2017 Season Preview

Hey Steel Cities Autocrossers! One of our goals for this year is to generate a little more content on the site so I’d like to start that off with a preview of what’s to come in 2017!

New Solo Board Members & Changes
First Nick & I would like to officially welcome and thank our new Board Members Dan Sabol, Paul Cunningham, Mark Dunkerley, and Chris Kavka. These folks have really stepped up over the past season helping with cleanup/setup and other activities throughout the day so we were glad to hear that they were interested in becoming board members. We also have an old face back on the board and would like to welcome our new novice chief Joe Montuoro.

It was with sad news that Greg and Anne Vincent decided to step down as our assistant chairs after being an ABSOLUTELY GIGANTIC help in 2016 with our transition to Solo Chairs. The good news is Greg has moved on to a divisional position as Solo Development Coordinator and will be a huge asset to our region on that level. We’ll also still be seeing them at Steel Cities events in 2017 and luckily, fan favorites Dan Ireland and Michael Figliolia have decided to step into Greg & Annes roles as assistant solo chairs. We still have a few positions open so don’t hesitate to contact Nick or I about joining the board!

Solo Event Schedule
Like in 2016, all competitors will have to complete 7 events to be eligible for year end trophies. The big driver for this is encouraging attendance in the Match Tour, which counts for Steel Cities points, and increasing membership both of which are great things for the club. Also, if you compete in Event1 and the Match Tour you technically get 3 drops over the remaining 8 events.

Speaking of Match Tour, we are at over 130 entries which is already more than last year! So if you haven’t signed up yet do it now since we may have to initiate a cut off number! National loved working with us and PittRace so we want to keep the good vibes there.

You’ve probably also noticed our Saturday events on the schedule this season. This is a pilot program and we’ll be gauging participation in these to hopefully draw in some new drivers. I’d also like to have some sort of post race get together somewhere those evenings so expect to hear more on that front as these events get closer.

Looking forward to seeing everyone Event 1 in just over 10 days now. See you at the track!

Street Tuner Challenge Class

The Steel Cities Solo Board decided at our meeting in February to adopt a new class for 2017 called Street Tuner Challenge (STC). The purpose of STC is to create a fun, run what you brung, competitive atmosphere like Classic American Muscle (CAM) has but for drivers of non-USDM vehicles. With this change, we will finally get rid of our Street Tire Index class which will also help modified drivers on street tires in our Novice class. We’ve decided to start with a pretty tough index for 2017 of .845 until we can gauge the general popularity/competitiveness of the class. Below you will find a modified version of the CAM ruleset for STC.

Street Tuner Challenge(STC)

General Allowances
• Vehicle must be an automobile or “pick-up” truck
• Vehicle must be licensed and insured and considered fully “street legal”
(lights, wipers, etc.).
• Windshield and side glass must be present. Lexan® or equivalent may be
used.
• Vehicle must pass the mandatory safety inspection (tech) of Section 3, Vehicles,
and must be in compliance with the Sound Measurement Procedures,
Appendix I, of the 2017 SCCA® National Solo® Rules.
• Body panels may be modified or replaced in the original standard locations.
Frame may be modified. Vehicle perimeter and wheelbase must be
full-scale to original model. Incidental wheelbase changes resulting from
the allowed replacement of suspension components or modification of suspension
design are allowed. This is not an allowance to shorten or lengthen
the chassis/body (e.g., change the scale from the original).
• Interior and exterior must have a “finished” look.
• Rear seating may be removed or modified. If removed, seat bottom area
must be finished (e.g., carpeted, metal). The front seat(s) must not cross
the vehicle longitudinal centerline and not intrude into the OE rear seat
cushion area.
• Upholstered interior panels (door panels, kick panels, etc.) may be replaced
with another upholstered or finished panel. Non-upholstered interior
panels may be replaced with a panel of any material. Alternate panels
must cover any opening(s) the OE panel(s) concealed.
• The dashboard may be modifed, but must be finished and cover the original
area.
• Headliner may be replaced or removed.
• Exposed metal interior surfaces must be covered, painted, and/or coated.
(No “race car” interiors allowed, please.)
• Fuel tank/cell may be modified or replaced and must be separated from
the driver/passengers as originally manufactured or by a metal panel/bulkhead if the OE structure is modified. Fuel must not vent into the driver/passenger
compartment directly or indirectly.
• Front splitter, air dam, and/or spoiler may be added below the bumper,
but must not extend past the perimeter of the original body excluding
non-integral bumpers.
• Rear spoiler/wing may be added, but may extend no more than 8” from the original
body nor past the perimeter of the body.
• Body electrical system components and wiring are unrestricted.

