Summertime is here and the Hotchkis Autocross season is in full swing. For the third event of the season, we headed deep into the Southeast to the Atlanta Dragway for the 4th Annual Chevrolet Performance Nationals. One of the biggest all-GM events in the region, the weekend featured drag racing, a car show, jet car demonstrations, a vendor midway, and, of course, the Hotchkis Autocross presented by Nitto Tire.
We had a great group of people come out to this event with everything from first-timers to seasoned veterans. Hotchkis H-Team member Dick Eytchison and his wife Karyn even made it out all the way from Colorado! Over the two days, each racer got 12 laps per day to put down their best times as they raced for one of the class trophies and the coveted Hotchkis Cup award.
Racing all weekend was very close. On Saturday, the top times in the Modern Muscle class were separated by a mere half of a second in Modern Muscle, a second in Classic Muscle, and a second in the Unlimited class. Mike Long ran a fairly clean event hitting only three cones total throughout the day which helped him take the top honors in the Modern Muscle class. Rodney Prouty started off with a couple DNFs early in the day, but continued to get faster as the day went on, posting his best time on the final lap of the day, besting Classic Muscle runner-up Brent Pursifull by 0.2 seconds in a battle that came down to the final lap. Finally, in the Unlimited class, Tyler Powell set the fastest lap of the day in his wild Grand Sport Corvette, besting the next closest competitor by a full second.
On Sunday, competition got even more intense as a few newcomers joined in on the fun and really shook things up. Mike Long’s domination of the Modern Muscle class was ended as Johnny C proved you don’t have to be loud to be fast. Johnny skillfully piloted his LS2-powered C6 Corvette Convertible (which by the way was near as we could tell totally stock) through the course in times that had us checking the accuracy of our timing system. Not only was he a full half-second quicker than Modern Muscle Runner-up Chase Pursifull, but he was within a couple tenths of a second of Unlimited class winner Tyler Powell! In the Classic Muscle class, JBGranger (who placed 3rd in the class on Saturday) jumped into the number one spot beating out Saturday’s winner Rodney Prouty by 0.06 seconds.
There were a lot of fast drivers on the track, but only five drivers that were really in the heat for the Hotchkis Cup. For those that don’t already know, the Hotchkis Cup rewards not only being a fast driver, but a consistent one as well. The trophy is awarded to the driver that posts the quickest combined average lap time of the weekend, and at this event, the Top 5 were separated by less than a second. At the end of the day on Saturday, Mike Long was leading the pack with his 5th Gen Camaro. On Sunday, Rodney Prouty jumped up to the top of the leaderboard with the best daily average, but his two DNFs the previous day were hurting his overall average. At the end of the day, Mike Long was able to hold off the rest of the pack with a 0.09 second advantage over the Hotchkis Cup Runner Up Keith Maney.
Everyone was trying their best to put down the fastest time possible, but some were just doing it with more style than others. Brian Clark, for example, put down some very fast runs, but also took home the trophy for “Best Drift” of the event. Brian’s 81 Camaro spent more time sideways than it did going straight and he was fast while doing so. There were also a few cone killers out on track, though no one killed as many cones in one run as Chris German who managed to take out 8 cones in one lap!
We want to thank everyone that came out to the event and all of the sponsors who give us great prizes and help make these events happen.
Don’t forget to check out the event video and photo galleries below, and we’ll see you at the next events!