Champ Tour Celebrates Independence Day Weekend
Topeka, KAN. (July 6, 2017) – Competitors converged on Bristol, Tennessee for four days of Tire Rack SCCA® National Solo Competition over Independence Day weekend. Situated between Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway, 265 drivers took to the Tire Rack Championship Tour courses designed by Chris Harp. Though forecasts predicted intermittent rain for the duration of the event, only one heat was impacted by precipitation. Heat 2 on Saturday started as rain fell, but finished in drying conditions, which favored second drivers. Otherwise, daytime precipitation was limited to scattered sprinkles with little impact on competition.
The old saying goes, "the more the merrier," and that couldn't have been truer in C Prepared Ladies as ESP and STP-prepared Mustangs joined the Lewis Mustang to make a five-driver class. Cindy Duncan led day two in the Cox ESP-prepared Ford over Tracy Lewis. On day two, Lewis overcame her 0.283-second deficit and pulled away for a 0.390-second victory on the strength of her third and final run.
As the rain poured down, C Street took to the course. First runs were nearly irrelevant as the rain subsided during second runs and the course became all but dry. On his third run, Andrew Pallotta set the fastest time of any first driver at 44.478, but that wasn't enough as later drivers saw better conditions. Mark Shrivastava knocked Pallotta down to second with a 44.437 run. On Sunday morning, dry conditions leveled the field and allowed Pallotta to regain the top spot with a commanding 43.624-second run. Shrivastava finished second. Ryan Kowalewski, Mike Lawson and G H Sharp claimed the remaining trophies.
A Street resembled a spec Corvette class with just one outcast, the Porsche 911 of David Matheson. Justin Batten laid down the fastest time on day one, nearly 0.4 second ahead of Laurence Casey. On day two, Kristo Kukk found the early speed, laying down a 44.076-second run on his first look at the course. While Kukk would stand on that run, Casey found 0.6 second his second run, enough to take the win by 0.148 second. John Smith was the hard charger on day two, laying down the fastest time of the day and jumping from sixth to second. Batten, Kukk and David Entz rounded out the trophies.
Since the addition of the Ford Focus RS, B Street has become one of the most diverse street classes. This weekend, Chevrolet Corvettes, a Subaru WRX STI, Focus RS, and Honda S2000 were present. Justin Barbry set the early pace in his Corvette and held it through three consistent runs, only improving by 0.045 between his first and third runs. Steffen Clark followed a second back in the Subaru. From there, the pack remained tight. On day two, Barbry set the pace yet again and stretched his advantage to 1.776 seconds for victory. Clark finished second and Brian Johns jumped from seventh to third to claim the last trophy position.
To make a class for contingency, SSP and DP drivers converged on XP to create a six-driver class. After day one, Mike Casino led in his SSP Chevrolet Corvette by 0.297 over Steve Hoelscher in his DP Toyota MR2. On day two, Hoelscher set the fastest time of the class with his first run, but wasn't able to improve and Casino held on for a 0.007-second victory.
Despite few changes in the leaderboard between days one and two, Street Touring R provided exciting competition at the top of the ranks. Brian Karwan lead the pack with two blazing second runs. David Marcus followed, just 0.715 second back. Nathan Young bested Marcus' day two time, but came up 0.241 second short of overcoming his day one deficit. Darrin DiSimo, Nathan Gordon and Wes Hughson claimed the remaining trophies in the 18-driver class.
Super Street R saw a day one upset as Josh Luster cleaned it up and led Sam Strano by 0.045 second. But on day two, Luster coned away his fastest run, being forced to stand on his first. Strano kept it clean all weekend and claimed victory by a margin of 0.013 second. Grant Reeve claimed the last trophy in third.
The penultimate Tire Rack Championship Tour of the season takes place this weekend, July 8-9, in Packwood Washington.
Photo by Perry Bennett