Wheel and Tire Allowances
• Any wheels are allowed. Non-metallic wheels must be certified/approved
from an appropriate, recognized standards organization (e.g., FIA, SFI,
SAE, TUV, etc.).
• DOT tires with a UTQG Treadwear Grade of 200 or higher are permitted.
Excluded: Kumho Ecsta V720 ACR; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 and Pilot
Sport Cup 2 ZP.

Brake, Suspension, and Steering System Allowances
• Components, lines, hoses, and method of attachment are unrestricted.

Engine and Drive Train Allowances
• Components (internal and external) are unrestricted.

2017 STC Solo Season Passes – Available!

I hope everyone has had a great off-season, but its now time to start preparing for 2017.  We have made the 2017 season pass registration available for $240!

SCCA Members can get a Season Pass to all 9 STC hosted regular season events for $240.
Support STC AutoX by investing in a season pass. Can’t make all the events? The season pass not only offers numerous perks for you as a competitor but it gives you the opportunity to contribute to the solo program. Season pass entries assist in upfront costs of the program such as software, equipment and supplies. Invest in STC AutoX today!

Season Pass Perks:
Attend 9 events for the cost of 8
Expedited Event Registration
Annual Tech
Free Fun Runs

These are the events you will automatically registered for:

Date Event Name Location
4/09/2017 Points Event #01 – Sunday PittRace
5/20/2017 Points Event #03 – Saturday PittRace
6/18/2017 Points Event #04 – Sunday PittRace
6/25/2017 Points Event #05 – Sunday PittRace
7/23/2017 Points Event #06 – Sunday PittRace
8/05/2017 Points Event #07 – Saturday PittRace
9/20/2017 Points Event #08 – Sunday PittRace
10/1/2017 Points Event #09 – Sunday PittRace
10/15/2017 Points Event #10 – Sunday PittRace

Register Now

Solo event #4 – 6/22/14 – Turn & Burn

IMG_8796A unusually cool summer morning gave way to near 80 degree temps as a drivers flocked to Pittsburgh International Raceway Complex for event #4 of the 2014 season.  As Steel Cities approaches it’s midpoint for the season we would see a record 106 drivers make the dash for the top of the time sheets.  There was the usual assortment of drivers from the local Pittsburgh area as well as the usual suspects from western Ohio.  There was also a large contingent of drivers from the North hailing from the Misery bay region.   The course design was also a bit of a change up as Dan Ireland arrived early Sunday morning and with the help of the solo board laid down a course of his own creation.  Dan’s intent was to provide a course that would in some ways serve as a warm up for the upcoming Toledo Pro Solo.  And while it was a fairly technical design in some aspects it was well received by many drivers in the paddock.

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While Dan’s course stirred up the PAX standings a good bit the one thing that remained constant was the top spot being held down my Frank Gaus’s Street Mod Mitsubishi Evo.  Frank would not be without his challengers as Andrew Pallotta would pilot his borrowed Focus ST a scant one tenth behind Frank.  Kyle Herbst would put on a fantastic drive in his BMW 128i to take over the 3rd place spot.  Dan Ireland’s Corvette was back to full health and sporting its colors again as he would climb to 4th overall.  And Chris Carlisle’s Civic Si would help round out the top 5.  As usual Greg Maloy’s CRX was standing on Carlisle’s heels and his STS CRX would take up 6th place.  Alex Artayet would keep his F-Street BMW M3 in the fight in 7th place.  The German car parade would continue with Trevor Hill’s D-Street Volkswagen R32 in 8th.  Dan Foley would repeat his event 3 performance by keeping in SM Evo near the top with a 9th place finish.  And Kristi Gaus would bring in her SM Mitsubishi Evo to round out the top 10.

IMG_8557With so many drivers on tap the stock classes remained stacked with action.  In B-Street there were five drivers, but the top two trophy spots would belong to Greg & Anne Vincent’s S2000 with Greg pulling in a 44.034 to the 45.968 of his wife Anne.  Down in C-Street it was the usual party of the Subaru BRZ vs the Scion FRS in the seven driver class.  When the dust settled John Ryan would clock a 43.986 in his BRZ to take the win.  Standing on John’s coattails would be Randy Pearson with a 44.026 in his Scion FRS.  And fellow FRS driver Mike Ferchak would reel in a 44.615 to take home 3rd.  As aforementioned D-street was won by Trevor Hill with a 44.072 while the second trophy spot belonged to Jeff Hall with a 47.097 in his Subaru WRX.  In E-Stock Ted “Spin to win” Weidner would run a 45.384 to take home the win.  Ted would be followed up by fellow Miata pilot Rich Shank whose 47.119 would land him in second.  And in the six car SSR class Dan Ireland’s Corvette would go for the 1-2 finish with Dan pulling in a 41.209 and his co-driver Michael Figliolia just barely holding off the speedy Bruce Wesley with Figs pulling in a 41.948 to the 42.053 of Bruce’s own Grand Sport Corvette.

