Shopping for Speed: The Annual Lord Scopelliti Festival of Autocross
Ya just have to admit it. The annual Glen Region Pat Scopelliti hosted solo extravaganza is the social event of the Glen Region autocross season. It wasnt always that way. In fact, it wasnt that many years ago when it was one of our least well-attended events. Back in those days however, it was held on Mothers Day and while there were a lot of mothers present
well, Im just too polite to go there, if you know what I mean and knowing my readers, Im sure you do. Anyway, wiser folks changed the May Arnot Mall event to any weekend but Mothers Day and our attendance has blossomed ever since. For those of you who werent able to be there on May 22nd, 50 drivers showed up and it wasnt to use their Discover Card at Sears, either, as tempting as that always is. No, they were at Arnot Mall to see how quickly they could get around the Sears parking lot solo and they did this despite some incredibly low temperatures and blustery, cloudy skies. In fact, it got so cold I was about ready to swap out the Kumho Victoracers for Blizzaks, but George Dohanich tried that years ago and it didnt work too well. His heart was in the right place, though and I thought of him on May 22nd.
The course design committee, notably Casey Creamer, Eric Navestad, and Pat Scopelliti laid out what has to be one of the most intuitive, challenging courses in Glen Region annals. Yeah, it was the traditional Arnot Mall Figure 8 but with incredibly well radiussed arcs, permitting drivers to stay on the gas without too much steering or braking. My only complaint was that had they made the two straights just about 20 yards shorter I would have been hitting the rev limiter right at the moment I needed to brake instead of coasting the distance. Eric, as the official S2000 representative on the design committee, you really screwed up your assignment. Oh well, someone had to let Aaron win at least one event in his Glastron Special.
Now this will hardly come as a surprise, o Glen Region faithful, but the largest class of the day was the ever-popular G-Stock with nine entrants! It was kinda sad that someone actually had to win, but G-Stock is definitely the take no prisoners class of the Glen Region. G-Stockers are so competitive, in fact, that they didnt even give a break or a brake to Heather Sawyer, who was driving for two. Then again, Heather is enough of a veteran autocrosser not to ask for a break. When the tire smoke cleared Barry Butterfield demonstrated hes got his groove back and in a brand spanking new, 850-miles-on-the-odometer 05 BMW Mini Cooper S. Barry was followed by Jeff Tyburski in his Ford Probe (which I think is just a little younger than I) and G-Stock stalwart Nile Heermans (90 Nissan 240SX).
In addition to the large G-Stock turnout there were three classes with four drivers each. A-Stock saw a battle of the yellow 01 S2000s. I took an early lead, but Nick Brewster finally decided to be as shiftless as I and caught me on the last run for first place. Eric Navestad placed third and in the only non-S2000 of the group, Brad Pyle in his stock 90 Toyota Supra took fourth. Meanwhile in E-Prepared, Michael Brush (93 Ford Festiva) shot off to a good lead early in the day only to be outgunned in the end by veteran Bill Barkley in his 87 Yugo GV (I think the GV stands for great value). Not all that far behind the class leaders were Scott Walker in a lovely Datsun 510 and Christopher Hoefert in the very same Yugo as the class leader. Finally, in the all-Honda all the time Street Touring (Tire) class, it was Tom Deneka (98 Honda Prelude), who also seized the lead early and never let it go over fellow competitors Kristofor Ward (97 Honda Civic), Todd Acker (99 Honda Civic), and Erich Von Duyne (90 Honda Accord). It should be pointed out that Erich is not used to driving a car with so few miles on it. As with fellow Glen Regionaire Rob Craig, Erich believes that any Honda with less than 200,000 miles should still be running break-in oil. He promised to return with his more mature Honda later in the season.
There were also several classes with three drivers in them. H-Stock, for example, saw Jeff Weaver (90 Toyota Celica GT) end up with the garland while Andy Weaver (90 Toyota Celica GT) took second. Kim Lockhart (02 Ford Focus) mounted a good effort, but was unable to repeat her success in the last event and had to settle for third. This time.
C-Prepared was the pride of the ponies as the all-Mustang class competed to see who would be most likely to vulcanize the entire Arnot Mall parking lot first. In the end it was Larry Rhode in his 94 Mustang, followed by Grant Laughlin in his 88 Mustang and Matthew Trainter in his 94 Mustang. All I can say is that Mozart never orchestrated such beautiful music as came out of C-Prepared. Of course, his horse would still have had tread on it, afterwards.
