Thursday, July 5, 2012
Mount Ranier Forms Backdrop for Tire Rack SCCA Packwood Solo
PACKWOOD, Wash. -- The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour schedule took competitors to Packwood, Washington’s Hampton Mills for the Packwood National Tour and the Western States Championship to begin the month of July and the home stretch for the season.
If nothing else, the Packwood Tour is annually one of the most visually stunning events, as even in July the looming peak of Mount Ranier is snow capped. The breathtaking beauty isn’t the only reason for the event, however – a course designed by SCCA Hall of Famer Karen Babb and the social functions planned by the Northwest Region all contribute to a top-notch event.
Once on site, the 269 participants did their part to make the event exciting. At the finish, eight classes were decided by less than two-tenths of a second, with four of those less than one-tenth apart.
The closest class of the weekend, Street Touring Compact, was separated by less than a blink of an eye. Jim Harnish’s Honda Civic Si and Shane Jensen’s Les Schwab Tires Honda Civic Si nearly matched each other’s composite times, with Harnish sneaking out a 0.007-second win!
That margin of victory made the Street Touring R class battle for the lead seem downright pedestrian. With Michael Lillejord and Kevin Dietz co-driving the Jims Detail Shops/Evolution Schools Honda S2000, the final finishing order was down to driver skill. Lillejord just outpaced Dietz, grabbing a 0.017-second victory.
Michael Carpenter drove the Murphy’s Law Subaru WRX to a 0.075-second win in Street Touring Xtreme, running a final time just faster than Jason Morrow in a Subaru WRX to claim the class win. Jim Daniels followed suit with a narrow victory behind the wheel of his D Prepared Mazda Miata, topping Ron Bauer’s Bauerspeed Racing Mazda MX-5 by just 0.089-second in Packwood.
Even the Ladies Classes were a part of the close finishes. Tasha Mikko’s MAPerformance/CIRO Design Mitsubishi Evo pulled out a 0.179-second combined time victory over Michelle Miller’s TC Motorsports/English Racing Mitsubishi Evo in the Street Touring Ultra Ladies class with times that would have put the pair in contention for a trophy in the open class. Carol Wong and Avril Morrison co-drove to a close battle of their own in the Petrel Data Systems/VCMC Swift DB-1 in C Modified Ladies, with Wong taking a 0.145-second win in the class.
X Prepared’s Britain Smith (Where2Race.com Porsche 914) and C Prepared’s Frank Stagnaro (Maier Racing Ford Mustang) also each snagged victories by less than two-tenths of a second.
Jonathan Clements made his trip all the way up the coast worthwhile, as he participated as the UC-San Diego rep in the Gumout Collegiate Shootout and won the class. The program pits Formula SAE students in the Gumout/Black Magic/BFGoodrich Tires “Use Your Motorhead” Volkswagen Golf in an introduction to the SCCA Solo program. Oregon Tech’s Ryan Rossell finished second at Packwood.
The Tire Rack Solo National Tour travels from Mount Ranier to the Rocky Mountains, July 14-15, for the Colorado National Tour at Pikes Peak International Raceway. More information on the SCCA Solo program is available at SCCA.com/solo.
Results from the Packwood National Tour are available at http://www.scca.com/solo/content.cfm?cid=51062.