|Solo AwardsBy: Alan Stamper
2021 OVR SCCA Solo Champions
Stock All Wheel Drive
Ryan McDaniel – 2017 Subaru WRX
Ryan is an unassuming guy with a quick sense of humor and a wry smile. He’s quick to share a laugh and very mannered, at least until the starter tells him to go. That simple act transforms Ryan into a steely-eyed competitor that takes no prisoners. He’s ruthless out there between all those unassuming cones. That’s why he is our SA Class Champion for this year.
2nd Place – Tami Tackett
Stock Rear Wheel Drive
Steve Dalstrom – 2008 Ford Mustang GT
Steve is one of those people who is methodical about everything he does. You can see that he takes measure of every word he says before he says it, to ensure it’s exactly what he wants to say. His driving on course is the same way, methodical and precise. I also suspect he has a hidden agenda to prove that live axle Mustangs are the fastest Mustangs. He has gone a long way in proving that by becoming our SR Class Champion.
2nd Place – Dan Michael
3rd Place – Chris Rudy
Stock Front Wheel Drive
Chris Yeager – 2019 VW GTI
Do you remember the VW ads about Fahrvergnugen? I can tell that Chris Yeager has not forgotten those. He’s always fast and setting great times in his GTI. He worked hard all year and became our SF Class Champion because when he is in his VW he is Farfromlosin’.
2nd Place – Chris Rudy
3rd Place – Ashley Eyles
Connor Ryan – 2013 Subaru BRZ
Connor has proven year after year that he’s a great driver. He has managed to dominate the inaugural running of the Street Touring class through consistent performances against a very tough field of drivers. His long experience in his BRZ with very few significant Street Touring modifications is a reminder that the Driver Mod is really the most important mod to make. This is why he is our first ever Street Touring champion.
2nd Place – Larry McCarthy
3rd Place – Christian Berardi
Andy Bennett – 1999 Mercury Cougar
Andy, if you did not know, is an artist. His pen and ink renderings are excellent. The lines he puts down are precise, their placement well thought out and the execution perfect. Being an artist also sheds some light on his offbeat vehicle of choice, a modified 1999 Mercury Cougar. Andy uses that Cougar like he uses his ink pens, with precise lines, excellent car placement and perfect execution. He used all those skills to become our XS class champion.
2nd Place – Kameron FeolaCAM
Cole Morgan – 1998 Ford Mustang Convertible
It was quite the sight to see Cole out on the course in the banana yellow convertible V6 Mustang, which historically has made very unusual and questionable noises. Watching him run, the car never looks lightning fast but then he goes through the timer and it’s like reality has warped itself. His times are way faster than rational logic would support. He managed to do that trick over and over this year and that’s how he won the CAM class championship. We can’t wait to see what he does with his newly acquired V8 Mustang this year.
2nd Place – Ron Francis
3rd Place – Rich Zellner
Jason Scheid – 2014 Ford Mustang GT
Tires. Jason learned a great lesson this season because of tires. His 2014 Mustang GT is one of the last live axle Mustangs produced since Ford moved to IRS-based cars. Much like one of our other champions, he didn’t let him slow him down. Unfortunately a tire choice put him in Street Prepared so rather than change them out, he powered on. While he didn’t often face a lot of competitors at each event, he still drove fast and consistently. He would have been competitive in a couple of other classes which is a credit to his continued evolution as a driver. As a result of his efforts, tenacity and stubbornness, he drove his way to being the Street Prepared champion.
Alan Stamper – 1985 Honda Civic Hatch
OK, so I’m writing this comment about myself and I am not a big fan of heaping praise upon oneself. Some items I will make note of this year, I did not hit the timing lights and I did not flip a car over. Those are things that should be said of every season, but here I am having to make those clarifications. There were also many weeks where I was the only car in my class, so by the simple act of making it to every event, I am the Prepared Class Champion for this year.
