29th Oct2013

SEMA Show 2013 Coverage

by Trent

SEMA 2013 Bisimoto Porsche

This year SEMA went big. It was the biggest I have seen the show since 2004. Normally a bridge connects the Central and South Halls, this year, at least 50 booths had to be walked through and the bridge was bypassed. What else was big this year? Over-fenders, big wings, FR-S/BRZ twins, and the C7 Corvette. I was honestly surprised at how many C7’s I saw considering how new the vehicle is, but this is SEMA and anything goes.

SEMA 2013 BMW 328i

Some of our photographers still have their photos trickling in, but there is a gallery below for your to feast your eyes on of the wonderment that is the SEMA Show.

Photos by Trent Bray, Michael Chandler, Tommy Ratsapasith, Nick Cherpeski, and Joey Harrington.


25th Oct2013

A Racing Tribute

by Michael Chandler

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At NASA Utah Round 6, Jason Smith qualified and raced in the late Roger Miller’s SCCA World Challenge BOSS Mustang 302S.  It was a fitting tribute for Jason, who without the help of Roger and a few others wouldn’t have the career he has, to race his friend’s car one last time.

I emailed the busy man with a few questions, and after a twenty hour day that included prepping the Discount Tire/Innovative Garage FR500S Mustang for the season ending endurance race (October 26 at Miller Motorsports Park), he got back to me.

CAM: How did the opportunity to drive Roger’s car come about?  Did you put the idea out there, or did someone approach you with it?

Jason Smith: Cheri (Roger’s wife) and I have had been talking about the possibility of me driving Roger’s World Challenge car for a couple weeks before the race. She wanted to make sure it was acceptable to the rest of the family. After getting the go ahead from them, Cheri called the Wednesday before the NASA race. As I sat there on the phone in the shop listening to her on the phone, give me permission to race her late husbands race car, my eyes teared up. Such a HUGE honor for me. I was beyond stoked for this.

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CAM: What was going through your head when you were in the car, waiting to go out for your sessions?  Were you nervous at all, or did you treat it as you would any other day?

JS: I didn’t want to put to much wear on the car, so I only went out to qualify and for the race itself. I sat there waiting to go out for qualifying, which was pretty much business as usual. Being an instructor in the Ford Racing School I am lucky enough to be on track 2-3 times a week in a mustang. So no big deal. I went out and and turned a few laps, felt out the setup and came back in to the garage. Qualified P5 overall and like 3rd in class.

I don’t think it hit me until I was gridding up for the race. Cheri, Richard and Harly (two of Rogers children) came up and started taking pictures. Cheri stuck her head in the car and said. “I’m proud of you and Roger would be too.” Again my eyes teared up and the weight of driving (more importantly, not wrecking) Roger’s pro car, fell on me. I thought to myself over and over “DON’T SCREW UP!!” I was nervous as we followed the pace car out on track. I was nervous as I warmed the tires on our parade lap. I was nervous as we started to grid up for the rolling start. I was nervous UNTIL……I watched the green flag wave and every gnarly v8 surrounding me roar simultaneously. Adrenaline, confidence and instinct took over. Nervousness was gone.

CAM: You had a good battle with Bob, you ended up in P1 in class and took home racer of the day/hard charger/racer of the world.  You’re no stranger to winning or battling people on track, but did it feel different doing it in that car?

JS: YES! Very different. I’ve had winning races, losing races and races where I just should have stayed home. As soon as the green flag dropped, things just went good. At the exit of turn 1, I had picked up 3 spots and went to P2 overall. I had gotten a decent start and passed a car in the breaking zone of turn 1, another by the apex and was side by side with Bob Evans in his Nascar Cup Car from apex off. Seemed about 8 laps of insane battle with Bob before he finally bested me as we caught lap traffic. I did everything I could to keep him behind me, without putting Rogers car at risk. We had a close, CLEAN battle. Such awesome racing, I was happy to be involved in the entire experience. And the fact that it all happened in Rogers car, with his family watching, made the entire experience that much more gangster.

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CAM: Roger meant a lot to those of us involved with NASA.  What was your relationship like with him?

JS: I considered him a great friend. I would call him for advice on business, computer stuff and racing. He would call me and ask my thoughts on his personal race car, NASA and different race teams he was working with. He took interest in my career, helped out where he could. Roger, along with a few other key managers at Miller Motorsports Park, are the reason I’m able to work in this industry. It’s rare to meet a guy as busy as he was, that would still take the time to talk to you. With everything that dude had going on he was ALWAYS willing to lend a hand. Iv’e always admired that about him and tried to pattern myself the same way.

