It's a big weekend of action in the top level of both the SCCA's Tire Rack Solo Championship Tour, and the SafeRacer Club Racing program's U.S. Majors Tour. Both events run Saturday and Sunday, with information, including timing, from the Dixie Championship Tour here, and the Eagles Canyon Majors Tour here.
There's plenty to look for this weekend. From the Dixie Tour at South Georgia Motorsports Park:
Season Opener: This year’s season opener currently holds 282 names on the entry list. While the hometowns of the competitors focus mostly around the southeast, many northern drivers have used the early-season run to get out of the garage and back to competition.
New Class Offerings: The Dixie Tour is the debut of the Street Category classes, requiring tires that are DOT legal and offer a treadwear rating of at least 140. A topic of conversation in the series for several months, this weekend the rubber meets the road. Will the same cars and drivers remain up front, or can new drivers capitalize? Those questions will be answered by Sunday’s trophy presentations.
Previewing The Battles: With the event at capacity, the stage is set for some excellent competition. In Street Touring Sport, Darrin DiSimo and John Brown, codriving a Mazda Miata will be fighting Darren Madaffari and Kerry Coughlin, both in Coughlin's Honda CRX…Fresh off her Street Touring Xtreme Ladies win at Nationals, Jordan Towns jumps to G Stock and will drive with Clay McCool in his Dodge SRT4 for an overall win. Towns needs to defeat last year's defending Dixie class winner, Andy Thomas… Last year's Super Stock podium is back this year in Super Stock R, with Sam Strano, Scott Hurley, and Adam Schoonmaker all vying for the class win... Street Touring R has last year's second through fifth place drivers returning after Jason Collett's win from last year. David Marcus, Geoff Walker, Justin Neal, all in Honda S2000s, will be running against James Cathers in his Mazda Miata, to see which driver and car has supremacy on this course.
STX Field Brings Highlights: The largest class at Georgia Motorsports Park, Street Touring Xtreme will be the one to watch. After dominating D Street Prepared last year, Bryan Heitkotter will be seeking yet another Tour win, codriving with Teddie Alexandrova in her Mazda RX-8. Challenging them are last year's second and fourth place finishers at the Dixie Tour, Jason Ruggles and Mike King, will both also be in RX-8s, hoping to see if they can rein in another victory. Never discount local favorites Dennis Sparks and Randall Prince; both have been fighting for trophies in past years and constantly developing their cars. Bill Cook and Andy Hohl in Subaru BRZs, with yet another year of development behind them and quickly proving to be fast, capable cars, will also be throwing their hat in the ring for the win.
Far From Spec: STX, G Stock, C Stock, and B Stock are just a few of the classes that show a wide variety of cars in class. With fresh newcomers in the autocross world, like the Ford Focus and Fiesta ST, rising stars like the Toyota FRS/Subaru BRZ, and established front runners including the BMW 3-series and Mazda RX-8, the potential for exciting competition remains high. Especially with the reclassing within the Street categories, previous “cars to have” will have stiff competition from other vehicles, which may not have been as dominant in years past.
Meanwhile, at Eagles Canyon, for Rounds Three and Four of the Mid-States Conference:
Another First Time Visit: The Mid-States Conference opened the season with the debut of NOLA Motorsports Park, and makes its second doubleheader stop at Eagles Canyon Raceway for the first time.
While the 2.55-mile circuit is a first on the U.S. Majors Tour schedule, it’s no stranger to the SafeRacer SCCA Club Racing program. The seven-year-old circuit has hosted Regional and previous National events on the Texas event schedule.
Solid Crowd: The entry list for the Eagles Canyon Majors features 147 cars in the SCCA’s 27 Runoffs-eligible classes.
The production-based group features 35 cars, spread out over the 2.55-mile layout. Joe McClughan, a former National Champion, is in B-Spec, while E Production National Championship challenger Matt Reynolds appears on the entry list. The father and son duo of John and Nigel Saurino are on the watch list in F Production, and the T3 battle between Colorado-residents Jason Ott and Jim Leithauser could prove entertaining.
Spec Racing Challenge: The season opener at NOLA saw four different Spec Racer Ford drivers on the podium in two races, with Keith Verges and Denny Stripling both securing wins. Along with Daryl Wills and Chris Funk, the top spots lead a field of 28 Spec Racer Fords to Eagles Canyon, setting up a rematch and showdown.