The Chamberlain Principle: Honoring 22 XP

June 14th, 2016 by Kate

This past weekend marked the start of the 2016 Autocross season at Cumberland, and the return of the “Long Course” at the June Historics event. But what would normally be a cause for excitement and happiness was bittersweet. The first Cumberland weekend of the year is something I usually look forward to with eager anticipation, but in the days leading up to it, I was feeling something a little closer to dread. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely wanted to be there this weekend, to eat and drink at Henny’s, to stumble out of bed at the Best Western at an ungodly hour, and to drive the course slower than all my friends out on the tarmac. I was looking forward to all those things.

What I wasn’t looking forward to was the hurt and pain all those things would bring, because of what was missing from them. Or rather, who was missing from them.

As Fred Pfeiffer said at Saturday morning’s drivers meeting, “We need to talk about Wade Chamberlain.”


The King of Cumberland.

If you’re reading this, then you likely knew, or at least knew of Wade. He was the fast-driving, beer-brewing, beer-drinking, corn-eating, winking King of Cumberland. He was the kind of guy we all want to be a little (or a lot) more like in our lives, on and off the track. Basically, he was the best of us. Why he deigned to slum it and hang out with losers like us, I’ll never know, but I’ll always be grateful that he did.

I wouldn’t have become friends with Wade if not for autocrossing in Cumberland. We raced together in the DC area, but it wasn’t until Paul and I started staying at the Best Western and hanging out at Henny’s that we got the chance to really get to know the people who would become our close friends, guests at our wedding, and our autocross family.

Family Dinner

Family Dinner at Henny’s, 2015.

A Cumberland race weekend without Wade was going to hurt, there was no way around that. There are echoes of him all over the place, from stray bits of popcorn on the floor at Henny’s to his number 22 spot in grid. On several occasions during the weekend, I thought I saw him (because it’s only natural to see Wade Chamberlain at a CBE event), before catching myself and realizing my mistake.

When Paul and I walked into Henny’s Friday night, I half expected to find him waiting for us at our favorite table in the back, pint of Yuengling in hand. He never showed, but several of the old regulars did, and we ate open-faced turkey sandwiches and raised a glass (or several) in his honor, following Wade’s tried and true advice of “You drive the opposite of how you feel in the morning.” Or, as we called it, the Chamberlain Principle. Mike Moran even had the brilliant idea to take a shot of Wade’s own personal Kryptonite, SoCo and lime. I think he’d have appreciated that—once he stopped gagging.


The Chamberlain Principle at work, 2009.

On Saturday we were lucky enough to be joined by Wade’s wife, Beth, and his father, Bill. Like she did for so many Henny’s evenings, Beth added some class to the proceedings. I’m so glad they were both there as we honored Wade, and saw firsthand how much he meant to all of us at Cumberland, and how deeply his loss is felt. After the usual drivers meeting speeches, we turned to the course and listened to audio from Wade’s final lap on a Cumberland course, an FTD time at last October’s Pumpkin Carve. It was a fitting tribute, hearing Wade do what he did so often at Cumberland—drive faster than everyone else.

Additionally, the organizers announced that Wade’s number at Cumberland, 322, has been officially retired. And to make sure everyone gets the message that no one will be permitted to grid in his spot, they marked it with a 22 XP sign.

In my earliest days of Cumberland racing, I gridded in spot 324, parked right next to Wade. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I was intimidated by him then. He set FTD in a Cobra. I was trying to avoid DFL in an automatic Honda Fit. But he treated me like a competitor and an equal, and he put me at ease at a time when I was an anxious novice autocrosser. I even got my first wink from Wade back then.

This weekend I gridded in that 324 spot again. Paul, filling in for the much-missed Ben Lambiotte, took 320, and together we sandwiched Wade’s spot. When I got to the line for my first run on Saturday, we paused at the time Wade would have been starting his lap. After a few moments of silence, Mikey turned to me from his starter’s spot and said, “To be fair, Wade definitely would have finished by now.”

