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Apr 6th - AMP

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January 2008

January 20, 2008

Event 1 of 4 for the 2008 Spring Series

by Dave Lahey

Transitional Behavior

Boy, was it cold this January morning as cars and drivers started to arrive. Most folks were in layers that eventually got pealed off as things warmed up, but went back on later in the day. There were a lot of ski parkas and sweatshirts and knit caps and gloves and all those things that we Arizonans are not used to wearing, but keep handy anyway, just for days like this.

Spotted on a couple of freeway markee signs on the way down, temps of 30 and 31 at around 7am? Sheesh! People who arrived in the darkness before the big orange orb came up most likely had the heaters cranked in the car on the way down, and could see their breath VIVIDLY in the chilly morning air. We are not used to this, but hey, it is better than subzero temps and snow and all those other things. At least we GET to autocross in the wintertime! Pity the poor northerners who would have been shoveling snow and won't be having any events for months to come! Speaking of that, we had visitors from Minnesota and a few down from Flagstaff among the Phoenicians and Tusconians today.

This course was designed by Britt Dollmeyer, and was a lot of fun, with mostly transitions (go figure!) and a long loop that took about 2/3 of the total run time. The loop made for longer intervals between launching cars, but not many complaints were overheard, even with "only" 3 runs per car and driver. Yet another fine fine course by our brilliant designers which rewarded maintaining momentum, planning and looking ahead, and knowing where the "pinch points" were, to keep from overdriving those sections. Overall, the course was a real blast with most times in the 45-60 second range.

Some new cars and improved cars jumped to the top of the ranks, with 7 of the top 10 Fast Times being set by CSP Miatas, and even with the PAX factors, CSP was the class to be in this day. Brian Peters brought out his new 2006 MX5 with the MazdaSpeed suspension and HUGE tires to put the smackdown on everyone. Kevin Gleaton has the new 15" Hoosier tires on his car and a Hydra ECU, and proved that his performance in December was no fluke, as he was right up there in the standings. And this is their first time out in these new and improved cars, so there is even more speed to come. Granted that the DM Huffman car and FrankenLotus were not there, so these results may be a bit flawed, but the rise of the "Donk Miatas" of CSP will surely be something to watch in the coming year.

The "Excuse Generator" was running rampant for some, but some new faces in top spots proved that 2008 is certainly going to be an interesting year for AZSolo. In CSP, Brian "the Dominator" Peters put down the fastest time of the day and took overall PAX as well with a superfast time of 44.705. He ran a 44.0 in Time Only runs, but was hit with a cone call; disputed, but remains as results are posted. Kevin "I got fat tires too" Gleaton was second with a 45.0 and a 993 PAX score, and Brad Owen was third with a 46.0, 970 PAX. The best-of-the-rest were the guys on the (now obsolete?) 13" tires in a log-jam of scores in the mid 960 range. Mark Johnson, David Lahey and the ever-improving Derrick Disharoom were all within one point, and Steve Ashcraft and Dawn Maxwell were able to get to those times in TO runs, but unable to do it when it counted.

In the Open classes, Jim Young took SS with no competition, as Darrell did not make the event and Dan H chose to run slicks in another class in the Elise. FS saw Chris Black in his 1998 Pontiac Trans Am over Jim Barks' Mustang. Paul Hammersly ran alone in ASP and took that class in his beautiful 2007 Chevrolet Corvette. Sean Powers continues his run in DP in the '85 Toyota Mr2, and Clifton Ragland in the Bonzai 240Z was the EMod winner.

In Street Mod, Dave Young continues to show his tail to the field and why he is one of our better drivers. The M3 was the one to beat and Dave was smooth and fast as usual. Frank Miller and "Dr. Evo" Miskovic did their best, but the Mitsubishis were no match for the BMW on this day. Manfred Reysser edged out Clinton Campbell for the STS win, and showed us in TO runs that it is possible to spin a FWD AT car with smoke! Very entertaining! Louie Boertje ran alone in STX and took the win in his Mini, while Kevin Venisnik continues his domination of STS2 with the win over co-driver Jim "I can't fit in this car with my helmet on and the top up" Rohn.

Deb Eymann continues her reign in the PAX Ladies class with the win in the family Screaming Yellow Zonker Z06 Corvette with Diane Deanovic driving Gary James' Elise and Kat Morrill returning to shake things up in her Miata. In ST Ladies, Sharon Roberts was queen in the lovely black S2000, closely followed by Glenda Meyers, and Mitzi Burrow in the newly acquired 10th Anniversary Miata, and Suzanne Lipke in her Mini, who is moving up from her Novice class win in Fall '07.

Speaking of Street Tires, and moving up, George Sklyarevsky just plain put the hurt on the ST1 guys in his pretty blue Rx8. 16 other drivers weren't even close, but Greg Rubenstein in his Sti posted next best with a 914 score vs. George's 937. Though the smack talk on the Forum was hot and heavy, George stayed out of it and brought his A-game to the course, showing that our Driver School instruction and diligence really pay off!

Also moving up from the Novice ranks, and putting Team Blue Car in the top spot, as well as 5 of the top 6, was Kevin O'Neill, who showed us that his self-acclaimed "bad driving" was good enough to put the 2008 Audi 3.2 Quattro in the top spot over the rest of the smack-talkin' crew in other cars. The rest of you guys are going to have bring your smack to the track and watch what you say if you can't back it up! Kevin also benefits from a recent Driver School participation and his enthusiasm is contagious!

Justin Davenport showed up in his SS Dodge Viper GTS to take the win in the NV1 class. Not only was this one of the prettiest cars in the paddock, but Justin showed its potential, as he was nearly 20 points against fellow competitors. In NV2, Peter Mazzarese put his Audi A4 atop the standings with a 55 point massacre over next best Josh Szepe in his Scion xC. NV3 was MUCH closer with a tie on PAX points, though Mark Osier put his BMW 535i atop Alexander Smith's Integra by .04 of a second. Close? You bet! And Chris Largent wasn't far behind in his Subaru either! Colleen O'Neill put the family Audi in first in the NV Ladies class in her first time on course. Is it the car? Is it the driving? No. It is the combination of the two. Her beaming smile and enjoyment was evident at the Start line, and she showed the rest of the Novice Ladies how it's done!

Ted Lewis in his Lotus Elan took the PRO class win with a 973 PAX score and takes the class with a whopping 24 points over next-best Dave Webb. Ted also put on the heat in Time Only runs with fastest time there and a 996 PAX. Ted certainly shows that a 40 year old car can still "Git 'er done!"

29 competitors made Sportsman the biggest class today, with many newcomers and quite a few of the stalwarts on hand. Tage Evanson drove Frank Miller's Mitsubishi "Evil" to the win with a 44.771 and broke up the CSP Miata domination at the top of the speed chart. Not far behind was Jay Balducci in Brian Peters' new ride, and Rob "Photoman" Rockefeller giving chase. Steve Eymann, Larry Petrucci and Clint Child were all in the 960s, and round out the top 6.

All in all, it was yet another fine day and a great way to start off the 2008 competition. With all these new drivers and new cars and improvements going on, a lot of the perennial winners are going to have to step it up to keep in the hunt for trophies. It was indeed a display of Transitional Behavior, not only in the course design, but in the changes happening this year. It appears that 2008 is going to be one of the greatest years ever, and we hope to see you all out there in February!

As usual, BIG Thanks and Kudos to Rob Rockefeller for the fine photos and quick postings, and to our Timing and Scoring crew for getting the Results up so quickly!

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