In the create-your-own-car-class the Bullock boys took a page from the Pierces and used the very same car for one class: E-Street Prepared. Just like the Pierces (except that the Bullocks actually wash and wax their car) the driving was outstanding and as unbelievable as it may sound, the entire range of time separating first from third place was LESS THAN half a second! If that isnt competitive driving then I dont know what is. What can I say except that jumping from 1980 to 1996, Camaro-wise, yielded a great car with three equally great drivers. Personally, Zoren, I still think you were Samsonized. That also might explain why I called you Cameron. It just isnt you, which probably makes me the first old dude to tell you to grow more hair.
We had a lot of two driver classes generating solo excitement. The Masseys, Jacob and Chip, slugged it out in D-Stock in a lovely black 2004 Dodge Neon until only Jacob was left standing, while in E-Stock Rich Chernosky (88 Toyota MR2) got by Jeff Hering (90 Mazda Miata). Rich, we of the Glen Region Kibitzers took a vote and decided it would be nice to let Lorraine share the driving at future events. First, itd probably keep her coming to the events (Shes starting to notice that the other wives dont often show up) and second, Jeffs a lacrosse coach which is like ice hockey but meaner. If Lorraine were driving hell probably remain the cool, collected driver he is, but otherwise it might not be pretty. Consider it.
Speaking of spouses, down in F-Stock it was a battle between the Cornishes, Anthony and Nancy Eraca-Cornish (98 BMW 740i). My own civility keeps me from passing along to the readers the bet Anthony claimed was wagered on the outcome, so lets just say that Anthony won by a head and leave it at that. Regardless, Nancy showed some incredible improvement and could be a major competitor in F-Stock this season if she so desires. D-Street Prepared might not have been a battle between spouses, but it was a family thing as Ken finally put an end to brother John Pierces two consecutive Glen Region event wins by staging a decisive win, all of this in their 87 BMW 325is.
Meanwhile in Street Touring X, it was Ben King (03 Subaru WRX) who got by Ken Moyer (97 Honda Prelude) and in Street Modified it was Chris Keifer (03 Subaru WRX) taking the trophy from Chad Kacyon (98 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro). Finally, Pat Scopelliti (91 Techno Kart) decided that he was so far ahead hed just run a few times. It was sufficient to beat his rival, Casey Creamer (2005 MW Chassis Kart).
Finally, it wouldnt be right to end this article without mentioning an incredible drive by Aaron Boltman (04 Chevy Corvette Z-06). Although Aaron knocked down more cones than a little league team at an ice cream stand, he finally got it right in his final run with as pretty a drive as Ive ever seen. It was sufficiently fast to earn Aaron both the Fastest Time of the Day (FTD) and the PAX index championship. Make no mistake, he did earn it. There were also several other single driver classes and if youd like to see what they did as well as scope out the official event results check them online at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/2005/results20050522.asp.
Once again and on behalf of the Glen Region I extend our thanks to the good people at the Arnot Mall, especially to the staff and management of Sears. The Arnot Mall event has been a rich tradition within the Glen Region Solo II crowd and were pleased that you continue to invite us back to your place. If it means anything, we did cruise the Craftsman tools section and Nick was spotted getting pizza from the food court. Thanks also to Pat Scopelliti for an outstanding job of securing the site and chairing the event, to Lin Hurd for once again showing up just to help with race group set-up, to Greg Pierce for showing up just to help with timing and scoring, to Eric Navestad for getting the van to the site and back, and, as always, to Becky Tinker for keeping the Solo II flame burning. Id like to extend personal thanks on behalf of the entire Solo II board to Ken Moyer who despite experiencing mechanical difficulties stayed around and who also worked a number of jobs so the rest of us could have fun. If I owned a business, you folks would be the first ones Id be trying to hire. Ive never seen such a loyal, dedicated group. Im so moved by it all that Id offer to buy you all a beer, but Im cheap and dont like you all that much anyway. I suggest you ask Patrick Skinner to do that (Patrick, you didnt think we forgot, did you?!). The next event is scheduled for Sunday, June 19th at the old Seneca Army Depot. If you like autocrossing, this is the dream site and you dont want to miss it. As always, well keep the timing lights on for you.