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June 2008

June 8th, 2008

Event 1 of 3 for the 2008 Summer Series

by Dave Lahey

"It's a Dry Heat"


Okay, so it wasn't THAT hot out. In fact, this was one of the mildest summer events in years! 71 people braved the possible scorch, slathered on sunscreen, drank LOTS of water (right?), and made the trek down to FIR for the first of the Summer Series events.

Britt Dollmeyer came up with another jewel, and came to help set it up, even though he wasn't able to run the course that day due to other commitments. Talk about dedication? Others also jumped in to help with setup, and the kidney bean shaped course (or was it a fetus?) was ready for walking. Two laps around this one, and most times in the 50-60 second range. When was the last time we had one of those? Great stuff. Thanks, Britt!

Enter onto the skidpad, and you were at the start line, parallel to the access road to Bondurant. A little flick at the beginning, and into a 180 degree turn that entered the loop. Transition around to the left and into an offset with a pretty good pinch to it. That pinch cone took a beating! Farther around to the left and another pinch, then into a tight 180 left, a short blast to a more open turnaround to the right, and then on Lap 1, 180 to the left again and into a WIDE arc that led to the opening section. Here, a lot of people were able to gain a whole lot of speed, often too much, and if that pinch cone was still standing, or set back up, it was in danger of getting whacked yet again! Through the 180s another time, and the left to the finish, which was also pinched a bit, and the other popular cone to take out, right at the finish lights. Tidiness paid off, but a little bravery could net those last few tenths that some folks needed to take their class this day. But too much, and a good run turned into disaster!

So, who was "Da Man" today? Not the usual B.P. domination. Nope, Fred Zust brought back the new and improved FrankenLotus to a glorious debut, and was the only 49 second run, officially. He was closely followed by Ted Lewis, who was mostly sideways, sending cones flying, but got that one golden run that netted second quickest at 50 seconds. Alan Wagstaffe thrashed the newly aero-improved LeGrande Dragon into third, with Dan "the Man" Hawrylkiw thrashing the FM Zink into 4th, both with low 51 second runs. Previously Predominant Peters ("My tires are shot!") was relegated to 5th overall, and was the last of the 51 second cars. This priceless photo was captured showing Ted letting out a primordial scream as he launches a cone into oblivion:

Sort the times by PAX index, and Ted gets the nod, though. Fred bumped to second, with Brian Peters close behind. These three guys were so close, and so fast, the rest of us took a real hit when PAX figures are applied. Co-driver Jay Balducci put Brian's car in fourth, with only a 955 score, followed closely by Dan in the Zink, Steve Eymann in the gorgeous yellow Porshe GT3, and a couple of surprises, perhaps, in the top ten. Matt Soeffner and Jeff Hancock shared Matt's '99 Miata Sport C Stock ride on Jeff's Hoosiers, and were only separated by 13 THOUSANDTHS of a second, and were the only other cars in the 950 range. Tom Tkacik drove his E Stock '96 Miata R to ninth and Laughin' Larry Petrucci thrashed Dave Munsey's Porsche Boxter S to tenth overall. Larry was heard to say, "I oughta get one of these," but was grinning even wider when he got to drive Tim Bergstrom's M3 in Fun Runs. (Yes, we had those at the end of the day! Woohoo!) Here's Larry showing that a manly man dedicated to radical F Body rides can thrash some German cars around too! Notice the Armstrong power steering:

As for the rest of us, put in our place by the Fast Three, the Open classes go like this: Kim Kemper tossed his C6 Vette around for a 935 in Super Stock. Soeffner takes C Stock, but not by much! (Check out Matt's video page for his and Jeff's best runs). Sean Powers continues to try and wear out his old Falken Azenis on 14" stock rims in the E Stock '95 R Miata, and Justin Davenport, recently "kicked out" of Novice for dominating the class in the Spring, took ASP despite some extracurricular smokey circles. Jay Balducci took the win over Kevin Gleaton and Brad Owen, co-driving Kevin's car, and Alan Wagstaffe was the lone BMod runner with that massive Indy car wing on the back. Check out the new little winglets on Alan's car, though, disguised as fender flares. Has he been watching too much onboard from Formula 1 lately? Or is it ALMS or the Rolex series:

