Solo Round 12 Wrap-Up by Colleena
By: Cameron Drudge on 03/24/2023
A Replay of The Butterfly Effect, Ahren Rennes reconfigured yesterday's track and we ran it backwards. Small changes can have large consequences, and everyone seemed to find more than a few cones! The last race of the season, Halloween spirit permeated the event. Strange things happened and ghosts showed up in the oddest places. The second slalom cone was haunted and many of us hit it!
Lap after perfect lap, DSP’s Roxanne Fertitta leaves the cones right where Ahren placed them and makes it look easy. The little Mini she shares with husband Michael, looks so fast because she’s so smooth! A nice 30.9 tallied 3rd place points for her. Michael Fertitta also executed what looked like a perfect lap, scaring the competition. He drove over the lip of the apex cone in the small sweeper and tipped it, but no foul. Pushing hard, the Mini’s back end stepped out at the exit on his first lap but a second lap 29.3 took 2nd. Fast right away, Jason Lewis, driving a Honda Civic R that looks like a big, grey bat, crossed the start lights faster than me in my Ferrari! He had his foot in it way before the course even started! He found two cones on his third lap, but his class winning 27.9 was scored on his first.
Tori Speicher’s beautiful, powder blue Hyundai Veloster, let us all know what it was going through! Loud tire squeal, deep into the small sweeper, set her up for first lap drama, first killing the Haunted Cone and logging a DNF. Her last lap 31.4 regained her confidence and picked up a 3rd in DS. Izaak Eberst charged into the first lap like he was on fire, his WRX getting bouncy in the hairpin and tagging a cone. All four laps were 29.’s, and a 29.1 took 1st in DS. There were eight first run DNF’s, but Kelly Martensen wasn’t one of them. She ran four clean laps, but couldn’t get out of the 30’s, as the very leany WRX ran the course in 30.2 for 2nd.
Looking like a transformer and Buzzing past the start lights, Boris Vujasinovic’s GTO burst onto the track like a Bumblebee! Sliding sweetly through the slalom, so smooth and close to the cones, then feathering the throttle at the exit of the small sweeper made for four successful laps. Boris crossed the finish line in 28.3 seconds for 1st in Cam C and 2nd PAX. Pat Drudge, in a Black GTO, drifted around the small sweeper and suffered a bit of bad luck. Unable to reel it in, the Grim Reaper hit the Haunted Cone and spun on the last lap. Before that lap, though, he nicked the small sweeper apex cone and 98% of it stayed in the box! That lucky lap awarded him a 29.8 and 2nd place.
The fight between the TFSP Corollas commands everyone’s attention, every event, but today was particularly pugnacious! Nick Johnson, looking for a repeat of last races win, suffered huge tail swing-around into the big sweeper, a step out in the slalom, and drift around the small sweeper, all keeping him in the 31’s. He even drove over the lip of the apex cone in the small sweeper with the wheel up, and even though it was not quite enough to clear it, there was No Penalty! A tidy third lap 30.5 claimed 2nd. Ahren Renner was driving so smoothly it looked boring! Two 29.3’s sandwiched a beautiful 29.2, and the Trollrolla Boo Mobile took 1st.
Denis Savelyev had such a head of steam at the start, he hit the rev l imiter and forced his Lancer Evo to use the big wing at the back! 28.7 was his quickest, and 2nd STU points were his. Fast with or without a passenger (maybe they weren’t really there, like in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland), Steve McLaughlin turned four beautiful, consistent laps in a zippy 350z for the top spot with a 27.6 and 1st PAX, 1st Overall.
Bryan Brown showed up in a very fancy Cadillac and my first impression was that it looks like a hearse (all hearses are Caddys, right? Except when they are Jaguars!). The plush, luxury car had a mind of its own, and on lap two, “Drove through the only gap in 1 million cones,” according to Announcer Aaron. Rebounding nicely, a 34.7 put him in 2nd place behind Maggie Elorza, who drove her BMW to 1st place, on her first lap (28.9) and 3rd in PAX.
