TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 14, 2014) – With all this talk about flowers, chocolates and love being in the air, we decided to talk to some of the couples from SCCA Solo to see what happens when two gearheads find each other. We talked to three couples and asked them what role SCCA racing plays in their relationship.
PJ and Jenna Corrales, of Rocky Hill, Conn., may be one of the prime examples of the motorsports couple. Both PJ and Jenna were involved in racing before getting together, but an unsolved car problem brought the two together.
“We met during the offseason through an online car forum, 240sx Owners of New England (ONE),” Jenna said. “I had a 1990 Nissan 240sx with a vibration issue, and PJ was just re-entering the 240 scene after racing an Infinity G35 for a year. He read my post, and decided to come visit me and try to fix the issue. He took me to dinner after that, and the rest is history.”
In fact, racing became such an important part of their relationship that they tied the knot at the 2011 SCCA Tire Rack Solo Nationals.
“Racing is something we do together, and it’s great that we can both talk about it and understand it,” PJ said. “It also helps that the majority of our friends race. Now, our family does too since my sister married Jenna’s co-driver, when they raced the 240sx that I bought her as an engagement gift. We all love racing, she gets along with her in-laws and we both have a lot of common friends.”
While motorsports is this couple’s primary hobby, they do share other interests including golfing and snowboarding. Both agree that they have some similar musical taste, but that the most important thing is that they share the same sense of humor.
Corrin and Brian Tyson, of East Dublin, Ga., are soloists from the Middle Georgia Region SCCA that have taken on a leadership role in their local area.
“We are both from the same small town in Georgia, but we didn’t know each other until a chance meeting at a St. Patrick’s Day car show, in 2009,” Corrin said. “From that day, we became friends, then boyfriend/girlfriend, then engaged and now happily married for almost three years. Over the course of those five years, we participated in many competitive motorsports events including car shows, drag racing, autocross, RallyCross and track.”
Throughout their relationship, the couple’s involvement in motorsports has gotten deeper than in would have otherwise.
“If it wasn’t for Brian, I would not be involved to the extent that I am,” Corrin said. “He forced me to compete in my first autocross, back in 2009, before either of us really knew what it was. In fact, he registered me the morning of the event behind my back and told me I had to do it now because my name was on the roster. I enjoyed it so much that we have not voluntarily missed a local event since then.”
Corrin credited their mutual enjoyment and participation in the sport as one of the things that makes their relationship so strong.
“I think that because we both have an intimate understanding of the dynamics of the sport, we are able to emotionally support each other in a way that most couples wouldn’t understand,” Corrin said. “Huge celebratory hugs when something goes well, like capturing the elusive 0.1-second of a second, and consolation whispers when the whole world crumbles, because first place has been stolen away due to a stupid cone. I think motorsports has helped to seal the bond that we have with each other into something that is very solid, understanding and real.”
David and Kim Whitener have been racking up trophies for the past three years and are defending STS and STSL National Champions, respectively. However, this couple was together in high school, before Kim even had a driver’s license.
“Racing with SCCA allows us to spend time together and break away from other stress,” the couple said. “We have also been able to make vacations out of several of our out-of-town races, spending some extra days together across the country.”
What brought the couple to racing was a purchase that came with something extra.
“A few years after we were married, we bought a Subaru that came with a free SCCA membership,” they said. “This drew us to the sport. While we were not competitive the first several years of racing at the local level, we gradually improved and started enjoying the competition of national-level events.”
After hearing these stories, an argument could be made that SCCA may want to get into the match-making business. But then again, we’ll just stick to what we know best: showcasing some of the best amateur racing talent in the United States.
From all of us here at SCCA, we wish everyone a happy St. Valentine’s Day.
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