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    1. #1
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      Nov 2012
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      Behind the Wheel with Dick Eytchison Powered by Optima Batteries



      Dick Eytchison- The Definition of Pro-Touring
      By Brandy Phillips
      Photos by Karyn Eytchison & Brandy Phillips
      November 30, 2015



      What does the term pro-touring actually mean? Many have redefined the definition over the years.

      According to Wikipedia Pro-Touring is “a style of classic muscle cars with enhanced suspension components, brake system, drivetrain, and
      aesthetics, including many of the amenities of a new performance car.”




      A long embedded post on Pro-Touring.com opens the debated discussion to defining the term Pro-Touring.

      One member quotes that he thought "a pro-touring car was a well balanced, well built driving machine. Not a pastel pro-streeter. Not a trailer
      queen; a true driver." (Scott, aka BonzoHansen)


      Another member and moderator of the forum stated that pro-touring is " a simple concept, really: take an old car and make it accelerate,
      brake and corner like a modern day sports car." (andrewb70)



      The best definition that several agreed with was one from Ralph LoGrasso, an Administrator on the Pro-Touring.com forum:

      “'Defining the term "Pro-Touring' is perhaps one of the single most difficult things to do regarding the hobby. It is a genre like no other,
      taking performance aspects and styling cues from several types of motor sports, and other genres of car culture. The fact that the term
      Pro-Touring is ever evolving makes it even more difficult to define; freshly built cars and new ways of thinking are constantly blurring the
      lines of what it is and what it once was. With that being said, we felt the need to clear up some confusion and provide our best definition
      as to what pro-touring and its sub-genres really are. When writing these definitions, we tried to remain as objective as possible, but there
      are always exceptions to the rule, or in this case the definition. Rather than getting caught up on makes, models or specific years, we chose
      to focus on that which means the most when building a pro-touring car: function. Contrary to popular belief, there is no set standard or rules
      defining pro-touring, save for one: the car be built with an emphasis on function. (Example, tailoring your car to a show 30 miles away for fear
      of getting a rock chip is NOT pro-touring. Pointing out rock chips and dead bugs on your freshly painted ride that you drove 3 hours to an
      auto-x event IS pro-touring.) Some will say that your car must have X size wheels, or ABC motor, and power adder, but we at pro-touring.com
      do not feel that way. We do however feel that any modifications done to the suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, or interior be made in an
      effort to better then performance and drivability of the car.
      (Example: swapping out your heavy 15" rallies and bias ply tires for a set of
      light-weight forged wheels, and sticky tires is pro-touring) There are an infinite number of ways to build a pro-touring car, and perhaps the
      single greatest thing about the pro-touring genre is the fact that the term is always open to interpretation.”

      It’s all a matter of semantics, but essentially everyone above is saying the same thing. Rather than join the debate on the definition of
      pro-touring, I thought it would be best to show you through one of our own members.




      Originally from Indiana, Dick Eytchison grew up in California then settled down in Cortez, Colorado, with his wife Karyn Eytchison. Dick
      always had a passion for cars. As a kid he loved anything with wheels. His passion led him to restoring and modifying several cars
      throughout the years including a 1965 Chevelle Super Sport, an El Camino and a rare two-door wagon.





      Back in 1990, Dick met John Hotchkis, which was the start of a lifetime friendship. John helped Dick with suspension components for many
      of his restoration projects along with Dick’s purpose built 1965 Malibu that he currently races today.





      It wasn’t until 2010 when Dick started autocrossing. While attending a Goodguys show in Del Mar, California, Dick took his Malibu out on
      course to see what this autocross stuff was all about. Little did he know this would be his first of many autocross events.

      That Del Mar event was one of Dick’s fondest memories. “I took John Hotchkis for a ride at my first event. I am quite sure that he had a stiff
      neck at the end of the run since I was still a little rough around the edges.” (Dick)





      Dick also recalled his first Camp Autocross. The Goodguys autocross community had grown over the years merging veteran SCCA drivers
      with new enthusiasts. The Del Mar Goodguys Show was a much-anticipated event. This is where Camp Autocross started. Drivers and
      pro-touring members would gather after the Goodguys show each night to enjoy each other’s company. Usually the gathering was held
      around the Newman’s camper in the RV lot on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. BBQ’s would fire-up, red solo cups would appear and memories
      were shared until the guards kicked everyone out for the night. Many people have since moved, new people have joined and the group has
      continued to grow in size each year.





      As Dick attended more events his driving improved and he started participating in more race events across the country. In 2013 Dick
      attended the Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. Dick also had the opportunity to bring his car out to Georgia and participate in a
      Hotchkis AutoX this past year. While out that direction, Dick stopped by the new Hotchkis East Facility to get some work done on the Malibu
      before heading back to Colorado.





      We wanted to know if Dick had any goals while attending these events throughout the past couple years. For some it is about winning while
      others come out to have a good time, see old friends and/or get seat time. For Dick it wasn’t about winning, but about improvement and
      friendship.





