Nitto Tire NMCA West Auto-X Finals powered by Speedtech Performance

Written By RJB

Photography by Luis Vivar

“Welcome Back, your dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome Back, to that same old place that we laughed about…

Well the names have all changed since you hung around.

But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around.

Who’d have thought they’d lead ya, Back here where we need ya…

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back”

We made it! Entering the track is like hearing a favorite song on the radio that brings back great memories. In a year that most would like to forget it was just nice to not have to think about anything but racing with friends, maybe even have some fun, and hopefully make some memories.

With the final event of the season comes the culmination of the year long Series Championships. Earning points in 5 events means, 90 total laps on 10 different courses, and it all counts. It’s a difficult task with a great reward. Championship rings, “Victor” awards, Jackets, 4 post trophies, and goodie bags from our sponsors which included $100.00 cash from Wilwood Disc Brakes for each of our Champions. Yes, I gave them the cash in one dollar bills, only because the bank didn’t have 60,000 pennies!

Before we could get to all that we had a race to finish. Only days before Christmas our California winter’s provided perfect conditions, it was another Beautiful Day for racing. Although several of the class championships were set there were still many unresolved battles. Ashton Robinson and Lisa Berry were fighting for the Best Points finishing Lady and there are 4 guys in Modern Muscle locked in an epic struggle to take the top spot. All that and we still have the final event to complete. As we finish the final chapter of the 2020 season, we look forward to saying “Welcome Back” in 2021!

The definition of a “sleeper”: a car, based on appearance, that doesn’t look fast. James Eaton’s notchback Mustang is a perfect example, it looks stock, very clean, and honestly looks better than the day it rolled off the showroom floor.  James started racing with us in 2019 and after attending several events he asked some of our top guys for help and advice on how to improve.  The cool thing was he actually listened and implemented several of the recommendations.  Other than the normal “driver mod” which just takes time and practice, there was an obvious problem.  After just one run our pro guy proclaimed that he knew what the biggest issue was…  several of us were very surprised that after just one lap he could be so sure.  When we inquired, he said he spent the entire lap watching James try to not fall out of his seat!”  James showed up at the first event of 2020 with a new racing seat and harnesses and has been enjoying driving the car ever since.  It all paid off on Saturday as he took the win in Classic Muscle on Saturday and moved into the Pro group.

 

123,000+ miles, rush hour traffic on the 91 fwy, numerous autocross events over the last 11 years, and this car just keeps going strong.  The things I’ve seen this car “go through”, well that’s another story.  Chuck Terry is a true Camaro5 OG and one of only a few left in the field driving a 5th Gen.  This is the platform that started this whole thing for us and I believe is a car that helped shape the sport of autocross into what it is today, just my opinion.  Sharing the car again this weekend with his son Shane, who did great finishing 9th and 6th in Modern Muscle, the old girl showed that she could take a beating and Chuck proved the old adage “father knows best” by taking the win on Saturday.

 

The last time I seen this car it was white, looked completely different, and that was a little over 3 years ago.  Greg Biddlingmeier has been racing with us since the beginning and we’ve watched his son Andrew grow up at our events, he must have been 3 or 4 years old.  Back in the day when all the work/repairs/upgrades were going to start the question came up about what he would drive while the Mustang was being built. Well, when we found out that his wife, Krista, offer to let him race her daily (a C6 Corvette) we immediately suggested that she should get to drive too, after all, what are friends for!

At the very next event when she was driving over to the staging lanes, I noticed she looked a little apprehensive so after a couple of quick words of encouragement, we sent her out for her first autocross laps ever. Watching her expression change to wide-eyed excitement and anxious anticipation was awesome! When they arrived at this event, I immediately went over to see the car but my first question was; “where is Krista’s Car”? She quickly responded with; “I’m driving this”, it was a proud moment for me! They both did great all weekend and Greg showed that all his hard work had payed off when he stood on the top step for the Classic Muscle Class on Sunday!

One of the many cool things from this year was watching all of the lady’s race. Lisa Berry, yes, Tom Berry’s daughter, was handed the keys to the family car for the last event of the year. This is not a bad thing when the car in question is an Evo that has been around more cones than most and has carried many championship trophies home for the Berry Family. Having a good car is one thing but the person behind the wheel still has to make it work. This one didn’t fall far from the tree! She took the top spot in the Sports Car Class on Saturday and finished 3rd in the Pro group on Sunday. As if this wasn’t enough, here is the really impressive part… Lisa Finished 3rd Overall for the weekend. Congratulations for being the Highest Points Finishing Lady for the Season!

Saturday Winners

CMP Tom Kamman

CM James Eaton

MMP Paul Molina

MM Chuck Terry

SCP Tom Berry

SC Lisa Berry

TP Mike Williams

CP Pelton Barnes

X David Carrol

 

Sunday Winners

CMP Eric Sheely

CM Greg Biddlingmeier

MMP Wes Drelleshak

MM David Reiner

SCP Tom Berry

SC Sean Mckilop

TP Mike Williams

T Austin Rode

CP Pelton Barnes

C Mike Rios

X David Carrol

Event Winner Tom Berry

Runner-Up Robert DeuPree

 

Series Championships

Grand Champion & Sports Car Class

Tom Berry scored 249 out of possible 250

The Berry Family Racing Evo

Season Runner-Up & Classic Muscle Class

Tom Kamman 1987 Corvette “Hail Mary”

Back-to-Back Modern Muscle Class

Paul Molina 2017 Mustang GT350R “DeadPool”

Truck Class

Mike Williams 1969 C10 “Moni Pit”

Back-to-Back Compact Class

Pelton Barnes 2015 BRZ “Boxer

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