The whole weekend meant so much to me. I want to thank Cheri, the Miller family and the MMP staff for everything they have done for me so far. I greatly appreciate their support and allowing me to be a part of such a rad facility.

Miss you sir.

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler.
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
21st Oct2013

Ferraris in a Parking Lot

by Michael Chandler

random car show-7

This was… a year or so ago I guess.  I never really caught any details of this, but it was some Ferraris in the parking lot of an Italian restaurant.  The lot was blocked off to traffic, but there were plenty of people wandering through.  So, naturally, I wandered with them.

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And it wasn’t just Ferraris hanging out.  Someone brought out a Ford GT and an old Pontiac GTO rolled in as well.

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After unsuccessfully talking to the people there I left.  I still have no idea what this was about, or if it’s ever happening again, but it was cool to randomly stumble across it.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Oct2013

Reader’s Ride: Randy Reed’s v7 WRX STi

by Michael Chandler

Randy Reed v7 WRX-4

We’ve known for years that the home markets for certain manufacturers have been getting far cooler things than we get here in the land of freedom and bald eagles and deep fried bacon.  But what if you, between pieces of said bacon, decided you wanted one of those not available rides?  For a while, you did nothing but deep fry more bacon and be content with what you had.  Randy Reed of Greensboro, NC did not do that.  He wanted a bug-eye STi, so he made one.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-1

He slapped a JDM v7 front end on, and a front lip as well.  The headlights were upgraded with a Morimoto projector HID kit, so as to see better.  ChargeSpeed air ducts replaced the fog lights and a pair of carbon fiber STi side markers were popped in.  The 4.5″ carbon fiber hood scoop brings in much more air and the occasional bird.  Out back a wingless trunk from a 2.5RS was painted matte black, fitted with a STi badge, then installed.  Keeping flying debris in check are a set of Rally Armor mudflaps.

Ahead of those mudflaps are a set of 18×10 Rota SVNs wrapped in Nexen rubber.  Well, most of the time they’re there.  With winter approaching Randy picked up a set of Enkei Evo 6s.  Yes, they have winter in North Carolina.  Yeah, I was surprised too!

The suspension and brakes on this bug-eye are pretty straightforward: ISC N1 coilovers with camber plates and STi brakes and hubs.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-3

Inside is pretty simple as well.  Full USDM STi interior, JDM floor mats, SPT boost gauge and a Blitz turbo timer.  He sticker bombed the dash insert around the stereo, and he chucked the OEM head unit for a pop out unit with a 7″ screen.  When he’s not changing radio stations, he’s changing gears via the short throw shifter toped by a Blox neochrome shift knob.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-2

And now on to the good stuff!  Here is the V7 STi motor, sitting comfortably in it’s natural habitat.  For those unfamiliar, it’s a 2 liter motor with forged internals from the factory and a bigger turbo.  In this case it’s a VF30 to go with the bigger top mount intercooler.  Getting fuel to this home market masterpiece are a set of 750cc injectors.  Getting the exhaust gasses away from the motor are a 4″ bellmouth down pipe feeding into a DC Sports exhaust.  Sitting almost out of sight is a Grimmspeed 3 port boost solenoid.  The car received an open source tune via a Tactrix setup and put down a very healthy 307whp and 300lb/ft.

Making that power useful is the drivetrain, which received its fair share of upgrades.  A USDM six speed transmission pulled from a 2005 STi was fitted with the two liter starter and works like a dream.  A Clutch Masters stage 2 competition clutch and an Exedy lightweight flywheel were thrown into the mix for added driving pleasure.  Because a transmission swap in a Subaru isn’t as straightforward as it seems, the axles have been swapped out for a set from The Driveshaft Shop and a R-180 rear end had to be installed as well.

Randy Reed’s STi sits as a testament to what a motivated man can do when he wants something you can’t just run out and buy.

Want to see your car on here?  Send us some decent photos and a list of the modifications and we’ll get something going!

Words by Michael Chandler, Photos by Randy Reed.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

16th Oct2013

NASA Utah Round 6

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah round 7-80

Nationals were only a month behind them when the Miller locals returned to the west track for Round 6 of the NASA Utah season.  It was also three weeks before the season ending endurance race.  That led to some of your favorites taking the weekend off.  They still came out to instruct HPDE and hang out, but their chariots were still.

