The season opener for the NMCA drag racing series kicked off this weekend at the California Speedway. Just behind the drag strip was a massive parking lot, that was transformed into the Hotchkis Autocross.
California Speedway is a great venue for automotive enthusiasts. Just last weekend all the Cup boys were there, running 180+ miles per hour on the big oval. Fast forward a few short days, and there’s even more racing. With the vast amount of space nestled in Fontana, there was drag racing, auto cross, kart racing, and a driving school on the big oval. No matter where you were on the grounds, the sounds of horsepower could be heard. The temperature was in the 90’s, but a breeze kept everybody cool enough.
A car going a quarter mile in mere seconds is an impressive feat no doubt – but for us, we like a few cones thrown in the way! We checked in and watched a few passes, then headed straight to the autocross to see all the action. The track itself was long and fast. Some cars were able to click into third gear before slamming on the brakes.
To start, the course had a slalom of cones, followed by a jog, which led to a long sweeping right hand turn that made a complete 180 degree turn. From there, another jog which led into a straightaway, but before the cars could gain a ton of speed, they had to lock ’em up and complete another jog before tripping the timing lights.
There was a total of ten groups running on Saturday, which totaled about 60 cars. There was everything from a C2 Corvette, to a Ford Focus, to a bone stock Charger. There was even some awfully fast imports thrown in as well. By far the biggest group of cars was fifth gen Camaros and Corvettes which put up one hell of a fight in every category.
Walking around the pits we ran into plenty of regulars, such as Jake “The Kid” Rozelle. If you haven’t heard of him before, you should have. Him and his ’69 Camaro have been winning every event left and right on the West Coast for some time now. However today he was in a blue C2. “This is only the second time I’ve competed in this car. It drives completely different from my Camaro, so it will take some time to get the feel for it again,” explained Rozelle. But sure enough on his first few runs he was laying down extremely low times, and almost walked away with the win on Saturday.
With the variety of cars, levels of driver skill, and the challenging course it made for an extremely fun day as a spectator. There was a few spin outs as people pushed the limits of their vehicle. Once some rubber started getting laid down, the track times started to drop.
Chad Ryker in his red hot ’68 Camaro took the overall win in the Muscle Class, winning by a mere ten-thousands of a second! Check out the video here which shows the winning run, and how the course was laid out:
As soon as the results are posted for Saturday and Sunday we will update the post with those. For now, check out the 300+ photos from the event!