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March 2008

March 9th, 2008

Event 3 of 4 for the 2008 Spring Series

by Dave Lahey

"Talk to Mister Ed"


Boy, the names they come up with for some of these course designs! Looks more like a peanut with a ponytail, or a fetus with the umbilical still attached, but the Mister Ed theme stuck, so there you have it!

Anyway, what an absolutely GORGEOUS day and FUN course this was! Once again, Elliot worked his magic in designing a challenging and thrilling course! Start in the bottom left corner and up the middle through some wiggly bits, then around to the left, more wigglies, then back through the middle again, and to the right this time around and a 5 cone slalom to the end. Concentration and looking ahead were key, and you had to keep your energy and focus for the whole course! Arcing longer lines also paid off for some, but overdrive, and there were places where you could REALLY get hurt! No time to be slacking on this one, folks! Bust out rockin', hold your breath, and hang on for dear life!

So, who was "da man" today? Did Peters extend his string of Fast Times? Or did Tage take Alan Wagstaff's BMod rocket into the twilight zone with the enormous newly-installed Indy car wing? Did anyone else step up and out-PAX "da kid" in the grey Miata? Inquiring minds want to know! Tell us, tell us !!! The suspense is too much to bear!!!

Ah, patience, dear friends. With quite a few AZ folks gearing up for the San Diego National Tour event; scrubbing in new tires, breaking in new co-drivers, testing sound levels, and playing with suspension and alignment settings, there was a heck of a lot going on, and LOTS of Time Only entries, spilling into and filling up most of the run groups. There was a broken car, a few unfortunate spins, cones that ruined best times, and smacktalk needing to be proven on the asphalt. So, what happened today? Who did what to whom, and who took the gold, silver, and bronze? Oh, wait, this is not the Olympics, but event #3 of the Spring Series, but it sure had the look of serious competitors dealing with a challenging course, their own bravado, and their cars. Let the games begin!

34.432 was the fastest time posted today, and you guessed it, Brian Peters once again took home the FTD prize, as well as getting Top PAX. Ted Lewis was next with a 35.365 and Fast Freddie Zust in the FreakinLotus ran a 36.293. The usual influx of CSP Miatas was oddly sparse in the Top Ten fast times, but Dawn Maxwell returned to her winning form on a new set of Hoosiers with a fine 36.453. Dave Young was next in his '02 M3, followed by Dan Hawrylkiw, Steve Eymann in the new purchase (a Porsche GT3!), Derrick Disharoom, Tage Evanson, and Brad Owen rounding out the Top Ten.

Looking at the PAX standings, Peters and Lewis held their spots, with Clint Child and Britt Dollmeyer in Britt's Civic tying on points for third, but Clint taking .009 less time. Dawn Maxwell, Jim Rohn, and Derrick Disharoom put three Miatas fifth through seventh, then Dave Young and a couple more Miatas, with Brad Owen and Kevin Venisnik driving, rounding out the Top Ten. Interesting to see the STS Honda Civic and STS2 Miata BOTH taking 2 of the top ten spots, and the rest of the CSP Miata group scattered among a lot of other cars and classes in the top 30. It has been said that there is no such thing as a "non-Miata" type of course, but this was "a horse of a different color," with so many other cars and classes running rampant when PAX is applied!

Looking into the Open classes, Kim Kemper was all smiles with a new set of R tires, to take the SS win over Jim Young's yellow '93 Rx7. Dennis Vermilye took the CS win in his Mr2 Spyder, Sean Powers brought out his new toy, a '95 Miata R to take ES, and Chris Black once again took FS. Tom and Matt Ellam scored identical PAX points, but Tom was .014 seconds faster in the '08 Chrysler Sebring to take first in HS. Darrell Covert ran uncontested in ASP and won that class.

The Proverbial Perennial Peters took CSP with Dawn Maxwell in second, a second behind on the little tires. Derrick Disharoom was just a tenth of a second off her time, followed by Brad Owen, David Lahey and Kevin Gleaton, whose '99 Miata decided to stop running early in the group, putting him on the trailer and headed home to plug in the laptop and try and figure out what the trouble is before next weekend's Sandy Ego trip. Nothing like last minute pressure!

Jerry Carter took DSP in his '75 Porsche 914, and FSP marked the return of two wiley old veterans, Edd Brady and "Migba," the legendary MGB of Meyers lore and olden days. It was great to see Edd back, but a bit odd, him not being in the GMC Caballero! Ah well, change is inevitable, but good to see that smiling face again! Kirby Goodman had XP to himself in the V8 powered Rx7 and Brian Jackson dragged out the old Rx-2 for some tire punishment in EP.

Alan Wagstaffe flung the Legrand Dragon around for the BM win. SM was once again the Dave Young Show with almost a second and a half over next-best Bill Miskovic's Mitsu Evo Mr, Tim Bergstrom in another M3 and Kris Castner's Imprezza 2.5 Rs. Clinton Campbell took the STS win in his Mini Cooper over Manfred Reysser's Celica, and Jim Rohn once again outran Kevin Venisnik in his own car in STS2. Kevin was seen to be eyeballing some later model upper shock mounts in search of a solution to bump stop bashing.

