S. Cali SCCA Autocross Results

From: Gary Pinkley (gapinkley@earthlink.net)
Date: Mon Feb 22 1999 - 23:16:06 EST

Sunday turned out to be another excellent day for racing, about 70 and sunny. I arrived early, even though I new I wouldn't be driving till the afternoon. Thought I'd just make an entire day out of it. I would be running in the fairly new STRK class (Sport Truck) popular out here on the west coast.

I began the day by walking the course. It was readily apparant that the organizers of the event were corvette owners. The graceful sweepers with their wide corners promised amazing speeds. But alas, sharp corners and shicanes were lying in wait for the unwary few who applied the brakes too deep into the corner.

That afternoon, I moved into the grid to prepare for my runs. Rolling up to the starting line, many eyes were upon my red truck, not wanting to believe the rumors they heard about the previous day's times. I launched with a light spin designed to keep the V-6 in it's powerband. After shifting into second, I hit the gas. Carving through some smaller s-bends, I accelerated into the first sweeper into third gear. I succombed to the lure of its speed, and came to the tight shicane with too much speed and threw the rear end wide into the corner. With a hollow THUNCK, one cone went down for the count. I learned from my mistake, and finished with a 62.22 sec run. Pretty good condsidering prepared cars were running low-to-mid 50's and most cars with street tires were running low-to-mid 60's, included street tired corvettes. With the knowledge from my first run, I jumped out with my pressure gage in hand and hissing the rear tire pressure down four psi to cut down the oversteer. I then lined up again for my next run. Again, with the peel-wheel sqealing (I haven't added a LS diff yet) I ripped off on another run. Screaming into the large sweeper, I nailed the gas and pushed the truck a little faster, this time, making sure to get on the binders sooner. Combine the earlier braking with the lower rear tire pressure, the rear end stayed planted and I traversed the shicane quicker. Zigging and zagging, using the wide corners to drift the truck into the proper lines, I ran the rest of the course very well. I new there were a couple of spots I hadn't gotten quite right, so I thought I'd pick up a little time, but WHOA.....did I just hear the announcer right......was that a 60.308? While waiting in the grid for my final run, people just kept walking by either muttering and shaking their heads or asking me if they heard the time correctly. I loved the reaction that I got from everybody. My final run wasn't quite as good as my second, I was off a couple of tenths. I drifted too wide in two of the corners, losing a little time. I waited patiently for my run group to finish to find out what my competitors ran. The closest guy was 3 tenths slower.....WHOOHOO! I just won......on street tires and with an open diff none the less. The results should be posted soon on the California Sports Car Club SOLO 2 website www.solo2.com.

If any of you have never been to an autocross, I wholly recommend at least going to see what you're missing. All of you R/T's now consider yourselves challenged. You can't let a wimpy little sixer dominate, can you?

-Gary Pinkley
'97 RC V-6, 5 spd

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