Goodguys Del Mar PHR Street Machine Autocross - The Homestretch
Muscle cars were gunning for all the glory at our fifth and final PHR Street Machine Autocross in Del Mar, California
From the April, 2012 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Johnny Hunkins
Photography by Johnny Hunkins
In 2011, Popular Hot Rodding magazine joined forces with the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association to sponsor five action-filled muscle car autocross events at Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Del Mar, California. As you probably know, Goodguys already operates their Street Machine Autocross at most of their events—at least at the venues that are large enough to handle such an activity, but we decided to make a few of them even more special.
For the PHR Street Machine autocross, any domestic car with a domestic powerplant built between 1955 and 1972 can compete as long as they are entered in the Goodguys car show. Most of the autocross circuits are at least 30 seconds in duration, and some of them—like the ones at Indy and Del Mar—can approach a minute in length. The goal is to run the fastest lap through the tight track without knocking over any cones. The competitor with the quickest lap time wins a custom-embroidered PHR Street Machine Autocross winner’s jacket.
Goodguys also has separate classes for street rods, trucks, and vendors, but all of them run intermixed during the same sessions. Typically, over the course of a three-day event, there will be five autocross sessions: two on Friday (9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.), two on Saturday (9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.), and one long one on Sunday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Another cool thing Goodguys added for 2011, which they plan to continue for 2012, is the Super Sunday Get-Together. This Sunday-only program allows all cars, including late-models of any year, into the car show and autocross. We think it’s overdue, and we applaud Goodguys for doing it.
The Fall Del Mar Nationals was held Thanksgiving weekend—November 25-27, 2011—at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California. It was the last of five PHR-sponsored Goodguys autocross events for 2011, and Mary Pozzi of Salinas, California, won the last PHR jacket by posting the lowest lap time with her LS2-powered ’72 Camaro. Pozzi’s winning lap of 50.274 seconds had the crowd against the fence as she deftly slid and sliced her way through the cone forest. Pozzi joins Brian Finch (two times), Mike Maier, and Mark Rife as PHR Street Machine Autocross winners in 2011. Congrats to all four winners for their incredible building, tuning, and driving skills!
This ’66 Mustang GT fastback...
This ’66 Mustang GT fastback has been in Ron Scholz’s family since it was new, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to pamper it—especially since it’s got a 427ci Dart-based Windsor under the hood, coupled to a five-speed Tremec. With a complete Global West suspension on it, the only thing holding it back are those itsy-bitsy BFG 15-inch baloneys.
Nicknamed the “crew cab Chevelle”...
Nicknamed the “crew cab Chevelle” by autocross announcer Chad Reynolds, Dick Eytchison’s ’65 Malibu has got to be the coolest more-door muscle car on the planet. Loaded with a 383 small-block crate motor, a TKO 600 trans, Hotchkis suspension, and Baer brakes, Eytchison drove the homebuilt A-body all the way from Cortez, Colorado, finished Ninth with a 53.445-second lap, then drove it all the way home.
It was refreshing to see so...
It was refreshing to see so many Mustangs at Del Mar—we hope it’s a growing trend for next year. Richard Trujillo (Oceanside, California) is a regular at the Del Mar Goodguys autocross, and his satin black ’69 Mustang coupe is always looking good. Trujillo’s budget 302-powered notchback finished remarkably well with a 55.094-second lap—besting the mega-dollar Trans Am of TV star Bill Goldberg. The mostly stock pony has a small COMP cam, Edelbrock intake, Holley carb, KYB shocks, an Explorer 8.8-inch rear, Coys 17-inch wheels, Global West subframe connectors, Power Stop rotors, EBC pads, and some cut springs.
Pat Donahue brought out this...
Pat Donahue brought out this meticulously prepped Penske Trans-Am racer clone. The ’69 Z/28 is not an original Penske car, nor is Donahue related to original driver, Mark Donahue, but it sure does make an interesting coincidence. The car was built by Donahue Automotive in Chicago, and ran in the “Fun” exhibition class due to its non-DOT race tires. That high-winding 302 small-block sure got our blood moving!
Hotchkis built this Hugger...
Hotchkis built this Hugger Orange ’68 Chevy C10 to compete in autocrosses like this, and it’s one of the nicest looking haulers we’ve seen. We don’t normally cover trucks, but this one really put everyone’s head on a swivel. Goodies include an LS3 E-Rod crate, 4L65E trans, tons of Hotchkis suspension (natch), and Wilwood binders. Mike Hickman drove it to a best lap of 51.473 in the truck class.
Recognize this car? Mark Rife’s...
Recognize this car? Mark Rife’s split-window ’63 Corvette was featured on the cover of last month’s issue. Rife has owned it since 1972, and he’s road raced and autocrossed it almost continuously since then. Rife also won the PHR jacket at our Indy event, and was just edged out in Del Mar by Mary Pozzi. The ’63 features an LS7 crate motor, Tremec five-speed, and suspension from a ’96 Corvette. Rife swears by RideTech’s triple-adjustable coilovers!
This ’68 Plymouth Road Runner...
This ’68 Plymouth Road Runner belongs to Dan Weishaar, and was but one of three Mopars attending Del Mar this weekend. Dan was having a bad day; he spent more time under his car than in it, so we didn’t bother him for a bunch of details, but it flat-out runs. Even with mechanical woes, it managed a best lap of 54.394—not bad for a beast like this!
Pozzi’s ’72 Camaro must have...
Pozzi’s ’72 Camaro must have gotten sick and tired of hearing her now infamous catchphrase, “Stick, you bitch!” Whipped and otherwise tongue-thrashed over the course of an entire year, the little Chevy finally relented, giving Pozzi the fastest lap of the event—a 50.274. Pozzi’s Camaro has the heart of a beast—PHR’s ex-Tech Editor Steven Rupp sold Pozzi the LS2 out of the Bad Penny ’68 Camaro project after it got an even more potent LS3.
Speaking of Bad Penny, Rupp...
Speaking of Bad Penny, Rupp was wheeling Big Orange around the cones in the “Fun Run” category (as the tech editor of Camaro Performers magazine, Rupp was ineligible to run for “The Jacket”). His 52.680 lap would’ve been good for Sixth Place overall. Rupp tells us his new LS3 is a 461 incher with Mast heads, and now makes 588 hp to the tire.
RideTech’s Bret Voelkel was...
RideTech’s Bret Voelkel was having a fun time in the 48Hour Camaro, which we featured in the Nov. ’11 issue of PHR. Voelkel won the Vendor class hands down with a sharp 52.883 lap time. This ’67 Camaro was built entirely from mail-order parts (many of them RideTech) in a 48-hour period in May of 2011, and has been flogged on autocrosses and road courses steadily ever since.
Just so you don’t think we’ve lost our collective minds, we haven’t forgotten how much you guys love ’69 Camaros. Here’s three juicy ones to tide you over. The blue SS/RS was built at home by the owner, Chris Robinson (San Diego), and features a 454ci GM big-block crate motor, a mix of Global West and Hotchkis suspension bits, and a built 200-4R overdrive. The black ’69 with white rally stripe was also built by its owner, Doug Renner of Lake Forest, California; it motivates via a 406ci small-block, T56 six-speed, and a combination of Speedtech and Alston suspension. Lastly, the Amethyst Red ’69 (which looks almost black) belongs to Mat Alcolo of Escondido, California. Built by Best of Show Coachworks in Escondido, this capable handler has all DSE suspension, an LS2 bullet, T56 six-speed, and Wilwood binders.