Showdown in SoCal—With championships coming into focus, competitors brought their A-game to Auto Club Speedway

Written by RJB
Photography by Luis Vivar

Ninety-eight competitors arrived at the fourth event of the season, the Fastest Street Car Showdown. Looking like someone spilled a bag of skittles in the pit area, the event brought out a wide variety of machinery. Apparently, a rainbow tastes like race fuel and smoking tires. Who knew?

Of course, the receipt for any good event includes great people and amazing cars. Add a fun course, and mix in 150 pounds of flour (to mark the lines) and boom! It’s like chocolate cake for breakfast. Running the course in both directions over the weekend added another tasty aspect to the event and helps keep things spicy.

Hundredths of a second decided many of the class wins. In fact, several of the victories came down to the final runs of the day. That drama provided a great deal of excitement and anxiety in the pits. On Sunday competitors ran the course clockwise, which delivered a downhill, off-camber slalom into a tight technical section that opened up to a sweeping corner and a blast across the finish line. It also made for some cool pictures.

With championships at stake and every lap counting toward the points standings we also had yet another cat throw his hat into the ring; more on that later.

From fashion to racing, Greg Nelson was prepared for a showdown. Piloting his brand-new, special-order ZL1/1LE Camaro and sporting his Captain America socks, Greg was ready to strut his stuff on the course. After putting down a fast lap early, it looked like the socks were doing their job. Things unraveled in the second round, however, as Gary Cameron took the lead by just over a tenth with a 49.542. Not improving on his fastest time all afternoon, Greg lined up for his final run with the weight of the Modern Muscle group on his shoulders, no pressure… Watching Greg cross the finish line you could see the weight lifted and everything came up daisies as he saw the time of 49.500 an earn the win by a scant 0.042secs.

Mike Horn required no fancy socks, as his GT350R always shows up ready to race. We watched as the age-old clash between Mustangs and Camaros played out in the Modern Muscle Class. Mike came out fast in the first session with a 50.393. Greg Nelson’s Camaro answered back with a 50.379. Not to be outdone Mike and his Mustang responded with a 50.349. This was getting good! Round two saw all six guys in the Modern Muscle Pro group within a few tenths and going into the third round it was anybody’s game at that point. Paul Molina came out swinging and ran a 50.269 in his Mustang taking the lead. In what was undoubtedly a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone, Paul sat and watched as Mike came across the line with a 50.255 to take the win on Sunday by 0.014 seconds.

A beautiful Ranchero called Bacon took the Truck class win on Saturday moving Eric Sheely into the Pro group. Having already won in the Classic Muscle, Modern Muscle, and Sports Car Classes Eric earned a unique opportunity. On Sunday he showed up in a Pontiac Solstice and won the Compact Class. This made him the only person to win in all five classes in a single session. Congratulations on a cool and unique accomplishment. It just goes to show that this young man can drive anything fast.

What is a four-door Mazda beater doing at an autocross? Providing tons of entertainment and making grown men giggle like little kids. It’s because the sponsors that we can do these events, so it was only fitting that we put them in the car for a Crappy Car Showdown. Just to keep things interesting we loaded them up four at a time and sent them out on the course. What could go wrong? Needless to say it was comedy gold! Mike Hamrick from Wilwood almost got lost because he was laughing so hard. Sal Solorzano from TCI attempted some sort of a Joie Chitwood-style reverse J-turn. I’m not exactly sure what happened but when the car came to a stop all three passengers were in different seats. It was an impressive maneuver! In the end Charles Huffhines of SpeedTech took home the award for the fastest lap in a crappy car and a dollar. Don’t ask…

“I don’t like green eggs and ham Sam I am, I don’t like them Sam I am. Wait I’m Scot, I’m Scot and I’m not, I’m not I’m not I’m not. I’m not grumpy and I don’t wear a hat, but they all still call me Grumpy Cat.” Well, not this weekend Dr. Seuss. It was more like Happy Cat, Fast Cat, or better yet Top Cat. Scot Speiwak is a quiet and reserved guy when you first meet him, but once you get to know him you discover an amazing man with a big heart and a great sense of humor. Did we mention he knows how to drive? Scot found something this weekend that put him in a class of his own: the right setup, the right line, and the right tire. Whatever it was; the clouds parted, the stars aligned, and the angels sang. Scot put down the top time of the day and won the Sports Car class both days.

As if that wasn’t enough; Scot won the event Victor award with his averaged times for the weekend being over a full second faster than the entire field. Tom Kamman received the runner-up award and insisted on kneeling for the photo. He said this is what it was like all weekend looking up at Scot’s times! Who will have that view next? We can’t wait to see what happens at the next event. Whether it’s class wins, bragging rights, or just for fun anyone can have that moment were everything comes together… it could be you!

In the VGroup, Scot Speiwak took home the Victor trophy for the overall win, while Tom Kamman earned runner-up honors. Saturday winners included Scot Speiwak (Sports Car Pro), Miguel Velasquez (Sports Car), Chad Ryker (Classic Muscle Pro), David Carol (Classic Muscle), Greg Nelson (Modern Muscle Pro), Todd Cameron (Modern Muscle), Mike Williams (Truck Pro), Eric Sheely (Truck), Pelton Barnes (Compact Pro), and Nick Elia (Compact). Meanwhile, Sunday’s winners included Scot Speiwak (Sports Car Pro), Greg Dreier (Sports Car), Chad Ryker (Classic Muscle Pro), Dan Wilcox (Classic Muscle), Mike Horn (Modern Muscle Pro), Wes Drelleshak (Modern Muscle), Sean Kelly (Truck Pro), Matt Mielczarek (Truck), Pelton Barnes (Compact Pro), and Eric Sheely (Compact).