’s since changed his entry to Street Modified FWD. Maybe if enough of us ask him nicely he’ll rejoin this three-way battle royale. If not, look to Jack Burns to show everyone what the Type R can do.

Another threat to the favorites will be Neil Britton, who actually received more votes in the Pick the Winners contest than Sparks did. Chris Dvorak will be hoping for a podium finish after placing fourth in his WRX last year. And keep an eye on what may be D Street’s two most intriguing entries: two-time DSL champion Julie Heaton, who’s decided to beat up on open class this year, and Matthew Grainger, who misread the Type R memo and signed up in a twenty-one-year-old Integra Type R instead.

D Street Ladies is tough to predict. Lincoln will be the first national-level event of the year for most of the competitors, and none of the drivers have previously won jackets. Evanthe Salisbury was the only driver SportsCar even bothered mentioning in its article, but Stephanie Reynoso will be looking to prove the magazine’s panel wrong after her dominant win at the Mineral Wells Tour.

By Stephen Hui

 


ES – E Street – 61 Entries – 16 TrOPHIES
2017 Champion: Michael Ron
ESL – E Street Ladies – 8 Entries – 3 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jennifer Bedell

E-Street this year is not only one of the most popular classes in the country, but also super difficult to determine who will win. It seems that on any given weekend there are several guys that have a shot at the win. Looking at the Championship Tour results we see that in 8 contests over the course of the season, we also have 8 different winners. When you look at Match Tour results, we have an additional 5 contests and 5 more unique winners. We don’t actually see people winning multiple events until we look at Pro Solo results.

So, what can we distill from the results? We fully expect some really good drivers to finish outside the trophies this year. While Peterson, Ron, Canak, and Borowski are solid choices, the consistent improvement over the last two years and the surprise 2nd place last year from Matt Waldbaum make him our pick this year to win. That being said, there are certainly drivers that if they can avoid cones can come in and upset the apple cart.

E-Street Ladies saw the departure of several top drivers. Also, we haven’t seen the top drivers run against each other at the same event. So, our pick for this year will come down to whether we pick the Wendi Allen Scholarship Fund 2018 Recipient, Youmna Zalzal, or the always fast Meredith Brown. As much as we like underdog stories, we expect Brown to take the jacket home. We’ll be watching closely in Lincoln to see if other drivers emerge that can challenge for the win.

By Chuck Mathews



FS – F Street – 36 ENTRIES – 10 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jeff Cashmore
FSL – F Street Ladies – 3 Entries – 1 Trophy
2017 Champion: N/A

F Street is shaping up to be an epic battle between two multi-time national champions: 11-time winner (and defending FS champion) Jeff Cashmore, and 4-time jacket winner Jeff Wong. Wong just got his sixth generation Camaro SS this year, but he figured it out quickly – he was the fastest F Street driver at all four of the Pros he contested this year. Cashmore only brought his BMW M3 out to one national-level event this year, but he made it count, beating Wong by a healthy 0.7 seconds at the Spring Nationals Championship Tour. SportsCar and the Pick the Winners voters both pick Cashmore to win the jacket – can Wong prove them wrong?

Several other fast drivers are looking to lay claim to the top step of the podium. Picking favorites is tough since most of them haven’t crossed paths in 2018, but Austin Don stands out – he’s won two national level events in his M3, beating known alien Mark Daddio at one of them. (Daddio’s registered in SS at Nationals.) Ido Waksman won most of the events he contested in his fifth-generation Camaro 1LE this year, and Sean Greer also has recorded some strong finishes. Lastly, don’t count out past national champions Brian Burdette (who won F Stock in 2013) and James Paulson, both of whom will be looking to prove that the latest generation Ford Mustang can get the job done.

F Street Ladies is also expected to come down to two drivers, due mostly to the fact that there are only two people registered. 2016 Solo Driver of the Year and 2016 FSL national champion Cindy Duncan is the prohibitive favorite given her track record. Lincoln’s Kellie Knop will be hoping that she can leverage her home field advantage into a surprise upset, particularly if rain or tight courses favor her S197 Shelby GT over Duncan’s much larger and heavier 2016 Mustang GT.

By Stephen Hui



GS – G Street – 47 ENTRIES – 10 Trophies
2017 Champion: Doug Rowse
GSL – G Street Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophy
2017 Champion: Barbara Seeger

GS in 2018 Solo Nationals sees the largest G Street or Stock in recent memories. After most of the “Street” years hovering around 20 something competitors, for the 46th running of the SoloNats sees the class ballooning to 47. In that we can see a healthy mix of recent contenders and class returnees. The class also sees more interesting than usual variety of the GS machineries. While Focus ST and VW GTI are still the primary cars of choice, new additions like the 10th gen Civic SI mixed with old guards like the Celica and the unique Genesis Coupe will make for interesting comparisons.

2018 will yet again see the previous champ Doug Rowse moving to another class, which means yet again we will see a new champ in the GS jacket. We have podium finishers and perennial contenders in GS class from the last 2 years in the field. Bill Keese and Josh McDonough both have had their close calls with the win and both have been tour winners in recent years. With them Kenneth Tsang and Jen Wong will again try to put the GTI into the mix with the recent tour and pro wins as well. Competing with the Nationals GS regulars will be a highly competitive group of new and old GS competitors.

Des Toups who has been a strong Nationals competitor in the variety of cars of the last few years finds himself a Tour winner in the new SI from the left coast, Rich Verret also in the new SI is a Tour winner from the right coast. Class returnee Brad McCann in his one of the kind Genesis Coupe coming in with 2 Tour wins from Texas. We also have Patrice Bousquet who has shown his speed throughout the year in the Match and Champ Tour events in the south along with his year-long competitor Deech Madhavan. Rounding out a strong field we have Joe Blaha who has been trying to get back up to speed with a limited schedule with a recent strong showing at Oscoda, Mike Bullis who has been making waves with that old MK5 GTI all year in the midwest, crowd favorite announcing chief Sam Karp with his friend Lance Keeley jumping in the new SI are sure to be in with the pointy end as well.

GSL sees the defending champ Barbara Seeger leaving her long time FoST to find herself in a new SI. She will have her past competitor Melanie Dorsey, along with 2015 DSL Nationals Champ Kristen Acharya and her codriver Kellyn Bricker to contend with for the class jacket. SI vs Focus ST is shaping up to be an interesting fight.

For the Groceries!

By Andrew Wong



HS – H Street – 25 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2017 Champion: Mike King
HSL – H Street Ladies – 7 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2017 Champion: Laney Blume


SSR – Super Street R – 30 ENTRIES – 9 Trophies
2017 Champion: Sam Strano
SSRL – Super Street R Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophies
2017 Champion: Stephanie Reeve

For a class brimming with top drivers, there is no need to look further than Super Street R (SSR). The class is always stacked, but seven open class National Champions are competing in the class this year.

As far as vehicles go, Super Street R (SSR) has been relatively unchanged for years, the newest car last year was a 2012 C6 Grand Sport. For 2018 some new metal is available, and the top drivers are taking advantage. Both 8-time National Champions, Sam Strano (1st – 2017) and Brian Peters (CP 1st – 2017), have selected the 2017 C7 Grand Sport as their weapon of choice. Strano won the class last year after a bit of drought while Peters was winning C-Prepared. At Spring Nats, both Strano (in a C6 Z06) and Peters lost to Matthew Braun (a 5-Time National Champion). Braun and James Yom (a 3-Time National Champion) are the best shots to keep Strano or Peters out of the top spot.

With three women registered in SSR Open, the ladies version of the class has been limited to only 3 competitors. Shelly Monfort will most likely add to her 9 championship pedigree, but Nicole Wong could cause an upset.

By Thomas Thompson




<h5″>SSC – Solo Spec Coupe – 62 ENTRIES – 17 Trophies

2017 Champion: N/A
SSCL – Solo Spec Coupe Ladies – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: N/A

Solo Spec Coupe (SSC) is the newest Kid on the Block. Its inaugural debut of 62 open drivers and 12 ladies makes it one of the largest classes at the 2018 Solo Nationals.

It’ll take a steady hand and an easy foot to keep that SSC car from overheating the tires. Tire management may be a big factor in this year’s SSC battle. The spec Falkens are a great combination of cost, availability, and grip in dry and wet conditions but are challenged as the temperatures rise. Some have poo-pooed the tire selection but this author believes the choice was a good one and that the lower limits of traction create an environment where excellent driving will receive the most rewards. In what is arguably the class most heavily weighted towards driver skill at Solo Nationals, everyone has an equal shot at the competition and the jacket. If SCCA Forums “Pick the Winners” or SportsCar’s “Who Will Win?” are any indicators, Solo Spec Coupe has lots of people who could get it done within the intense spec format racing.

Some top names to watch are Dietz , Kinch, Max and Rodriguez. Lousteau, McCabe and Roberts are the wild cards. But Hammond, Lawson and Savini have been in their cars all year long. Whoever wins will have to earn it. There will be no free handouts at this party.

In SSCL Teddie Alexandrova has got the seat time and lots of practice at long high speed courses. You would be foolish to bet against her this year, as she has put in the time required to win. In a spec class though, a coned run may change everything.

By Kevin Dietz



STH – Street Touring Hatchback – 10 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: N/A

Street Touring Hatchback (STH) is both new and forgotten at same time. The death of Street Touring Front Wheel Drive (STF) gave birth to STH, a mixed bag of boosted, ignored, and forgotten cars from STF and STX. When nationals first capped at 1400 participants, STH represented a paltry 10 (9 Open, 1 Ladies). Unfortunately those numbers have not improved in the days after, which is a real shame. The introduction of the class has been overshadowed by another new class, Solo Sports Coupe (SSC), which has drawn keen interest in the autocross community due to its narrow ruleset and relatively low cost of entry. While STH is a “new” class, it is not supplemental and will award a National Championship. No driver in this class has previously won an open championship, so a first-time winner is a sure bet.

The cars are a blast — Mazdaspeed 3s, Subaru WRXs, VW Golfs (GTI and R), an Audi TT, and even an AWD Eagle Talon. The use of street touring rules allows a smaller FWD and AWD drive cars that were not blessed with enough power from the factory to dial up the fun factor with some basic ECU tuning (additionally letters have been submitted requesting intercooler rule deviations that could benefit the entire class). Street touring suspension allowances increase the handling to that required to excel on the autocross course.

Deciding who will come out on top will prove difficult since very few of the drivers have competed head to head and the class did not exist last year. Asking around Brian Flanagan’s name seems to come up the most. He has one of the longer Nationals histories in the class, having trophied 5 times in 18 appearances. However, Flanagan fell to Alex Piehl and his 2014 WRX at both the Bistol Champ Tour and Match Tour. Lincoln won’t provide as much of an advantage to the AWD cars as other sites but Piehl will be certainly be in contention. It hasn’t been all roses for Piehl this season, early on at the Finger Lakes Champ Tour he lost to Samuel Krauss. Krauss is no doubt pleased to have a new home class for his AWD 1995 Eagle Talon TSi in STH.

Also hoping AWD will be the answer, Thomas Thompson (yes, I referred to myself in the 3rd person) made the late switch from SSP to STH using a recently acquired a 2016 Audi TT as his weapon of choice. Thompson’s best Nationals finish was 4th in XP in 2016. Chris Thorpe plans on using a similar vehicle to take his shot at a trophy, a 2012 VW Golf R, which shares the 2.0L motor with the TT and is also AWD. He’s been relatively isolated on the West Coast this season but PAX results at Packwood prove Thorpe can do well in his car. Someone looking for a different but not necessarily better kind trophy is Christy Carlson, driving a 2015 WRX. The multi-time ladies champion, including last year in SML, has an excellent shot to be one of the few women in history to top an open class.
Hopefully, with a new champion and some exciting racing the future will look bright for STH. Lincoln will tell us for sure.

By Thomas Thompson



STS – Street Touring Sport – 48 ENTRIES – 13 Trophies
2017 Champion: Ron Williams
STSL – Street Touring Sport Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Kim Whitener

STX – Street Touring Xtreme – 47 ENTRIES – 13 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jonathan Lugod
STXL – Street Touring Xtreme Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophies
2017 Champion: Nicole Wong

Chances are if you are running in this class, you will be seen in a Subaru 86, a Toyota FRS or a Scion BRZ, unless you are Craig Wilcox. He and Kyle Herbst should continue to battle it out this year while Annie Gill, Justin Tsang and Mack Tsang will look for the opportunity to sneak pass them.

