Thursday, June 7, 2012

Out of the Arm Chair

In past posts, I've done some of statistical analyses to assess how my car compares with a real nationals SSM car, and how how my I might have placed in the 2010 nationals. The result wasn't pretty, and at that time all I could say is that there was a decent chance that I wouldn't have been last. It did however keep me entertained while my car was sequestered by the snow.

In 2011 I was rather bummed that I couldn't repeat the analysis. The 2011 nationals were not amenable to such analysis because it rained for the SSM runs, and the SSM times bore little or no relationship to the rest of the classes. Our region sent zero SSM drivers to Nationals, so there was no data with which I could generate a comparison.

The SCCA Solo National Tour is coming to Devens, MA in just over a week's time. It's not quite the nationals scene, but it's still likely to be over 200 drivers, and it will be possible to win free Hoosier tires via the Hoosier tire contingency program. Free Ho-ho's (as they are known) is enough to attract national caliber SSM drivers, and while the field won't include very the top contenders such as Andy McKee,  Erik Strelnieks, and Carter Thompson, because they live too far away, but here's who is showing up:

Jake Namer is registered and he is a regular contender at Nationals, and drives the class dominating car: the 1993 turbo Mazda RX-7. He is definitely the odds on favorite, he has the right car, fully prepared and he's got a small collection of national level trophies to back it up.

Elena La Rosa is co-driving with him. Her results have usually been quite a bit lower than his, but she is capable of speed. According to the results on, she ran 0.1 s faster than Jake at nationals, but I don't know if SSML ran in the rain or not.

Besides that, the 2011 national champion SM car, a Nissan 240 sx know as the "panda"  has been entered by Paul Klein and Jenna Corales.  Jenna is the owner drove that car in SSM and I only beat her once, but both of us surely have learned a lot since then. I out paxed her in the season standings last year, so it should be interesting.

Paul mostly drives shifter carts. His pax rankings in the few NER events I can find are slightly better than mine, but he has one Pro-Solo win in SSM driving the panda. On the flip side that was in 2008, and the field was very small, and he was 3 seconds behind first.

Then there's the usual crowd, Mat Neiman, who I have beat 4 of the last 5 events, and Bill Sallie whom I have beat 3 out of the last 5 and Brian Cunningham who's evidently got more motor than all of us but has yet to put up a fast time (perhaps too much power is hard to control?), and my co-driver, David Oliviera who has put himself ahead of me early twice now, only to be skunked by my final run.

Not yet entered, but probable are 2 more drivers in the Blue CRX, Brian and Don Keuhl, a father and son team that are the 2010 and 2011 SSM class champions for our region. They usually beat me, but they also have a nasty habit of breaking their car ( honda CRX's not really meant to house 340-360 hp).

So I have to admit that it's not very likely that I'll be able to beat Jake, and take home a pair of tires, and the CRX and panda are also very likely to give me trouble. However, I am VERY happy, because anything I do achieve will be a real achievement in one of the largest classes at a National Tour. This is a chance to race a real national level race. No arm-chair proxy analysis here.

Time to get out of the chair and run in the real thing...

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