A new era opened on the SCCA Solo community last weekend with the 2013 debut of the Tire Rack Match Tour event format, combining the traditional National Tour with an Evolution Super Shootout format on Sunday. Darren Seltzer, of Orlando, Fla., took the top prize as a rookie during Sunday's bracket competition.
The Evolution Super Shootout presented by BFGoodrich Tires uses class runs on Saturday to set the first 32 qualifiers in the bracket. Once the top 32 drivers were seeded, an additional 16-driver bracket was set based on indexed times from an additional four runs to set the Last Chance Qualifier bracket. Once that was set, the final 16 positions were filled with the top eight Ladies Class finishers plus an additional eight drivers pulled from a random drawing – the final opportunity to get into the field.
The Last Chance Qualifier bracket saw some tight competition throughout, with the bracket semi-finals coming down to Dave Montgomery's Street Touring Sport-class Matco Tools Honda CRX Si vs. Danny Kao's Super Stock Stranoparts.com Chevrolet Corvette, and Wes Jenrich's DuPae Derby Dames Mazda Miata vs. Kraig Klippel's Street Touring Sport Stranoparts.com Mazda Miata. The Montgomery-Kao battle was decided by just 0.139 second, with Montgomery taking the win and heading to the final round. There, Montgomery would face Klippel, who had shown to be the class of the bracket by consistently running the fast index times in each round. That trend didn't change in the final round either, as Klippel advanced to the overall semi-finals and collected the $400 prize that goes along with a sub-bracket win.
The Ladies and Random Draw bracket saw Ladies 3 class winner Laura Campbell advance to the final four in the Rotard Racing Mazda RX-8 to take on Cheryl Davis's Ladies 2 Outdoorsolutions4u.com Chevrolet Corvette. The semifinal win by Davis netted her the top lady in the Shootout, worth two tires from BFGoodrich Tires in the process. The random draws from this bracket saw two Street Touring cars advance, with Nelson Antunes's Big Thanks Christian Acura Integra Type R from Street Touring Xtreme taking on AJ Snyder's Kestrel Racing Honda Civic from Street Touring Compact. Snyder, fast all day, had coned away an opportunity to get in through the LCQ, but was clean throughout the bracket to advance himself past Antunes and then Davis to take the bracket win and an additional $400.
The B Bracket came next, where drivers seeded 17-32 in the qualifying faced off. With great battles in each round and all of the drivers very close on index, this bracket was the tightest competition. A great example was round two, where Elliott Harvey's C Street Prepared 1966 Datsun 2000 took on Darrin DiSimo's Street Touring Sport Mazda Miata. DiSimo took the win and advanced to the final four, but only by a mere 0.019 second. Joining DiSimo in the semifinals of the B Bracket was Jason Ruggles, Dat Nguyen, and Mike Casino. Ruggles' Mazda RX-8 faced off against Nguyen's C Stock Mazda MX-5, with Casino's Putz Motrosports and Hack Driver Audi TT against DiSimo. Both Ruggles and Casino won their rounds easily, and faced off in the final round where Casino took the win and the cash.
The A Bracket was filled with the 16 fastest drivers from the Saturday Class competition. F Street Prepared class-winner Geoffrey Zimmer's Volkswagen Rabbit found his way to the bracket semis to face off against D Street Prepared's Eric Campbell in the Campbell Disaster Kleenup BMW 330ci. Zimmer would go on to beat Campbell to make his way into the final round. Craig Wilcox had the toughest draw in many eyes, as he had to take on veterans Sam Strano and Jinx Jordan on his way to the top rounds of the bracket to meet Darren Seltzer's Raptor F500 from F Modified. Wilcox's BFGoodrich/Way Motorworks Mini Cooper, though, was no match for Seltzer, as the top overall qualifier, ran all of his runs in the bracket within a 0.101-second margin, topping Wilcox and then Zimmer to win the $400 prize.
The final four was now set with Klippel squared off with Casino and Snyder running against Seltzer. Both Klippel and Casino had cautious runs on their first of two attempts in the round, with Klippel topping Casino by .123 to advance to final match-up. Snyder drew the short straw and had to run top qualifier, and Seltzer's Mr. Consistency laid down two blistering runs to easily fill the last spot in the finals.
Seltzer, running in his first Tire Rack Solo Tour event, knocked off another lightning-quick run to best Klippel by 1.2-seconds with the index and claim the first Evolution Super Shootout of 2013. Casino topped Snyder in the consolation round for third place.
More information on the Tire Rack SCCA Dixie Match Tour, including results, can be found at http://www.scca.com/events/index.cfm?eid=5452. General information on the SCCA Solo program can be found at www.scca.com.
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