LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept. 9, 2016) – The fourth and final day of competition concluded Friday at the 44th Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals, presented by Garmin VIRB, at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska. As such, an additional 33 class titles have been handed out amongst more than 625 racers that took part in the second half of the weeklong event.
All told, 70 classes were contested during the week, with the first 37 champions named on Wednesday. Unofficially, more than 1,300 drivers from throughout the United States participated in the 2016 affair, widely considered to be the largest motorsports event in the world. The previous high-water mark for the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals was set in 2015 with 1,228 racers pounding around the two, twisty courses laid out across taxiways of Lincoln Airpark.
The championship chase on the East Course started in earnest Friday during Heat 1 with the 23-driver F Modified Class. Thursday leader Zak Kiesel experienced difficulties and dropped back to fourth while Jason Hobbs in a Novakar J9 moved up a slot to take the win and his second National Championship. Scott Nardin was runner-up in a KBS MK7 .269 second behind.
In H Street during Heat 1 on the East Course, Philip Mitchell in his Ford Fiesta ST couldn't quite close the gap on Robert Luis' MINI Cooper in the 29-driver group. Luis took the victory by .040 second and his first National Championship, but his second Solo Nationals win as in 2001 he claimed victory in a supplemental class. And in Street Touring Roadster Ladies, Kate Fisher won the battle of Honda S2000s over Jessica Pao by .695 second, giving Fisher her first National Championship.
Friday morning began on the West Course with 22 C Street Prepared racers duking it out in Heat 1 for the top spot. The leader Thursday, Neal Tovsen, was unable to fend off fellow Mazda Miata driver Billy Davis on Friday. Davis took the win by 1.181 second for his third consecutive National Championship in the Class. In A Modified, the top-two positions from Thursday also swapped on Friday, meaning Dan Wasdahl in a Phantom BBR finished behind Marshall Grice in his Acme Special. The margin of victory was .360 second and gave Grice his first ever National Championship, which he earned with the fastest West Course lap of the week. This is only the second time since 2008 that Wasdahl has been beaten.
Another lead swap occurred during Heat 1 on the West Course with the Mazda Miata Speed battle in B Street Prepared where Anthony Porta leapfrogged Christopher Edens for the win by .318 second. Porta thus earns his very first National Championship in only his second appearance at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals.
Meanwhile, in A Street Prepared on the West Course, Tom Berry extended his lead to .333 second over Aaron Miller, both driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS. That gives Berry his eighth National Championship and extends his streak of podium finishes to a decade. And Shelly Monfort was able to extend her lead in Super Street R Ladies to 5.558 second over fellow Chevrolet Corvette Z06 competitor Lisa Valera. That's eight National Championships in a row for Monfort.
The 26-competitor C Modified field, which was the largest in recent memory, took to the East Course for Heat 2 on Friday with Jonathan Clements' Honda in the lead. But that didn't last as he dropped to second and Brandon Lavender ascended to first in a Van Diemen FF RF85 to claim a .167-second victory and his third National Championship, apparently choosing to win titles only in even-numbered years. Then in D Street Prepared, Eric Campbell in a BMW 330Ci made a big move to take the win with Mike Kuhn's Mazda RX-8 falling behind by nearly a full second. With that, Campbell climbs to the top step of the National Championships for the first time after four consecutive runner-up efforts.
Racing continued in Heat 2 with E Prepared on the East Course and Allen Kugler finding a scant .090-second win in a Honda CRX over the charging Honda Civic Si Hatchback of Patrick Washburn. Kugler's consistency nets him a sixth National Championship. And in Formula SAE, Wesley Snaza held his advantage on Zach Gilmor for a 3.797-second win.
In Heat 2 action on the West Course, E Street's Andrew Canak maintained the top position in his Mazda Miata Sport by .763 second over Jeff Janzen's Toyota MR2 Spider and the other 52 combatants in the Class. For Canak, that's his fourth National Championship. And in the Honda CRX Si battle that was Street Touring Sport Ladies, Nicole Wong beat out Michelle Miller by .875 second for her sixth consecutive National Championship.
Heat 3 brought 48 B Street warriors to the East Course starting line for a final shot at the title. But nobody could unseat Thursday leader Joseph Barbato in his Chevrolet Corvette who earned a .313-second victory over his co-driver, Dan Bullis. Barbato now has his first National Championship. Then in F Modified Ladies, Michelle Quinn busted out the whoopin' stick for a 12-second victory in her KBS MKVII over Jessica Dorn's Custom DoofWagon to earn a sixth National Championship. And finally, H Street Ladies was won by Laura Harbour in her Honda Civic Si Coupe by 1.527 second over Gwen Habenicht's MINI Cooper. That's National Championship number four for Harbour.