James TaDa has been very fast this year after switching to Bridgestone, and he certainly will pull out all his tricks to come out on top. Brian Karwan and Eric Simmons will be testing the prototype sway bar (unfair advantage perhaps?).

Lex Kirichek has been driving a SSC car for the most part of the season, definitely a different approach to preparing for his debut. His flamboyant driving style will be entertaining.

This class is going to be one of the most exciting class to watch as there was only a 0.9 second differential between 1st and 10th place last year. Set your reminder for Tuesday West Course.

Mindi Cross is the only returning driver in STX Ladies this year. Kate Fisher gave up on the Honda S2000 and found a new challenge. Catherine Tran has downsized in terms of power and weight.

Interestingly, all three ladies finished 1st runner up in their respective classes last year, so maybe we will see a three-way tie this year?

STX Ladies runs first heat on Tuesday West Course.

By Gary Tsui


STU – Street Touring Ultra – 38 ENTRIES – 11 Trophies
2017 Champion: Bryan Heitkotter
STUL – Street Touring Ultra Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Mina Ingraham

This class was traditionally dominated by AWD “rally cars”. But some time in 2014(?), the rules changed, allowing RWD cars to put on bigger tires depending on the engine layout. This opened the class up a bit and in the last few years, we have seen the Nissan 350z rises to the top.

With Bryan Heitkotter out of this class (at the time of writing this), John Hale (2017 2nd place) and Bill Zerr (2017 3rd place) may just be able to restore the glory of the Subaru WRX STi. Evo IX is probably the more iconic car in this class but I digress =) . Meanwhile, Lane Borg has been around for the last few years trying to come out on top in a 2004 Corvette. All three drivers are certainly the favorite, and the weather may play favor for Hale and Zerr.

Wojtek (Wally) Hajduczek will carry the torch from Heitkotter in the 350z. We have seen some significant improvements from him this year, so he may springboard himself up in the rankings this year.

Jimmy Au-Yeung and Andrew Ramos made huge improvements between 2016 and 2017, and if it continues, they could very well be in the hunt for podium also.

One more entry to watch for, both a new driver/car to the class, is Talha Sadik in a Mitsubishi Evo X. An Evo IX would be the better choice (Ooops, I did it again) Talha-haha enters this class by chance due to a motor failure in his other car. If he remembers to put Bridgestone on his car, he may actually put himself in a very good position to challenge for the top podium.

In the Ladies class, Katherine Flater and Kelly Ann Gladu look to be the favorite this year as last year’s top 3 finishers have all left this class, so it will be an exciting Subaru and Mitsubishi match-up.

STU and STU Ladies start on Tuesday at the East Course.

By Gary Tsui


STR – Street Touring Roadster – 57 ENTRIES – 15 Trophies
2017 Champion: Ian Stewart
STRL – Street Touring Roadster Ladies – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: Laura Campbell

STP – Street Touring Pony – 8 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2017 Winner: Ryan Otis

This year’s STP field is small, with only 10 drivers taking to the course in their mildly modified ponycars, but the battle for the four trophy spots should be a good one. Jay Cryderman, Robert Gosda. Jonathan Warlof, and Eric Yee, all of whom have either won trophies in the past or been just a few tenths away, will attempt to beat the odds in their underdog Mustangs, while Brinton Mooberry will be aiming for the win in a sixth generation Camaro. And who knows, if the course is right, Jeffrey Mark Pilson may just sneak in there with his lower powered but lighter fourth generation Camaro. However, everyone will be chasing last year’s winner Ryan Otis, who looks likely to repeat this year.

By Eric Yee



SSP – Super Street Prepared – 20 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2017 Champion: Joe Tharpe


ASP – A Street Prepared – 10 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Tom Berry

It would be safe to say AWD boost buggies (or Tom Berry) own this class. In the last 12 years, Tom has won exactly half of them in his Mitsubishi Evolution. The Evo is so dominating that only four other cars have claimed a podium spot from 2006-2017, that is 4 out of 36 podiums. Perhaps, this is the reason the number of entries in this class is waning as Evo becomes harder to obtain.

We should expect Tom and Aaron Miller to go head-to-head not just in terms of driving, but also whose car remains more reliable over the two days. Cory Hockenbury has been closing in on the pair of Evos in recent years in his BMW 1M, and he may finally end the Evo dynasty in 2018. I suspect the West Course may be a little more favorable for the BMW due to the gearing and the Evo may be happier at the East Course.

The class has a new comer this year. Enter Justin Bibik. Having turned down a co-drive in a championship winning car, he is determined to test his skills in a 1991 Toyota MR2. In only his second year of the sport, he is already very competitive in a car that hardly stays together and lacks power, but he may surprise everyone. Word is that the car is still in the midst of being put back together at this moment. I wish him luck in his first ever National.

ASP rolls off the line on the West Course on Tuesday.

Gary Tsui



BSP – B Street Prepared – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: Tom O’Gorman
BSPL – B Street Prepared Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophy
2017 Champion: Kristen Rosenthal

BSP has traditionaly had some good sounds from its machinery. Between MazdaSpeed Miata turbo noises, Honda S2000 VTEC crossover, and the occasional glorious 350z exhaust note the class can make beautiful music.

This is still the land of the MSM. The alien TomO came in last season and broke the Honda thru to the top and overall PAX, but expectations will be that Anthony Ports pilots his MSM back to the top. Buckie Maxey has stepped up his MSM and should be in the hunt; as well as, Chris Eden who has been painfully close for years and hopefully could get it done this year. However a newcomer to the class (but a multi-time National Champion) in a ND Miata, Ron Bauer, could play spoiler.

BSPL is back in 2018 after not making a class. Eyes will be on the girls from the Carolinas in the MSM. Nikki Edwards has a raggedy red jacket to her credit already. However her co-driver, who usually plays a class filler role, has shown potential. Molly There and Edwards could have a very intriguing battle over two days.

AJ Snyder



CSP – C Street Prepared – 20 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2017 Champion: Billy Davis
CSPL – C Street Prepared Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Katie Lacey

Yup, another class of Miatas. Do we have enough of those in SCCA? 21 entries and all Miatas except for a lone MR not.

If we were placing a Vegas betting line, the absolute worst payout bet would be for Billy Davis to win. Come on, who else would you think. Well perhaps Neal Tovsen who has had another year to develop his, gasp, Miata. Perhaps Jeff Schmidt who also has PF Tuning power, gasp, in aa Miata. Let’s just say, a Miata will win.

As for the ladies, a Miata will win as well.

By AJ Snyder



DSP – D Street Prepared – 14 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: John Vitamvas

D-Street Prepared (DSP) has been evolving in the past few years. Once looked at as a land of BMWs has been seeing an evasion of the Mazda RX-8 as of recent years.

Hard to believe that John Vitamvas finally got his first championship in 2017. Look to Johnny V to be in contention with even more PF Tuning power and brand new OS Giken differential after a failure a few short weeks ago. Mike Kuhn is still a favorite as he continues his trend of leading on day one. He’s trophied every year in attendance including podium the last three years. All eyes will continue to be on Tamara Hunt after her inaugural season last year finishing second. Will she pull off the Open win only a few women have achieved?

By AJ Snyder



ESP – E Street Prepared – 15 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: John Laughlin
ESPL – E Street Prepared Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jessica Gauthier

E-Street Prepared (ESP) is still a land of muscle cars like CP and FS. However there is always a pesky import that seems to slip thru and someone is crazy enough to modify to the ruleset.

All eyes should be on Jeff Cox in his Shelby GT500 as the leader of the pony cars. Reliability has plagued him in the past, but all of those issues are behind. However there are two pesky imports to watch very closely. PJ Corrales, a past Street Mod runner-up, is always someone to watch out for. He hopes to avoid a repeat of last year, when his Infiniti G35’s orginal 200,000 mile engine promptly said it didn’t want to be there.
Corrales touts the pedigree of his co-driver, Bryan Mancuso, as 2012 SMF Championship and a 2017 ESP ProSolo Championship. That’s an awfully good tire warmer.

The import that will quickly catch everyone’s attention is a MazdaSpeed6. This car has been in attendance the last two years, but Clint Griest has his machine working well in 2018. He has been cleaning up ESP in every national event this season until a differential failure at Oscoda Pro last month. We don’t see that as enough to take the wind from his sails going into the big show.

ESPL has five entries this season. Not take away anything from JoJo Corrales-Kean; but the clear front runner this year is Johanna Foege in the MS6. Johanna has consistently showed her talent level by putting down times very close to her fiancé in the car. Her climb to the lime light started with her reception of the 2018 Wendi Allen Scholarship. Does it finish with a championship?

By AJ Snyder


FSP – F Street Prepared – 13 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Dan Costello
FSPL – F Street Prepared Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Andrea Albin


SM – Street Modified – 26 ENTRIES – 8 Trophies
2017 Champion: David White
SML – Street Modified Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Christy Carlson

SSM – Super Street Modified – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: Randall Wilcox

SMF – Street Modified FWD – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Robert Thorne
SMFL – Street Modified FWD Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Kristell Janusz


XP – X Prepared – 18 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2017 Champion: Fred Zust
XPL – X Prepared Ladies – 3 Entries – 1 Trophy
2017 Champion: N/A

No offense to some of the mod classes but XP is the “Formula 1” of SCCA autocross. The cars are built to their technical limit. The aero allowances the class shares with Street Modified are only topped by BM and AM. The drivers are some of the best in the business. This year XP is stacked with National Champions with 4 previous open class champs totaling 22 championships (the last minute cancellation of Fred Zust’s registration keeps the class from having the most open championships). Fred Zust, Andy McKee, and Chris Dorsey have 8 championships a piece.

Naming anyone other than Zust the favorite would be a horrible disservice to a man who has won X-Prepared at 8 of the last 9 Nationals he has attended, but he’s not here this year. So, from the list of established XP drivers looking to take advantage of Zust’s absence ; two RX7 drivers, Andy McKee (3rd in 2017) and Zach Sober (2nd in 2017) are the ones to watch. McKee is a two-time XP Champion (8 total Championships) who is the only person to top Zust in recent memory (2012). McKee has trophied every year he’s attended Nationals (21 times), doing it again is almost a given. Zach Sober is ascending the ranks of the best drivers never to have won a championship, a list he hopes to free himself from this year. He has never finished worse than 3rd in XP since his first Nationals in 2014 and has been 2nd three times including last year’s painful 0.078 second loss to Zust. Sober has had the lead after Day 1 each of the last two years. A quality Day 2 performance could be all it takes to bring home a jacket.

Typically, the championship contenders would be limited to Mckee and Sober in the void left by Zust but another fox is in the hen house. Eight-time National Champion Chris Dorsey is leaving the relative comfort of D-Prepared where he won the last 3 years (in addition to 5 E-Prepared Championships). The move to XP required major changes to his 1987 Toyota Corolla GTS. Dorsey will no doubt have the speed to place in potentially upset the top 3 but will his in season modifications (including a switch from supercharged to turbo charged months before nationals) be enough to upset two XP veterans and take home the title.

The remaining trophy spots will be contested by a handful of excellent drivers. Since 2012 there has not been an XPL champion, partially because the women in the class choose to battle it out in open class. Alexandra Zust and Teresa Neidel-McKee have been regular trophy winners in XP. Alexandra will be missing this year but Neidel-McKee will be fighting for a trophy. Add to the mix, Brianne Corn, one of only 4 women to ever top an open class (BM in 2011), co-driving the same RX7 as Zach Sober, and it will be tough for rest of the class to even sniff at a trophy. If Teresa finds a cone or two or Brianne has trouble adapting to an unknown car, Mark Mauro and Eric Anderson may bring home some hardware. Mauro has finally gotten the proper shocks for the car and should be quicker than last year. Anderson is stepping up from SSM in spectacularly built supercharged 1996 Miata. The car won SSM last year at the hands of Randall Wilcox (who will defend this year in SSM), and with SSM and XP times surprisingly similar Anderson has a chance to finish in the trophies.