I suppose this hasn’t been a real recap, but the weekend wasn’t about FTD, and it wasn’t about PAX (sorry, Larry Casey). It was about tradition, and honoring a member of the CBE family. One of the many, many things that suck about losing Wade is that we just got racing at Cumberland back last year. We had three events last year to “get the band back together,” and now we have to do it without him. That’s not right, and it’s not fair.

Cumberland Autocross won’t be the same going forward, and we’re never going to be able to fill that Wade-sized hole. But getting together with good friends for racing, drinking, and laughing feels like a damn good way to honor his memory.


Back Where it All Began

August 24th, 2015 by Kate

This past weekend brought a sight many of us weren’t sure we’d ever see again: an autocross at the Cumberland airport. The road back to CBE was a long one, and it took a whole lot of work from some incredibly passionate and dedicated people. And along with nearly 100 other participants, I got to reap the benefits of that labor of love with a great weekend with some of my favorite people.

This isn’t going to be an exhaustive recap of the weekend and the racing. If you’re on social media, you already know that Wade took FTD on Saturday, Matt Felten took it Sunday, and Mikey had the top PAX both days in the shiny, gold-chain wearing Whore-vette. The thing is, this weekend wasn’t about the scoreboard. And I’m not just saying that because I’m slow.

This was a homecoming.

Cumberland is why I started autocrossing. When I met Paul, he was just getting into it himself, and I said to him point-blank, “It’s cool that you’re into cars and racing and stuff, but if you try to pressure me to do it, I’m out.” He was smart enough to be cool with that, and I came to Cumberland with him for a few weekend events. We made the 3-hour trip out because Paul had gone to college in the area, and it was a good excuse to hang out with old friends. Those long car rides together were some of our earliest long talks and bonding experiences as a relatively new couple.

After a few years I got sick of just watching, and made the jump to driving myself. My first race wasn’t at Cumberland (it was an Autocrossers Inc. event at Ripken Stadium) but my weekends out there and my desire to fully be a part of that community were absolutely the impetus for me starting.

Paul and I have both made so many incredible friends through autocross, and a lot of those had their start in Cumberland. The nature of the weekend-long events that require nights away from home lead to a more social environment of racing than the run-of-the-mill local event. In the early years we stayed with Patrick, and those trips led me to consider Patrick the first friend of Paul’s who I also considered a friend of mine, rather than just “my boyfriend’s friend.”

Then came the hotel stays in LaVale, at the Best Western and the (in)famous Slumberland, and the evenings at Henny’s. Casual acquaintances became true friendships over dirty jokes and rounds of even dirtier shots at our favorite bar. When Paul and I got married in 2011, there were tables full of those same people, just looking a little better-groomed than I was used to seeing them. Paul was the best man at Mustang Boy’s wedding last year, another friendship that had its start at CBE.

Obviously, Cumberland racing has had a pretty big impact on my life. So getting to go back there, and spend two days sweating it out on the tarmac for a couple minutes of racing and hours of drinking and laughing with close friends was a big damn deal for me.

There was a lot of nostalgia this weekend. In the days leading up, I made up Bingo cards filled with old phrases and inside jokes. I didn’t really expect anyone to hold on to them and seriously play Bingo, they were more for the chance to reminisce and laugh when we all finally got back together at Henny’s Friday night. And maybe also to hear people say things like “Ladyboner” and “You gotta help me out, I’m naked!” again.

But this wasn’t just a one-off reunion. There are going to be two more weekends of racing in Cumberland this year, and hopefully we’ll get even more events next year. This weekend wasn’t only about remembering the past, it was also a new start for racing in Cumberland.

I’m hoping for the chance to create even more new friendships at CBE in the years to come.

I’ll invite them to my next wedding.

Local Area Autocrosser Disgraced – Season Long Ban

April 27th, 2015 by Paul


In a strange turn of events, local sports car enthusiast, Wade Chamberlain (Warrenton, VA) has been handed down a season long banning from participation in all DC Region SCCA events. Details are sparse at the moment, but inside sources point have cited irregularities in Chamberlain’s tire compound. Doping is suspected.

None of this is true.

