It’s March, and racing season is finally here. It will be a busy year for many of us, with Crows Landing just around the corner in April. March will see our Starting line school taking place on March 18th with annual tech going on at the same time. Both in the North paddock at PIR. Event #1 on our points series will take place the next day on Sunday the 19th, also in North Paddock.
If you have never been to a national tour event, you are truly missing out. We are blessed to have one of the most scenic sites in the entire country in Packwood. But if you want speed, Crows Landing is the place to go. Last year at tour, we saw speeds of around 80mph for the fastest cars. Along with all that speed comes GRIP! The concrete surface gives you gobs of grip, something we don’t have a lot of here in the PNW, and it also gives you a little tune-up for what it’s like back at Nationals in Lincoln. The surface and people in rows are fantastic, and well worth the drive south!
With new classing and format in place for 2017, our local events promise to bring some new competition to our events. Here is what to look for in 2017
NS1- SSR, SSP, ASP, BSP, ESP
Clay Horst took home the class win last year in ASP, but with the classing bring some more competition in 2017, look or Aaron Stafstrom to bring a strong challenge to the class.
NS2-CSP, DSP, FSP
Bill Randleman in his NC Miata will be tough to beat as he continues to fine-tune the blue beast. Long time racer Derek Loree will be there to make sure it’s not a cakewalk for Bill.
NS3-All Prepared and Modified classes
Race tire PAX will be in this group. A dog fight it will be with the likes of Ben Cort, Andy Howe, Perry Keller, and the rest in this class. Scott McCusker is the defending RPAX class champion, and he will be doing all he can to back it up with another championship in 2017.
NS4-SM, SSM, SMF
We see the Street mod cars here in NS4. With a good mix of makes, and drive trans, look for Gilbert Calkins to have a strong year in his SMF Dodge Neon. Garrett Cogburn might have a new car to play with in SMF, and could give Gilbert a run for his money. When you start to mix in the likes of Brian Brummell in his bad to the bone Evo, Stuart Goldstein in his beautiful BMW, and Jared Still in his maxed out RX-7, you see how this class is stacked from top to bottom.
ST1-STS, STC, STF, STR
It will be interesting to see how many come to play in what should be an entertaining class. Look for Sam Boyce in his STR Miata, and Matt Westerskow to continue their fight from last year.
ST2-STX, STU, STP
We expect to see some familiar faces making an appearance here in ST2. Rio Rios in his FR-S, Jeff and Morgan Peterson in their RX8, and John O’Donnell will all be bringing fast cars to the class, and look for this championship to go down to the wire.
S1-SS, AS, BS, FS
The Street classes kickoff with the “V8” classes in S1. Mike Marum is up and coming in his Z06 Corvette, with long time racer Chuck Jarvie in his BS Porsche Boxster coming off a 2016 class championship. Darren Crop in his FS Camaro, John Bagley in his BS VW Golf R, and Skyler Card in a 1999 C5 BS Corvette, this class will be a tough one to come out on top of! Look for a lot of different drivers with event wins this year in a great mix of cars.
S2-CS, DS, ES, GS, HS
The best competition could come from S2 in 2017. With most of the Open PAX class from 2016 moving into S2, we find a bunch of drivers with a lot of class wins, and even some top PAX times here. It’s a great mix of both newer and experienced drivers and a wide mixture of cars. MX5’s, and BRZ/FRS will most likely be dominating this class in numbers, but it could be a surprise Mini or MR2 that could grab the class win. With names like Orud, Kuehn, Hicks, Boland, Turner, and Anghilante, this class is stacked from top to bottom with talent!
