Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge – Fontana, CA
September 13, 2018 - 9:00 am
TCI Engineering Equipped Cars Dominate 2018 Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge
This past September, the sun bleached asphalt of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA bore witness to another invasion of highly modified Chevy muscle cars. It was time for the 10th running of the Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge Presented by Falken Tires. Unlike the past, this time the TCI Engineering entry would be a sorted car and not a brand new build. And this time the Wilwood Disc Brakes entry was also equipped with TCI Engineering suspension. As the sun sank into the Pacific, and the roar of horsepower faded into the distance, two TCI equipped cars were standing on the podium in first and second place!
Efrain Diaz and his home built ’69 Camaro, known as Pole Dancer , would be the official TCI Engineering entry for the Challenge. Though Efrain is a newcomer to #TeamTCI he is definitely not a newbie to beating the snot out of his car on track. This would be Efrain’s third time competing in the Challenge but first time with Total Cost Involved suspension. In the pursuit of faster lap times, Efrain installed our complete tubular front clip and Torque Arm rear suspension earlier this year. Efrain’s killer yellow ’69 Camaro is a regular sight at local SoCal NMCA and USCA events. He’s one heck of a driver so we’re happy and proud to have him on our team.
The other TCI Engineering equipped car was the AutoXandTrack ’68 Camaro of Chad Ryker. Chad would be representing Wilwood Disc Brakes in the Challenge. Shortly before the Super Chevy event Chad shipped his well sorted Camaro to Lincoln Nebraska for the SCCA Solo Nationals. (Which he won btw) His car arrived back in SoCal two days before the Challenge and the only thing that he did to prepare was to wash the car. You see, Chad has been heavily racing his ’68 Camaro going on four years. So he knows his car well.
Friends off the track, “enemies” behind the wheel. It’s a rare autocross event in SoCal that doesn’t see both Efrain and Chad battling for a win. In fact, Jimi Day of Optima Ultimate Street Car nicknamed them the Archenemies after seeing the camaraderie and fierce competition between these two drivers event after event. The 2018 Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge would be familiar territory.
The competitors were split into two groups (8 cars in each group). Group one would run the Slalom & 100 Yard dash first, while Group two would run the Road Course first. Luckily, Chad and Efrain were placed into the same group.
After everyone ran their first lap on the slalom Chad was in 1st place followed by Efrain in 2nd. Early on it was clear that Chad was the getting through the cones the cleanest out of everybody. Once each competitor had run 3 laps, Chad and Efrain emerged with a healthy lead over the next closest competitor. Efrain was quickly finding a comfort zone and was knocking on Chad’s door. It wasn’t until the 4th lap that another competitor came close (within a tenth) of either Chad or Efrain’s times. Though, in the end Chad and Efrain were the only competitors to run faster than 6 seconds. This finishing order would remain unchanged after group 2. #TeamTCI taking #1 & #2
Chad will be the first to tell you that Drag Racing isn’t his thing. Especially on a sun soaked asphalt parking lot. The 100 Yard Dash is a unique challenge. The cars with big power will suffer here without some throttle constraint. The 100 Yard Dash is an extremely close competition. Indeed, only a few hundredths separating 1st from 3rd. Greg Thurmond in his Gorgeous Baer Brakes entry C2 Corvette took the win. Efrain pulled out a close 2nd and Chad ended up tied for 5th.
The Road Course for Group 1 was run after lunch. Group 2 driver Michael Cuthebertson and his 1.15:0 fast lap was the time to beat. Each competitor would have 5 flaying laps to try and set their fastest time. However, Group 1 had some heavy hitters. Ken Thwaits driving the 900HP Speedway Camaro, Smitty driving the Ridetech ’72 Camaro, the DSE Camaro, a second Speedway Camaro with a supercharged LS, Schwartz Performance supercharged LS Nova, and of course Greg Thurmond in his Corvette.
Chad’s first flying lap set a new fastest time. He pulled off course to make a quick shock adjustment. In the meantime it was Efrain’s turn to let his LS7 powered ’69 Camaro eat. Would he need to beat Chad in order to win the event? At the start of lap two he got sideways going into turn one. Turn one has the heaviest braking zone on the track and getting sideways when trying to slow down from 130 mph will test the health of your heart real quick! Efrain got the car composed but around it came again in turn 3.
Something wasn’t quite right and he pulled the car off course and drove it back to the garage. Upon inspection, the panhard bar had come loose. A quick pitstop would remedy the situation and get Efrain back out on track.
Meanwhile, Chad went out laid down a 1.13:7 lap and pulled off with one flying lap left in the bank. Efrain had the weight of the world on his shoulders with only 3 laps left to try and beat Chad. His first lap back out would be his fastest of the day a 1.14:1. With #TeamTCI sitting #1 & #2 it was time to sit back and see if the competition could dethrone either driver. One by one the heavy hitters came up to bat. We held the #1 & #2 positions until the last car (Ken Thwaits in the 900Hp Camaro). Ken would lay down a 1.14:0 knocking Efrain back to 3rd place and potentially robbing him of the win.
In the end, Chad and the AutoXandTrack ’68 Camaro edged out Efrain in the #Poledancer ’69 Camaro by one point. #TeamTCI & #TeamWilwood would finish #1 & #2 at the 2018 Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge. We couldn’t be more proud of these two drivers. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.