In June the NMCA West Hotchkis Autocross returned to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA. The event may seem like a distant memory but with a few key first ever accomplishments for an NMCA Hotchkis autocross, AutoXandTrack would be remiss not to provide coverage!
True to form, Fontana saw cool comfortable weather before and after the event. However, for the weekend we were “blessed” with a temperature spike into mid 90’s with hot and sunny conditions. Two day entries and Saturday were both sold out and Sunday well attended so there was lots of autocross action all weekend long.
What is the NMCA West Hothckis Autocross?
As a part of the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) and with Hothckis as the title sponsor the event is heavily attended by V8 powered American muscle cars. However, the autocross is open to cars of all types. Drivers can attend just one or both days and each day has separate awards and winners for each of the five classes.
- Classic Muscle – pre-1983 muscle cars
- Modern Muscle – post-1983 muscle cars
- Sports Car – high performance sports cars (e.g. Corvette, AWD or high powered coupes)
- Compact Car
A Classic Muscle car takes the Hotchkis Cup!
For the first time ever at the NMCA Hotchkis autocross, a car from the Classic Muscle class won the Hotchkis Cup. In fact, both the Hotchkis Cup and the runner up were Classic Muscle cars. Another first ever, was how tight the spread was between the winner, Michael Cuthbertson, and the runner up, Chad Ryker. Both were driving their 1968 Camaros and after a combined 20 timed laps each and across two days of competition the gap between these competitor’s average was only 17 thousands of a second!!
First ever Mustang sweep of Modern Muscle
Another NMCA Hotchkis autocross first was Sunday’s podium sweep of Modern Muscle by Mustangs. 5th and 6th gen Camaros come out in large numbers for these events and this weekend was no exception with 14 Camaros and 5 Mustangs. However, despite the numbers disadvantage not only did Mustangs sweep the podium but they were led by the AutoXandTrack featured Gregg Biddlingmeier’s Fox Body Mustang! It wasn’t until Gregg’s 10th and final lap of the day that he finally improved over his first to drop over half a second and leapfrog into first place.
We reached out to some of the top drivers from both the Camaro and Mustang camps regarding this event and this is what they had to say:
Mustang owner: “I’m ecstatic to be a part of the team that beat down the Camaro’s! This ranks right up there when Ford swept Le Mans in 1966!”
Camaro Owner: “The recklessness of the Mustang community has always been a concern for spectators and fellow drivers. Due to the recent Mustang entry volume increase, the Camaro community placed life and vehicle preservation over competition. However, next time we will be better prepared!”
Modern Muscle Class
Modern Muscle Saturday Top 5 (class of 19)
|1||Paul Molina||2017 Mustang GT350R||41.616|
|2||Gregg Biddlingmeier||1988 Mustang||41.892||-0.276|
|3||Kurt Robinson||2015 Camaro||41.898||-0.006|
|4||Greg Nelson||2015 Camaro Z28||41.98||-0.082|
Modern Muscle Sunday Top 5 (class of 23)
|1||Gregg Biddlingmeier||1988 Mustang2017||41.136|
|2||Paul Molina||Mustang GT350R||41.574||0.438|
|3||Eric Sheely||2017 Mustang GT350R||41.732||0.158|
|4||Greg Nelson||2015 Camaro Z28||42.014||0.282|
|5||Don Gonzales||2010 Camaro G28||42.059||0.045|
Classic Muscle Class
Classic Muscle Saturday Top 5 (class of 16)
|1||Greg Thurmond||1965 Corvette||41.258|
|2||Michael Cuthbertson||1968 Camaro||41.346||0.088|
|3||Chad Ryker||1968 Camaro||41.672||0.326|
|4||Wally Logan||1968 Camaro||42.371||0.699|
|5||Richard Trujillo||1969 Mustang||42.74||0.369|
Classic Muscle Sunday Top 5 (class of 11)
|1||Greg Thurmond||1965 Corvette||41.278|
|2||Chad Ryker||1968 Camaro||41.328||0.05|
|3||Michael Cuthbertson||1968 Camaro||41.559||0.231|
|4||Effrain Diaz||1969 Camaro||42.36||0.801|
|5||Richard Trujillo||1969 Mustang||42.856||0.496|
Sports Car Class
Sports Car Saturday Top 5 (class of 17)
|1||Tom Kamman||2002 Corvette Z06||40.928|
|2||John Lazorack III||1988 Conquest||40.98||0.052|
|3||Jake Rozelle||2003 Corvette Z06||41.517||0.537|
|4||Scot Spiewak||2003 Corvette||41.756||0.239|
Sports Car Sunday Top 5 (class of 14)
|1||John Lazorack III||1988 Conquest||40.875|
|2||Pat Sheely*||2016 Corvette Z06||41.364||0.489|
|3||Pat Sheely*||2016 Focus||41.77||0.406|
|5||Scot Spiewak||2003 Corvette||41.859||0.038|
*If you are confused at seeing the same name multiple times in the same class. One thing that is unique to NMCA Hotchkis autocross is that you can buy multiple entries and remain eligible for awards.
Compact Saturday Top 5 (class of 11)
|1||James Gassor||2008 Sky||44.38|
|2||Max Sigwart||2013 Focus ST||44.668||0.288|
|3||Marc Lewis||2014 Focus ST||44.76||0.092|
|5||Troy Lyman||2013 Velaster||45.287||0.263|
Compact Sunday Top 5 (class of 12)
|1||Pat Sheely||2017 Focus ST||43.367|
|2||Max Sigwart||2013 Focus ST||43.49||0.123|
|3||James Gassor||2008 Sky||43.631||0.141|
|4||Richard Trujillo||2017 Focus ST||44.138||0.507|
Yet, another first ever for this event was the purchase, delivery and competition of a brand new car! After some mechanical gremlins with one of their cars, one competitor called a nearby Ford dealer with a unique offer. He would buy a new Ford Focus, right that minute as long as the dealer delivered it to the track in time. An hour or two later and this brand new Focus with practically no miles was out slaying cones!
Truck Saturday Top 5 (class of 12)
|1||Wes Drelleshak||1959 Apache||42.572|
|2||Brandy Phillips||1972 C10R||43.064||-0.492|
|3||Mike Sullivan||1965 El Camino||43.394||-0.33|
|4||Frank Farace||1994 C10||45.17||-1.776|
|5||Bill Kinsman||1972 Bronco||45.564||-0.394|
Truck Sunday Top 5 (class of 8)
In addition to a different overall winner, the Truck class saw Claudia Robles take out her boyfriend Stephen Komlos! Its always fun to see couples competing and even better to see the women beating the men.
|1||Mike Sullivan||1965 El Camino||42.59|
|2||Wes Drelleshak||1959 Apache||42.668||0.078|
|3||Brandy Phillips||1972 C10R||43.108||0.44|
|4||Claudia Robles||2006 Silverado||44.917||1.809|
|5||Stephen Komlos||2004 Silverado||45.626||0.709|
Half way through the NMCA Hotchkis Autocross Season
With two of four events completed Scot Spiewak is currently in the lead for the Hotchkis Cup Grand Champion. Though, his lead is a margin of one point and there are only 10 points separating the top 10 season points holders. The Grand Champion competition is strong and still up for grabs! However, Scot isn’t sitting back either. Rumors of significant upgrades in horsepower, aero, and handling goodies have been circulating. The next event is September 16-17 and tickets are already available here.
Primary Photography by fellow competitor, Claudia Robles.