Ok, it’s now time for the April installment of Hot to Autocross. This month, we are going to talk tires. First off, FORGET everything you think you know about what sticky tires are. Is it gone?? Ok good.
When you are getting into autocross, tires should be the first big investment you make for improving your car. One of the biggest mistakes new drivers can make is to listen to hype on a car enthusiast forum. This is one of those “the proof is in the pudding” things. When you look at national results, they will show you what tires everyone is racing on. Take a look at the class you plan on running in and see what most of the racers are running on. I promise you, you will see a pattern.
The tire manufactures are always working on improving their tires. It the Stock and Street Touring classes, you have a tread wear rating to 200 you have to stay at or above. As of this article, there are 4 players in that category. The Dunlop Star Spec Z2, and the Hankook RS3-V2 are number 3 and 4 on the list. Both are good tires, and will be a good tire to start on. Right now, the 2 top tires on the market are the BFG Rival S, version 1.5 and the Bridgestone RE71R. The recently released Rival S 1.5 is a good tire, but not the best when it’s cold, or chilly out. And the tire you will see on cars the most is the Bridgestone RE71 R. The Bridgestone is a great tire, but don’t expect long life out of it, especially if you intend to daily drive the car and tire.
A great option, if your budget allows it, is to invest in a second set of “race only” wheels for your autocross tires. Keep in mind, you want them as light as you can find. The major thing you need to watch when looking at wheels, is to make sure the size and offset specs will not bump you out of the class you intend to run in. In stock classes, you may go up or down in wheel diameter 1” only. And you may not go any wider than your stock wheels. This is one rule some racers might overlook. So make sure you are staying in that rule limit when looking.
With so many tires on the market, don’t let yourself get talked into getting something that a tire shop says will be fast. 99% of them have no idea what works best in our type of racing. Know what you are buying before you buy it! And know what size tire you are looking for. Ask around at a local event. See what sizes other in your class, or in a car like yours. Never be afraid to ask your fellow racers questions. We are always willing to help!
Hey there and welcome to Spring!! It’s been a long cold winter, and the sun is finally trying to come out. We are already set to run Events #2 and 3 on April 1st and 2nd. So hopefully you are reading this in time to make it out there!
March Event Recap
Our first event for 2017 came and went, and I think I may still be tired from it. On Saturday, the Starting Line School saw 22 new autocrossers take to the course. With Eric Clements in town to head the school, the wet and soggy day went off without a hitch! Tom Kotzian, Tasha Mikko, and James Paulson were all there to help instruct the students in what would be a tricky morning session with a lot or rain to deal with. By the afternoon, the rain was starting to let up, and with the great help from all the volunteers on site, we were able to get done an hour early! FUN RUNS for all!!
Sunday saw some cold temps move in, but no precipitation falling from the sky. By the time the counting was done, we saw 100 racers take to the fun and quick course. Rio Rios took his first stab at course design for the North Paddock, and it made for some close times!! Registration took a little longer with the huge turnout, but the hard work paid off as once the cars took to the course, the event ran smooth and many smiles were had by all. Grid was a social function with everyone chatting it up between runs, and comparing notes on their cars and the quick course.
In CAM, we saw 4 beautiful examples of great American muscle, with Kris Tucker taking the win in his 2001 Dodge Viper. When a Mustang Cobra, a Dodge Viper, a Pontiac GTO, and a 1968 Ford F100 with a Coyote engine pull the starting line, all eyes were fixed and ready to hear the beautiful sounds! Look for some great competition in this class this year as more cars join the fray.
NS1 saw a familiar face on top with Barry Cogurt taking home the win in the battle of Cayman’s and WRX’s. What was interesting to see, was after the counted runs, both WRX’s were able to put down the fastest times in the class. So look for this battle to heat up as the year goes on.
NS3 boys were all ready to play and we saw a new car in class take the top spot. Phil Snodgrass in his new to him DP Miata snag the win. Dan Kuehn and James Keller round out your top 3 in what was a fun class to watch. Was great to see some new cars come out, and see some familiar cars making a return. Look for many different names on top of this group from event to event.
NS4 saw a smaller than normal turn out with Shawn Porter taking the win over Orlando Rodriguez. We know there were a few racers that were unable to make it out for the first event, but should be out at the next. Can Shawn hold down the lead? Stay tuned to find out!
NS5 saw Alex Pareskevas in first in what will be tough class moving forward. Alex is quickly making a name for himself around the PNW with quick runs, and high finishes in overall PAX. Rio Rios was shaking down his stead after some off season changes, and the Spec B of Benadette Kuehn and Bryon Bromley will also be a force to be reckoned with.
NS6 saw a good turnout with the Honda Civic of Rafael Perez standing on top. His SMF Civic was able to take the win by just .500 over Garrett Cogburn in his 2001 Civic. With a great variety of cars in class, and some unusual car configurations, this should be a fun class to watch.
We jump into the Street class with S1 coming up first. Lorin Mueller and his beautiful 2016 Ford Focus RS took home the honors with a .600 win over a game Jon Bagley in his 2016 Gold R. Once you got past the AWD cars, it was co-drivers in the Sins C5 Corvette taking home 3rd and 4th with Eric Clements and Skyler Card behind the wheel. Chuck Spittal rounds out your top five in his 91 Corvette.
S2 was our largest class, and will be a dog fight until the last event, we are sure! With 19 cars taking the finish, it was Carson Orud standing alone with a little of .500 in the bank. A great return with a new car for Dominic Stone as he clawed his way up to second place, and championship contender Blake Anghilante in third on the podium. A mix of BRZ’s, WRX’s, and MR2’s with the occasional Boxster or VW sprinkled in, the amount of talent in this class is endless, and will be a blast to watch all year long!
In the ladies’ classes, we saw Andrea Keller taking home the win in NS1 ladies. Jennifer Mueller was fast and putting down a 33.417 run to take the win in S1 Ladies. In S2 ladies, it was Aimee Horst showing her Porsche Boxster had what it takes to get the job done taking the win.
With the help of the starting line school, the Trophy Challenge class saw 13 racers step to the starting line with Sean Funk in his fast Nissan 350Z winning. Jay Mallison in a brand new BRZ stayed in second, and John Stiteler sitting only .007 back in third! The competition was tough as last year’s champion Jake Hartough back in 5th. It was great to see some much new speed at the event, and I can’t wait to see how all these guys and girls improve throughout the year.
Pro PAX Ladies saw the always fast Mina Ingraham on top of the podium with Lacey Otis, and Leah Nagengast close on her heals. Sue Bewley and Danielle Paulson round out the field in what is always a tough group to conquer. Mina will be tough to beat, but the rest of the girls will be up to the challenge.
Pro PAX came down to the last run as Dan Bullis jumped to the lead with his third run taking the lead away from Jerry Jenkins by .065. That lead only lasted about 15 second as the vary next car being driven by a hot shoe from the NW region, Kevin Dietz. Kevin put down a blistering run to jump Dan, and take home the PPAX win, and set the top time of the day. With 1st through 7th only be separated by .800, the competition was fierce. With 13 drivers in PPAX and a bunch of red jackets, a dog fight it will be to knock Ryan Otis off his perch as defending class champion.
With a lot going on over the off season, we would like to say thank you to all who took the time to put in work on the trailer, the website, and all the other behind the scenes issues that needed attention. With every one of us being a volunteer, it takes a lot of selfless people to put all this on these events, and we have a great group!
As many gear up to head down to Crows Landing at the end of April for the National tour, and the PRO, it will be a busy month for sure!