Deb Eymann has taken an instant liking to the new family ride, a 2007 Porsche Gt3, and took the PAX Ladies' class. Kat Morrill and Lindsay Amato, Diane Deanovic and Teresa Clement were all fighting it out for next best. Colleen O'Neill put the family Audi TT into the win column in NV Ladies and showed the rest of the Novice Ladies that her beaming enthusiastic smile is not only because she is having a great time, but is fast as heck! Gwen Hanigan-Baily, Shelli Telle, and Niki Voyatzis may still be shaking their heads asking, "who IS that fast woman?" In ST Ladies, the margin at the top was not so definitive, as Glenda Meyers took first over Lisa Folb in her Cooper S and Mitzi Burrow in the '99 Miata.

In the PRO class, Ted Lewis' second fastest overall and PAX time outdid Steve Ryan, who "brought the right stack of tires this time," and Dave Webb in the Ford Focus. 25 competitors filled up the SPM class with Clint Child edging out Britt Dollmeyer in Britt's '90 Civic Si by .009 of a second, and taking the top spot. Steve Eymann, Sean Morrill, Travis Gianelli, and Patrick Riley round out the top six, with Dan Hawrylkiw, Doug "I got a DIFF!" Rowse, FrankenZust, and Larry Petrucci in the rest of the top ten spots. Both Sean and Kat Morrill are "really happy" with their return to ES-legal status, and proved that their '97 Mazda Miata has a lot better potential in that trim, as they both JUMPED into much higher spots in their PAXed classes.

George Sklyarevsky and his BS Rx8 once again beat up on the ST1 crowd with Fred Szepe in second in his Saturn Sky Redline, followed by Gil Hirari's WRX Sti, Chad Mizner's shared Rx8 and Mark Halliday in an S2000. The rest of the 17 car field is most likely scratching their heads wondering what they can do to prevent George's sweep of the Spring Series in this class! ST2, the smacktalkinest ST group had a new winner this event, with visitor Dennis Bay taking the spot in a rented '08 Pontiac Solstice, with an automatic trans to boot! "Team Blue Car" took spots two and three with Mark Shaw driving Todd Houser's Mini Cooper S to second, Mike Rogers' Acura RSX in third, and then "Team Miata" driver Matt Soeffner in fourth. Fifth was Scott Meyers in the V6 Mustang, followed by Todd Houser's Team Blue Mini. Two silver cars, a couple of white ones, more blue, one green and a screaming yellow Corvair completed the rainbow of ST2 cars.

17 Novices in the NV1 class are probably going to be glad when this Series is over and Justin Davenport's dominance is ended, bumping him out of the class. Justin was the only car in the 900 PAX range, while David Manley, Willem Smit, Chris Blair, and Dan Tracy rounded out the top five. Similarly in NV2, Josh Szepe drove his Scion Tc to yet another win, with "Papa John" Gianelli down from Sacramento, CA to thrash son Travis' Jetta into second, followed by Greg Shriner, Jim Thompson and Matthew Reams. Mark Osier will also most likely be moving out of the Novice class as he took the NV3 win once again. Chris Largent, Ken Macgregor, Sergio Perez and Jason Lifgren may have to wait until they become the top dogs.

78, yes SEVENTY-EIGHT Time Only runners took to the course to try and improve on their competition times. Peters again, with a little more time off, raised the bar another 4 points with co-driver Jay Balducci showing second, Britt Dollmeyer in third, and Steve Ashcraft once again finding T-O Magic to take fourth. (Now do it in COMP runs, Steve!) Ted Lewis and FredenZust put two Lotuses in fifth and sixth, and Rob Rockefeller tied Fred's PAX score. Close behind that 954 was Jeff Hancock with his first taste of R tires on the Miata, with stickers still on them for that first run. Jeff was beaming, and three seconds faster than his ST times earlier in the day. Clint Child was just one point behind Jeff and David Lahey and Derrick Disharoom found the lost time they had needed in the morning and scored identical 947s with Lahey squeaking out 16 THOUSANDTHS of a second.

The weather was perfect, the course was superb, and the day was long and enjoyable. There are probably people still snowed in or fighting off rain and sleet in other parts of the country, but we "'Zonans" are basking in the third event of the year and even dreading the oncoming heat of summer. Ah, but let's forget that for now and enjoy the best time of year here in the Valley of the Sun. Yup, break out the sunscreen and the shorts and t-shirts and drink plenty of water folks; it is that time of year! With a fairly long interim until our next event, Sunday, April 20th, there is plenty of time for more smacktalk, benchracing, and enjoying this glorious weather!

As always, thanks to Rob Rockefeller and Ben Clement for the great photos featured here and on the Arizona Autocross Photos website.

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