2017 Tire Rack Fontana ProSolo: Event Recap

The sun has set on a tight weekend of racing in sunny southern California at the 2017 Tire Rack Fontana ProSolo at Auto Club Speedway. With 226 competitors and 80 trophy positions over 26 classes there was excitement to be had all weekend. There were aliens running on Nexen tires, big smokey burnouts from American muscle, and the smallest gap between trophy positions was three milliseconds. Take a ride along with me as we recap the first ProSolo of the West Coast.

Super Street (or what seemed like Spec GT3 here in Fontana) had both top drivers going faster on Sunday, with Scott Fraser taking the win over Monty Pack by breaking into the 27’s on the right course. Watching this class with their high-revving flat sixes provided some of the best sounding launches of the day.
In A-Street Matthew Gonzalez extended his day-one lead after setting a 29.996 on left course. Gonzalez also had four red-light starts including a .499--a mere one thousandth off a perfect light. Matt Jones also battled cones and a red-light start, but took second by .195 over Gary Thompson.

B-Street featured a different car in each trophy position, with all finishing within one second of each other. Navid Kahangi in his Ford Focus RS finished in fourth place and stood on his Saturday runs. In third, Kyle Williams in his Corvette dropped time but was unable to fend off second-place finisher Alex Muresan, who leap frogged Kahangi and Williams with a .57 pickup on his Sunday runs. Top spot went to Ryan Clark in his Porshe Cayman S, coming all the way from Calgary, Alberta.

In C-Street, Maurice Velandia held onto his lead all weekend, taking home first place while Brian Coulson improved on his last runs to finish second. Jeff Bandes finished third .410 ahead of fourth place finisher William Cruz. Cruz was sixth on Saturday and dropped almost a whole second to secure the last trophy position. While that may be the last trophy position, I would like to add that one of our generous contingency sponsors, Mazda Motorsports, now pays deep all the way to fifth.

Mark Scroggs did it again in his Camaro winning D-Street by a margin of .884 over second-place finisher Mitch Metling in his WRX. Ian Farrell was .212 back in third with Brett Madsen in fourth (it should be noted that Madsen red-lit a Sunday morning run which would have moved him up a position).

E-Street was a packed class with 15 drivers. In first place was Sammy Valafar with perennial favorite Paul brown coming in second in his MR2. Tony Rodriguez was .455 behind for third place with Brian Kelly moving up five positions to take fourth. Rounding out the trophy positions, in fifth place was Michael Heinitz 29 thousandths behind Rodriguez.

F-Street saw Jason Bucki improve on his Saturday runs to take the lead with Sean O’Boyle coming in two-tenths behind. Twenty-five years separated the manufacture of the top 1-2 cars in H-Street, which means maybe old dogs can learn new tricks. In first place was Scott McHugh in his 2013 Accord with James Harnish in his 1988 CRX coming in second. Bump 1 encompassed the rest of the Street competitors racing against the clock with Doug Rowse edging out David Howdyshell by seven tenths.

In Street Touring Ultra, Bryan Heitkotter ran on Nexen tires to best Jimmy Au-Yeung in his boost buggy by .865.

With mild tuning allowed on already fun Miata and S2000 platforms, it was no surprise that one of the largest classes this weekend was Street Touring Roadster with 19 drivers. With six trophy positions we have James Yom cleaning up his coned runs to put down some fast laps with Ken Motonishi just 47 thousandths behind. Ron Bauer, standing on an earlier right-side run, threw down a fast final left-side to move up three positions ahead of Matt Ales who finished fourth. In fifth was Jeff Cawthorne followed closely by Kevin Dietz who was .169 behind.

Another huge class, Street Touring Extreme, was won by Chris Thorpe in his Volkswagen Golf R—quite a unique car for the class. Terence Chang moved up to second from seventh place, with Jeff Wong in third only 44 thousandths behind him. Course designer Jonathan Lugod placed fourth 61 thousandths behind Wong and Manfred Reysser was fifth 20 thousandths behind Lugod. So, third through fifth was separated by less than one tenth on a second! In the final trophy position was Brandon Porambo in the Berry’s 24-year-old BMW 325is putting the “class” in this classic.

