USCA Willow Springs – TCI Engineering finishes strong
On May 29th and 30th Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car held their second event of 2020 at the famed Willow Springs International Raceway. It was a hot and dusty two days of fierce competition between 15 drivers in the GTV class. Despite the heat and a few mechanical gremlins, Team TCI drivers Efrain Diaz and Chad Ryker placed 2nd and 4th with their TCI equipped Camaros. In fact, they were the two highest scoring Camaros of any year across all classes at the event! Both Camaros are equipped with TCI pro touring subframe and torque arm suspensions with upgraded Wilwood disc brakes and Currie Turn 9 full floater rear ends.
Day one competition included road course time trials and speed stop which tests acceleration and braking. The track used was “Big Willow” also known as “the Fasted Road in the West” with very fast corners and top speeds of 140+ mph. Efrain hadn’t driven his beautiful 1969 Camaro (“Poledancer”) in 6 months due to its participation in the Riyadh Global Auto Solon in Saudi Arabia. According to Efrain “I haven’t driven the car since last year! With so much time off and the Camaro out of my possession I had no idea how the car was going to do.” But driver and car didn’t miss a beat and Efrain placed 4th in the road course hot laps and 3rd in speed stop.
Chad Ryker and his AutoXandTrack 1968 Camaro got off to a rockier day one start. Due to a broken door latch, Chad missed the first half of the road course and speed stop sessions. However, even with only half the run time he was able to achieve a 3rd place podium finish on the road course. Speed stop saw him off his game with a disappointing 7th place finish. According to Chad “I need all the speed stop runs I can get. It’s my weakest event and I just couldn’t put a good run together.”
Day two competition consisted of the autocross and design and engineering segments. Chad Ryker got off to a strong start in the autocross and then encountered overheating issues in the first run session. A lunchtime diagnosis determined it to be a bad cooling fan relay. After scrounging some parts from fellow competitors, the car was ready for the afternoon session. Chad went on to take first place in the autocross and Efrain 4th. Chad was “happy to get one over on the Cheater Corvettes.”
Efrain’s second place overall finish was good enough to win the invite to compete in OUSCI (The Final held in Las Vegas after SEMA). Though, sadly Efrain is unable to compete at OUSCI this year and turned it down. Efrain stated “Willow was an awesome track. I’m happy with my 2nd place finish and had a great weekend racing with my friends.”
Check out the AutoXandTrack YouTube episode that follows Chad’s efforts over the weekend.