The Haunted Cone had it in for the ES Miata driven by Chris Kannan and son Christian. Chris was so aggressive in the slalom he slid right into it, but he had three more laps to bring in a 30.0 for 1st. Christian got it out of the way early and killed the Haunted Cone on his first lap and the cone got its revenge when he clocked a 31.666.
Andrew Silva’s Ford Focus, along with almost everyone else, killed the Haunted Cone because it deserved it (great crew work getting the cone back up)! Swapping leads with Joe VanSickle in a VW Beetle that looks like a Halloween popcorn ball (remember those?? No? Just me?) the final lap had Andrew in an HS 1st with a 32.6. Joe had a wheel up on that yellow bug, trying everything to push his time down, and a 32.7 put him 2nd.
Bob Williamson’s gorgeous, Vampire Red Corvette roared and clung to the track on three perfect laps to cross the lights in 30.7 seconds for 1st in AS. Not to be left out, on his last lap he killed the Haunted Cone like everyone else!!
Our intrepid photographer, Anthony Ta, in a Black Impala, made a deal with the underworld and missed not only the Haunted Cone, but all the rest!!! A 31.7 took 1st in GS.
Another way to deal with the Devil is to drive the wrong way around Haunted Cone! Roger Jacobson’s Candy Corn Yellow Corvette was smooth as a whisper on lap one when he turned a 29.6, but then all heck broke loose! When he swung the rear out at the exit of the small sweeper, it was all over! No matter because he had SSPT all sewn up on his first lap.
Bryce Redinger tippy toed his Corvette carefully around everything on his first lap and sped past the finish lights in 28.059 seconds. Then, a couple of cones and a wiggle leading to the finish slalom gave Mike McHugh a chance at the win. Mike, in a red-hot Ferrari 458, drove it like he was escaping a burning building! Sideways at the Haunted Cone on lap one and threatening to spin it on lap four, he relied on a smooth, textbook, third lap 28.1 for 2nd place.
Sutee Dismanopnarong, in a ghostly white, Honda S2000, was on a rampage! Everyone could hear the supercharger winding out at the finish, as the SSM racer crossed the finish line in 1st place with a 28.9.
Smoke billowed from the flame-colored Corvette, as Andrew Kauble nailed the brakes after the straight! Trying to slow it down going into the slalom, he snagged a cone in the effort to best his third lap, BS 1st place 29.8. George Loyd’s silver Corvette let out Spine chilling tire sounds as he earned his 30.7, 2nd place finish.
Jonathan Kelsey drove a typical, careful, Miata race. He started with a 34., worked it down to a couple of 33.’s, and finished with a 32.9 after four clean, perfect laps for 1st in CSP.
Cameron Drudge, in the Silver Shadow STI, tried so hard to escape the clutches of the Haunted Cone he looped it on lap two! The rear wing kept him earthbound as he kept his foot in it for a fast finish, the third time around and a 28.0 captured 2nd place in TSM and 5th O/A. Once in a blue moon does a driver like Kevin Weiss come along! Not only does he win every race he enters, he makes it to the top of the Overall list time and time again! I don't know how he does it, mostly through sheer will, because the Blue Beast is just that! It's always in the air, there's always a wheel up, it’s always bouncing along and it always looks like it's flying! Even with that handful, the STI captured 1st TSM (27.6), 2nd O/A and 4th in PAX.
At the drivers meeting, Ahren asked who was new today and almost all of the raised hands were women! Out of the thirtyone novices today, six were women! Solo is such a wonderful couple sport and such a great way to meet men if you're single! (Did I just write that?!)
Rob Paulsen did everything he had to, to finish at the top of Novice class today. He kept the little white ball of lightning Audi TT, tight around the apexes and close to the cones in the slalom. On his last lap, he slipped the rear around the small sweeper in 29.6 seconds for 1st in Novice and 17th in PAX.
Turning up in the coolest Super Car of the day, Dan Powers, formerly of Corvette fame, brought out a beautiful, red, white, and blue Lamborghini Hurracan! What a wonderful treat!!! Not only were we excited by the naturally aspirated sports car rumble, Dan drove it like he didn’t care if he smacked it against a cone or two! He didn’t, of course, but there was a squiggle at the exit of the small sweeper, and he got it sideways in slalom, twice! A third run 30.0 slid the exotic racer into 2nd.
