Fontana, CA—Cal Club Autocross got its 2018 season underway on Sunday, January 14 with 140 entrants competing at Auto Club Speedway. Weather in the 70s highlighted the fast and efficient event, as participants competed in their classes in the morning with free fun runs in the afternoon. The deceptively challenging course was designed by Matt Ales and featured decreasing radius corners with multiple line choices. This favored brave drivers who were willing to overdrive the entry while scrubbing speed.
The roar of classic American muscle cars distinguished the start of the event, as 18 drivers in the three classes vied for the top spot. In Classic American Muscle Contemporary, first-time CAM driver Brandon Porambo (co-driving Paul Molina’s Ford Mustang GT350-R) vaulted into the lead in the nine-driver class by besting 2017 Class Champion Greg Nelson by .191. Molina took third nearly nine-tenths back, with Don Gonzales in fourth.
Side note: co-driving is a great way to split the cost of competing as well as sharing the duties of getting the car ready and transported to events.
Another 2017 Class Champion, Chad Ryker, picked up where he left off in Classic American Muscle Traditional, beating Efrain Diaz by just over a second for the victory. Thomas Kamman got it done on his first run in Classic American Muscle Sport, winning the class by four seconds.
Tetsu Fukui secured his first California Street Touring victory following his third run, but went even faster on his fourth run to extend his lead and triumph over Adrian Cardenas by nearly a second. Jonathan Hartendorp coned his fastest fourth run to finish in third (he would have been second), with Michael Bradley in his new livery Mini in fourth just .087 behind.
Matt Jones led wire-to-wire in the seven-person A Street class en route to a second overall PAX finish for the event. Randy Gonzalez earned second place honors with Danny Castillo in third.
The smallest win margin of the day came in E Street, with Leonard Cachola beating Dennis Hubbard by five-thousands on the fourth and final run.
Myles Wakayama’s fastest run was his first in the five-person F Street class, and he held on for the victory after Eric Forbes coned his fastest fourth run to remain in second place.
Stanley Kowalski moved over to Street Mod Combined with his new 2003 Evo, and got things going immediately beating 2017 Class Champion Julian Manolov by .159.
The largest class of the event was Street Touring Roadster with 15 entrants. Jonathan Lugod maintained the early lead as Michael Yanase was the victim of those pesky orange pylons in his first three runs. Yanase’s final run was clean, but it fell short of Lugod’s fastest third run by .018. Robert Joe took home third place nearly half a second back, with Bob Endicott securing the final trophy spot just .014 behind.
PAX Ladies saw a new face at the top of the class in January as birthday girl Mindi Cross, visiting from Arizona, topped Lisa Berry for the win. Cat Tran finished third with Jessica Pao in fourth. 2017 Class Champion Neelu Yeoh drove Mark DeShon’s 350Z aka “Dark Matter” after the Civic had issues on Saturday, which put her fifth.
Max Hayter started off 2018 the same way he ended 2017: by winning D Street. He led the four-driver class from the first run, on the way to a six-second victory. Michael Parker was another driver who led from the get-go, earning the G Street victory by over two seconds. while Bill Martin got faster in each of his four runs to win H Street by eight-tenths over Pete Landry.
Gary Cameron had the early lead in Street Touring Sport until final runs, when Craig Naylor found four-tenths on his last run to leapfrog past Cameron for the win. 2017 STS Class Champion Stephen Yeoh was driving also Dark Matter in STU following issues with the Civic on Saturday, and did not compete in the class.
Side note: as is common in autocross, competitors let others drive their cars when issues happen. At autocross, we’re a family; life happens and things break. A big thank you goes out to DeShon for allowing the Yeoh’s to race Dark Matter (which is for sale, by the way). If you ever find yourself in a similar position, reach out to those around you and we can all help continue to make racing possible.
Another 2017 class champion to get the opening 2018 victory was Steve O’Blenes in Street Touring eXtreme, finding over six-tenths on his last run to extend his lead over co-driver Adam Tarnoff by .772. Jason Swindle, who won C Modified in 2017, also got his first victory of the season by .368 over Eric Clements.
Street Prepared Combined saw all three competitors drive DSP cars, with Ira Cruz taking the win over his son, Marco, by just under three-tenths. Historic 1 was six-drivers deep with 2017 Class Champion Brian Howlett defeating Doug Teulie (whose car merged from Historic 2) by 1.2-seconds. Tom Tanquary, another 2017 Class Champion, led wire-to-wire in B Street for a 1.6-second win over co-driver Curt Luther.
Nine participants competed in PAX, with Anthony Porta securing his first win of the year (and also top overall PAX for the event) by .394 over 2017 Class Champion Tom Berry. DeShon in Dark Matter (did I mention it’s for sale?) finished third with Matt Ales in fourth.
The Novice class witnessed Bolong Guan in his 2015 Ford Focus take the win by over seven-tenths over Laura Corodimas in her 2017 BMW M2, with Danielle Gilbert in a 2005 Corvette finishing third.
Cal Club Autocross returns to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for its second event of 2018 on Sunday, February 11.
A big thank you to all our chiefs for the event:
Event Master - Randy Gonzalez
Registration - Anthony Porta
Timing and Scoring - Rick Brown
Course Designer - Matt Ales
Workers - Neelu Yeoh
Tech - Vereker Tam
Gate - Kevin Pao
Novice Coordinator - Leonard Cachola
Safety Steward - QV Dang
Youth Steward - Stephen Yeoh