LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept. 8, 2016) – An entirely new group of racers began their two-day competition Thursday at the 44th Tire Rack Solo Nationals presented by Garmin VIRB. Cooler than previous days in the week, the second set of participants were greeted with partly sunny skies and a slight breeze blowing from the north as they headed out on the West and East courses, designed respectively by Marcus Merideth and John Hunter, at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska.
The second half of the Tire Rack Solo Nationals competition has titles up for grabs in 33 classes. More than 625 racers accepted the challenge and eagerly attacked the two different course layouts on the taxiways of Lincoln Airpark, which since 2009 has been home for the SCCA Tire Rack Solo Nationals -- the largest motorsports competition in the world.
Heat 1 action on the West Course started with a 31-driver battle in H Street. Robert Luis holds the Class lead in his MINI Cooper with Philip Mitchell behind by .637 second in a Ford Fiesta ST. Then in F Modified, Zak Kiesel in a Raptor F500 has a .385-second lead in the 23-racer Class, with Jason Hobbs' Novakar J9 in second place. And Kate Fisher has the early lead in Street Touring Roadster Ladies with a .306-second gap on Hawaiian Diana Carris, both piloting Honda S2000s.
With a 26-driver field, C Modified was a featured Class in Heat 2 on the West Course. Jonathan Clements holds a slight .073 second lead there in a Honda over Ben Martinez driving a Van Diemen. Formula SAE also opened its racing in Heat 2 with Wesley Snaza leading Zach Gilmor by 2.156 seconds. The E Prepared Class is currently led by Allen Kugler's Honda CRX over Brian Kuehl's Honda Civic Sedan by .409 second. But the fiercest battle on the West Course during Heat 2 was found in D Street Prepared where only .029 second separates leader Doug Rowse in a BMW 330i from the Mazda RX-8 of Mike Kuhn.
Fifty drivers have joined the fray in B Street, which was an exciting event in Heat 3 on the West Course. There, Corvette pilots Joseph Barbato and Evan Schickel ended up with only .115 second between them after runs concluded. In H Street Ladies, Laura Harbour has a nearly one-second lead in her Honda Civic Si Coupe on Gwen Habenicht's MINI Cooper. And Heat 3 also included F Modified Ladies where Michelle Quinn's KBS MKVII has a commanding 6-second jump on Jessica Dorn and her Custom DoofWagon.
Street Touring Roadster threw a party on the West Course in Heat 4 with 64 racers vying for the lead. After three runs it was James Yom ahead of Nicholas Chu by .293 seconds, both driving Honda S2000s. The C Modified Ladies rounded out the session with Mari Clements in a Honda ahead of Stacey Strout's Reynard Ford by .803 second.
The final Heat of the day on the West Course had four classes. Twenty-two D Prepared drivers took to the track, but it was Christopher Dorsey in a Toyota Corolla GTS who held the top spot by .495 second over Steve Hoelscher's Toyota MR2 when the session was up. A good-sized group of 21 drivers also took to the winding layout in E Street Prepared. PJ Corrales' Infiniti G35 Coupe currently sits .636 second behind leader James Darden's Chevrolet Camaro Z28 in that Class. The top-two spots in B Street Ladies are held by Chevrolet Corvette racers Kathy Grunenwald and Tara Johns, with the former holding a slight .023-second lead after West Course runs. And in Street Touring Pony, Steve Wynne's Ford Mustang Fastback managed a .470-second lead on the Ford Mustang GT of Dennis Healy.
East Course activities started Thursday with a super fight in A Street Prepared. The lead margin is .065 second with Tom Berry ahead of Aaron Miller, both driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS. The B Street Prepared battle is even tighter with Christopher Edens leading Anthony Porta by .055 second, both driving Mazda Miata Speeds. Then there is the A Modified Class being led by Dan Wasdahl in a Phantom BBR by .263 second over Marshall Grice's Acme Special.
Also on the East Course in Heat 1 was Super Street R Ladies. There, Shelly Monfort has a solid 4.024-second gap on Lisa Valera, both driving Chevrolet Corvette Z06s. And wrapping up the Heat was the 22-vehicle C Street Prepared Class where Neal Tovsen has a .308-second advantage on Billy Davis, both racing Mazda Miatas.