Ian Collins’ foot to the floor acceleration through the slalom at the end of the small sweeper gave him as good a chance as anyone to catch the Hurracan, and his first lap was a little faster than Dan’s. In the end, one tenth is all that separated the Ford Focus RS from 2nd place, and a 30.1 slipped him into 3rd. Skip Bry, always a hard charger in his Porsche 911, also clocked a first lap edge over the Lambo (obviously the car to measure against today). The steel gray bullet stepped out at the exit of the small sweeper, but Skip recovered with a smooth 30.7 for 4th. It’s always fun seeing, or rather, trying to listen to, a Tesla Model 3 make its way around the track. Abhishek Rao treated us to his winged wonder and, after a tricky first lap, flew around the last lap in 31.0 seconds for 5th.
Finishing at the top of the Novice ladies, Wendy Loyd came very close to, but missed the Haunted Cone! Her Ford Mustang came in 6th with a 31.4. Acting like the Black Cat it resembled, Ian McIntosh’s BMW ran off course, but it had another life, and three more laps! Ian had a smooth foot, but the skittish car threatened to take off again at any moment as he held it back. Lots of raspy pops betrayed his effort, and the skeleton in the back seat held on tight, as Ian turned a third lap 31.6 for 7th. Brittany Barats, sharing Izaak Eberst’s Subaru WRX, came in 8th with a 31.8 on all clean, careful laps!
James Goldsworthy looked like he and his Toyota 86 owned the track. Smooth, tight lines at the exit off the small sweeper and no tire squeal means no problem, and a 32.1 came in just ahead of Jennifer Kauble for 9th. Jennifer, in a beautiful BMW M240 (I wanted one of those) grabbed 10th with a 32.3. Spenser Burke, sporting his skeleton white Acura ILX, kept it snuggled up to the small sweeper cones, but it got away from him a bit in the slalom! The rear stepped out on lap one, but a last lap 32.4 swung him into 10th. Trying ever so hard to catch Spencer, Anish Anand’s sleek BMW, killed the Haunted Cone and another innocent bystander cone. By lap four, he had it all figured out and a 32.6 slid him into 12th.
David Davidow was brave enough to sport the number traditionally known as the number of the devil, but in this case, it represented “Skillful Play”. Hard on the accelerator at the exit of the small sweeper, the Red-Hot Camaro threatened to spin but he tucked it back in, fantastic! Keeping a tight Apex around the Haunted Cone, he spooked everyone with perfect lines, then he decided to send that cone straight to HE double toothpicks! His 32.8 snuggled right up to Anish and 13th place!! Jose Estupinan’s 350z is always fun to watch as he tries to keep the drift car squarely under him. As many of us do, he got a bit lost and ran yesterdays course on lap one (I've done that more than once). He followed that lap with a big lose-it in the slalom (he took the last slalom cone with him) but nerves of steel brought in a 33.2 for 14th.
It's always entertaining when a car other than a FWD gets a wheel up, and Andy Ross pushed his Impreza so far, his laps were all about tire squeal and lean. Tight and tidy through the slalom and aggressive use of breaks put him right in the middle of the Novice pack with a 33.4. Mustafa Hafeez had such fun in the slalom, he kept his foot in it at the exit and drove too deep to turn! He killed the Haunted Cone in a zippy, fiery Red Altima on an aggressive last lap, but a second lap 33.56 pushed him right behind Andy. Nick Williams, in a “BAD NV” VW, also had a bit of a leany, pushy ride! He got the Golf to take a set and stay there, all while applying good use of the brakes (I need to get a lesson from him). The Silver Slither turned a 33.57, finishing just behind Mustafa in one of the closest finishes of the day.
