28th Sep2018

This is The End: A Farewell to RMR

by Michael Chandler

It’s always weird when an institution closes.  Be it the neighborhood restaurant, or a store you’ve been going to all your life, or the school you and your friends and all your older siblings went to, it never feels quite right when a place like that closes.  The same can be said for Rocky Mountain Raceways, which held its last Midnight Drags and Salt City Drift event last weekend.  What makes this weirder for me is I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Well… had.  I hated that it was always such a production to get in to.  Getting my wristband was never an issue.  Jordan or OP always made sure I was on the volunteer list for the drift events, and the ladies in the ticket office were always easy to work with.  It was everyone else that made it a pain.  Actually, it was pretty much just the people at the paddock gate.  It was always fun having them tell me to go to tech, even though I told them several times that I wasn’t drag racing.  Or them stopping me at the gate, and holding me there while other drivers went in, and keeping me there until they were good and ready to let me in.  Such good, infuriating times that made me wish for the coming destruction to come sooner.


But once I got in, it was a different story.  Inside is where all my friends would be.  Old friends, new friends, friends who don’t quite know my name but know who I am.  And they’d be everywhere: stands, drift paddock, and in the drag paddock.  I would see guys I haven’t seen since the Utah Hondas days.  It was great!  I loved seeing everyone, and RMR was the place.  But now it’s counting down its final days, and I’m getting sad thinking about it.

And it’s sad on a whole other level, because there is an epidemic of small ovals and drag strips across the country being torn down.  The reasons are many, but the result is the same: a link to a bygone era of racing heritage and history is being demolished.  Racing legends like Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Tony Stewart, Al Unser (Big and Little), Alan Kulwicki, and so many more got their starts on tracks like RMR.  With them still standing, we could get a glimpse into the early stages of the careers of these giants.  But now we’ve got stories told by the people themselves on another free podcast.  It’s like seeing your childhood home torn down, or the first place you ever worked becoming a parking lot: you’ll always have the memories, but something is still missing.

There’s a poem by Jim Harrison called “Larson’s Holstein Bull”.  It’s my favorite poem, but that’s not saying too much because I don’t know a lot of poetry.  I think it’s fitting in this instance.

Death waits inside us for a door to open.
Death is patient as a dead cat.
Death is a doorknob made of flesh.
Death is that angelic farm girl
gored by the bull on her way home
from school, crossing the pasture
for a shortcut. In the seventh grade
she couldn’t read or write. She wasn’t a virgin.
She was “simpleminded,” we all said.
It was May, a time of lilacs and shooting stars.
She’s lived in my memory for sixty years.
Death steals everything except our stories.

That last line has always stuck with me, because it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever heard.  Places will close, and become something else.  Buildings will be torn down, and new ones built in their place.  People will leave us, as quickly as they joined us sometimes.  Things will change, but we’ll always be able to look back on what was.  For better or worse, we’ll always have the memories and the stories.  And for the time being, we’ll have the people.

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11th Jul2018

Porsche 964: That One Time I Met My Hero

by Gavin Pouquette

 

When I was 9 my father purchased a 1989 Porsche Carrera 4. It was Linen-on-Grey, and my family called her “Luna” due to the ever-changing color of the paint in different light. To little Gavin, nothing could be cooler. The car came with a bumper-installed radar detection system, It literally had lights popping out of the dash for the radar! It had an aftermarket exhaust that made the car roar, rather than howl as 911s normally sound. It’s safe to say that this car really made an impression on me as a child. My dad and I would drive it on boys trips down to Moab and play golf. He and my mom would go on dinner dates in the car, and he would kill time before dinner just going on a drive in the evening light of the summertime.

This 964 911 had such an influence in my life that, with a saved up allowance, I got myself a subscription to Car and Driver. I would bring the latest issues to school, read articles during my lunch just to learn as much as I could about new cars. This 964 would be the leading proponent in me falling in love with cars. We had the car for two years, but sold it to get my mom a new car: a 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT.

They say never meet your heroes, but I got the chance to do meet mine.  Did it live up to the hype? Was it everything I ever hoped it’d be? I mean, 15 or so years of pent-up feelings can only fester and put the car on a fairly high podium. After having experienced all the cars I have over the last 5 years of filming and photographing them, then eventually getting into driving them….. Yes. The car was exactly what I was expecting.

