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Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Editorial Assistant
10/26/15 3:16 p.m.
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A homemade fastback Mazda Miata that resembles the brand's Le Mans winner; a Volkswagen Beetle hotrod that can gobble a quarter-mile in 10 seconds; a Chevy Camaro that's an exact replica of a popular video game ride: They can be found together in only one place, the Grassroots Motorsports $2015 Challenge. The event meets every year at Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, seeking the finest and fastest cars that competitors can build on a budget of two grand and change. Challengers are judged based on their autocross performance, quarter-mile times and concours scores.

The Grassroots Motorsports $2015 Challenge Driven by General Tire and sponsored by CRC Industries, Miller Electric Welders and Pulstar Spark Plugs kicked off on Friday, October 23, with the autocross portion of the competition. The course was fairly tight, ultimately rewarding some of the more agile cars. The Texas A&M engineering team made their presence known with a dominant autocross run in their corn-fueled turbo Mazda Miata. Their autocross time was 1.323 seconds faster than the second-place car.

As evening fell, Challengers moved over to the Auto Plus Raceway drag strip for the quarter-mile portion of the Challenge. Andrew Nelson, known for posting 10-second Challenge drag times, broke a U-bolt in the rear suspension of his V8 Volkswagen Beetle on his very first pass. After hours of welding, Andrew and family had mended the suspension well enough for one more run. They made that single run count with a 10.369-second time, earning them a healthy win in the drag racing portion of the Challenge and a narrow lead overall over the Texas A&M crew in the overall standings. The $2015 Challenge would come down to the concours portion of the event.

If Texas A&M could score two points higher than the Nelsons in the concours, they would drive home champions. However, such triumph would not be enjoyed. The Nelsons rounded off the event with the highest concours score in the field. That boosted them to a first-time victory after 11 years competition in the $2000 Challenge.

Click here for full results.. A photo album will be added to our Facebook page with more images from this year's event.

A special guest attended the Challenge this year. Al Unser Jr. acted as one of our judges for the concours portion and even took the wheel of some of the Challenge cars for autocross runs. He says he is definitely planning on returning. Thanks to Pulstar Spark Plugs for helping to make that possible.

The General Tire Challenge returned to this year's schedule for its second running. It pitted 21 Challengers against each other on an autocross course, and everyone drove the same Mazda MX-5 and Mazda 3 fitted with General Tire high-performance rubber. Forty-two autocross runs later, Barry Miles claimed top honors and a free set of tires from General Tire.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making this year's Grassroots Motorsports Challenge one of the best yet. And thank you to our partner, General Tire, and sponsors CRC Industries, Miller Electric Welders and Pulstar Spark Plugs for making it all possible.

Not a subscriber? You're not getting the full story. Read all about every car that made its way to the Challenge in an upcoming issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Subscribe here.

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pimpm3
pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 4:48 p.m.

Wow I really must have sucked it up in the concours. I went from 13th dynamically (drag and autocross) to 20th. Oh well I need to work on my shtick for next year.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/26/15 4:50 p.m.

I will say, this year's concours was tough. I like the new, simpler scoring format, but some cars really pegged the "innovation" category.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Reader
10/26/15 4:55 p.m.
pimpm3 wrote: Wow I really must have sucked it up in the concours. I went from 13th dynamically (drag and autocross) to 20th. Oh well I need to work on my shtick for next year.

You need to recount, look at all of the Exhibition class cars off that finished in front of you. Also I must have missed the boat for saying I was one of the Aristocrats with the LS400. Can the exhibition class be put to the back of the list?

pimpm3
pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 5:05 p.m.
Andy Neuman wrote:
pimpm3 wrote: Wow I really must have sucked it up in the concours. I went from 13th dynamically (drag and autocross) to 20th. Oh well I need to work on my shtick for next year.

You need to recount, look at all of the Exhibition class cars off that finished in front of you. Also I must have missed the boat for saying I was one of the Aristocrats with the LS400. Can the exhibition class be put to the back of the list?

