Going Back to School IV: Singing in the Rain
For the fourth year in a row, our September event was held at Corning Community College and for the second year in a row we suffered through intermittent, drizzling rain. The weather did little to discourage the attendees, though, and most managed to keep the rubber on the road and the skids to a minimum. 31 drivers, a typical September turnout, made it to the CCC campus, plus several visitors. Old Solo IIers, Scott Ostrowski and Meredith Metzler, came to observe and kibitz and, quite possibly, to plan next years assault. Additionally, an unknown Caterham made its appearance, if only to take it all in from the sidelines. Rumor had it that the Caterham was driving in downtown Corning when he heard this booming voice declaring that registration was closing in two minutes and to get the table or else. Well, the Caterhams driver wasnt sure what a registration was, let alone for what he was supposed to register, but he knew darn well he didnt want to incur the wrath of the voice. While he didnt drive in this event, he left little doubt that he planned on attending future events and not as a spectator.
The Corning Community College lot which served as our early September site du jour was set on the back of the campus. It was a well maintained lot which rolled down the hillside upon which the lot sat. Whatever the reason, the design selected for the event was highly unusual, to say the least. It was so unusual that not a single member of the course setup committee claimed ownership, despite repeated, in-depth questioning by your intrepid reporter (Actually, Im more of a inHonda reporter, but you get the point). Each course design committee member maintained that all he did was to drop cones from the trailer as it was pulled through the lot. Actually, they could be telling the truth as it would explain why the final layout was similar to a dysfunctional daisy with two centers. Driving it involved mad rushes from a center pin to a pin turn either up or down the hill then back to the center before rocketing up or down to another pin turn to form yet another petal, then back to the center then up to another pin turn... well, you get the idea. Despite being one of the most counterintuitive designs Ive ever experienced walking a course, the design worked very well once behind the wheel. In fact, it resulted in a minimum of downed pylons and only a few off-courses for the entire day. This takes on greater significance given the weather conditions which probably accounted for most of the cone-killing. It left me wondering about how interesting it would be to try a full daisy on a larger, squarer lot. Think about it, design crew, you may be onto something here.
There werent too many surprises after the cones were cleared. The largest class of the event was G-Stock with seven entrants. Brian Tyburski (94 Ford Probe GT) worked his usual magic taking class and PAX honors for the day, although Nile Heermans (90 Nissan 240SX) managed to break up the attempted Tyburski class takeover by claiming second place just ahead of Jeff Tyburski (94 Ford Probe GT). Of course, Nile is no slouch so even this wasnt a surprise to those of us who follow the different classes.
Another non-surprise was Todd Totman (96 Plymouth Neon) taking command of the next largest class, Street Touring S. Todd beat out the other 5 entrants with a top time of 50. 917. Indicative of Todds excellent time was his second place showing in the daily PAX rankings.
Other multi-driver class results included a great performance by Daniel Keen (97 Chevrolet Camaro), who decisively won Street Modified over three other competitors. Ken Pierce (87 BMW 325is) was crowned fastest Pierce of the day in Street Touring X while my Honda S2000 and I took both B-Stock and FTD (Fastest Time of the Day) honors. Mark Lockhart (99 Mustang Cobra) won the daily Blue Oval versus Bow-tie affair by taking E Street Prepared away from Aaron Boltman (02 Chevrolet Camaro SS), while Aaron kept muttering, Wait until I get R-Compounds, then some Hondas going down. I didnt understand what Aaron meant as Mark was driving a Mustang Cobra, but maybe he mistook the Cobra for a Civic. Stranger things have happened in the heat of battle.
The most exciting class contest of the day, in my opinion, had to be H-Stock, where current H-Stock leader, Andy Sullivan (87 Pontiac Fiero) maintained his winning ways but by the barest of margins over Jason Doughty (89 Audi 90 Quattro). Jason, who hung back most of the day, managed to come within 4/10 of a second on his very last run. It was a great match-up. For those interested, all of the results, including single car classes, may be viewed at the Glen Region website: http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/2003/results20030913.asp on the internet.
SEASONAL CLASS LEADERS
The final determination of the 2003 season class champions will not be known until after the last Glen Region event in October. It requires confirmation of Glen Region membership, Glen and out-of-region event results, and lots of money to Paul Schelling. Actually, Im just kidding about the money to Paul, but Im deadly serious about the confirmation of Glen Region membership, individual event results, and the meeting of other conditions as specified in the Glen Region Solo II Supplemental Rules (see http://www.glen-scca.org/solo/supps.asp for details). Many of the potential classes lack a sufficient number of competitors for the 2003 season and so will go without trophies. Here are the classes, however, where there does exist sufficient numbers or could exist sufficient numbers by the time the final flag drops in October:
(* indicates a change since the last report)
*A-Modified: John Florence (67 Bobsey Formula Vee)
A-Street Prepared: Ed Hurd (87 Porsche 944S)
B-Prepared: Tim OBrien (77 Porsche 930)
B-Stock: Skip Testut (01 Honda S2000)
C-Prepared: Lin Hurd (98 Mustang Cobra)
C-Stock: Tedd Hurd (83 Mazda RX-7)
C-Street Prepared: A.J. Lombardo (95 Mazda Miata)
D-Street Prepared: George Dohanich (95 Dodge Neon)
E-Stock: Rich Chernosky (88 Toyota MR-2)
E-Street Prepared: Aaron Boltman (02 Chevrolet Camaro SS)
Formula 125: Casey Creamer (Techno Cart)
F-Street Prepared: Adam Bruce (84 VW Rabbit GTI)
G-Stock: Nile Heermans (90 Nissan 240SX)
H-Stock: Andy Sullivan (87 Pontiac Fiero)
Street Modified: Daniel Keen (97 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28)
Street Touring-S Todd Totman (96 Plymouth Neon)
Street Touring-X Ken Pierce (87 BMW 325is)
SEASONAL PAX LEADERS
The PAX is SCCAs Solo II handicapping index. It theoretically rates drivers as though they were all driving identical cars. In the Glen Region it appears that Street Touring X is probably the hottest class, PAX speaking, as the lowest of the regulars is in 6th place in the PAX standings. In other words, if you like competition, go STX! Although the PAX standings are unchanged since the August event, plenty of opportunity clearly remains. Who knows?! Maybe Aaron Boltman will finally buy those R-Compound tires. The gap is narrowing as both Ken Pierce and Todd Totman have closed to within striking distance of the current PAX leader, Skip Testut, who appears to be weakening in the closing moments of the season:
1. Skip Testut (01 Honda S2000) 587 points
2. Ken Pierce (87 BMW 325is) 583 points
3. Todd Totman (96 Plymouth Neon) 579 points
It needs to be mentioned that all three drivers would like to thank Brian Tyburski for not showing up very much this year.
In closing, many thanks to Corning Community College for letting us use their lot and to the anonymous campus policeman who not only kept the bystanders from getting too close, but who also sourced us a part to keep timing and scoring up and running. You dont find service like that every day. Also, a big thanks to John Florence, not only for an excellent job of chairing the event, but for providing the umbrellas he passed around and, finally, to all the novice drivers who showed up at this and other events during the 2003 season. We want to see you again at another Glen Region event. The next event, our next to the last, is scheduled for the Corning Catalytic Plant in beautiful, downtown Erwin, New York on Sunday, September 28. Hope to see you there.