View Full Version : Quick Intro and Recap on the CAM Challenge Fontana, CA event this weekend

04-29-2016, 11:46 PM

CAM Challenge Intro and Quick Recap of Day 1
Written by Brandy Phillips
Photos by Brandy Phillips

The CAM Challenge is a fairly new event in the pro-touring community. SCCAís introduced a new group called CAM back
in 2014, mainly focusing on American muscle. This helped encourage more pro-touring members get involved with SCCA
throughout the last couple years. Drivers like Mary Pozzi, Mike Maier, Brian Hobaugh are some of the original SCCA
members from our pro-touring community, but those like Richard Truijllo, Ian Sakurai and Mike Young are all regulars in
the current SCCA scene. With more drivers participating in SCCA autocross events, it is only a matter of time before
SCCA will start offering more and more for the pro-touring enthusiasts.


Since the CAM Challenge is still new, the details, class categorization and rules are still in the process of being modified.
This event will be a learning curve for many including event organizers and racers. Though the event itself is only three
years old, SCCA has deep racing roots that have helped form and modifying the rules and layout of this weekendís CAM


The CAM Challenge is a three day event, though most drivers will not participate in all three days. Friday morning started
with an EVO driving school. Though the school is not part of the CAM Challenge, racers could still register for that event,
getting some seat time with instructor Mary Pozzi before race day.


At 11:00 the track officially opened for test and tune runs. Anyone registered for the event had the opportunity to come
out and shake down their vehicle before Saturdayís official laps, though an additional fee was required. Four test laps
cost a driver $10.


In my case, I was able to make about a dozen laps for $30, dialing in the truck for the type of surface conditions as well
as making minor adjustments for a larger track setup. If a driver has the chance to play hooky from work for the day, this
could be a very valuable opportunity before Saturday.


Registration was also open as well as a end-of-day track walk. Though I had registered for the event itself, SCCA still
requires a membership in order to run in their events. Honestly, it wasnít a big deal since a weekend membership cost me
$15. Driverís who are not SCCA member also have the opportunity to purchase an annual SCCA membership. This is
probably the best option if you plan to do multiple SCCA events throughout the year.


Test and tune ended at 3pm so officials could begin setting up the larger autocross course for the weekend. During this
time registration and tech were open. Once the cones were reorganized, a test car was sent to make sure that the track
would accommodate all sizes of vehicles racing Saturday. Once the test car was done, the course was open for track
walks for the remainder of the evening.


Like all SCCA events, participants have the opportunity to race three laps during two sessions throughout Saturday.
Drivers are divided into their classes CAM-S, CAM-T and CAM-C. When a driver is not racing around the autocross or
sitting in the staging area, they are working the course, which is a typical SCCA routine. My theory is that thereís no one
better to work the course than those who race and respect it for what it is.


Saturday brings official timing. Drivers will arrive early for prep, course walk and drivers meeting. Course walk will open
at 8:15am allowing only 15 minutes for drivers to go over anything they missed on Friday. A driverís meeting is scheduled
for 8:30 before the track goes hot at 9am.


Saturday will most likely go by extremely quick. With only six runs, drivers will be focused on making those six runs
count. Once all three groups have run two sessions, the track is closed and everyone is invited to join in on an event/
award dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.


Though the overall awards are given Sunday after the shootout, the CAM Challenge also hands out awards on Saturday
during the dinner gathering. This is the first year that the CAM Challenge will be holding a dinner Saturday evening.
Honestly, I think this is what will set this event apart from most others if they continue to do this dinner at each CAM
Challenge event.


Once Sunday comes, times start all over, though the track layout will be the exact same as it was on Saturday. With most
SCCA events, the track layout will change. When I heard that the track would stay the same throughout the entire
weekend, I was curious to why this had changed from the long-standing SCCA tradition.


