Despite SportCar’s insinuations that D-Street Ladies (DSL) “may or not be interesting” without the likes of hot shoes Laura Campbell (Laura ran ESPL) or Jordan Towns (ran DS Open) in class, the five ladies seemed to have other plans. The battle between these women really showcased their dedication to the competition, their comradery, and most importantly having fun.
With the temperatures in the upper 80s with high humidity, the ladies set off on Day 1 (Thursday) to take stage. As the runs progressed, it seemed that ladies were pushing hard each at every single run. As Jessica Pao in the beautifully wrapped FRSport.com sponsored WRX wrapped up her runs in the more technical west lot course, she led with a sizeable 0.948 second lead over 2nd spot Kristen Acharya driving a 2015 WRX sponsored by C2 Motorsport/Cusco/YAWSPORT/Winmax/HG Motorsports/FRSport. Jodi Bedell in the 2008 Cooper S was not going to be left out as she rounded up the podium. Kristen Solano sponsored by TMT Enterprises, had a hard time finding a clean run out on the West course resulting in the 4th spot, with Kellyn Bricker out of Minden, NV wrapped up the DSL drives. With Acharya being the last driver on grid, all eyes were on her to see if she could get closer to Pao’s commanding 9 tenths gap. As she drove through the lights, she had a 69.047 to Pao’s 69.693, which resulted in a 0.646 advantage going into Day 2.
As the ladies congregated at Impound we found out some interesting details about these drivers. Pao had driven the FRSport WRX very few times before jumping in to grid for the National Competition. We also found out that this was Bricker’s third autocross event ever and first event in the car. Her goal was to try and not get lost or “not hit anything”, so she kept a calm, collected approach to the venue improving each and run. Talk about jumping off into the deep end!
After a pretty violent downpour in heat 5 on Day 1, the temperature dropped dramatically to the mid 50’s in the morning on Day 2 (Friday). The East Lot was considered by all as the “fast course” and with the storm now passed, it was time for the ladies to really put the hammer down.
The “hammer” was definitely put down indeed as Jessica Pao finished her first run with a 59.295 jumping into the lead of DSL. This was the fastest run in the group by almost another 9 tenths compared to Acharya’s 2 runs and over 2 seconds faster than podium finisher Bedell. Pao who had now removed her deficit and gained about a 4 tenths advantage over Acharya was looking to take home the championship.
Before her final run, Acharya faced a dreaded delayed start due to a mod-car having stalled out on course. This resulted in almost a 15 minute delay before Kristen was able to head back onto course. As the field watched Kristen navigate the final section, the car looked much faster than the previous two runs. The clocks confirmed that that was indeed the case: Kristen stopped the clocks with a 59.440, resulting in a total win of 0.471 between the two days.
2015 D-Street Ladies Finishing Order:
- 1st: Kristen Acharya
- 2nd: Jessica Pao
- 3rd: Jodi Bedell
- 4th: Kristen Solano
- 5th: Kellyn Bricker
The 2015 race season was Kristen’s extended exposure to the Nationals Circuit.
- San Diego National Tour: Finished 4th in D-Street Open.
- El Toro Pro Solo: 3rd in L2 at the El Toro Pro Solo being bested by Shelly Monfort, and Meredith Brown.
In the Ladies Challenge at El Toro she was bested by Christine Grice and Shelly Monfort finishing 3rd
- Crow’s Landing Pro Solo: 7th overall finish in L2
- 2015 SCCA National Championships: D-Street Ladies Champion
After catching up with her Kristen would like to focus on dialing in her driving with the WRX. “There was a lot of time left out there and it’s time to try new some new techniques and approaches,” she said referring to the time set forth by other DS drivers in the open class. With the focus set for Nationals for 2016, Kristen also wants to venture out and try some track day driving with her BRZ just for fun, potentially taking part in some 86-Cup races.
The Acharya WRX is also sponsored in part by these great companies.