The H-Team attends the first driving event of the season at the El Toro Marine Air Base
Amazingly, it’s almost Spring, and racing season is in full swing. We said farewell to Winter in the best possible way; with a weekend spent at the track during Run to the Coast II at El Toro Marine base in Irvine, California.
For those not familiar with RTTC, the wild and spontaneous pro-touring driving event started as the brainchild of Tennessee car guy Bill Howell, an active member of both Pro-Touring.com and Lateral-G.net, and a diehard Mopar guy. Bill’s first event, Run Through the Hills, is a romp through some seriously fast driving roads in the hills above Pigeon Forge. The event has grown every year, but the West Coast contingent felt left out, so Bill and his friend Yancy Johns organized the first Run to the Coast in 2010. It was a hit, so he brought it back for 2011, and the combo car cruise, autocross, speed-stop challenge and abbreviated road course drew over 60 cars.
Since E-Max is currently under the knife getting some much-anticipated upgrades, we arrived at the track on Saturday to support H-Team members like Deanna Marengo, Mary and David Pozzi, Dan Weishaar and Rob Phillips.
All our bragging about California weather seemed to have cursed us at first, since Saturday morning was rainy with ominous black clouds roiling above the track as we set up. As proof that pro-touring owners are hardcore, most of the high-dollar corner carvers at the event raced anyway, getting filthy in the process.
RTTC competitors ran Autocross, Road Course and Speed Stop Challenge and the H-Team cars performed admirably at each event. Sadly, Dan Weishaar had a transmission O-ring failure in his ’68 Roadrunner which took him out of the running halfway through the day. A valiant attempt was made by Dan and Rob Phillips to get the big Plymouth back on track, but eventually they conceded defeat and Dan spent the rest of the day cheering for Deanna and Mary.
Sunday could not have been more different. Nothing but clear blue skies, warm weather and fast racing. The H-Team did incredibly well, with Mary Pozzi doing extremely well in the autocross in the One Lap Camaro (her ’73 is undergoing final assembly after a complete rebuild) and Rob Phillips setting unbelievably fast autocross and road course times for a pickup in his C10. Carl Casanova also did very well in all three competitions in his ’68 Camaro RS, and Dan Weishaar made it back into the competition in a borrowed ’65 Mustang. Also of note was the competition debut of the Spectre Carbon Camaro with Brandy Morrow at the wheel – this Hotchkis equipped wide-body ’70 RS did extremely well, finishing in the Top 10!
Brian Finch took the overall event win in a second gen Camaro, but we’d like to congratulate all the participants. There is nothing that better sums up the Hotchkis philosophy of street and track driving than this kind of event and we are very pleased to see so many Hotchkis-equipped cars in the upper ranks of competition.
We’d like to thank Bill Howell and his team for putting together such a great opportunity. For information on similar events, go to our facebook page