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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Driver Shawn Emmons races his 2018 Mustang GT 350 around a coned off track during a Sports Car Club of America points event held in the parking lot of IPFW on Sunday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Driver Raymond Spencer takes a corner on the track in his 2006 Corvette during a Sports Car Club of America points event held in the parking lot of IPFW on Sunday.  

  • Walt Royer navigates his 1969 Camaro Z28 around the course Sunday. The next Fort Wayne SCCA event will be May 20 at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Driver Aaron Gribben races his 1968 Camaro around a coned off track during a Sports Car Club of America points event held in the parking lot of IPFW on Sunday.  

  • Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Michelle Rietdorf, a Fort Wayne Region Sports Car Club of America official, awaits the signal to allow John Yentes to test his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on the IPFW course Sunday.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Drivers await their turn to take laps around the parking lot during a Sports Car Club of America points event held in the parking lot of IPFW on Sunday.  

Monday, April 30, 2018 1:00 am

Racing around IPFW parking lot

Drivers 'do it for the rush'

Autocross event draws nearly 100 participants

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Nobody was faster at IPFW on Sunday than Chris Giant – at least that's how it seemed to his 4-year-old son.

The 35-year-old zipped his Toyota across a parking lot-turned-racecourse as part of the Fort Wayne Region Sports Car Club of America's 2018 autocross season opener.

The season continues May 20 with an event at Memorial Coliseum benefiting Shepherd's House.

Sunday's event attracted nearly 100 drivers, which was “exceptionally good for this location,” said Donovan Miner, a club officer.

Any licensed driver could participate with any car as long as it was safe, Miner said. Vehicles ranged from the sporty – such as Ford Mustangs – to the not-so-sporty, including a Chevrolet HHR.

Miner brought his “daily driver,” a BMW.

“I do it for the rush, the adrenaline,” Miner said.

Outlined in orange traffic cones, the course in Lot 4 featured turns and straightaways that could be completed in less than a minute.

“It's amazing they can set up a track in a parking lot,” said first-time attendee Laurie Giant, Chris Giant's mother.

Spectators watched from blankets and lawn chairs, and some used a nearby parking garage to get a bird's-eye view.

At 2 years old, Tyler Rietdorf was among the youngest attendees, there to watch his mother, said Mike Wronski. He supervised the toddler as Michelle Rietdorf joined the lineup.

“Want to wave to mommy?” Wronski asked the boy.

Like others on the sidelines, Laurie Giant recorded the racing. To her untrained eye, she said, her son did well for his first time.

Chris Giant, who has always liked cars, was inspired to try autocross after seeing a previous event at Memorial Coliseum, he said. He added that he also “learned quite a bit” Saturday during a class targeted to novice drivers. Lessons included car control basics and driving sessions with instructors.

The preparation didn't prevent him from getting a two-second penalty, however.

“I hit one cone,” Chris Giant said.

His son had another perspective.

“Was (I) the fastest?” Chris Giant asked Gabe.

“Yeah,” the boy said.

asloboda@jg.net