Horsepower in Horseheads: Shopping for Speed Redux

Apparently geography isn’t a strong suit amongst the Glen solo faithful, either that or “Flinging it in Fisherville” just didn’t have the alliterative cachet of a couple of aitches back-to-back. Whatever the explanation, we celebrated August 14th with a return to Arnot Mall, even if Pat Scopelliti was nowhere to be seen. One thing about this Arnot Mall event was that the temperatures were a vast improvement over May’s Arnot Mall event. Instead of biting cold temperatures we were treated to high 80s with humidity to match or so it seemed. Even so, only 21 drivers took advantage of a great site and equally great course layout to shop for the best performance. Speaking of layout, the course design committee once again chose the traditional Arnot Mall “Figure 8” layout, even attempting to replicate the same configuration used in May. If nothing else, their decision permitted drivers the opportunity to compare their May and August performances.

In a pleasant change from the traditional, several classes shared the honor having the most drivers: A-Stock, C-Street Prepared, D-Street Prepared, and the ever-popular Street Touring (Street Tire). In A-Stock it was take the yellow brick road as my 2001 Honda S2000 was pressed into service. Yours truly ended up taking class honors over classmates Eric Navestad and John Florence (’87 Chevrolet Corvette). Comparing the May event times, my performance only improved by 8/1000th of a second (Who said that “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds?”), but for Eric his improvement was better than 1.6 seconds. Personally, I think that Eric just enjoys beating up on my car more than his.

C-Street Prepared was an all Mazda class with two Miatas competing against an RX-7. When the tire smoke had cleared, it was Ryan Jones (’99 Mazda Miata) edging out Brian Bell (’95 Mazda Miata) and Modesto Polzella (’85 Mazda RX-7). Unfortunately, it was a first time 2005 Arnot Mall appearance for all three so no comparison with earlier times was possible, but all three drivers did well.

Ken Pierce, battling an illness and the remnants of what was formerly a limited slip differential in the Pierce Racing Team’s ’87 BMW 325is, put on a great show to take first place in D-Street Prepared over second place Greg “The Spin Doctor” Pierce and third place, John Pierce. Ken’s time was actually more than 1/10 second slower than his May appearance, while brother John improved almost by a second. For those who don’t read the actual times, the range between the fastest and slowest Pierce in the second Arnot Mall event was about 2/3 of a second. This is fairly typical of the battle that goes on in D-Street Prepared. John, how does it feel to be Lou Gehrig when Babe Ruth’s playing?!

In Street Touring (Street Tire) Matt Latyszonek (’98 Dodge Neon ACR) got by second place Tom Deneka (’98 Honda Prelude) and third place Todd Acker (’99 Honda Civic), despite significant improvements over Tom’s and Todd’s May Arnot Mall event times. I can’t remember whether Tom’s extra V-TEC lobes were in place in May, but they were definitely in place at the August event.

Among the other multi-driver classes were B-Stock, G-Stock, and H-Stock. In B-Stock, Phil Cornell (’95 BMW M3) jumped to an early lead and stayed there by effectively imitating either an Irish Setter-in-heat or a pre-war Morgan trike. Henry Hansteen (’96 Nissan 300zx), a newcomer to Glen Region solo events, had no choice but to keep all of his wheels on the ground and settle for second place.

Barry Butterfield (’05 BMW Mini Cooper S) may have run 2/10 of a second slower than he did in May, but it was sufficient to give him the G-Stock trophy over second place Keith McDonnell (’04 Ford Focus SVT), who was making his first seasonal appearance at Arnot Mall. Barry, maybe it’s time to replace the Mini with a new model. They seem to wear pretty quickly. In H-Stock, both Weavers driving the same ’90 Toyota Celica GT recorded slower times in August than in May, but Jeff still managed to stay ahead of Andy at the end, partially aided by Andy’s significantly longer times for the August event. I suspect that Andy’s toning it down in preparation for his upcoming road test. Andy, keep us posted on the outcome, will you?

Finally, Aaron Boltman (’04 Chevy Corvette Z-06) repeated his command of Arnot Mall and even bettered his May run by greater than 3/10 of a second to win the Fastest Time of the Day (FTD), the PAX championship, and lower his Dodge truck to the ground faster than any NASCAR, Formula 1, or IRL pit crew ever could. Aaron was also a serious contender to win the “Spin Doctor” award, but lacked the finesse and consistency of Greg Pierce. Perhaps if Aaron would crochet more doilies he could reach the level of attainment Greg has managed. There were also several other single driver classes and if you’d like to see what they did as well as take a gander at the official event results check them online at

On behalf of the Glen Region I extend our thanks to the folks at the Arnot Mall, especially to the staff and management of Sears. Thanks also to Ken Moyer for chairing the event, to Casey Creamer for showing up just to help with race set-up, to Eric Navestad, Jeff and Andy Weaver for getting the van to the site and back and helping Casey with the course set-up. As always, thanks to Becky Tinker for keeping the Solo II program together. It’s been a great two years, Becky. One special mention, something needing to have been done a long time ago, thanks on behalf of the entire Solo II board to our friend, John Florence, who finally showed up this season so that we could award him his long overdue 2004 Glen Region Solo Volunteer of the Year award. John has not been able to attend any of the 2005 events and he’s been sorely missed, especially but not limited to the post-game debunking sessions. The thing about John is that he had only been at the Arnot Mall site a few minutes and he was working registration. John, stay longer next time. You add a lot to event days. Speaking of which, the next event is scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd at Corning Community College. This particular site offers some interesting driving challenges, including changing altitudes and off-camber turns. You wouldn’t want to miss it. As always, we’ll keep the timing lights on for you.