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First 26 Champions Crowned at 2014 Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Sep 04, 2014 - 06:58 AM
Sports Cars
First 26 Champions Crowned at 2014 Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals

On a windy day at the Lincoln Airpark, 26 drivers captured the coveted honor of National Champion at the 42nd Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. The day wrapped up the first half of the four-day event, in which class competitions are held on back-to-back days Tuesday and Wednesday or Thursday and Friday.


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Today marked the completion of competition for classes split into four heats, each driver taking their final three of six total runs around the courses.

Heat One Highlights
Kate Regganie, of Joliet, Illinois, expanded her day one lead in Kart Modified Ladies to take her first National Championship. A graduate of the Formula Junior program running in the same heat, Regganie was on the edge to post her best times on the way to the title in the No. 21 Honda kart. It’s just the second appearance in a shifter kart at Solo Nationals for the 17-year-old.

“I’m very excited. This is my first time winning, so I’m loving it,” Regganie said. “I feel this course was easier. It’s more similar to what I run at home, and I was more comfortable. The other course had bigger shutdowns, and I’m still learning how to get through those.”

E Street Prepared featured an extremely close fight for the National Championship title. Billy Brooks, of Austin, Texas, took the win by 0.077-second, in his No. 78 Subaru WRX, over Jadrice Toussaint.

Toussaint came charging out of the gates when he set a time during his first run that put him in the lead. Brooks answered the challenge, jumping back to the lead by 0.126-second as a result of his second run. Toussaint’s second run was not enough to top the second run of Brooks.

“I came into this weekend not wanting to do anything but have some fun,” Brooks said. “I haven’t seen a lot of my friends that I have here for a whole year. I just wanted to hang out and enjoy the experience.

“I had no expectations of winning. I actually wanted Greg [McCance] to win again. I can’t thank him enough for all his help. On the first run, when I couldn’t get it into second gear, I felt heartbroken that I had broken the car for him. I don’t know how we were able to get through those mechanical problems. It was nerve wracking when everyone was trying to bump start the car before the second run. But, it started working on Greg’s second run and just worked out the way it needed too.”

Gwen Habenicht, of Bahama, North Carolina, took an extremely emotional and decisive win in D Street Ladies at the wheel of her No. 97 Audi TT. After losing Jim Feinberg her partner and co-driver, this win was bittersweet.

“I lost my co-driver and life partner at an event this past June,” Habenicht said. “Just coming here was really difficult. The support of to the Solo family, and all my friends here, has just made it a wonderful week. This is what I was trying to do for Jim. We drove his setup and we’re good to go.”

Heat Two Highlights
A former Street Touring® X runner-up, Jeff Stuart, of Santa Barbara, California, earned his first SCCA National Championship, topping a 55-car C Street class, overcoming a 0.231-second deficit in his No. 193 Berry Family Racing/www.racetraceapp.com Nissan 370Z. Tuesday leader Chris Fenter, of Greenville, Wisconsin, finished 0.313-second behind in his No. 189 Mazda MX-5.

“Winning a National Championship feels amazing,” Stuart said. “This is my fourth year here and I’d been close before, in second, but it’s nice to get one. I came here with my own car for the first time, and it was real close at the end. After Tuesday, I was feeling comfortable, but then after first runs all that comfort went away, with Chris [Fenter] putting down such a fast run on his first run. There are so many unknowns here and I’m just relieved and very happy.”

After years of being seemingly snake bitten, Nick Barbato, of Whethersfield, Connecticut, finally pulled out his first career National Championship behind the wheel of the No. 191 KARCEPTS/Adidas Motorsports Honda S2000. Barbato conquered the 41 car class by 0.604-second over Matthew Braun, with Colin Fielder just another 0.015 back in third.

“Oh, man, I’m so happy,” Barbato said. “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after just missing it the past few years. I’ve won heats, I’ve finished second three years in a row, I’ve lost by two thousandths of a second after hitting the last cone on the course in 2011 to Robert Thorne, I coned away the win the past three years. This year, it was a focus on getting the car right, get the set up right, take away the variables so you can just focus on the driving. If you’re thinking about anything else at Nationals, you’re going to get left, especially in a class as deep as STR.

