Rain Couldn’t Dampen Any Spirits at the Grissom CAM Autocross Challenge

It wouldn’t be a Tire Rack SCCA® CAM Autocross Challenge if weather didn’t add a degree of difficulty, but it surely didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone on hand at the Grissom Aeroplex in Peru, IN, over the May 31-June 2, 2024, weekend.

With 124 muscle cars in attendance, it was among the largest Classic American Muscle gatherings in the country – but they weren’t the only ones on site. The massive field of CAM, Xtreme Street, Club Spec, and more – totaling 180 drivers on site – got dry runs on Saturday morning, with some fun slip-n-slide action in the afternoon. Sunday was the opposite, as the morning began damp but dried for the afternoon Challenges.

Stay Classy, Indiana

Rain certainly mixed up the standings as the day went along on Saturday.

Danny Popp was third quickest in CAM-S in the morning, but as the “great equalizer” came through, he jumped his 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to the top of the class standings, claiming victory. Dave Whitworth followed a similar path in his CAM-C 2012 Ford Mustang, sitting behind Mike Leeder in the dry but taking the top spot in the afternoon. Add Ginette Jordan to the list of drivers who found the rain to their liking, as she power-slid her freshly built 1991 Chevrolet Camaro around the course in the afternoon to leapfrog Carmen Rowlands and Tami Staup for the CAM-T Ladies class win.

Both Nicholas Zelisko and Cindy Duncan took a different approach to their class wins. Wet or dry, Zelisko’s 2000 Chevrolet Camaro and Duncan’s 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse were dominant in the CAM-T and CAM-C Ladies classes all day long.

Chris Harvey was tops in the Club Spec Mustang class, where all are learning what this new class of cars really likes.

Jumping away from the CAM classes, the Xtreme Street category also had a spotlight during the event. Brandon Mihal came charging back in his Subaru WRX STI during the wet runs, but fell 0.50sec short of Kyle Gottschalk and his Eagle Talon TSi for the Xtreme Street A class win in the closest battle of the weekend. Christian Patrick and Nick Rennell eliminated the drama in Xtreme Street B and Xtreme Street U, respectively, each walking away from the rest of their competitors for class wins.

Rise to the Challenge

Three damp Sunday runs were the qualifiers for the Challenges at Grissom. The top 16 drivers in each of the CAM classes, the top 16 in Xtreme Street classes, and the top eight in the CAM Ladies classes made up the three Challenges, with one final head-to-head battle in Club Spec Mustang.

Just like in the class battles on Saturday, the Xtreme Street Challenge came down to Gottschalk and Mihal. Once again, Gottschalk came out ahead, sweeping the weekend.

Cindy Duncan also brought her broom, sweeping the CAM Ladies Challenge after topping the CAM-C class on Saturday. Joe Tharpe turned the tables in Club Spec Mustang’s head-to-head challenge and took the win.

The CAM Challenge saw Ron McManus take CAM-S, Robert Gosda in CAM-C, and Brian Harvey take CAM-T – all different than Saturday’s class winners. Once each conquered their own class, they were tossed into a battle royale for overall supremacy of the weekend. Harvey came through there, with Gosda and McManus, in order, for the ultimate podium.

From class competition to Challenge rundowns, complete event results can be found below.


Wrapping It Up

Two awards were handed out at the Saturday night dinner, dessert, and trophy presentation.

The Rosco Racin’ Award was given to Karl Riggs, an avid Detroit Region member who’s always assisting others at events. Riggs is not only a National Solo competitor, but he’s also the leader of the GM Careers Autocross Team. At this event, 22 drivers originated from the GM Careers group. Furthermore, Riggs also volunteered to work the Challenges even though, as a CAM driver, it was not required.

Meanwhile, John Neighbors won the Wilwood Brakes Raffle.

Of note, former Rosco Racin’ Award winner Danny Popp proved worthy, as he helped get three cars back running for Sunday after they experienced issues on Saturday.

Photos by Sarah Miles