32 SCCA Solo Champions Crowned
For the second day in-a-row, all eyes were on the Super Stock class. Thirty-seven cars made up the largest class of the early session, with the ProParts USA Dodge Viper of Gary Thomason, of Oceanside, Calif., starting the day up front. Despite the best efforts of Solo superstars Sam Strano, in the StranoParts.com Chevrolet Corvette, and Mark Daddio, in his Chevrolet Corvette, Thomason held the lead after his third and final run on the West course.
Strano hit a cone in his final attempt at topping Thomason, and Daddio also fell short. That left defending champion G.J. Dixon, of Scarsdale, N.Y., to top Thomason in his Monticello Motor Club/Grand Prix New York Porsche GT3. Starting his final run, Dixon knew his time to beat was a 53.168; he snuck under the wire in 53.150 seconds to defend his title.
Those drivers who started Day One on the West Course moved to the longer East Course where 18 championships would be decided. In Heat One, G Stock was the most competitive class at the top of the standings. Only 0.346 seconds covered the top three positions, and Michael Moran, of Fairfield, Penn., was able to clinch his first National Championship in only his second trip to the iconic meet. Driving the teamziptie.com Toyota Celica GT, Moran eeked out the 0.004-second win over first-time Nationals participant Gordon Maciulewicz. The margin of victory was the third-closest in event history.
The heat was slowed by one extended period cleanup period after the X Prepared Mazda RX3 machine, driven by Tom and Matt Ellam, overheated. The increased pressure in the cooling system caused the safety relief cap to open, dropping coolant on the course. While the drivers didn’t want to see the extended delay, as it gave the freshly warmed tires a chance to cool, making sure the course was clear and safe was of top priority.
For Brian Burdette, of San Antonio, Texas, it was lucky number 13 in F Stock. Driving the StranoParts.com Ford Mustang GT in his 13th Nationals appearance, Burdette can finally go home with the trophy and title in hand. However, Kevin Youngers (Youngers Insights Ford Mustang GT) didn’t make it easy for Burdette. Still looking for his first National Championship in his 20th anniversary at this event, Youngers set a faster time than Burdette on the East course, but was unable to overcome the lead Burdette carried into the second day of competition. After adding the best runs from each driver together, Burdette pulled out the victory by a scant 0.063-second margin.
Christine Grice, of Redondo Beach, Calif., took home her second-consecutive National Championship in A Street Prepared Ladies. Among the competition was her sister and co-driver of the Berry Family Racing/Chase Cam/BFGoodrich Mitsubishi Evo IX, Lisa Berry, who ended up in third.
Grice’s title was the first Solo National Championship for BFGoodrich Tires since 2001.
In Heat Three, Carter Thompson, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., backed up his 2012 National Championship performance with an encore. In the KAAZ USA/LMS-EFI.COM/HPP Mazda RX-7, Thompson took the title with a 0.265-second margin over Erik Strelnieks. It wasn’t an easy win, as Strelnieks pushed hard to jump to the top during his last run, but Thompson’s lead was just too much to overcome.
Aaron Miller, of Auburn Hills, Mich., won his second-consecutive National Championship in A Street Prepared. He drove his Mitsubishi Evo 8 RS to the title over some stiff competition provided by the likes of Tom Berry and Marshall Grice.
In the final heat of the day, Bryan Heitkotter, of Fresno, Calif., made the improbable a reality. Driving a BMW 325 IS which he had never seen or driven before Tuesday, Heitkotter secured a 0.407-second victory over the field, to claim a National Championship in D Street Prepared. The title adds to his previous four titles, which he collected over his, now, eight SCCA Solo National Championships appearances.