While the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) may historically be known as a drag racing organization, autocross has quickly become a staple at its four NMCA West events. Thanks to the outstanding work of Racing Byrds in organizing this portion of the event, the autocross has become a virtual who’s who in the west coast Pro-Touring scene. Case in point, the Hotchkis Auto X presented by Nitto Tire at the West Coast Shootout on June 2-4, the second event of the year, was headlined by such stars as Greg Thurmond’s ’65 Corvette, Brandy Phillips’ ’72 “C10R” and John Lazorack III’s ’88 Conquest – all familiar faces to SEMA and Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational attendees.
On Saturday, Tom Kamman claimed the Sports Car class in his 2002 Corvette, the aforementioned Greg Thurmond took Classic Muscle, Paul Molina won Modern Muscle in his 2017 Mustang, James Gassor won Compact in the 2008 Saturn Sky, and infamous scribe Wes Drelleshak captured the Truck class in his 1959 Apache.
On Sunday the highlights included: John Lazorack III in the 1988 Dodge Conquest capturing Sports Car, Greg Thurmond repeated the Classic Muscle win in his 1965 Corvette, Modern Muscle was won by Greg Biddlingmeier in the 1988 Mustang, Compact went to Pat Sheely in the 2017 Ford Focus ST, and Mike Sullivan 1965 El Camino won the Truck class.
The ultimate prize of the Hotchkis Cup, however, was won by Mike Cuthbertson in his 1968 Camaro. To compete for the Cup you must run on both the Saturday and Sunday portion of the event.
Overall, the rules for the Hotchkis Auto X are not much different than your typical autocross event. While there is some slight overlap because of the size and length of the course, one car is run at a time with a timing system. Knocking a cone over or out of its outline box adds a two second penalty. Hitting a pointer cone does not count against you. A DNF is given if you do not come to a complete stop after crossing the finish line as well as spinning, leaving the course, etc. The lowest recorded time wins. In terms of the vehicles, you need 200 treadwear tires and to pass a safety inspection. For more information, head over to the NMCA West website.