Now that the 2013 Solo National Championships are in the record books, soon to be joined by the Club Racing Runoffs in late September, it’s time for SCCA RallyCross competitors to take center stage in the world of motorsports. This year’s SCCA RallyCross® National Championship event will take place for the third time at Tulsa Raceway Park, Oct. 4-6. This will be the last year the National Championships is held at this location, with an announcement on the future location to come. RallyCross expects nearly 120 competitors to take to the dirt in Tulsa and unlike Solo competition, all runs in RallyCross count and girls don’t get separate classes—just ask 2013 Modified All Wheel Drive champion Brianne Corn!
Our annual Who Will Win predictions will be somewhat challenging for 2013 since only 65 of the expected 120 competitors were registered at the time this article went to press. In addition, widespread musical chairs with many drivers changing cars and classes this year will make the prediction process all the more difficult. But not to despair, we don’t need facts and data to accurately choose this year’s winners since dirt is the great and unpredictable equalizer.
Before we dive in to our 2013 predictions, here are a few observations about this year’s event:
• Since the inaugural RallyCross National Championships in 2005, 67 National Champions have been crowned. Twenty-two, nearly one-third, of those Champions have come from the Colorado RallyCross (combined Colorado and Continental Divide Regions) program. The Nebraska Region is second on the list with 10 National Champion trophies. Expect Colorado drivers to once again show well at this year’s event, due, in part, to the fact that they will gain more horsepower at Tulsa’s lower elevation.
• Only two National Champions have come from the West Coast. This is somewhat surprising since California has such a strong rallycross culture, great cars and fast drivers. But one can understand the reluctance of many California, Oregon and Washington drivers to make the two-day trek to the Midwest to compete. If the National Championship site ever moves west of the Rockies, we could see a significantly greater turnout of Left Coast competitors and some great competition.
• The Tulsa Raceway Park site held up well the first two years. Expect to see an even better surface this year due to recently completed site preparation work. Also, the drivers will compete on slightly shorter runs this year, with times in the 60- to 70-second range compared to last year’s 90-second, plus, runs. Hopefully, shorter run times will allow more runs!
And now, without further ado, we have crunched the numbers, consulted the tea leaves and rolled the bones to determine our 2013 Who Will Win selections. Here they are:
Stock Front Wheel Drive (SF)
Stock Front will be a battle of old school vs. new tech. Ron Foley (Honda Civic Si), Seth Lemke (Mazda2) and Jeremy Utterback (VW Jetta), and Damon Cuccia, who hopes to take delivery of his brand-spanking-new 2014 F___ F_____ _T (shhh, it’s a secret!) just in time for the event, will all be competitive in their modern, high-tech cars.
In slightly older machinery, Drew Little (Acura Integra), Jacob Perkins (Nissan Sentra SE-R), Pikes Peak Hill Climb veteran Tim Hardy and his father, Don Hardy, (Ford Escort or VW Golf) will show that old cars can still go fast. In the end, light-weight and low-tech will prevail. Expect the following results:
1. Tim Hardy
2. Jacob Perkins
3. Ron Foley
Stock Rear Wheel Drive (SR)
As the most traction-challenged class in RallyCross, SR rewards patience and exceptional car control. Michael Lodsin’s new Ford Mustang might prove too big and powerful to be fast in the dirt. Leo and Tracy Smith’s BMW 325 IS is ideally suited for RallyCross, but they’ll be up against two very experienced drivers in Coloradoan Patryk Matecki (Mazda Miata) and Californian Jason Woodruff (Mazda Miata). Give the nod to Woodruff, since Matecki’s Miata is new this season and Woodruff surely won’t want to make the long drive back to Cali without the first place trophy safely nestled in his passenger seat.
