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2017 Season Gets Underway at Auto Club Speedway

The 2017 season got underway for Cal Club Autocross Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, with over 150 people competing in 32 classes. The Adam Tarnoff designed course was balanced and thoughtful, giving racers transitional elements and decreasing radius sweepers. The morning groups enjoyed beautiful, clear weather with light winds. To start things off, Street Touring Roadster (STR) provided must-see entertainment, with Michael Yanase earning a .085 victory over Reed Gibson, 49.107 to 49.192. In Street Touring Sport (STS), a similar battle brewed between Stephen Yeoh and Peter Loney, with Yeoh eking out the .080 win with a time of 50.983 compared to 51.062. Brett Madsen made his debut in D-Street Sunday morning and used a 52.824 on his fourth run to seal his first-place effort over Sean Fenstermacher (also making his DS debut following a couple seasons in C-Street) who finished second with a 53.026. Course-designer Tarnoff took first place honors in E-Street on Sunday, winning by nearly a second over Nic Sanchez (Tarnoff will be back in his normal C-Street class next event). In Historic 1, Brian Howlett in his 1966 Morgan Plus 4 relished a 3.7 second victory in the four-person class, Erik Hagendijk in Super Street likewise enjoyed a 1.2 second win in his 2014 Porsche Boxster S, while George White led Super Stock R from start to finish, winning the three-person class by 1.3 seconds. In G-Street, Michael Parker trailed Travis Sackwar by .084 heading into his fourth and final run, but Parker was able to come in with a faster time and win by four-tenths. Co-drivers Jason Swindle and Casey Quinn took first and second place honors in C Modified, with Swindle coming in nearly half a second ahead of Quinn. After the lunch break, five junior karters competed in three Junior classes: Cyan Kalman won Junior A over her brother Dane, Shelby Baltazar won Junior B against Tadao Nakata, and five-year old Lakshmi Nakata made her first-ever autocross debut in Junior C. Following the juniors, the 12-person PAX class took to the course, with the fastest car in the country (the A Modified car of KJ Christopher and Marshall Grice) doing what it does best: going fast. Grice took home the victory over his co-driver, coming in with a raw time of 38.252, while Tom Berry in his 2006 Mitsubishi Evo took third. There was a great turnout for the Classic America Muscle cars, with 15 combined racers battling it out in CAM Contemporary and CAM Traditional. Don Gonzales took home first place honors in CAMC by 1.1 seconds over Kevin Largent, while Jordan Priestley’s win in CAMT was a nail-biter, winning by less than two-tenths against Chad Ryker. The Street Modified Combined class encompassed drivers in Super Street Modified, Street Modified, and Street Modified FWD. Bill Schenker returned from a six-month racing hiatus to win the five-person class by almost three-tenths over Robert Stangarone. In B Street, Tom Tanquary came out on top, earning a nearly six-tenths victory in the four-person class, while Kenton Koch won C Street using a 50.382 fourth run to win by seven-tenths over Thomas Frecentese. Theresa Berry, last year’s PAX Ladies champion, won the eight-person PAXL class with a close .221 win over Neelu Yeoh, 42.235 to 42.456. Yeoh, just a year out of junior karts, continued her improved rise in the class in her Honda Civic. Street Touring eXtreme (STX), another large afternoon class, saw Steve O’Blenes claim first-place honors by seven-tenths over Terence Chang, who topped third-place David Webb by only .153. Brandon Porambo made his debut in his Honda S2000, winning California Street Touring (CST) by nearly a half a second over 2016 CST champion, Tetsu Fukui. Michael Bradley earned third in his Mini Cooper, which was on E-85 fuel for the first time. Cal Club Autocross next returns to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for the second event of 2017 on Sunday, February 19.

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