Looooong Overdue

January 2nd, 2013 by Paul

First and foremost, congratulations to Joseph “Mustang Boy” Oxenham.  Despite his absence from the end of the season, he is still your 2012 Team Zip-Tie Cup Winner.  I still have to decorate the trophy and get it to him, so stand by for those photos.  Second place was a three-way tie, and many other upsets took place.

This was a crazy year, both in Cumberland and elsewhere.  We weren’t able to make every race we wanted, but we still had a blast.  Hopefully next year some of our “fringe” members can make their way out.

To sum it all up…

Final Team Standings (after drops)
1. Joe (81 points)
2. Doug (71 points)
2. Rich (71 points)
2. Mike (71 points)
3. Paul (60 points)
4. Meg (58 points)
5. Kate (42 points)
6. Bill (27 points)
7. Andy (25 points)

I think it was called the Summer Sizzler

August 20th, 2012 by Paul

Another weekend goes by in Cumberland, but Kate and I again didn’t make it.  I decided to stay home, and it was worth it, as I’m now the 2012 WDCR D-Stock Champion.  While the cat was away, the mouse played.

I can’t say much about what happened, but I do know that Joe owes Mike a dollar or two (but we still love you, Joe).  This weekend was “undersubscribed,” but now that the DC season is over, I expect the numbers to get better.

Wish me, Kate, Andy, and Mike luck as we head out in two weeks for the SCCA Nationals in Lincoln, NE.

Saturday (50 Entrants)
12 – Mike (3rd in PAX)
11 + 2 – Joe (28th in PAX – Cone Award Winner with 3 cones)
10 – Rich (21st in PAX)
9  – Meg (42nd in PAX)

Sunday (44 Entrants)
12 – Joe (19th in PAX)
11 + 2 – Doug (22nd in PAX – Cone Award Winner with 2 cones)
10 – Rich (25th in PAX)
9 – Bill (33rd in PAX)

Current Team Standings

Drops are starting to take effect.  Eight days in, but we are only counting the seven best.  From here on out, it’s about erasing low scores.

1. Joe (81 points)
2. Rich (67 points)
3. Mike (59 points)
3. Doug (59 points)
4. Meg (55 points)
5. Paul (36 points)
6. Kate (19 points)
6. Bill (19 points)
7. Andy (12 points)
8. Rob (0 points)
8. Patrick (0 points)
8. Thomas (0 points)

Speedweek 2012

July 23rd, 2012 by Paul

This one will be short and sweet, since Kate and I were both away.  If you are looking for a bit of a story, you can read the Cumberland recap of events.  Of note – this weekend marked the first 2012 Cumberland events for Andy and Bill.  Time to get Rob, Thomas, and Patrick out there now.

More shuffling in the results, but this was the last weekend before the drops start.  In other words, don’t get too comfortable Joe.  I don’t think I’m missing any more events.

Saturday (69 Entrants)
12 – Mike (9th in PAX)
11 + 1 – Joe (17th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 2 cones)
10 – Doug (21st in PAX)
9  + 1– Rich (28th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 2 cones)
8 – Meg (51st in PAX)

Sunday (66 Entrants)
12 – Andy (4th in PAX)
11 – Joe (16th in PAX)
10 – Doug (25th in PAX)
9 – Rich (35th in PAX)
8 + 2 – Bill (45th in PAX – Cone Award Winner with 2 cones)
7 – Meg (47th in PAX)

Current Team Standings

1. Joe (66 points)
2. Mike (47 points)
2. Rich (47 points)
3. Meg (46 points)
3. Doug (36 points)
4. Paul (36 points)
5. Kate (19 points)
6. Andy (12 points)
7. Bill (10 points)
8. Rob (0 points)
8. Patrick (0 points)
8. Thomas (0 points)

Ancient History: 2012 Historics Weekend

June 20th, 2012 by Paul

First off, let me apologize for being so late with the report. The Universe (by which I mean work, family, etcetera etcetera) has been conspiring to keep me away from my writing duties. Well that and I figured if I waited long enough, everyone’s memories would be hazy enough that I could write whatever I wanted and no one would be able to argue with it. So here goes:  last weekend, I was the best and the fastest and was declared best autocrosser ever by a unanimous vote. The end. Don’t believe me? Too bad.

