This last weekend, nearly 70 Time Trials drivers hit Road Atlanta, a challenging and exhilarating 2.54-mile professional-level circuit located about an hour north of Atlanta, Georgia, for the final event of the SCCA Tire Rack Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty. The driving was excellent and the competition fierce, making it a perfect partner for the other event being held at the track over the weekend, the historic American Road Race of Champions. And while we weren’t crowning any champions, every driver left feeling like one, having tackled the high-speed rollercoaster that is Road Atlanta.
Consistent with prior Time Trial National Tour events, all SCCA participants were asked to follow SCCA’s COVID-19 Event Guidelines for the weekend, including wearing masks within the designated public spaces, like registration, tech and other shared facilities. Diligently following the guidelines, participants came together to experience the thrill of driving on track, showing a willingness to put forth the extra effort in exchange for some long-awaited fun on track.
At first glance, the Top 5 overall times might appear to be something of a Nissan ad. The honor of the top spot went to Kyle Carrick in his Unlimited 1 prepped 2015 Nissan GTR with a blistering total time of 2:52.828. Chris Ingle managed to be the sole non-Nissan product in the top 5, using his Dodge Viper’s V10 to bully his way to 2:56.798. While the third fastest time was another 4 seconds back, all three of the third through fifth place drivers were separated by less than 0.7 second total. Jason Guzman and Mike Osborn held down third and fifth respectively in a pair of GT-Rs, while Alexander Gallardo split those two for fourth in his Nissan 350Z, powered by a V8.
The honors for Most Improved went to the family Cort. John, the patriarch of the family, and longtime hillclimber, shared a 2005 Lotus Elise in Unlimited 2 with his two sons, Jonathan and Hamilton. As there were only 3 run groups, the little yellow Elise only left the track for driver swaps once competition was under way. While those swaps started off a bit rough, they resembled a professional endurance team by the end of the weekend.
Breakthrough Performer was awarded to Tyler Kvetko. With his father John, Tyler has been autocrossing in Solo Spec Coupe since the inception of the autocross class in 2018. When the Time Trials National Tour was announced, Tyler jumped over to join in on the fun there, too! He has since proven to be an excellent wheelman, whether on track or dancing around the cones.
The Spirit of Time Trials Award—given to the participant at each event who most optimizes the true focus of “fun with cars”—went to John Li. From his first moments in the program, Li has embodied the Spirit of Time Trials, and his actions this last weekend were no exception. When fellow driver Nate Tiuseco had an engine fire that sidelined his MR2 from action on the first day of competition, Li stepped up and offered up a seat in his Tuner 4 prepared Mazda MX-5. This is not the first time he has not only allowed, but encouraged other hard luck drivers to get into his car to get some runs in. He has been a constant face, fan and friend to anyone and everyone that has been a part of the Time Trials program, and for that, he was more than deserving of this honor.
The newest award for the Time Trials program is simply known as Time Trials Champion. Those honors went to Dustin Stevenson, for all of his help with the event as well as his passion for the Time Trial program. Stevenson has been an incredible supporter of the SCCA Time Trials and worked tirelessly to help the national staff with any hurdle or question that came up involving holding the last event at Road Atlanta. He is also an outspoken advocate for the program, and can often be found online, sharing his experiences and helping new folks with any questions they might have.
Stay tuned as the 2021 Tire Rack Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty schedule will be released soon!
Photo by Jon Krolewicz/SCCA Staff