With over 300 entries, the Pro Solo Finale is slated to be an exciting event with the toughest competition of the season. All competitors raced in various qualifying events this season to gain enough points to race in the finale, and are now traveling to Lincoln, NE from all corners of the country to get the chance to compete.
Ladies first. We expect some exciting competition in the 12 entry L3 class. We’ve seen a handful of ladies dominating this season. Coming in with the maximum 40 points includes Kim Whitener in her 1992 Miata. Michelle Knoll has also been on a roll in her 2016 Miata with the maximum 40 points entering the finale. Just behind them sits Laura Campbell in a 2016 Miata, easily within range of the overall win. We also aren’t going to count out Cat Tran in a Mazda RX-8. While she may be a little further back with 27 points, she has had multiple Ladies Challenge wins this year, showing that she’s both fast and consistent.
In L2, the Mazda driver to watch will be Katie Barrett, who will be coming into the finale with two wins under her belt.
L1 is always an exciting class to watch. While Tamra Hunt has had some bad luck at the finale the past two years, she’s been on a roll in 2018 (and in fact is the only L1 driver coming in with the maximum 40 points). We expect this year may be the year she will take the overall win. Shelly Monfort, Nicole Wong, and Christine Grice won’t let her have it easy, however. We expect some tight racing.
In the open classes, we will start with the R2 index class filled with race tire cars. We will be keeping a close eye on both Teresa and Andy McKee in their FD RX-7, as both are high in the overall standings entering this event. However, we hear Perry Simonds has made some improvements to his car this season, so we aren’t counting him out.
In S3, we will see an interesting mix of American muscle and import cars. Given that Clint Griest isn’t there due to some bad luck early in the season that knocked him out of the points, we will be looking at Tim Kong and Andrew Krystinik in an RX-8 to put Mazda on top of this class.
In S2, we are anticipating a Mazda Miata domination (assuming it doesn’t rain, considering there’s Berry’s Evo in the class). Which one, however, may be more difficult to determine. While Billy Davis with his Miata “Jack” has historically won anything he has entered, Neal Tovsen has come back this year with a freshly developed CSP car; Matthew Hodges has also been getting up to speed with his newly acquired CSP Miata “Oscar.” We also expect Anthony Porta in his BSP Mazdaspeed Miata to be right in the mix.
Last but not least of the Hoosier classes brings us to S1. While S1 may only have seven entries, the number of past ProSolo Champions and National Champions in this class is astounding. Will it be Jake Namer in his 1993 RX-7 or Randall Wilcox in a 1996 Miata to take the win? Or will the AWD power of Erik Strelniek’s GTR overcome them?
Moving on to the Street Touring classes, we are impressed with STR this year. The top ten points positions are all held by Mazda Miata drivers, with Dan McCelvey and Jonathan Lugod going into the finale with the maximum 40 points. We expect the overall win to be taken by one of those two, or Spirit of Mazda winner Brian Garfield who is close behind them on points. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if the event win is won by someone else, not limited to Mark Dudek, David Marcus, or any number of other top competitors. The only thing we are fairly sure of is that Mazda will take the win in this fiercely competitive class.
In STS, we see no reason to believe that anyone other than David Whitener would come in first this year, with four dominating wins leading up to the finale. However, AJ Snyder also has a win under his belt and will be putting the pressure on David.
The best bargain class of Solo brings us to ES – a class dominated by MR2 Spyders and NB (second gen) Miatas. Bartek Borowski has been having an incredible season his NB Miata, and he and Eric Peterson (MR2) have traded wins at events leading up to the finale, both coming in with the maximum 40 points. Charles Mathews will also be in the hunt, along with Dennis Hubbard and Steven Hughes.
In CS, we come to the ND (fourth gen) Miata Spec Class (basically). There is no class more dominated by ND Miatas in Solo than this one. The top of the leaderboard is also the most interesting class we’ve looked at, with only two of the top five having faced each other leading up to the finale. Darrin DiSimo comes in with the maximum 40 points, but has not faced any of the rest of the top five points leaders this season. Similarly, Dave Ogburn is sitting tied for second by points, also having never faced the rest of the top five. This brings us to Dennis Barrett and DJ Alessandrini, both tied for second place points, and both having traded first and second places at the qualifying events leading up to the finale. This could be a VERY interesting finale class to watch. All of these drivers are close enough on points, that whoever manages the class win will take the overall season win.
Mazda wishes best of luck to all drivers at the ProSolo finale this weekend!