Wait, what’s that? There are records and other write-ups of the event all over the Internet? Crap. Well, never mind then, here’s what really happened…

Once a year, the organizers at Cumberland Airport Autocross like to give us a chance to stretch our collective legs, and go just a little faster than is the norm in the sport. Last weekend was that event, the tenth annual Historics weekend at CBE, featuring Saturday’s (in)famous Long Course. Cumberland regulars and newbies alike headed to the mountains for a weekend of warm sun and fast cars.

Paul and I made our way out west Friday afternoon, taking advantage of my flexible work-from-home Fridays summer schedule to beat the traffic, and were checked in at the Slumberland and seated with a beer (or a Scotchy Scotch Scotch, in Paul’s case) well ahead of our usual schedule. Having had to miss the Ice Breaker, this was my first trip back to the area since last October, and I was anxious to make up for lost time—and apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Our group—made up of the usual mix of Cobra drivers and Team-Zip Tie members, as well as a few special guest stars—quickly took over the outside patio as we consumed drinks, caught up, and played pranks on each other. There was seat stealing, watering-down of drinks, and the general mocking of friends. It felt damn good to be back. We were even treated to the appearance of everyone’s favorite waitress, Nicki, who must be a glutton for punishment, because she deigned to sit down and join us for a few drinks after her shift ended. The reveling finally began to die down, and I was in bed slightly after midnight—a very late night when you have to be up before the sun to race.

The next morning, the effects of that late night were palpable. We had a subdued breakfast at McDonald’s (Egg McMuffins with a side of Aleve) and made our way to the airport. Due to the event’s reputation and the lengthier course, registration was limited to 78 participants, and the number of runs was cut in half to a measly three. The course stretched for nearly a full mile, heading past the usual turnaround point of the Trooper Five Hanger to find common ground with the courses of the SCCA club racing championship series that ran at the airport between 1953 and 1970. Saturday’s course was not only long, but was vengeful and punishing as well, littered with booby-traps of sharp corners and offset cones designed to make the unobservant driver pay with cone calls and off course runs. In fact, a total of five drivers were unable to get a single on-course run and finished the day with a DNF.

Meg and I were the first members of Team-Zip Tie to get a shot at the course. Maybe I’d been away from Cumberland too long, but I needed some time to shake the cobwebs out, and three runs proved too few for me to get my act together. I finished the day fourth in D Stock with a wretched 84.276, well off the pace Paul would set for the class in the third heat. Meg had a much better day, finishing with a best time of 83.291 in her Miata, winning her class by nearly two full seconds.

Second heat action saw Rich and Joe take to the tarmac. Rich piloted his Corvette to a second-place finish in B Stock with a time of 80.687, and a total of two cones. For Historics Weekend, Joe struck a bargain with Jake Moran—he could co-drive the infamous Subie Suxass, but he had to provide the tires. A fair deal, and it gave Joe the opportunity to put a little bit of his namesake Mustang to good use, strapping his once and future race car’s wheels and tires onto the Sux. Joe finished the day with a 72.745, good for seventh out of ten cars in XP. He fell short of his co-driver Jake, who was on a tear, and finished second in the class and fourth overall in raw time.

Third heat, that of all the loud Cobras, featured Paul in the Przywhiney family WRX, and Mike Moran in one of the aforementioned loud Cobras. Mike took his red (Burgundy? Maroon?) Cobra out and ran a 69.882, though not without a couple of cones, splitting the cone award for the day with Rich. His time was good for third in XP, and eighth in raw time.  Paul took to the course and promptly stomped all over my time (though given my performance in the first heat, I predicted as much) and finished with a class-winning time of 72.907. At the end of the third heat, Paul was at the top of the heap in PAX, which you may have heard (from Paul right at that moment) that PAX is the most important metric. He was singing a decidedly different tune at the end of the day however, when Randy Pearson and his Z06 Corvette edged him out for the top spot. But who cares about PAX anyway, right?