It was the nearly 40-driver field in F Street that got things started in Heat 3 on the West Course. In the session, the script flipped from Thursday and Ryan Otis managed to take the win by a scant .057 second in his Chevrolet Camaro over Courtney Cormier's Chevrolet Camaro SS for a first National Championship. Then Tamra Hunt took a 2-second win over fellow Mazda Miata driver Gretchen Austin for her second National Championship in C Street Prepared Ladies. And in Super Street Modified it was Robert Thorne's Honda S2000 that bested Matthew Glagola's Lotus Elise by .249 second. That win gives Thorne three National Championships.
Heat 4 was the last dry session of the day for West Course drivers. But in the dry it was Super Street R's Brian Peters who maintained the lead over Grant Reeve, with both driving Chevrolet Corvette Z06s. The winning margin was .839 second for Peters in the 24-competitor class to take his seventh National Championship. In E Street Ladies, Meredith Brown won out by .296 second over Jennifer Bedell in the battle of Toyota MR2 Spyders. That gives Brown four National Championships and five Solo Nationals wins.
The Heat 4 racing continued on the West Course with a swap between Mazda RX-7 drivers at the top of X Prepared. Andrew McKee managed a comeback to take the win by .564 second over Zachary Sober for his eighth National Championship. And Joe Tharpe beat co-driver Andy Hohl in a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 by 1.052 second to earn the Super Street Prepared win and his fourth National Championship.
East Course's Heat 4 saw a huge, 64-challenger field take to the snaking track to hammer out a winner in Street Touring Roadster. But it was James Yom in a Honda S2000 that displayed "Yomination" with a .841 second win over Nicholas Chu in a similar vehicle. That brings Yom's National Championship total to three. And in C Modified Ladies, Mari Clements built a 2.531-second gap in her Honda to beat Stacey Strout's Reynard Ford.
To cap off the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals, dark clouds rolled in, rain pummeled the venue and lightning shut down courses just as Heat 5 began. But once the rain subsided after a two-hour delay, the 57 competitors in Street Touring Sport took to the wet West Course. At the top were Jason Frank and Jeff Wong, both driving Honda CRX Si vessels. Frank had the lead on Thursday, but it slipped away under conditions that changed throughout the session. Wong ended up turning laps at the perfect time while luck didn't fall Frank's way. In the end, Wong claimed victory by .197 second and earned his fourth National Championship. Then in F Street Ladies to wind down West Course competition, Cindy Duncan maintained her top spot in the Ford Mustang Fastback to take a .379 second win, followed by Laney Blume in a BMW M3 Coupe. That's the first National Championships for Duncan.
Four classes then wrapped up their Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals on the East Course. Before the downpour, 34 drivers were able to turn times in the dry. Then the rain came down and competition was put on hold. Afterwards, conditions turned tough on the wet course, but Christopher Dorsey emerged the D Prepared with a 2.241-second lead in his Toyota Corolla GTS over Steve Hoelscher's Toyota MR2, giving Dorsey his seventh National Championship and sixth in a row. Both Dorsey and Hoelscher had dry runs, but Hoelscher was further hindered by a 2-second cone penalty.
In E Street Prepared, the 20-racer field was led to the East Course finish by James Darden's Chevrolet Camaro Z28 with PJ Corrales 9.262 seconds behind in an Infiniti G35 Coupe. That's Darden's first National Championship. When the heavens opened up, Darden was the only contender in Class to have completed one dry run, thus resulting in the fourth-largest margin of victory in an open class.
East Course competition continued with B Street Ladies where Kathy Grunenwald in her Chevrolet Corvette held on for a 2.042-seconds win over Tara Johns in a similar car. That is Grunenwald's first National Championship. Both Grunenwald and Johns had dry runs before water covered the track. And the Street Touring Pony title was brought home by Christopher Cox in a Ford Mustang GT Coupe over Steve Wynne's Ford Mustang Fastback by 1.642 second.
Below are provisional National Champions and runners-up for each class that concluded competition Friday at the 44th Tire Rack® SCCA Solo Nationals, presented by Garmin VIRB, at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska. Each entry contains the class, winning driver, hometown and car; second place driver, hometown, car and winning margin.
