LINCOLN, Neb. (September 5, 2013) - Winning a championship at the Tire Rack SCCA® Solo® National Championships is difficult. Winning more than one puts you into an already elite category, and winning more than 10 of them puts you in rarified air.
Patty Tunnell, of Superior, Colo., has done all of that. But she’s also done something that no one else can claim – she’s earned a National Championship in the Stock, Street Prepared, Modified, Street Modified, and Prepared categories. Coincidentally, she’s running in the one missing category, Street Touring®, this week.
Tunnell has a chance to become the only driver to win a National Championship in all six categories this week when she buckles in behind the wheel of the FT-86 SpeedFactory/BarekAub.com Scion FR-S in the Street Touring Xtreme Ladies class.
Her weapon of choice this year is a car owned and driven by Jeremy Boyson and Tunnell’s co-driver, Brooke Bierman. They met Tunnell and her husband, Bob, earlier this year at a Solo event and decided to come to Lincoln for the first time.
It’s a giant change for Tunnell, who has gotten used to the E Modified BMW that blew a motor on the final run for Bob a year ago. In many ways, Tunnell will have to unlearn some driving habits to hustle the Street Touring car through her runs.
“I just met them at the divisional, and they let me drive the car because we blew the motor in our car and haven’t fixed it,” Tunnell said. “I took five or six runs in it and I realized I’d forgotten my roots in speed maintenance. I think I’d begun to rely on pushing the right pedal and it will get you out of anything; you’re either on the gas or on the brake and that’s way it goes.”
Tunnell’s record is more of an accident than anything. The Tunnells are fixtures at the Solo Nationals, and most of Patty’s 13 titles have come in the BMW. The car began in the Stock Category, and Patty moved with the car as modifications progressed through the ranks.
So, record or not, the goals remain the same as always – and it’s not for a National Championship.
“The goal is always to have fun,” Tunnell said. “That’s why we’re here and that’s what is important. If you show up every year hoping to win a Championship, you’re going to burn out.
“After that, to trophy would be just great. I haven’t raced much of anything in the last five years, and when I do it’s always a different car. I do about three races a year, one of them being the Nationals, and I don’t care who you are, you just need seat time. But we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.”
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