TCI dominates 1st NMCA Autocross of 2021. Not only finished with 7 cars in the top 10 on Saturday, 5 of the top 6 on Sunday, all three podium spots on Sunday but also had the fastest car on the property both days.
Chad Ryker, piloting our ’67 Mustang was able to do twice, in one weekend, what he had never been able to do before in 7ish years of competing in the NMCA Autocross. Have the Fastest Lap Of The Day. He was playing catch up most of the day on Saturday. Robert Duepree in the 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo and Tom Berry in the 2016 Porsche GT3 RS set the bar pretty high in the morning session with 45.942 & 46.142 times respectively. Chad wasn’t far behind after that first session with a 46.206. Chad says “The car is working really well” but you really got the sense that he knew there was room for improvement.
In the 2nd session Tom and Robert would not improve leaving the door wide open for Chad. On his 2nd lap of the 2nd session, Chad found a few hundredths and moved ahead of Tom with a time of 46.132. However, on his 3rd lap he wowed the crowd with a 45.939 moving him into 1st overall, ahead of Robert in the Lamborghini by just 3 thousandths of a second. In the 3rd session Scot Spiewak in his C6 Z06 would chip away at the leaders but come up just a few tenths shy. Scot’s final lap of the day would be be his fastest, a 46.364. The top 3 guys, Chad, Robert & Tom would not improve in their 3rd and final session leaving the WIN to Chad.
We can’t think of a time when a classic muscle car had the top time of the day so this is a huge feat. Congrats to Chad for not only winning the Classic Muscle class but taking home the “Fastest of the Day” trophy.
On Sunday, things started out a little different for Chad. After the 1st session he found himself in 5th place overall and was chasing the SN95 Mustang of Matt Ramirez. Matt had completely astonished the crowd with a 45.958 on his first lap of the day. But it was Tom Berry in the Porsche GT3 RS sitting in the top spot after the first session with a 45.859. This time would remain quickest until Chad’s 6th lap, where he laid down a 45.721. Robert Duepree in the Lamborghini would slowly creep up on his fastest time of the day, a 46.027 on his 2nd to last lap. Chad was a tenth ahead of 2nd place going into the final session.
Chad was in an early group, so whatever happened after his runs he could do nothing but sit back and watch the others try to beat him. On his first lap of the final session Chad clicked off an 45.813. Some perspective, the first lap of a session is typically not your best as you wait for tire temps to come up. Especially since, before this session began there was some cloud cover and the track temps were hovering around mid 50’s. Chad was even quoted as saying “The track is going away so in all likelihood the current times will hold”.
On his 2nd lap of that final session the car looked smooth the whole lap and when the 45.413 time popped up, everyone was in disbelief. This incredible lap put him a solid 4 tenths ahead of the rest of the field. The final lap showed no improvement but was still a 45.6 proving that the previous lap was no fluke.
With all pressure placed squarely on the shoulders of everyone else Chad had to sit back and hope the 45.4 would be enough to hold them off. Scot Spiewak would be the first to have his chance to take the lead in his C6 Z06. On his final lap of the day he knocked one out of the park with a 45.642. Which was nearly a second faster than previous sessions and moved him up into 2nd place. The pressure was on, and Chad was feeling it. One after another, cars were throwing down their best laps of the day in their final sessions.
Robert in the Lamborghini would also run his best lap of the day in the final session, a 46.027 on his 8th lap. With one lap remaining, Chad could do nothing but watch and wait for the Super Trofeo to knock him off the top spot. Which would never come, in his final lap Robert ran a 46.429. So now, we had to wait until the final group to see what Tom Berry & Matt Ramirez would do. Chad would try to stay busy filming, but you could tell he was nervously excited. In his final session Tom Berry would not improve on his 45.859. While Matt Ramirez did improve by a couple hundredths it wasn’t enough to move up in position. Chad had officially gone from never winning “Fastest Lap of the Day” to doing it twice in a row.
