The Depot Dash: Its a long way to the John
While your intrepid reporter spent Sunday, June 22 debating whether he should burn his Michelin tires in Formula One protest, 47 drivers decided to visit the Holy Grail of Upstate New York autocrossing, the Seneca Army Depot. After seasons of small parking lots, its always a special treat to find a course long enough to get up the RPMs in a gear other than first and the Seneca Army Depot is certainly the place where this sort of action comes together. It also helps when the weather cooperates as it did at THIS Depot event.
According to Ken Pierce, the course, itself, started off with a long, fast slalom permitting some to experience a gear they had long forgotten came with their cars: 3rd. Major ecstasy! The slalom was followed by an arc ending with a gate, a run across the runway and back towards the start through a gate at the other side of the runway. From this point it headed onto the large parking area on the left side of the runway. Two gates on opposite sides of the entrance formed the next section followed by a sharp left turn to a box right turn. Then came a gentle left-right combo leading back towards the runway and a right onto the runway. A short straight lead to a left, box turn followed by a right box turn, that was almost like a slalom, and then back to the right and straight to the finish. Did you get all that?! My informants tell me that folks seemed to have the most problems with the slalom, the sharp turn in the parking area on the left of the runway, and the entrance back onto the runway from the parking area and that there were more spins than at a political convention. Humph. And to think that while all this excitement was happening I was watching six bazillion $$$ cars doing a test and tune, while simultaneously being pelted by $6 Foster cans.
Two classes, Street Touring (Tire) and Street Modified, shared the honor of being the largest classes with six drivers each. In Street Touring (Tire) it was a dogfight between Collin Im no relation to David Chappelle (02 Ford Focus SVT) and Tom Deneka (98 Honda Prelude), who swapped leads all afternoon before Collin squeaked by Tom with an unheard of margin of 0.034 of a second. Now thats a contest Id like to see repeated. Street Modified saw just as close a battle between Meredith Metzler (02 Subaru WRX) and Trian The Govno Stanev (01 VW Jetta) where only 0.075 of a second separation. Apparently, Merediths 2-year paternity leave didnt dull his autocross skills any.
D-Street Prepared saw five drivers using two cars and the 2005 season opener for Greg Pierce. Welcome back, Greg. In the end of the battle the German adherents (87 BMW 325is) swept the Japanese team (99 Honda Civic) as Ken Pierce took a Fathers Day gift over son Greg of less than 2/10 of a second.
B-Stock recorded its highest turnout since the 2004 season when four drivers registered. In his 2005 season debut, Phil Cornell (95 BMW M3) ran well ahead of Brian and Jeff Tyburski (05 Mazda RX-8) and Jim Pyle (91 Toyota MR-2) for the class honors. Wouldnt you know it, I miss one event and its the one where the Tyburskis show up with a new car and driving in a new class. Sorry I missed your new set o wheels, Jeff.
Phil Cornell and Meredith Metzler werent the only experienced drivers winning their 2005 season debut. In C-Prepared Mike Eams (01 Mustang) returned to the cones with a decisive win over nemesis Larry Rhode (94 Mustang) and Zoren Pick a class, any class: Bullock (96 Chevrolet Camaro). Three good drivers in three exciting cars, although next time, Zoren needs to remember that hes the sole representative of the bowtie in this class.
Other multi-driver classes at The Depot include A-Stock where Southern NY Region RE Nick Brewster (01 Honda S2000) continued his winning ways by dispatching Eric Navestad (00 Honda S2000), while in C-Stock Ryan Jones (99 Mazda Miata) took his second class win of the season with a victory over second place Brian Coop (01 Toyota MR-2). In a surprise of surprises, at least to this writer, the Glen Regions usually premier class, G-Stock, not only failed to be the largest class, but also ended up being one of the smallest as the Flying Tyburskis upgraded to B-Stock, taking two drivers with them. This left Barry Butterfield (05 BMW Mini Cooper S) to do battle with Nile Heermans (90 Nissan 240SX). Unfortunately, Nile destroyed a clutch early in the game ceding the contest to Barry. Nile, you finally find a course where the gearing in your car was probably ideal and this happens. All I can say is what evil did you commit in your past life!? H-Stock, meanwhile, remained a family battle between Jeff and Andy Weaver (90 Toyota Celica GT) where, in a magnanimous display of filial loyalty, Andy let his father win on Fathers Day, settling for a distant second place. In another family squabble, this one in E-Street Prepared, Eben Bullock defeated Cameron Bullock in a closely contested challenge, both driving the same 80 Chevrolet Camaro. It looks to me as though Cameron is gaining in every race and the Eben ought to check that rear view mirror at the next event, but thats just my opinion. Finally, in the F125 Shifter Kart class, Pat Scopelliti (94 Techno Cart) stretched his first place victories to two in a row by defeating Casey Creamer (05 MW Chassis Kart).
The fastest raw and PAX times of the day both went to Aaron Boltman of the Super Stock Class in his 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z-06. A more detailed accounting for you statistically oriented types, along with a list of all of the drivers and their times may be viewed online at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/2005/results20050619.asp.
As always I end with the reminder that an event such as the Dash Depot cant be pulled off without a lot of volunteer spirit and effort. First, on behalf of the entire solo team I extend a big thanks to Ken Moyer for securing the site for the Glen Region. What an incredible find, Ken. Second, the usual but greatly appreciated thanks to the Course Design Team for showing up early to put this course together. Ya done good, folks. Also, a special thanks to Pat Scopelliti for allowing the Glen Region to use his truck for power, after it was discovered that our battery packs werent as reliable as we had hoped. Thanks, also, to Mike Taves for showing up to be the safety steward, even though he didnt run a single lap. Finally, a heartfelt thanks from this writer to our Solo II chair, Becky Tinker, who works behind the scene to ensure that all of our events happen and that the solo program remains viable. If you have not heard, Becky is stepping down at the end of the 2005 Solo II season. Becky, its been a great year and a half and Ill miss the chocolates. The next Glen Region Solo event is scheduled for the Ingersoll-Rand Plant in Athens, Pennsylvania on Sunday, July 17th. Rich Chernosky will be hosting that event and Im praying for sunshine. Until then, well keep the timing lights on for you.