A Modified: Marshall Grice; Redondo Beach, CA; Acme Special -- Dan Wasdahl; Massillon, OH; Phantom BBR -- 0.360
A Street Prepared: Tom Berry; Alta Loma, CA; Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS -- Aaron Miller; Pleasant Ridge, MI; Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS -- 0.333
B Street: Joseph Barbato; Vernon, CT; Chevrolet Corvette -- Dan Bullis; Vancouver, WA; Chevrolet Corvette -- 0.313
B Street Ladies: Kathy Grunenwald; Hilliard, OH; Chevrolet Corvette -- Tara Johns; Murfreesboro, TN; Chevrolet Corvette -- 2.042
B Street Prepared: Anthony Porta; Yorba Linda, CA; Mazda Miata Speed -- Christopher Edens; Sherwood, AR; Mazda Miata Speed -- 0.318
C Modified: Brandon Lavender; Marysville, OH; Van Diemen FF RF85 -- Jonathan Clements; Alamogordo, NM; Honda -- 0.167
C Modified Ladies: Mari Clements; Pasadena, CA; Honda -- Stacey Strout; Rindge, NH; Reynard Ford -- 2.531
C Street Prepared: Billy Davis; New Haven, CT; Mazda Miata -- Neal Tovsen; Apple Valley, MN; Mazda Miata -- 1.181
C Street Prepared Ladies: Tamra Hunt; Shelton, CT; Mazda Miata -- Gretchen Austin; Minneapolis, MN; Mazda Miata -- 2.155
D Prepared: Christopher Dorsey; Littleton, CO; Toyota Corolla GTS -- Steve Hoelscher; Harpers Ferry, WV; Toyota MR2 -- 2.241
D Street Prepared: Eric Campbell; Canal Winchester, OH; BMW 330i Sedan -- Mike Kuhn; Charlotte, NC; Mazda RX8 -- 0.972
E Prepared: Allen Kugler; Springtown, PA; Honda CRX -- Patrick Washburn; Wausau, WI; Honda Civic Si Hatchback -- 0.090
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 -- 0.763
E Street Ladies: Meredith Brown; Los Alamos, NM; Toyota MR2 Spyder -- Jennifer Bedell; Hillsborough, NC; Toyota MR2 Spyder -- 0.296
E Street Prepared: James Darden; Brighton, CO; Chevrolet Camaro Z28-- PJ Corrales; Rocky Hill, CT; Infiniti G35 Coupe -- 9.262
F Modified: Jason Hobbs; Saint Michael, MN; Novakar J9 -- Scott Nardin; Grandville, MI; KBS MK7 -- 0.269
F Modified Ladies: Michelle Quinn; Trinity, FL; KBS MKVII -- Jessica Dorn; Bonner Springs, KS; Custom DoofWagon -- 12.529
F Street: Ryan Otis; Scappoose, OR; Chevrolet Camaro -- Courtney Cormier; Glen Allen, VA; Chevrolet Camaro SS -- 0.057
F Street Ladies: Cindy Duncan; Lanesville, IN; Ford Mustang Fastback -- Laney Blume; Wichita, KS; BMW M3 Coupe -- 0.379
FSAE: Wesley Snaza; Sammamish, WA -- Zach Gilmor; Kirkland. WA -- 3.797
H Street: Robert Luis; Rohnert Park, CA; MINI Cooper -- Philip Mitchell; Livonia, MI; Ford Fiesta ST -- 0.040
H Street Ladies: Laura Harbour; Stamping Ground, KY; Honda Civic Si Coupe -- Gwen Habenicht; Bahama, NC; MINI Cooper -- 1.527
Super Street Modified: Robert Thorne; Littleton, CO; Honda S2000 -- Matthew Glagola; Atlanta, GA; Lotus Elise -- 0.249
Super Street Prepared: Joe Tharpe; State Center, IA; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- Andy Hohl; St. Ann, MO; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 1.052
Super Street R: Brian Peters; Litchfield Park, AZ; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- Grant Reeve; Sturbridge, MA; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 0.839
Super Street R Ladies: Shelly Monfort; Saratoga, CA; Chevy Corvette Z06 -- Lisa Valera; Fresh Meadows, NY; Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- 5.558
Street Touring Pony: Christopher Cox; Morgan Hill, CA; Ford Mustang GT Coupe -- Steve Wynne; Redmond, OR; Ford Mustang Fastback -- 1.642
Street Touring Roadster: James Yom; Los Angeles, CA; Honda S2000 -- Nicholas Chu; New Westminster, BC, Can.; Honda S2000 -- 0.841
Street Touring Roadster Ladies: Kate Fisher; Chandler, AZ; Honda S2000 -- Jessica Pao; South Pasadena, CA; Honda S2000 -- 0.695
Street Touring Sport: Jeff Wong; Moorpark, CA; Honda CRX Si -- Jason Frank; Mount Pleasant, WI; Honda CRX Si -- 0.197
Street Touring Sport Ladies: Nicole Wong; Moorpark, CA; Honda CRX Si -- Michelle Miller, Federal Way, WA; Honda CRX Si - 0.875
X Prepared: Andrew McKee; Livermore, CA; Mazda RX-7 -- Zachary Sober; Houston, TX; Mazda RX-7 -- 0.564
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: James Yom took the Street Touring Roadster National Championship, his third Tire Rack Solo Nationals title
Credit: Anthony Porta
(For a web-resolution photo, right-click the photo in the story and "save as")