Written by Steve Turner
Photography by Terry Lysak
After shaking off the rust at the season opener, competitors hit their stride at the Nitto Tire USA NMCA WEST Auto-X Spring Fling. Run at Auto Club Raceway in Fontana, California, over the weekend of March 27-28, the sold-out event attracted a wide range of machines from the latest sports cars to some impressive classic muscle cars. No matter what rides they were piloting, competitors set their sights on carving up the cones with the hastiest pace.
Challenging their skills was a classic path set up by event coordinators, Racing Byrds. As is custom, they recreated the path of an iconic road course in autocross form. For round two of the Nitto Tire NMCA WEST series, the course paid tribute to the Bahrain International Circuit in honor of the first Formula 1 race of the season. Featuring three overtaking zones and two challenging sections, this course provided a fun path for the drivers and plenty of entertainment for the spectators.
Even though this was only the second event of the 2021 season, the championship races are already tightening up. Racers returned to Fontana for the NMCA WEST Auto-X Fastest Street Car Showdown in early May, so stay tuned for more corner-carving coverage from that one as the season heads toward its midpoint.
With 28 competitors racing against the clock in the TCI Classic Muscle Pro class, it was Effrain Davis who ran away with the victory in his Mustang, which clocked a best run of 51.401 seconds.
It’s always great to see the sponsors getting in on the action, and Mike Hamrick definitely did that in theTCI Classic Muscle class. There he wheeled Wilwood’s Coyote-swapped 1965 Mustang to a best run of 55.029 seconds.
A third-generation corner-carver, Dean Harrington provided lunchtime entertainment for himself and onlookers as he took on the autocross course in his go-kart.
While you can see plenty of classic iron carving up the cones, it is fun when racers bring out the latest performance machines. Case in point is the 2021 Toyota Supra that Sean McKillop wheeled in the Auto Ricambi Compact class.
They can’t all be perfect laps. Sometimes an innocent cone suffers. That is a hazard of the job, but it’s little harder on the cone when it takes hit to the mid-section from the low-slung front splitter on Pat Sheeley’s Camaro competing in the Demon Motorsports Modern Muscle class.
Speaking of Camaros, it’s always fun to see the classics out there mixing it up with the modern machines. Fred Fogerty’s 1969 example was definitely in the mix, laying down a best run of 54.179 seconds in TCIClassic Muscle.
It’s great seeing the next generation having fun at Nitto Tire NMCA WEST Auto-X events. To that end, Brittany and Nicholas Fitts settled the family’s Sibling Rivalry Challenge between the cones in a 2014 Scion.
Not only did Tom Berry win the Custom Machine Performance Super Car class during the second round of the Nitto Tire NMCA WEST Auto-X Series, but he also clocked the quickest laps of the weekend in his Porsche.
It’s not every day that you see a Lambo tearing it up on an autocross, but Robert Deupree definitely likes to drive his 2013 Gallardo the way that it was intended to be driven. He clocked a best run of 54.418 in the Custom Machine Performance Super Car class.
Mario Torres was flying in the Auto Ricambi Compact class, where he took top honors. Piloting his Honda S2000, he ran a best lap of 53.365 during the NMCA WEST Auto-X Spring Fling.
At the end of each day’s festivities the victors gathered to collect their hardware and celebrate with their fellow winners.
Taking home the overall win at the second event of the Nitto Tire NMCA WEST Auto-X series was a familiar face. Porsche pilot Tom Berry clocked the quickest two runs of the weekend to earn 50 points. Hot on his heels in a 1987 Corvette was Tom Kamman, who earned 49 points to carry away the runner-up trophy.