Street Mod was pretty close at the top, with Francis Miller barely edging out Tim Bergstrom. Tim put his '03 M3 in between the two Mitsu Evos of Frank and Bill Miskovic, with Frank Adams in an older M3, and Kris Castner wishing for more power, or grip, or preferably both! Larry P drove all THREE of the top cars in Fun Runs, so most likely has a difficult choice should he decide to ditch the venerable GM products. Think that will happen, though? We doubt it. Here's "Doctor Evo" puttin' the petal to the metal, and proving that AWD can do two things at once:

Speaking of new rides, there were four entries in STS2, with Kevin Venisnik showing that he is still king of the ST Miata, but Don Sattler got fairly close. Jeff Williams took third, and your fearless writer ended up a lowly fourth. This was a mini-battle of street tires, with Sattler and Lahey on the new (unshaved) Toyo R1Rs and Kevin and Jeff on some used (-up?) Bridgestone RE-01Rs. Same size though (195/50/15), so in Fun Runs, Dave and Kevin traded cars for some testing. It is hard to really say, with more power in the Red Rumpled Roadster, and the under-developed "Black Betty," but the times were really close. Kevin thinks that the Wrinkled Ones will chicken out with this "defeat," but he underestimates the power of Old Age and Treachery! Here's Don coming into the finish, and already planning changes to make Betty faster:

When the Ladies come out for a summer jaunt, they bring their A game! Diane Deanovic drove FrankenLotus to the PAXL win, and cracked the top PAX as well, with 9th overall. Teresa Clement thrashed the family Evo to a close second, though, with Elisabeth Crosdale tossing the BM Legrand around pretty well. Some more seat time, and she should be moving closer, though, so it is never over! Here's Teresa demonstrating that gender has nothing to do with aggression on course:

Ted Lewis took the PRO win, with Dave Webb left scratching his head. In Sportsman, Fred's FTD stood up for the class win, with Brian P second, Dan H in third, and Steve Eymann fourth. Tommy T was fifth, followed closely by Larry P and it looks like Kevin Cote is getting the hang of his Subaru Sti, and starting to climb higher in the class. Mindi Cross wasn't far behind, though, and Gary James and Dave Munsey round out the top 10.

Pictured above is Greg Rubenstein, who, despite losing the rear view mirror midcourse and having it flop around the rest of the way, then crack the windsheild at the finish, managed to crush the rest of the ST1 folks. Greg has posted a video of this run if you want to check out the ultimate distraction! Brady Dohrmann drive his Integra R to the ST2 class win, proving that his smacktalk was valid, though Chad Mizner in his newly acquired Honda Civic Si was close. "The usual suspects" in this class shuffled around in their red, white and blue cars, but were no match for the relative newcomers' skills. Now to the class, that is, not new to the sport. In STL, Colleen O'Neill took the win over Lisa Folb, and knowing Colleen, she was probably laughing the whole way! Not in a bad way, she just thoroughly enjoys this stuff!

There were quite a few Novices out this day, many of whom tried autocrossing for the first time. Andrew Garnham drove his Honda S2000 to the win over Joe White in his shiny green 2008 Ford Mustang Bullit. In NV2, Adam Vega's '90 Accord took the win over the '65 Corvair of Jim Allen. There were two Corvairs out there today, tuning up for their own Nationals, and both were fine looking examples! Ralph Nader probably would not approve, but Jim and his buddy showed that these cars are indeed Safe at autocross speeds.

Newcomer Arnaldo (Naz) Nazario took the NV3 win in his'90 Honda Civic Si over Sergio Perez in his 2000 BMW 328i. In the NVLadies' class, Sharon Graves drove her '06 Lotus Elise to the win over Jomelyn Watson in a 2001 Ford Focus. Kelly Botterwig was third in a '94 Honda Accord.

So, what did we learn today? That June is not always too hot to have a great event. Even with Fun Runs at the end, pretty much everyone was packed up and out of the heat by noon, and the drive home, even without AC, was quite tolerable. With a little luck, we will have a couple more cooler days to finish up the series in July and August. Don't really count on it, though, as we all know that it will be hot and hotter, and then too damned hot very soon!

Thanks to Dan Hawrylkiw and Tim Bergstom for the great photos featured here and on the Arizona Autocross Photos website.

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