Autocross Schedule

Next Phoenix/AZSolo Autocross:

Apr 6th - AMP

Nearby Autocrossing:

Tucson Website

Sierra Vista Website

Las Vegas Website

San Diego Website

Cal Club (LA) Website

Elliot Speidell

Driver Profile: Elliot Speidell

by Mike Driscoll


ARIZONA REGION – Elliot Speidell was born and raised in Lincoln. (You have say "born and raised," it's Nebraska!) The family moved to Yuma in 1993.

He says his interest in cars was, as far as he can tell, congenital. Most of his dad's side of the family were involved in autocross, admittedly to varying degrees of seriousness. His dad helped a buddy of his crew an ITA RX-7, and the yearly family camping trip usually ended up at Road America, for the (then) Indy Car Race. Naturally Elliot tagged along for most of these race and event weekends. In the process, got hooked on cars.

But there wasn't much automotive sports activity around Yuma, where Elliot bought his first car. It was a 1979 RX-7, and started his infatuation with rotary engines. That first car is still infamous among his friends for its frequent fuel filter clogging and loud ball-o-flame backfires. (Resolved when a bad thermal reactor gasket was discovered during installation of a new header.)

Elliot first autocrossed in 2001, at Firebird, in an RX-7 that his dad and he had gone through. It was classed in CSP and they got annihilated. The combination of "baked street tires and tail happy suspension set-up was a lot of fun, but not real fast." That was it for autocrossing until after college.

After he graduated, he purchased his current car, a Mazda RX-8, which fortunately is "classed very competitively, in BS." He ran the January 2005 event at PIR, loving it. He found it very convenient to come to Phoenix and visit his wife (then fiancee), Marydel, on subsequent event weekends. Since San Diego is sort of close to Yuma, he also went to as many of their events as he could.

Locally, he took second in NV1 for the Spring 2005 series, losing out to "one of those pesky AWD boost monsters." He currently competes in SPM, where he trophied both Spring 2006 and Fall 2006. These were sixth place trophies in a very competitive class, but Elliot still calls them "trophy fodder." He's expanded into national competition this year, with mid-pack finishes at the San Diego National Tour and the El Toro Pro Solo. Despite all that, the RX-8 is for sale! It's been listed on our Forum, under Classifieds rather than Mysteries of Life.

Autocrossing is Elliot's current competitive outlet. Previously he was into rugby, on the Yuma Sidewinders, but repeated injuries forced a change. He also plays the trumpet. He played with a bunch of groups over in Yuma and up in Flagstaff, in addition to church and wedding gigs and occasional bar stands. But he's currently on a break from the trumpet, since it's tough to practice in an apartment and rehearsals had been filling too many evenings.

Elliot did the course design for one of our events last September, and has been assisting with course setup ever since. He co-designed the course for the January event (joint with Tucson), as part of his duties this year as our club's chief of course design. He did the course design for the Feburary event, and for the regular and special events in March. In addition, he instructed at the October driver's school, an experience he describes as "awesome." He teaches during the week, too: instrumental music to grades 5-8 at two schools in the Peoria Unified School District. And he'll teach you trumpet on the side, if you want.

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