For SCCA soloists, this past weekend’s Tire Rack SCCA Solo® Dixie Championship Tour event marked the much-anticipated beginning of the National Solo calendar, boasting a full entry list of 285 participants. This marked the eighth year that the opening event for the program was held at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
While the weather was good for most of the weekend, it played havoc with the end of Sunday’s competition. With severe weather rolling in, a deluge of rain and howling winds, officials made the difficult decision to cancel the three runs scheduled for the fifth, and final, group of the day. As a result, Saturday’s best times dictated the finishing order for the G Street, Street Touring Compact, Street Touring Sport Ladies, E Street Prepared, C Prepared and Kart Modified classes.
“The situation with the weather was unfortunate, but the safety of our competitors and workers is always our first priority,” SCCA Vice President of Rally/Solo and Special Programs Howard Duncan said. “Measures were taken to speed the event in hopes of completing all heats before the storm. However, with the severe weather warnings in effect, more rain on the way and the amount of time left in the day, stopping the event was our only option.
“It is never an easy decision to call an event before it is complete and it is especially difficult for an event like Dixie, where folks typically travel long distances to attend.”
Regardless of Sunday’s adverse weather, the event was a great start to the 2014 National Solo calendar. During Friday’s Test and Tune, nearly 700 runs were made over a five-hour timespan. The day was punctuated with a cookout, hosted by the Dixie Region with assistance from Atlanta Region, which featured beef brisket and brats.
The fierce competition during the two-day event showed that many of the entrants were itching to get the season started. Winners of six classes were decided by less than 0.2-second on the Sam Strano-designed course.
In Street Touring Compact, David Stanford, of Arden, N.C., took the class win by 0.060-second in his Honda Civic Si. Stanford was not the quickest driver out of the chute, but chipped away at his time to record a best run of 45.600 seconds on Course One. Due to the weather-related cancellation, the STC-class drivers were unable to compete on Course Two.
Jason Huepenbecker, of Winter Park, Fla., emerged victorious in F Street, beating out Chi Ho by only 0.110-second. Driving his Dynasty Automotive/Thank you Chi! BMW M3, Huepenbecker finished Saturday behind Ho, but came roaring back on Sunday as he was the only car in his class to break the 46-second barrier on Course Two.
Randall Wilcox, of Clarksville, Tenn., was the winner of a close battle that was decided by 0.123-second, in Super Street Modified. Following Saturday’s three runs, Wilcox was second in the class behind Matthew Glagola. On Sunday, Wilcox was able to shine as he drove his Greyhound Pets of America Mazda Miata to victory after recording a run that was nearly 0.5-second faster than Glagola’s best Course Two run.
The G Street class was another of the classes decided by day-one runs. Michael Moran, of Fairfield, Pa., took the class win by 0.142-second over Ian Stewart. Heading into Saturday’s final runs, Moran was the class of the G Street field. On his third run, Moran pulled out all the stops and ripped off the only sub-46 second lap in his Teamziptie.com Toyota Celica GT.
D Street Prepared featured a close finish in which Doug Keiler, of Virginia Beach, Va., emerged as the winner in his PF Tuning BMW 323. He started Sunday’s runs behind eventual second-place finisher Michael Kuhn, but Keiler put together a solid last lap that was enough to erase his deficit and propel him to the win by 0.171-second.
Jeff Cox, of Knoxville, Tenn., took the rain-shortened E Street Prepared win by 0.197-second over Jadrice Toussaint, in his Ford Shelby Mustang. On his final run of Saturday’s competition, Cox was able to move around Toussaint on the time sheets for the win.
The next stop for The Tire Rack SCCA Solo Championship Tour – running the traditional National Tour format – is slated for March 29-30 at the Texas A&M Annex, in College Station, Texas. More information on The Tire Rack SCCA Solo Program is available at http://www.scca.com/solo.
More information, including results, from The Tire Rack Solo Dixie Championship Tour is available at http://www.scca.com/DixieTour.
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