It seems almost incongruous that anyone living in a state as large and as flat as Texas would have the slightest desire to refine the art of executing precise, low-speed turns on a tight autocross course. In a state where flat-out top speed reigns supreme, it seems ironic that a 45-mph autocross would glean so much attention—and even more ironic when that autocross takes place in the infield parking area of one of NASCAR's fastest tracks—the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Yet that was the scene at the Goodguys Third Lonestar Spring Nationals this past March 15-17.
Unlike open road racing or a road course, the autocross experience is far closer to what one might encounter if making laps around your neighborhood or local mall at supra-legal speeds. Think of it as a way to get all those automotive hijinks out of your system without getting a big fat ticket, or even worse, thrown in the slam. The PHR Street Machine Autocross is our way of telling you "yes" in the politically correct nanny world of "no!" Texas might indeed be the land of top speed, but it also where some of the fastest and priciest speeding tickets are issued; by contrast, the autocross keeps things safe and legal, and you even get a large audience with bragging rights.
Of the 19 events that the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association is putting on in 2013, they have had or will have the Street Machine Autocross at 16 of them. In just a few short years, the autocross has gone from a minor sideshow, to the main spectator event at the venues it's run. It seems like everyone young and old is curious about all of the tire squealing, and once they see it, they can't stop watching. Sooner or later, they're out there doing it themselves. Who among us isn't curious how their street machine stacks up against the competition when the clock is running?!
We'll be the first to admit it: Autocrossing is a gateway drug. Do it once or twice, and before you know it, you're ordering chassis parts, suspension, steering, brakes, wheels, and tires. A better lap time is only one more bolt-on away. Then comes the quest for more speed at the faster tracks. At the moment, it looks like that's where things are headed; the Street Machine Autocross finals in Scottsdale this coming November 15-17 will be at a new high-speed autocross circuit that ups the speed ante significantly. (Helmets will be required for this track.) Can a club course circuit be in Goodguys future? We can only hope!