XP Ladies will make a class this year primarily constituted by non-XP cars. Kim Bollinger has the pedigree with 11 Championships overall, but Amanda Hahn has a couple herself and is driving the faster car, Robert Thorne’s Big Bad Wolf.

By Thomas Thompson


CP – C Prepared – 41 ENTRIES – 11 Trophies
2017 Champion: Brian Peters
CPL – C Prepared Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2017 Champion: None


DP – D Prepared – 25 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2017 Champion: Chris Dorsey

A class that nearly doubled this year. Up to 25 from last year’s 16 entries. Thirteen of those drivers have returned, with the notable exception of last year’s champion Christopher Dorsey who’s off sampling X-Prepared. This could be the year for Todd Roberts, last year’s 2nd place trophy winner. That is unless Steve Hoelscher, last year’s 3rd place finisher, has found some speed since their last Nationals encounter. Of course, with this much expansion, it’s entirely possible a dark horse may emerge. I hear Tulsa’s own Mr. Danny Thomas has been digging deep into the parts bin and may fly the British flag over the rising sun of—yawn—Miata’s.

By Pax Rolfe



EP – E Prepared – 13 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Brian Kuehl


FP – F Prepared – 25 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2017 Champion: David Montgomery
FPL – F Prepared Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Amy Dilks

Well it’s better late than never. Welcome to the solo nationals preview for F prepared in 2018. This class is going to be a Who’s Who of heavy hitters in cars on real race tires. There are literally more than a handful of drivers here who could potentially win.

So let me paint the picture for you. Imagine if Brad Pitt was coming to solo nationals autocross pretty cool right? Now imagine if he was best friends with Channing Tatum. Even cooler right? Now imagine if these drivers have driving skill somewhat resemblant of Senna and Prost when it comes to driving. Sounds kind a like a beatdown is coming doesn’t it? Well that’s what Tom O’Gorman and Dave Montgomery have planned.

But wait it gets better…the original Wisconsin hipster himself Jason Frank has decided to step down from his days of Corvette glory and enter the world of Porsche luxury in a famous black Boxster. He is also brought along Mike Brausen to warm his tires and to park next to his old car so the Oregon boys (Zach and Josh) can show him how fast it SHOULD have been.

Then we have one of the dark horses who is always fast in the wrong car. Dr. Alex Indiana Jones has decided once again to bring a Pontiac solstice to the fight. He’s always fast and he’s always a contender. Does he have enough to make it happen this year? If he doesn’t a newcomer to FP named Bryan Heitkotter might come give it a shot. Or he might turn in his man card to go drive something else. We will have to find out next week.

And some old guys named Tom Holt and John Thomas will be in old Z cars to remind us that BMW isn’t the only fast car with a straight 6.

There’s also a dog ugly S2000 from the southeast that goes quick too.

Basically if you’re new to FP and not quite up to speed, leave your ego at home and enjoy the show.

Amy Dilks has once again decided to show up in a concourse level prepared S2000. We will be watching to see if she can find speed on that car again this season to pull off the repeat.

Then we have that little black Boxster again. Iven Dudley is coming out of retirement to jump into what is arguably the best prepared Boxster in the country. Her co-driver, Hilary Frank, is coming back to give it another shot in 2018. Hopefully with fresh valve stems on the car this year.

The prediction looks like it is Hilary’s year to win or lose depending on whether the car or the cones hold up.

David Hedderick



AM – A Modified – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Marshall Grice


BM – B Modified – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: Tom Ellam


CM – C Modified – 30 ENTRIES – 9 Trophies
2017 Champion: David Fauth
CML – C Modified Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Sue Eckles

For 2018, CM will be a class to watch closely with 34 entrants spread across the open and ladies classes. The cars are more diverse than ever with Honda and Volkswagen power plants joining the classic Ford Kent engine found in most Formula Fords over the past 50 years. While there are a handful of “Solo Vees” registered, the most popular formula for the class remains the “Formula F” with cars ranging in age from Greg Maloy’s 1974 Dulon MP15 to Phil Leavens’ 1998 Van Diemen RF98.

The class is chock full of talent and promises to be closely contended. Both 2017 champions David Fauth and Sue Eckles will be returning to defend their titles but will be met by the “his & hers” pair of returning 2016 champions, Brandon and Krystal Lavender. Other returning top 3 trophy winners to watch include previous year trophy winners Greg Maloy (2017 2nd place), Jonathan Clements (2016 2nd place), and Ben Martinez (2016 & 2017 3rd place).

2018 has had few Champ Tours with multiple CM or CML drivers to contend for a victory, but the notable exceptions were Crows Landing (13 drivers) and Packwood (9 drivers). Victory for both went to Eric Clements with second place at both events going to newcomer Mark Uhlmann. Final trophy spots for the two events went to Ben Martinez and codrivers John Krotez and Michael Marich from Canada.

CM runs first heat and CML fourth heat on Thursday/Friday and both promise to be a show worth watching!

Mark Uhlmann



DM – D Modified – 13 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Mark Huffman

EM – E Modified – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jeff Kiesel
EML – E Modified Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2017 Champion: Shawn Kiesel


FM – F Modified – 30 ENTRIES – 9 Trophies
2017 Champion: Jason Hobbs
FML – F Modified Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Michelle Quinn

“For the Glory of F-Mod! For the Glory! For the Glory!” Ah, yes, if you’ve ever been around the F-Mod class you’ve surely heard their battle cry. Well, you heard it if there wasn’t also the sound of a million giant weed-eaters drowning them out.

This ragtag group of miscreants are taking “For the Glory” to new heights this year, as they will be assembling an entire car for Heyward Wagner on site from spare parts brought by the various competitors. You can hate the cringe-inducing sounds these little cars make, but you can’t deny that these folks are having tons of fun — probably more fun than you are.

Usually when I’m looking into my crystal ball (or Magic 8 Ball) to see into the future and make my picks, I also casually glance at national results… you know, just in case I can give the spirits a helping hand. However, it seems the top guys haven’t run against each other much.

So, can we expect to see an underdog like Chris Perry or Will Lahee pull it out this year? Or, will one of the other top drivers like Matt Murphy or defending champ Jason Hobbs take home the top honors? Magic 8 Ball says: “Concentrate and ask again.” So, realizing the error of my ways, I concentrated harder. Magic 8 Ball says: “My sources say no.”

So, based upon the strength of his 3rd on PAX at the Packwood Pro, I decided to ask the Magic 8 Ball if Zak Kiesel would take home “The Glory.” It replied, “It is decidedly so.” That being said, no matter who wins, there will be a huge celebration as the winner crosses the stage, after which we will banish them to the parking lot, because they’re all just having too much fun for an official SCCA event.

But wait! There’s more “Glory” to be had? Indeed— the ladies of F-Mod bring just as much obnoxious revelry as the men. For the Battle Royale that shall ensue, we’re looking to see who reigns victorious between Andie Albin and Kencey Smith (coming from A-Mod). When asked if Kencey would win, Magic 8 Ball said, “Better not tell you now.” So, we’re going with Andie taking the win since she’s got more experience in the car.

Chuck Mathews



FSAE – Formula SAE – 2 ENTRIES – 0 Trophies
2017 Champion: John Price (UT Arlington)

KM – Kart Modified – 15 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Champion: Daniel Wendel
KML – Kart Modified Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Champion: Kate Regganie

The physical abuse of a 125 shifter kart is known as Kart Modified (KM) in Autocross. The screaming of the two strokes clearing their pipes cut your ears. The smokey clouds of oil mixture are cast across the grid. The engines revolve 14 thousand times a minute. They utilize two people or tow straps to start the engines. Then there is the speed of piloting the machine, the G-loads, slide ways corners, the bumpy concrete, and the wrist ache if you hit a cone.

Two time defending champ Daniel Wendel will be in attendance with a “Porsche Taycan”, can you sense his career path allegiance. Fan favorite Larry “Leftie” MacLeod will be in the hunt. In class full of characters, we want to see Ryan Lower do well. The real shocker is that Superman Paul Russell will NOT be in attendance this season and no date of his return.

In ladies, Emma MacLeod is joining the ranks; and hopefully, Dana Gill can break thru this year. There is still Kate Regganie and Suzanne Segal, so it should be a good battle again this year.

By AJ Snyder



FJA – Formula JunioR A – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2017 Winner: Mason Herrick
FJB – JunioR KART B – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2017 Winner: Carter Heaton

For the Junior Kart classes, many of the drivers from 2017 will be returning along with some new faces that will provide plenty of exciting action. And just like last year, there should be some good battles taking place. There may even be a gender battle, as this year 8 of the 17 drivers are girls.

Total drivers in Junior B is lower than expected at 5, but there should still be a fight across the board. Last year’s winner, Carter Heaton, will be there, and he will face his toughest competition from other drivers also returning who have all been showing improved speed in 2018: Olivia Hammac, Alana McKee, and Abigail Dorsey. Will one of the girls dethrone Heaton?

Junior A has 12 drivers, most of whom are returning from last year. Mason Herrick won in 2017 in his first season in the class, and he will face more seasoned veterans in Kimsoo Gopnik, Robert Ekstrand, and Conner Herrick, who have all shown plenty of speed this year. Erika McKee also seems to be quicker now, and Johan Yost is back after taking last year off. And Ethan Fudge has moved up to the class after taking 2nd place in JB in 2017. Smart money wouldn’t bet against any of these drivers, and it will be a tough fight for the 4 trophies. Will this be the year a girl wins the title in JA? Tune in Tuesday/Wednesday to find out.

By Mike Herrick


CAMC – Classic American Muscle Contemporary – 51 ENTRIES – 14 Trophies
2017 Winner: Shaun Bailey

Classic American Muscle Contemporary, featuring rear wheel drive American muscle cars designed after 1988, has a deep field, with 51 drivers expected to take to the Lincoln concrete. Last year’s winner Shaun Bailey will be back to defend in his Camaro, while last year’s runner up, Dennis Healy, will attempt to improve his Mustang’s position by one. David Feighner and Chris Cox, both in Mustangs, look to add yet another trophy to their collections, while heavy hitters Kevin Youngers and Jadrice Toussant have decided to join the CAM craziness this year. Representing the Bowtie brigade, Matt Lucas should also be near the top of the field. But when the dust settles, don’t be surprised if John Laughlin’s Mustang ekes out the win.

By Eric Yee


CAMS – Classic American Muscle Sport – 31 ENTRIES – 9 Trophies
2017 Winner: Stephen Lee

Classic American Muscle Sport is the class for fire-breathing, two-seat American sports cars. The first time I saw a certain snake accelerate through the finish, my jaw dropped, and I don’t expect anything less from this field of 29 drivers. The defending champion isn’t registered to compete, but Eric Brown and Danny Kao in the defending Corvette should be challenging for a trophy. But make sure to watch this one if you can, because it’s going to be an all out war between Scott Fraser in his original 1966 427 powered Shelby Cobra and Mike “Junior” Johnson in a C7 Corvette Z06.

By Eric Yee


CAMT – Classic American Muscle Traditional – 15 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2017 Winner: Chris Carmenini

Classic American Muscle Traditional, a class for older American cars designed before 1988, is home to some of the most radical and varied cars ever to take to an autocross course. A Dodge Aspen and a first generation Chevelle are scheduled to make an appearance, but most competitors have elected to go with the more popular ponycars. One such beast is the 1968 Camaro of Chad Ryker, an Optima champion with classic sheetmetal but thoroughly modern underpinnings, which should be atop the standings. Alan Schoonmaker in another classic Camaro will keep him honest, while the Blue Oval brigade will have several representatives, including Mike Trenkle in a Fox-body Mustang.

By Eric Yee

2017 Solo Nationals Preview

The pinnacle of autocross in the United States, and potentially the world, is the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championship.  Who better to preview the action for this year’s championship then some of the competitors themselves.  NAXN’s legion of volunteer contributors have delved deep into each class and the result is one of the most comprehensive previews of an autocross event ever complied.

Read all about your class, then take the time to read about other classes.  Thank you again for everyone’s support, and let’s have a safe, fun, and competitive Nationals.