“I’m so happy, this is one of the best moments in my racing career.”

David O’Maley scored the FSP championship for his first career title after trying in a number of classes. The Greensboro, N.C.-native co-drove the No. 95 Starting Line/EvoSchool.com Mazda 323 with Justin Barbry, and walked away with a 0.084-second win after nailing his best run on his third and final opportunity.

“When I started autocrossing, I decided I wanted to do this,” he said of his National Championship. “I’m pretty stubborn, and regardless if it seemed like it was something I was going to be able to do, I’m hard headed enough to keep pushing. Justin asked me to drive this, and I thought it had a decent amount of potential. We changed something on it just about every weekend all year. All day both days, it was awesome.

“Justin’s a good friend, and he wanted the car to do well more than anything else. If one of us did well it was good, and I felt the same way. I’m just glad we could prove that he can build something pretty good.”

Heat Three Highlights
Paul Russell, of San Diego, California, had the week of any autocrosser’s life on his way to his sixth straight championship, and seventh overall, in the Kart Modified class. Russell’s title in the No. 101 seventh-gear.com Tony Kart Honda came by 1.043 seconds, a tremendous margin.

“It’s the most incredible week I’ve ever had in Solo racing in 25 years,” Russell said. “We won literally everything we could win. We won the Pro class, the year end point class, the Super Challenge and the year end point Challenge, and then come out at Nationals and led both days.

“We make a lot of preparations. We know the setups out here now, this is our sixth year. We had a little stumble with setups yesterday, but we corrected it. That was it, we didn’t change the kart at all today. We just left it.”

Andrew Pallotta, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, took home his second National Championship, this time in at the wheel of the No. 85 ChaseRace/StranoParts/Drift Office/Annie FTW Scion FRS in Street Touring® Xtreme. Starting the day in the fourth spot, Pallotta had a 0.120-second deficit to overcome. On his second of three runs on the fast West Course, Pallotta set a time that would earn him the title provided it held up.

Former National Champion Bryan Heitkotter, in his No. 18 Team KW/Z1 Motorsports/ AIT Nissan 300ZX and Tuesday’s class leader, Lance Keeley in the No. 108 Nameless Performance/Bartuned/Link Garage Subaru BRZ, did what they could to knock Pallotta, but had to settle for second and third.

“I came in without much pressure,” Pallotta said. “I’ve been running Super Street R most of the year, but my co-driver, James Newman, had to have shoulder surgery. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to come to Nationals. I thought STX would be a good fit, since it was unfinished business from last year.

“The competition was really close after day one. I was really happy with yesterday, since I’ve never been strong on the West Course. I did what I had to do yesterday and was hoping to get ahead enough for today’s racing. I wasn’t happy with the last run, because I know there was a 62-second pass in the car. But, it was enough for the win, and that’s all you need.”

Heat Four Highlights
It took each of her allotted three runs, but Mandy Owen, of Phoenix, Arizona, did what she needed to do to earn her second consecutive National Championship in E Street Prepared Ladies. At the controls of her No. 96 Goodspeed Performance Subaru WRX, Owen entered Wednesday’s competition with the class lead.

After second runs, Owen’s lead was gone due to a cone penalty during her first run and a clean, but slow, second run. Donna Marx, in the No. 66 Thanks Jeff Cox Ford Mustang, set the fastest time of the class on the East Course, and took over the lead. With the leader in the clubhouse, Owen put down a clean run that was good enough to earn her the Championship by 0.198-second.

“I am floored I was able to come away with the win,” Owen said. “I started the day with the lead and had two horrible runs. Donna [Marx] was running so well, and I knew my back was against the wall. All I wanted to do on my last run was have a clean lap with a fairly decent time, since the first two weren’t.

“I came across the line and saw my time and though ‘I didn’t do it, it wasn’t enough.’ It wasn’t until I got back to the grid that I found out I had taken the win. It’s kind of crazy. I’m just flabbergasted.”

Michael Maier, of Livermore, California, had to work for his seventh CP National Championship after the Mark Madarash, an eight time champion in E Street Prepared, shifted his No. 91 Janco Pontiac Trans-Am to the class for this season.

