Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Solo Nationals Recap

The 2013 SCCA Solo Nationals are in the books. Man, it was a long week in felt like I didn't have a moment during the week to just relax and enjoy the car show and party that is the Solo Nationals paddock. As I reported in the ProSolo Finale recap, the first part of the week was spent racing, sleeping, and working on the car. There didn't seem to be time for much else. On the Monday after the Finale, a new master cylinder was swapped in with the help of Courtney Cormier, we did two test n' tune sessions, and then we immediately drove to Omaha so I could catch a flight back to San Angelo. Given that ESP ran on Thursday/Friday of the Solo Nats week, I didn't have enough vacation to hang out in Lincoln for the two days in between, so I flew back to work for two days. It was really weird not being there while my friends were racing and competing for jackets, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

In Grid on the West Course (photo credit Vitek Boruvka)
On to the results, ESP ran 2nd heat on Thursday on the West Course. This was a medium-speed single-track 0.8mi course that didn't have any sections that were too quick or too slow. It was all about speed maintenance and not making any big mistakes. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of my most frustrating days of autocrossing at the National level. Two-time B-Stock champion Jadrice Toussaint set the pace early with a 54.002s run which ended up being the fastest time of the day. Every driver, including myself, really struggled to match their first run pace on the 2nd the 3rd tries. My first run was on pace with a 54.015s time, but I hit the 2nd cone of the 1st slalom. I got a little bit of understeer passed the first cone and didn't make enough of an adjustment as I passed he 2nd cone which I hit with the right front tire. This time would have put me in 2nd place by 0.013s, but instead I had to sit on my 54.927 3rd run. At the time, I was really surprised that I couldn't gain pace on the last two runs; they both felt good but the time was not there. We were running in sunny mid-90s conditions and the track got greasy during our heat so it was not to be.

West Course On-Board Video:

That night, it was a little tough to deal with the fact that I thought I had already thrown away my opportunity to win my first ESP jacket. 0.013s is a lot easier to overcome than 9 tenths! It turns out than none of the RWD cars would have an answer for the Greg McCance's pace in his 2002 Subaru WRX on Day 2's East Course. He dropped in a ridiculously fast 72.285s run on his final run to take the win over the ESP King Mark Madarash who held a 0.019 lead (or something like that) after his 73.057s 3rd run. I finished with a 73.826s run on the Sam Strano designed East Course. This was good enough for 3rd quickest on the day and moved me into 4th place overall. The cone on the West Course cost me 3rd place, but I was happy with my pace on the East Course and to be one of only four cars running sub-74s times.

East Course Onboard Video:

My Dad had his best finish at Nationals with 19th place out of the 34 ESP drivers. He was only 1.5s out of the trophies and capped off a season of big improvements with his best event. He continues to get better and better with each event. Trouble is he only gets to drive the Camaro at a few events per year and then drives his STX Mini Cooper at locals back home in Virginia. We are looking to correct this with co-drives in RWD cars for locals next year. So those of you out there in the VMSC with RWD Mustangs, Vettes, etc., please help a brother out and offer a co-drive!

Full Final Results Here
Final ESP Results
My 3rd Trophy at Nationals out of 4 trips to Lincoln

Ali ran her first autocross ever in STSL class at the Solo Nationals co-driving with Kim Whitener who won her third consecutive STSL National Championship. Ali had practiced twice before in the Whitener CRX. She did really really well her first event - she didn't get lost, only spun once, and came home in 4th place.
Racecar Driver!

And now for the most important part, I have many people to thank:
  • My parents for continuing to support me and for an epic last second drive to Kansas City for a new master cylinder.
  • Ali for always helping out and keeping things fun even with the stress of running her first autocross. She always makes sure I don't forget the most important part of racing....Fun.
  • Sam Strano for the continued support of my racing, talking shop between sessions, and for the private trackwalk on the East Course.
  • Courtney Cormier for helping with the master cylinder swap and for continuing to be the nicest guy I've met in racing.
  • Mark Madarash for helping me troubleshoot my braking issue
  • Lane Borg and Josh Pu'u for helping make the Camaro faster throughout this season.

 For another inside look at the Solo Nationals, check out the Oversteer Garage recap of their efforts in CP:

1 comment:

  1. You did awesome this year! Thanks for the mention. Updated my posting with a cross-link here too.