February Solo Director's Column
Well with the 2017 right around the corner, and the snow finally gone, hopefully you have been thinking about joining us at a local autocross event. If you have never thought about autocross, or never thought that it is worth trying, think again. You are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to learn about yourself, and your car!
If you have not tried autocross, I know some of the thoughts you may be having. Is it worth my time? I love lapping, how can this be any fun after running at 100+ mph? It may not have the long drawn out effect of a lapping day, but for your time on course, you are being pushed to the limits every second. While you have time to relax running down the front stretch at PIR, or take a slower lap to catch your breath, in SOLO you are on the edge of every cone, pushing your car through every slalom, looking for every thousandth of a second to improve. It’s a competition like no other. Only your first 3, out of 5-7 runs, count towards competition points, so you don’t have a chance to practice or take your time. You can walk the layout before the event, and you can do so as many times as you want. But once you hit the start line, your adrenaline skyrockets knowing you only have 3 runs to get it done! We average between 5-7 runs at every event, so you have the chance to continue to improve on both your car, and your driving style. If you do not want to run for points you can still enjoy 5 to 7 runs so you can learn or polish those driving skills. We even have senior drivers that are willing to help you polish those skills.
Most of our events take place at either Portland International Raceway (PIR) or up north in the town of Packwood, Washington. If you have never had a chance to visit Packwood, you are in for a treat. Once we are done racing, there is always something going on. Whether it is a group lighting up the BBQ grill, heading out for an evening hike up on Mt Rainer, or going to the local pub for dinner, drinks, and karaoke, you will never be lacking for fun times to do! With racing on both Saturday and Sunday, it makes for a great weekend out of town. You can choose to either camp onsite or stay at one of the local lodges. Elk viewing in Packwood is easy since you can see them walking through the middle of town every day. Its just great family time.
Im sure by now, you have already outlined your game plan for changes and improvements on your current “steed”. And hopefully you have already begun to work on the list. But for those of you who will be going into your first season, let’s talk over a few things. There are a few things to think about before starting your racing path.
If you already have a car to prep.
What class does your car fit into? What mods have you done to the car, and how will that
affect your classing?
What do I want to add to my car, and how will that affect your classing moving forward?
Do I want to be competitive in my class, and what will that look like?
What is my race car budget for the year?
If you are looking at picking up a car
What is my car budget?
What class do I want to compete in that fits the kind of car I want to purchase?
How competitive do I want to me and what will I need to do to a car to facilitate that?
What will I need to do to the car I choose to allow me to get to where I want to be?
Getting these questions answered will help you get started in your autocross racing career. And we are available to help you get those answers. You can reach out to us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/orsccasolo) or drop an email at email@example.com. Now all you have to do is ask!!!
The SCCA Solo Driver of the Year, chosen by the Solo Events Board from nominations submitted by the membership at large, is awarded to the competitor who has demonstrated exceptional skill or has overcome major obstacles to produce an outstanding performance at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championship. This year's winner is Cindy Duncan, of the Central Kentucky Region.
After garnering a string of second- and third-place finishes at the Tire Rack Solo Nationals over the last several years, Duncan arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska, last September determined to finally take the win. However, a prior back injury reared its head just prior to competition, sending Duncan off to a local Urgent Treatment Center.
But even with a suspect back, Duncan held the lead in F Street Ladies going into the final day of competition. Fate, however, was not done with its attempt to foil her bid for a championship title. Just before the fifth heat on Friday of the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships, historic rains drenched the venue and caused an unprecedented two-hour delay in the action. The 66 drivers in her heat had to wait for the downpour to stop before taking to the West Course. Splashing and sliding through the standing water in her Ford Mustang, Duncan put down her fastest time on her first run.
Unable to improve on her subsequent runs, she watched as other drivers whittled away at her 0.471-second, first-day advantage as water slowly started to drain from the course. But with a rainbow emblazoning the sky after the heat, Duncan's time held up, resulting in a 0.379-second victory and her first national championship -- a fairy tale ending for the 2016 Wendi Allen Scholarship recipient.