Ok I went from 10th dynamically to 16th overall. Still not a good performance. 1st in aristocrats to 4th.

rcutclif
rcutclif Dork
10/26/15 5:18 p.m.
pimpm3 wrote:
Andy Neuman wrote:
pimpm3 wrote: Wow I really must have sucked it up in the concours. I went from 13th dynamically (drag and autocross) to 20th. Oh well I need to work on my shtick for next year.

You need to recount, look at all of the Exhibition class cars off that finished in front of you. Also I must have missed the boat for saying I was one of the Aristocrats with the LS400. Can the exhibition class be put to the back of the list?

Ok I went from 10th dynamically to 16th overall. Still not a good performance. 1st in aristocrats to 4th.

Maybe try shaving off all of your paint?

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
10/26/15 5:36 p.m.

I love that it came down to the concours.

pimpm3
pimpm3 Dork
10/26/15 5:37 p.m.

In reply to rcutclif:

That was pretty badass I must admit

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Reader
10/26/15 6:23 p.m.

In reply to rcutclif:

I did that in $2011 dead last in concourse.

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/26/15 6:58 p.m.

Notes question- next to the Texas A&M Racing- there's a C- is that a note that this is a college team?

As if that's what it means, aren't the Wreck teams from Georgia Tech?

And were there other college teams?

patgizz
patgizz PowerDork
10/26/15 7:08 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Notes question- next to the Texas A&M Racing- there's a C- is that a note that this is a college team? As if that's what it means, aren't the Wreck teams from Georgia Tech? And were there other college teams?

Only those 2 colleges. Tech brought 2 cars

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/26/15 8:25 p.m.
patgizz wrote:
alfadriver wrote: Notes question- next to the Texas A&M Racing- there's a C- is that a note that this is a college team? As if that's what it means, aren't the Wreck teams from Georgia Tech? And were there other college teams?

Only those 2 colleges. Tech brought 2 cars

Neither of GT's cars teams have a C in their listing, that's why I was asking. If not college, what does the C mean for the A&M team?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/26/15 10:30 p.m.

Pretty sure C stands for college (or is it cookie?), but Rick can confirm in the morning.

DatsunS130
DatsunS130 New Reader
10/26/15 11:05 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Pretty sure C stands for college (or is it cookie?), but Rick can confirm in the morning.

Maybe the C stands for corn.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/26/15 11:44 p.m.

True, in this case C could stand for corn.

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/27/15 6:32 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: True, in this case C could stand for corn.

Since you bring it up, say one has a large amount of really terrible wine. And a still. And can make Ethanol using a fuel licence.

Would I be labeled G then?

Can't say that I've not thought about that, too.

Rick Goolsby
Rick Goolsby Events Manager
10/27/15 9:16 a.m.

Look at the legend at the bottom of the scoring sheet and it will say what the letters mean.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
10/27/15 9:34 a.m.

In reply to Rick Goolsby:

Not "C" though...

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
10/27/15 11:09 a.m.

If the Nelsons didn't break the U-bolt, would that car be into the nines? Also, what is the low ET record for the Challenge?

pimpm3
pimpm3 Dork
10/27/15 12:04 p.m.

The 10.3 is the record. Don't know about 9's thats a question for Andrew.

alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
10/27/15 12:32 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: In reply to Rick Goolsby: Not "C" though...

Which is why I asked.

TA_
TA_ New Reader
10/27/15 1:01 p.m.

In reply to pimpm3:

I feel your pain. 17th dynamically to 28th overall.

wheels777
wheels777 Dork
10/27/15 2:46 p.m.
Jerry From LA wrote: If the Nelsons didn't break the U-bolt, would that car be into the nines? Also, what is the low ET record for the Challenge?

The car broke the right ladder bar, not the U-bolt. The U-bolt got stripped when repairing the ladder bar.

The car would have run 10.30-ish if it were run the whole way through. The air density was 91%. The 10.396 is the new ET record.

Thanks for all the kind words. This was a special event for the family. Closure.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
10/27/15 3:09 p.m.

It couldn't have happened to nicer folks, great result.

Circuit_Motorsports
Circuit_Motorsports New Reader
10/27/15 4:57 p.m.

We had a good time and are looking to attend next year scheduling and time permitting. We want to thank everyone who made us feel welcome and voting for us to win the Challengers' Choice award, that was a great feeling knowing that the other competitors really liked what we brought!

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