      “My goal each event is to improve on each run and strive to improve my driving skills as I tweak my car.” (Dick) Dick has won several
      awards including a handful of second place finishes and an award for the competitor who drove the furthest, but this sport goes beyond the
      trophies and special recognitions. Dick's involvement in the sport introduced several new opportunities along the way. Dick was invited
      to participate in the Super Chevy Suspension Shoot-Out back in 2012. Only a handful of people were invited to participate in the event. Not
      only was Dick thrilled about the invite, he was eager to get back behind the wheel making this event his first only two months after his triple
      bypass surgery.





      Dick also had the opportunity to get Mary Pozzi behind the wheel of his Malibu and put the car through the Pozzi test. A handful of people
      have had Mary Pozzi in their car, but only a select few have been lucky enough to have Mary drive their vehicle. This gave Dick a chance to
      see what his car was capable of and what he needed to do to improve his own driving techniques.







      2014 marked the year that Dick made his way into the Goodguys Duel in the Desert Shootout in Scottsdale, Arizona.
      This automatically
      bumped him into the Pro Class for the 2015 race season. Though Dick was unable to race his way into the 2015 Duel in the Desert
      Shootout, we have a feeling Dick will quickly win his way back into the pro class during the 2016 season.





      Speaking of the 2016 Goodguys season, there is one goal on Dick’s list that he has yet to accomplish. He is on a mission to get a large
      photo of his Malibu in the Goodguys Gazette. This is the perfect opportunity for me to call out Steven Bunker, Associate Editor and
      Photographer for the Goodguys Gazette. Steven has become a familiar face at the Goodguys autocross events, capturing the action
      behind the lens of his camera. Now I know that Steven has photos of Dick’s Malibu and hopefully they will eventually make their way
      (larger size please) into the Gazette. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to promote Dick’s dream and harass Steven as much as possible
      (considering the 2015 November Scottsdale Event has probably not gone to print yet). My apologies to Steven in advance!





      Now I want to take the spotlight off of Dick for a moment and focus on another person. For those that have met her, you’ll agree that she is
      a very important and notable member of our pro-touring community. Formerly a high school cheerleader, it does not surprise me that Karyn
      Eytchison still has the spirit, enthusiasm and motivation to support not only her husband Dick, but any other pro-touring member for that
      matter. If you’ve been to any event that Karyn has attended then you probably know what I am talking about. She is one of the sweetest,
      most loving and supporting people I have ever met.





      I have had several opportunities to get to know both Karyn and Dick throughout the years. While I am taking pictures at race events, Karyn
      can be found with her tablet taking pictures and video of Dick on track while cheering for him at the same time. She can also be found
      during the award ceremony applauding every award recipient. Need a hug during an event? Karyn is the one to turn to. Need someone to
      talk to or a shoulder to cry on? Well, Karyn is there for that as well. How do I know this? I can personally say that I have abused every one
      of those listed above at some point this year with Karyn by my side.





      The neat thing about Dick and Karyn is that you will always find this couple together at every event Dick attends. It’s truly inspiring to watch
      this couple during each race. Karyn and Dick have found their own place within the pro-touring community and without both of them it
      would be an extreme loss.





      As I counted the events that Dick and Karyn attended this past year, I was surprised at the total number. Dick and Karyn don’t exactly live
      near many of the events that they attend throughout the year. Cortez, Colorado, to Fontana, California, is approximately 685 miles one way.
      Multiply this times 5-7 events per year (depending on the event and location) and that equals quite a few miles traveled within a one-year
      timespan. Why though? Why would anyone travel that much just to attend a handful of pro-touring race events? Dick’s answer: he enjoys
      driving. Not only does Dick love driving his Malibu, he loves to drive any of the vehicles he owns. Dick also likes the motivation,
      encouragement and competition, especially at his age (his words, not mine). Dick will be 72 years old next month. He has been through
      quite a lot in the past couple years including a heart attack that resulted in open-heart surgery back in 2012. This did not stop him from
      getting back in the Malibu as soon as his doctors gave him the ok to start racing again. Since then Dick has been in good health and his
      energy both on and off track is not only contagious, but also inspiring.





      Dick noted that a lot of this would not be possible without the help of some key people in his life. When asking if there was anyone he
      wanted to thank, first and foremost was his wife Karyn. This coming year will mark Dick and Karyn’s 50th wedding anniversary. If you’ve
      ever seen this couple at an event, then you’ve seen their commitment and support for each other, even after 50 years of marriage. That’s
      pretty impressive!