A howling flat-6 that produces ~250hp that revs to 7,000 rpm and a suspension geometry that is quite frankly, rudimentary by today’s standards. The car is in no way groundbreaking or game-changing in the year 2018. However, after being handed the keys, and hopping into the driver’s seat, it made my inner 9-year old’s dreams finally come true. It felt like jumping into a time machine. It gave me the biggest shit-eating grin on my face that I am still wearing as I write this article.

The noteworthy features of the 964 are as follows: Increased engine size from 3.2 liters to 3.6 liters, the introduction of Anti-Lock Brakes, All-Wheel Drive, and the infamous automatic spoiler (ACTIVE AERO, YO!)

The powerband of the 964 is like any naturally aspirated 911. It’s a completely linear build in power that gives you exactly what you put into it. Very livable and predictable down low through the midrange, and then starts to really pull around 5,000 rpm. All three pedals are floor-hinged and fairly strange to operate if you aren’t accustomed to that sort of feel. On-center steering isn’t exactly tight, but once you load the car up in a corner you receive two fists full of communication with the road and the chassis. Primarily what the rear end is up to, strangely enough. I’m also not talking about hooning a car at 8/10 or 9/10. I’m talking a leisurely 5/10, and just going out for a nice drive. Having driven 996s, 997s and 991s, this car felt much more raw and visceral than its younger cousins. The gear throw isn’t too long or too short. Just the right amount of throw while still feeling nice and notchy.

Some brief history of the specific car that I drove. it was actually a former display car for Porsche of North America. Every time Porsche would debut a new 911, they display all the former cars in a line with the new car on the end. Of those cars that Porsche consistently used on display, this specific 911 would represent the 964 generation. It was used on display until the 997 generation and then was sold to a gentleman in Los Angeles. He daily drove it until Nathan (the current owner) purchased the car late last year. As of now, the car has over 180,000 miles. Which is an interesting coincidence because if you add an enthusiast’s amount of miles to the miles my dad had on his old car, then both cars would be at about the same amount of miles.

The great part of this whole endeavor was that the owner of the 964 also owns a 991.2 Carrera 2S with a Sport Exhaust and a 7-Speed manual gearbox. Being the incredibly gracious gentleman that he is, Nate offered me to drive that car as well. And good lord so much has changed in roughly 30 years of Porsche’s engineering. The 964, constantly wants the rear to come around and play like a puppy, whereas the 991 is so incredibly planted and grounded in the corners, despite being under power from the 3.0 turbo engine. Not to get too carried away here, but the point of this article is not necessarily to compare Porsche’s past and present, however it is worth noting that both cars provide interesting offerings in the company’s lineage. Upon its reveal for the 1989 model year, the 964 introduced legitimate safety features that previous cars never had, while the 991.2 introduces turbocharging for models in the lineup that are not known as the “Turbo”. Both cars push the envelope for the company in their moments in history and for that, I commend Porsche in continuing to push the envelope and look towards to future in improving their driving experience and being the best cars that money can buy.

Porsche. There is no substitute.

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26th May2016

4 Traditions of The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

by Michael Chandler

SEMA 2014 Tuesday CAMautoMag.com-20

On Sunday we will have something unprecedented in motorsport: the one hundredth running of a single race.  At 10:19 AM, the green flag will drop for the one hundredth running of the Indianapolis 500.  NASCAR doesn’t have a race approaching it’s hundredth running, nor does Formula 1, Rallying, or anything else.  This is truly the greatest spectacle in racing.  In the 105 years since the first race, some traditions have come.  Interesting traditions.  Here are four traditions, and how they came to be.

“Back Home Again In Indiana”

Before the race, and fairly consistently since 1972, Jim Nabors has sang “Back Home Again In Indiana”.  Forty-four years is a long time for Gomer to be belting out that song, and he’s only missed out on a few 500’s.  But he definitely wasn’t the first to sing it to the crowd.

There are a few reports that indicate that the song was played in 1919 by a brass band as Howdy Wilcox won the race.  Back then it was simply titled “Indiana”, and was maybe the first time the song was played at the speedway.

The first time it was played before a race was in 1946, by James Melton and the Purdue University band.  Melton was a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera Company, and also a car collector.  He provided several cars for the race-morning lap of classic cars.  He and the band performed 45 minutes before the race, and it went over well.  Really well.  So well in fact that he was invited back the following two years.

Eventually the performance was moved up to it’s current slot, and it hasn’t moved.