Maier’s No. 136 Maier/JRI Ford GT350 led the opening day, but Madarash came charging back on the West Course. Madarash set the class’s fastest time of the day on his final run, but Maier still held the slimmest 0.028-second advantage.

“I feel good,” Maier said. “It’s not the way you want to win, you want to smash both days. But a win is a win, and five years down the road, as much as you want to win by a second or two seconds, that’s pretty picky at Nationals. This is a typical Nationals when you’ve got pure, top talent and if you can beat the best of the best, you can go home feeling good. But I tell you, it’s going to be a great next couple of years.”

The Tire Rack Solo National Championships continues with a second round of competitors running on Thursday and Friday at the Lincoln Airpark.

Follow the action through live timing at www.sololive.scca.com, live audio from the east course at www.ustream.tv/channel/solo-nationals-east and from the west course at www.ustream.tv/channel/solo-nationals-west, on the SCCA Facebook page at Facebook.com/SCCAOfficial, or on Twitter @SCCAOfficial.

The National Champion in each of the 26 classes (plus seven supplemental classes) competing Tuesday and Wednesday in the 42nd Tire Rack® SCCA Solo National Championships at the Lincoln Airpark with class, leading driver, hometown, car, and total number of National Championships. (*)asterisk denotes change in lead from Tuesday.

*B Modified: Clemens Burger, Noblesville, Ind., fourth overall National Championship.
*C Modified: Brandon Lavender, Indianapolis, Ind., second National Championship.
*C Street: Jeff Stuart, Santa Barbra, Calif., first National Championship.
C Prepared: Michael Maier, Livermore, Calif., third consecutive CP National Championship, seventh overall.
C Prepared Ladies: Tracy Lewis, Tallahassee, Fla., first National Championship.
D Modified: Mark Huffman, Litchfield Park, Ariz., fourth National Championship.
*D Street: Michael Wood, Alamo, Calif., first National Championship.
D Street Ladies: Gwen Habenicht, Bahama, N.C., first National Championship.
E Modified: Jeff Kiesel, Poway, Calif., eight consecutive EM National Championship, ninth overall.
E Modified Ladies: Shawn Kiesel, Poway, Calif., fifth consecutive EML National Championship, eighth overall.
E Street Prepared: Billy Brooks, Austin, Texas, first National Championship.
E Street Prepared Ladies: Mandy Owen, Phoenix, Ariz., second consecutive ESPL National Championship.
*F Street Prepared: David O'Maley, Greensboro, N.C., first National Championship.
F Street Prepared Ladies: Lisa Krueger-Burgess, Midland, Mich., second consecutive FSPL National Championship, tenth overall.
G Prepared: Steve Bollinger, Granger, Ind., fifth National Championship.
Kart Modified: Paul Russell, San Diego, Calif., sixth consecutive KM National Championship, seventh overall.
Kart Modified Ladies: Kate Regganie, Joliet, Ill., first National Championship.
Street Touring R: Nick Barbato, Wehtersfield, Conn., first National Championship.
Street Touring R Ladies: Laura Campbell, Paduchah, Ky., first National Championship.
Street Touring Ultra: Brian Peters, Litchfield Park, Ariz., fifth National Championship.
Street Touring Ultra Ladies: Diane Bollenbecker, San Diego, Calif., first National Championship.
*Street Touring Xtreme: Andrew Pallotta, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, second National Championship.
Street Touring Xtreme Ladies: Annie Gill, Renton, Wash., second consecutive National Championship.
Street Touring FWD: Lee Chhit, Huntsville, Ala., first National Championship.

Supplemental Classes:
C Modified Ladies: Mari Clements, Alta Loma, Calif.
D Modified Ladies: Susan Anderson, Florissant, Mo.
Classic American Muscle Contemporary: Keith Lamming, Kansas City, Mo.
Classic American Muscle Sport: Mike Fraser, San Jose, Calif.
Classic American Muscle Traditional: Mike Dusold, Corinth, Texas.
Formula Junior A: Riley Heaton, Omaha, Neb.
Formula Junior B: Alexander Nelson, Amherstdale, W.V.

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