View Full Version : USCA Laguna Seca Raceway Recap

03-16-2014, 11:50 AM
Ultimate Street Car Association
Laguna Seca Raceway
Salinas, Ca
March 7-9, 2014

As the second USCA event at Texas Motor Speedway approaches, we want to take some time to reflect on last weekend’s USCA event at Laguna Seca Raceway. Though it killed me (or at least it felt like it) to be behind a camera instead of the wheel, I did not regret for taking the opportunity to come out and witness the Ultimate Street Car Association’s first event. Laguna’s 11 turn high speed track had various levels of complexity including the famous Corkscrew and the Andretti Hairpin. Those who are not familiar with The Corkscrew, just ask anyone who participated last weekend and they can tell you just how hard it was to master in the first couple laps. The BFG Hot Lap Challenge was not the only event that tested the participants. The event included the Ridetech Autocross, Willwood Speed Stop, Lingenfelter Design Challenge and the Detroit Speed and Engineering Road Rally. The competition was so close, not competing in any one of these events could have cost you the title.

Some of the highlights of last weekend’s event were so entertaining, they are still being discussed on social media today. Joe Escobar and his ’74 Pinto won the award for car with the most double takes. One of the most popular questions through the weekend was “is that a Pinto?” Joe ran that Pinto hard though and I swear he had the pedal mashed to the ground as he went around turn 6 and up the steep incline on Rahal Straight. Joe isn’t a stranger to pushing his car to its limit. I met Joe at a Goodguys Autocross course in Pleasanton, Ca. Though Joe is used to having a couple other Pintos around at the Goodguys events, he was one of a kind at this USCA event and it was well noted with the great amount of attention the car and driver received.

Another racer present was Deanna Marengo and her 1971 Camaro. It was great to see Deanna out at the event. Like many of us, Deanna has a “real” job and finds it difficult to take time away from work to get behind the wheel of her Camaro and go race. Deanna was someone I enjoyed watching this past weekend. Her enthusiasm, optimism and passion for our sport reminds me why we spend the crazy money we do to continue with a sport like this. If there was an award for most improved throughout the weekend, I truly believe Deanna deserved it. She came out cautious, making sure the car was solid and she was in the right state of mind, but by the end of the weekend that girl had the track lines down better than anyone else.

Bret, owner of Ridetech could also be found behind the wheel of his 48 Hour Camaro. Though this car was built at Ridetech in literally 48 hours, the car is a beast. If you haven’t seen Bret run this car before, I suggest you Google him. It’s honestly amazing to watch this car in action. Bret does not hold back when pushing the 48 Hour Camaro and it showed last weekend when he won second in the over 3000lbs Speed Stop Challenge.

Danny Popp was a surprise entry, coming all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio. He brought out the Lingenfelter 2010 Camaro that was seen in last year’s Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge. Popp was a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire weekend. The battle between him and Mike Maier heated up on day two at the autocross course. Though Mike lead in points on the autocross track, Danny took first in the Hot Lap Challenge. It was still not enough to be declared the ultimate street car, but Danny definitely put on a show and also proved he was the fastest 5th Gen, winning the DSE Fastest Fifth Gen Camaro Award.

Mike Maier; a well-known name in the industry and the face behind Maier Racing. Those who do not know him, I would suggest doing some reading on the internet about this man. I met Mike about 6 years ago at a Goodguys event in Pleasanton, Ca. Mike is a native to autocross. He has been racing for over twenty years and is known for accomplishments such as 5 time National SCCA CP Champion, Goodguys Vendor of the Year Winner, several midget car wins, and numerous other championships. Mike’s driving experience definitely showed this past weekend. Not only did he take first on the Wilwood Speed Stop and the Ridetech Autocross, he came in a close second behind Danny Popp on the BFG Hot Lap Challenge. Mike also received recognition as the fastest pre-1980 car on the track with DSE’s Fastest Pre-1980 American Iron Award. Overall Mike proved that he had the Ultimate Street Car for the over 3000lb class. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in November as he starts prepping for this year’s Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational.

Campbell Auto Restoration will also start preparing for this year’s OUSCI. Mark Frazier and his LS2 powered ’71 Datsun 240z won the under 3000lb class. Many of you might not know Mark Frazier, but I have had the opportunity to have him coach me in both autocross and on the road course when testing the Spectre 1970 Carbon Camaro. Mark’s racing history goes back a long ways including SCCA, various track days and drag racing experience. The underestimated Datsun was one of the most talked about cars at the award ceremony. We don’t want to give the 240z all the credit though. The guy behind the wheel wasn’t too bad himself. His knowledge of the track, experience behind the wheel and amazing driving skills lead Mark to win one of four spots at this year’s OUSCI.

