The Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour series began its 13-event schedule for 2023 with the Tire Rack Red Hills Solo National Tour held March 10-12 at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, GA. With temperatures peaking in the upper 70s both days, fantastic weather conditions led to incredible competition.
More than 210 entrants came out to compete across 33 different classes at the event hosted by SCCA’s Red Hills Region, with several class victories being decided by a fraction of a second. The site’s large area allowed for flowing and fast courses across the asphalt, making for an amazing weekend in southern Georgia.
Red Hills Racers
Honors for having the largest field on the weekend went to the C Street class. After Saturday runs, Christian Kolmers held a 0.123sec advantage on Rick Cone, with both drivers in 2019 Mazda Miatas. However, Kerry Coughlin was only 0.057sec back in third in another Miata, and Rob Clark was in the hunt, too.
But it was Will Teller, in another Miata, who jumped from fifth on Saturday to the top of the table on Sunday, earning a 0.105sec victory over Coughlin. Clark came home third, and Jason Ruggles pushed his 2023 Mazda MX-5 to the fourth finishing position. Cone held on for fifth, and Kolmers dropped to sixth. The final two trophies went to Will King and Dennis Sparks, who were also in Miatas.
An equally exciting battle arose in Solo Spec Coupe during the weekend. When the sun set Saturday on the 15-entrant class, who were mostly in Scion FR-S vehicles, Mike Lawson had a 0.059sec advantage over Darrin DiSimo. But Charlie Thompson and Stephen Tyszka were only about two tenths off the leader’s pace, too.
Tyszka turned it up on Sunday and earned a 0.181sec victory over DiSimo. Lawson slipped to third, only 0.037sec behind the runner-up. David Spratte moved up to finish fourth, and Thompson closed out the trophies in fifth.
E Street had a field of 15 competitors as well, and Trevor Renson came out on top of that group driving a Toyota MR2 Spyder. Over the course of two days, he built a 1.106sec advantage on runner-up Eric Peterson, who was also in a Toyota Spyder. The final three trophy positions went to Mazda Miata drivers George Schmitt, Harlan Williams, and Oliver Jones.
While the G Street field wasn’t as large, it still put on a big show. Tommy Pulliam, in a Honda Civic Si, had a 0.913sec lead Saturday on Evan Williams in a similar car. When all six runs were in the books Sunday night, however, Williams had a 0.086sec advantage and emerged victorious over Pulliam. The third and final trophy went to Thomas Austin driving a 2022 Volkswagen GTI.
The weekend also saw some ‘firsts’ of another kind.
The recently revealed Ladies Bump class pilot program saw its first weekend of competition. In Ladies Street Tire Bump, Jennifer Bedell claimed victory over co-driver Chris Peterson, with both women sharing a 2016 Scion FR-S. In Ladies Race Tire Bump, Karen Thomas bested co-driver Johanna Griest, with both sharing a Mini Cooper S.
Continuing the theme of ‘firsts,’ Jonathan Dove, in a 2017 Volkswagen GTI, took his first-ever victory competing in the Street Touring Hatch class; and Tim Mason, driving a 2019 Ford Shelby GT350, claimed victory in F Street, which was his first Solo National Tour win and comes just weeks after his Super Challenge triumph at the Tire Rack SCCA South Texas ProSolo.
The Points Chase Begins
The Solo National Tour points chase for 2023 began in Georgia. Competitors score points for a specific class during each Solo National Tour event from March to November, with the opportunity to also earn points at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships. An individual’s three best-scoring performances in the same class during the year count toward the season total.
Points at National Tour events are awarded on a performance-based scale using a specific formula. Judging on how exciting last year’s points chase was, the system has done well for the Solo National Tour. That points formula is: 100 - (900 x ((Entrant’s Time - Class Winning Time) / (Class Winning Time)).
Participation in the same class at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships is required in order to qualify for the season-long points title. To resolve a points tie, finishing position at the Solo National Championships will be used to decide the winner.
Learn more about the scoring system here.
Heading West to Vegas
Next on the 2023 Solo National Tour calendar is a journey to Nevada for the March 31-April 2 Tire Rack SCCA Las Vegas Solo National Tour at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After that, the Solo National Tour makes a trip north to Patterson, CA, for the April 21-23 Tire Rack SCCA Crows Landing Solo National Tour before turning back east and trucking on down to Texas for the Tire Rack SCCA South Texas Solo National Tour, which takes place May 5-7 at Naval Air Station Chase Field in Beeville.
Online registration has already begun for some of these events. Be sure to check the Solo National Tour webpage for more information.
Photo by Hilary Anderson