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Greg Thurmond Takes the NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross Classic Muscle Class Win

Greg Thurmond competing in Goodguys Autocross, NMCA West Autoctross, SCCA

It has been a very busy race season for Spectre driver Greg Thurmond, competing in Goodguys Autocross, NMCA West Autoctross, SCCA, the Optima Series and several Camarillo Autocross events.

The race to win the Hotchkis Cup was held over a two-day autocross event hosted by the Racing Byrds. NMCA West is held four times a year at the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California. Eighty to ninety competitors bring out some of the most competitive built, pristine vehicles to race over the two days, trying to prove that they are the fastest driver.

Greg Thurmond competing for the Hotchkis cup at NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross

NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross brought out several competitive drivers as they all fought for the ultimate title, the Hotchkis Cup.

Greg Thurmond entered the 2016 race season by storm in his 1965 Corvette named SCAR. Greg's season has been filled with race events including Goodguys, NMCA, SCCA, the Optima Series and several Camarillo Autocross events. Downtime isn't part of Greg's vocabulary. When he is not racing he is the man behind GTS Customs, working on customers' Corvettes and various other makes/models. Greg's work can be found in his own Corvette, from the precision bodylines, wide custom fenders and eye catching orange paint that he completed in time for its debut last SEMA.

Some people may think Greg Thurmond is out of his mind for racing such a beautiful piece of art, but for Greg, he would not have it any other way. Greg's desire to perform better, improve as a driver and represent his sponsors is always seen when watching him at the track. The level he has achieved in the last five months of racing has resulted in some notable finishes and now him taking podium.

Greg Thurmond maintains a podium finish at Goodguys Autocross, NMCA West Autoctross

Greg did exceptionally well both Saturday and Sunday, maintaining a podium finish on both race days.

The NMCA West Hothckis Autocross was not an easy win. With temperatures reaching well over 110 degrees and track conditions melting as the heat index increased, competitors had to be prepared for anything. From problems with overheating vehicles to dehydrated drivers, one could easily be forced out of the competition early due to unavoidable circumstances. Luckily Greg was not one of those drivers, racing his way through the heat and making his way to the top of his class.

Greg Thurmond maintains a podium finish at Goodguys Autocross, NMCA West Autoctross

Not only did Greg race his way into first place on Sunday, he finished within the top five drivers overall for the entire weekend.

Aside from the poor weather conditions, competition in the Classic Muscle Class was tough. Saturday brought out several pro drivers including autocross instructor Casey Cronin and his 1972 Vette along with SCCA competitor Richard Trujillo and his 1969 bright green Mustang. This did not stop Greg Thurmond from battling his way into the top three, resulting in a second place finish and less than a half of second off of the top time in his class.

The Hotchkis Autocross recognizes official times on both Saturday and Sunday. Competitors have the option to compete in both days or just one. The heat on Saturday resulted in a handful drivers dropping out of the race come Sunday. The NMCA West June Autocross event had been sold out long before the event. Those who chose not to attend Sunday's event opened new spots for waitlist drivers to enter the competition. This meant a handful of new drivers and more competition come Sunday.

Greg Thurmond first place win in Classic Muscle Class

Greg also took the lead in the Classic Muscle Class Sunday, resulting in a first place finish in his class.

 

The Racing Byrds make sure that the two-day autocross is fair for both Saturday and Sunday competitors. In order to do this, the track is reversed and drivers who ran Saturday must now run the track the opposite direction come Sunday. Several drivers including Greg Thurmond arrived early to prep their cars before the heat set-in. A drivers meeting was held then the track went hot as drivers either buckled up or found shelter from the heat. Greg knew this was his last chance to grab the lead not only in his class, but overall.

In order to be eligible for the Hotchkis Cup, a driver must compete both Saturday and Sunday. After ten laps each day, the day's averages were calculated and combine into an overall score. The driver with the fastest and most consistent time of the weekend would be awarded the Hotchkis Cup.

final five contenders for the Hotchkis Cup at NMCA West Hothckis Autocross

As the final five contenders for the Hotchkis Cup were announced, Greg was recognized for his third place overall finish against forty-two other drivers.

As awards were presented Sunday evening, Greg Thurmond was called to the podium as the Classic Muscle Class winner. Greg maintained an 8/10th of a second lead over his wife Jane Thurmond and her 1964 Corvette, who placed second in the Classic Muscle Class and a full second ahead of the third place contender.

The Hotchkis Cup was still to be announced, as this would be the final award presented Sunday evening. The top five drivers were called to the podium, each eagerly awaiting the process of elimination. Out of forty-three Hotchkis Cup eligible competitors, Spectre driver Greg Thurmond took third overall in the lineup for the Hotchkis Cup. With a little over one tenth of a second from the overall leader Tom Kamman in his 2004 Corvette, Greg Thurmond ranked ahead of forty other drivers who had ran both Saturday and Sunday for the overall title.

NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross will revisit the Auto Club Dragway in September of this year. Between now and then Greg has several more events lined up for the '65 Spectre Performance sponsored Corvette. We can only guess that when September comes around, Greg Thurmond will race his way ahead of his competition once again, possibly achieving an overall win and a chance to be named recipient of the Hotchkis Cup.


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