2017 San Diego CAM Challenge: Tune In
This is it folks, the officially unofficial article we’ve all been waiting for: The CAM Challenge TUNE IN!
EDIT: You can read the post event report on the San Diego CAM Challenge here.
This weekend San Diego will feel the ground pounding thunder* of over 50 v8 powered American Muscle cars descend on Qualcomm stadium. The "BAD BOYS of AUTOCROSS" will battle each other in an effort to determine who is the baddest of them all. All CAM cars seek to out handle the best sports cars but something about a limited rule set and v8 engines creates a combination where raw horsepower is the common CAM offering to the gods of handling, speed and cones!
Will San Diego richter scales be triggered when more than 20,000 American horsepower is unleashed? Will new heroes rise to overcome longtime favorites? Will the sound overlord dare challenge rolling Americana?
Read on to find out AutoXandTrack.com's prognostication!
CAM-T Classic American Muscle - Traditional
It is only fitting that we start with the class that started the CAM movement! And for the San Diego CAM Challenge CAM-T also happens to be almost 50% of the CAM cars and the largest class of the entire event with 26 competitors signed up.
CAM-T Podium finishers?
This class is home to long time and many time national champion Mary Pozzi and her 73 Camaro. Some say, that her DNA was cloned to create Top Gear's Stig. All I know is that she is the Queen of Autocross and always positioned to win. Look for last year's West Coast CAM Challenge Saturday winner to defend her title and be on the podium. Most likely looking down from the tallest step. But don't count out the local multi-time SDR regional CAM-T Champion Alcino Azevedo and his 76 Mustang Cobra! When you are as talented as Alcino is, you have to make it fair on the rest of the drivers by limiting yourself to 250 hp and manual steering. Rounding out the expected podium finishers is last year's CAM-T shootout winner Mike Trenkle in his P51 themed 82 Mustang. Mike has travelled all the way from Colorado to make sure CAM-T doesn't get swept by Californians!
Mary Pozzi's Camaro
Mike Trenkle's Mustang
Alcino Azevedo's Mustang Cobra II on it's home turf!
Efrain Diaz is always tinkering with his homebuilt 69 Camaro and his driving. If Efrain pulls off his hero run potential he can easily displace one of the above entries. Michael Cuthbertson has completely transformed his car compared to 2016. He's certainly capable of a podium finish but like with any new build he is still working out the tuning details. Will he have the car setup for Qualcomm's challenging surface? If he does look for him near the top! Who will show up in the AutoXandTrack red 68 Camaro? If Chad "Norris" Ryker shows then all you need to know is that when he is behind the wheel on an autocross course then even the water gets out of his way!
Okay, I know this wildcard list is getting long but c'mon there are 26 entries in CAM-T so bear through one more pick. Due to the author's internet stalking we have captured spy photos of major last minute modifications to Richard Trujillo's 69 Mustang. Tuesday before the event the former GoodGuy's winner began cutting into the car he just painted last year to make room for brand new 315 tires on all four corners. Last minute changes before a national event is a high risk proposition. But high risk is sometimes worth it for high rewards.
CAM-C Classic American Muscle - Contemporary
CAM-C is the next largest class with 16 entries.
CAM-C Podium Finishers?
There are two names the immediately jump out when looking at the CAM-C entries. Both competitors have run against each other time and time again. But, there is still no clear faster driver. At any given event it can go to either of them. That is CAM-C national trophy winner, Optima GT champ and NMCA Hotchkis Autocross Grand Champion Jordan Priestley versus local hometown hot shoe Greg Nelson (aka The Unicorn). Former VP candidate Greg, came out on top at their most recent autocross against each other in February, but can he overcome the prowess and seat time of JDP owner Jordan? The battle between these 5th and 6th gen Camaro's is too close to call! Rounding out our podium picks is Don Gonzales (aka Speedy Gonzales) in his highly modified 2010 Camaro. When we reached out to Don for comment on this article he went completely off topic and told me he was going to be buried in his Camaro and there would be no further modifications to the car! However, later that day Facebook pics of Don ordering new parts surfaced.
Will Don, Greg, and Jordan really make it a Camaro sweep of CAM-C? Despite this year's west coast CAM Challenge happening in the hometown of the CAM-C national champion Brett Madsen I don't see a Mustang on the list ready to take out the Bowtie horde!
Jordan Priestley's Camaro
Greg "The Unicorn" Nelson's steed
Don Gonzales's Camaro
There are a few wildcards lurking among the CAM-C ranks. Chris Darquea and his 2006 Mustang was a strong local SCCA contender in the first half of 2016 with a bunch of podium finishes. If he gets new tires he could shake off his recent struggles and rise back to the top. National organizer and CAM class supporter Raleigh Boreen was unable to bring out his own 98 Mustang. It will come down to his choice of codrive opportunities.
CAM-S Classic American Muscle Sport
12 Corvet<cough> I mean competitors are signed up for battle in CAM-S. I apologize in advance as I have less knowledge of the CAM-S competition so there will be no wildcard predictions.
CAM-S Podium Finishers?
One of the podium spots will likely go to a Gonzalez. Whether it is the Father Randy, or the Son Mathew will largely depend on how fresh the tires are on their 2011 Corvette. David Howdyshell piloting a 2010 Corvette will be in the hunt. Finally, It's a toss up between Scot Spiewak in his embarrassingly (for the people he beats) nearly stock 2003 Corvette and Jim Boller in his 99 Corvette. Jim got the upper hand at last year's CAM Challenge but Scott might surprise him this year.
EDITED: Inside sources have corrected me on some of my CAM-S predictions. Sources say that Gary Thomasan and Jason Rhoades who are codriving the stock 2008 Viper will be very tough to beat! Also top driver from Arizona David Rock in his 2001 Corvette will also be coming to lay a V8 powered smack down on the Californians. Tune in Saturday for the exciting results!
The Gonzalez Corvette
David Howdyshell's Corvette
Scot Spiewak's Corvette
* Restrictions apply, Ground Pounding Thunder not to exceed 93 db's.
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