1. Jason Woodruff
2. Patryk Matecki
Stock All Wheel Drive (SA)
Many of the usual suspects in SA from last year will return for 2013, so expect the results to be similar. Despite six cones at last year’s event, Jan Gerber (Subaru WRX) edged out Gonzalo San Miguel (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS) by four seconds, for the win. Charles Wright (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS), Stephen Ducharme (Subaru WRX) and Jake Blevins (Subaru Legacy Sport) will also return to fight for the crown in 2013. The big unknown this year will be the potent VW Golf R driven by Wyoming’s Eric Adams and co-driven by past MR National Champion Will MacDonald. Can Adams and MacDonald make their respective transitions from front and rear-wheel-drive to all-wheel-drive work? In the end, here’s what the tea leaves reveal:
1. Jan Gerber
2. Gonzo San Miguel
3. Will MacDonald
4. Eric Adams
Prepared Front Wheel Drive (PF)
PF looks like a hair band reunion, with classic cars from the late 80’s and early 90’s. The top two finishers from last year are gone, so the title is up for grabs this year. Bret Hunter (Honda CRX) will be in the hunt, if his car stays together, as will Antonio Serracino (Acura Integra RS), Chang Ho Kim (Honda Civic Si) and Jim Rowland (Nissan Sentra SE-R). It’s going to be close, but here are the projected results:
1. Chang Ho Kim
2. Antonio Serracino
3. Jim Roland
4. Bret Hunter
Prepared Rear Wheel Drive (PR)
Only two competitors are currently signed up for PR and we hear Brent Blakely (Toyota MR2) may not be able to attend. If Blakely shows, he’ll take the top spot. If not, Kirk Dustin (Toyota Corolla GT-S) will dominate the podium. Of course, Kirk wants some competition, so somebody somewhere should do something! Here’s the perfect opportunity to grab a Craigslist special, say, a mulletized 80’s Camaro Z-28, put your mother in the driver’s seat and watch her win a National Championship. What are you waiting for?!
1. Kirk Dustin
2. Your momma
Prepared All Wheel Drive (PA)
The good news for PA competitors is that 2012 champion Warren Elliott will be competing in MA this year. The bad news is Elliott’s Evo will still be competing in PA with Harold Denham at the wheel. We know the Evo is fast enough to win, but will Denham be able to make the transition from his trusty VW GTi to the visceral Mitsubishi? A strong contingent of Colorado drivers, including Cody Hatfield (Subaru Impreza 2.5i), Max Lawson (Subaru WRX), Keith Lightfoot (Plymouth Laser RS) and Dan Quiet (Volvo S40 T5) will all be fighting to knock the Evo off the podium. Don’t count out Edwin Cunill (MazdaSpeed6) who quietly put together fast, cone-free runs at last year’s event. PA will have the closest competition of all classes this year, with multiple lead changes. After the dust settles, we predict:
1. Max Lawson
2. Harold Denham
3. Keith Lightfoot
4. Dan Quiet
Modified Front Wheel Drive (MF)
Unless mechanical gremlins rear their ugly heads, the competition in MF will be for second place. Aaron Miller (Honda Civic) remains the driver to beat. A DNF in his second run last year cost him the 2012 Championship and Miller is ready to reclaim the title. The always-entertaining Jon Olschewski will debut his untested Nissan Sentra SE-R, and one never quite knows what to expect from one of Olschewski’s creations. Scott Carlson (VW Golf), Leon Drake (VW Golf) and Z.B. Lorenc (VW GTi) will dice for second place and some VW contingency money, but beware of Howard Duncan–perhaps he can wring every last horsepower out of his diminutive Honda CRX to claim the second step of the podium. Here’s what the crystal ball shows:
1. Aaron Miller
2. Scott Carlson
3. Z.B. Lorenc
4. Leon Drake
Modified Rear Wheel Drive (MR)
So far, there are no returning drivers from last year in MR, so this one is hard to predict. Matt and Katie Williams should be fun to watch in their classic 1973 VW Beetle. With his California rallycross experience, Michael Caldwell (BMW 325is) will be a factor. In the end, though, expect Bobby Jasan (BMW 325es) to back up is 2012 MF title.
1. Bobby Jasan
2. Michael Caldwell
Modified All Wheel Drive (MA)
MA is the largest class of the weekend and should provide some very close competition at the top. Brianne Corn will not be on hand this year to defend her 2012 title, so MA will crown a new Champion. Warren Elliott (Mitsubishi Evo IX) is a safe bet to win since Brianne drove his car to the championship last year. But don’t give the trophy to Elliott just yet. Coloradoan Peter Zlamany (Plymouth Laser RS) is fast enough to win if he avoids cones. Nathan Usher and co-driver Bryan Tippens will share driving duties in Usher’s Subaru WRX. And don’t overlook Brian Ballinger (Subaru WRX) and Orion Fairmon (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS). Throw a trio of Texans into the mix with Wayne Stockel (Subaru Brighton), Kevin Corn (Subaru Impreza) and Yuri Kouznetsov (Subaru Impreza Outback) and things will be interesting. Sadly, past Champion Eric Genack and his co-driver Diego DeCastro may not be able to join the fray following the recent engine failure in Genack’s Subaru WRX. After the dust settles, here’s what the results will be:
1. Peter Zlamany
2. Warren Elliott
3. Wayne Stockel
4. Nathan Usher
5. Brian Ballinger
And that’s the way it will be in 2013. Unless, of course, it’s not.