Southern California is know for lots of things including; sunshine, beaches, and girls in bikinis. On the weekend of February 22-24 however, we weren’t actually anywhere on a beach, but rather, running to the SoCal coastline in a group of pro-touring musclecars. Musclecar iron from all makes and generations were on hand representing their respective era, while using all of today’s latest technology in terms of suspension, brakes, and wheel and tire sizes.
In what turned out to be the fourth consecutive year of awesomeness, Run to the Coast is an event that everyone with a pro-touring car should take part in. If you have a musclecar, and aren’t into the “pro-touring thing,” you might be a little too quick to think that it’s about nothing more than throwing a set of large wheels onto your car and showing off. If you think that, then you’re sadly mistaken.
Friday: A Hotel Car Show, Attacking the SoCal Freeways, and Two Shop Tours
The kickoff to the event started on Friday, and was essentially a cruise to some of the biggest names in the industry’s home turf. The festivities on Friday were pretty laid back, as participants rolled into the Double Tree Hotel parking lot in Irvine, California around noon. There was plenty of small talk made, shoulders being rubbed, and car owners polishing their vehicles to the point that the parking lot was quickly turning into a car show.
We didn’t mind at all. Some of the most beautiful pro-touring cars were in attendance, and it only made sense that their owners wanted them to glisten in the sun. Once it became time to get the show on the road (literally), event coordinators gathered everyone around and explained to them the events for that day.
With the game plan down, our first stop was at the Doug Thorley Headers headquarters in Corona, California, where we had the opportunity to take a tour around their facility. Not only were we given a guided tour of their manufacturing areas, but one lucky event participant, Greg Gelfand, even got to put his car on the dyno. With the Doug Thorley tour over, we headed to the Eibach facility right down the street in Corona for the same kind of experience.
Again, there was a helpful staff on hand walking us through the manufacturing, R&D departments, and office area to show everyone behind the scenes of what goes on at Eibach. It was a pretty rad experience, and everyone who attended walked away with more knowledge and understanding of how some of their favorite performance products are made.
Saturday and Sunday Event: Musclecars Past & Present Compete
Held at shuttered El Toro Air Force Base in Irvine, California, the former base still exists as nothing more than a place for gearheads to put their cars to the test. All day Saturday and Sunday, musclecars and classics tore up the track to compete against one another – not only in terms of power and performance, but consistency and driver skill.
At the event there were three forms of competition; Autocross 1, Autocross 2, and the Speed Stop Challenge. Each event was challenging in its own right, and it gave the participants a chance to put all of their capabilities on the line.
Autocross: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
If you’ve never been to an autocross event, then you definitely don’t know what you’re missing. It’s all about control. Unlike drag racing, there’s a lot more to autocross than traction and power – it’s knowing when to brake, when to get on or let off the throttle, how much opposite lock to use, knowing how to prevent oversteer and understeer, and so on. It takes immense skill, tons of practice, and most importantly, a very well balanced car.
This was proven time and time again, and we’ve seen classics hug the corners like they were glued to the pavement, and late-model pony cars spin out of control – one Mustang in particular took out a cameraman’s equipment after taking the final corner a little too fast. It happens, and luckily no one got hurt even though we believe the ‘Stang had a few new scratches as a result. For the complete rundown of Saturday and Sunday’s autocross, click here.
Road Course: Put That Hammer Down and Hold On!
The road course was more of a road racing event – or perhaps think of it as a very large autocross challenge that sees high speeds. It consisted of three laps around a former landing strip with several corners and three long straights that could get you up to speeds over 100 MPH. Most of the show participants that entered enjoyed it, and we saw everything from ’55 Chevys to a BMW 6-Series, and everything in between out on the course. It was quite an experience to watch, and made us wish that we entered the event ourselves in one of our own cars.
This went on for both Saturday and Sunday’s event, with some of our favorite cars partaking in the event like Valerie Pitchette’s ’88 Trans Am GTA and Aaron Thrash’s LS-swapped ’75 T/A (sorry purists). There was something for everyone to see, and it was, in our opinion, the best part of the weekend. If you want to see a list of cars that partook in the event, along with their respective owners and where they ranked, then click here.
Speed-Stop Challenge: So Your Car Can Turn, But How are the Brakes?
The Speed Stop Challenge is the ultimate test of braking if you couldn’t tell by the name. It’s essentially a barrel race between two cars heading in opposite directions, and the first to go down and back while stopping first within the marked designated area wins against the other opponent. It’s a combination of testing acceleration, handling, skill, and braking all in one.
Event goers casually practiced both Saturday and Sunday, but it wasn’t until Sunday evening that participants really threw down the gauntlet against one another, and the challenge had the focus of the entire event. If you think this sounds lame, then you seriously need to experience it firsthand. For the full results of the Speed Stop Challenge, click here.
The Results Are In
After a weekend of fun and thrills, Sunday evening winded down with everyone who placed in a respective category taking home an award, while those not so lucky were quick to hit the highway for the long trek home. Out of all of the participants who had their card pulled to compete in the final challenge, only one man walked away the winner.
That person would be Brian Hobaugh, and his ’65 Corvette was to die for. Not only was this monster sports car impressive on the course, but it basically dominated pretty much every category it was in. He took home First Place in literally every category all weekend long, apart from the Sunday autocross, where James Crosby and the Ridetech ’33 Ford took home the prize with a best time of 30.110.
If you’re looking for all of the specific results of his year’s event, you can head over to the American Street Car Series website by clicking here. See you next year!