The Actual 2007 SOLO Nationals Report
September 27 & 28, 2007
Heartland Park, Kansas
I can summarize this event in one word: Crap.
It is such an eloquent word and it fits for the major things that happened for me at this event.
First and foremost I drove like crap. I was making stupid mistakes and knew I was doing it. I didn't drive anywhere near as quick as I could and the times showed it. Second off, the latest rule changes in effect for FS are total crap. We (as a club) made a stupid decision and allowed a ringer car to be eligible for FS. In the past, FS has been for pony cars from the factory. Not pony cars taken from the factory to a tuner where they are lowered with higher-rate springs, wider wheels installed, cold air kit installed and a short throw shifter installed. If I (or any of my competitors) did any ONE of those things, we'd be bounced to ESP (faster class). But no. With one of the guys on the rules committee actually HAVING one of these cars it was deemed legal and these insanely expensive shelby mustangs showed up in record numbers. And won. Shocker. Yes, I've (and many others) have been against it from the beginning and we all wrote our letters. Guess what? Didn't matter. A committee-member has one of these cars and the car weaseled its way in.
While I won't blame my poor driving on those cars, I *can* say with absolute certainty that had I drove my best I still would have been nowhere near the podium. Of course, I don't want to be guaranteed a podium spot with a 15 year old car, but my car (and pretty much all other cars) are pretty much obsolete now. Driven well, my car was (WAS) a contender before this car was allowed in. So was a factory LS1 Z28. So was a new mustang GT. Not anymore.
How bad was my driving? Well, on my FASTEST first day run, I almost came to a stop and went back to first and cut the wheel to almost full lock to avoid a cone because I was so far offline. And that was my fastest run. Yes, it was horrible. I wasn't nervous at my first nats and didn't have jitters or anything. I had some problems at home and carried them with me and I shouldn't have. Plus, I had only done 1 autocross and 1 practice in the previous 6 months before nats and I know better than that but my schedule for roadracing and work has just conspired against me getting cone time and my driving showed it. No biggie, I accept it and can easily move on. This isn't pro and I can totally relate. I've long ago (it is December as I finally get time to write this!) let it drop and I'm fine with it. Seriously. I'm fine with it. Well...I'm fine with the 'my driving' part anyway.
What I have a problem with (yep, I'm STILL on this soapbox) is that this ASININE rule change pretty much eliminates all previous cars from being a contender. Sure, they can still be competitors, but with a fast driver in a shelby, it is over. I like autocross and I'd like to see FS grow. I understand we need to let new cars in. The new mustang is capable. The new pony cars coming from Dodge and GM should also be fun. But taking a complete overdog and allowing it in due to personal reasons is pretty crappy and a large reason I'll just give up on serious autocrossing. I'll play locally I'm sure (when I have time and play tires) but I can't see me going to tours or Nats again, for sure not in FS. Maybe Scratcher in CP...the CP guys wouldn't stand for some crap like this!!
I can no longer meet guys at autocrosses or DE events or wherever and tell them 'yeah, bring your pony car out and play in FS'. Because if a shelby shows up, its game over. As a club, we are supposed to serve the greater good and this is the most blatant case of self servicing dishonorable crap I've seen in a looooong time.
Rather than FS having the potential appeal of EVERY SINGLE ford mustang GT and camaro Z28 and firebird out there, those cars are all crap now. Can't compete and can't hang. By letting in this ONE car, we have now completely alienated every other car. Yes, I'm a bowtie boy, but don't make the moronic mistake that this is a brand issue. Every person I know with a Mustang (and I spoke to them at nats...) is screwed too. Way to go, rulesTards. Self-serving jerks. Any potentially-new member showing up with one of the hundreds of thousands of pony cars can now show up to an autocross, get spanked by a shelby and say 'screw this, I'll go drag racing'. Way to put the NEEDS OF THE CLUB in front of your own. Idiot (s).
A tiny sliver of a shred of evidence: On the East Course the winning FS shelby was faster than the winning CP car. Think about that. Here is an F-STOCK car (well...lowered with higher-rate springs, wider wheels, cold air, short throw, etc) and even though it ran FIRST HEAT, it outran the winning CP car which ran 4th (or 5th?) heat. Think about it. Does that even sound right?
Time to go roadracing. I'll vote with my $$ and tell everyone that will listen the story.
Thanks for listening. :-)
For the record, I ended up 14th and Nick ended up 20th out of 29. Nick drove clean and decent but simply needs more 3rd gen seat time. He had one practice and one autocross in a 3rd gen prior to nationals and while we had a darn good time (the WDMS crew always has fun!!) our results weren't what we wanted. <shrug>
Now check out some pics!!
Nick headed around the course.
Kent carrying two-seconds underneath the car. I can't talk too much, he beat me!
Me. Driving slow.
Tye ready to head out in Tony's foxbody.
Stroh in Corvette Summer. He was deep in the trophies the whole time and finished 5th out of 43!
Tye and Nick chatting before Tye's run.
Gameface, part deux!
Toddles kicked butt first day and was in the lead and slipped a bit on day 2 and finished 2nd.
Wednesday I swapped in a fresh Auburn as FS ran on Thursday/Friday.
A gorgeous car from the Austin Spokes club.
WINGS - A - PLENTY!!!
Speaking of wings, we visited the nearby Combat Air Museum and it was sweet!
Yes, you can get 100 octane unleaded. For $6.50 a gallon. Yikes.