The energy was palpable today at NCM Motorsports Park for the kickoff of the fifth annual Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty. Thursday, May 12, 2022, marked the first of a four-day weekend in Bowling Green, KY, where enthusiastic Time Trials drivers were set to load into the facility, determined to prove they were the ones to beat.
While numerous drivers took advantage of the Wednesday evening load-in, many of the 150-plus competitors who turned a lap today pulled up early in the morning to tech their cars, sticker up, and hit the driver’s briefings prior to the day’s on-track sessions.
Holley Day Swings Into Action
Dubbed “Holley Day,” thanks to Holley Performance Products making possible the Thursday practice day, Time Trials Nationals participants experienced three 20-minute sessions to gain their bearings around the challenging 3.15-mile Grand Full Course.
While track time is essential to speed, so is instruction. To that end, APEX Pro was on site offering driver instruction and data review from pro racer Andrew Rains.
Did the day’s practice track time pay off? Many drivers thought so, including Chicago Region’s Jerome Cahuzac, who took full advantage of Holley Day’s practice sessions as well as instruction from APEX Pro.
“After my first session, I took Andrew Rains at APEX Pro my phone, because everything’s on the phone through the APEX Pro app,” said Cahuzac, who’s competing in the Sport 2 class in his BMW M2. “You download the app and hook it up to the APEX Pro Unit mounted in the car, and the system measures your g-forces and lateral acceleration. It saves all of the information on the phone, including video and acceleration data.”
Rains reviewed the in-car video, then dove into the data. “We focused on three corners where I needed to improve and change the line and be a bit more aggressive,” Cahuzac explained.
Using what he learned from his time on track during Holley Day, plus the coaching and instant speed insight offered by the APEX Pro Unit, Cahuzac is hoping to improve his lap times over last year’s Time Trials Nationals. That said, he noted that the Time Trials Nationals is not all about winning.
“It’s a fun event,” he said. “It’s a beautiful track, and there are a lot of friendly people.”
While this is only Cahuzac’s second time at the Time Trials Nationals at NCM, he’s not new to SCCA’s Time Trials program. In fact, you might remember him from an article about the Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials National Tour at Sebring International Raceway earlier this year, where he volunteered at the event when the car he was supposed to drive didn’t arrive.
Holley Expo Rocks
When the checker flew on the final practice session of the day, the Holley Expo kicked into gear, with highlights including a car show, cookout, and party. Time Trials Nationals participants, be they drivers, friends, or family, perused the vehicles that were set to compete that weekend.
“The Holley Expo on Thursday after practice is a great addition to the social side of Time Trials Nationals,” said SCCA National Time Trials Manager John Hunter. “The competition is fun, and that’s certainly why we’re all here, but Thursday’s Expo gives everyone a chance to kick back, relax, and chat before the competition sessions begin. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and be awed by the creativity on display as competitors show off their cars.”
Want to thank Holley for the company’s support of the Time Trials Nationals? Head to the company’s website, where you’ll find all the products that are under the Holley umbrella, including AEM, APR, B&M, Baer Brakes, Flowmaster, MSD, Simpson, Tremec, and more.
Friday Preview: TrackAttack
Thursday was fun, but on Friday, things get real. Group 1 cars are slated to hit the track at 8:40 a.m. CDT for their first TrackAttack session of the day. Drivers will have three sessions to put down their fastest lap of the day on NCM’s Grand Full Course, which will be the first time scored in the three-day competition.
Other times that will determine the event’s outcome will take place during Saturday’s TrackSprint competitions – one on the east course and the other on the west – and during Sunday’s TrackAttack, where competitors will feel the pressure as they will only have two timed full-track session to log a competitive time prior to the KONI Podium Celebration.
Whether you’re on site for this year’s Time Trials Nationals or only wishing you were, you can keep up with the event as it happens as Gregg Ginsberg broadcasts the action alongside live timing and scoring, both found at timetrials.scca.com.
Photo by Tradd Slayton