Ken Leiker – DF Goblin
When you first see Ken’s car driving on course your initial reaction is “What the heck is that?.” It turns out that what Ken’s driving is a DF Goblin kit car. The Goblin is very, very green, and not in an environmental impact type way. It’s bright green in a way that etches your retinas when seen against a sea of orange auto-x cones. Ken drove the mid-engine, Ecotec powered “Green Goblin” throughout the season, providing a hard lesson to others in the fact that “green cars aren’t slow”. As memorable as Ken’s car is, his excellent driving is the same. Ken used both memorable driving skills and the Goblin to become our Modified Class Champion.
Ryan Arthur – 2020 Honda Civic Si
It’s not surprising to see Ryan’s name as our PAX Class Champion. What is surprising is how quickly he can get his Honda Civic around an auto-x course. What’s ever more impressive is how he does that while sporting what looks to be a 20lb, 1970’s era-style mustache. You think that the weight of that massive mustache would slow him down and make it difficult for him to keep his head vertical under hard cornering, but like Ryan’s driving, the strength in his neck muscles is exceptional.
Casey Tackett – 2013 Subaru BRZ
Casey took on a lot this year. In only her second season of autocross and second year of even having a driver’s license she added to the list the hurdle of learning to drive a manual car that she was only allowed to drive at the events. This year she has changed cars and moved up from driving her Subaru Impreza sedan and into her dad’s Subaru BRZ, equipped with a bullet hole in the hood. Her Championship win this year was not a walk in the park as she faced much adversity, from other drivers, having Randy Racket as her mentor and father and having to drive a car with quite likely the loudest and most annoying front brakes ever heard by man. She managed to overcome all these obstacles and become our Ladies Class Champion.
Novice of the Year
Matt Taylor – 1988 Toyota MR2
Matt Taylor is our Novice of the Year. It was great fun to see Matt wring the heck out of his first-gen MR2. It always seemed like he had the little wedge wound up as high as it would go and was always on the verge of being out of control. You could watch his runs throughout the day as he figured out the course, with each run getting quicker and quicker. Congratulations Matt, we are looking forward to seeing you go even quicker this year!
Worker of the Year
Words to describe the contributions made by our Chiefs are often hard to come by without getting too sentimental or going just a little too far in singing their praises. As we all know, the challenges of the ongoing pandemic combined with a new site and taking on new Chiefs adds a lot of effort to an already challenging job to make our events run smoothly. Having Chiefs that are so reliable is at the center of making it all work. While we can only identify one, all of our Chiefs are greatly appreciated. When one steps up so much that it becomes one less thing to worry about then it is truly special. Christian took on the role of Setup Chief as a first-timer for 2021. The job requires so much because of the commitment to be at the site as early as the chairs as well as staying as late as the chairs. Organizing the site setup and making sure things like course setup, grid, tech and the list goes on is a big job. Christian stepped up and ensured that everything ran smoothly and reliably and did so without complaint. All the while he managed to drive his way to third place in an extremely competitive Street Touring class which really shows the skill with which he does everything. In recognition of his dedication and work, he is our Worker of the Year for 2021.
Driver of the Year
2020 and 2021 have been very challenging years. Under normal circumstances the change of the home site combined with a big change in the team managing the program would be challenging. Throwing in a global pandemic is probably the mother of all changes up to this point in most of our lives. Performing consistently and at a high level in this thing that we all love under these circumstances is an even greater accomplishment. In 2020 Connor Ryan took on the Timing and Scoring Chief role for the first time. He did very well in that role. Like all things in life, there is change. In 2021 our course designer got the opportunity for his dream job which left that role open. Connor stepped up and filled that role with the same level of dedication and skill that he does everything. Those two jobs are already a lot of work and the first year in a role like that can be quite a hindrance to your success as a driver because they come with distraction. It should be no surprise that while Connor worked expertly through those roles, he also drove extremely well. He won his class both years and also finished in the top 10 of every event in that span. The increased scope of the consolidation of all of the Street Touring classes into an index class in 2021 just adds to the significance of this accomplishment. It is for all of these reasons that have clearly identified both Connor’s skill and his dedication that we award him the Ohio Valley Region 2021 Driver of the Year award.