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August 2008

August 10th, 2008

Event 3 of 3 for the 2008 Summer Series

by Dave Lahey

"It's a WET Heat"

Drink up, ye hardies. Water, that is, and lots of it! Then take a few turns at "Da Pretzel."



Dang, it was hot and sticky again, but most stalwarts, devotees, compulsives, newbies, wanderers, and other attendees sure got their money's worth with THIS fantastic course! It was fast and flowing and one of the best of the summer series! Not to put down the others, but to once again praise our talented course designers and thank them for their hard work and creativity!

I mean, just LOOK at this thing! Start at the bottom left corner of the lot, and into a nice smooth slalom of 5 cones to get the tires warmed up a bit on both sides (a great idea, by the way), then swing to the right and pour on the power, but not too much with that pinch coming up. Through there and continue around the outside loop swinging right, then right again, and then a tighter right to go through the middle of the pretzel. On the power again, and arcing back left and along the top of the loop to swing left, and into a 4 cone slalom, with the last one pinched a bit, not only to slow down cars for the finish, but catch the unwary.

We saw some pretty close calls at the lights; a couple of backward finishes, and mucho sideways action, and there was coneage by the greedy; and then there were those walls of cones on the outside of a few turns. If you have never seen a car leave a wake, except for maybe in one of those nifty commercials where the leaves fly into the air as the car zooms by, then this would have been a good day for you. No, not leaves this time, or even dust, as the drifters had blown that off for us the night before, but cascades of cones being launched into the air like synchronized swimmers. A lovely thing, really, unless you happened to be that driver.

Mr. Fast Time once again was Tage Evanson, driving Dan Hawrylkiw's FMod Zink, and putting down a SMOKIN' 34.768 - the only sub-35 second run of the day. Fred Zust was the only car in the 35 second range in his '05 (and newly) SUPERcharged Lotus Elise, who was happily displaying power oversteer in the low revs, or pretty much ANY revs now. Next best was Mark Huffman, also in a Lotus, but the older classic version - a '65 Elan in DMod. Mark's run was in the low 36s, followed by Brian Peters' MX-5, Dan Hawrylkiw in the Zink, and Ted Lewis in another '65 Elan (in ASP). Fastest of the 37 second gang was Jay Balducci in Peters' Mazda, with Kevin Gleaton hot on his tail in the '99 Miata, both running in CSP. Elliot Speidell was close in his DSP BMW, and then Don Sattler in the Maxwell/Johnson '94 R version of a CSP Miata. Steve Eymann was the last of the 37s in his Porsche Gt3, so gets honorable mention as well!

Sort things into PAX results, and Tage once again won the day. Brian Peters came in second with 994 points, then Fred with 983, Ted with 982 (close!), Jay Balducci and Elliot tied at 979, Gleaton at 973, then Brady Dohrmann in a '98 Integra, DS Open with a 969, Doug Rowse in the D'Elliot DSP BMW with a 968, Huffman at 965 and Sattler at 961. All good showings for some really fast cars with really good drivers! So, how did things turn out for the rest of us? Avast, ye hardies, and read on!

In the Open classes, Kim Kemper slinked his '06 Z06 to the SS win. Matt Soeffner showed he is current King of the C Stock Miata, putting down a quick 39.773 second run, the only CS car under 40 seconds. Co-driver Jeff Hancock ran a 40 in the PRO category, while Larry and Mitzi Burrow drove their 10th Anniversary '99 Miata into the remaining spots. Sean Powers took the E Stock win over Joe Sandoval, both on Falken Azenis tires, and with the 1.8L R of Sean's outrunning the 1.6L red '90. In ASP Open, Kevin Johnson took the win in his '06 BMW M3. CSP Open saw Jay Balducci in the top spot, over Kevin Gleaton, Don Sattler, and Steve Steele, and then Dawn Maxwell.

Jerry Carter brought out his '75 Porsche 914 for some happy tail-sliding and took the DSP Open win. Tim Bergstrom fought fuel starvation issues in his '03 M3, but took the SM win over Kris Castner in his '00 Impreza 2.5Rs. Paul Hammersly thrashed his '99 Z06 Vette for the SM2 Open victory, and Chris Largent drove his '97 Impreza L to the spot over Alex Fisher in an '84 BMW 325E. In STS2, Kevin Venisnik offered up his car to fellow competitors Dave Lahey and Steve Ashcraft when their ride was left at home with no brakes. Lahey returned the favor by taking a 1-point win over Kevin with a devilish 40.666. Kevin was oh so close with a 40.721, and Steve running PRO, had a 41.113.

In the PAX indexed classes, Diane Deanovic found the twitchy power of the FrankenLotus to her liking, and took the PAXL win. Ted Lewis found a clean run of 36.747 to take the PRO class, followed by Huffman, David Webb in G Stock Mini Cooper S, and then Steve Ashcraft (STS2), Jeff Hancock (CS), and Daisy Huffman in the family rocket ship. The Sportsman class was Tage's Triumph, with Peters, Fred Zust, Elliot Speidell and Brady Dorhmann rounding out the top 5, with Doug Rowse, Eymann, Hawrylkiw, Mindi Cross in the GS Mini, and Kevin Cote in his '07 STU Subaru Sti taking 10th of 15 entrants.

In the Street Tire Wars, George Sklyarevsky took a break from work and studies to show the ST1 guys the fast way around in his '06 Rx8, followed by Jon Roesch in a new '08 Porsche, Greg Rubenstein in an Sti, Rick Paradis' Honda S2000, and Keith Jones' '88 Porsche Turbo 944. In the smack-talkin' guessing-gamin' class of ST2, Clint Child outdrove the others in his '00 Integra Type-R and took the win over Chad Mizner, Mark Shaw and Jeff Williams, sharing Chad's '03 Civic Si, while Kevin O'Neill in the Audi TT was next. In ST Ladies, Colleen O'Neill drove the family TT to the win over Suzanne Lipke in the pretty yellow Mini Cooper S.

Novices? A few changes in class and car going on, but here is the latest: Philip Robles drove his '92 Civic to the Novice 1 win over Keith Jones in his Porsche 944, with Seth Wagley in an Sti and Nolan Whitenack in another Integra. In Novice 2, Nicholas Burke, in his '03 Tiburon took the win over Adam Vega in a Honda Accord. Novice 3 had "the NAZ" on top (Arnaldo Nazario) in a '90 Civic Si, followed by Sergio Perez in an '00 328I and Scott Barnamm - Civic, Josh Johnston - 240SX, and Justin Milks in an '05 Dodge Neon. Sharon Graves took the Novice Ladies class, but Tiffany Cline probably wins the biggest grin and post-finish-line celebration award, as she constantly improved her times in her '92 Integra.

So, the 2008 Summer Series comes to a close, with a fine fine course, and smiles all around, despite the heat and humidity. A thousand thanks to the hard working folks who make these events happen, and to all the participants who keep the event running smoothly. It's a dedicated group who brave the conditions to come out to play, and even share or pirate a ride now and then. Next up is the Fall Series, when the weather starts to cool off. Some will be off to Nationals to represent the AZ Region in September, and some will be sticking around. Then October and cooler temps; November, even cooler, and December, when we offer a drivers' school as well as the last event of the Series.

Thanks to Rob Rockefeller for the photos featured here and on the Arizona Autocross Photos website.

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