Tribune-Courier features editor
DRAFFENVILLE – Mike Miller Park, site of softball, baseball, frisbee golf and all sorts of sports, welcomed a new event Sunday.
The West Kentucky Chapter of Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) held a Solo II autocross competition.
Autocross is a race against the clock, one car at a time. It’s a test of the driver’s capability to handle the vehicle and of the car’s performance characteristics.
“It’s a really small, technological course,” said Adam Dawson of Benton, a third-year member of the club.
“It’s made with very short straightaways and really tight curves to keep the speed down.”
Orange plastic cones and white chalk outlined the course as 22 enthusiasts waited, eager to show off their skills.
Richard Hall of Benton, one of the WKSCCA leaders added, “It tests your skill. People will go about 50 mph, max, it just seems much faster.”
Solo rules separate cars based on their qualities, from low-dollar economy sedans to Corvettes and Porsches or even purpose-built racing cars that are not legal to drive on the street.
“Almost any car can run,” Hall said.
The cars are scored with Pax timing, which is an application to modify the times of one’s run to make the cars in different classes more equal.
Safety is paramount. Everyone is required to wear a helmet (several are provided for competitors who don’t own one), seatbelts must be tight and no lose objects are allowed in the car.
“A common misunderstanding is that people think it’s dangerous,” Hall said, but the emphasis is on low-hazard locations and technical driving, not raw speed.
“If anything were to happen,” Hall said, “we are well prepared.”
Events are insured, he said.
WKSCCA is always looking for new locations as well as members.
“It can be a little intimidating when you first join, but that’s like any club,” Dawson said. “We all just really like cars.”
Krystal Paschall of Mayfield, the only woman competitor at Sunday’s event, joined the club last year.
“I was always interested in cars,” she said. “I did a fun run and now this is my fifth event.
“You get better as you go, I usually gain 10 seconds from my first to my last run in an event.”
Sunday’s top three winners were Christopher Jensen in a Honda S2000 with an adjusted time of 25.019 seconds; Jim Breidenbach, Porsche 911, 25.116 seconds; and Eric Biggs, Toyota MR2, 25.838 seconds.
WKSCCA members meet monthly. The next meeting is at Jasmines of Paducah Monday at 7 p.m.
The next event scheduled in Marshall County will be in October, a fund-raiser forthe Marshall County Exceptional Center.
For further information or if interested in becoming a member, visit www.wkscca.com or phone Hall at 703-0693.