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The Motor State Challenge - Motor State Of Mind
We Head To Michigan Where The Camaros Roam Free And Wild.
Oct 1, 2010
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The Motor State Challenge - Motor State Of Mind
Saturday's road course had nearly 70 cars, but not everyone could stay for the entire weekend, so Sunday was down to 50 cars. At the end of the day, this is the hardcore gang of gearheads that were left.
There was carnage even before the event began. Randy Bell drove his trailer-pulling Camaro to the event, but FUBAR'd a wheel bearing in the process. Having the trailer meant he had tools for the fix, so he got busy in the hotel parking lot and made the repairs. Our kind of guy! Because of his overall attitude he was awarded with the "Spirit of the Event" trophy.
The main sponsor for this event is Motor State Distributing in Watervliet, Michigan. Here Scott Wahlstrom goes over the rules and gives out general event info to the participants. After the talk, there was a tour of Motor State Distributing and Lane Automotive.
This event is all about driving our cars, so Friday included a 40-mile cruise through some scenic Michigan roads and concluded at a park overlooking Lake Michigan for a BBQ dinner hosted by Flowmaster and K&N.
Wearing California black plates, Rob Chiluk's '69 RS/SS made us a bit homesick. Like many at the event, his main goal was to have fun. From the looks of things he managed to have a blast.
Randy Johnson was literally on fire during his lap sessions, where he qualified with a 1:41.45 run. In the finals he slowed a bit to a 1:42.71, but we give him extra style points for the light show.
At last year's event Jim Nilsen was wishing his Camaro was finished and on the road. After a ton of hard work, Jim finished his car enough to make the event. His '67 is called Cormaro because of all the 'Vette touches, from the wheels to the hue its yellow paint.
Saturday morning everyone arrived at GingerMan raceway for the road course portion of the event. First up was a tech/safety inspection where helmets and tires were checked. Here Scott Carey's sweet '69 is checked over by the SCCA inspectors. Over 65 cars showed up to hit the big track.
The crew at Detroit Speed Inc. have been building this car for years and were finally able to deliver it to a very happy Michael Manning on Friday. Twenty-four hours later, Michael was flogging the fresh '69 around the track. He certainly knows how to break in a Camaro proper-like. Check out www.camaroperformers.com for an in-car video of one of his laps.
With the exception of third-gens, every generation of Camaro was represented at the event. Here we caught Doug Warren getting on the throttle of his '02 SS.
Contrary to what some may think, you don't need some tricked-out Pro Touring car to have fun at these events. If you don't believe it, just ask Rich Gregory, who came out in his restored real-deal 302-powered Z/28 Camaro. Shod in 15-inch steel rally wheels wrapped in BFG rubber, he didn't turn in the fastest times, but he had a blast at both the road course and Sunday's autocross. The '10 Camaro coming up on his tale belongs to Scott Carey.
Another late-model Camaro at the party was John Smith's (yes, his real name) fourth-gen. John managed a best time of 1:46.34 on the road course.
Camaro Performers' cover car alumnus Payton King brought his LS-powered '69 all the way from North Carolina for this event and was determined to have as much fun as possible out on the track.
We were really impressed with how many past Camaro Performers magazine feature cars were at the event, since it really showcases what our magazine is all about. Here, Vinny Allegretta whips his '68 through turn two at GingerMan. In qualifying he ran a 1:42 flat, but in the shootout that time dropped to a 1:42.71 locking him in at 12th place for the road course.
When Greg Halliwill's '72 Camaro rolled up, it looked like it belonged at a car show rather than a racetrack, but that didn't stop Greg from hittin' the tarmac hard. Look for the full feature on this second-gen in this issue.
We see Ray Thompson at quite a few driving events and he's always having a great time pushing his '68 Camaro and improving his driving skills.
Charley Lillard brought his LS9-powered '69 all the way from California to enjoy some quality track time in his Camaro affectionately nicknamed Jackass. He qualified in the fifth spot (1:39.08), but slowed down a bit in the finals (1:39.74) for a 7th place road course finish. If his ride looks familiar it's because it graced the cover of our October 2009 issue.
We all call Albert Melchior the "Crazy Canadian" and, if you saw how he drove his big-block powered '72 RS, you would know why. Here, we caught him sticking it in turn three with Brian Finch hanging off his bumper. Albert's nose-heavy second-gen managed a best time of 1:42.64 at GingerMan Raceway, but unfortunately he couldn't stay for the autocross portion of the event.
Besides being one of the organizers of the event, Steve Chryssos was also a participant in his distinctive '68 Camaro. Best road course time was 141.40, but he had to head back home to Florida before Sunday's autocross.
If there's an event that involves running cars hard, you can be sure to find Detroit Speed on hand with a few of their toys. Here, Stacy Tucker brakes hard into turn one off the big GingerMan main straight.
Another CP past feature car at the event was Steve Lenning's '69. Powered by an LS engine, his Camaro managed a 1:46.33 on the GingerMan track and 37.010 on the autocross course. Here, we caught him cutting a corner just a touch too much, and launching a cone into low orbit.
DSE's Kyle Tucker had a great weekend despite some engine issues. He managed the third-fastest road course time and 4th place in the autocross. Rumor has it, his wife Stacy bought him a new mill for his birthday and, if true, we expect him to be even faster once it's stuffed between his Camaro's fenders.
Randy Bell symbolizes everything we love about this hobby and, if you cut him open, he would most likely bleed 30-weight oil. He's also a damn good driver, and ran his California Suede Camaro to a best road course time of 1:38.43-good enough for 5th place.
Sunday was all about the autocrossing action. We caught this past feature car owned by Danny Thomas of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee weaving through the cones, where his '67 RS knocked down a best time of 37.876 seconds.
It really sucks to work these events and not drive. Nick Licata borrowed a V-6 '10 and hit the autocross track, where he knocked down an impressive 38.354 second run. Not bad considering the base model Camaro was wearing uber-hard 620 treadwear tires.
Debuting at the event was Mark Stielow's '69 supercharged 427 Camaro called Red Devil. The F-body had only been on the road for a bit over a day before Mark was thrashing it around the track, and even though a few issues creeped up, he still managed to turn in the fastest time of the day with a 1:35.73 run. Mark's Camaro also picked up the People's Choice car show trophy.
Brian Finch was on fire in the autoross. His times reflect tons of seat time in a well sorted-out car, so it wasn't surprising that he nailed down the fastest time of the day with a 34.231 second run. Combined with his 2nd place road course time, he acquired enough points to secure the overall event win. The competition was certainly close, with the 1st place and 5th place cars separated by less than a second.
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