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Farmington Business Owner Wins First AxIS Shoot-Out



Dean Cusano drove his special 1984 Jaguar XJS to victory in the First Annual Wells Fargo Advisors Presents the Lime Rock Park Autocross Invitational Shoot-out (AxIS) Saturday, November 16, beating 17 other drivers to take the inaugural championship.  

Cusano’s fastest lap was a :38.333 (seconds), nipping John Rickermann and his 2007 Honda Civic Si’s :39.281. Third place went to a 2009 Audi R8 driven by Adam Totter, who lapped the autocross in :39.791.

AxIS 4a
Cusano's lightweight 1984 Jag -- about 205 h.p. from the six-banger -- cresting the Uphill of the full autocross course. Photos (more below) by Rick Roso

Drivers qualified for the Shoot-out by posting one of the 20-fastest lap times of the year during one of the 10 Open-Enrollment Autocross Days that were scheduled in 2013 at Lime Rock Park. Each autocross day ended with a timed lapping session of Lime Rock’s 4/10s-mile full autocross course. These 20 fastest drivers at the end of the season were invited to Saturday’s AxIS.

Following two hours of open practice, each entrant took to the track for a warm-up lap, followed by three timed hot laps. The fastest of those three laps determined the placing.

Cusano, 55, from Farmington, Conn., and owner of Motorcars Incorporated, a Jaguar restoration outfit based in Plainfield, said, “Lime Rock is my heaven, I’ve been coming here since I was a teen. Winning the Shoot-out – especially the first one, because this is too cool of a thing to do just once – is very, very satisfying.”

Wells Fargo Advisor’s Chris Benjamin awarded the trophies and prizes and said, “This is why we all like Lime Rock so much, which does fun, exciting things like this for its fans. Watch out, I may enter my Jeep Wrangler into AxIS II!”

The cars in the Shoot-out ranged from a 22-year-old, 100 h.p. Mazda Miata and Cusano’s 205 h.p. Jag to Mitsubishis and Subarus – even a 2013 BMW X1 SUV.

Between the first Open Autocross Day in March to the finale in October, more than 250 people enrolled in Lime Rock’s exclusive driving program.  The days are open to any licensed driver and car, and the cost is $225. Driving coaches are available for feedback and instruction at each day. The 2014 schedule of Lime Rock Open-Enrollment Autocross Days will be published in December.

Final Standings
2013 Wells Fargo Advisors Presents the Lime Rock Park Autocross Invitational Shoot-out (AxIS)
Fin., Best lap (sec), Driver, Town, Car
1. 38.333, Dean Cusano, Farmington, Conn., 1984 Jaguar XJS
2. 39.281, John Rickermann, Burlington, Conn., 2007 Honda Civic Si
3. 39.791, Adam Totter, Massapequa, N.Y., 2009 Audi R8
4. 39.914, Erik Carlson, Newington, Conn., 2008 Ford Mustang GT
5. 39.919, Ryan King, Florence, Mass., 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder
6. 40.493, Timothy Copp, Danbury, Conn., 2006 Honda S2000
7. 40.563, Jose Vergara, Chappaqua, N.Y., 2012 VW Golf R
8. 40.574, Stefan Jackson, Thomaston, Conn., 2010 Mitsubishi Evo
9. 40.599, Shawn Quint, Thomaston, Conn., 2011 Subaru WRX STi
10. 40.802, Gordy Wagner, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., 1998 BMW M3
11. 40.812, Steve Constable, Hyde Park, N.Y., 2005 BMW M3
12. 40.914, Fred Messore, Orange, Conn., 2013 Porsche Boxster S
13. 40.996, John Isaacs, Orange, Conn., 1990 Porsche 911
14. 41.182, Eric LaCore, Bethel, Conn., 2006 Mazda Miata 
15. 41.274, Paul Norman, Middleborough, Mass., 2005 MazdaSpeed MX-5 Miata 
16. 41.676, Ray Hartford, Suffield, Conn., 1991 Mazda Miata
17. 42.070, Mike Doyle, Irvine, Mass., 2007 Saleen Mustang
18. 42.659, Chris Araujo, West Stockbridge, Mass., 2013 BMW X1

- Rick Roso
More photos below

AxIS 2
Pre-race drivers meeting



AxIS 5

AxIS 6
Third place went to Adam Totter and his R8

AxIS 7

AxIS 12

AxIS 3

AxIS 11
John Rickermann snagged a decisive P2 in his Civic Si

AxIS 8

AxIS 10
Cusano crests the autocross Uphill

AxIS 9
Left to right: Chris Benjamin, Wells Fargo Advisors; AxIS winner Dean Cusano; Lead Coach Dean DiGiacomo; Driver Coach Roger Cote

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