Doug rounded out the Zip Tie roster in the fourth heat, bringing the Art Car Audi out for a spin (metaphorically speaking). Doug took his class handily with a 77.473. Racing concluded mid-afternoon, and rather than return to our hotels to shower and clean up like civilized people, we sought shade and company in the paddock, where we all shared stories of the day, and generally continued our antics of the night before—though in a more reserved (i.e., hungover and dehydrated) fashion. We had a few surprise guests—team member Andy Thomas was unable to race due to work, but he popped in to say hi. In addition, my best friend Gill came out for her second autocross, this time with her fiancé Adam (Kramer) in tow. Wade must have done something right when Gill rode along with him at Fed Ex a few weeks ago, because I think she’s got the bug, and brought Kramer to see an autocross in the hopes of infecting him too. They’re getting married next month, but once they’re back from the honeymoon, I think we might be seeing a couple of new recruits.

While some went to the dinner in downtown Cumberland, others of us chose to unwind with some Mexican food and pitchers of margaritas at El Canello in Frostburg. Naturally, being a restaurant with hot sauce readily available, the braver/dumber among us consumed some, because at heart, we’re just a bunch of twelve year olds. Afterwards, we returned to Henny’s for the remainder of a very subdued evening. The highlight of the evening was Paul’s proposal to Nicki with her own butterfly ring (she said yes).

The next morning, we found a course that was significantly shorter than the day before, though what remained was a close approximation of what we’d already seen. The familiarity of the course coupled with six runs for each driver promised a far more forgiving day. It certainly was for me. Up in the first heat, my driving returned to something close to normal for me, as I shaved off time and crushed a total of four cones (my first cone award of the year, thank you very much). I ended with a 51.492, and while—SPOILER ALERT—it wasn’t enough to beat Paul, I did finish 26th in PAX (or someone named Kate Mewhenny did anyway) and overall, I felt good about my performance. My heat one buddy Meg found herself in a class by herself, and ran a 56.186 in an uncontested C Stock.

Joe once again got behind the wheel of the Sux in the second heat, and attempted to make some noise in XP. Unfortunately for him, that’s a noisy class, and his 46.798 was only good for seventh place. Rich was third in B Stock with a 50.699, just a tenth of a second away from bumping off second-place Aaron Shumaker and his 2011 Evo. Paul’s 48.324 gave him a decisive D Stock victory, and he ended the day fourth in PAX, despite not taking his sixth and final pass due to the discovery of a corded tire. The third heat also saw some exciting lead changes in the battle for FTD. After a few passes, Wade Chamberlain was able to take the top spot away from Matt Felten, but his (literal) victory dance was ended before he’d even parked his Cobra in grid, as Larry Casey grabbed FTD for himself on the very next run. Leads were traded and other fast drivers knocked on the door, but it was Greg Honeycutt and his Reynard who walked away with the prize in the end. Doug and the rest of the fourth heat closed out the weekend’s racing festivities, though no one could touch the top time set in the third heat. Doug’s 50.676 gave him the D Street Prepared class victory, and 36th place in PAX.

Then there was nothing left to do but change tires, load up and head home. Though in our case, heading home included a detour to Frederick to drop off our corded tire off with teammate/team car doctor Andy. Next up on the Cumberland schedule is Speedweek in July. I heard a rumor that Larry Casey and our very own Mike Moran will be reprising their roles as course designers for the event, so it should be a good one. Someone else will have to take over reporting duties though—Paul and I will both be MIA from this one. So good luck in July everyone, and see you in August!


Saturday (78 Entrants)
12 – Paul (2nd in PAX)
11 + 1 – Mike (14th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 2 cones)
10 + Joe (30th in PAX)
9 – Doug (34th in PAX)
8 + 1 – Rich (40th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 2 cones)
7 – Kate (52nd in PAX)
6 – Meg (53rd in PAX)

Sunday (71 Entrants)
12 – Paul (4th in PAX)
11 – Joe (23rd in PAX)
10 + 1 – Kate (26th in PAX – Cone Award Winner with 4 cones)
9 – Rich (31st in PAX)
8 – Doug (36th in PAX)
7 – Meg (62nd in PAX)

No Cone Award Winner for Sunday.