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Things were busy across the board in the modified classes.  Usual ESP stalwart Paul Lynd was in for a surprise when the Mustang of Craig English ran a 43.706 to the 44.051 of Paul’s Subaru WRX.   While in a different class the new SSM Lotus Elise of the Charnesky family has made it no secret they look to dethrone the XP Spongebob Miata of Don Fazekas since there can be only ONE fast tiny orange car!  Chester Charnesky would day down a 43.187 in the face of the Spongebob Miata team.   However despite having missed his morning runs Matt Parson would make the most of the afternoon and having no prior course walk to run a 42.547 to keep the Miata’s bragging rights till the next event.  In the four car STF class Peter Subosits would lead his Focus ZX5 home to the win with a 47.690 to the 48.037 from the Chevrolet Sonic of Clyde Moore.  In STR it was more Miata on Miata action with five of the Mazda Roadsters filling the class.  In the end Stephen Uszak’s 43.414 would seal the deal with the second place time of 45.549 belonging to Zachary Stover.  By far the biggest of all the modified classes was STX with a whopping 10 entries.   Kyle Hurbst would take the field with the 42.846 in his BMW.  Following up on 2nd would be Nick Kelly with a 43.747 in his Subaru BRZ.  3rd place would belong to Kevin Edwards who rand a 45.876 in his Honda Civic.  And the last trophy spot would belong to Luke Kwiatkowski whose tall Subaru Forester put a hurting on the rest of the field with a 46.635 in 4th.  Single class winners would be Forrest Huebner in STU with a 44.674 in his BMW M3, and John Troche running SMF in his Mini Cooper S with a 46.001.  FTD for the day would belong to Tim Vincent running his shifter kart with a flying 38.370.

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The good old tire index class would have lots of support for this event with a healthy 10 driver count.   Nick Simon rolled his SMF GTI back out after a lengthy downtime for a few shakedown runs.  Even on street tires he was able to pull in a first place finish in the class.  Joseph Mayer would slide his Street Mod WRX in 2nd.  Tim Mackey would not be far behind in his ASP Mitsubishi Evo in 3rd.  Matt DeLacy co-driving in Nick Simon’s GTI would round out the last trophy spot in 4th place.   The Novice class would also have a bright showing with 10 drivers on file.  At the head of the class was Peter Hilton driving his B-street Honda S2000.  Second place would belong to fellow Honda owner Robert Struhala in his STC Accord.  The 3rd place spot was Mark Dunkerly in a Scion FRS running C-street.  And Karen Fink just keeps gaining speed in her Grand Sport Corvette and would command the last trophy spot in 4th.

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Good luck to all the SCR competitors in the coming weeks who will be taking their skills onto the national scene!   For some of you we will see you at the PVGP driver’s school on July 12th & 13th.  And for everyone else we hope you join us back at Pittrace again for event #5 on July 20th!

C Carlisle-

Photo credits this week go out to both Ethan Connor and Alex Artayet.  Thanks guys!

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-Videos from Event #4-

Tim Ward – Subaru STi – 73 SM

http://youtu.be/-eFThYAPQQo

Andrew Pallotta – Ford Focus ST – 192 GS

http://youtu.be/OCELzzcjBiA

Solo event #3 – 6/8/14 – Feeling under the weather

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Usually the very mentioning of the word “rain” is enough to scare away autocrossers for the day. Nevertheless under uncertain skies 91 drivers showed up at Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the 3rd event of the 2014 season.    Despite everyone’s best hopes there were sporadic rain showers during the day making the VDA quite slippery at times. Although at one point or another most every driver had a chance to run in dry conditions.   The course featured a long opening slalom with two sweepers in the far corners sandwiching a tight showcase turn in the middle of the course.  The run to the finish was fast & rewarding to the drivers who looked ahead.

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Despite the changes in weather & stiff competition, the Gaus’s and their Evo have been nothing but consistent in their results.   This would mark the second event where the Frank & Kristi would once again go 1 & 2 in the overall standings for the day.  Setting up the possibility of a PAX hat trick for event #4?  The 3rd place spot would belong to none other than Sam Strano who has traded up his Grand Sport Corvette for a C6 ZO6 Corvette to run in SSR.  Sam would be followed by Mark Andy with the highest placing street tire’d car as his Mazda RX-8 would hold down the 4th place spot.  Andrew Pallotta and his magical rain repelling giant hat would complete the top 5 using John Laughlin’s Shelby GT to get the job done. Alex Artayet’s was less than six hundredths off Andrew’s F-Street time in his own M3 and would end up in 6th.  Dan Ireland’s day got off to a bit of a rough start when a plug wire worked its way loose, but in the end he was just happy to be back in his own Corvette Grand Sport and work his way into 7th place spot.  Dan Foley is slowly warming up to his Evo since his return and would garner an 8th place finish.  And the battle of ST cars would continue as Chris Carlisle’s STC Civic would just barely squeeze out a 9th place finish by four thousands of a second over Greg Maloy’s STS CRX in 10th.