Thomas Thompson

SS | SSR | AS | BS | CS | DS | ES | FS | GS | HS
STF | STS | STX | STU | STR | STP
SSP | ASP | BSP | CSP | DSP | ESP | FSP
SM | SSM | SMF
XP | CP | DP | EP | FP
AM | BM | CM | DM | EM | FM | FSAE
KM | FJA | FJB
CAMC | CAMS | CAMT

 



SS – Super Street – 28 EntrieS – 8 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: Scott Fraser
SSL – Super Street Ladies – 5 Entries – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Kristi Brown

Super Street is pinnacle for the street category. The cars are usually the newest generation of sport cars; and except for some overly potent cars that get classed directly to SSP, they are the potentially the best autocross cars available from a dealer’s showroom (provided you have the cash). This year the class features SS stalwarts such as the Porsche GT3, the Corvette Z06s, and the Nissan GTR. New to the class will be the new Acura NSX, which has shown to be quite a capable autocross car, and the C7 Grand Sport Corvette, featuring all the grip of the C7 Z06 along with a more manageable naturally aspirated powerplant.

Scott Fraser returns to defend his title for 2017, driving a 991 GT3. He would appear to be the favorite since last year’s 2nd place finisher, Ken Motonishi, has moved on to STR. However, the drivers behind him haven’t sat idly by since last year. Perry Aidelbaum (3rd in 2016) and Keith Brown (5th in 2016) have had a full year with their beautiful Cayman GT4s, and have not doubt improved its performance. Bryan Carbon (7th in 2016) is giving up last year’s Lotus Elise for a C7 Z06. If he and his Bridgestones can get the 650hp and 650 ft/lbs of torque down to the course, he could move up a few spots this year. Also, be looking for the HART (Honda of America Racing Team) drivers to challenge for trophies in the beautiful and swift Acura NSX.

In SSL, the obvious choice to finish on top is Kristi Brown, who captured her 5th Championship last year with a 10 second win over the next competitor. Be sure to check out SS action this year, who knows you might win the lotto and want to buy an SS car.

By Thomas Thompson



SSR – Super Street R – 38 ENTRIES – 11 Trophies
2016 Champion: Brian Peters
SSRL – Super Street R Ladies – 8 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2016 Champion: Shelly MonFort

Take Super Stock in 2013, lock it in a time capsule, and you will have the modern day SSR. No street tire intervention was going to keep these drivers off Hoosiers, a.k.a. “Purple Crack”; and even though most of the cars would now be classed in A Street, the SSR moniker has stuck. The class has traditionally been dominated by C5 and C6 Corvette Z06s, although a few Porsche GT3s are filing into the ranks.
Last year’s champion, Brian Peters, has moved on to CP, but there is no void in talent in the SSR field. Grant Reeve (2nd in 2016 and Champ in 2015) and his C5 Z06 will face stiff competition as he attempts to regain his title. Three out of Matthew Braun’s (3rd in 2016) five national championships came in the previous iteration of SSR, Super Stock. He is certainly qualified to top the class in his C5 Z06. Evan Schickel was too busy to write this preview, so hopefully he was busy prepping for his transition from B Street (3rd in 2016) to SSR. He will likely be a contender for a solid trophy spot.
2017 may be the year of Sam Strano. The last of his 7 national championships came in 2010 but he has been winning national events consistently this season. Last year in Lincoln he was dirty on all 6 of his runs, but it seems a little more brewing in the SSR time capsule has gotten him back in championship form.
After competing last year in the SS open class and finishing 13th, Jocelin Huang brings her GT3 and two national championships to SSR. She won’t have it easy because Stephanie Reeve, who won SML over a 10-person field in 2016, will be driving last year’s SSR open class 2nd place car. Will Strano end his slump? Which of the women will top the class? We only have to wait until Tues/Wed to find out.

By Thomas Thompson


AS – A Street – 58 Entries – 16 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: Mark Daddio
ASL – A Street Ladies – 6 Entries – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Rachel Baker

A Street, the land of Corvettes, gold chains, and five former national champions fighting for the top spot.  With 58 drivers there will be 16 trophy spots, of the 58 competitors there are 27 drivers that have shown the ability to go home with a trophy.

Mark Daddio is always a very strong competitor. With 12 national championships and 25 trophies, he has certainly shown us the ability to finish strongly at the national championships by putting two fast and clean days together.  Also, always a very strong competitor is Michael “Junior” Johnson having four national championships himself he is definitely one to watch out for in the class.  Jason Frank (3 championships) and David Corsaro (1 championship) both showing their ability to get it done at the national championships are both new to the class and likely to turn some heads.

Showing promise in the past has been John Laughlin who has trophied at 4 of the National Championships and has been showing a lot of results this year in the Pro Solo Series. Laurence Casey has demonstrated the ability to trophy twice at nationals  and has had many successes in Pro Solo. It’s expected to see him up on the podium this year.

Never forgotten is Glenn Hernandez, he is always expected to take home hardware.  He is carrying the second most career trophies in the class coming in with 18 trophies from Solo Nationals where he is always expected to have a strong finish.

Fast and expected to finish in the trophies would be Jason Ruggles coming in new to the class.  Not counted out to finish well up in the standings are Chris Harvey, Marcus Merideth, Ryan Davies, Jacob Hunt, Stephen Hui and Matt Jones.

We’ll have to wait and find out as this battle unfolds starting Thursday fourth heat on the West course.  Who is your money on?

ASL has 6 drivers and only two trophies. We expect to see a good battle between Kandy Johnson and Lana Tsurikova. Both of these ladies are fast and both have a national championship under their belt. We expect to see them fighting for the top spot.

Strong ladies not to be counted out though are Carla Russo and Melanie Pora. These two ladies have both demonstrated the ability to have strong finishes at the national championships — Melanie has four trophies herself and Carla Russo has one.

It should be a really interesting battle watching these four ladies battle for the two trophy spots available. Starting Thursday on the West course first heat.

By Hilary Frank



BS – B Street – 50 Entries – 14 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: Joseph Barbato
BSL – B Street Ladies – 6 Entries – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Kathy Grunewald

B-Street remains around the 50 competitor mark in Open class, but the Ladies class is much lighter this year – the combined numbers have dropped from 60 to 57 compared to 2016.

This year, there are only 6 (of 15) returning trophy winners – Dan Bullis, Brian Johns, Jerry Centanni, Justin Barbry, and Joey Green. The class winner Joseph Barbato is not competing this year, and Dan was a close second in 2016. Vivek Goel was the first non-Corvette trophy car in his S2000, but he has moved on to STR.

Expect BSL to be a good fight between Tara Johns and Kathy Grunenwald again, with no weather issues like the infamous Friday 5th heat. The Corvette popularity continues in grid this year with 24 C5s, but the field is more diverse.

There are 12 S2000s, 6 Focus RS, 4 BMWs, 4 Audi TTs, 3 Caymans, a few boost buggies, and a Solstice. The 1Ms of Matt Murray and Jeremy Foley (co-driving Kerry Emmert’s BMW) rounded out the last two trophy spots in 2016; and Foley is back to finish strong in 2017.  Will the Corvettes dominate again, or will the Caymans and other newcomers steal the spotlight?

By Mat Peck


CS – C Street – 53 Entries – 14 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: DaniEL MCCELVEY
CSL – C Street Ladies – 6 Entries – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Deana Kelly

What C-Street lacks in car diversity for the 2017 Solo Nationals, it makes up for in driving talent and close competition. After the CS/DS re-shuffle last season, C-Street is basically Spec ND. While the setup choices vary wildly from car-to-car, the basic platform for almost every contender is the same. I would bet money on ND MX-5s filling every position in the Top 10, maybe even all 16 trophy spots.

For the 2017 showdown, C-Street features 53 drivers with 42 of them driving ND MX-5s. We have the top seven from 2016 returning with the only changes being Saini co-driving a different MX-5 and Ogburn making the jump from his FR-S to an ND MX-5. Daniel McCelvey continues his methodical approach to developing a car and kicking butt between the cones. Expect him to be at the front dicing it up with SportsCar pick, 2016 Mazda Autocross Scholarship winner, and college-student (we are all jealous….): Julian Garfield. Jason Saini will be co-driving with autocross legend and 5-time Champ Andy Hollis which gives their car a total of 7 jackets. You absolutely cannot sleep on setup-guru Hollis and former MX-5 Cup Champion and World Challenge driver Jason Saini. Even though Saini has been out of autocross for a while, he impressed last year in CS with super-quick times in the wet and a 5th place finish. 2015 C-Street Champion Dave Ogburn III will also join the C-Street fray again in 2017 but this time will be driving an ND MX-5 courtesy of Deana and Travis Kelley. Objectively, Ogburn is the man, and the dude who wrote this article is in no way biased at all. Brian Coulson, your 2014 ASR Champ, has been dominating on the left coast, taking three National event wins this year.

When previewing a class, it’s easy to just make a rundown of former jacket winners competing, but C-Street is far deeper than that. Several drivers, including Mark Shrivastava, Chris Harp, David Alessandrini, Rick Cone, and Kenny Baker have taken National event wins and/or regularly mixed it up with the Garfields and McCelvey throughout the 2017 season. I’ve been told Shrivastava has continued his trend of last-minute Solo Nats car builds after an unfortunate accident put his ND MX-5 out of commission. He has three National event wins this year in Devens, Toledo, and Oscoda and will be a contender in Lincoln. Chris Harp took wins at the Blytheville ProSolo and the Bristol Match Tour proving he can take it to Mr. McCelvey. Also, we can’t underestimate Tyler Kvetko. He finished 3rd in 2016, only a few tenths out of a win. He has proven that the pressure of Solo Nats doesn’t drop his performance level. Brian Garfield is very capable of being the quickest Garfield on race day and will certainly be towards the front in 2017.

Will this year feature a break-out, first time champ taking down the former jacket winners? Or will one of the perennial favorites add to their closet collection? Tune in on Thursday/Friday in Heat 4 to find out. It will be a shootout, no doubt.

CSL features 6 drivers all competing in Mazda equipment – we have 5 ND MX-5s and one of the NC variety. The odds-on favorite is 2016 Champ, former kart racer, and frequent bike crasher, Deana Kelley. However, Anne Robinson may have something to say about that. The 4-time DPL Champion has seven trips to Solo Nationals with her worst finish in Lincoln being a 3rd place in 2012. Former F125L Champion Lisa Garfield will also be looking to upset Kelley in the Garfield-family ND. Laurie McCelvey has a great mentor in husband Dan (yeah, that guy who won last year….) and has been steadily making progress in their ND MX-5. Along with Linda Duncan, and Lori Gill, she will be fighting for the podium in Lincoln on Thursday/Friday during Heat 1.

By Dave Ogburn

 



DS – D Street – 59 Entries – 16 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: Dennis Sparks
DSL – D Street Ladies – 6 Entries – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Julie Heaton

The reconstituted for 2017 D-Street class runs first heat Thurs/Fri, and with a new mix of cars no one can be sure what will be the best weapon of choice. In a class with at least four different cars capable of collecting a trophy, weather and course designs will factor into the winning combination.

Last year’s winner, Dennis Sparks, is back to defend his title in the WRX he shares with Jordan Towns. Both have been fast this year at various times with Jordan ‘skirting’ Dennis most recently. Also returning are last year’s trophy winners, Chris Dvorak and Michael Parker. Other WRX drivers who have been doing well this year are Tim Heaton, Alex Artayet and Chris Kavka. If the weather is wet the AWD WRXs will have a distinct advantage.

If the courses are wide open Marks Scroggs in his Camaro 2.0T could be the runaway winner as Mark has dominated the West Coast events. Des Toups is co-driving the Camaro at Nationals and could be a dark horse.

Then we come to the BRZ/FR-S twins. Any one of Brian Priebe, Richard “Max” Hayter, Sean Grogan, Steven Berrodin, Eric Jones, Ricardo Quinonez or Chris Levitz could grab the top spot but it will depend on them avoiding the dreaded “torque dip”.

Rounding out the field are some BMWs, an Audi TT and a Mini Cooper S. Will one of them surprise everyone and take the win?

For D Street Ladies, the fight will be between last year’s champion
Julie Heaton in the family WRX against a host of BRZ/FR-S Twins lead by Jody Bedell and Alex Webster. The winner is likely to be the driver who makes the fewest mistakes and stays off the cones.

