Road America Event - King Muscle!
Top Dogs Duke It Out For The Number 1 Crown
From the November, 2010 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Henry De Los Santos
Photography by Henry De Los Santos
Albert Melchior made the drive...
Albert Melchior made the drive from Canada to participate at this year's inaugural event. Albert has a number of sweet rides and calls this one "just a driver." That's a nice driver Albert! For more info, check out our sister publication Camaro Performers, as they're planning to have a full feature in the months to come.
Over the past year, there's been a host of muscle car events popping up all across the country. And folks, these are not to be looked over lightly; especially when manufacturers are providing a new arena for enthusiasts to compete against one another, along with the opportunity to push their muscle cars like never before in a safe and secure manner.
New for this year was the Optima Batteries Street Car Faceoff at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, that was presented by Baer Brakes and Detroit Speed on the weekend of May 1st. If you aren't familiar with this track, we'll start by saying that it's a premier road racing facility with its 4.048-mile road course and plays host to the SCCA, American Le Mans Series, SPEED World Challenge, amongst others. We're talking about big-time players and anyone who is anyone in the road racing community-well, they've been here.
Nearly 40 competitors showed up at the venue to give it their best shot in a number of events for the coveted number one spot. These included the BFGoodrich Hot Lap Challenge, the Detroit Speed, Inc. Speed Assault Autocross, the Baer Brakes Speed Stop Challenge, The Roadster Shop Performance Design Challenge, and the Vintage Air Road Rally. It was nothing short of an arduous workout and definitely not for the weak-kneed.
Before the on-track action started, we headed over to The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, where they held an open house and lunch for all the competitors. By the time the crowd arrived, it looked more like an impromptu car show, one that was welcomed by all. From there we slowly made our way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, for the following day's activities.
Prior to the event, The Roadster...
Prior to the event, The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, Illinois, opened their doors and offered up great food for everyone. We even got a sneak peek of what's going on behind the scenes and we're already anxiously waiting for this pair of Novas to be completed.
As the morning crept up on us, we made the short commute to Andrew Chevrolet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for breakfast and to sign in for the competition. With all of the cars checked in and a brief presentation by event organizer Jimi Day of FM3 marketing and Optima Batteries Director of Product Development Cam Douglas, we set off on the Road Rally to Road America. Talk about a scenic 90-mile drive, we experienced a little bit of everything from beautiful countrysides and metropolitan areas to the shores of Lake Michigan.
Rounding out the day was Carbon Kustoms Karting enduro at the Road America race track. This event was flat out awesome with every competitor, volunteer, and media member getting to join the fun. Everyone was placed in small groups for a 50 lap race on a 0.8-mile karting track with over 50 feet of elevation change! The track was shortened slightly, but it was incredible.
Sunday was race day and the competition was fierce with everyone putting in their best efforts. What made this particular event so interesting was its unique format; everyone was placed in three groups, rotating through the challenges to maximize track time. However, this is where it gets good. Once everyone had completed their challenges, they were allowed to go back and try to better their times, which ultimately counted for the overall event. This allowed for serious track time and everyone made the best use of it.
What did we learn from this experience? Competition was brutal on the track, but off the track, it was just a bunch of good people having a grand ol' time. We were awed by how smoothly the event was run, and we were even more impressed with the quality of cars at the inaugural event. As for next year, it's already marked on our calendars!
Andrew Chevrolet did a fine...
Andrew Chevrolet did a fine job of playing host. Since the Road Rally was starting from there the following morning, they allowed competitors to park overnight and take shelter from the rain in their service bay.
During the second stop, D&Z...
During the second stop, D&Z Customs and West Bend Dyno took care of competitors with a lunch stop. The property was huge, more than enough to handle the high volume of cars. From here, it was only a few miles farther to Road America.
Saturday morning, with the...
Saturday morning, with the sun shining brightly, competitors arrived early to sign in for the event. Leaving from Andrew Chevrolet, the Vintage Air sponsored 90-mile Road Rally was vital for overall points, with two main stops along the route. The first stop had a nice surprise with Optima giving away certificates to all that could be redeemed for a new battery. We were stuck in our rental car, but there's something to be said about seeing all those muscle cars cruising the streets.
If you've never heard of the...
If you've never heard of the Power of Youth then log onto www.powerofyouthinc.org. This is a great mentorship program that provides an opportunity for high school students to learn basic automotive skills and to be a part of a team. This '76 Nova was built by seven teenagers over an 18-month period and was being raffled off to help pay for their next project.
Check out Dennis Linson and...
Check out Dennis Linson and his '65 Chevy II at the Baer Speed Stop Challenge; it took a couple of trial runs to figure out where to hammer the brakes, but his final runs were impressive. The goal was to get up to speed and stop within a designated stop box. Believe us when we say it is tougher than it sounds. When the smoke cleared, Denny finished in 10th place.
We really got into Randy Johnson's...
We really got into Randy Johnson's second-gen. Underneath the hood is a MagnaCharger-packing LS mill that makes big steam. On the big track, Randy ran a clean 2:04.92 with a 92 mph top speed, and a 51.31 at the DSE Speed Attack Autocross Challenge. At the Baer Speed Stop Challenge, Randy decelerated quickly at 9.46 seconds.
Greg Tholen out of Cincinnati,...
Greg Tholen out of Cincinnati, Ohio, has become quite the regular at these type of events and obviously isn't afraid to log on the miles. Last we heard, Greg swapped the slushbox for a stick and prepped the '95 for serious track duty. Even so, he was no slouch and got through the BFG Hot Lap Challenge with a 2:05.37.
We have to thank Ray Thompson...
We have to thank Ray Thompson for a ride in his '68 Camaro. While these were technically considered parade laps to get familiar with the track, it was still fun nonetheless.