Being a car guy in Southern California provides many opportunities for outdoor activities, and Huntington Beach racer, Chad Ryker, makes the most of the near-perfect weather.
With his Hedman-equipped Camaro, Chad autocrosses as much as he can. –In the SCCA, Optima’s Ultimate Street Car Series, NMCA West, or just practice days to improve his driving skills or dial in the car’s setup. In fact, he raced in 25 events in 2016, and 22 events this year. Taking into consideration that there were multi-day events, Chad, spent more than a full month racing each year! How awesome is that?
Chad, who became a proud new papa late this year, attended his first track day back in 2009. This year, he brought his wife and one-week old daughter to an NMCA Autocross event at Auto Club Speedway. His family only attends a handful of events during the year, so he was excited to have his wife and newborn join him at the track during one of the events.
Chad’s ’68 Camaro is loaded. Long Tube Hedman Husler LS Swap Headers support a transplanted 427 cubic inch GM LS3 built by Mast Motorsports. A Tremec T-56 transmission, TCI Engineering suspension and Ride Tech coil overs smoothly plant the red Pro-Touring Chevy on the ground. Traction is provided by a set of Falken Tires, and stopping the beast is handled by Wilwood disc brakes all around.
“…it’s all about the social setting where we go to have fun with friends in a super-safe environment”
Chad says of his racing career, “Being a champion takes lots of seat time especially as I didn’t start with any natural talent. I’ve taken advantage of every practice day to become a better driver, and I try to focus more on me as a driver than making lots of changes to the car.” He added, “I want to be as competitive as the next person, but it’s all about the social setting where we go to have fun with friends in a super-safe environment.”
This has been a busy year for Chad and his Camaro. They were part of the 2017 SEMA Alley Optima Cup display (at the 2017 SEMA Show), before competing in the Optima Challenge at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and finishing the 2017 season fourth in the GTV class. In addition to an NMCA West Championship (which we’ll cover shortly) and solid USCA finish this season, Chad also won the SCCA CAM Challenge West in San Diego, and the SCCA Pro Solo at California Speedway in Fontana, CA.
A HUGE congratulations to, Chad, as he is the “freshly minted” 2017 NMCA West Classic Muscle Class Season Champion. In addition to winning the final event of the 2017 season, he also took home the highly-contested Hotchkis Cup for the crowded, NMCA West’s Classic Muscle Class. The Hotchkis Cup is a season long battle, and it is awarded to the driver with the quickest combined lap times after all laps from all of the events are tabulated. There are four, 2-day events in the season, and competitors come from as far away as Colorado and Utah to win some hardware. With the recent change in the NMCA West Series’ format for 2018 season, however, the series, which previously included full weekend events that included 1/4 mile drag racing and autocross simultaneous, will focus solely on autocross beginning with the 2018 season. While not confirmed, rumors have been circulating that the series may expand to include more than four events in 2018. With sellout car (and truck) counts of at least 70 vehicles each event, this will certainly make a lot of autocross racers happy –If rumors turn out to be true.
The kicker to this whole story is, Chad drives his Camaro to all of the events. His Camaro is no trailer queen. Whether he’s running Las Vegas, Fontana, San Diego, Camarillo or other event, Chad drives the car there and back.
With the 2017 racing season in the books, Chad is taking a little time off to enjoy the holidays, then it is back to honing his skills and prepping his ride for the 2018 season. Good luck, Chad! For a taste of Chad’s passion for classic muscle, racing, and a complete rundown of his Camaro, visit his e-zine autoxandtrack.com