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Run To The Coast - Going Coastal
Camaros Hit the West Coast In A Big Way.
Jul 1, 2010
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Run To The Coast - Going Coastal
Kyle Tucker of Detroit Speed typically works his second-gen Camaro like a surgeon wields a scalpel, so it's pretty rare when our cameras catch him laying down some cone carnage. Tucker worked it hard and ended up having some of the fastest times of the day, coming in Third overall for the road course, Fourth for the autocross, and Second for the braking challenge. In the Vendor class, he finished in Second place behind his DSE teammate.
One very cool aspect of this event was that the organizers offered a professional driving school. They covered apexes, braking zones, and a host of other performance driving skills. Here, Nathan Swartzbaugh of Orange County Race Craft and former F1 driver Roberto Guerrero go over the track layout and rules during Friday's track session. If you're in the area and want to get schooled on how to drive fast then check out www.ocracecraft.com.
Wherever autocross maven Mary Pozzi goes, shenanigans aren't far behind. Here she performs a clandestine stickering of Editor Nick Licata's Z28 with her now infamous off-color driving utterance. By the end of the day nearly everything on wheels wore the phrase.
The main driving event was set for Saturday morning at the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro. The long and wide runways once used by military aircraft are perfect for driving events. In fact, it's where most of the magazines do their own testing. The sold-out event drew nearly 50 cars for the competition.
Mike Provencher had a blast on the autocross course where he managed a best time of 49.15 seconds. The '67 sports a blown small-block underhood and rides on a DSE suspension. Mike's fastest lap on the road course was a 2:28.61 run.
The biggest winner of the day just might have been Mike Write. This isn't because Write turned in top times flogging his '69 Camaro, but because his name was picked in the drawing for a free set of rollers from Prodigy Customs and Forgeline wheels. "I was speechless; very surprised and grinning ear to ear about the new wheels. Huge thanks to Frank Serafine, Prodigy Customs, and Forgeline Wheels! They are beautiful and I can't wait to get them on my car," Write says. This was only his second driving event, and we're pretty sure he's hooked.
One super badass ride at the event was Las Vegas resident Todd Akes' Camaro. Powered by a 660hp all-aluminum ZL1 that displaces 489 cubes, this thing just oozes performance. Under the Camaro there's a DSE subframe and a Chassisworks g-Bar four-link. Akes' was running super-sticky Toyo R888 100-treadwear tires so his '69 was put into the Exhibition class, but his times of 1:50.79 on the road course, 41.831 at the autocross, and 13.94 in the Speed-Stop Challenge were damn good. Who says big-block cars can't handle?
We caught Matt Lazich, owner of Anvil Auto, flinging his carbon-fiber festooned Camaro through the autocross course, where he managed a best time of 47.809 seconds. Matt, like many others at the event, hasn't done a ton of driving events, but that didn't get in the way of having a great time.
With steel wheels and tires that look better suited to drag racing, David Fryer's Camaro stood out from the crowd. He came to the event more interested in having fun than taking home a trophy.
Aaron Raymond is a man on a tight budget who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. His '69 is a work in progress, but he's already swapped in a used 6.0L LS engine along with a T-56 transmission. In this shot we caught him working the road course to a best time of 2:13.80. He managed a 46.116 at the autocross and 15.353 on Speed-Stop Challenge. Not bad considering this is only the second time he's been on a track.
Another Camaro with a killer stance was Doug Renner's '69. He's been slowly upgrading his bitchin black F-body over the last couple of years. Most recently he upgraded the front brakes to a set of big Baer binders with plans to ditch the rear drums over the summer. Renner knocked down a 2:08.65 time on the road course and a 45.936 on the autocross. After the event, he hosted a party where it's rumored he "saw Elvis" after sampling some Tennessee sippin' whiskey out of a mason jar.
"What a blast! That was a great event and my car did much better than its driver did," Mike Kelcy says. This was proof that you didn't need to lay down killer lap times to have fun at the event. We saw Kelcy out on the road course, but no time was recorded. Then again, he was having so much fun wheeling his '68 we doubt he cared!
Corey Condit came out from Scottsdale, Arizona, to put his cousin Jack Fields' TCI-equipped '67 though its paces. At the end of the day he managed a 2:05.69 on the big track and 45.946 at the autocross.
Rick Klein's '68 is simply gorgeous, and it's on our short list of cars we want to shoot for the magazine. His car sports an all-iron 396 big-block, Tremec TKO-600 trans and suspension parts from Global West, DSE, and Hotchkis Performance. Klein managed a very good 2:02.47 on the road course in the nose-heavy Camaro along with a 47.188 on the autocross and 15.714 in the Speed-Stop Challenge.
One of the more unique fashion accessories at the RTTC event was the pink cowboy hat. This hat was presented to whoever spun their car, and they were required to wear it until the next person took a spin. Let's just say quite a few people donned the headgear during the day. Here we caught DSE's Ryan Mathews looking pretty in pink.
The day started out rough for James Faria when a missing starter bolt almost took him out of the competition. Luckily, he was able to catch a ride into town and found a suitable replacement. He bought his '69 as a present to himself when he was getting out of the Air Force and, since then, has been steadily improving the Camaro. Right now the ride sports a 496 big-block Viper T-56 trans, DSE suspension, and Baer brakes on all four corners. Faria finished in the Top 10 overall with a 2:03.93 road course, 45.946 autocross, and 14.681 in the Speed-Stop Challenge.
Drive it like you stole it, or in the case of Jimi Day, like you borrowed it. Since Ridetech's Bret Voelkel couldn't make it to the event, he asked Day to beat on the Velocity Camaro. He managed a 2:04.88 on the road course, 43.573 on the autocross, and 14.765 in the Speed-Stop Challenge.
