"Fast times, bright skies" Article Details

Originally Posted on: Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writen by: Brad Pines         Edited by: Craig Sisk

Michiana Chapter autocross season off to record start

Racers hit the track to snake between the cones on a course designed by chapter autocross co-chair Carl Zmijewski on May 19. A record thirty-two drivers competed in the opening round of the 2012 Michiana Chapter of the BMW CCA autocross season under brilliant blue skies at the Tire Rack in South Bend.

“This was our highest turnout, ever” said Eve Dolenski, chapter autocross co-chair with Zmijewski. This included 11 drivers competing with us for the first time, five novices new to autocrossing, and three new BMW club members. Most drivers volunteered to help their cone-dodging friends by helping to run the event.

“Carl’s course was good, easy to for novices to follow, yet challenging for experienced competitors” said Dolenski. (The course added) some new features he learned from the autocrossing seminar at the BMW CCA Driving Events and Chapter Congress meeting in Dallas last February.

“I was pleased with the course, I tried a couple of new things and they seemed to work well” said Zmijewski. “I heard positive feedback about it, (and) I thought it was fun to drive as well,” he said.

The fastest BMW was Class A/AA winner Jason Powell with a blistering 43.704 in his #17 black 1997 e36 M3 equipped with both Hoosier autocrossing race-compound tires and more than 130k miles on his original clutch. Autocrossing veteran Stever Tamandli growled his #198 V8 Fiero to the FTD, fastest time of the day, 43.634, just .07 sec. faster than Powell, winning Class E.

Chris Itterly, who brought three friends to compete (two joined our club), drove his white 1979 e21 323i #20 to a fast 47.184 (46.245 adjusted) to win Class B on a run with Eve Dolenski in the right seat. Itterly and Powell are now tied for the points lead. “Chris was a great help to me,” said Dolenski, “(He) coached me to lowering my time by 2.5 seconds, by helping me to see how I could improve my braking and cornering.”

Fastest Class A driver Ralph Sampson also provided in-car coaching for Kirsti Nuttall. He drove his #7 Class A black 1999 e36 M3 in 45.179 (44.727). Matt Huizing was fastest in Class C in 49.651 (48.176) in his #39 red e36 sedan. The quickest Class D driver was John Whalen, who finished third in B/C/D in 50.183 (48.206), driving the #71 1981 528i he shared with Matt McCoy, 57.054 (54.258). Kyle McKeown was the fastest of five novices. He drove the #37 blue Class B e46 325i to B/C/D 6th place in 50.752 (49.245). [Class adjusted times are in parentheses]

Prizes for winners were supplied by BimmerWorld and many thanks to our hosts, the Tire Rack, for a wonderful place to play on a beautiful day.

Autocrosses are scheduled for June 16, July 14, August 11 and Sept. 8, all at the Tire Rack. Come out and join the fun, novices and beginners are very welcome. A few loaner helmets are available.

For pictures by chapter president Harvey Nuttal from this event please see our chapter Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150970125534884.481741.349343139883&type=1

For pictures by Brad Pines, please see the Michiana BMW CCA galleries on his web site: http://bradleyspines.smugmug.com/Cars/MichianaBMWCCA