Current Team Standings
1. Joe (43 points)
2. Paul (36 points)
3. Mike (35 points)
4. Meg (31 points)
5. Rich (28 points)
6. Doug (26 points)
7. Kate (19 points)
8. Rob (0 points)
9. Andy (0 points)
10. Bill (0 points)
11. Patrick (0 points)
12. Thomas (0 points)

Better Late Than Never: Icebreaker 2012

May 22nd, 2012 by Paul

I’m not going to have too much of a story here – partly because I wasn’t around the entire weekend, and partly because several TZT members were involved in creating the writeup for the Cumberland page, which does a reasonable job of summing up the weekend.  But, I will get on to the results for the 2012 Cup.  This year is already shaping up to be quite interesting.  There were several no-shows for the weekend, so the field was light, but that may change soon (Thomas?).

Saturday (72 Entrants)
12 – Paul (9th in PAX)
11 – Joe (11th in PAX)
10 + 1 – Mike (14th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 1 cone)
9 – Doug (30th in PAX)
8 + 1 – Meg (60th in PAX – Cone Award Co-Winner with 1 cone)

Sunday (55 Entrants)
12 – Mike (4th in PAX)
11 – Joe (9th in PAX)
10 – Rich (40th in PAX)
9 – Meg (43rd in PAX)

No Cone Award Winner for Sunday.

Current Team Standings
1. Mike (23 points)
2. Joe (22 points)
3. Meg (18 points)
4. Paul (12 points)
5. Rich (10 points)
6. Doug (9 points)
7. Rob (0 points)
8. Kate (0 points)
9. Andy (0 points)
10. Bill (0 points)
11. Patrick (0 points)
12. Thomas (0 points)

Kate Fears My Success

November 22nd, 2011 by Paul

I’m sorry to those who are patiently waiting for Kate’s final writeup. I will do my best to coax a story out of her, but for those that are interested in the final totals (mainly me), here they are.

Saturday (71 Entrants)
12 – Paul (2nd in PAX)
11 – Mike (12th in PAX)
10 + 2 – Rob (15th in PAX – Cone Award winner with 9 cones)
9 – Joe (16th in PAX)
8 – Doug (35th in PAX)
7 – Kate (40th in PAX)
6  – Bill (43rd in PAX)
5 – Meg (53rd in PAX)
4 – Rich (54th in PAX)

Sunday (76 Entrants) – Just for fun!
Mike (10th in PAX)
Kate (12th in PAX)
Joe (21st in PAX)
Rob (24th in PAX)
Doug (27th in PAX)
Rich (30th in PAX)
Andy (36th in PAX)
Paul (44th in PAX)
Bill (46th in PAX)
Meg (53rd in PAX)

Final Team Standings (after drops)
1. Paul (84 points)
2. Mike (79 points)
3. Rob (76 points)
4. Joe (68 points)
5. Kate (62 points)
6. Doug (56 points)
7. Rich (47 points)
8. Meg (39 points)
9. Andy (33 points)
10. Bill (24 points)
11. Patrick (12 points)
12. Thomas (0 points)

PAX Americana or, The 2011 Harvest Moon: Better Late Than Never

September 25th, 2011 by Kate

Picture stolen from Ben, because my camera's busted.

First off, I’m a little late getting the recap out this time, so sorry about that. I’ve been adjusting to the new job and the new schedule that comes with it, and as a result, the write-up fell by the wayside. Now, a week later, it’s time to look back and see if I can remember anything through the fog of time and alcohol. Remind me to get this done faster next time, trying to remember everything a week later is a real pain in the butt.

The weekend’s big story was of course, me beating Paul on Sunday. I’m sure you want to hear every gory detail of my heroic triumph, but be patient, we’ll get to it. First we’ve got to slog through all the boring details of Saturday. And then there was that little PAX shootout thing, but no one cares about PAX anyway, am I right?