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With 91 drivers on tap there was no lack of competition across the various classes. In A-street James Stafford’s Corvette would run a 40.778 to the 40.959 of Trenton McMillan’s Solstice GXP.  In B-street it would once again be Greg Vincent taking the win home with a 37.519 in his S2000 while 2nd would belong to the Saturn Sky Redline of David Peters with a 39.032.  C-Street was the largest of all the stock classes with 10 drivers.  While Mark Andy’s 37.077 would take home the win.  He would be chased by his former co-driver Cory Robb with a 37.974 driving Joe Montuoro’s BRZ.  Third in CS would belong to the FRS of Randy Pearson whose 38.037 was just short of Cory.  And the last trophy spot would belong to Mike Ferchak’s own Scion FRS with a 38.212.  D-Street would see the Trevor Hill’s R32 at the top with a 38.157 to the 40.525 of Kevin Lanterman’s WRX.  Other stock class winners were Ted Weider in his E-Street Miata and Joe Blaha running his Focus ST in G-street.

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In the modified classes most the action was taking place with the ST cars. In STX there were a total of 11 entries, but only Kyle Herbst’s BMW 128i would pull in a 38.228 to take the win.  The next three trophy spots was a Mazda RX-8 parade led by none other than Brian DePietro with a 38.618, followed closely by Brian’s better half Megan Biddle whose 39.462 would net her 3rd in class.  And Dan Wehrung’s 39.502 would take the final STX trophy spot.  In STR it was Steve vs. Stephen again and like last week the result would be the same.  Steve Vyn would run a 37.655 to the 38.199 run by Stephen Uszak in his STR Miata.  Winners across some of the other classes were Mark Sommer’s flared Rabbit GTI in FSP, Matt Parson running the infamous Spongebob Miata in XP, Bryan Rawlins in a three car E-Prepared class, and Chester Charnesky in SSM.  Fastest time of the day would go to Tim Vincent running a 32.869 in the KM kart.

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In the novice class there were 12 drivers taking part with the trophy spots going back four positions. Leading off in first was Peter Hilton in his B-street S2000.  Karen Fink would make her husband John proud as she would take their SSR Grand Sport Corvette to the second place spot.  Third would belong to Reiner Goede in his Mazdaspeed 3 running in D-street.  And the last trophy spot would be Nick Pekular with his VW GTI running in G-Street.

SCR takes a two week break before returning to Pittrace on June 22nd for event #4.  Make sure you pre-register on STCsolo.com to save yourself some time in the morning.  We hope to see you there!

C Carlisle-

Photos this week are provided by long time autocross photographer Ethan Connor!

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-Videos from Event #3-

Randy Pearson – Scion FRS – 71 CS

Kyle Herbst – BMW 128i – 31 STX

Solo event #2 – 6/1/14 – Turning up the heat

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Coming off a strong start to the season with event 1 in May; event 2 would push things even further with 100 drivers taking to VDA.  The beautiful 80 degree day would see drivers for all around the tri state area come to test their skill on the vehicle dynamics area at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.  Course designer Frank Gaus would utilize a version of his famous early crossover course which a few areas redesigned accordingly to give everyone a good challenge for the day.

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Speaking of the Gaus’s they would remain mostly unchallenged throughout the day as Frank & Kristi would take 1st & 2nd overall in the PAX index in their street mod Mitsubishi Evo.  Andrew Pallotta and Sam Strano have become pros when it comes to setting up new cars for autocross.  Last year was the Scion FRS, this year they both moved to testing tires for their respective Focus ST’s.  After switching over to Sam’s Hankook equipped ST for the afternoon Andrew lunged to the top of the standings with a 3rd overall finish.  Following very closely behind was Alex Artayet who has been nothing but strong this year in his BMW M3 as he would take 4th in the index.  Dan Ireland has made good use of his time in John Fink’s Corvette Grand Sport as he would round out the top 5 for the day.  Dan Foley has been off the radar for the past two years, but that changed recently as he came out of hiding using his new Evo 10 setup for Street Mod.  Even after being away for so long the early results have been good since Dan netted a 6th place finish.  Bruce Wesley has also been running strong in his Grand Sport Corvette as he would end up in 7th place.  Sam Strano would climb up in the top 10 in the afternoon as he would slide his Stranoparts.com Focus ST into the 8th place spot.  Ethan Connor made his first SCR appearance of the year in his very fast BMW 323is and would end up in 9th overall.  And 10th place would come down to a tie between Greg Maloy’s CRX and Chris Carlisle’s Civic running their respective ST classes!

