LINCOLN, Neb. – Perfect temperatures and afternoon blue skies shown on 32 newly crowned National Champions Wednesday at the 41st Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships during the second day of competition at the Lincoln Airpark.
Competitors are afforded three runs on both the East and West course at the event, with each driver’s single best time on each course added together to determine the Champion.
The first set of 2013 National Champions were crowned in a drama-filled opening heat on the West Course.
In B Stock, James Yom, of Los Angeles, closed the gap on his first run to opening-day leader Marc Pfannenschmidt. Yom’s Evasive Motorsports Honda S2000 began Wednesday in third place, but jumped into the lead on his second run.
Three drivers had a shot at Yom on their third, and final, trip around the course. Pfannenschmidt’s Gods Blessings Honda S2000 improved, but fell 0.205-second short. Ryan Clark, who started the day in second place, improved on his third run but only moved to fourth.
The last car on course before Yom’s final run was Nick Barbato’s GT Academy Got It Wrong Honda S2000. Barbato turned the quickest time of the day, raising hopes of the spectators as it flashed on the scoreboard, but the quick math revealed that he was just 0.135-second behind.
The National Championship was Yom’s first.
The suspense was just as high for the Street Modified FWD class as four-time National Champion Andy Hollis, of Austin, Texas, chased opening day leader Chris Haydu, of Dallas, Pa. Hollis took the lead in his GRM/AST/Hoosier Honda CRX on the opening run, but a slipping clutch was becoming more and more of a hindrance with each run. Haydu’s Pen TeleData Internet Services Honda Civic reclaimed the lead on the second run, and Hollis, now launching in second gear from the start, stayed locked in the runner-up position.
Three-time National Champion Jinx Jordan will leave Lincoln with thoughts of what might have been. Jordan, fighting a mechanical issue on Tuesday, posted a best time that included a pair of two-second cone penalties and fell to eighth. Jordan’s Hoosier/Karcepts/OS Giken Honda Civic set Wednesday’s fast time in class by more than a half-second, elevating him to fourth but still 3.294-seconds out of the top spot.
The final car of heat two decided the F Modified Ladies National Championship. Michelle Quinn, of Dublin, Ohio, started the day in second place and had fallen even further behind Tonya Langley, of Umatilla, Ore., on her first and second runs in the Thanks Jeff! KBS Mk 7. Quinn crossed the stripe on the final run 1.3-seconds faster than her best time to win her fourth consecutive National Championship by 0.182-second.
John Hunter, of Omaha, Neb., held his overnight lead to claim a 0.247-second margin of victory for his first National Championship in the 949 Racing/Meyers Auto/ProEFI Mazda Miata.
Tony Savini, of Chochranville, Pa., posted the best A Stock time of the day in Heat Three on his second run to move from third on the opening day to the lead in his StranoParts.com/Evo School Chevrolet Corvette, then watched as one challenger after another failed to go low enough to knock him off the throne.
Savini’s final assault on his second National Championship came from the final car to run, the Goodyear RS Eagle Chevrolet Corvette of Lane Borg. Borg needed a time of 54.520 on his final run to claim the title, but as he tripped the timing lights the scoreboard displayed a 54.665. It was a 0.8-second improvement over his best Wednesday time, but still 0.145-second shy of the win.
Darren Seltzer, of Orlando, Fla., posted a memorable first visit to the Solo Nationals, running away with the F Modified National Championship. Seltzer took a big first day lead in his Raptor F500, then expanded to an exceptional 3.419-second margin of victory in a class that is almost always close.