By Eric Jones

 



 
ES – E Street – 62 Entries – 17 TrOPHIES
2016 Champion: Andrew Canak
ESL – E Street Ladies – 9 Entries – 3 Trophies
2016 Champion: MerEDITH BROWN

The final showdown in E-Street is likely to be a tight battle with many lead changes.  These drivers will be piloting Miatas and MR2s, with one of the Miatas being a bit of a dark horse — the Mazdaspeed.  Course dependencies of 0.1 seconds could help to decide the winner in this class.  In the end, there can be only one.  Expect this spectacle to come down to the last run of day two— not only who can run the fastest times, but who can manage to stay off the cones.

In addition to the deep and large field (second largest class as of this writing) the backstory could be tires.  There has been a great deal of discussion as to which tire will be the fastest at Lincoln, with no clear consensus.  Several top drivers switched from the Bridgestone, last year’s clear favorite, to the BFG only due to Bridgestone not paying Pro Solo contingency, leading to even more confusion.  Is the BFG the top tire now, or did most of the top drivers switch for this reason alone, skewing the results?

Based upon National event results, picks for the top 3 go to Eric Peterson in 3rd, John Roberts in 2nd, and Paul Brown taking the nod to win.  However, there’s a long list of drivers that could, on a good weekend, spoil the party and pull off and upset win.  Those include Preston Jordan, Chuck Mathews, Tony Rodriguez, Adam Norton, and Michael Ron.

E-Street ladies will be won by an MR2, as none of the top drivers are piloting a Miata.  Chris Peterson and Jennifer Bedell will be co-driving the same car as Peterson’s husband Eric is driving in the open class.  Meredith Brown will also be in the same car as her husband, Paul.  Both cars are very fast and these ladies are sure to put on a show.  We haven’t seen all three of these ladies together at one event this year, making predictions difficult.  While Peterson and Bedell will likely be close,  Meredith has been the fastest ES driver all year, so the nod goes to her for the win.

By Chuck Mathews



FS – F Street – 46 ENTRIES – 13 Trophies
2016 Champion: Ryan Otis

A battle of muscle cars and BMWs is what you’ll see when you watch FS. A good mix of Camaros, Mustangs and M3s. FS has 46 entries and 13 trophies, of those 46 drivers 18 of those drivers have demonstrated the ability to trophy at the National Championships.

Locally Jeff Cashmore has been on fire and he’s spilled that fire over to Pro Solos and tours. Having 10 National Championships and 17 trophies in total thats a lot of hardware from the Solo National Championships.  He handily is the favorite to win this year. But you can’t count out Mike Leeder who has been chipping away at that delta and won his first National Tour this year may be giving Jeff a run for his money.

Courtney Cormier being a national champion himself and the holder of another 8 awards from nationals is definitely one to watch for.  He’s fast and will be certainly up in the trophies this year.  Always fast and never counted out is Kevin Youngers.  Having 16 pieces of hardware on his shelf its almost guaranteed that he will be pushing to make that 17.

As always FS will be a great show.  Make sure you’re there on Tuesday, East course, second heat. This battle will be tight, this battle will be heated and it will be entertaining.

By Hilary Frank




 
GS – G Street – 23 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2016 Champion: Andrew Pallotta
GSL – G Street Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2016 Champion: Maria Mayorga

East Coast vs. West Coast.  Focus ST vs. GTI.  These are the battles that will be taking place in G Street during 5th heat on Thursday and Friday.

With last year’s champion Andrew Pallotta moving on to another class, and the multi time national champion Mark Scroggs out of the class, the door is open for a new champion in 2017.  The class returns four of last year’s seven trophy winners, including runner-up Josh McDonough and day one leader Kenneth Tsang.  The class also gets some new blood in multi-time national champion Doug Rowse, David Howdyshell, and Phil Osborne.

The class has seen the Focus ST taking home the championship for the last three years since the move to street tires. Last year the GTI had the lead on day one.  Could 2017 be the year the GTI brings home the championship? Trying to make that happen will be Kenneth Tsang leading the pack of GTI’s, followed closely by car owner Jen Wong, past national champion Jack Burns, and sleeper out of the group, John Azevedo.  Leading the pack of Focus ST’s will be Doug Rowse, Josh McDonough, Neil Britton, William Keese, David Howdyshell, and Phil Osborne. The interesting part is that the top drivers from the west coast including Doug Rowse, David Howdyshell, and Phil Osborne have not gone up against the top drivers from the east coast including Kenneth Tsang, Neil Britton, and Josh McDonough at any point during the season.  Based on performance at national events this year, it will likely come down to a battle between Doug Rowse, Kenneth Tsang, Neil Britton, and Josh McDonough.

In G Street Ladies, there are three drivers with two of the three returning from last year’s national championship. This will also be a battle between East Coast and West Coast as Barbara Seeger and Lin Cox will battle with Melanie Dorsey. All three drivers will be in the Focus ST.  If last year’s national championships are any indication, Barbara Seeger will be looking to take the two second finish over Melanie Dorsey and take the class win in 2017.

By Joe Blaha




 
HS – H Street – 38 ENTRIES – 11 Trophies
2016 Champion: Robert Luis
HSL – H Street Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Laura Harbour

By Tim Sholar

For HS this year there have been a lot of top level competitors dip into the class to shake things up. Mike King is still the front runner for the championship but there are a lot of strong drivers to show him it won’t be easy. Scott McHugh, Todd Freeman, Greg Reno, and Brandon Hagaman should look to round out the top 5, but who knows in what order or if the next 10 drivers will bump them out. The next ten trophy spots will be hard fought battles. With plenty of trophy winners at national events this year in HS. Some of the drivers that could shake things up are Steve Brolliar, Russell Blume, Ted Descovich, Alex Piehl, Chang Ho Kim, Roy Handoko, and Tim Sholar. There have been other drivers with top times this year to give the podium spots a scare but they have disappeared from the HS class for the championships. This class may have the slowest cars but it definitely won’t have the slowest drivers. HS looks to be one big Fiesta!!!



STF – Street Touring FWD – 11 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: David Whitener

Much like star trek STF was sent on an apparent 5 year mission which is coming to a close in 2017. Starting in 2012 it was created as a class for the redheaded stepchildren of the scca FWD world. A place where people could take a slow HS car and modify it to not destroy tires, be more fun on the street, faster than a lot of street class cars, carry all the equipment and tires to events and drive home all while getting over 25mpg.

So in this final year of the class look for a 5 way fight between Daniel Gross (Mazda3 hatch), Crissy Weaver (RSX), Raymond Wise (Mazda3), David Hedderick (RSX) and Adam Deffenbaugh (Mazda3). David is the current favorite to win and is so far undefeated in national competition this year. However, Raymond and Adam have been quite quick and really put the pressure on David at spring nationals this year (both were faster on the practice course we found out). And Daniel and Crissy have both shown bouts of speed in the class and in years past as well. So while the Acura is the favorite to win, don’t count the mighty Mazdas out of it. And don’t forget the wildcard Joe Austin. Depending on what car setup and tire choice he goes with, he could be a threat as well. We will see what the final standings are after the dust settles.

By David Hedderick



STS – Street Touring Sport – 44 ENTRIES – 12 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jeff Wong
STSL – Street Touring Sport Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Nicole Wong

If you’ve ever seen a cluster of $#!t boxes that are ranging from the late 80’s to the early 90s that have shocks that cost more than their car. Then you’ve probably seen STS or an equivalent. It’s hard to say whether a Miata, CRX or a Civic will win but one thing is for certain is that it will be a good show and I think a lot of people will be surprised by the newcomer second generation MR2 piloted by Andy Canak with 4 national championships and a national win we cannot count out his potential. Car owner Chris Bailey is always quick, having 3 trophies from the national championships he has shown us that he can throw down some really great times.

Often overlooked but never forgotten by his competitors is Shane Jensen.  Having finished at the national championships on the podium twice and trophying three times he certainly has demonstrated the ability to get it done.  Ron Williams having five national championships, and 18 trophies he is likely to finish really strong in the class this year. David Whitener having four national championships and seven trophies from the national championships he has shown a strong ability to build a new car and then finish on top. Definitely someone to watch for.

Sean Greer and Mark McKnight have shown some real promise this year with their strong finishes at Pro Solos and Ian Baker has returned with some vengeance and has often shown the ability to finish strongly with 9 trophies and five of which were podium finishes.

There are several really fast competitors that haven’t been mentioned yet in this article, this doesn’t mean they have been counted out.  Kinch Reindl, Kyle Klein, Adam Barber, Jimmy Crawford and Gerry Terronova are all strong competitors that have shown the ability to either trophy or win in either this class or other classes. One thing is certain, it will be a great show to watch STS run first heat on Tuesday starting on the West Course

STSL is always a very competitive ladies class usually having a decent amount of entries.  This year is a little light on entries having only 6 but it’s expected that Kim Whitener will be able to finish on top. With three national championships and six national trophies she has demonstrated the ability to put two good fast days together. Angela Carlascio will be making her return to the class in Steven Yeoh’s car that she is sharing with Neelu.  This will be Neelu’s first time competing at solo nationals in the CRX. She may surprise some people.

Katie (Renteria) Crawford completing only just one Nationals she now has the first time nerves out of the way and will be piloting her new car this year. It could be an interesting battle between her and Angela.  Kate McGregor driving the Whitener Miata and and Lexie Murray driving her own Miata can’t be counted out.  They’ve never competed in the national championships and could end up being wild cards.

By Hilary Frank


STX – Street Touring Xtreme – 58 ENTRIES – 16 Trophies
2016 Champion: Craig Wilcox
STXL – Street Touring Xtreme Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Annie Gill

Some say it’s a battle of the twins, others say it’s a place for BMWs. Some wonder why more people haven’t built a Mini Cooper. Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re talking about STX. A total of 58 drivers, 15 trophies and 21 drivers who have gone home with an award from Solo Nationals. A total of 5 previous national champions in the class. That means it’s likely going to be a hard-fought battle.

Craig Wilcox your reigning STX national champion showed he could win handily last year. Chances are, he’s looking to back it up again this year. Although, watch out Jeff Wong has built a car for the class and we doubt he’s looking to go home without finishing on the podium. Mack Tsang always a strong competitor will also be looking to fight for a podium spot with these drivers.

This year Kyle Herbst has his hands on a new car looking to move up on the results. He’s always shown the ability to be a strong competitor we expect to see him in the trophies this year. Annie Gill always shows up with fire and will likely skirt several of these boys in STX. This class is always exciting with so many notable entrants it is hard to name them all. Guy Ankeny has the most trophies in the class from Solo Nationals a total of 19 trophies and 3 of them were national championships so we cannot forget to mention him. Not counted out or forgotten is Johnathan Lugod. This six-time trophy finisher isn’t planning to go home empty handed.

STX will be running 5th heat starting Thursday on the East course. Should be an exciting show!

STXL usually is another one of those classes that are full of ladies and is low on entries this year. Only five entries this year, two trophies. Two National Champions and three trophy finishers means this could be an interesting battle. Nicole Wong has been strong all year and has been showing her ability to get it done in a new car. We think she is likely to go home with her seventh national championship. Mindi Cross isn’t a slouch though and will likely want to make this the year of her third national championship. Jen Fox though, having trophied before, won’t be looking to go home empty handed this year.

STXL leaves the line on Thursday, second heat on the East course. None of these ladies will go home empty handed easily.

By Hilary Frank



 
STU – Street Touring Ultra – 28 ENTRIES – 8 Trophies
2016 Champion: Bryan Heitkotter
STUL – Street Touring Ultra Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Crissy Weaver

STU numbers are down a bit from last year, but still managing 28 drivers representing five different manufacturers. According to the preliminary forecast, it appears as though weather will not be a factor this year ensuring a level playing field for that top spot.

Obviously, stats cannot be ignored and Bryan Heitkotter (350Z) is impressive, but I see several drivers who are very capable of snagging the top spot. Most notably, John Hale wheeling Josh Luster’s former STi, Andrew Ramos (FRC), Ryan Finch (FRC) and Wojtek Hajduczek (350Z). All have had top showings in national events this season.

With last year’s winner jumping ship, the door is wide open for Teddie Alexandrova (350Z) to step up and claim a victory. Lauren DiRuzzo, who may be new to the class, but been very quick in her STi and will give Teddie a run for the title.