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With the frequent large turnouts that SCR enjoys plus the change to street tires across the stock classes there has been a lot of good competition showing up this year.  In an eight driver B-street class Greg Vincent has been the one to beat in his S2000 as his 43.109 would take home the win.  2nd in B-street would go to fellow S2000 driver Sam Mehler with a 43.461 while 3rd would be none other than James Turnshek with a 44.250 also in a S2000.  C-street was another decent sized class with six drivers taking part.  In the top two trophy spots it was a battle of the FRS’s as Randy Pearson’s 43.326 would just barely hold off the 43.435 of Mike Ferchak in his own Scion FRS.  D-street would end up being a battle of the WRX wagons as Ray Colbert would take the win with a 45.320 to the 45.640 of Jeff Hall.  Rick Shank would run a 46.348 in his Miata in E-street to grab the win.  He would be followed by the Porsche 924S of John Laslo with a 47.955.

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One of the larger modified classes was STX with seven drivers showing up.  In the end Nick Kelly’s BRZ would come away with a 42.866 for the win.  Brian DePietro was back out shaking off some rust as he would pilot the Lobster Taco Racing RX8 to a 43.665 for 2nd place.  Kevin Edwards would bring his Honda Civic into 3rd place with a 44.887.  Street Mod F would also have a healthy showing of 6 drivers as Patrick Martz would easily take the win with a 44.481 in his Mazdaspeed 3.  Meanwhile Steven Timko would follow up with a 46.709 in his Fiat Abarth in 2nd.  In STR it was Steve vs. Steven as Steve Vyn did a co-drive in Steven Uszak’s Mazda Miata.  Vyn would come out on top with a 42.319 to Uszak’s 42.662.  And in XP we would again see Matt Parson take Don Fazekas’s Spongebob Miata to a 40.392 for the win over the 43.119 of Dennis Witt.  Some single winners in other classes were Forest Huebner in STU, Clyde Moore in STF, Cory Robb in DM, Paul Lynd in ESP, Mike Ancus in FSP, Rob Charnesky in SSM, and Jonathan Powers would use his Subaru STI to win the tire index class.

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There was plenty of action in the novice class as it was stuffed to the brim with 12 entries for Sunday.  At the end of the day it would be David Idell who would move to the head of the class with his Mazdaspeed 3 to take 1st.   Reinier Goede would follow up David in 2nd place.  Jeff Peirish would run his VW GTI into the 3rd place spot.  And the last trophy position would go to Robert Struhala in his Honda Accord.

Our next event is just a few scant days away on June 8th.  Please check STCsolo.com for those who would like to save some time in the morning and register online.  We will see you then!

C Carlisle-

For the first time this week we are featuring photos from photographer Kevin Lanterman!

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-Videos from event 2-

Vyn vs. Uszak in a showdown in STR.

Greg Maloy – Honda CRX Si – 168 STS

Solo event #1 – 5/11/14 – Back in action!

IMG_7400Steel Cities SCCA got off to a roaring start for the 2014 season at Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum Pennsylvania.  A long cold winter gave way to sunny skies as 95 drivers showed up to participate in the great competition SCR has become known for.  Several changes happened during the off season that will no doubt play a major role as the season wears on.  One of the biggest is the creation of the new “Street” classes in which the entire array of stock classes can now run on street tires.  The old tire index class from last year remains for cars in modified classes who still wish to run street tires.  As well as the original stock classes who run on the tried and true Hoosier race tires.  In addition to these changes the beloved VDA is now surrounded by construction equipment as work proceeds on a new entrance and the long awaited South Course.  As a result some of the safety margins on the VDA have been reduced which affected course design.  Still this didn’t faze course designer Frank Gaus from laying down a fairly flowing layout around the VDA and using the available area to its fullest.  As a result of Frank’s handiwork and the efforts of the solo board SCR was able to maintain its proud tradition of 6 competition runs plus fun runs at the end of the day!