Looking like something out of Best Motoring, it was Miata vs CRX in this Street Touring Sport cone battle. Taking the top spot was Cal Club Autocross Chairman Stephen Yeoh, with second place finisher Pete Loney just .217 behind.

Next up was the Street Prepared classes with their Hoosier Tires which were on every car that took home a trophy. If you think Super Street is cool watch Super Street Prepared and be amazed. Showing us how it’s done was Mitch Fagundes in his Audi R8 taking first with Ryan Johnson in his Lotus Elise coming in second. In third was Steve Lau in his GT3RS who was nearly matching Fagundes’ 60 foot times.

B Street Prepared was yet another close class with Tony Rivera leading Anthony Porta by 54 thousandths. Don’t count the 350z’s out just yet as Rivera was getting quicker all weekend dropping almost a full second Sunday morning. Porta was second in the Super Challenge as well, with a bit of luck as three of his challengers red-lit.

Bump 4 was a variety of Street Prepared and Street Modified cars, with Tom Berry taking top honors, Top Qualifier for the Super Challenge, and later went on to place fourth in the Super Challange. In second was Tim Bergstrom in his ESP mustang followed by Stephen King driving Larry Burrow’s CSP car. Jason Rhoades took home the final trophy position in an SSR Viper, a mere 83 thousandths back.

In Kart Mod Paul Russel led Eric Nelson by six tenths to take the win. Russel also placed 3rd in the Super Challenge.

CAM was led by Chris Cox in his 350R Mustang, taking a .558 advantage over Jeff Williams in his Corvette. Thomas Kamman was close in his Corvette .133 back of Williams. There was also an IDX1 Cam class for those competitors competing in a neighboring event at the speedway. They wouldn’t know until the final results where they stood because they took their runs throughout the day. In IDX1 (Pax CAM) taking the win was Chad Ryker in his 68’ Camaro continuing on his success from the SCCA Match Tour. Efrain Diaz in his 69’ Camaro lead Paul Molina in his Mustang by just under a tenth leaving him in the final trophy spot.

Race Tire Index 1 saw the fastest cars in ProSolo go head-to-head with every Mod class represented. Taking his first ProSolo win was Marshall Grice in the A-Mod, leading second place Jeff Kiesel in his E-Mod Sprite by 1.490 seconds. In third was the C-Mod driven by Jonathan Clements, who moved up a spot by barely beating Matt Ellam in the B-Mod by three thousandths—the closest of all weekend. To give you an idea, a house fly’s wings flap in three thousandths.

Race Tire Index 2 featured the Prepared classes, with Andy McKee is his FD RX7 taking first place over Brian Peters in John Hogan’s CP Mustang. Justin Moore in his WRX placed third eight tenths back of Peters.

Christine Grice held on to her lead in L1 after Kencey Christopher, who was competing in her first-ever national event in the A-Mod, went faster on Sunday morning to cut the advantage down to just one second. Fun fact, she nearly matched Marshall Grice’s split time out to the turn around on the right side. With the win, Grice claimed top qualifier honors in the Ladies Challenge.

L2 featured a swapping of top honors as Kristen Acharya moved up into the first spot with a .278 victory over Barbara LeRoy-Boehme. Day-one leader Meredith Brown fell back to third for the final trophy spot.

L3 also witnessed a shakeup in the 12-person field as Mina Ingraham came from behind to secure the win by leapfrogging over day-one leaders Annie Gill and Nicole Wong. Ingraham went faster on both sides on Sunday to beat Gill by a 75 thousandths of a second, with Kate Fisher moving up to third and Wong sliding down to fourth. Gill would go on to win the Ladies Challenge.