Racing at the Rand III: Some like it hot

I don’t know why, but the annual Ingersoll-Rand Solo in Athens, Pennsylvania is one of my personal favorites. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of the old K-Mart lot in Gang Mills, site of my first solo experience, or maybe it’s the closeness of the site to a restaurant which offers scrapple for breakfast or a local bar which offers 25 flavors of chicken wings or maybe it’s because the neighbors turn out in large numbers to cheer us on. Regardless, it’s definitely on my A-list. This year 28 drivers showed up to play in the heat and humidity at the Ingersoll-Rand plant in Athens, Pennsylvania and although for the second year in a row our July event was lightly attended, spirits were high, the surrounding neighborhood did turn out to watch, and interesting cars and karts were the norm. The Glen Region applied its traditional Ingersoll-Rand Figure-8 layout, which consists of a direct diagonal run out of the starting grid to the far side of the lot where a sharp right pin-turn led into a relatively long, diagonal straight ending in a kink and sharp left pin-turn combination. After this the course arced left and repeated itself for a second drive around. The course was short, tight, and the parking lot appeared to suffer from the vagaries of frost heave, but it did offer a lot of grip, even if sometimes at inopportune moments. Just ask the kart drivers.

The largest and most diverse class of the day, far and away, was Street Touring (Tire) with six entrants driving six very different cars. Collin Chappell (‘02 Ford Focus SVT) jumped out to an early lead, but corded a tire before he could make his fifth run, allowing Philip Maynard (’95 Ford Contour) the opportunity needed to come from behind and take first place. Matt Lafyszonek (’98 Dodge Neon ACR), meanwhile, managed to improve sufficiently during the day to grab the third place trophy.

After Street Touring (Tire), the largest class was B-Stock with three entrants. Jeff Tyburski (’05 Mazda RX-8) led at the half, but in a signature move Phil Cornell (’95 BMW M3) came from behind to beat Jeff and third place finisher, Jim Pyle (’91 Toyota MR2). Jeff’s getting the hang of going from years of front drive soloing to using the rear wheels, but beating Phil is not going to be easy.

We had our largest gathering of karts ever as four kart “kontestants” consisting of two teams, a senior and a junior division in each, drove for the gold. In the F125 Shifter Kart, Pat Scopelliti (’91 Techno Cart) came from behind to beat Wayne Miller (‘01 Shadow Kart), but not without attempting to turn himself into a human Roman Candle. It must be an Italian thing (Note to Casey: I think Pat may be willing to sell you back your old cart; Guaranteed to turn 20,000 rpms at least once). In the Junior Kart 1 class, Justin Millard (’01 Shadow Kart) managed to get by Anthony Litchman (’91 Techno Cart) and also edge out his father in the process. Unfortunately, both Justin and Anthony were held to three runs, so neither had the chance to show us what they could really do. One things sure, if the Miller-Millard team continues to show up for our events and Casey returns, the karts may end up being one of our largest groups.

In the other classes, Eric Navestad, gentleman that he is, let me win in A-Stock since we were both driving my car at Athens (’01 Honda S2000). Eric, don’t expect me to be equally polite at the next event when we use your car. In G-Stock Barry Butterfield (’05 Mini Cooper S) continued his winning ways by beating Keith McDonnell (’04 Ford Focus SVT) and winning the PAX index trophy for the day, as well. Great, great driving, Barry. Jeff Weaver continued to get by his son, Andy, in H-Stock. Both Jeff and Andy drive the same ’90 Toyota Celica GT. In a similar situation, Ken Pierce got by his brother, Ken Pierce in the Pierce Racing BMW 325is, while in E-Modified Scott Millard beat out Rusty Miller in what was clearly the Athens’ neighboring crowd favorite ’98 Ford Mustang circle track car (“Turn right, @#$@#% it, right!”).

Including the Weavers in H-Stock and the Scopelliti-Litchman team in the Karts, we had two father and son teams at the Ingersoll-Rand event, a great accomplishment in my book. If only Greg Pierce had been racing instead of doily inspecting at a shower, we could have had three father and son teams. Greg, whatever were you thinking? As always, there were several single driver classes including Aaron Boltman in Super Stock, who managed to earn the Fastest Time of the Day (FTD) in his ’04 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. If you’d like to see all of the details as well as scope out the official event results check them online at

On behalf of the Glen Region I extend our thanks to the good people at the Ingersoll-Rand Plant in Athens. Although they won’t be reading this article, thanks to the neighbors of the Ingersoll-Rand Plant who show up every year to watch and cheer on their favorite car and driver. You folks add a dimension missing from our other events and we look forward to returning every year for your enjoyment. Thanks also to Ken Moyer for an outstanding job of securing the site and, especially to Rich Chernosky for chairing the event. Just as Pat Scopelliti has become synonymous with the Arnot Mall, so Rich has become the embodiment of the Ingersoll-Rand event. In addition, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to the set-up crew, Rich Chernosky, Pat Scopelliti, Thak (“I’m just here for the beer”) Chaloemtiana, Eric Navestad, and Ed Hurd. Ed also deserves a special appreciation for showing up to serve as chief safety steward as do Aaron Boltman and Ken Pierce for serving as Ed’s assistants. Eric Navestad deserves special mention for continuing to drive the van to the site and back, and finally, Pat Scopelliti and Aaron Boltman deserve credit for getting Eric either back to his car or to the event. It takes a village to stage a Glen Region event. Speaking of which, our next event is scheduled for Sunday, July 31st as we return to the Avanex Plant in the suburbs of Gang Mills. Mark Lockhart will be hosting. As always, we’ll keep the timing lights on for you.