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Many of the competitors running in the top 10 on the PAX index have already made their presence known this year on the national level.  SCR members have been traveling the East coast for weeks hitting events in DC and Wilmington.  It should come as no surprise then when Sam Strano would take the PAX lead in the morning and would hold onto it throughout the day to take the win.  Hot on Sam’s heels was a 3 way battle between Frank Gaus in his high powered Mitsubishi Evo in Street Mod.  Dan Ireland running in Strano’s Grand Sport Corvette in SSR.  And Alex Artayet back in his BMW M3 running F-street.  Frank gave a hard run during the morning heats with Alex and Dan trailing.  However by the afternoon that order would be reversed with Dan Ireland landing less than a tenth short of Strano in the 2nd place spot.  Alex would again show his M3’s speed and take over 3rd.  And Frank would stand on his morning time and end up with 4th.  Trevor Hill’s big blue R32 would round out the top 5 PAX positions for the day.  A great last run drive by Kristi Gaus would bring her all the way up to the 6th place position after being out of the top 10 in the morning.  Andrew Pallotta would keep his new Focus ST planted in 7th place throughout the day.  Greg Vincent is running a S2000 this year in B-Street and put in a strong opening performance finishing in 8th for the day.  Bruce Wesley who is quickly adapting to his Grand Sport Corvette brought it home in 9th place.  And Tim Ward is slowing creeping his way up the ranks as his Subaru STI would complete the top 10 for event #1.

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There was no lack of class battles going on throughout the grid.  Many of the stock classes have now ballooned in size since street tires were allowed back in stock.  This comes after many years of a heavily populated tire index class at SCR yield large multi-car battles for position.  In this new age of stock classes we have cases were the entire Vincent family would take spots 1 thru 4 in a seven car class in B-Street!  C-Street is now a very hot class thanks to the popularity of the Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ.  John Laughlin would take his own BRZ to the top of the list with a 38.608 to the 38.805 of John Ryan’s BRZ.  Randy Person’s 39.289 would push his FRS to 3rd in class.  And the last trophy position in the 9 car class would be the FRS of Mike Ferchak with a 39.554.  In F Street Prepared Dave Merritt would take the win with a 41.580 in the three car class.  XP was composed entirely of drivers in the V8 powered Spongebob Miata of Don Fazekas.  Matt Parson’s 36.061 would take the win there.  Street Touring R had a healthy turnout with five drivers in a mix of Miata’s & S2000’s.  In the end the Miata of Stephen Uszak would walk away with the win with a 37.990 to the 39.459 pulled in by Cory Pompelia’s S2000.  Street Touring U was another 5 car class, but with BMW M3’s leading the charge over the other vehicles.  Forreest Huebner’s M3 would take the win with a 38.609.  John Moore’s own M3 would pull in a 40.522 to hold onto 2nd place in the class.  The remains of the street tire index class would feature only three cars from SMF and SM.  The familiar face of Nick Phillips would lead his VW GTI to the win there.

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New for this year was a dedicated novice class for Steel Cities. Ranking within the class is determined by the PAX index so new drivers can play on equal terms with different cars.  Eight drivers were on file, but at the end of the day Jeff Peirish would take the win in his Volkswagen GTI.  Abishek Daniel would run in 2nd driving a Mazda Miata in STR.  And running closely behind in 3rd in a D-Street Subaru Legacy was Hunter Bartley.

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Steel Cities will return to Pittrace on June 1st for event #2 of the season.  Look for online registration on STCsolo.com to save time during the morning registration.  If you haven’t joined us before come out and see what all the fuss is about and bring a friend!

C Carlisle-

Thanks to Alex Artayet for providing the photos!

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-Videos from event 1-

Andrew Moore – Locost – 2 DM

 

Kristi Gaus – Mitsubishi Evo – 96 SM

 

Solo event #8 & #9 – 10/12 & 10/13 – All roads lead to Wounded Warrior Project!

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Thanks again to Alex Artayet for the pictures!

It’s been quite a year for the Steel Cities Solo program!  Live timing & scoring, 100+ driver events, new grid parking, online registration, paying with credit cards at events, and fun runs after every event.  But the cherry on top is the double event held at the end of the year when region turns its racing efforts towards a higher cause.  Returning for its second year SCR would go on to support the Wounded Warrior Project as its premier event.  The Wounded Warrior Project is and organization dedicated to supporting the lives of men & women who have been injured while serving their country.  They are given a second chance to lead a fulfilling life while receiving the necessary aid that they require.  On what turned out to be a beautiful autumn weekend over 100 different drivers turned out to pick up a signature WWP t-shirt, hunt for a trophy in their class, and for some drivers cap off some very competitive 2013 driver of the year point’s chase.

