Hotchkis Coast to Coast
Hotchkis H-Team Drivers Collect Wins at Multiple Events
They say competition breeds innovation, so the innovators at Hotchkis Sport Suspension don’t mess around when it comes to pushing new products to the limit. That was certainly the case the second weekend in July, when Hotchkis’ “H-Team” campaigned vehicles in two different events on opposite ends of the country. On the left coast, John Hotchkis and Chief Engineer Aaron Ogawa ran the first ever NMCA/NMRA Hotchkis Autocross at California Speedway in Fontana with over a dozen customer cars in attendance, while H-Team Charter Members Mary Pozzi and Mike Hickman competed in the Goodguys Nationals Autocross in Columbus, Ohio.
Goodguys Rod & Custom Nationals
The Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the most anticipated events on the popular Good Guys show schedule. Hosting over 7,000 hot rods and street machines as well as over 100,000 spectators, it is one of the biggest shows of the year. While The Nats have always had an autocross component, this year Goodguys introduced a new twist: a sponsor shootout pitting vehicles from every Autocross Sponsor against each other in a ladder-type shootout.
Hotchkis was represented at the autocross in several classes including Street Machine, Truck and Vendor. “Fast” Mary Pozzi put Hotchkis on the podium both Saturday and Sunday in her Hotchkis-equipped 2nd Gen Camaro, claiming 2nd place on Saturday in the Street Machine class and, due to a wayward cone, 3rd on Sunday in the shootout. This was Mary’s first Goodguys competition with her newly rebuilt car, featuring an all-new Hotchkis Total Vehicle System set to debut at the 2011 SEMA Show. Considering how early this race is in the car’s development phase, we are tremendously proud of the result.
Mike Hickman didn’t disappoint either, debuting his “G-10” 1968 Chevrolet C10 pickup in Columbus after a complete ground-up rebuild on-site at Hotchkis Performance. This included stitch-welding and gusseting the frame, a new off-the-shelf Hotchkis C10 Total Vehicle System, a brand new GM Performance Parts E-Rod LS3 crate engine and 4L65E transmission and more. Hickman ran hard all weekend and finished a very close second in the Truck class. G-10 was completed mere days before the race, and with more R&D time it will continue to rack up wins.
The Hotchkis team is also proud to note that Vendor class winner, Brandy Morrow of Spectre Performance is also running Hotchkis suspension on the Spectre 1970 “Carbon Camaro”.
The Hotchkis sales team set up a booth and gave away t-shirts and other great prizes, thanks to our tire sponsors at the event, Falken Tires.
NMCA/NMRA West Coast Nationals
Closer to home, Hotchkis joined forces with Baer Brakes to host an Autocross and SpeedStop Challenge at the first ever NMCA/NMRA West Coast Shootout. The event was a stunning success with over 50 participants running all weekend long.
With classes for Modern Muscle, Street Machine, Muscle Machine, Truck, Street Rod and Turn & Burn, there was a great array of cars, trucks and customs running the cones and locking up the tires on the autocross and SpeedStop courses.
Competition in some classes was fierce and the results very close. Fellow Camaro owner (and student of Mary Pozzi), Deanna Marengo narrowly took the win in Muscle Machine with a 36.25 over 2nd place Kyle Newman’s 36.47. Deanna runs a full Hotchkis 2nd gen TVS on her stunning cherry metallic F-body and those of you who follow Hotchkis news know how seriously Deanna has been practicing. She really showed the boys how to drive.
Another hotly contested class was Modern Muscle, with over 20 entries. Bruce Cambern placed 1st in his ’05 Ford GT. Bruce did very well in the SpeedStop Challenge as well, getting the best time overall. Hotchkis was represented in 3rd place on the Modern Muscle podium by Camaro5 member and enthusiastic H-Teamer, Rob Byrd, driving Trish Byrd’s 2010 SS Camaro. Trish was there as well, in her brand new 2011 droptop, in matching blue and silver. Yes, you read that right, both cars belong to Trish, both are fully Hotchkis-equipped and don’t you forget it.
The Byrds were not our only long time Hotchkis supporters in attendance. Rob Phillips got his first ever win in the Truck class on Saturday and backed it up with a smokin’ quick time of 38.01 on Sunday. Rob had some stiff competition in his two-tone C-10, as several talented drivers from Street Trucks and Truckin’ magazine were running their project vehicles on both days. We were excited to see Truckin’ editor Dan Ward’s GMC project out on the course…Hotchkis-equipped, of course!
The Street machine class was won by O. Newman in a very quick Corvette. Hotchkis components were easy to find in this class too, as 3rd place winner, Gerald Synegal runs Hotchkis sway bars on his methanol injected ’83 El Camino. Gerald’s friend Eric actually contacted us on the Hotchkis Facebook page to point out that the car was running Hotchkis suspension. “If you find it, look underneath,” Eric told us. Gerald’s car is a real sleeper, and very cool to see on the course.
As Los Angeles is home to many of the best automotive enthusiast magazines in the world, several editors and publishers joined us at the track. Hot Rod editor Rob Kinnan took the win in Street Rod, and fellow editor Steven Rupp got the trophy for “Turn and Burn”, which awards the best combined autocross and drag strip time.
Rupp wasn’t the only autocrosser to test out the straight line racing. Elana Scherr took her ’70 Challenger straight from the cones to the Christmas tree and represented Hotchkis in the Vendor/Media shootout. After three back to back hot laps she came in close second to Muscle Mustangs editor, Evan Smith. Both Elana and Evan cooled down the cars and came back to the autocross for more track time.
The NMCA/NMRA events offer some exceptional prizes and the Hotchkis Autocross and Baer SpeedStop Challenge winners took home Hotchkis sway bar sets, Nitto Tires, Centerforce clutches and discounts on TCI, NMCA and K&N products.
Special prizes were awarded to participants based on enthusiasm, like H-Team member Michael Heintz who has been tirelessly helping us promote the new 5.0 TVS. Michael’s bright blue Mustang is a real attention getter, with huge power and great handling. Michael is really getting fast behind the wheel.
Another enthusiastic pony car owner was our newest H-Team member, Don Gonzalez. Don joined us for the weekend along with the Byrds and other members of the popular Camaro5 forum and he never missed a chance to run all weekend long. As 5th gen owners ourselves, we really appreciate how eager modern Camaro owners are to test their cars on the track.
We had some other forum folks join us as well, Larry Callahan from Pro-Touring.com brought out his famed MOTIV8R Camaro and looked great running through the cones.
The prizes and cars were excellent, but the event was about more than winning. Many H-Team members were in attendance, and there was great interaction between all the participants helping each other with the line, giving rides and taking turns in each other’s cars. We can’t thank Carl, Dan, Robert P. and Dick Eytchison enough for all the rides they gave in their cars, and special recognition has to be given to Trish Byrd, who is not only very fast behind the wheel, but also makes a superb track-side sandwich. Thanks for keeping John well fed, Trish!
Overall the event was an outstanding success and the Hotchkis team is pleased to see and encourage car owners of all sorts to upgrade their vehicles and test them on the track. We’re looking forward to our next event. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with all the Hotchkis products and activities, and if you’re building a car of your own, call us to see how you can become a member of the H-Team.