George Reiss from Reiss Racing & Restoration is a fairly new #teamTCI member. While certainly not a newcomer to autocross or performance racing in general George has a ton of seat time. He has been racing this beautiful ’69 Camaro with NMCA for a few years now. Sometime last summer the decision was made to swap over to our Pro Touring IFS and Torque Arm rear suspension.
The first few events showed some real promise, even though the car was severely underpowered. Having personally driven the car I can attest to actually being able to flat foot it early in corner exit without worry of stepping the back end out. George finished out 2020 with an old set of tires so the real potential of the car would not be found. Coming into the 1st event of 2021 George decided to throw some new A052 Yokohama tires on the car.
On Saturday he was mid pack most of the day but in the final session you could tell he was starting to figure things out. George tells us that he never once checked the tire pressures during his sessions. He would set them cold and go run his 3 laps. On his 2nd to last run of the day he ran a lap that moved him from 12th place up to 8th. On the final lap he laid down what would have been a 2nd place but he clipped a couple cones in the slalom.
Needless to say, he opened some eyes and made a statement that he was now a top contender in Classic Muscle. On Sunday, after the 1st session he was in 5th place. Definitely a much better start to the day. In the 2nd session he would hit a home run with a 46.376 time. This time would not only hold all day but no one would come within 4 tenths. Congrats on your dominant performance in Classic Muscle George. Welcome to the Pro Class.
Top podium spot on Sunday.
Efrain was offered the keys to test drive the epic James Crosby built #RaceDeuce for his first 3 laps on Sunday.
That meant he had to give up 3 laps driving our #projectReddawn ’71 Camaro. Which may have effected the outcome. He clicked off a 46.710 on his 6th lap of the day (3rd in Reddawn) which would solidify a 2nd place for the day. We think that if he had the normal 9 laps in Reddawn the outcome may have been different. Either way, it’s always a good time watching Efrain flog this car.
Podium spot #2 Sunday
In the weeks leading up to the first event Andy decided to let Sal drive his Nova so he could tune it first hand. Andy and I (Jason) have been giving Sal feedback about what the car is doing. We felt that having Sal behind the wheel would be much better opportunity to tune it. I have been complaining about corner exit understeer ever since the front anti-sway bar was changed last year. Andy and I also struggle to put the 650+ hp to the ground at corner exit. The only other car I have to compare to is Reddawn which has similar HP but it plants the tires so much better than the Nova.
3 days before the event Andy brought the car down to the shop so we could scale it. Long story short, we added 100 lbs of ballast on the floor behind the passenger seat. Sal also made some shock adjustments with Andy sitting in the car. The balance front to back had improved but the big improvement came from side to side balancing.
After his first lap, Sal immediately pulled the car back to the pits to make additional changes to the back of the car. This continued all day as he fine tuned the rear of the car. Unfortunately, the car was still pushing at corner exit. At corner entry, it would turn in very well. So at the end of the day Sal told Andy and I to put the 1″ anti-sway bar back on it. So we did and WOW! What a difference. Andy took a lap and couldn’t believe how well the car was working. On my first lap, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wasn’t having to fight the car, it was compliant and respectful of my normally abrupt inputs. My only thought was “Hell yeah, it’s back”.
Podium spot #3 Sunday
We continue to be impressed with ‘The Kid’ (Harrison Beach) wheeling his ’64 Nova Wagon. This is the heaviest car in the fleet. Add to that the Nova doesn’t fit as much tire up front as the Camaro does. Needless to say that with 560whp on tap the car is a handful. In spite of all that Harrison finished 13th both days. Oh, and we may have gotten a smile on camera this time.
Evan Dalley didn’t get much seat time in 2020 due to his Nova getting a refresh. Sal was generous enough to let him drive his personal ’68 Camaro a few times in 2020. However, when Sal said that he could drive our ’71 Camaro #projectreddawn the excitement was overwhelming. Since Sal was driving Andy’s Nova it made sense to put someone in the Camaro in place of him. I was excited for Evan to wheel the incredible handling machine. I knew that he would be a top contender in it. Sure enough, he came out swinging and ended up in 4th place just behind Efrain, who was also driving Reddawn.