1 2 3 ... 5
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 4:20 p.m.
feature_image

Gainesville Raceway is an amazing facility, and hosts tons of top-tier drag racing events like the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals. But deep down, we've always known that the track has a soft spot for one event in particular: The Grassroots Motorsports $2018 Challenge. Our annual event returns to Gainesville Raceway each October, and challenges competitors to build cars that can autocross, drag race, and look good for a total budget of just $2018.

And build cars, they have. We've seen competitors make passes deep into the 9s, and post nationally-competitive autocross times. Their cars look good, too–with shiny paint and details fit for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

All of this is impressive, but cars like this have their downside: Even though the NHRA's Top Fuel dragsters complete a 1/4-mile pass in just over three seconds, it's the $2018 Challenge competitors that really tear up the track. That's why, in preparation for our $2019 Challenge next October, the NHRA has moved up their planned 2019 repaving of Gainesville Raceway. They want nothing but the best for the $2019 Challenge, and this advanced timetable will guarantee there aren't any bulldozers in the way during our competitors' inevitable hunt for 8-second passes.

However, this fresh pavement does come at a cost. The NHRA has moved their paving window squarely on top of the $2018 Challenge, meaning we've had to adjust this year's schedule to accommodate the construction. Don't worry–the event's dates haven't changed, and we're still going to have a blast in Gainesville this October. Read full details here.

Read the rest of the story

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 4:22 p.m.

I guess this could finally be my chance to take the overall title in my LEAF!

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
7/31/18 4:39 p.m.

Where will the higher speed course be placed? The challenge autocrosses have historically been fast anyway and they took the whole area not occupied by parking. Are you guys planning on using the road course?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 4:50 p.m.

We’ll be moving the paddock next to the fuel station (on the return road from the end of the strip), which will give us the entire parking lot for a giant autocross. 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
7/31/18 5:04 p.m.

Do we go through motorsportreg to get a refund on entry fees?  Sadly, after building a top overall car last year we shifted focus to 2/3 of the disciplines and autocross isn’t one of them, so we’re going to have to withdraw and come back next year.

Antihero
Antihero GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/31/18 5:14 p.m.

No drag race? Glad i planned on next year and not this year now

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 5:16 p.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Quickest is to email Nancy at Nancy@grassrootsmotorsports.com. We’ll happily issue refunds or apply your entry fee to next year’s event. 

rdcyclist
rdcyclist New Reader
7/31/18 5:35 p.m.

Great job spinning this! I know, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm bummed though cuz like Patrick, I was planning my build (which is currently in discovery) around the drags and the autocross. I guess I better get the motorcycle engined Miata that's been percolating around in my head on the front burner ... which means finding the Miata to start with! Craigs here we come!

Actually that MR2 I posted in the $2018 Classifieds would've been perfect!

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/31/18 5:51 p.m.
MrJoshua said:

Where will the higher speed course be placed? The challenge autocrosses have historically been fast anyway and they took the whole area not occupied by parking. Are you guys planning on using the road course?

Global warming Bad! Politics Bad! Mumpkin Good!

The plan as of now is to use the area traditionally used for the autocross course AND the paddock area for the autocross course. Paddock wil be moved to the east part of the facility. This gives us a little more room to autocross and a few more course options. So what we're looking at is probably a little more complex course for the 10:00-2:00 session and a bit more open, flowing course for the 5:00-8:00 session. 

I'll be heading there a couple weeks before the event to design and mark both courses so we can make the changeover in quick order. I'm even mulling over some wrinkles we can throw into the mix to make things more interesting, like a fixed-length starting straight with separate timing (not for competition, just bragging rights). 

I know this is a bummer for some of you, and trust me when I say it is for us as well. But the bottom line was this seemed to be most realistic and least painful of a number of difficult options. 

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
7/31/18 5:53 p.m.

