As the season winds down, competitors look toward the SCCA ProSolo Finale in Lincoln
While the SCCA ProSolo season is rapidly coming to a close and much can change with the remaining event and the double-points Finale in Lincoln, Neb., this September, the current points picture gives a good idea of where things are heading. And Mazda drivers appear to be running strong.
Darrin DiSimo was competing in Street Touring Roadster in 2017 and finished out of the trophies at year’s end. But for 2018 he switched to C Street and is leading the points with two wins. He leads fellow fourth-generation Miata drivers Charles Krampert, Dave Ogburn III, Dennis Barrett and DJ Allessandrini in a four-way tie for second.
Daniel McCelvey went the other way, going from CS to STR. Last year in CS, he had a solid points position but missed the Finale due to Hurricane Harvey (he made it to Lincoln in time to win the Solo National Championships in CS). This year McCelvey has two wins in STR, tied with Jonathan Lugod and just a tick ahead of 2017 champ Brian Karwan, whom McCelvey credits for helping get his car in order.
“I got really lucky at the Spring Nationals ProSolo to have Brian Karwan co-drive with me after the car he was initially driving had a mechanical issue,” explains McCelvey. “Going into that event, my car setup was way off and he really helped me get the car headed in the right direction and on pace. The following ProSolo at Mineral Wells was probably the first time this year I’ve been really happy with the car setup, so hopefully that is a good omen going into the Finale.
“The car still isn’t as dialed in for high-grip concrete as I would like, but I feel as a driver I am finally getting up to speed, and I have some time now to focus on the car and make sure we are ready,” McCelvey says.
That co-drive with Karwan helped a lot, as McCelvey admits to some difficulties moving from CS to STR and also some surprise that he’s in as good a position as he is as Lincoln nears.
“It’s been a really challenging year making the jump from CS to STR, and nailing the car setup along with adapting my driving has been really tough,” he says. “We had some difficulties getting the car running right over the winter, which burned most of the tuning and setup time I had planned before the national season started. Because of that, I feel we’ve been on the back foot all year trying to get caught up.
“STR is filled with such talent, so at every event you are always fighting for every tenth of a second,” McCelvey points out. “I came away with a fourth-place finish at my first ProSolo event of the year in Blytheville, but only 0.2sec off the leader. The field at that event was stacked with the top two finishers at the Solo Nationals last year and was a nice wake-up call to the competition level in STR.”
David Whitener, the 2017 ProSolo champ in Street Touring Sport, once again is at the top of the standings with 40 points from three wins in his Miata. Fellow Miata driver Gary Cameron is in second with 33. Kim Whitener is in a tie with Jessica Pao for the Ladies 3 points, driving the family Miata. Like David, Kim has three wins, but only the best two events are counted. Tamra Hunt leads the Ladies 1 standings with 40 points from two wins and a second in an RX-8.
Miata drivers lead two of the composite Prepared/Modified categories. Randall Wilcox, who ended up third in the Super Street Modified standings in 2017, goes into the Finale with 40 points in S1. RX-7 driver Jake Namer is in a tie for second. Neal Tovsen finished second in the C Street Prepared points in 2017, and also heads to Lincoln with 40 points in hand to lead the S2 points over Matthew Hodges.
ProSolo competitors can enter as many events as they like, but only the top two finishes prior to the Finale are counted. The ProSolo Finale, which takes place the weekend before the Tire Rack Solo National Championships at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska, counts for double, or half the possible points a competitor can earn toward the championship. One event remains in the 2018 ProSolo Championship before the Finale, and that is the Oscoda, Mich., ProSolo on Aug. 3-5.
ProSolo Points Leaders
CS: 1. Darren DiSimo, Miata, 40; Dave Ogburn II, Miata, 36; Charles Krampert, Miata, 36; Dennis Barrett, Miata, 36; DJ Allessandrini, Miata, 36
STR: Daniel McCelvey, Miata, 40; Jonathan Lugod, MX-5, 40; Brian Karwan, MX-5, 36
STS: David Whitener, Miata, 40; Gary Cameron, Miata, 33;
S1: Randall Wilcox, Miata, 40; (Erik Strelnieks, GTR, 36); Jake Namer, RX-7, 36
S2: Neal Tovsen, Miata, 40; Matthew Hodges, Miata, 33
L1: Tamra Hunt, RX-8, 40
L3: Jessica Pao, MX-5, 40; Kim Whitener, Miata, 40; Laura Campbell, Miata, 36