Cracking off Heat 2 on the East Course was the huge 55-competitor E Street Class where Andrew Canak's Mazda Miata Sport managed a .853-second advantage on Jeff Janzen in a Toyota MR2 Spider. Then came the Honda CRX Si battle in Street Touring Sport Ladies where Nicole Wong took a .698-second lead on Michelle Miller.
The F Street crew were ones to watch during Heat 3 on the East Course Thursday. At the end of runs it's Courtney Cormier in a Chevrolet Camaro SS leading Ryan Otis' Chevrolet Camaro by a scant .054 second, with 37 other drivers in tow. Then in Super Street Modified, Robert Thorne and his Honda S2000 only has a .195-second lead on Matthew Glagola's Lotus Elise. And rounding out the Heat on the East Course was C Street Prepared Ladies leader Tamra Hunt who is ahead of Sue Eckles by .608 second, with both hoofing Mazda Miatas.
The tightest battle in Heat 4 on the East Course went to the X Prepared Class and a pair of Mazda RX-7s. Zachary Sober cobbled together only a .066-second gap on Andrew McKee in the second spot. Super Street R put on a good show, too, during the session with 24 racers. But after all the runs, Brian Peters led Matthew Braun by .839 seconds with both drivers in Chevrolet Corvette Z06s. Super Street Prepared pilots made their runs during Heat 4 on the East Course with Joe Tharpe amassing a one-second lead on Andy Hohl, both also utilizing Chevy Corvette Z06s. And E Street Ladies rounded out the session with Toyota MR2 Spyder combatants Meredith Brown and Jennifer Bedell duking it out. Brown holds the top spot for now with a .406-second lead.
The Heat 5 session on the East Course included a gaggle of 57 racers looking to take the lead in Street Touring Sport. At day's end there were two Honda CRX Si racers atop the heap, with Jason Frank ahead of Jeff Wong by .130 second. Then the day wrapped up with F Street Ladies which is led by Cindy Duncan in a Ford Mustang Fastback who has almost a half-second on Lacey Otis and her Chevrolet Camaro.
Below are the top two runners in each of the classes competing Thursday and Friday at the 44th Tire Rack® SCCA Solo Nationals, presented by Garmin VIRB, at Lincoln Airpark with class, leading driver, hometown and car; second place driver, hometown, car and gap to leader.
A Modified: Dan Wasdahl; Massillon, OH; Phantom BBR -- Marshall Grice; Redondo Beach, CA; Acme Special -- 0.263
A Street Prepared: Tom Berry; Alta Loma, CA; Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS -- Aaron Miller; Pleasant Ridge, MI; Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS -- 0.065
B Street: Joseph Barbato; Vernon, CT; Chevrolet Corvette -- Evan Schickel; Brooklyn, NY; Chevrolet Corvette FRC -- 0.115
B Street Ladies: Kathy Grunenwald; Hilliard, OH; Chevrolet Corvette -- Tara Johns; Murfreesboro, TN; Chevrolet Corvette -- 0.023
B Street Prepared: Christopher Edens; Sherwood, AR; Mazda Miata Speed -- Anthony Porta; Yorba Linda, CA; Mazda Miata Speed -- 0.055
C Modified: Jonathan Clements; Alamogordo, NM; Honda -- Ben Martinez; San Jose, CA; Van Diemen -- 0.073
C Modified Ladies: Mari Clements; Pasadena, CA; Honda -- Stacey Strout; Rindge, NH; Reynard Ford -- 0.803
C Street Prepared: Neal Tovsen; Apple Valley, MN; Mazda Miata -- Billy Davis; New Haven, CT; Mazda Miata -- 0.308
