The West Course, in contrast to the long, flowing East layout, has proven to be tighter and shorter, with more margin for error.
The battle for supremacy in F Street Prepared Ladies is one to watch heading into Friday’s final runs. Lisa Krueger-Burgess, of Midland, Mich., holds onto the top position in the standings, as she leads Jamie Yost by a narrow .090-second margin. To notch a ninth National Championship, Krueger-Burgess will need to make some clean runs on the longer, high-speed East Course in her Mike’s Cat Ranch Volkswagen Rabbit.
Paul Russell, of San Diego, Calif., proved to be quickest in Kart Modified following his three runs on Thursday. Jared Langefeld, in second, and the 26 other drivers in the field, will have to wait until Friday to best Russell in his Tony Kart Honda. Russell currently holds the advantage by .436-second, but has little room to relax during Friday’s final runs if he hopes to win a fifth-consecutive National Championship.
In C Modified, Branden Lavender, of Indianapolis, Ind., leads a class that features some extremely close competition toward the top of the standings. The top-seven positions can be covered by a second, including a dead heat between Nick Myers and Jon Clements for the fifth position. Lavender, driving his Van Diemen RF85, was the only driver to break into the 48-second range, with a time of 48.966 on his second run. The time puts him .345-second ahead of his closest competition, Donald Elzinga.
Heat Three produced two notable story lines on their opening day of competition. In B Modified, Clemens Burger, of Noblesville, Ind., leads after day one of competition, but even more shocking was that 2011 National Champion Brianne Corn failed to register a time. Burger put his best time in on run two behind the wheel of his LeGrand Mk 18, putting him just .044-second ahead of Corn’s co-driver, 17-year-old Rachel Saunders.
After three DNFs, Corn is out of the running to add a third National title to her name. She strayed from the designated course in run one, then the Janco/Hoosier Le Grand Dragon she was driving had a left-front suspension failure during run two. Corn borrowed the Dragon SR2A, driven by Soter Slomski and Bill Gendronk, and strayed from the course in a slalom section, disallowing the sub 50-second lap she recorded.
Following Heat Four on Thursday, Michael Heinitz, of San Diego, Calif., leads the Road Tire RWD class. He leads the largest class at the 2013 Solo Nationals, with a .572-second gap over Trevor Jones. A field of more than more than 55 competitors will be gunning for Heinitz, in his Mazda MX-5, come Friday afternoon.
The muscle cars of C Prepared finished the day on the West as dark clouds threatened. The skies opened up just enough to potentially slow those runs already in progress, but cleared just as quickly. Defending champion Michael Maier, of Livermore, Calif., put his Maier Racing Ford Mustang in the lead by .771-second.