Steel 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks to Alex Artayet for providing the photos!
-Videos from event 1-
Andrew Moore – Locost – 2 DM
Kristi Gaus – Mitsubishi Evo – 96 SM