      Dick also wanted to send a special thank you to John Hotchkis and the Hotchkis staff. “They have been a constant encouragement as we
      began our new found hobby. “ (Dick)





      Dick also addressed the pro-touring community focusing on “the remarkable competitors who are so helpful and encouraging. Why do we
      continue to participate? The people, the fun and the competition. The way the community welcomes everyone into their ranks, encourages
      each other and helps out in any situation is what keeps me coming back.” (Dick)





      So now we reflect back to the beginning of this story and the meaning of pro-touring. Rather than debating on the exact definition while
      picking other’s interpretation apart, I’d prefer to show you what pro-touring means. Dick embodies the meaning of pro-touring. Yes his car
      fits the pro-touring “criteria.” Yes he drives his vehicle on the street and races it on weekends. Yet I believe the meaning of pro-touring
      goes beyond the true definition that everyone is so hung-up on. Dick and his wife Karyn have touched so many people’s hearts along their
      journey. Dick recovered from a heart attack and surgery to race two months later. Dick has continuously tweaked his car so it not only
      drives better on the street it performs better on track. Karyn not only supports Dick, but every other competitor racing against her husband.
      Dick and Karyn both enjoy driving their Malibu, participating in race events and spending free time around those in the pro-touring
      community.





      So let’s throw out everyone’s definition of pro-touring for a minute and focus on what truly matters. Without the members who make up
      pro-touring.com, without people like Dick and Karyn who make up the pro-touring community and without the passion to modify old cars
      and make them handle like new performance vehicles there is no pro-touring. Pro-Touring goes beyond the definition; it is Dick and Karyn,
      it is you reading this article and it is the community as a whole. Without this there is truly no right or wrong definition of pro-touring. In fact
      without the passion that we all share, there is no pro-touring at all.





      As I conclude this Behind the Wheel Feature I want to send a special thank you to both Dick and Karyn. Not only have they been a part of
      my life, but they have also touched the lives of some many others in our community. I know I as well as many of you look forward to
      spending the next several years racing beside Dick and listening to Karyn cheer from the sidelines. We also look forward to any newcomers;
      those who want to join our sport for the first time to see what this autocross stuff is all about. Take Dick’s advice: “Just Go for it! Don't
      worry at first about your times, just get out there and make runs. Your skill as a driver is your best asset so seat time is a must. Do your
      research on the parts and pieces you need for your car and take advantage of the amazing resources of this friendly, helpful,
      knowledgeable community.”








      Dick Eytchison's 1965 Chevy Chevelle Malibu

      Engine: ZZ383 Crate Motor from Chevrolet 1st Edition

      Engine Details: Carb. - Holley 670 CFM Avenger, Fast-burn, Hydraulic Roller, Stock Chevy rotating assembly, Hooker Super comp 1 3/4",
      Cold air induction (designed by my brother Gary), Performance distributor D.U.I. - HEI

      Horsepower / Torque: 425/460 advertised

      Transmission Brand: Muncie 4-speed wide ratio M21

      Clutch: Centerforce II 10 1/2" - flywheel is nodular iron Chevrolet 17 pound

      Exhaust: Magnaflow with Spintec mufflers

      Differential: Ford 9" with 389 gears and Tru-Track, nodular iron case

      Brakes: Baer Brakes - front/track 4 13" rotors rear/12" rotors SS4

      Wheels: CCW - 9 x 17 /9 1/2 x 17

      Tires: Bridgestone Potenza RE71R - 255/40 x 17 front and rear

      Body & Paint: 80,000 original mile body and paint when purchased. Painted by local auto body shop in Cortez using low gloss factory
      paint and minor body work for $1,500!

      Interior: Reproduction original interior

      Gauges: Autometer Sport Comp

      Seats: Kirkey Aluminum driver's seat

      Harnesses / Roll Bar / Cage: Roll bar and 5 point Crow 3" harnesses




      Special Note:
      "Special thanks to Hotchkis East in Moorsesville, N.C. for the invite for us to come back and have them work their magic to stiffen the frame.
      I am so proud of the work and talents of Kevin Bryde and Ron Thiel with their years of experience at many race shops including the Rick
      Hendrick organization. This made a HUGE difference in my cars handling." (Dick Eytchison)
      Brandy Morrow Phillips
      Site Contributor

      WWW.PRO-TOURING.COM

      Follow me for the latest event news on Pro-Touring.com

    2. #2
      Join Date
      Nov 2012
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      Country Flag: United States
      Here's a couple more photos of Dick and his Malibu along with a video from 2012 on Dick's Story:


























      Brandy Morrow Phillips
      Site Contributor

      WWW.PRO-TOURING.COM

      Follow me for the latest event news on Pro-Touring.com

    3. #3
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      May 2015
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      Nashville, TN
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      GREAT STORY Brandy!!

    4. #4
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      Apr 2014
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      Campbell, Ca.
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      Another well written story about a really nice couple and the sport and family involved with autocross. Thank you for sharing Brandy.

      Karl

    5. #5
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      Dec 2011
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      Brandy - we are totally blown away by this amazing article. Thank you so much. Dick and Karyn

    6. #6
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      Great write up and I'm glad to see Karyn get included. I've probably talked to Karyn more than Dick and she really does cheer on everybody. They are some of the nicest people I've met at these events!

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