Heading into Saturday, May 14, during the 2022 Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty at NCM Motorsports Park, the race was against time – but not in the way you might think. While temperatures hovered in the mid-80s, the forecast called for the possibility of afternoon showers, so the decision was made to dive into the day’s TrackSprints headfirst, pushing through the lunch break to guarantee competitors could log their two sets of TrackSprint runs in the dry. The hustle wrapped competition early, allowing for some post-competition paddock antics (think ProSolo on scooters) prior to the evening’s Hagerty All Participant Party – all in dry conditions.
What Happened on Track?
SCCA Autocross champion and pro racer Tom O’Gorman entered the day at the head of the field (and the Unlimited 1 class) – the question was, how would his Corvette’s full-track performance from Friday translate to the two TrackSprint competitions of the day? Max 1 class leader Justin Peachey – an experienced autocrosser in his own right – pushed hard, rocketing through the lights on the short west TrackSprint course 0.308sec faster than O’Gorman, with O’Gorman 0.455sec faster on the longer east course.
Battles raged throughout the daylong TrackSprint competitions. In Sport 6, D.J. Alessandrini sat on a 1.277sec lead over Jimmy Vajdak. Alessandrini spent the day extending his lead, but not by much. Over the two TrackSprint courses, he added a scant 0.403sec advantage to make a total of 1.68sec over Vajdak, with plans to push hard on Sunday, the final day of competition.
“Jimmy and I basically tied today in the TrackSprints; I got him by a tiny bit, but it’s going to come down to Sunday,” Alessandrini said after the day’s competition. “Anything can happen. It’s not wrapped up yet, but if I can put it together [on Sunday], I should have the win.”
While Alessandrini is gunning for the class win, he’s also eyeing to retake the track record for Sport 6. “I’m hoping the conditions [on Sunday] allow me to go for the track record,” he said. “I held the record in 2020, but then it was taken away from me in 2021, so I’m hoping to get it back.”
The current Sport 6 track record at NCM Motorsports Park was set by O’Gorman in 2021, with a 2:23.357 in a similar Scion FR-S to the one Alessandrini is driving this year. Alessandrini’s fastest full-course time of the weekend so far has been a 2:24.726. Bettering that time is a tall order given the warm conditions this year.
In Sport 1, a battle brews between Tom Bergeron and Charles Krampert, with 1.712sec separating the two. Bergeron threw down on the TrackSprint’s short course, besting Krampert by 1.598sec. Bergeron was quicker on the long TrackSprint circuit, but only by 0.324sec, which makes this one of the best competitions to watch entering day three.
Sport 5 could go either way as the Time Trials Nationals nears its conclusion, with Peter Lauzon leading Derek Secord by half a tick of the clock: 0.534sec. The nod could go to Lauzon on day three, however, since his time advantage came on the Grand Full Course on Friday. Secord was a rocket during today’s TrackSprint, logging a cumulative TrackSprint time 0.779sec faster than that of the class leader.
Other classes to watch heading into Sunday include Tuner 3, where Lyle Zyra leads Andrew Pallotta by 0.468sec, and Tuner 4, where Matt Hugenschmidt holds a 0.295sec advantage over Ido Waksman.
Grab Some Grub: Hagerty All Participant Party
With the final TrackSprint run of the day came Saturday’s Hagerty All Participant Party. There, Time Trials Nationals drivers and friends gathered to enjoy some 220 pounds of expertly cooked pork, 12 logs of Velveeta cheese that made 336 servings of macaroni and cheese, and more than 900 canned beverages – this is in addition to the 480 hot dogs and 132 sausages cooked during Thursday’s Holley Expo. And as of Saturday’s party, everyone on site had remained hydrated via 1,500 bottles of water.
A raffle to benefit the United Way of Bowling Green took place during Saturday evening’s party. Prizes included memorabilia from SCCA and Valvoline, Hawk gift certificates, KONI swag, a Hagerty Experience, an r/c car from Falken, an ABI Photography package, and more, including a free entry to the 2023 Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty. There was also a 50/50 cash raffle, with half of the proceeds going to the United Way of Bowling Green, which is working with local communities hit hard by the storms that devastated the area in December 2021, destroying homes and businesses. The winner of the 50/50 raffle immediately donated his half to the United Way.
A moment was also taken to thank the weekend’s sponsors and partners who made the 2022 Time Trials Nationals possible, which included Tire Rack, Hagerty, KONI, Sunoco, Hawk Performance, APEX Pro, Holley, Falken, Valvoline, and more.
Sunday Preview: KONI Podium Celebration Awaits
Sunday will see a return to NCM Motorsports Park’s Grand Full Course, with competitors once again taking to the winding 3.15-mile circuit in Bowling Green, KY, via two TrackAttack sessions. This is the final opportunity for Time Trials Nationals competitors to improve their finishing positions before the checker flies on this year’s event and the KONI Podium Celebration begins.
Sunday’s action kicks off at 9:00 a.m. CDT, with fans being able to track the event as it happens through Gregg Ginsberg’s live audio broadcast as well as the live timing and scoring feed, both found at timetrials.scca.com.
Photo by Philip Royle / Staff (D.J. Alessandrini extends his lead in Sport 6)