By Crissy Weaver



 
STR – Street Touring Roadster – 80 ENTRIES – 21 Trophies
2016 Champion: James Yom
STRL – Street Touring Roadster Ladies – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Kate Fisher

STR has reclaimed its usual position as the largest class at nationals, currently sitting at almost 80 drivers in the open class, and 17 in ladies. The entry list is a veritable who’s who of perennial trophy winners, podium finishers, and national champions.

In the early years of STR, the NC Miata and Honda S2000 enjoyed a healthy rivalry. But as car setups evolved, outside of one visit by an alien in a 350Z, the S2000 stamped its authority in the class. Now, with the inclusion of the ND Miata in STR, as car setups are  being honed, we once again have a genuine good old fashioned 2-manufacturer brawl.

It is going to be impossible to name every single contender without this preview turning into a 1000 word behemoth. In the S2000 camp we have the defending champion James Yom, along with Jed Peterson, Kevin Dietz, Kerry Coughlin, Nicholas Chu, Matt Ales, Vivek Goel, and Ricky Crow. In the other corner, Brian Karwan, Mark Dudek, Ken Motonishi, Ian Stewart, Tom Reynolds, Ron Bauer, and David Marcus lead a pack of drivers out to show that the ND is the new king of the class. Somewhere in the middle of this war, Shane Chinonn-Rhoden is out to show the the NC Miata has not been rendered obsolete just yet.

The ladies class is filled with various speedy competitors as well, but we expect it to be another S2000 vs ND battle between Kate Fisher piloting the former, and Laura Campbell in the latter.

By Vivek Goel



 
STP – Street Touring Pony – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Christopher Cox
STPL – Street Touring Pony Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2016 Champion: None

Street Touring Pony is a new class, created last year to give drivers of modified ponycars on 200 treadwear street tires a place to compete other than the wide open, no holds barred brawl that is Classic American Muscle. This year’s field features 17 drivers, which more than doubles the size of the inaugural field, and most of the class is new blood, as only Eric Yee and Jay Cryderman, last year’s third and fourth place finishers, decided to return.

Robert Gosda, a previous trophy winner in F Street and someone whom I’ve had close battles with in the past, has traded his Shelby GT for a Coyote Mustang and should be near the top of the standings, as should Scott Steider, who won a very competitive Texas tour with his 2017 Mustang. Scott Mullens, a trophy winner in D Street last year, will also be looking to put another piece on the mantle in his 2012 Boss 302. But everyone’s eyes will be on Ryan Otis, as the reigning F Street champion has decided to modify his sixth generation Camaro into the first of its kind to compete in STP nationally. When the dust settles, look for him to be first at Lincoln as well.

By Eric Yee



SSP – Super Street Prepared – 15 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Joe Tharpe

With Corvettes seemingly uncompetitive in SSM, Super Street Prepared becomes the top class for the prepped versions of GMs iconic brand. Joe Tharpe leads the Corvette pack with his C5 Z06. He is the defending champ and has four SSP titles in all. Andy Hohl (2nd in 2016) returns as his co-driver and could put some pressure on Tharpe. In the last 5 years, only Ryan Johnson (3rd in 2016) has come between Tharpe and first place. Johnson returns this year in his Lotus Elise to keep the pressure on Tharpe and Hohl.

Also, looking to trophy are Alek Tziortzis (4th in 2016) piloting a C5 Z06 and Eric Stemler (6th in 2016) in a C6 Z06. Steve Lau (5th in 2016) and Stan Whitney (7th in 2016) bring a little European muscle to the trophy fight in a Porsche GT3 and 911 Turbo respectively. It’s hard to imagine Tharpe not repeating again this year, but Johnson looks to have the best chance to upset him of anyone.

By Thomas Thompson




 
ASP – A Street Prepared – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Tom Berry

By Mike Brausen



BSP – B Street Prepared – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Anthony Porta
BSPL – B Street Prepared Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2016 Champion: None

BSP has a pretty good mix of different manufactures, but one thing they all have in common is the layout, front engine rear wheel drive. Some of the cars include Honda S2000, Mazdaspeed Miata, Chevrolet Corvettes, BMW M3, Nissan 350z and 240z. With a class this diverse it will be interesting to see where horsepower, size and tire width will play as a factor in time.

Leading off Bsp will be Kirk Boston of Severn, Maryland. Kirk will be drive the oldest car in the class a 1973 Datsun 240z. Arguably the best-looking car in the class Kirk will be flying solo in the number 13 Datsun.

Brittany “Nikki” Edwards will be drive the number 20 Nissan 350z, codriving with Mike Bright who will be number 120. Nikki has been driving with Mike since the end of last year placing very well in local competition and in the tours, they have attended this year. Look for her to be shaking up the trophies. Mike is the original owner of the blue 2003 Gran Turismo themed 350z. He has won national events in this car this year and will be a threat Labor Day week.

Next, we have Jim Kritzler in the 1990 Chevrolet Corvette codriving with Casey Weiss. Both coming out of Texas, they will be the only domestic in the class and will be relying on the V8 power. Jim was just outside the trophies last year and will be looking to jump into the mix this year.

The first Mazda of a few we have Frank Likert codriving with Chris Edens, both coming out of Arkansas driving the 26 and 126 Mazdaspeed. Chis has been second in BSP to three different drivers, will this be his year? Frank was just one second out of the trophies last year and with some late season upgrades on the car is looking to bust into the trophies this year.

Now we have the big story of BSP with Steve Seguis wrangling in the infamous Tom O’Gorman. They will be driving the 29 and 129 Honda S2000. The car has been very competitive in the past with Steve winning national events, now equipped with the secret weapon of Tom O, who will be one of the favored drivers to win.

Next we have Heath and Timothy “Buckie” Maxey, brothers coming out of Lynchburg, VA. They will be driving the number 52and 152 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata. Heath drove with Mike bright just outside the trophies last year and will be looking to leap into the trophy position this year. Tim being the owner of the car purchased the complete stock Mazdaspeed from Frank Likert. Several months later the car is far from stock and has taken trophy positions at several national events.  Often competing with Nikki Edwards and Mike Bright locally has been very beneficial to all involved, with the drivers often swaping positions.

We have our second S2000 owned by Sacha Tauber and being codriven by Greg Hahn. Sacha had cone troubles last year but would have been just outside the trophies. He will be looking to break into the trophies this year. Greg placing third last year and winning several national events this year will be one of the top contenders in the class. Greg will be very easy to spot often wearing the coolest helmets in grid, stop by and talk to him as he is a deal of these comic book themed helmets.

Lee Piccione out of Severn Maryland with be piloting the number 92 1995 BMW M3. Being the only European car in the class he is looking to harness the power of the straight 6. Being a single driver he will have more time to focus on the course in-between runs. Last year he was the first person outside the trophies, fast forward to this year he is looking to take home a trophy spot.

Finally, we have Noah Feldstein codriving with Anthony Porta in the number 99 and 199 2005 Mazdaspeed. Noah is no stranger to Mazdaspeeds often driving his in E street, we will see how he handles the power increase of a BSP car. Now onto last year’s Solo National Champion, Anthony Porta. He is the Sccaforum top pick to win the class of BSP with good reason. He has won several national events this year and will be defending his title this year.

By Buckie Maxey




 
CSP – C Street Prepared – 10 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Billy Davis
CSPL – C Street Prepared Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Tamra Hunt

C-Street Prepared is the land of lightweight cars and massive grip.  A semi-spec class of NA and NB chassis Miatas sporting VVT 1.8L motors and large 275mm tires, the builds are often similar, but the drivers are not.

The class has thinned a bit from what it was in the previous years.  Some have moved on to new cars, others are unable to make the trip this year.  Returning after a second place finish last year is Neal Tovsen striving for his first Nationals Jacket.  Neal has been a stand out on the National event circuit this year with ProSolo wins in Blytheville, Lincoln and Mineral Wells, as well as Tour win in Lincoln.

Looking to extend his win streak will be returning National Champion Billy Davis.  Due to work commitments, Davis hasn’t seen as many National events as he has in the past, but he has been a regular fly-in to New England Region events.  Showing his strength there with a string of top index finishes among many champions, he is anything but rusty in his driving.  After having mechanical issues last year running on just 3 cylinders Day 1, Davis came back to take a sizeable win Day 2.  Look for Davis to possibly show his true speed and put down times that will challenge for top index of the event.  This is a show that you really won’t want to miss.

By Mike Brausen




 
DSP – D Street Prepared – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Eric Campbell

One class that doesn’t seem to have changed much is DSP. Ever since a few people figured out their potential, this class has been dominated by BMWs. So dominated that a BMW has not been victorious all of two times since 2003. However it seems there might be one more make to add to this class lineup.

Your typical front-running BMWs are John Vitamvas and Eric Campbell. Eric finally broke out if bridesmaid position to win next year, and he is naturally a top pick. 2015 saw nothing put BMWs in the field. 2016 added a Mini, Audi, and Mazda to the mix. 2017 is going to be half BMW and half Mazda RX-8, with a Honda thrown in. The past two years, Mike Kuhn has shown an incredible day one by leading. However, day two seems to elude him. So far this year, that does not appear to be the case. Tamara Hunt could be an interesting wild card to watch. Kevin Henry has taken the final trophy spot the past two years. This year he is now in the PF Tuning car of Peter Florence.

By AJ Snyder




 
ESP – E Street Prepared – 14 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: James Darden
ESPL – E Street Prepared Ladies – 7 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2016 Champion: None

Just as FS and CP are the grounds for American muscle in their respective categories, ESP is mostly run rampant with them. Occasionally you have an import thrown into the mix with interesting results. This year will not disappoint in that mix up of manufactures and driver line up coming to the class.

A few drivers and cars that have been a staple in the class have moved on. Last year’s champion, James Darden, returns from a solid performance. Surely many have that afternoon monsoon in mind, but James was the driver to beat. I want to keep watch of the Infiniti of PJ Corrales. Knowing what the G-Fab crew could do in SM has me awaiting the results. The Shelby GT500 of Jeff Cox has been well sorted this season. The car has shown to be as reliable as it is quick, including six drivers running the four day National at Bristol Motor Speedway. The real threat is guest driver Andrew Pallotta, even though his four National Championships have come on street tires. Welcome to Hoosiers!

A few cars will be pulling double duty in ESP Ladies. I will go out on a shaky limb to see 2016 Driver of the Year, Cindy Duncan, at the pointy end of the field. Hopefully the fish bowl kill count has been removed this year.

By AJ Snyder



 
FSP – F Street Prepared – 13 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Steven Duckworth
FSPL – F Street Prepared Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Bailey Costello

The lowest of the street prepared categories, FSP, is seen as the Land of Misfit Toys. These machines were born from someone’s brilliant idea of chopping up economy, low power vehicles, and seeing how much they could feed the gerbils under the hood.

The class has seen some good cars and talented drivers come and go through the decades. However, a couple still remain. One of which is the 1977 Volkswagen Rabbit owned by Geoff Zimmer, a car that has now won twice in a row in the hands of Steven Duckworth. People are raising the question of a three-peat, which has never been done before in the class. Kevin Wenzel, the most winningest of FSP, and Allen Kugler were both only able to string two together. Another car to keep close eye on is the 1985 CRX driven by Matt McCabe and Dan Costello. In 2016, Costello made for a very tight battle on top of the sheets by two tenths of a second. At Spring Nationals, McCabe brought Duckworth’s first class loss in national competition. Some very good battles have come about through the years. Even this year has seen some very tight competition between co-drivers and others. The final results could be a toss-up.

The true testament of reliability to these cars will come as they double duty in FSP Ladies. Two cars, the top two in class, are tackling this feat. Andrea Albin, a lady with a true love of everything VW, would love nothing more than to pilot her “spirit car” to an FSPL victory, so she will be one to watch.

By AJ Snyder



SM – Street Modified – 26 ENTRIES – 8 Trophies
2016 Champion: Christopher Mayfield
SML – Street Modified Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Stephanie Reeve

This year we get to enjoy 26 drivers of fire breathing, all wheel drive machines and a Panda. This class is not for the weak stomached. Open your checkbooks and drain the college funds, or just sell your house and live in your tow rig. Tremendous amounts of money and labor hours go into these machines, and they never disappoint the eyes and ears. They do occasionally disappoint the owners with the extensive maintenance programs required. This class is also home to blenders to make fine after hours adult beverages.

