View Full Version : Hotchkis AutoX West- Complete Coverage of the September 2015 Event

09-24-2015, 01:55 PM

NMCA West Hotchkis AutoX
Fontana, Ca
September 19-20 2015
Story & Photos by Brandy Phillips

Things were getting hot at the NMCA West Hotchkis AutoX last weekend, literally and figuratively. With temperatures
reaching well above 100, I questioned why anyone would venture out to Auto Club Speedway to endure the weather
in addition to exerting any extra energy than what was necessary to cope with the heat.


Many of you reading this are probably thinking the same thing. The comfort of ones home with air conditioning sounds
much better than being outside sweating in your helmet while waiting to pull to the starting line. Yet I took the venture
out to Auto Club Speedway to see what the fuss was all about. I have attended the Hotchkis AutoX several times in the
past covering the event for Pro-Touring.com. I have also participated in their October 2014 event with my truck. So why
do several people, including myself, keep coming back?


The Hotchkis AutoX group has been perfecting their series for the past couple years. With the help of the Racing Byrds,
the Hotchkis AutoX has been very successful. The Racing Byrds have done an amazing job focusing on safety, reliability
and of course having fun. This concept continues to bring new and old people back time and time again.


In addition to a well-structured autocross, Hotchkis has continued to raise the bar at each and every event. They are
continuously adding new elements to their tracks, more awards and dividing the competition into more classes. Some of
the recent changes to last weekend’s event included live timing that everyone could link into with their phones via provided
wifi, a Saturday night BBQ and a new award: the Ultimate Hotchkis Cup.


Saturday morning included about 75 cars and drivers in the drivers meeting. The drivers were reminded of the rules, keep
it safe and have a good time. Drivers then headed to their cars and waited for their run group to be called.


Cars were divided into eleven different run groups, primarily based on their class. Each run group ran 3 laps during four
sessions throughout the day. It was recorded that an estimated 800+ runs were made on just Saturday alone.

Of course there were the regulars like:


Dick Eytchison and his 1965 Chevelle Malibu who drove all the way out from Colorado. Him and his wife Karyn are some
of the nicest people you will meet on the pro-touring circuit. Of course both were in attendance throughout the weekend
supporting each other and other racers.


Ian Sakurai and his 1966 Mustang were a familiar sight on Saturday. Though I tried to be stealth, Ian caught me trying
to sneak a picture of him and the car during a break between run groups.


The infamous Dannie Pinard was the talk of the weekend in his “rental.” Unfortunately Dannie’s Camaro is on the opposite
side of the country after participating in several of the Optima Series events. Rather than sitting out, Dannie found a
solution while put on a great show.



There were also some new drivers that came out to see what this Hotchkis AutoX was all about. We wanted to take a
moment to recognize a special driver who trusted John Hotchkis and attended her very first autocross in her 1965
Chevelle Malibu. Many of us may not recognize the name Michelle Wilbur, but she’s quite a big deal in the automotive OEM
world. Michelle works with Acura and recently finished the design for the new Acura NSX. The thing is after learning who
Michelle was, a 1965 Malibu was definitely not what I pictured her driving. She had no problems catching on and throwing
the Malibu around each turn improving her time each run out. We can only hope that Michelle is now an addict like many
of us and we will catch her back out in October.

Though the majority of the vehicles were Modern Muscle, there were a few pro-touring cars that held their own.


Brandon Harris and his 1974 Camaro were looking good on the autocross all day until he broke during one of his last runs.
Several drivers and spectators came to the rescue to help figure out how to get the car off track and onto the trailer.
Unfortunately stuff like this does happen, but we were lucky the damage was not too severe and hope to see him back
out real soon.


Sal Solorzano of TCI and his 1968 Camaro claimed the fastest Classic Muscle on Saturday. Sal is a regular at these events.
If you ever need any driving tips, he is definitely one person I would trust.


Efrian Diaz and his 1969 Camaro were also racing both Saturday and Sunday. I am in love with this car and get excited
every time I see the car in the pits. Not only does the car photograph well, Efrian did extremely well over the weekend
claiming the fastest Classic Muscle Award for Sunday.



Ryan Thacker was the main focus come Sunday evening as he was presented the overall winner and recipient of the
Hotchkis Cup. Ryan brought out his ’08 Corvette both Saturday and Sunday which made him eligible to compete for the
Hotchkis Cup. It is always good to see someone new claim the cup. We want to congratulate Ryan on his recent win and
can’t wait to see if he can defend his title or if someone new will claim the cup at the October event.


Overall the weekend was filled with sweat, sunburns and exhaustion, but I don’t think anyone regretted their choice in
attending the Hotchkis event. Memories filled with laughter, meeting new people and having a great time are always some
of the best memories. For those who sat on their couch and enjoyed the comfort of their air conditioning, I hope you
enjoyed this recap. I also hope that someday you take the plunge to come join us if not as a driver then at least as a
spectator. Then you too can witness these memories yourself.

The Racing Byrds have announced that registration for the next Hotchkis AutoX Auto Club Speedway event in October is
now open. Please visit the link below to get further information or register for the upcoming event. I encourage that if
you are considering driving at this event, please register early. There are a max number of drivers and registration fills up


Further Information on the Ultimate Hotchkis Cup:
The Ultimate Hotchkis Cup will be awarded at the end of this year. The award honors the driver with the most
accumulated points throughout 2015. This driver must have participated in three of the four NMCA West Hotchkis AutoX
events, driving both Saturday and Sunday. The winner does not have to be a former Hotchkis Cup recipient. This year is
almost over in regards to point accumulation, but for those who would like to get involved in the NMCA West Hotchkis
AutoX next year this is might be a goal worth adding to your list.


Finally we want to thank Hotchkis and the Racing Byrds for inviting us back to the Hotchkis AutoX, providing lots of shade
and showing us how to have a great time.


One last thank you to Centerforce for also providing shade, handing out water throughout the day to drivers and spectators in need and offering free entertainment during down time.





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09-24-2015, 03:18 PM
Brandy, you're a really trooper to be out in the blazing heat and I mean blazing ( 100+) providing awesome shots and great coverage. Thanks!!!

Look forward to seeing you at Optima in a few weeks.

09-24-2015, 10:30 PM
Awesome pics Brandy. They look great. I was going to introduce myself but didn't get the chance. I'm already signed up for the next event as well as my girlfriend Claudia. Hopefully we'll see you there.

09-25-2015, 05:11 AM
I would rather be working and driving my ass off and sweating in the heat than sitting around in a cool air conditioned room anytime.