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-Saturday Event #8, Twist & turn-

85 drivers took to the course on laid down by none other than Frank Gaus.  While the course was fairly simple in looks it left little room for error.  Many drivers found themselves left with handfuls of cone laden runs as they had no choice but to go for it or be left behind by their fellow competitors.  In a good showing for his new car Frank Gaus’s Porsche Cayman, which was being co-driven by Mark Andy, would take the 1 & 2 top PAX positions in the morning.   John Ryan was on fire in his Subaru BRZ and was hanging onto 3rd.  However very close behind John was Trevor Hill’s R32 in 4th place, while Chris Carlisle’s STC Civic would round out the top 5 in the morning.  Alex Artayet was again off to a strong start in his M3 in 6th.  Fellow tire index competitor Mike Ferchak was 7th in his FRS.  Tim Vincent made a strong early run in 8th.  Stephen Uszak slung his fast STR Miata into 9th.  And the Vincent Kart would again make an appearance as Cory Robb would round out the top 10 for the morning.

However as the dust settled on day one several drivers would find the speed they had been missing from their morning runs.  In the end it would be none other than Dan Ireland bringing home the big white Grand Sport in 1st overall!  In what is becoming a familiar scene in the PAX index Alex Artayet would again lock out the 2nd spot in his street tire’d BMW M3.  John Ryan fought hard in his BRZ and managed to hang onto 3rd overall.  Frank Gaus & Mark Andy would keep the Cayman in the hunt and hold down 4th and 5th respectively to complete the top five.  This would push Trevor Hill down to the 6th place spot in the R32 while the STC Civic of Chris Carlisle would fall to 7th overall.  In an uncharacteristic showing by Sam Strano he would end up in 8th for the day in his own Grand Sport Corvette.  Ted Weidner showed he still has plenty of speed left in his old Miata as he winged it into the 9th place spot.  And Mike Ferchak dropped just enough time to complete the top ten lineup with his Scion FRS.

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In class battles it would be a 1-2-3 finish for Grand Sport Corvettes in Super Stock with Dan Ireland, Sam Strano, and Michael Figliolia.  In BSP John Schmitmeyer’s S2000 would take the win in the four car class over Dave Mohar’s C4 Corvette.  CSP would see the familiar face of Dennis Witt using his MR2 to take the win over Todd Zukowski’s Mazda Miata.  Paul Lynd would take ESP again in his WRX over Gibby Bozicevich’s Chevy Camaro.  Mazda 3’s had the STF class covered as Alex Nieto would take 1st followed by Eric Schineider in the same car.  STR was again strong with 6 cars showing up to play.  Stephen Uszak would lead the field in his Miata followed by Steve Vyn’s S2000 while Zachary Stover in his Miata would round out the top three.  STX was a battle of Mustangs and Trent McMillion would hold off the McMullen brothers of Stubenville fame.  And no surprise that Tim Vincent would hold FTD for the day with a 33.574.  As usual the largest class was tire index with 31 drivers ready to do battle.  Alex Artayet’s M3 has been proving to be just too much for the rest of the class to handle as he would again take the win.  However John Ryan made an impressive last run dash for the top as he would sit in 2nd.  Trevor Hill’s VW R32 would finish strong in 3rd.  Ted Weidner had an impressive day in 4th.  Mike Ferchak would use his afternoon runs to keep his FRS in the top 5.  And a surprise appearance by Kristi Gaus in Trevor Hill’s R32 would close out the last trophy spot in 6th.

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Returning to support the Wounded Warrior for a second year was the Snailspeed Car Club as part of their “Dip & Dig” competition involving both autocross and drag racing.  This year’s winner for the autocross portion would go to David Wray in his Eagle Talon.  Tim Dames would hold down the 2nd place spot in his Focus ST.  And Evan Lewis would round out the top 3 in his Mazdaspeed 6.

In the novice standings it’s clear that Paul Cunningham is putting the rear swaybar on his Maxima to good use as he would lead the group for the day.  However following closely was Ben Heald in his Evo X in 2nd.  Layton Miller would roll his Focus into 3rd place followed by Ron Hilling in 4th with his Miata.  And Lauren Jenkins would again round out the top five in her BMW 128i.

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-Sunday Event #9, Race you to the finish!-

Sunday’s course was a reverse version of Saturday’s course with a few cones shifted in key turns to provide 81 drivers with a slightly different feel compared to Saturday.  In an echo of the 2012 season where Super Stock was the class to watch the SS field once again swelled in size to a full 10 entries for Sunday.  There were several notable changes as Kristi Gaus was back in her Porsche Cayman, Chris Carlisle hopped in Jay Gyger’s GT3, and Bruce Wesley was borrowing a set of race tires for his own Grand Sport Corvette off Sam Strano.

