There’s something to be said for grassroots types of events; you know the kind where there’s little cause for worrying. Instead you’re there to hang with your peers, packing minimal tools, and buckled up behind the wheel for a spirited thrill ride. There isn’t big money involved for winning; instead the winner earns a small trophy and the prestige of being the champ. That, my friend, is what Run to the Coast (RTTC) is all about.
This year marked the second running of RTTC at the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, California. The biggest difference over last year’s event is that instead of having one full day of fun, we had an entire weekend. Friday involved a 100-plus mile cruise, which ran up the coast along some of the more glamorous beach cities and then headed inland toward Ontario, where we checked in at Spectre Performance for lunch and an open chassis dyno session. For the next stop, the entire band of street machines headed to K1 Speed for a little indoor go-kart action, and before the day was over, everyone battled SoCal’s rain-beat freeways for one more stop. This time to Total Cost Involved for a shop tour and a barbecue feast that was second to none.
For the next two days, close to 74 cars took part in the Baer Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, Carbon Kustoms Autocross, and Detroit Speed Road Course. The format was simple; everyone was placed in a run group and sent to their designated areas. Once completed, they moved onto the next portion of the event. And the number-one rule imposed: no passing on the road course.
The only downside, depending on how you looked at it, was Saturday’s downpour. While it was a little slippery, it didn’t prevent anyone from getting seat time. Sunday proved to be a whole new day with incredibly clear skies and sunshine; albeit it was still chilly, but nonetheless much nicer. With the improved weather, Sunday’s format was changed slightly, opening up the morning road course session as timed practice laps. This was to help everyone get a bit more familiar with the course, and the RTTC crew reestablished its timers for the afternoon session. Also, all competitors were allowed to run through any portion of the event again to better their times, as long as it was handled in the allotted time.
As we mentioned earlier, there isn’t big money involved here for the winners; however, that doesn’t mean there weren’t great prizes involved. The overall winner, which we’ll disclose in the following pages, earned a trophy and a ticket to compete at the annual Optima Street Car Challenge in Pahrump, Nevada, which is slated after the SEMA show. Other prizes included a set of wheels from Driverz, a choice of tires from BFGoodrich, and a host of other goodies.
At the end of the weekend, everyone had fun, and we all walked away with a smile. Of course, the people in the background are often overlooked, so we want to acknowledge the true heroes of this event. Many thanks go to coordinators Bill Howell, Yancy Johns, and Danny Thomas. These guys are no strangers to these types of events and have already added additional venues for Pigeon Forge and Nashville Speedway in Tennessee, including a Run to the Shore in New Jersey. For more information, head over to Pro-Touring.com and check out the Racing Events and Performance section.
From the Seat
’02 Z06 Corvette
People always say that the car is just an extension of the driver. We absolutely agree because our Z06 is pretty dialed in and makes driving through most situations relatively easy. Case in point, we managed to whittle our time in the autocross from 45.185 Saturday’s wet course to 40.83 during Sunday’s dry morning session. With the numbers set, we handed the keys to one of our shooters Robert McGaffin for fun runs, only to have him match us on his first hit. By his third run, he was running even quicker with a 40.377, and honestly, it was pretty cool to see. The road course was an absolute blast, and we’re looking forward to our next opportunity to stretch the Z06’s legs. And when it came to the speed stop, it was a personal favorite. The wide-open throttle acceleration was a rush and stabbing the brake as hard as possible was another cool feeling in itself. More importantly, the number-one lesson learned: seat time, seat time, seat time! Regardless of what you’re driving that alone will make all the difference in the world.
Baer Brakes Speed Stop challenge top 10
|Henry De Los Santos||11.978|
|Detroit Speed Inc.|
Carbon Kustoms Autocross
|Henry De Los Santos||40.83|
Detroit Speed Road Course*
*Best times combined from Saturday and Sunday.
From the Seat
We can’t be more proud of our quaint ’72 Nova build. Aside from its lack of luster, our Nova can hang with the best of them with only basic gear underneath. All it took was a great platform to start adding to. At this year’s RTTC, it turned out respectable times through the autocross track, too, placing us in the middle of the pack. We’ve completed the basics, adding only the parts necessary to remain competitive, like adjustable suspension, disc brakes, and a posi rearend. Of course, fatter rubber helps but we’ve learned some simple tricks, like adjusting tire pressure can prevent the tires from pushing through the turns. This small change alone knocked nearly 3 seconds off our autocross times. It’s proof you don’t have to shell out tons of dough to remain competitive and have loads of fun. We’re far from done, but for now our plans call for more seat time through additional events to truly dial in our Nova. CHP