The SCCA’s ProSolo returned to the NASA Crows Landing Airport and Test Facility this past weekend with 207 competing for trophies in 19 classes.
This facility boasts some of the biggest and best concrete in the country, of which Chris Cox took full advantage of when designing the fantastic pair of courses. Incredible grip is the name of the game at Crows Landing, and for many, wrapping their heads around this was an eye opening experience. Speeds for most drivers put them either at the top of 2nd gear or bottom of 3rd for a good portion of the course, which was a mix of offsets, slaloms and a turnaround. Times ranged from low 29s for Marshall Grace in the AM ACME Special, to 42s for the quickest HS car.
Mazda was well represented here, especially in CS, where all 11 drivers were in the new 2016 MX-5 Miata. Fontana winner Maurice Velandia was back and started Saturday morning where he ended the last event, in the lead. Joe Goeke brought out his new Miata and finished the morning in 2nd. Many of the top drivers in class suffered from cones or red lights in the morning, so moving into the afternoon, positions changed frequently. By the end of the day, Jeff Bandes would be sitting in the top position with a pair of mid-39s. Brian Coulson moved up to 2nd with Velandia now back to 3rd, just 0.019 behind Coulson. Sunday morning brought improvements for most drivers, with Bandes extending his lead on his first run out on the right. Unfortunately, cones plagued his remaining runs, and Coulson would take advantage on his final pair of runs to take the win by 0.305 in this tough class. Bandes held onto 2nd, while Max Hayter, who spent his first weekend in the Velandia car, would move up to 3rd, with car owner Velandia taking the final trophy spot. Of particular interest in this class (for those who have been around a long time), it was great to see racers such as Joe Goeke and Michael
Butler in the mix, as they were top contenders in Miatas back in the early 90s. Welcome back guys!
NA and NB Miatas would battle with Toyotas and Hondas in ES and STS. While neither class would see the winner in a Miata, there were some great battles going on all weekend.
R2 had a mix of various cars from the Prepared classes, and would end the weekend with the top four drivers separated by just 0.130. Cones, red lights, and DNFs would also affect this class Saturday morning. Teresa Neidel-McKee ended the morning with a sizable lead in her 1993 Mazda RX-7. For the afternoon, Brian Peters in a Mustang and Justin Moore in a STI would clean up and move in front of Neidel-McKee. Come Sunday morning, most drivers would lay down their quickest times in their final four runs. When the dust finally settled, Peters would take the win by just 0.026 over Moore, with Andy McKee in the family RX-7 moving up to 3rd just 0.002 behind Moore, and bumping Teresa out of the trophies by just 0.102.
L2 brought out seven drivers in their Street/Stock class cars. Reigning CSL National Champion Deana Kelley would lead this class most of Saturday in her 2016 MX-5 Miata. Positions behind her changed all over the place, but Sunday morning would be where things got really interesting. Four of the seven drivers in this class would set down their fastest times on their final pair of runs. Kelley was unable to improve, and while she would only finish 0.9 out of the top spot, she would fall to 6th in this indexed class.
L3 had 12 drivers in Street Touring cars. Unfortunately none of the STR Ladies drivers would finish in the trophies, but they had their own battle, with Shauna Rios taking fast time in her 2006 MX-5 over Catherine Tran in the borrowed Ron Bauer 2016 MX-5, and Jodi Fordahl in another 2006.
STR brought 22 drivers to the table in Mazdas and Hondas, vying for seven trophies. Ron Bauer, in his 2016 MX-5 Miata, would go into impound thinking he had the lead, only to have a late rerun by S2000 driver Jason Munchoff take a 0.074 lead into the afternoon. The top nine at the end of Saturday had all put down their quickest runs in the afternoon. Bauer would start with an improvement on the left that moved him back up into the lead and with an improvement on the right as well, he would go into Sunday morning with a lead of just 0.032 over current National Champion James Yom in his S2000. Ken Motonishi, who was to also be in an ND Miata again, had to make a last minute jump into the Munchoff S2000, where he would go into Sunday morning 0.243 behind Yom. Motonishi started Sunday morning with an improvement that moved him in front of Bauer, but Bauer would counter on his final left to move back to the top spot. S2000 CR driver Kevin Shultz would lay down his fastest runs Sunday morning to move from the 7th trophy all the way into the top spot, just 0.002 in front of Bauer. A re-run would again plague Bauer, as James Yom stopped for a down cone on his first left-side run. He would take full advantage to take the win by 0.433 over Shultz and Bauer. Bauer’s co-driver, Charly Spyksma, would end the weekend just 0.088 out of the trophies.
B4 brought an eclectic mix of “cars” from Street Prepared and Kart Mod. Current BSP National Champion, Anthony Porta, led this tough class from start to finish in his 2005 Mazdaspeed Miata. He finished the weekend with a win over multi-time National Champion, Tom Berry, in his ASP Mitsubishi Evo by 0.756. With this win, he was the 4th overall qualifier for the Super Challenge as well.
If you are thinking about building an ND Miata for either CS or STR, you’ll want to watch for a forthcoming article on the parts that are available right here from Mazda Motorsports. CS winner Brian Coulson was using the parts developed by Ron Bauer. Tire partner BFGoodrich was also well represented with the top drivers in both CS and STR being on their updated Rival S “1.5.”
This coming weekend will see many of these drivers returning to Crows Landing for the Championship Tour, so stay tuned for a full write-up of that event.