Baer Brakes' Speed-Stop Challenge proved one of the more difficult events to master. The idea was that you launched from a dead stop, accelerated, and then came to a stop inside a 50-foot box at the end of the run. If you stopped too soon or blew through the back of the box, you got a big fat DNF. With only three shots allowed, some drivers just couldn't find the right spot to slam on the brakes. Here, James Shipka launches on his way to a 14.246 second run. As evidence of how tough this event was, David Pozzi ran the same car but placed far lower with a 14.977, showing that timing was everything in this event.
Mathews piloted the '69 DSE Test Car in the Vendor class where he took the top spot in all three events. If you look at the overall times, Mathews dominated with Second place on the road course, Second at the autocross, and First in the Speed-Stop Challenge. This is what happens when you put a great driver into a killer car!
In news that's not going to surprise anyone, Mary Pozzi posted the fastest autocross time of the day with a tire-blistering time of 40.258 seconds. More surprising was that she laid down the fifth fastest time on the road course with a 1:53.81 lap. That put her in contention for the overall win, but she couldn't get in the groove for the Speed-Stop Challenge and only managed a 15.361 best time.
Brian Finch came out all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, to run in the sun. His Second place overall road course run (Fifth overall), Third place finish in the autocross (Sixth overall), and First place in the Speed-Stop Challenge (Third overall) helped Finch barely edge out David Pozzi for the overall win and title of "King Of The Coast."
With Licata's Black Betty Z28 out of the action, he jumped into TCI's '68 Camaro where he managed a 1:57 flat on the road course and third fastest overall at the autocross with a 40.458-second run. Sal Solorzano of TCI later put down a 14.278 in the braking challenge driving the '68.
And the Pozzi winning streak continued with David Pozzi laying down the fastest road course time. With a best lap of 1:49.88, he was only a few seconds off the Porsche Carrera GT supercar that put down 1:44.190. This, combined with his strong showing in the autocross (40.729 seconds), put him in the lead to win the overall for the open class. Unfortunately he suffered the same fate as his wife, Mary, in the Speed-Stop Challenge, and it cost him the "King of the Coast" title.
Pro-touring.com founder Larry Callahan brought his Motiv8tor Camaro out for the day. Callahan is still battling a few gremlins, one of which led to a small oil fire on Friday that was extinguished by a quick-thinking Mary Pozzi. By Saturday, the mess was cleaned up and Callahan was back on track turning in a 2:08.320 on the road course, 47.198 on the autocross, and a 15.307 in the Speed-Stop Challenge.
Whenever we run into Long Beach, California, resident Chad Ryker, he's piloting his '68 and wearing a big grin. His ZZ4 350 small-block only puts 280 horses to the rear wheels, but all that seat time paid off with a very respectable 2:04.08 on the road course.
Sarkis Ashteokenyan didn't want to jack up his fresh paintjob, so he broke out the blue tape and went to town on his '67 RS. In fact, if the car's color was a bit lighter or the tape a bit darker we may not have even noticed.
Matt Alcala brought out this beautiful '69 LS-powered Camaro built by our buddies over at Best of Show Coach Works. With less than 1,500 miles on the odometer, this was the Camaro's first driving event. And while Alcala's times of 53.837 on the autocross and 2:14.47 on the road course weren't in the top of the bell curve, the fact that he was willing to beat on such a sweet, and freshly done, Camaro made us proud. Alcala's ride was nice enough to be chosen as the event's car show winner.
To us, Carl Casanova symbolizes everything we love about this hobby. His '68 is nice without being over the top, it hauls ass, and can stick in the corners. He's also a firm believer that driving to an event is almost as much fun as the event itself. He left his home way before dawn to make the 100-mile trip, beat the snot out of his Camaro, then turned around and drove it home.
When we told Editor Nick Licata to go out and "nail that apex" he took us a bit too literally. His first event was the road course and, after a few laps, he limped in the '01 Z28 with a dead back tire. It turns out that he managed to pick up a rather large nail in his inside rear sidewall. You know it's just not your day when a nail pierces your tire, backwards. This cut his time in Black Betty short, but he did manage to grab some seat time in a few of the other Camaros. Be sure to visit www.camaroperformers.com to see some video of his road course run.
We saw Casanova hitting the road course hard but for whatever reason, there's no score recorded. Maybe it was because he kept catching the car in front but, given that he was on 180-treadwear tires, we suppose the times are a moot point. We do show he managed a 44.744-second run on the autocross, though.
Here's proof that Casanova tried hard in the Speed-Stop Challenge. Maybe a bit too hard, given how bad he FUBAR'd his right, front Kumho tire. We imagine it was bit annoying on the long drive back home.
Our 2010 Camaro SS project car was shared at the event by owner Yancy Johns and tech editor Steven Rupp. Here Johns makes a run though the cones to a best time of 42.072. Rupp ran the Speed-Stop Challenge for a Sixth place time of 14.359. On the road course the car seemed a bit "off" and threw a code that showed to be a lean condition. We later found that the GM fuel pump was unable to keep up with the nearly 550 rear-wheel horsepower our Camaro puts down.
Bad luck hit Chris Robinson hard when an engine failure knocked his big-block- powered Camaro out of the competition. Before the internal combustion carnage took place, he managed a best road course time of 2:18.97.
Paul Setter came out from Chino, California, to get some wheel time in his '69 RS. The drivetrain consists of a ZZ4 small-block and Tremec TKO-600 transmission while braking is courtesy of a set of Baer binders. We show he ran a 2:13.06 on the 2.1-mile road course and a 47.598 on the autocross but more importantly, he gained more track experience.
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