A great addition to this year’s USCA events is the Jet-Hot sponsored Education and Instructor Seminar. Both Mary and David Pozzi could be found either behind the wheel or riding passenger throughout the weekend. Having instructors to help get your line down was very critical for a track of this difficulty. Mary and David definitely got their workout over the two days, hopping from one car to the next with barely enough time to catch their breath in between. It was awesome to see some many people seek advice from Mary and David though. Their advice definitely paid off in the end for many of the participants.

The smooth transition between events, outstanding communication, and overall camaraderie between racers was an experience I hope everyone will have a chance to witness. If you are on the fence line about deciding whether or not to participate in one of the USCA events, I recommend doing at least one. The amount of track time was overwhelming to the point that many tired themselves out before the end of the day, but everyone had a smile on their face. As for the noise limit of 92dB, I don’t believe anyone will have to worry about this throughout the remainder of the year. This was a specific requirement for Laguna Seca and I admit, for our type of vehicles that was a hard rule to follow. At the end of the weekend FM3 and Optima handled it very well and no one was disqualified from the event. In a unique way the sound limit brought people together. Drivers and their crew found creative ways to go around this requirement and some even posted videos online like Rick Hoback’s who shot a video Saturday night to please the “sound lady.” Speaking of the “sound lady,” that was another entity that brought racers, staff and spectators to unite as one. It was like a game of Where’s Waldo, as people passed along information on where they last spotted her. It was honestly quite humorous. By the end of Sunday everyone was able to look back and laugh at the matter.

In conclusion, the event was well run and I can’t wait to see how next weekend’s USCA’s event at Texas Motor Speedway goes. We look forward to bringing you coverage on each event throughout the year and thank USCA for letting us be a part of this amazing series. Don’t forget to look out for the upcoming debut on MAVTV, who will be featuring this year’s series. We will post further information about the series once we hear a date a time.

For more photos from last weekend's event check out the slide show below:
(if anyone wants larger images feel free to message me)
<iframe src="http://s385.photobucket.com/user/protouringdotcom/embed/slideshow/USCA%20Laguna%20Seca%20Raceway%202014" height="360" width="480"></iframe>

For Complete Official Results please visit the link below:

03-16-2014, 02:58 PM
Cool write up. Thanks for sharing.

03-17-2014, 06:38 AM
i thought Mike de-tuned his Mustang for his wife to drive and he was building something else?

03-17-2014, 10:27 AM
Cool write up. Thanks for sharing.

X2...thanks, great coverage!

Scott Parkhurst
03-17-2014, 12:25 PM
Great job Brandy! Thanks for the write-up.

03-17-2014, 02:38 PM
i thought Mike de-tuned his Mustang for his wife to drive and he was building something else?

After finishing a disappointing 5th at the Scottsdale Shootout Mike made the decision to re-tune the car and put the NASCAR motor back in. I helped out by building a new engine wire harness. All I can say is that those RoushYates motors are trick.

James OLC
03-17-2014, 02:47 PM
Brandy and Larry put this together as well (hope it's OK to make public now):


03-18-2014, 06:31 AM
James that is so Bithchen.....question the spoiler function so it helps you slow down? looks like it changes angel when you brake?

03-18-2014, 07:42 AM
That video turned out pretty cool.....You looked good out there James, and Congrats on the 1st Place Design award!!

James OLC
03-18-2014, 12:13 PM
Thanks - it always bugs me to watch video where I can watch my hands - reminds me that I'm not pushing the car hard enough... looks like I was out for a cruise.

The wing responds to a variety in stimuli with three axis g-data as well as a tie to the VSS. I (apparently) had the split shut down so it was only reacting to acceleration and deceleration as well as speed. You're correct - under braking (negative forward g's) the wing alters it's angle of attack to provide maximum downforce with near-maximum drag. At speed it alters its angle to provide (adjustable/programmable) downforce at minimum drag depending on speed (below x mph there is increased downforce, above x mph there is minimal downforce with minimal drag). We're still dialing it in but its working...

You can't see it in the video (at least I couldn't) but the early exit from the track was due to a black flag for sound. That lap (from what I can tell) was a low 1.54; I'm pretty confident that I could have pulled a 1.52 out (still not enough to win but better) if I could have gotten around the sound issue (entirely my responsibility).

04-08-2014, 06:23 PM
Cool recap. Missed this subforum when I came on looking for after action reports from Laguna a few weeks back.