LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept. 3, 2013) – The Super Stock class may prove to be the toughest in which to take home a title at The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. With a combined 43 National Championships in the 37-car field, the level of talent in the group is enormous.
Not only are former National Champions abound in Super Stock, but a number of competitors in this class have become stalwarts in the SCCA Solo community. That fact is no better illustrated than by the number of Solo Drivers of Eminence there are in the class. That esteemed list includes Mark Daddio, of Beacon Falls, Conn., Sam Strano, of Brookville, Penn., and Gary Thomason, of Oceanside, Calif.
The Solo Driver of Eminence award is selected by the Solo Events Board from nominations submitted by the general membership. The award, given out since 1984, is presented to the driver that not only shows great skill behind the wheel, but also exemplifies sportsmanship, dedication and unselfishness.
Daddio, Strano and Thomason all agreed that they are attracted to the Super Stock class because they want to pit their skills against some of the best drivers that SCCA Solo competition has to offer.
“There’s lots of fast guys [in this class], lots of that have won National Championships in other classes,” Daddio said. “Everyone seems to be coming to this class to run against some high-level competition. That’s why I’m here, and I think that’s why most of the other guys are here. The cars are a blast to drive.”
Winning in such a difficult class is not easy, but then again these three seasoned and highly-decorated drivers are not interested in titles, as much as facing the best of the best.
“It’s going to take near-perfect runs both days to come away with the championship,” Thomason said. “There are six or eight guys with multiple championships in Pro Solo and Solo. One of them, particularly like Mark Daddio, Sam Strano or Matthew Braun, are going to put two good days together. If you don’t [do well], you could easily be fifth with very minor mistakes.”
The rear-wheel drive, high-horsepower cars take an experienced hand to control and Strano’s Stranoparts.com Chevrolet Corvette is no exception.
“Personally, I’m a rear-wheel, V8 junkie,” Strano said. “I like to go fast, and I like big, sticky tires. I think all the drivers in this class like [big tires], too.
“I think, in the next few years you’ll see this class and E Street Prepared just blow up. These cars are just a lot of fun to drive. They aren’t easy, you just can’t put your accelerator to the mat, but there’s a huge variety of cars. You have Lotuses, [Porsche] GT3s and a lot of Corvettes.”
Aside from being a fast driver, Strano is also an experienced course designer. He’s been designing national-level Solo courses dating back to 2008, with this year being the first time he has created the course for the National Championships. However, Strano isn’t counting on that as an advantage over the competition.
“Is it an advantage? Nope,” Strano said. “In fact, it can be a big disadvantage because you start thinking about it too much. Then, you start overthinking things. When I came out here in May, I tried to not get hung up on the little things and over think it.
“I didn’t work with Howard [Duncan] to set this course up, so the feedback was a little different. Some parts were different than what I had imagined, but it turned out really well.
“In this class, with all the competition, there’s no advantage.”
Strano’s competition had positive reviews for the course and the Lincoln Airpark facility. Daddio, driving a Chevrolet Corvette, is look forward to making his first run on a course that may allow him to stretch the legs of his high-horsepower machine.
“As far as the courses for this event, they both look pretty good,” Daddio said. “They both look challenging. They are longer than normal, especially the East Course, which is cool because it presents more of a challenge. This is the Nationals, and wherever it is we’ll be there. This is a huge, nice surface and the weather has been great. I’m looking forward to it.”
Thomason was not only complimentary of the course, but also the hospitality of the city, in general.
“I run the majority of my local events at El Toro [California], which is an excellent site,” Thomason said “The grip level here is, actually, a little higher than that of El Toro. This is a fabulous site. There’s so much room and the surface is very good. You don’t have to worry about any issues with the racing surface, at all.
“Nebraska is a very friendly state, with a lot of nice people. Lincoln is such a nice city with a lot to offer to those who don’t live here.”
This 41st edition of The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships is the first of a five-year deal between SCCA and the City of Lincoln. There is an additional option that may extend Lincoln Airpark as the home of the Solo Nationals through the 50th running, in 2022. Considering the overwhelming positive feedback, there are many Soloists that will look forward to returning to Lincoln for the foreseeable future.
The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships continues through Friday, Sept. 6. National Championships in Super Stock, as well as the balance of the classes that hit the course on Tuesday, will be crowned following the second day of competition on Wednesday.
Follow the results from The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sccaofficial, on Twitter @SCCAOfficial or here.
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