I wasn't figuring I could make it this year because my new car won't be nearly ready, but this may change things. Need to figure out how to improve my Concours score and go even quicker in two autocrosses with last year's Miata. I have the next 6 days away on vacation to ponder my options. The downside is I've come to enjoy the weekend spent with several people who have become friends and they may not be there.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
7/31/18 5:57 p.m.

This might be premature, but what will the rules be for using the autocross pros? Limited runs on each course? Here's your 4 tickets, use them on whatever course(s) you want?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/31/18 6:08 p.m.
DeadSkunk said:

This might be premature, but what will the rules be for using the autocross pros? Limited runs on each course? Here's your 4 tickets, use them on whatever course(s) you want?

Current plan is to treat each autocross as a separate event, so that would mean two sets of pro tickets. So you'd get a red set for morning and a blue set for evening or whatever.

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/31/18 6:11 p.m.

Well that changes some of my build in a major way. At least we hadn't started that portion yet. Actually kinda makes it easier in some ways. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/31/18 6:15 p.m.
Stampie said:

Well that changes some of my build in a major way. At least we hadn't started that portion yet. Actually kinda makes it easier in some ways. 

See? We're helping!

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/31/18 6:29 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
Stampie said:

Well that changes some of my build in a major way. At least we hadn't started that portion yet. Actually kinda makes it easier in some ways. 

See? We're helping!

Tell that to the crying 10 year old that wanted to see us in the 13s this year!  JK he took it in stride.  You can thank Mama Mae for the guilt trip. She taught me well. 

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/31/18 6:38 p.m.

Interesting... Good job making the best of the situation. This should be a unique year. My van might now have a halfway decent shot of placing well. See you all in October.

nachostang95
nachostang95 New Reader
7/31/18 6:40 p.m.

If I didn't spend half my vacation on picking up my Allroad, this would have been my chance to trip the SVX out and not embarrass myself in the drag portion! Maybe next year.. Do coilovers count as equivalent replacement parts if OEM parts don't exist and I spec a near-factory spring rate while running dampers loose? ;) I guess I can probably find $400 worth to sell off of it to bring it back into budget. 

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Dork
7/31/18 6:41 p.m.

Time to take the nitrous out of the budget, won't be needing that. Should have purchased a Miata. Can we get a 200tw vs hoosier class? 

Lof8
Lof8 GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/31/18 7:46 p.m.

I don’t really even like drag racing...

but

this seems like a major screw job by the track. You guys have been hosting this event there for like 20 years!  

I usually focus my efforts in autocross, do 2 or 3 drag passes then park the car, grab a beer and watch the speed demons run. 

:(

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 7:47 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 :

No comment. 

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
7/31/18 7:51 p.m.

With as much rain as Gainesville is getting I am shocked anyone is on schedule for anything construction related much less several months ahead. I actually recently wondered how flooded the grass parking area around the track might currently be.

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/31/18 8:01 p.m.

Interesting, very interesting.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
7/31/18 8:09 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In reply to Lof8 :

No comment. 

Silence speaks volumes.  I’m very disappointed but not upset with you guys at all.  This year’s build was intended to make an autocross parade lap and go drag racing and explode heads for the concours.  I can’t justify bringing it just to park in a pavilion.  

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
7/31/18 8:29 p.m.
MrJoshua said:

With as much rain as Gainesville is getting I am shocked anyone is on schedule for anything construction related much less several months ahead. I actually recently wondered how flooded the grass parking area around the track might currently be.

That's a good point. Rain does funny things in Florida, so it's entirely possible that it caused the change in schedule due to flooding, damage, etc. Who knows....

GTXVette
GTXVette SuperDork
7/31/18 9:16 p.m.

OH come on, those Datsun's can't be any worse on a road course than A Fiero  on a drag strip. Patrick  you did good in auto cross last year.

1 2 3 ... 5
Our Preferred Partners
PJipZVNZzEyf4Dpm9Kh45rwwpCsLJPu3FgoT2TstXfW6fObj2XJY9uY20WZHX6OA