The final round of the 2016 NMCA West Hotchkis Cup Autocross Finals and Championship came and went. Racers congregated in Fontana, California once again at the famed Auto Club Speedway Track. Just one week prior many of these racers were here taking part in the final qualifier for Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car Challenge in a last ditch effort to make their way to OUSCI, Optima’s Ultimate Street Car Invitational. It’s been a very busy few weeks for our drivers.
The rain held out this past weekend at the NMCA West Finals that took place at Autoclub Speedway
The coveted Hotchkis Cup in the chase for its fourth year and it was anybody’s guess just who would be taking home the golden chalice. The weather man called for rain but the racing gods won out and crew and driver’s all enjoyed an incredible Southern California weekend.
A great track, laid out by the Racing Byrds, was big and fast and challenged horsepower and braking points. Needless to say we did see a few folks getting loose and swapping ends, with some folks reaching speeds of close to 70 miles per hour on the long straight. Most competitors were in the mid to high 30 second range with lap times. There were more than 60 drivers participating in five different classes: Compact, Modern Muscle, Classic Muscle, Sports Car, and Truck. Even with a field of that size, each driver saw ten runs on Saturday with twelve on Sunday. The Racing Byrds really know how to keep the ball rolling at their events.
Driver's ready and raring to go at the NMCA West Hotchkis Cup Autocross start line.
During the lunch break on Saturday a few of the event sponsors, Jordan Priestly (JDP Motorsports), Mike Hamrick (Wilwood Disc Brakes), and Will Baty (Centerforce Performance Clutches) participated in a Trucking Throwdown. They pulled their diesel trucks out on course and laid down some very competitive lap times. Each of the driver’s came in right around 43 seconds with Will Baty taking the lead. However, there has been discussion about who actually knocked down the most cones!
Spectre Driver, Greg Thurmond on course with SCAR, the '65 Candy Tangerine Corvette
The NMCA West Hotchkis Cup Autocross Finals was the season's grand finale, the culmination of four west coast events with a possible 25 points each event, where the driver with the highest points is crowned the champion.
Spectre Driver, Greg Thurmond ties with Chad Ryker for Classic Muscle Class Championship
The NMCA West Hotchkis Cup Autocross hosts four 2-day events throughout the season in which a driver can participate and earn points. To be considered for the points championship, the driver must participate in the 2-day event. If a driver simply wants to come out to drive for the day, that is encouraged. However, that driver will not be eligible for points toward the cup championship for his or her day of participation. Driver’s lap times are averaged for each day then the drivers are awarded points based upon their ranking among the other participants. So you needn’t have the fastest lap time in the field to earn the most points. You need to be the most consistent.
Spectre Performance Driver, Greg Thurmond in his 1965 Corvette, SCAR, won the championship title for the Classic Muscle class, with 66 points, tied with fellow racer Chad Ryker who also earned 66 points. Greg and Chad swapped places throughout the weekend with Greg finally pulling out well in front to garner him the much needed points to win the Classic Muscle Championship.
Spectre Driver, Brandy Phillips, Hotchkis Cup Truck Class Champion with the Racing Byrds
Spectre Performance Driver, Brandy Phillips, in her C10R was the winner in the Truck Class for the weekend and Truck Class Champion! Brandy’s battle was hard fought and took until the last lap of the weekend to secure her as the victor in her class and championship.
Other notable points champions include Ryan Thacker for the Sports Car Class and Marc Lewis for the Compact Class.
NMCA West Hotchkis Cup Autocross has rapidly grown since its inception. But then again so has the pro-touring movement. With expansive courses that allow each participant the ability to push their cars to the limit, it’s no wonder autocross has become so popular. The Racing Byrds have perfected the recipe for a great weekend pastime that has pulled folks away from yard work and their television. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to seeing them out at the NMCA West events in 2017, defending their titles!
Brandy Phillips muscling her PCHRods built C10R around the course on her winning run!