C Street Prepared Ladies: Tamra Hunt; Shelton, CT; Mazda Miata -- Sue Eckles; Malcolm, NE; Mazda Miata -- 0.608
D Prepared: Christopher Dorsey; Littleton, CO; Toyota Corolla GTS -- Steve Hoelscher; Harpers Ferry, WV; Toyota MR2 -- 0.495
D Street Prepared: Doug Rowse; Phoenix, AZ; BMW 330i Sedan -- Mike Kuhn; Charlotte, NC; Mazda RX8 -- 0.029
E Prepared: Allen Kugler; Springtown, PA; Honda CRX -- Brian Kuehl; Dover, NH; Honda Civic Sedan -- 0.409
E Prepared Ladies: Denise Kugler; Springtown, PA, Honda CRX -- No Other Competitors
E Street: Andrew Canak, Milwaukee, WI; Mazda Miata Sport -- Jeff Janzen, Winnipeg, MB, Can.; Toyota MR2 Spider -- 0.853
E Street Ladies: Meredith Brown; Los Alamos, NM; Toyota MR2 Spyder -- Jennifer Bedell; Hillsborough, NC; Toyota MR2 Spyder -- 0.406
E Street Prepared: James Darden; Brighton, CO; Chevrolet Camaro Z28 -- PJ Corrales; Rocky Hill, CT; Infiniti G35 Coupe -- 0.636
F Modified: Zak Kiesel; Poway, CA; Raptor F500 -- Jason Hobbs; Saint Michael, MN; Novakar J9 -- .385
F Modified Ladies: Michelle Quinn; Trinity, FL; KBS MKVII -- Jessica Dorn; Bonner Springs, KS; Custom DoofWagon -- 6.299
F Street: Courtney Cormier; Glen Allen, VA; Chevrolet Camaro SS -- Ryan Otis; Scappoose, OR; Chevrolet Camaro -- 0.054
F Street Ladies: Cindy Duncan; Lanesville, IN; Ford Mustang Fastback -- Lacey Otis; Scappoose, OR; Chevrolet Camaro -- 0.471
FSAE: Wesley Snaza; Sammamish, WA -- Zach Gilmor; Kirkland. WA -- 2.156
H Street: Robert Luis; Rohnert Park, CA; MINI Cooper -- Philip Mitchell; Livonia, MI; Ford Fiesta ST -- .637
H Street Ladies: Laura Harbour; Stamping Ground, KY; Honda Civic Si Coupe -- Gwen Habenicht; Bahama, NC; MINI Cooper -- 0.961
Super Street Modified: Robert Thorne; Littleton, CO; Honda S2000 -- Matthew Glagola; Atlanta, GA; Lotus Elise -- 0.195
Super Street Prepared: Joe Tharpe; State Center, IA; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- Andy Hohl; St. Ann, MO; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 1.050
Super Street R: Brian Peters; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- Matthew Braun; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 0.839
Super Street R Ladies: Shelly Monfort; Saratoga, CA; Chevy Corvette Z06 -- Lisa Valera; Fresh Meadows, NY; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 4.024
Street Touring Pony: Steve Wynne; Redmond, OR; Ford Mustang Fastback -- Dennis Healy; Lake Oswego, OR; Ford Mustang GT -- 0.470
Street Touring Roadster: James Yom; Los Angeles, CA; Honda S2000 -- Nicholas Chu; New Westminster, BC, Can.; Honda S2000 -- 0.293
Street Touring Roadster Ladies: Kate Fisher; Chandler, AZ; Honda S2000 -- Diana Carris; Kaneohe, HI; Honda S2000 -- .306
Street Touring Sport: Jason Frank; Mount PleasantWI; Honda CRX Si -- Jeff Wong; Moorpark, CA; Honda CRX Si -- 0.130
Street Touring Sport Ladies: Nicole Wong; Moorpark, CA; Honda CRX Si -- Michelle Miller, Federal Way, WA; Honda CRX Si - 0.698
X Prepared: Zachary Sober; Houston, TX; Mazda RX-7 -- Andrew McKee; Livermore, CA; Mazda RX-7 -- 0.066
For a complete rundown of competition, visit the Tire Rack Solo Nationals webpage. Also follow all the action with live timing, scoring, video interviews and more at SCCA.com.
Photo: Brian Peters leads Super Street R after Thursday runs at the Tire Rack Solo Nationals
Credit: Aditya Madhavan