The 2018 Tire Rack ProSolo season swung from the East coast a few weeks ago to the West coast in Fontana, California last weekend. As should be expected at the first National Solo event in the area for 2018, competitors worked through some challenges, both mechanically and on course.
Before competition even began, Kevin Dietz and Piotrek Szarkowicz had an axle failure in practice launches. They were able to make the repairs in an impressive 20 minutes, ready for competition to start on Saturday morning.
Christos Adam drew everybody’s attention Saturday morning when a transmission cooler line popped off, spraying down the course. He was able to diagnose the problem and get the car back in grid for afternoon runs. Props to Christos for not being afraid to get his hands dirty and get the job done in a short amount of time!
Keeping with the trend of repairs, Ron Bauer decided to swap diffs in his BSP Mazda MX-5 on Friday afternoon. With that change, he was able to claim the fourth and final trophy spot in Street 2.
The site at Auto Club Speedway presents some challenges not seen at the airfield ProSolo sites. The slope was causing drivers to struggle with falling out of stage, causing a higher-than-average number of DNFs. If they survived the tree, cones were still a battle for many drivers. Youmna Zalzal was struggled to get a clean run on one side but was able to clean it up to claim the second trophy spot in L2 behind Meredith Brown. Zalzal went on to claim a 4th place finish in the Ladies Challenge, proving that she had the speed.
As if she needed another challenge, Annie Gill was very sick on Day 1 and in medicated haze. But on her birthday, Sunday, she found another few tenths to climb into the fifth and final trophy position in STX.
In L1, the battle between co-drivers, and sisters, Christine Grice and Lisa Berry was tight as both sat on Saturday runs on one side. Lisa had the raw times for the win but had cones on her fastest runs. In the end, Christine “new mom” Grice won L1, but Lisa claimed the Ladies Challenge victory, her first. Seeing their bond in grid was infectious.
Matt Jones made the late charge for victory in AS, finding his best runs on Sunday morning, but Jacob Dawson was also able to improve on one side, claiming victory by just 0.005 second.
Complete results from the 2018 Tire Rack Fontana ProSolo can be found here.
Super Challenge: Scott Phillips, CS
Ladies Challenge: Lisa Berry, L1
Bonus Challenge: James Harnish, Bump (HS)
Photo: First-time Ladies Challenge Winner, Lisa Berry poses with the Berry Family Racing Mitsubishi Evo