Mark Dudek is the Rookie of the Year after finishing sixth in STR in a Miata
There may be a decent amount of National Champions across the spectrum of SCCA’s autocross classes, but there is only one SCCA Solo Driver of the Year – and for 2017, that honor befell Daniel McCelvey from the Houston Region. McCelvey won his second C Street title in a fourth-generation Miata, but his story doesn’t end there.
The SCCA Solo Driver of the Year, chosen by the Solo Events Board from nominations submitted by the membership at large, is awarded to the competitor who has demonstrated exceptional skill or has overcome major obstacles to produce an outstanding performance at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. The award is presented at the SCCA National Convention, recently concluded in Las Vegas, Nev.
There are plenty of distractions during Solo Nationals. This year, one immense distraction impacted several competitors: Hurricane Harvey. The storm’s two-day rampage along the Gulf Coast displaced families and flooded homes of SCCA members, and almost kept McCelvey from making the trip to Lincoln, Neb. But with Harvey’s floodwaters receding from their home and a cleanup crew assembling, McCelvey’s wife, Laurie, convinced him to pack up and head to Lincoln Airpark. There, a tall task awaited in the C Street class, which had been condensed from the previous year and had more intense competition.
Through Thursday, McCelvey battled cone penalties and course conditions to earn the slimmest, 0.002-second lead. On Friday, he extended that slim margin by an astonishing 1.295 seconds thanks to laser focus and millimeter precision, thus securing the class victory.
In addition, Mark Dudek, a Mazda driver, was named the Nexen Solo Rookie of the year at the SCCA National Convention. On his first trip to Lincoln Airpark, Dudek strapped into an STR Mazda Miata and claimed sixth place (0.085 seconds out of third) in the highly competitive class at the 2017 Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals.
Dudek gained experience in the New England Region. After making his first trip out to Nationals by himself, co-driver and car owner William Koscielny pressed Dudek into teaming up to make a proper run at the 2017 Nationals. While Koscielny provided the platform, it was Dudek’s responsibility to sort it out. Dudek said he felt the Devons SCCA Solo Championship Tour was the turning point in the year, as they felt the car was really dialed in by then.
“I want to thank Will for not only allowing me to co-drive with him, but also pushing me to do so,” Dudek said. “I would also like to thank all the people of the New England Region, and I look forward to making a run at the Championship again next year!”