Several years ago there was an explosion of events geared toward guys who wanted to run their cars hard rather than just endlessly rub on them with microfiber towels. The main problem for us West Coasters was that all these events seemed to be East Coast, or at best Midwest, affairs. Luckily, a few cats back East took pity on us and organized the inaugural Run To The Coast event in 2010. It combined a full-blown road course, autocross, and Speed-Stop competition into two days guaranteed to satiate the needs of those wanting to haul ass in their hot rods.
Since then, driving events have only gained in popularity to the point where Bill Howell, Yancy Johns, and Brian Finch have formed a new company called American Street Car Series. ASCS’ sole mission is to organize driving events around the country geared toward American muscle cars. So, how popular has this event become? Well, this year the whole grid of 70-plus spots sold out a day after registration opened. Pent up demand? Maybe, but all we know is that it warms our collective hearts to see so much classic muscle getting used the way God intended.
Now let’s get this straight, this is a competition, but the organizers really stress that the main goal is for people to have fun driving their cars. As such, many of the rules incorporate the “spirit” of the event rather than specific legalese that racers can try to contort their way around. Sure, there are some serious cars, with some really serious drivers in attendance, but that doesn’t mean the event isn’t friendly toward those with more driving desire than actual driving skill. After all, even a wheelman like DSE’s Kyle Tucker was a rookie at some point (although we’ve heard rumors his first baby shoes were Nomex).
Like previous years, the anchor event was a 1.8-mile road course set up by Orange County Race Craft on the now-defunct El Toro air base runways. Now, to call this course hard on brakes would be a huge understatement. Long straights into sharp 180-degree turns boiled fluid and made rotors turn all sorts of interesting colors, but man, was it fun! The autocross was set up to test driver reaction times and the car’s ability to stick in very fast turns and transitions. The ASCS also inserted a new event called Speed-Stop-Squared (SS2) in place of the old Speed-Stop competition. Two cars lined up at a full-on Tree, just like at the dragstrip. On green they both launched down a 1,000ish-foot straightaway. At the end, the left car turned left while the right car went right into a 180-degree turn and back through a slalom course. The run culminated in a stop box. It was a blast to watch and a challenge to run since red lighting at the tree, hitting a slalom cone, or failing to stop in the rather small stop box resulted in a DNF. The event rules were simple, cars had to pass a safety inspection, be street legal, and have tires with a treadwear of 200 or higher. Cars on softer tires could run, but their times wouldn’t be posted in the final results. There was also contingency program, sponsored by BFGoodrich, with lots of prize money up for grabs. Aside from all the driving events there was a Saturday night taco party sponsored by Doug Renner and JCG Customs. Sunday featured a cruise to the NHRA museum in Pomona and then to Total Cost Involved (TCI) in Ontario for lunch. The driving events get sort of hectic, so it’s nice to have these more relaxed activities to hang out with fellow gearheads and enjoy what this sport is all about: making friends and enjoying our rides.