Speedway Slalom - Solo Event # 2 Recap
Dirt piles, metal framing, construction equipment, and a vanished grid area. This is what greeted the Solo program as they pulled into New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday April, 21. All that was needed to make things really gloomy was the threat of rain, but, thanks to the master of scheduling, Bob Davis, the Saturday event was again the better of the two weekend days.
A cloudy overcast turned into a warm, almost hot, sunny day, enough to send people digging through their gear looking for that almost empty tube of sunscreen from last year, or, failing that, begging from their neighbors. Warm temps meant warm tires for the 92 competitors that came up for the second point’s event of the season. While a high turnout number for NHMS events, competitors were still rewarded with eight runs over the day.
Nate Whipple did his best to make use of the available real estate, creating a fun, figure eight style course that proved the axiom that fast drivers go fast in the fast sections and slow in the slow sections while the others are slow in the fast sections and too fast in the slow sections. Because of a particularly painful finish, Whipple opened it up at the lunch break, giving front tires a little break of their own.
Novice led the car count with 11 cars in class. The top 5 drivers, and 7 overall, put down their best time on their last run with Christopher Perry leading the way in his Subaru WRX STI. Perry’s first run in the afternoon was enough to win, but he walked away, taking a few tenths of a second off each succeeding run. Runner up Andrew Cardinale in his Mini Cooper S had a tough battle with third place finisher Jon Funk in the Subaru Impreza RS, finally finishing .174 ahead of Funk.
The battle for the narrowest margin of victory came down to B Street Prepared and H Stock with BSP pulling out the win by .003 second. John Rappa took the early lead on his first run in the BSP Mazda RX-8 and kept it through the lunch break. He increased it on his first run of the afternoon, a 28.373, but couldn't go faster on later runs, leaving the door open for co-driver and car owner Marc Monnar. Monnar chipped away until breaking past with a 28.350 on his last run, taking the .023 second victory.
In HS, PJ Aspesi driving the Ford Focus SVT, took a 32.065 and a three tenths lead into the lunch break. Paul Zahornasky pushed his Mazda3 to the lead on his first afternoon run, only to see Aspesi retake it moments later with a 31.439. Zahornasky coned away a class leading (31.413) run, then matched the time with a clean 31.417. Aspesi appeared to have taken the lead right back with a 31.217, but it was marred by a late cone call. Coming down to last runs, Zahornasky coned leaving the door open for Aspesi who only needed to improve by .027 but could not pull it off.
D Stock was Infinity, the company that want you to think it’s the Japanese BMW, versus Mini, the German company that wants you to think it’s English. It was the ladies against the guys, husband versus wife, GFab member vs. GFab member. In the end, it was lady, GFab and Japanese BMW taking the win. Wiley Cox (GFab, Infinity G35) held a slight lead over Rob Woodsom (husband, Mini). Cox put down a fast 30.572 with a cone on the first afternoon run and was in the 30.5’s all afternoon, ending up with a 30.568. With the rest of the class entrenched in the 31’s it looked pretty good for Cox even when Woodsom pulled out a 30.820. Then Jenna Corrales (GFab, Infiniti), who had been in the 31’s but cutting a few tenths on each run lowered the boom on Cox and the rest of the class with a 30.374 on her last run to take a well earned win.
David Gott looked to continue his winning ways in the STX while Charlie Thompson was looking forward to returning to the smaller lot that might benefit his Mini over the larger BMW. Meanwhile Derek Sivret came in knowing that only .015 had separated him from co-driver Gott at the first event. It promised to be an epic battle. Sivret led after the morning runs with a 29.989 but could not take advantage of the softened finish and never saw the 29’s again. Meanwhile, Gott charged into the lead with a 29.606 with his first afternoon run, then drove progressively faster, finishing up with a 29.420. He may have briefly lost the lead to Thompson’s 29.579, (good enough for second) but only if Thompson had run before Gott on that run.
With eight runs in the books we had plenty of time to hang around for trophies, and there were many that stayed. Some though, were drawn by the siren’s call of track tours on the road course, followed by mooching a little food and adult beverages (for the adults) in the garages afterwards.
Picture Credits – Ed Savage