While #SoloNatsHasStarted, the Tire Rack SCCA® Solo® National Championships is not the first game in town. You see, the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo® Finale kicks off the weeklong championship autocross extravaganza in Lincoln, NE, during the Sept. 1-3 weekend. But don’t mistake the ProSolo Finale for an opening act – the ProSolo season is a points series like no other, with autocrossers competing all season long to simply earn the right to battle in the final round.
Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2-3, are the competition days for the ProSolo Finale at Lincoln Airpark. And after drivers have racked up points all year long, it’s finally time – this is the last chance for drivers to score points and aim for the top.
Let’s Take A Look
There are three championships to be settled in Lincoln. The first is the Class Points championships, which is a competition within each class. That’s important, of course, as a year-end crown, and it also allows the top competitors coming into the Finale to get “Tier 1” status for registration.
But if the Class Points are drummers, keeping the beat and supplying noise in the rock n’ roll lifestyle that is ProSolo, the Challenge points are the lead guitars – gaining the attention of all in the paddock.
The battle for the Johnson-Clark Johnson Cup, which goes to the person earning the most Super Challenge points through the year, has paved the road to Lincoln. And if we’re to continue the music analogy, Dave Schotz has been the Jimi Hendrix (or Van Halen, or Clapton, or Gilmour, or Page – you pick) this season – jamming his way to a 26-point lead entering the Finale.
That’s far from a lock, however, because as many as 57 points are available in Lincoln. That includes 12 for a top qualifying position (on down to 1 for a 12th qualifier), and up to 45 for a Super Challenge win (through 5 points for 32nd). That leaves not only drivers like Bartek Borowski, Matt Jones, Jon Caserta, and David Marcus – all in the top five currently – but a grand total of 17 competitors with a chance at the win.
Schotz is well equipped to handle the pressure with the target on his back. Not only is he an accomplished road racer and earned the 2006 SCCA Road Racing Rookie of the Year Award, he’s brave enough to start and moderate an internet forum and is the 1996 ProSolo Champion – so he’s been there and done that – and now he’s looking to do it again. If that isn’t enough, he won the Super Challenge this year in Lincoln on Memorial Day weekend, so he’s got the ability to close out the job.
If the Super Challenge isn’t exciting enough, the Ladies Challenge is a loaded field as well.
A total of 21 Ladies are still within striking distance of points leader Andie Albin, who is a scant two points ahead of Shelly Monfort. That top 10 looks like a who’s who of autocross, as Monfort is followed by Nicole Wong, Jordan Towns, Christine Grice, Laura Marcus, Carmen Rowland, Jennifer Bedell, Meredith Brown, and Kelsey Karanges fill the top 10.
But a more detailed look indicates that this competition is even closer than it seems. Those competing for any Challenge must first take care of their class competition, and that’s even harder to do in the Ladies Classes – where there are only four, and each are indexed.
So who do we think is going to win? That’s a tough call, but it’s worth noting that Albin, as the leader, won the Ladies Challenge a year ago, and again during the Spring Nationals. Can she make it three in a row? If she did, it would clinch a title.
And remember the rock star analogy from earlier in this article? The winner of both the Super Challenge point title and the Ladies Challenge point title could literally turn themselves into a super star thanks to Kiesel Guitars, who will once again offer a custom guitar as a prize for the season-long champions.
Don’t Miss a Minute
You will find news and recaps here on SCCA.com, with live updates from the tarmac on Solo’s famous SoloMatters page – but if you want to know what’s happening up to the minute during the Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo Finale, you’ll want to check out the live timing and audio by clicking on the banner at the top of SCCA.com at any point during the ProSolo weekend – or if you don’t want to scroll that much, simply click here.
Photo by Rupert Berrington