Craftsman Solo at the Mall: Why are snowblowers out in August?
Okay, it's been a strange summer, weather wise, but Sears you're pushing the envelope putting snowblowers on sale next to the beer can chicken barbecue aids. In fact, how do you expect me to put an 8 hp, dual stage, heavily laden, 300# beast in my Honda S2000, anyway?!? Some folks just don't think things through. Regardless of wintertime reminders, Sunday August 20 was a great day for autoXing. It may have rained heavily the day before, but the sun was out and the temperatures were mild when we needed them. Apparently 36 drivers were of like mind and thought a trip to the Arnot Mall a good thing, doing their best both at shopping in the mall and on the track.
And speaking of on the track, in previous articles I've mentioned that the Arnot Mall's small lot size, elevation changes, off camber driving opportunities and relatively slick surface challenge even the best of course designers, let alone ours. Casey, Pat and Eric, though, came up with a clockwise, hourglass configuration that both made the most of the available surface and for the most part, required little memory to negotiate. Admittedly, there was the patented Creamer 3-lap run, but only one driver tried a fourth run and Black BMW Z4, your secret is safe with us. No one will ever know.
As for the event, itself, D-Street Prepared was the largest class of the day with four entrants. Greg Pierce ('87 BWM 325is) didn't give the other D-Street Prepared participants a chance, either. He ran an outstanding time the first time out and bettered it in the succeeding attempts. Of course, there was that run where Greg imagined he was a certain Corvette driver and attempted to kill every cone in sight, but that was aberration for what was some truly outstanding driving. Those of you who don't come to the solo events don't realize what it means to be the best in D-Street Prepared. The competition is always fierce, but anyone of the group has the potential to go home the champion. Ken Pierce ('87 BWM 325is), John Pierce ('87 BWM 325is), and Mark Lockhart ('01 BWM 330Ci), however, just weren't able to get past Greg no matter how good they were or how hard they tried. You three shoulda checked out the snowblower sales inside and saved yourselves some effort.
D-Street Prepared wasn't the only action in town as there were many hot classes at Arnot. For example, in A-Stock Nick Brewster ('01 Honda S2000), the RE of the Southern New York Region, like Greg Pierce grabbed an early and commanding lead to win class honors over yours truly ('01 Honda S2000) and Eric Navestad ('01 Honda S2000). Nick's time was sufficient to earn him the fastest stock class time and the best PAX (index) time of the event, simultaneously. Down in G-Stock it was a battle of blue cars including a father-son team battling for family honors in a closely contested match. After the last timing light had been triggered Brian Ballet ('03 Nissan Altima) waited until the closing runs of the second run group to take the lead from Arnie Carbough, III ('02 Dodge Neon). Arnie Carbough, Jr. ('02 Dodge Neon) managed respectable times, but not sufficient to catch either his son or Brian.
Over in Street Touring Tire, the We eat cones for breakfast class, Philip Maynard ('96 Ford Contour) outdrove Kyle Kubick ('94 Volkswagen Corrado) and Tom Deneka ('98 Honda Prelude) for class best. Personally, I suspect that Kyle's car may be set up strangely as he was the only driver in his class not to hit a cone. Speaking of which, fearing a challenge from the Street Touring Tire class, the Street Touring X (STX) class was the most cone-punishing of the day with 16 hits. Although Ken Moyer ('97 Honda Prelude) had to be satisfied with a third place finish in the class, he hit the most cones of any of us and that's got to be worth something, doesn't it? It wasn't good enough to win the class, though, that honor belonged to Matt Lockhart ('01 BMW 330i) followed by Kyle Mangiagli ('02 Nissan Sentra). I should point out that typical for the STX class, approximately one-tenth of a second separated the three competitors. Folks, that's exciting driving.
In Street Modified Steve Corozza ('85 BMW 318) had an easy time of it, taking the trophy from Julius Corozza ('85 BMW 318) and James Sherrick ('99 Audi Avant A4), despite Mr. Sherrick's ill-fated attempt to select both the perfect course and the ideal time for a run.
Aaron Boltman ('04 Chevrolet Corvette Z06) finally had competition in Super Stock, but Laura Vlosky ('06 Lotus Elise) wasn't able to get by Aaron's very low times. Then again, Laura didn't hit as many cones as Aaron did as he tied D-Street Prepared for punished pylons. How can you compete in cone-killing when Aaron, a single driver, hit as many cones as the entire four D-Street Prepared drivers combined. Aaron, I've got some bug, tar, and essence du con remover if you're interested. As punishing to the pylons as Aaron and D-Street Prepared were, it was D-Stock which set the daily record for the most cones killed. Jim Jarvis ('04 Chrysler Crossfire) was still able to get by Thomas Sterling ('00 Audi S4) for the plaque and also for the most clean runs so it wasn't all for naught. You can't believe how happy Worker station #3 was to see you guys finish.
E-Stock, on the other hand, was far nicer to the cones than most classes and still displayed good driving. Rich Chernosky ('88 Toyota MR2) actually bought new struts (Knowing Rich, he probably bought a new strut), but Nile Heermans ('91 Toyota MR2) still got by him and received a trophy for his efforts. Horsepower, Rich, horsepower.
Meanwhile in H-Stock it was another father and son act as the Weavers, Jeff and Andy, slugged it out in the same 2001 Ford Focus. It was a tight battle all the way, but father Jeff managed to pull out to a half-second lead that was good enough to win class. It was also a close contest over in C-Street Prepared where the battlin' Miatas of Ryan Jones (1999 model) and Brian Bell (1995 model) held court. Despite some new tires, though, Brian had to settle for a 4/10 second defeat at the hands of Ryan. Next time, Brian, next time.
In E-Prepared it was the return of Team Puerto Rico after a couple year absence. José Riviera (SP) traded in a Formula 500 for an '83 Yugo and showed he's still the one to be reckoned with as he easily outpaced Ricardo Roman in the same '83 Yugo (Formula 1.1?) for class bragging rights. Rumors were that the Yugo is headed for the crusher (or maybe had just come from the crusher, I'm not sure which) so we're all anxious to see what's next, perhaps a 0.7 liter Berkeley Sports B95?!?
Finally, last and yet least was the 125 Shifter Kart class, the ongoing battle between Casey Trust me, I'm within the rules on this Creamer and Pat Scopelliti. In the end Casey's new engine in his '05 MW Chassis World Formula Kart hit one fewer cone and stayed on-course one more time than Pat in his '90 TechnoKart. It was sufficient for a best in class. If you'd like to see what all of the drivers did plus get a gander at the official results check them out online at http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/2006/results20060820.asp.
As always, a genuine, heartfelt thanks from the Glen Region to the folks at Arnot Mall and Sears for the loan of their lot. A special vote of thanks to Eric Navestad for getting the van to the Mall by 7 AM and to Casey Creamer, Pat Scopelliti, and Eric for setting up the course. Also, a vote of appreciation to Pat and Casey for serving at color commentators during the event. It always adds a lot to have those two covering the action. Among others deserving our thanks were Aaron I'm hitting cones and I can't get up Boltman and Nick Brewster of Southern New York for serving as Safety Steward and Assistant Safety Steward, respectively. As always, thanks to the Pierces for their help with timing and scoring. Finally, a big vote of appreciation to Matt Lockhart for doing tech inspection and for chairing the event at the same time. I'm sure there are others whose names I've overlooked. I'll get you next time!
The next Glen Region solo event is our annual Corning Community College Labor Day Weekend bash. This event is scheduled for Saturday, August 2 and is always a delight. As always, those timing lights are on just for you.