The autocross portion of the Tuner Shootout is a contest that historically has been held in the typical autocross venue: a parking lot filled with cones. However, we changed it up this year, opting to run on Firebird’s West Test Track (with strategically placed pylons), a smaller road course that has a variety of possible configurations suitable for technical autocross driving.
In years past, our autocross segment has been dominated by one man: Tage Evanson. With an extensive autocross competition history, Tage can dodge cones with the best of the best, so we had our eyes set on the white-and-red, Hasport-sponsored Civic once again as the competition began. This year, however, Tage had a bit of trouble — it wasn’t due to lack of skill but was more about amount of driving talent that every team brought to the table. JC Meynet took the cake with the fastest autocross time of the day, clocking a 36.617-second run around the shortened circuit to earn himself a full 100 points toward the total championship score. Right behind came Thomas Smith in the Zenkai Motorsports STI. Thomas has never competed in our Shootout before, and as the new face in the crowd, his quick e.t. in the drag, combined with his 36.640 autocross lap (just barely off pace with JC by 0.023 seconds), Smith was off to a very good start.
Tage was a bit slower than he would have liked, possibly because of the larger wheel and tire size required by this year’s competition rules. Either way, a solid run of 37.026 was enough to secure third place. Oscar Jackson Jr. blasted his way through the course in the Sportcar Motion ITR, setting a time of less than 2/10ths off Tage’s pace with a 37.182, earning 98.48 points, which pleased the team very much. Breathing down Sportcar’s neck was Mr. Speck in the SoS NSX, turning a very quick 37.215 and earning 98.39 points. It’s interesting to note that all the cars in the top five of the autocross segment of the Shootout were less than 0.60 seconds apart, and all earned between 98 and 100 points, proving just how close the competition really was!
AFI and UMS ran neck in neck, turning in times of 38.551 and 38.795, respectively, while Snail Performance pulled off a 40.301 and KSport brought up the rear with a 40.980.