Friday afternoon, I was finishing up my first full week at my new job in Silver Spring, and rather than head all the way home to ride with Paul, we decided to drive separately and reconvene up in LaVale. And since driving alone is boring, I invited my sister Elizabeth to come along for the weekend. Because you guys just haven’t had enough chances to be creepy perverts this year.

We were some of the last to arrive at Henny’s, where several of the usual crowd had already been drinking—some for several hours. Between many beers, a few rounds of shots, and pitchers of Harpoon being passed around, the night got a little fuzzy. The group grew raucous, with popcorn (and sour cream) being tossed at one another, and Paul and Rob having their own version of Fight Club. We left before we could wear out our welcome, hopefully tipping well enough to make up for the mess we left for Larissa to clean up.

Saturday started off with a chill, and Paul and I left Elizabeth to enjoy the comforts of the Slumberland and sleep in a little, while the rest of us suckers made our way, cold and hungover, to the airport. In addition to the usual four heats, we would be making a second attempt at the PAX shootout, which was called off at the Sizzler due to inclement weather and technical difficulties. The forty original qualifiers, in addition to CBE loyalist Ron Dotts and the shameless interloper Mike Lane, would use their six runs to try to make the shootout’s top sixteen, which would be run NCAA tournament bracket-style.

As we near the end of a long season, more and more cars have begun to break down, and car swapping becomes a necessity, rather than a leisure activity. With the Suxass down for the count and the Cobra needing a new radiator, all three Morans were in need of loaner cars, and Rob was once again seeking a replacement for the motorless RX8. Mustang Boy was kind enough to allow Mike to be a Mustang Boy, too. Doug opened up the art-car Audi to Jake, and Ben passed his Coupe around, giving Jen and Rob co-drives.

The course was typical Cumberland fare, but with an extra tight opening half. In the WRX, second gear wouldn’t be necessary until after the first turnaround at the terminal end. Meg and I were up in the first heat. Heading out on course on cold tires proved to be an exercise in ice skating. Meg finished with a 51.247, good for 50th in PAX. I had a messy morning, taking out three cones (thank goodness for Rob—but more on that later) en route to my best time of a 48.818. There is something to be said for running in the first group though. Thanks to Jim Harris spinning out on his first run, I managed to hold set and hold onto Fastest Time of the Day into the second passes of the heat. It was nice while it lasted.

In the second heat, Joseph laid down a 45.832 in his Mustang, and in the process snagged himself a spot in the shootout. Paul was up in the third, and using the tires I heated for him, he put down a 44.783, securing the top spot in PAX and the top seed in the shootout (you’re welcome). The fourth heat featured the majority of Team Zip-Tie members. Rich squeaked by my time with a 48.774, good enough for 5th in BSP. Doug ran a 47.884, which couldn’t quite beat Jake’s time in the Audi. Mike showed Joe why it’s a terrible idea to loan out your car, beating Mustang Boy with a 45.357, also landing himself a spot in the shootout. And then there was Rob. Jen and Ben had already taken their turns in the Coupe, running a 46.090 and 45.686, respectively. As he grew more used to the car and began to drive in a more Rob-like fashion, Rob also had a very Rob-like spin, rotating the Coupe a full one and a half turns before coming to a stop down at the Trooper Five end of the course. He finished third in the Coupe with a 46.467, and an impressive six cones, handily taking the cone award for the day.

When the day was over, three members of Team Zip-Tie made the cut for the shootout—Paul in the WRX, and Mike and Joe both in the Mustang. Unfortunately, Joe fell to Mike Lane, but Mike Moran used the Mustang to play spoiler, taking down higher seeds Wade and Fred, before losing out to Paul in a Team Zip-Tie semi-final. The final featured Paul versus Mike Lane in his BSP 350Z. Paul ran first, and laid down his fastest time of the day. Perhaps Mike Lane felt the pressure, or maybe he was trying to drive through the red mist, but he coned on the back half of the course, and rather than get a time, aborted the run and took the loss. Paul survived all challengers to be named King of the Hill, and now we have a lovely Lucite trophy sitting on our bookcase, and our cost for autocrossing at CBE next year is cut in half. For his part, Mike Lane earned the honor of taking home the Connecting Rod of Shame.

