(San Diego, California) - The second round of The Tire Rack® Solo II® National Tour in San Diego, California was everything a National Tour should be. Breezy and cool weather, by Southern California standards, kept most in long sleeves for the majority of the weekend and the only rain was easily overlooked unless you happened to be an A-Stock second driver. The course designed by Street Mod winner, Brett Norgaard, favored speed maintenance and rewarded looking through corners and smooth throttle inputs. Each day used the same course, run clockwise on Saturday and counter-clockwise on Sunday. More drivers attended this Tour than any other tour held outside of the state of Indiana making it the third largest tour ever. Despite this fact, the event ran on schedule and each day was concluded in record time.
Street Touring S gained much of the attention for the weekend due in part to the visit of Young Moon Park, Hankook Tires Marketing Manager, and Richard Clark from Hankook's Advertising agency. Both were treated to course rides in STS cars as well as the opportunity to speak with many of the STS competitors concerning their tire needs. In addition Per Schroeder of unveiled the 2002 Grassroots Motorsports BF Goodrich Honda Civic Si project car. The G-Force KD clad car ran in a STS exhibition class because it has not yet been stock class classified and therefor is not eligible for STS until later this year. On course, Will Kalman got all the attention in his Ford Escort GT with a 2.5-second win over his co-driver Joe Graves out of Virginia. Behind Kalman and Graves, David Rock in a Toyota Celica GTS and Billy Brooks in an Impreza 2.5 took the final two trophy spots. Despite the diversity in the types of cars taking trophies in STS, the top 5 finishes all were on Falken tires.
The cool conditions and asphalt surface played well for drivers on Kumho tires. At events end, Kumho had taken the top spot in 7 of the 16 classes using R compound DOT tires. In Stock Classes Scott McHugh (A-Stock Chevrolet Corvette), Kevin McCormick (DS Acura Intergra Type R), Don Green (GS Honda CRX) and Daniel Wittaker (HS Subaru Legacy) all took top spot. In Street Prepared Gary Tomason and Bill Buetow both drove Kumho Corvettes to win ASP and BSP while David Becket won FSP on Kumhos in a Spitfire. Super Stock topped all classes with 29 drivers, over half as many as the class boasted at Nationals. Kevin Dietz, last year a lowly tire warmer lead the way with a 1.5-second win over veteran John Ames. Ames, not used to having a tire warmer himself, neglected to bleed his tires between drivers and as a result lost grip and valuable time. San Diego was also the debut of the Tunnell BMW M3 in Super Stock. Unfortunately the cars potential was never realized after it broke a sway bar end link on Saturday. In Super Stock Ladies Jodi Fordahl and Laura Molleker both showed times quick enough to win the class, but in the end Jodi took the top spot with Florida driver Barbara Beecher completing the top three. The rev-happy Honda S2000 dominated B-Stock with drivers Joe Goeke, Derek Butts and Andy Mckee taking the top three spots. Teresa Niedel and Anna Goeke shared a Porsche Boxter to take the final trophy spots.
The C5 Corvette proved to be the weapon of choice in A-Street Prepared taking 3 of the top 4 spots. Gary Tomason, James Gunn-Wilkenson and Scotty White all trophied in C5s with the lone Lotus of Mark Huffman taking the 2nd spot. B-Street Prepared continued the Corvette theme with Bill Buetow, James Fingerman and Guy Ankeny, all in C4 Corvettes, taking the trophies. E- Street Prepared gained two new drivers during the off season when Tom Berry and Glen Hernandez both moved out of Stock Classes to try he higher horsepower cars. Berry managed to take the win while Hernandez was one spot out of the trophies.
Tom Harrington easily took fastest time of the event in the Formula 125-shifter cart. Harrington ran in the 49s each day for a total time of 98.233. The fastest of the cars went to AP Driver Steve O'Blenes in an A-Prepared RX-7 Turbo. David Laird, D-Modified winner, had a faster time on Saturday than O'Blenes, but cone trouble on Sunday kept him out of the fastest time spot. Larry Houghton, B-Modified, and Bill Martin, C-Modified, both got under the 110 second barrier to take the 3rd and 4th fastest car times of the event.
Matthew Clements took the fastest time in Class in Spec Formula Jr. on Sunday, only to see younger brother Jonathan take the class win on the strength of his Saturday runs. Lisa Berry and Kyle Short took the 2nd and 3rd trophy spots with the elder Clements finishing just outside the trophies. Not only was this Jonathan's first ever trophy finish, it was his first time not finishing at the back of the class.
The tireless efforts of the San Diego Region combined with efficient course work and excellent event organization resulted in one of the best run Tours ever. Special thanks goes to those who did everything from providing lunch on Saturday, to cleaning up trash at events end. From here the Tire Rack National Tour goes to Houston Texas for the third round hosted by the Houston Region.
The Tire Rack National Tour takes National Solo on the road to various locations around the country. These events average over 200 drivers from a wide geographical area, with most of the competitors coming from nearby states. These drivers come together to get a taste of the "Nationals" experience of competition and camaraderie as these events are presented in a format similar to that found at the National Championships in Topeka.
For More Information Contact:
Heyward K. Wagner, SCCA National Solo Communications Director
Home: 864-654-2033; Fax - 864-653-9320