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2011 Street Modified: Attack of the Panda - Episode 2: Dover, Oscoda, and Toledo

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  • 2011 Street Modified: Attack of the Panda - Episode 2: Dover, Oscoda, and Toledo


    The 2011 Delaware National Tour ended up providing a few interesting challenges. The first was attendance, as Street Modified was pretty slim at only 3 cars. Because of this, Hoosier contingency only pays out for 1st place, so in order to have a shot at a 2nd contingency win, we needed to swap one driver to another class. Having come off a good drive at a local event, Dave opted to run in SSM. Unfortunately, so did ASP overdog Mike "Junior" Johnson in a "600hp Land Rocket". The second challenge was the course itself. The course was divided by an island separating 2 parking lots. One lot had excellent traction, while the other was a larger aggregate that was also breaking up (much less traction + bumps). Handling each in a single run required a lot of concentration, and presence of mind to change driving style halfway through a run.

    600hp ASP Vette of doom

    If you look closely, you can see the debris picking up from crappier surface

    I started off in SM, with Dave in SSM running the heat after. On my first run, I made the transfer from crap surface to good surface, and was putting down a good safe run when I bit off a bit more than I could chew through the finish and tagged a cone. Despite the cone, I had the lead in SM going into 2nd runs, where I put down the clean run (probably being a bit safe). With a 1 second lead, I went full bore into run 3 and tagged a cone halfway through. Knowing I hit a cone, I tried forcing my way through a tight offset slalom and DNF'ed when I couldn't get the front to bite. Knowing how fast I couldn't go through a section would provide some feedback for Dave in the next heat....

    Dave ran SSM flawlessly, despite being at a disadvantage in power. He was still able to outrun Jake Namer's RX-7, and Jason Becker's powerful M-coupe. Ultimately, he would end up in 2nd place.
    Last edited by AceInHole; 07-07-2011, 07:09 AM.

  • #2

    Oscoda is a long drive.... 15 hours each way. Despite that, we arrived super early to the site and locked down prime paddock spots (important at National level events). Unfortunately, we encountered a similar problem to Dover, as SM did not have enough cars to make a full class. To make matters worse, we couldn't change classes since we needed to get season points for SM. On top of that, we would be "bumped" into the same class as the ASP land rocket that dominated the overall PAX index in Dover, and also have deal with the PAX disadvantage that SM has to ASP. Things were not looking well for the class win perspective.... until we were about to leave the site on Friday.

    At around 6pm (or maybe earlier? the sun seemed as though it never set) a familiar face drove by. It was Jarrod Hoops towing his SM Evo onto the site. From him, we found out that Andy Lieber would be showing up, but not racing. Having Jarrod meant 4 cars in SM, but we would still need a 5th. After trying to convince him to convince Andy to race on Saturday, we found a DSP car willing to swap to SM under the condition that we would do his work assignment at the Finale..... luckily, it never came to that as a 5th SM car showed up on Saturday morning as a late entry! SM would make a class.

    Making a class was only the beginning of the weekend, though. We would still have to get out there and drive.... Back again was Corey Ridgick, with him and Cy Lee having fixed their BSP/SM Evo after a tranny failure in NJ. On top of that, Jarrod's car was as monsterous as ever. It's also a past National Champion car, as well.

    Corey Ridgick in the BSP/SM Evo

    Jarrod Hoops' SM Evo

    Round 1 would have everyone hitting cones, which put me in position to take over an early lead with some cautious driving. Dave would pull his usual antics, having a super fast runs negated by cones.

    Round 2 wouldn't be quite as easy, with everyone showing that times could drop much further. I kept it clean, shaving a few tenths on each side while Dave would catch a single clean run to put him in 2nd. Hoops and Ridgick both hit cones on their fastest, with times fast enough to show that they were still just as big a threat to take the lead as ever.

    Round 3 came the next day, where I managed to keep just in front of Hoops on first driver runs. The co-drivers came up and Dave would slot himself momentarily into 2nd, before Ridgick put down a pair of runs that nearly took over the lead. A single cone would negate it, though, and he would fall into 2nd place between Dave and I.

    Panda at the line

    After normal competition came the Super Challenge:
    My luck would have it that I'd be paired up again with my fellow NER member and good friend, Scott Thursby, in the first round. Having coned away the win to him in NJ, I went with a fairly safe line on the first run. Ironically, Scott hit a cone that basically handed me the win

    Thursby's Marshmallow

    Moving into the 2nd round, I was up against another good friend and former SM ProSolo Champion, Chris Travis. Chris would also hit a cone, despite me taking the win in raw time anyways.

    Chris Travis' (girlfriends') BS S2000

    The rounds would just get harder, as I'd have to take on multi-time National Champion (and also NER member) Paul Kozlak. Somehow, I put down a couple good runs to get past him, and move on to the final four.

    The Kozlaks' BS Pontiac Solstice

    Unfortunately, my run would stop there, against Sam Strano. A bit of intimidation from Sam being a regular Challenge winner, and also from not cooling tires off enough, would result in a poor first run on my part. Getting the car a little loose into the first slalom would cost me my line on the return trip, resulting in a 0.7 sec deficit into the 2nd run. Somehow, I got my composure back, and clawed back 0.6sec of it, resulting in a 0.1sec win for Strano.

    Strano's ESP Mustang

    The consolation round started off well enough, but although I had a slim lead coming off the first run, I red-lit the 2nd, pretty much forfeiting the round to Matt Braun.

    Matt Braun's SS Lotus Elise
    All in all, it was a pretty exciting weekend, and in the end I have enough points to be the Atlantic Zone Champion going into the Pro Finale next month

    All photos courtesy of Brian Keuhl
    Last edited by AceInHole; 07-07-2011, 07:08 AM.


    • #3
      Toledo (to come):


      • #4
        You guys are doing great. Good write up, as usual. Hope I make it to Nats so you can show me how it's really done. Not sure yet but good luck in the meantime.

        I have dealt with Junior over the phone for a few years, putting on Evo Schools here, and he seems like a really nice guy. He hasn't made it to an Evo here yet but Pat Salerno has. They are both very fast and co-owners of Evo, I think.


        • #5
          Wow. Great stories! Made me feel like I was there watching it unfold.

          I've known Chris Travis for years - ever since he started campaigning his red civic back in the day.
          1990 240sx - Aristo 2JZGTE, R154, GT37, Defsport Wilwood kit, KTS coilovers - daily driver
          1991 civic si - B18C5 / toda / ATS / hytech - autox
          2001 integra type R - Greddy td05-18g - garage queen