Since the CAM series is new, there is a lot of room for growth. Growth happens by encouraging new people to not only
try an SCCA event, but continue to come back again and again. Many of the CAM drivers this weekend have originated
from Goodguys, NMCA Hotchkis Autocross and other local autocross events. Raleigh, who is in charge of the CAM
Challenge this weekend, explained that he wants every participant to walk away with something this weekend, even if
they do not win. By keeping the track the same both days, drivers can hopefully improve their laps each time out and
leave on Sunday feeling like they have accomplished something. When Raleigh put it this way, I was overly impressed
by the amount of consideration and thought he had put into these new SCCA participants. His goal is to grow the series
and by thinking about the new guys, he is most likely going to succeed.


Sundayís schedule is slightly different than Saturday. Drivers only have three runs in the morning. Each of these runs will
count toward their overall time. This overall time will then dictate if a driver will move on to the final shootout later that
afternoon. As of Friday, the plan was to take the top eight drivers from each class and move them into the final shootout
to battle for the overall win. Though registration was closed some time ago, walk-in competitors are still able to register
the day of the event. Depending on the amount of total participants in each class, the number of drivers that move on to
the shootout may change come Sunday.


Overall I am extremely excited to see how the weekend will play out. As I took a walk around the course, it was a little
intimidating. It has been a very long time since I participated in an SCCA event. Honestly I do not remember the types
of track layouts, but one thing is for sure, this one is not going to be easy. I was able to complete a rough sketch of the
course, which I will add in my final recap (please forgive my drawing when I do). Letís just say this: itís very technical,
itís going to be very fast and hopefully I wonít get lost.


So thatís it. If anyone has questions about the CAM Challenge or how to participate in any of the other events across the
country, please do not hesitate to pm me or email me at [email protected] I look forward to sharing my newbie
experience with all of you after this weekend and I wish all the competitors the best of luck over the next two days.

04-30-2016, 04:31 AM
Thanks for the intro to the even Brandy, have fun out there today! I bet you enjoy getting into second gear out on track in your truck!!

04-30-2016, 08:10 AM
Great intro Brandy. I really want to do one of these events, hopefully sometime in the near future. Good luck and hope you have a blast

04-30-2016, 10:28 AM
Hope it drys out for the drivers as early as possible today...

05-04-2016, 03:46 AM
That's a nice intro, Brandy. Do you have any other insight now that you've run the event? I'm running the CAM East for the first time this year.

05-04-2016, 04:00 PM
I ran at this event. It was great. Fist off, the sportsmanship of the competitors was great. Tom and Richard of the San Diego Cam group bought and grilled pollo asada for every body there on saturday.
I got a total of 15 runs in over the 3 days. Friday they had test and tune runs. I bought 4 of them. Then we got 6 runs on saturday. It was raining in the morning for the first 3 runs and dried out for the 3 afternoon runs. SCCA put on a trophy dinner that night. Then on sunday we did some sort of match race run off. We got 3 qualifying runs then the top 16 were paired off to run 2 back to back runs and the winner moves on. My last run was my fastest by a large amount and I was only 4 tenths off of the monster 69 camaro I had paired up against.

Here is that last fastest run!


Here is my first run. I was surprised by how slippery the rain made it and may have uttered a profanity!


Heres a rear view that just lets you hear the sweet roar of a v8 on the autocross


05-04-2016, 07:38 PM
Well would you look at that...it's me!

struck by Lightning
05-05-2016, 06:48 AM
Well would you look at that...it's me!

Hi Matt,

That is a cool picture of your Bird! It was good talking to you again and I'll email the spring information to you soon.


struck by Lightning
05-05-2016, 07:02 AM
IMO, the event was a huge success. It was well organized and the dinner afterwards was the best I have ever attended following an event. Thank you to Raleigh and the SCCA team for supporting the CAM cars.

A big Thanks to the San Diego SCCA folks for allowing me to join their camp over the weekend and for the awesome chicken lunch! You guys do it up right!