Weekend Wrap-Up: ’23 TTNT at NCM Motorsports Park

Weekend Wrap-Up: ’23 TTNT at NCM Motorsports Park

With more on tap than the average Tire Rack SCCA® Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty, the May 5-7, 2023, weekend at NCM Motorsports Park was poised to be a wild one. Leading into the event, Bowling Green, KY, weather was predicted to be spectacular, with a high in the low 70s welcoming drivers to the track on Saturday, with Sunday cresting into the 80s. As the weekend arrived, Saturday saw those nice-but-warm temperatures, but a Sunday storm complicated matters for all 77 competitors. Still, no one showed up just to quit.

Also on tap for the weekend was an SCCA Track Night in America® Driven by Tire Rack event as well as a new program joining the SCCA lexicon: FunRuns.

Track Night’s Saturday event saw nearly 50 drivers traversing the same 3.15-mile Grand Full Course configuration of NCM Motorsports Park as the Time Trials National Tour participants. Starting mid-afternoon, Track Night’ers enjoyed three on-track sessions.

In the paddock came FunRuns. Similar to how Track Night takes the stress out of competitive track events, FunRuns remove classes and competition from autocross. In fact, FunRuns also remove the need to work the event. This weekend, one entry fee scored FunRun entrants as many autocross runs as they could manage, all without car classing or the need to shag cones.

Regardless of what drew the person to the event, everyone was invited to the Saturday evening Hagerty Social Dinner Party that sported barbecue cooked to perfection by Steven and Mark Miller.

Track Records, Personal Bests, and More

This past weekend’s Time Trials National Tour was almost certainly a preview of what’s to come in less than six months at the Time Trials Nationals Powered by Hagerty, taking place Oct. 12-15 at NCM Motorsports Park. Another preview came in the form of the NCM facility being rebuilt following a tornado strike in December 2021.

Time Trials participants hit the NCM circuit on Saturday for a morning of practice, with timed laps commencing after lunch. The day’s warming weather led to lap times that were faster during practice than the afternoon’s timed laps. A lightning-clad storm rolled in on Sunday, cancelling that afternoon’s timed sessions.

Entering the weekend, the overall Time Trials National Tour NCM track record was held by Kyle Carrick, set in 2021 in an Unlimited 1 class Nissan GT-R. The weather ensured that record stayed safe, but several other class records fell.

In Max 4, Josh Owens ripped his K-swapped Mazda Miata around the circuit in a breathtaking 2:15.683 – a time fast enough to destroy Andy Hollis’s Max 4 track record set in 2021 by 1.124sec. Showing how dialed in Owens was this year, his previous personal best at NCM was 1.7sec slower than the track record he just set.

Just as impressive was the new track record Jason Hobbs set in Max 3. This was Hobbs’s fourth time at a Time Trials National Tour at NCM Motorsports Park, but only the second time he’d entered in a Mazda RX-8. Last time he came to the track in his RX-8, he managed a time of 2:21.440. This year, his 2:13.789 lap reset the Max 3 track record by 1.06sec.

Max 1 saw another track record reset, this time with Ryan Matthews recording a 2:07.872 on Sunday before the event came to a close. The lap time, set in a 2002 Corvette, bested the existing Max 1 track record by 0.059sec, a time set by Justin Peachey last year.

Tight competition came through multiple fields, with classes like Sport 1’s second place being decided by 0.353sec between second and third after two days of competition. Similarly, Sport 6’s second-to-third place fight saw a scant 0.459sec time differential, with Tuner 3’s second-to-third place battle coming down to 0.152sec.

Below are the overall top five finishers from NCM Motorsports Park with name, class, car, and overall time produced from two full-course lapping sessions during competition.

  1. Ryan Matthews, Max 1, 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, 4:18.640
    2. Wesley Wood, Unlimited 1, 2021 Porsche Cayman, 4:24.565
    3. Tom Bergeron, Sport 1, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette, 4:28.610
    4. Jason Hobbs, Max 3, 2006 Mazda RX-8, 4:29.095
    5. Stan Whitney, Max 1, 2022 Ford Mustang, 4:30.600

Event Results

Celebrations Continue

Sunday’s KONI Podium Celebrations is a time to cheer for the event’s top performers, be it measured by lap time or other accomplishments.

Recognitions were given for the fastest competitors by drive type. Ryan Matthews claimed fastest overall as well as fastest rear-wheel-drive competitor in his Max 1 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, Nicholas Zelisko took the fastest front-wheel-drive honors in his Max 4 2007 Honda Civic, and Logan Carter earned the fastest all-wheel-drive title in his Max 2 1999 Subaru Impreza.

The Top Novice award from the event was presented to Samuel Moore. This event marked Moore’s third time on track, with the Kentucky Region member noting how much he enjoyed the atmosphere during the Time Trials weekend. Moore also apparently enjoyed the track, as he logged a best time of 2:24.519 in his Tuner 2 Corvette, destroying his previous personal best time at NCM by 12.6sec.

The Spirit of Time Trials award went to Texas Region’s Ivy Chang, who experienced a dramatic spin early in the weekend. She got back into the driver’s seat, knocking 2.2sec off her Saturday fast time, resetting her personal best lap time at NCM by 4.04sec

The Champion of Time Trials award was presented to two members: Vinni Taibi and the Indianapolis Region, as well as Dave Melton and Kentucky Region. Taibi was vital in attracting drivers and bringing Region help for the event, while Melton and his Region ensured the FunRuns went smoothly while assisting with the Time Trials National Tour.

It was also noted that many participants and volunteers traveled to the event from great distances. “We were thrilled to see not only local participation, but also people traveling in from as far as Texas and Florida,” said SCCA’s Manager of National Time Trials John Hunter. “We love to see people hitting multiple Time Trials National Tour stops and putting this particular event on their calendar.”

The Season Continues

Drivers competing in the Time Trials National Tour get a little respite following the NCM weekend, with the next event taking place at Ozarks International Raceway in Gravois Mills, MO, during the July 14-16, 2023, weekend. From there, the event pushes through to South Haven, MI, where drivers will compete at GingerMan Raceway on July 21-23.

Three more events follow suit to wrap the 2023 season, one of which is the highly anticipated Time Trials Nationals at NCM Motorsports Park on Oct. 12-15. The final event of the Tire Rack SCCA Time Trials National Tour Powered by Hagerty season will take place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in November.

Find the complete 2023 Time Trials National Tour schedule by clicking here.

Photo by Chris Estes / ABI Photography