Even though the West Coast is widely considered the birthplace of all things hot rodding, we still constantly get screwed in terms of events. We sit here bathed in perpetual sunshine, yet it seems most of the really cool driving events are at best hundreds, and typically thousands, of miles away. Hot Rod Power Tour, Car Craft Nationals, and a host of other muscle car events are commonplace back East, but rarer than an honest politician out this way. We get the whole "population density" argument, but that doesn't mean we don't long for someone to throw us a bone now and again.
Enter Bill Howell. For the last five years he's been hosting a driving event back in Tennessee called Run Through The Hills. It combines a cruise, autocross, and drag racing into a three-day festival of tire smoke. While on vacation out here in SoCal, Howell, Yancy Johns, and Danny Thomas came out to watch Camaro Performers do some product testing at our El Toro, California, driving facility. Howell was standing there, peering out at the huge expanses of tarmac and thought, "Why couldn't we have an event here?" It was at that moment that us West Coasters caught a break, and the seeds were sown for what was later dubbed Run To The Coast (RTTC). The idea was to combine autocross, road course, and braking competitions with a cruise and a small car show. The irony is that it took three Right Coasters to give us Left Coasters what we had been clamoring for.
The Detroit Speed-sponsored road course section was ran by Orange County Race Craft. They have a killer 2.1-mile track setup at El Toro, utilizing the decommissioned runways where they put on performance driving schools, so hiring them to run that section of the competition was a "no-brainer." Howell's group handled the Ridetech-sponsored autocross, along with a few local volunteers, while the Speed-Stop Challenge was ran by Baer Brakes. Rules for the event were kept simple. The cars had to pass a safety inspection, be street legal, and have tires with a treadwear rating of 200 or higher. Bonus points were awarded to cars that drove over 100 miles to the event. After all, as Howell once said, "Trailers are for boats!" Of course, for local residents this made the drive to the track a bit more circuitous if they wanted those points.
While the main event was held on Saturday, there was also a driving school on Friday sponsored by Carbon Customs, and a Sunday cruise/BBQ hosted by Spectre Performance. Put it all together and it made for three days of gearhead bliss, especially for us West Coasters looking to get in on the action.