MakKenzie Guilliams, in a little white popcorn ball of a Miata with a black Witches hat hardtop, had a similar fight with Kurtis Bell. They both struggled, having gotten lost on lap one, but rebounded nicely on lab three to turn in clean times, a mere tenth apart. Bells 33.91 was a blink faster than his nearest competitor. In the meantime, Royce Roque, in a Camaro, got it right on a very careful lap one, with a 33.98. After that, all bets were off and the Silver Surfer slid the rear end 180 degrees, rode it out, and coned the last lap.
Trying to, and just barely keeping ahead of Castor Jacinto, Brian Starbuck went sightseeing twice before his Civic SI scored a last lap 34.05, leaving Castor in his rear view mirror. Starting out in a blood red Mazda RX8, Castor Jacinto came out today for the first time ever, and finished in a Corolla!!! On lap two, he slid out a bit at the exit of the sweeper, did a 360 in the slalom, ran over a cone, backed up, and set it back up! But it was out of the box so it counted as a penalty. Tragic. His following lap, he drove the Boo Mobile perfectly and so close to the cones in the small sweeper I swore he flattened a few, and scared the little ghosts on the fenders! He drove it as a replacement car because his RX 8 blew a fuse, and a 34.06 slipped him in just behind Brian. Emily Spaulding response to friend, Ian, who posted on Instagram that he was auto crossing and he asked if she wanted to come watch, was, “Can I race?” She brought out her supercharged Scion FRS today for the first time ever! The big wing on the back didn’t help when it wanted to step out in slalom, but she got it back, and it only cost her one measly cone! She worked down to a 34.1 to threaten Castor for his spot. Lots of growling could be heard from LaShonn Ford’s Werewolf Gray Camaro, as he pushed it harder each and every lap to drive his times down. So smooth in the small sweeper it was a joy to watch this Ford in a Camaro! I didn’t ask him if he has a Ford at home, but my uncle‘s last name is Beamer and he’s never owned one, so maybe not! A nice 34.3 had him breathing down Emily’s neck.
Tyler Wood brought a nice looking, upscale, sporty hybrid Lexus CT200H, to prove it's not all about horsepower. Ok, it did push a little at the end of the slalom, but a 34.5 with all clean laps stuffed it in between a Camaro and a Subaru! Troy Stansbury, in what looked like a grocery getter, mom wagon Subaru Outback, came out fighting with cones and out of bounds. A big push in the small sweeper, and a good recovery left a last lap 34.9, just behind Wood.
Crash Ross (what a great racing name) took a passenger with him, but it didn’t slow him down, (or maybe it wasn't a real passenger, but a Haunted Mansion passenger?!). The Impreza hung on for dear life, only pausing once to pick up a cone. A 35.2 was half a second ahead of competitor Jeromy Iansworth. Talk about “Run what you Brung”, Jeromy brought out his Great Pumpkin, orange Civic, and was very hard charging for a guy on snow tires! He’s great at, “take a set, ride it out” but pushed a few cones around before he got it right. That came on lap four, when his 35.7 went into the books.
Talked into driving her bite VW Bug by Cadillac driver Bryan Brown, Shannon Cronk showed up for the first time ever, to see what this was all about. The non-butter version of a Popcorn ball was very leany, bouncy in the hairpin and rolled right through the course, twice, but a good right foot produced a nice 36.9 and lots of fun!Sharing the Civic pumpkin, Joakima Hillyard just came out to watch today and got talked into driving at registration! She started out strong, got a wheel up in the small sweeper and used all the pumpkin power to her advantage. The front wheel drive kept her busy at the steering wheel and a beautiful slide around the small sweeper brought her in with a 38.1 and all clean laps! Another first time driver and most improved today, Cristina Roque, in a Camaro, drove like a pro! On an incredibly hot lap, she pulled a 180 and wound up pointed in the right direction, right at the Haunted Cone! Then, she accelerated to the finish in 38.5 seconds, an improvement of eleven seconds over four, all clean laps!
A wonderful close to a great season was in the books, and the day couldn’t have started more perfectly. Ahren likes making fun of the fact that I can’t speak in public. He told everyone during the drivers meeting that I would sing the Star-Spangled Banner and I froze up, so he sang the whole thing along with everybody else! It was really funny and the perfect end to a perfect season! See you all next year!!!