The car with the bullseye has been Panda, a Nissan 240SX that is the only non AWD in the field. David White has won two of three years with Todd Kean, and those three of the last four years. Last year’s winner, Christopher Mayfield, is not returning to defend. In fact, only three of eight trophy winners from last 2016 are returning. The third is Eric Hyman. Godzilla went into a full over haul and through sorting bolts has not been reassembled. He will be co driving another GTR of Erik Strelniks. The two of them have been having great battles against each other in their respective machines. McCance will try again with the Subaru this year along with Aaron Shoe returning in his Evo. Tim White will be competing in his own Whitebaru this year. We have seen the Cherry Blossom shenanigans posted on other national solo media and can only imagine what pranks will come to Lincoln.

Oh you know it. Let’s put some Ladies in these insane monsters and watch the white knuckles hold on. With Laurie Hyman and Stephanie Reeves out this year, we will have a first time champion in the class no matter the results.

By AJ Snyder


SSM – Super Street Modified – 17 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Robert Thorne

SSM has had smaller attendance at Nationals the last couple years, with 17 competitors in both 2016 and 2017. Perhaps, this is due do to the incredible amount of time and expense it takes to keep one of these “street” cars running at the limit. Although the class is smaller it is stacked with national champions.

2016 Champion Robert Thorne is not returning this year, but two former SSM champs are back in the class. Jake Namer (the 2015 SSM Champion) has returned in his FD RX7, after trying his hand in SM last year. While no one can be considered a favorite in Thorne’s absence, Namer is one of a handful of drivers capable of taking home first place, when he is not shamelessly plugging his sponsor (www.hgunyc.com).

Also returning to the SSM fold is Carter Thompson (2012 & 2013 SSM National Champion). His FD RX7 is in too many pieces to compete but Thompson has accepted a generous co-drive opportunity from Matthew Glagola. Driving his Lotus Elise, Glagola took home the championship in 2014 and finished a close 2nd to Thorne in 2016. He may have let the fox into the hen house by bringing on Thompson to co-drive, but obviously has what it takes to come out on top.

If autocross and Miatas are synonymous, then SSM is nothing without Eric Anderson’s bad ass supercharged version of every 1990’s hairdresser’s favorite car. Anderson is the builder (and often during the event, rebuilder) but his co-driver, Randal Wilcox, will be the one competing for the top spot.

Attrition could be a factor, but expect one of the previous champions to come out on top.

By Thomas Thompson


SMF – Street Modified FWD – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jinx Jordan
SMFL – Street Modified FWD Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jenny O’Maley

If you are a Honda fan boy or girl, SMF is definitely the class for you. The class has been a showcase for big Honda builds since its inception in 2013. You want that fancy K swap out of a 2008 Acura TSX, you got it. If you want to add on a turbo that’s a size of two of those pistons combined, see if your tires will hold that power. All of the VTECs will be had.

Going into year five of this class, there has yet to be a repeat winner; two past champions will try to change that. Last year’s winner, Jinx Jordan, is yet to stop developing his old SP car to the SMF ruleset, with rumors of yet another engine, dialing in more electronics, some NASCAR inspired aero, and improved suspension. Wait, that sounds like a new car from last year. Chris Haydu is back, the inaugural champion. Do not expect him to do anything less than trophy. The car known as Snot Rocket returns! Andy Bower has revamped the entire car and brings his MVP driver of Adam Koback. Could we see a fifth champion in the class? One impressive machine is driven by Brock Clayton, a vehicle was originally built for drag racing. Over the past two years, they have been working to keep the car reliable and make it turn. Their efforts are working.

Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough of these crazy Hondas, the Ladies get their go at them. Look to SCCA Hall of Famer Kathleen Barnes and 11 time National Champion Ginette Jordan to be at the top of your scorecards.

By AJ Synder



 
XP – X Prepared – 21 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2016 Champion: Andrew McKee

Predicting the winner of XP each year would seem to be an easy task.  If Fred Zust shows up, give him the trophy.  After all, he’s driven his 2005 Lotus Elise to the XP championship in seven out of the 10 years he’s attended.  However, the top of XP is full of talented drivers and “extremely prepared” cars, so perhaps it is not that simple.

Last year, in Zust’s absence, Andy McKee notched his 2nd XP championship and 8th overall (CS, AS, BS, SSM (3x)).  In 2012 McKee moved up from SSM and stopped a Zust championship run of four consecutive years, but Zust won the next three years.  McKee has been 1st or 2nd four of the past five years (the lone outlier being 2014 when he was plagued with car and cone trouble).  Even without a Zust stumble he can take the win if he performs at his best.

Zach Sober led after Day 1 runs in 2016 but ended up in 2nd behind McKee after losing a fuel pump during second day runs.  He has the raw speed (in 2014 he was just 0.104 behind Zust in raw time), but both Zust and McKee are kings of vehicle setup and tweaking for varying conditions.  If all cars were equal, Sober would likely take the win, but the 1993 RX-7 he drives hasn’t proven to be quite as potent as McKee’s.

Vitek Bourka will be bringing a new car to nationals this year, sort of.  In the offseason, he swapped the LS motor and suspension from his NC MX-5 onto a stripped RX-8 body.  The 3rd place he secured last year might be difficult to repeat considering the amount of redevelopment to be done and the return of Fred and Alexandra Zust, but he should be up in the trophies for sure.

Mark Mauro has also played second fiddle to Zust more than once.  He was the bridesmaid in 2009 and 2010.  Fatherhood slowed development of his second XP RX-7, but he grabbed the last trophy spot last year and hopes to have a solid performance to honor the memory of his former co-driver, Darren Kidd, who passed away recently after a long battle with cancer.  He will have a hard time getting through the other top drivers, but could be in line for a trophy.

Also shooting for the trophies will be Alexandra Zust and Teresa Neidel-McKee.  There hasn’t been a XPL champion since 2011 because everyone chooses to run open in XP.  Being fast drivers in fast cars, look for these women to compete for as high as fourth place in the class.

The deciding factor in the final XP standings may come down to tire choice.  For multiple seasons, the go-to tire for the class was the Hoosier R75A Radial Slick.  This year most of the front runners will be switching to either a newly available Goodyear slick or to the Hoosier A7.

By Thomas Thompson


CP – C Prepared – 47 ENTRIES – 13 Trophies
2016 Champion: Mike Maier
CPL – C Prepared Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2016 Champion: Tracy Lewis

Some of the drivers in CP have been active in the class for decades. Many were national champions in the previous millennium. The class has some of the highest participation and comradery of the prepared classes. But when picking a champion, frankly, CP comes down primarily to three drivers, Mike Maier, Mark Madarash and Brian Peters. In the “Heavy Metal” class, these three have a lot of hardware.

Maier took the championship in 2016 to bring his total to nine (all in CP), and he will be the obvious favorite this year. Madarash (an 8x ESP Champion) continues to make the transition from ESP to CP, driving the same 1988 Trans Am. In his 3 years of CP competition Madarash has finished right behind Maier twice, including last year. If Maier stumbles at all, Madarash will no doubt be in position to take advantage. Brian Peters is a dark horse in the class, he has 7 national championships in a variety of classes. Now he’s built his 2011 Mustang for CP and enters the class for the first time at Nationals. He beat Madarash on this same surface during Spring Nationals, thought Mark will no doubt have made adjustments in the months since.

Darrel Padberg may have a difficult repeating his 3rd place from last year considering the arrival of Peters. Robert Lewis (4th in 2016) and Tommy Pulliam (5th in 2016) will also be in the hunt for trophies in their Mustang, but may have to share with Chris Cargill and Wayne Adkins, who have made strides in Adkins’ 1985 Camaro.

Donna Bartling, a 3-time CPL champion, is choosing to run open this year. That leaves the door wide open for Tracy Lewis, last year’s champion, to capture her 3rd national title.

By Thomas Thompson




 
DP – D Prepared – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Chris Dorsey

After 2016, the only certainties are that this is D-Prepared is gambler’s class and Danny Kao isn’t at the table.

While Lincoln’s weather forecast is resolving to clear, warm, and dry for the championships, two of the three favorites in D-Prepared have stuck with a low number and no codriver. Anecdotally, both have the same Toyota powerplant: multi-time and defending champion Chris Dorsey (Toyota Corolla GTS – “AE86”) runs after last year’s runner-up and past DP Champion Steve Hoelscher (Toyota MR2). In what is alleged to be his last year in the class, Dorsey will be running Avons, Hoelscher, Hoosiers, weaving a tire war into this story. Given the low numbers, if conditions degrade over the course of competition, the two are holding strong hands. Meanwhile, Todd Roberts is running as the second driver in a Mazda Miata, also on Hoosiers. Roberts’ high number factored with weather and cone penalties have left him out of the hunt. The car is capable of winning, but it’s up to Roberts to run clean, especially in any improving conditions.

Buuut, if weather, gremlins, poor driving, or cones befall these three there’s an equal number of dark horses at the table. In no particular order, Ted Lewis paddled – errr pedaled into 3rd last year in his beautiful ’66 Lotus Elan. Sean Green’s Mazda Miata has hoisted a Championship high atop its roll bar previously, just not in his hands. The Baker and Simonds family teams shouldn’t be discarded either as they hold the last runs in the class.

Pretending the weather doesn’t play the Joker, we expect Dorsey to slide clear by a half a second for another Championship, we’ll roll our fuzzy dice and pick Roberts narrowly over Hoelscher on the strength of the warmer tires.

By Zach Barnes



EP – E Prepared – 16 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Allen Kugler

The land of the front wheel drive $#!t boxes on big wide sticky tires.  Much like STS; EP are cars likely have shocks on them that are worth more than the car itself.  Sixteen drivers are entered in this class and 11 of them have shown the ability to leave nationals with hardware in their hands.   However, there are only five trophy spots.  Of those 11 that have gone home with trophies in their hands only two of them have gone home on the top spot. Brian Kuehl and Allen Kugler.  Allen Kugler has been in his car for a long time.  He has 6 national championships and we expect to see him have a really strong finish this year.

After Brian Kuehl won SMF if his CRX he set out to build an EP car.  Building a sedan this time he has shown great promise in the class. Chris DeLay and Patrick Washburn built a really fast car, with fast comes some attrition problems. We think that they will surprise people. Patrick Washburn is always fast, having 15 trophies from nationals, we expect he has some hidden steam saved up for this year if the car stays together to put together two days to put the car on top.

Chris DeLay and Andrew Blasiman had strong finishes this year should be able to find their way to one of the trophy spots. Don Kuehl always having strong finishes, is expected to find his way into the battle for a trophy spot.  It should be a really entertaining show and we’re looking forward to seeing how everything pans out.  The battle will begin Tuesday fifth heat on the West Course.

By Hilary Frank



FP – F Prepared – 18 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2016 Champion: Tom O’Gorman
FPL – F Prepared Ladies – 6 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jennifer Parker

Here we are, two weeks away from SCCA Solo Nationals and all of the competitors are getting their cars ready for the main event.  Fine tuning, part replacement and reliability mods all happen in the final weeks when you’re running a Prepared car.  For these F-Prepared competitors, the time is ticking down for the big show.

F-Prepared will be hitting the concrete for 1st heat starting on Roger Johnson’s West course.  A cone minimalist course with open corners will provide lots of optional lines for this diverse class.  1st heat provides some interesting challenges for cars with large tires that prefer some heat to really work well.  A co-driver may be an important factor to get tires up to temperature depending on the kind of day it turns out to be.

Returning from hiatus, Jay Storm and Joel Higginbotham will be hoping the cool morning weather will aid them as the lone AWD car in the class.  Troy “God of Speed” Acosta has secured a number of National event wins this year in the Strelnieks Boxster at both ProSolo and National Tours and could make a serious push for a jacket this year.  Car owner Erik Strelnieks spent most of the year tuning his GTR at ProSolos, but will return for another shot at the F-Prepared title after losing out last year by 8/10 to Tom O’Gorman.  With O’Gorman moving on to BSP this year, Dave Montgomery will bring the 914 back for a shot at his 3rd title in the class.  Don’t count out those Cooper boys.  Alex Jones and Chris Raglin have been doing extremely well over the last couple years on the East coast as they continue to dial in their Solstice.  With the right mix of courses and power sections, the year of the Turbo cars could be coming.