The morning runs started off with a now familiar yellow M3 sitting at the top of the pack as Alex Artayet would hold onto 1st by just over a tenth to Mark Andy who was still in the Gaus’s Cayman for day two.  Trevor Hill was in close pursuit in 3rd with his VW R32.  Feeling his stride again Sam Strano put in a strong 4th place in his Stranoparts.com Corvette.  John Ryan was driving the wheels off his Scion in 5th.  Chasing down Strano in his Z06 was Randy Pearson in 6th.  Kristi Gaus put on a great morning performance in the Cayman to hold onto 7th.  As would Steve Vyn’s STR S2000 in 8th place.  Ron Williams was getting it done in his street tire shod STi in 9th.  And with Frank Gaus rounding out the top 10 that meant all three drivers in the Cayman would end up in the top 10 for the morning.

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But with how competitive the drivers set is at Steel Cities, things can change in a heartbeat.  Going into the afternoon the often slick VDA will have a “clean line” and reward the drivers who can utilize that clean area to the fullest.  Capping off the last event of the 2013 season would who else but Sam Strano to take home the overall win!  What was really amazing was an all-out last run effort by Mark Andy who put the Cayman on a knife edge and would place just scant seven thousandths behind Strano.  Dan Ireland shook off a series of bad morning runs and brought his Grand Sport home in 3rd.  Alex Artayet would stand on his morning runs and still manage to hang onto 4th overall in the M3.  And John Ryan put in a great afternoon effort to keep his Subaru BRZ in the top 5.  In one of his best finishes to date Michael Figliolia would bring Ireland’s Grand Sport into 6th.  Trevor Hill’s R32 would find little time in the afternoon and cling to 7th.  Mike Ferchak made of the most of his afternoon runs to climb up into 8th.  Chris Carlisle would show up in the Gyger GT3 in 9th.  And Kristi Gaus would finally skirt her husband in the Cayman with a top 10 PAX finish to close out the year.

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There were few multicar classes going into Sunday, however biggest as always was the tire index.  In what most likely the final year for the tire index due to the upcoming “Street Stock” classes, Alex Artayet would go for the last win of the year in his F-Stock M3.  A little over tenth separated Alex from John Ryan’s BRZ in 2nd.  Even less time separated John from Trevor Hill’s R32 who was just seven hundredths back in 3rd.  Mike Ferchak stayed in the hunt bringing his FRS into 4th.  Ron Williams put in a great drive getting his STi into the top five.  And the 6th trophy spot for the day would go to Drew Bickle in his G-stock Civic Si.  With the strength of Alex’s M3 over the two days there was little surprise that he would take tire index for the weekend.  2nd for both days would fall to John Ryan and 3rd would go to Trevor Hill.  Aside from winning PAX Sam Strano also took Super stock with a 35.224 to Dan Ireland’s 35.592 in their respective Grand Sport Corvettes.  The Gran Sport parade would continue with Michael Figliolia and a 36.128 for 3rd place.  Dan Ireland’s performance over both days would give him the Super Stock win for the weekend.  One of the larger classes aside from Tire Index and Super Stock was STR.  Sunday would see a role reversal as Steve Vyn’s S2000 would take back Saturday’s win that Stephen Uszak’s Miata claimed on Saturday.  It was a hard fought battle but Steve’s 37.653 to Stephen’s 38.116 would give the S2000 the win for the whole weekend.  There was an equally hard fought battle for 3rd in STR between Zachary Stover’s Miata & Cory Pompelia’s S2000.  Cory’s 39.241 to Zachary’s 40.926 would again be a reversal of Saturday and would seal in Cory for 3rd for the weekend taking a mere two thousands ahead of Zachary’s Miata.

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The Steel Cities Solo board would like to thank those who help made our charity event worthwhile.  Pittsburgh International Raceway Complex for being able to host us despite a last minute schedule change.  SCCA National for donating the free SCCA membership.  McB Autosport in Bridgeville for donating the socket set.  While we are still counting at this time we know that we raised well over $3000 dollars for the wounded warrior project so we would really like to thank all of the volunteers & drivers who made the event such a success!

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The 2013 season would wrap up with Frank Gaus again being crowned driver of the year for his 3rd consecutive time!  Kristi Gaus would also repeat as 2013’s lady driver of the year as well!  The final point’s breakdown for the top 10 Solo hotshoes of the 2013 season looks like this.

Frank Gaus – 5988

Dan Ireland – 5970

Mark Andy – 5912

Travis Hill – 5882

Chris Carlisle – 5876

John Ryan – 5875

Trevor Hill – 5859

Alex Artayet – 5848

Randy Pearson – 5838

Mike Ferchak – 5829

Stay tuned to SCRsolo.com for more updates about the upcoming 2014 season.  And don’t forget to join us for the Steel Cities banquet during winter months!

C Carlisle-

-Saturday course videos-

John Ryan – Subaru BRZ – 117 CS-T

Alex Artayet – BMW M3 – FS-T

-Sunday course videos-

Dan Ennis – Mazda Miata – 666 SSM

Mike Ferchak – Porsche GT3 – Funrun