Cruise autocross event well received

SALEM – For a first time event, Dominic Righetti said Sunday’s autocross at Walmart during the 8th Salem Super Cruise went “really smooth and really well.”

Righetti, who will be a senior this year, and his father, Mark, proposed the idea of an autocross and followed through.

Sunday’s event drew an entry of 16 cars ranging from Cooper Minis to an S-2000 Honda, a Pontiac Vibe, a Honda Insight Hybrid to an El Camino and to a late 1990s Camaro.

Entrants were required to bring a Snell-approved helmet, wear seat belts and vehicles had to meet a technical inspection.

The event was sanctioned by the Northern Ohio Valley chapter of the Sports Car Club of America, Righetti said and the .33-mile course was designed by SCCA Regional Executive Joe McMullen.

Each entrant made at least six runs over the course that changed Walmart’s west parking lot into a tight 17-turn challenge that took about three passes to get used to, said Righetti, who drove his own 2005, 3.5-liter Dodge Magnum, while his dad drove a 2004 Chrysler 300.

One observer, after watching several drivers wash-out and miss turns on their first attempts pointed out it was a complex course.

Orange safety cones were the only markers guiding drivers around the course.

“By the fourth run you could really feel confident and really start to get going,” Righetti said, adding that “at the very beginning a lot of drivers got lost trying to figure it out.”

The first elapsed times were in the 54- to 53-second range for many, he said but as drivers, including at least two women sharing a Mini, started figuring it out the times dropped.

Righetti said there was one driving instructor with a slightly modified Honda S-2000 had the quickest time by the end of the day at 46.9 seconds.

“The majority were around 52 or 53 seconds,” he said.

If they signed the same event waiver that drivers did, passengers were allowed to ride along.

Righetti said at least one bystander, after watching, signed up and went out with a driver.

He’s hopeful of seeing the event return for the 9th Salem Super Cruise with a “bigger turnout.”

Righetti’s is aiming for friendly rivalries and “seeing people really get into it and enjoy it.”

From what he could tell, “everyone had a lot of fun,” he said, adding he wanted to hold another event this year and he had some other ideas to explore.