Tune in Thursday morning bright and early for the action in one of the most entertaining classes around.  You won’t be disappointed with these awesome cars.

By Mike Brausen

Jennifer Parker (a 4-time national champion) returns to defend her 2016 FPL title driving Tom Holt’s iconic 280Z, but her defense may be at risk in 2017.

Holly Schwedler skipped 2016 after winning consecutive Championships in HSL. In FSL she will be at the helm of Jay Storm’s Subaru Impreza. Reliability is always an issue with the AWD cars at this level of prep, but FPL running before the open class should allow her to keep the car together. We know she’ll be praying for rain.

Hilary Anderson Frank has taken a page from Troy “Raw Time” Acosta’s book Hold My Beer: How to Bum a Nationals Co-Drive in a Championship Car . . . and Other Life Lessons. She will be piloting Erik Strelnieks 1999 Boxster, a car that can only be matched in FP by Dave Montgomery’s spectacular 914. Without a ladies class competitor in Montgomery’s car, look for Frank to close the door on Parker’s repeat attempt, and take home the jacket.

By Thomas Thompson




 
AM – A Modified – 10 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Marshall Grice

A-Mod, home of the 1.000 PAX index, lays down the fastest times during nationals. These “cars” have insane power to weight ratios that are only eclipsed by the insane number of wing elements on the car. Last year there were only 6 competitors, now the pool has increased to 10 drivers. This year 6-time champion, Dan Wasdal (2nd in 2016), is not competing. So either Marshall Grice, 2016 AM Champion, or KJ Christopher (3rd in 2016 – 1st in 2015) will likely come out on top this year. The fact that they share a vehicle could make it an interesting battle.

By Thomas Thompson



BM – B Modified – 12 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Tom Ellam

The trophies in BM this year will look drastically different than last year. The number of drivers has decreased from 16 to 12 with 3 out 5 trophy winners from 2016 AWOL. Matt Ellam (2nd in 2016), Zachary Moore (3rd in 2016), and Dan Cyr (4th in 2016) will not be present to attempt to top Tom Ellam. The elder Ellam is an 8-time National Champion but 2016 was his first in BM.
With most of last year’s contenders on the sideline, Clemens Burger will be tasked with keeping the pressure on Ellam. He has finished on top of BM four times, but ultimately Ellam is the favorite this year.

By Thomas Thompson



CM – C Modified – 24 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2016 Champion: Brandon Lavender
CML – C Modified Ladies – 4 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Mari Clements

Will 2017 be the year that a Honda Fit powered chassis wins the CM National Championship? When it debuted at 2012 Solo Nationals, observers expected, that going forward, a Honda power would be needed in order to win the CM National Championship. This has not proven to be the case as the Ford Kent has continued to win the open class.

In 2016, the Ford powered 1985 Van Diemen RF85 of Brandon Lavender won the Championship over the Honda powered 1994 Van Diemen RF-94 of Jonathan Clements by a scant two day total of 0.167 seconds. As his focus is on the Run Offs at Indy, Lavender will not defend his 2016 CM Championship.

For 2017, against 14 Ford Kent and 3 Volkswagen Beetle powered competitors, 6 drivers will utilize the Honda Fit engine; Eric Clements / Jonathan Clements (1994 Van Diemen RF-94), David Fauth / Barry Ott (1995 Van Diemen RF-95), and Matt Boian / John Conder (1996 Piper DF-2C).
Among the Ford powered drivers will be CM rookies Greg Maloy and John Ryan in the same 1974 Dulon MP15 that Lavender utilized to win his 2012 CM Championship. Greg and John have both had considerable success this year although this will be the first National level event which they have faced Honda powered chassis.

At the 2017 Spring Nationals, CML rookie Sue Eckles (1983 Reynard FF1600) came within 0.145 of taking the open class victory. This bodes well for a close battle with 2016 CML Champion (1994 Van Diemen RF-94) and 2015 CML Champion Krystal Lavender (1985 Van Diemen RF85).

By Chris Pruett




 
DM – D Modified – 20 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2016 Champion: Mark Huffman

Jeff Ellerby (Sprinto 7), Peter Raymond (Lotus 7), Mark Huffman (Elan), Jeremy Ellerby (Sprinto 7), Craig Carr (Elan). Quite a few big names and fast drivers. In what seems to be the last 7+ years the winner has been either Mark Huffman or Jeff Cashmore. So with Jeff moving on to FS it looks like Mark’s year to win again. But DM can be a cruel mistress like all modified classes. Mark has had his share of mechanical woes over the years as any 1250lb 220whp car would.
The Ellerbys have been developing their 1.4L turbo Chevy Lotus & clone for more than a few years now and are very fast in it. Jeff appears to be the faster driver these days with his youthful reflexes. Peter however is a multi time national champion and is always quick and could contend with Mark for the win if his car is running like a top. Craig is no stranger to 1st place finishes in his Elan either and should be quite fast as well. Look for everyone to be chasing a little yellow Elan with the number 99 on the side for two days this year. But watch out, there could be a certain green sprite in the future for DM. Time will tell.

By David Hedderick



 
EM – E Modified – 14 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jeff Kiesel
EML – E Modified Ladies – 3 ENTRIES – 1 Trophy
2016 Champion: Shawn Kiesel

E-Modified has been the Jeff Kiesel Show since he joined the class in 2007 and won the championship in his famous green turbo rotary-powered Sprite. He’s racked up a total of 10 consecutive championships in EM. Including the ‘06 victory in B Prepared, he’s going for an SCCA record of 12 straight championships. He’s had some last minute engine issues this year but looks to have it together in time for Nationals and will be the favorite to win the class.

The competition has been catching up over the past couple of years with Jason Minehart applying pressure in his LS-powered Stalker. Jason is hoping this year’s upgrades to his car will give him just enough edge to beat Jeff and end the streak.  An E-mod car is never “done” and other top E-mod builds have also been refined and upgraded this year.  Looking to mix it up in the trophies will be Mark Sawatsky in the MG, Steve Brueck in the Jeep (representing the turbo 4 cylinder cars) and Scott Minehart in his LS-powered Stalker. Ron Ver Mulm in the Camaro, and Bob Tunnell in the BMW will be leading the charge in the “XL” class V8 powered cars with their very capable co-drivers.  With lots of variety in the cars, big power, big tires, and Kiesel’s championship record on the line, E-Modified will be one to watch on Thursday/Friday Heat 4 competition.

By Jason Minehart



FM – F Modified – 20 ENTRIES – 6 Trophies
2016 Champion: Jason Hobbs
FML – F Modified Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Michelle Quinn

Typically, people tend to mostly care about F-Mod when they end up next to them in grid. The eardrum piercing noise from the two-stroke motor is unmatched among autocross cars. But FM is more than a reason to stick your fingers in your ears.
If your aspiration is speed, F-Mod falls behind only the blistering speeds of AM and BM. The driver talent is there as well. Jason Hobbs has taken home the championship each of the last two years. He narrowly edged out Scott Nardin (2nd in 2016), who was attempting to when his third consecutive championship during a year with a Republican Presidential election year. He previously won F-Mod in 2000 and 2004 when George Bush won the White House. Matt Muphy (3rd in 2016) could also be in contention for a podium.

Ultimately the driver to watch is Zak Kiesel. Pedigree can only take you so far but when your parents have 18 national championships between them hopefully the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 2016 was Zak’s first year in an “adult” class after winning FJA in 2015 (honestly, are any of us adults?). Zak had the day one lead last year but fell victim to mechanical issues on day 2. Look for him to bounce back and claim his first jacket (and be allowed on the family Christmas card again).

In 2016, Michelle Quinn won FML by over 12 seconds to take her 6th championship. We’ll go out on a limb and predict a 7th.

By Thomas Thompson




 
FSAE – Formula SAE – 7 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2016 Champion: Wesley Snaza


 
KM – Kart Modified – 25 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2016 Champion: Daniel Wendel
KML – Kart Modified Ladies – 5 ENTRIES – 2 Trophies
2016 Champion: Kencey Christopher

By Thomas Thompson




 
FJA – Formula JunioR A – 10 ENTRIES – 4 Trophies
2016 Champion: Riley Heaton
FJB – JunioR KART B – 23 ENTRIES – 7 Trophies
2016 Champion: Mason Herrick

The only thing we can say for sure is that Junior A and Junior B will both crown a new winner this year; both of last year’s winners have moved out of their classes from 2016. But if you think that means there won’t be any excitement or hard-fought battles, you’d be very mistaken.

In Junior B, there are 11 drivers coming to the Lincoln concrete, with almost half of them coming for the first time. This means that there may be some unexpected dark horses, so we’ll have to wait to find out about that. One look at the last names of most of the drivers will tell you that there is a lot of speed in the genes of these kids. Returning from last year are Abigail Dorsey, Zane Hyman, Zach Minehart, Carter Heaton, and Ethan Fudge. Heaton finished 2nd last year, and with the 2016 winner out of the class, he’ll be hoping to improve. Ethan Fudge will have something to say about that, as he’ll be looking to make up for his disappointing finish last year on the rain-soaked second day. This class could belong to several drivers, so they will all have to push hard to get to the top.

Even if you’re not into the Junior Karts, the Junior A class could be one to watch. Of the 10 drivers, almost all are previous national trophy winners. Half of the class just moved up from Junior B this year, and 3 of the 4 trophy winners from JB at last year’s Nationals are in this group. Ronnie Maunz and Jared Hyman will try to find another trophy spot after moving up to this class. Conner Herrick and Erika McKee have both shown huge improvements in speed this year, so they should be in the hunt. Mason Herrick, the winner of JB the last two years, will try to continue his streak in the faster JA class, but he’ll have to get past Tyler Cormier, Kimsoo Gopnik, and Robert Ekstrand, who have all been very quick all year at other national events. It will take the combination of proper gearing, driver focus, and course conditions to win, and it should be a must-see close battle no matter who comes out on top.

By Mike Herrick



 
CAMC – Classic American Muscle Contemporary – 52 ENTRIES – 14 Trophies
2016 Champion: Brett Madsen

Classic American Muscle is a class whose rulebook is a single page, designed to attract builders of all out Optima Ultimate Street Car and Goodguys rides to the ranks of the SCCA. CAM Contemporary is for cars designed after 1988, and if the 52 entries are any indication, the formula is working. JG Pasterjak will be returning with the Grassroots Motorsports Magazine project S197 Mustang, and regulars Rusty Henderson and Keith Lamming, in Lamming’s fifth generation Camaro, should be in the trophy hunt. Look for David Feighner, who has since made some upgrades to his F Street Mustang, to be near the top as well. Last year’s STP National Champion, Chris Cox, traded his regular GT for a new GT350R in an effort to have the best sounding car to ever win a nationals trophy, and Jeffery Pilson is returning with his Mustang to try to add to his trophy count. Conspicuous in its absence is a certain green Roush, which leads me to believe the jacket will go back to Oregon with Dennis Healy and his S550 Mustang.

By Eric Yee



 
CAMS – Classic American Muscle Sport – 14 ENTRIES – 5 Trophies
2016 Champion: Shawn Lambert

Classic American Muscle Sport is the all out class for two seat American sports cars on 200 treadwear tires. A wide variety of chassis are competitive, from classic Corvettes and Shelby Cobras to late model Z06s. 14 drivers will take to the Lincoln concrete in search of top honors, and it should come down to the Lousteaus in their 1965 Shelby Cobra and Eric Brown and Stephen Lee in a C5 Corvette Z06. If past results are anything to go by, expect the Corvette in first, though don’t be surprised if SCCA Pro driver Brandon Davis manages to sneak in there as well.

By Eric Yee


CAMT – Classic American Muscle Traditional – 8 ENTRIES – 3 Trophies
2016 Champion: Robby Unser

This year, there are only eight entries into the Classic American Muscle Traditional class for cars on 200 treadwear street tires designed before 1988. Without any Unsers in the field, it should be a battle between Chris Carmenini and Steve Farkas in their Fox-body Mustang and Andy Weigel in his 1968 version. They were all very close last year, but I give the edge to the newer car.

By Eric Yee