After relieving our coolers of their beers in the paddocks, we departed from the airport. Rather than attend the picnic, Paul, Elizabeth, and I, along with Mike and Jen, Joe, Larry and Ben, went out on the town, having dinner at D’Atris in LaVale. Then we retreated to our motel rooms to clean off the grime of the day before heading back to Henny’s. Saturday evening was, as usual, a much more subdued affair. We bought Larissa a shot to apologize for creating such a mess the night before, and Andy came straight from a wedding, looking downright dapper in his formal wear. Paul and Ben, not to be outdone by a tuxedo, decided to introduce some class to the evening and ordered martinis from bartender Mike—who makes a damn good dirty martini, by the way.

Team Zip-Tie: We clean up nicely.

Sunday morning saw the field decrease further to 53 cars, so we ran an abbreviated day with combined heats. The course was for the most part similar to Saturday’s version, with a more open kink through the middle of the course. Today our car-hoppers found themselves in new rides. Rob joined Andy in the Hyundai Stinkbug, and Paul took Gary Hughes up on an alcohol-induced offer to co-drive his Corvette. With a spot open in our car, Mike Moran co-drove the WRX.

Paul came down hard from the high of winning the PAX shootout on Saturday. He never quite got used to Gary’s Vette, and finished the day with a 54.769. Running in the same heat, but in a car I’m far more familiar with, I ran a 54.686. While this is the first time I’ve ever bested Paul’s time, I will admit it feels a little cheap. The real victory will come when (ok, if) I beat Paul when we’re both driving the same car. It was a real banner day for me, as I not only topped Paul in time, but took the cone award back from Rob, hitting a Zip-Tie high three on the day. Meg’s 58.887 wasn’t enough to beat the Banes in their CS Miata, and Rich was 6th in BSP with a 54 flat. After kicking out his co-driver, Joe was able to top ESP with a 52.122. But Joe’s gain was my loss, as Mike Moran crushed my time with a 50.417, handily taking the DS class win. In the Stinkbug’s inaugural Cumberland race, Andy was able to hold off his co-driver, running a 52.479 to Rob’s 52.994.

The condensed format allowed us to change tires and get on the road quickly. Elizabeth and I headed out in the Fit, passing brothers Herb and Sandy Smith and their trailers along the way. We honked and waved, but I don’t think they had a clue who those strange girls in the Honda were. Thanks to light traffic and heavy speeding, I made good time, even with the detour in Silver Spring to drop Elizabeth off before making my way home.

We’re getting down to the wire now, folks. All that’s left is the Pumpkin Carve before the long, cold winter begins. Many questions still remain though. Who will take home the coveted Team Zip-Tie Cup? What addition will we see added to the trophy for this year’s winner? Will I three-peat the Cone Award, or will Rob take home the not-so-coveted “Slow Children” road cone? Stay tuned, all will be revealed in October!


Saturday (77 Entrants)
12 – Paul (1st in PAX)
11 – Mike (16th in PAX)
10 – Joe (18th in PAX)
9 – Kate (30th in PAX)
8 – Doug (34th in PAX)
7 – Rich (41st in PAX)
6 + 2 – Rob (43rd in PAX – Cone Award Winner with 6 cones)
5 – Meg (50th in PAX)

Sunday (53 Entrants)
12 – Mike (1st in PAX)
11 – Joe (15th in PAX)
10 + 2 – Kate (20th in PAX – Cone Award Co-winner with 3 cones)
9 – Andy (23rd in PAX)
8 – Rich (29th in PAX)
7 – Rob (30th in PAX)
6 – Paul (36th in PAX)
5 – Meg (44th in PAX)

Current Team Standings
1. Mike (107 points)
2. Paul (101 points)
3. Rob (97 points)
4. Joe (93 points)
5. Kate (75 points)
6. Doug (68 points)
7. Meg (52 points)
8. Rich (47 points)
9. Andy (33 points)
10. Bill (18 points)
11. Patrick (12 points)
12. Thomas (0 points)

With only one day left to score points, the totals are close, but don’t forget, we still have the four lowest scores dropped.