Latest ALSCCA News

Fall 2016 Teen Driver Clinics

The Fall 2016 clinics will be held on September 24th, October 8th, and November 5th, all at the South Campus of Gardendale First Baptist Church. Pre-registration is required due to the limited space in each clinic.Registration links are:

Additional information can be found in the Teen Driver Clinic section of this website.

2016 Crossroads Match Tour report

Twelve ALSCCA members headed to Grenada, Mississippi on June 17-19 to take part in the Crossroads Match Tour. One of the focuses of the Match Tour format is to entice participants who may be new to National-level competition and we had five rookies in our group: Josh Bassett, Delanie Calhoun, Miles Crabbe, Hallie Nabors, and Nick Vagner. Also attending their first National event were Kyle Buffaloe and Douglas Modling, both of whom are from our area and have recently started autocrossing. Our TVR friends from Huntsville brought fifteen of their folks.

The event site was Grenada Municipal Airport which is one of the many 40s-50s era former airbases that dot the Southeast. One of the locals pointed out that it had one of only two remaining all-wood World War 2 vintage hangers remaining in the country. Of course being an old air base means lots of grippy concrete and the course designers put together a challenging course with fast transitions, a long fast sweeper, two low speed 180s, and a fast sweeping finish that could really bite you if you got it wrong.

ALSCCA folks brought home three class victories and four trophy positions in Saturday’s class competition.

  • A Street saw National-rookie Nick Vagner bringing home the 3rd place trophy driving Stephen Saunders' Corvette Grand Sport. Stephen finished 5th in the nine driver field.
  • B Street had TVR and ALSCCA drivers at the top of the seven driver field. ALSCCA’s Rod Hardiman, driving Ed Fisher’s Corvette, took the third trophy spot. Ed took the class win for TVR with fellow TVR drivers Charles Krampert & Mark Cather finishing 2nd & 4th, respectively.
  • In C Street Clay McCool rebounded from somewhat disappointing morning session to secure the 3rd trophy position in a very competitive 11 driver field.
  • E Street had 10 drivers including two ALSCCA rookies. Josh Bassett finished 7th, one position ahead of car-owner Delanie Calhoun.
  • F Street had a four driver field with three from ALSCCA. Jerry Ledford brought home the class win driving Chris Towe’s BMW M3. Chris finished 4th due to DNFs in the morning but did run an afternoon time with pace that could have been could for second place. Miles Crabbe, another rookie, finished 3rd in his Mustang.
  • Street Modified was a battle of ALSCCA co-drivers. Heath Patterson edged out car-owner Chaisit Tongsuvone for the class win.
  • Last but certainly not least, Hallie Nabors & family made the trip for her first big event in her Junior Kart. Hallie did a great job all day Saturday and ultimately ran times better than some of the cars.

Sundays at a Match Tour offer three morning runs to qualify for the bracket shootouts and set your dial-in time. Once the three shootout fields are set then it moves to head-to-head knockout competition with winners moving through the bracket. The Top Dog field is set by the top 8 indexed finishers from each run heat. Under Dog finds finishers 8-16 from each heat. The Lucky Dog field is determined by drawing names from anyone else who submitted their names.

  • Rod Hardiman represented ALSCCA in the Top Dog bracket but went out in the first round to the ultimate Top Dog champ Dennis Sparks from TVR.
  • In Under Dog we had Stephen Saunders from Heat 1 and Josh Bassett and Miles Crabbe from Heat 2. Miles went out in the first round while Josh made it to the Heat 2 final before going down. Stephen came through some tight Heat 1 matchups to ultimately take the Under Dog win. Congrats Stephen!
  • Nick Vagner just missed out in qualifying but was drawn for the Lucky Dog challenge and made it round two before getting knocked out.

Big thanks to Mississippi Region for hosting a great event. The site and course were excellent and Grenada is an easy drive from the Birmingham area.