Lots of changes come in the PRO PAX class in 2017. With new faces to the class, and a bunch of changes in both cars, and car setups, the 2017 PAX championship is completely up for grabs. Ryan Otis has proven to be one of the top drivers in the entire country, grabbing both National titles last year back in Lincoln, as well as the local championship in PPAX, but he sees many changes to his top performing Camaro as he jumps into STP. James Paulson in his Mustang will be avoiding taking out both cones and corner workers as he looks at the STP build on his runner up from last year, and take over the top spot. Dan Bullis comes from a dog fight and class championship in OPAX in 2016, and will be a strong contender as well in his BS C5 Corvette. You start adding names like Jenkins, Clemons, Cutler, Czopek, and you find the competition is endless in this class.
With Lacey Otis stepping down as director, this will free up some more time to focus just on her racing. Like her husband Ryan, the car changing over to STP trim could be the wildcard in the picture for 2017. Lacey is a past National champion, and defending LPAX champion in 2016. She will have her hands full with Leah Nagengast, Becky Zacarda, and Mina Ingrham chasing her down. Look for Danielle Paulson, and a few other ladies that could be players depending on how many events they compete in for 2017.
Last Month, we started a kind of “How To” for autocross. We will make this a monthly section to try and help out with any questions racers might have. The section will be called “Starting to autocross”. Last month, it was about the cars, this month, let’s talk about the best way to get started once you have your car picked out.
The 2 best improvements you can make to a car are:
A) improving your driving skills. As a driver, you should never stop improving, and pushing yourself to find ways to go faster. With a great group of racers here in our region, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for one of them to go for a ride along, and get some pointers. We hope to be offering some instruction at the tail end of our PIR events, so keep a close eye out for that info to come.
B) TIRES! Most people want to go right for throwing parts on your car, Sway bars, intakes, and exhaust are all great options, but these could throw you into a new class. Tires are the BEST modification you can add to your car right off the bat. With a handful of great options out there, you will notice a HUGE performance increase when swapping out your stock tires for a set of good race rubber. If you can afford it, picking up a second set of wheel s for your race tires is a great investment as well.
Please if you have questions please feel free to send them to us, and we will try and cover them here in the next issue. Remember, you may not be the only one with that question, so please ask!
With that, we head out into the 2017 season later this month! Look for an event recap, and the next installment of “Starting to Autocross” in April. Until then, have a great month, and Lets Race!
TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 2, 2017) -- Registration is open for the first bunch of 2017 Tire Rack SCCA® Starting Line Autocross schools. Since its inception in 2014, Starting Line has introduced more than 1,200 automotive enthusiasts to the finer points of autocross and will undoubtedly add to that total this year.
While there will be many additions to the 2017 calendar, the first several Tire Rack Starting Line Autocross events for this season are as follows:
February 18: Starting Line South Carolina
Darlington Raceway; Darlington, South Carolina
March 18: Starting Line Portland
Portland International Raceway; Portland, Oregon
March 18: Starting Line NorCal
NASA Crows Landing Airport; Crows Landing, California
April 8: Starting Line Boston
Moore Army Airfield; Devens, Massachusetts
For only $325 per entrant, Tire Rack SCCA Starting Line Autocross schools give automotive enthusiasts a professional, all-inclusive entry into the sport of autocross and the chance to have some fun with cars. The full-day school introduces key concepts applicable to performance driving and offers participants the opportunity to develop motorsport skills while working with professional performance driving instructors who teach vehicle dynamics, traction management, proper vision and car control techniques. Starting Line participants leave ready for autocross competition. But perhaps more important, all students gain an understanding of the capabilities of their vehicles while having fun with cars.
In addition to a full day of instruction, the Tire Rack SCCA Starting Line package includes a complete motorsports starter kit. Participants receive entry to a Tire Rack SCCA Solo® Championship Tour or Match Tour event valued at $100, entry to an SCCA Regional autocross valued at up to $40, entry to an SCCA Track Night in America® Driven by Tire Rack event valued at $150, SCCA membership valued at $90 and a Starting Line baseball cap, as well as a subscription to SportsCar and Grassroots Motorsports magazines.
For detailed information, school calendar/locations, autocross FAQs and more, visit the Tire Rack SCCA Starting Line Autocross website.
Photo Credit: Perry Bennett