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But that doesn’t mean the track was empty.  Cole Powelson was out in RaceCo’s new Porsche, Todd Ainsworth was out in his STi in ST2, George Smith hustled his flying banana C5 Corvette to a win in the Super Unlimited class and first place overall in the race, and Park got a few runs in in his Vette as well.

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Oh, and Jason Smith raced Roger Miller’s World Challenge Mustang.  More on this humbling experience in a later post…

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STR1 went to Bob Evans in the Snickers, EA Sports Ford Fusion.  He battled with Jason for a good chunk of the race, but he left him behind when they encountered traffic.  Passing Jason got him into second overall.

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Again the Spec Miata/GTS guys were out with the bigger, faster guys.  While Jason and Bob had a good battle going, there was a dog fight happening at the front of the herd of Miatas.

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Todd Green and Mike Ferrara were never out of the other’s sight the whole race!  They might as well have tied their cars together, thats how close they were.  After an epic battle, Mike emerged the victor.  They might not be as fast as the open wheel or ST cars, but they fight just as hard if not harder than those other classes.

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Speaking of open wheel, the shorter track kept them closer than usual.  There weren’t any dirt drops or wheel touching, a la the Japanese GP, but the closeness brought action.

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This is Dave Wann.  He ran a 1:49.75, and did the best pirouette of the day.  Kudos to you Dave, kudos.

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I see you race a Z32.  I too like to live dangerously.  And if I remember right this either placed or won TTC.  You don’t see a lot of Z32 300ZX’s out on track days, which is a shame because, as our friend here is demonstrating, they can do some serious work.  They’re also such handsome vehicles.

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You don’t see too many Z cars out in general, at least out on our little ribbon of tarmac.  370z’s are pricey, and S30s are gorgeous and more people would rather do them up and then take them to shows instead of the track.  Hopefully seeing that Datsun go will bring a few more out.

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Here are some random photos from the HPDE session.  Nothing too crazy to report, just some guys getting in some supervised laps.  Anyway, thats what happened in a rather light day.  We’ll be out there for the season ending endurance race on the 26th, and we’ll do a photo dump ahead of that.  We’ll see you there!

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Words and Photos by Michael Chandler.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Oct2013

ERRMAHGERD! Facebook Photo Dump

by Michael Chandler

derp miata PHOTO DUMP

 

Three new Facebook albums with some stuff you haven’t seen!

NASA Nationals where we found our cross-eyed friend here.

Drift Utah Round 6  No barrier was safe

JDM Legends First Thursday Meet  Everything old is cool again

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

03rd Oct2013

JDM Legends First Thursday Meet

by Michael Chandler

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On the first Thursday of the good weather months, JDM Legends opens their doors for a little open house.  It’s a chance to chat up fellow enthusiasts, make terrible offers to Eric (that Silvia has a CA, it’s totally worth the next to nothing I could come up with!) and gawk at the tons of awesome that roll in to and out of the shop.  Last month Joey and myself hopped in the Subaru and made the trip over.

 

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Lots of Skylines were on display, from a four door GTR (#102 built and lovingly maintained Nissan in Japan) to the Kenmeri that buzzes around and even an R31 GTS with its awesome little electronic chin spoiler.  Brody brought down his R32 GTR and his DR30 GTS.  He left the R32 GTS-T at home.  Let’s all take a moment to be jealous of his stable…  Done?  Ok, moving on.

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Early S13’s are available for importation.  You can be the first kid on your block to roll in a legitimate Silvia, complete with a CA18DET!  You can take your JZx and LS swaps and punt them, and ditch all that KA-T stuff.  THIS is awesome.  Here’s proof.  This might be the best $12k you can spend on an S13.

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This lovely Celica GTV has since moved on to a new home, but she got to enjoy one last moment being fawned over at the shop.

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Some of the cars that are driven to the meet are just as good as the fare JDM Legends has up for sale.  An immaculate second generation Celica Supra, looking as clean as it did when it rolled off the showroom floor.  A KA24DE swapped S12 200SX.  The swap was so clean three of us had to check the vin plate to make sure it was in fact swapped.  A gorgeous, red S30 was at the edge of the parking lot, but still managed to draw a crowd.  And the Datsun 620 pickup has always been an awesome little truck.  They don’t need a lot to look cool.

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This little orange Bluebird was pretty awesome, sitting properly on a set of Panasports, but then I noticed the mirrors are a set of GT Napoleon pieces!  These are getting harder to find, so seeing a set on something was a real treat.

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Keep checking the JDM Legends Facebook page for updates on these little shindigs, and to see photos of the Prince Skyline GTB they took to the Japanese Classic Car Show this past weekend!

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.