One of the family rules in my house was that we had to spend at least one year driving at the Solo events to learn car control. This was usually the year of our 16th birthday or the very next year (most of us are fall babies).
Starting in the fall of 1986 when I got my driver’s license I competed in my first Solo using my Mom’s CRX-Si. Yes, she knew about it because she was competing at the same event that day. I ran the full series schedule starting in 1987 and was a regular competitor for the next 10 or so years driving a range of cars, some that belonged to my family, one that belonged to me, several that belonged to friends and even one that belonged to the Engineering department at The Ohio State University.
Some years I did well and some I did not, but I am happy to say that I had the chance to drive and to get to know a lot of great people while doing it and improving my driving skills at the same time. Over the course of my Solo career, I have had the opportunity to drive a wide range of cars in different levels of preparation and a wide range of racing environments. Most of the events were located here in central Ohio but I have had the chance to travel to Indiana and Michigan to drive. One of the fun side effects of growing up in a racing family is that for a while I was part of the marketing program that was connected to two NASCAR programs.
Most of the cars that I ran were in the Stock category. That meant I was not allowed to do a lot of modifications. The most common thing I changed was from normal street tires to extra high performance tires. From time to time my father would bring out his road racing Mazda RX-7 to do a little testing or sometimes just for the fun of it. I also had the privilege of driving cars that belong to friends of mine from time to time. One time I got the chance to drive a vintage Mini Cooper that had drum brakes. I had never driven a car with drum brakes on all 4 wheels and it was an experience, hint the car did not like to stop well and I was not used to that. The most extreme cars that I have had the chance to drive were both formula cars; one was a converted road racing car and the other was a special project built by students at The Ohio State University.
The Formula SAE car was designed and built by a group of students at OSU and was the first time I got to travel and drive outside of the central Ohio area. Part of my contribution in addition to the driving, was that I built the wings that went on the car at the Aeronautical Lab. The car was the quickest responding car I have driven to date and the experience was a lot of fun.
During my time at the Solo events I had the opportunity to compete against some really good local and national drivers in all of the classes that I drove in. I have not had the opportunity to run on a regular schedule outside of the local region but I have managed to win a lot of individual events and 5 regional class championships. I won them in two cars: two were in my Mom’s Honda CRX-Si and three were in my Toyota Celica GT.