2016 Dixie National Tour report

The first SCCA National Tour autocross event of 2016 took place on March 19-20 in Cecil, Georgia at the South Georgia Motorsports Park. As the traditional kick-off of the National season, the Dixie Championship Tour usually sees a large turnout of folks from all over the country. This year was no different as 281 entrants took their shot at the courses. We had the largest ALSCCA turnout in years with 17 of our folks making the trip, including four experiencing their first National level event. 

For those not familiar with the Dixie Championship Tour format, Friday is basically arrival day and offers a test & tune to get dialed in before competition runs. Saturday begins the competition with each participant getting three runs to set their best time. After competition runs are complete on Saturday the start/finish lights are switched and a few adjustments are made for safety. The course is run in the opposite direction on Sunday. Results are determined by adding the best runs from each day.

We had five drivers bring home trophies: Stephen Saunders, Clay McCool, Jordan Towns, Jerry Ledford, & John Waight. Below is a brief description of each of our folks.

Stephen Saunders brought home the 4th place trophy in a 13 driver A Street field. He improved two spots on Sunday to grab the last trophy position.

C Street had the largest field at the event with 27 drivers, including four from ALSCCA. Clay McCool was in second place after Saturday’s runs and jumped to first on Sunday after first runs. He finished in the 3rd trophy position, just 0.029 seconds out of 2nd place. We also had three Tour rookies in the C Street field. Bo Jinright improved three positions in his Miata on Sunday to finish 13th. Charles d’Ambrose codrove Clay’s FR-S and Mike Coon brought his 2016 MX-5.

Jordan Towns took the 2nd place trophy in D Street (7 entrants) behind her WRX codriver Dennis Sparks of TVR.

Heath Patterson took his E Street Miata to its first major event and finished 13th out of 22 in the third largest class at Dixie.

STX was the second largest class with 26 entrants, including the current class National Champ and several other top drivers. Two father/son teams from ALSCCA were among the field, with the two old guys edging out the “kids”. Rod & Zac Hardiman fought a bad suspension setup on their FR-S on Saturday. Adjustments made on Sunday improved the car and their positions with Rod ultimately finishing 13th, up one spot from Saturday, and Zac improving 4 positions to 21st even with cones on his fastest run. Jeff & Max Appelbaum now claim ALSCCA as their home region and took their BMW to 16th and 20th place, respectively.

STR had 16 entrants in what is always a brutally competitive class. While the forecasted rain mostly stayed away, STR ran first heat and Saturday started damp & dried throughout the morning. ALSCCA’s Jerry Ledford fought the damp conditions to an overnight 7th place. Sunday morning found a dry surface and Jerry improved 1.5 seconds on his final run to move up two spots and grab the 5th and final trophy position. Tristan James, who still claims ALSCCA though he has recently relocated to Florida, came in a very respectable 9th in his first National event.

CSP found our familiar duo of Darryl Engle and John Waight sharing Darryl’s blue Miata in a field of eight entrants. John captured the 3rd place trophy and Darryl finished just behind in 4th.

Street Modified had 10 entrants in some very serious boosted hardware, including two monster Subarus, Eric Hyman’s Godzilla GT-R, and our very own Chaisit & Sara Tongsuvone in their silver Evo. Once the dust settled Chaisit finished 6th & Sara 7th and were encouraged that their off-season improvements had helped close the gap to the top guys.

There is a large social aspect to these big events and this year was no different. In addition to our 17 drivers, there were about 15 from TVR and many more from East Tennessee Region. Jeff & Max Appelbaum get MVP mention for arriving Thursday afternoon, securing paddock space for most of this crowd, and getting several EZ-Ups in place to give us somewhere to congregate when not running or working.

Hopefully after reading this little write-up even more of our folks might be encouraged to give it a shot at one of the National events. Your next closest chance is the Match Tour East Tennessee Region will be hosting at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee on May 14-15.

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