Balloons Before the Start

If you watch the race, you’ll notice thatballoons are released  as “Back Home Again In Indiana” ends.  Festive!  The balloons will rise for the sixty-ninth time this year, and all because someone listened to their mother.

There weren’t any races held from 1942 until 1945, due to the second World War.  This lack of racing, and general attention, meant that the track fell into disrepair.  In November of 1945, a business man from Terre Haute, IN bought the track for the princely sum of $750,000.  That man was Tony Hulman, and his family still owns the track to this day.  He bought it at the urging of Wilbur Shaw, winner of three of the previous five 500 mile races.  After the track was Hulman’s, he named Wilbur as president and GM of the track.

Before the 1947 race, Tony’s mother Grace suggested that they release some balloons before the drop of the green flag.  And the tradition stuck.  In 1950 they moved the balloon release to the end of “Back Home Again In Indiana”, and it’s been that way ever since.

SEMA 2013 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (87 of 160)

The Trophy and The Milk

1936 saw the beginning of two of the longest standing traditions: it saw the debut of the Borg-Warner Trophy, and it was the first time someone drank milk in Victory Lane.  The fellow who drank the milk and won the trophy was Louis Meyer.

See, Louis Meyer (winner of three Indianapolis 500’s) had this odd habit.  On hot days he’d drink buttermilk to refresh himself.  And since Memorial Day tends to be hot, Louis cracked open a bottle as he pulled into Victory Lane.  A news photographer snapped a photo of him drinking the milk.  An executive at the Milk Foundation saw this, and was elated!  MILK HAS HIT THE BIG TIME!  He vowed that there would be milk for the winner of the race from then on.  And so it was… until the war started.  And then from 1947 until 1955, milk wasn’t an option.  It cam back in 1936, and has stayed.  Now on to the trophy Louis received.

The Borg-Warner Trophy was made by Spaulding-Gorham of Chicago, and was unveiled at a dinner in New York in February of 1936.  The Sterling Silver trophy features a bas-relief sculpture of every winner of the race.  This continued until 1986, when they ran out of space on the trophy.  Fitting this happened on the 50th anniversary of the trophy.  The powers that be added a base to the trophy, which provided enough space through 2004.  And when that was filled, they replaced it with an even larger base!  A base that’ll have enough space for every winner until 2034.

All of the faces on the trophy are of race winners, and they’re all done in silver.  All of the faces, except one.  In 1987 the face of Tony Hulman was added in gold.

And there you have it, four traditions surrounding the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.  I’ll be watching the race on Sunday, like I do every Memorial Day Weekend.  Watching the race is my tradition, and has been for decades.  Hopefully you’ll be watching this historic running, and hopefully this becomes one of your traditions as well.

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th May2016

The Importance of Being a Fan

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah2016  Round 1 working on the write up Michael Chandler CAMautoMag  -3

I’m genuinely excited about cars.  All cars.  Race cars, show cars, stance cars, drift cars, crazy ass hyper cars, and seemingly mundane, but still fun economy cars.  And I hope that excitement is coming through, because if I saw this like I do my day job, the coverage wouldn’t be as good, the features wouldn’t be what they are, the opinions would be super mild, and this site probably would have folded long ago.

Salt City Drift July 18 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-8

If I wasn’t a fan, I wouldn’t sacrifice time with my girlfriend, friends and family to come out and bring you guys photos and stories from all of the events I get to.  I wouldn’t have that dedication, I’d just sit at home and binge watch all the things on Netflix and Amazon, and maybe have a better golf game and more stuff to talk about with the general public.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-11

It was this from this fire, this passion, this fandom, that all of the CAM goodness has risen.  Honestly, we all have something we’re fans of.  Be it a TV show or a book or a movie franchise, we’ve all got that one thing that, when we speak, we get this look in our eye and we perk up.  For me, for us, it’s cars.  And I hope that that comes through in all of the stuff we put out there.  Being a fan, being genuinely excited about cars, and racing, and everything car related, is a huge reason why we are the way we are, and this site is this site.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th Feb2016

Goodbye Scion

by Michael Chandler

Tuner Scion xB

Toyota finally axed Scion, the brand that was supposed to be youth oriented, but ended up selling to the same people who normally buy Toyotas.  It’s sad that this news came after the success of the FRS and the introduction of the iA, which is basically a Mazda2 with an extra set of doors.  We can sit around and complain, pitch ideas of what could have been done, and/or point and laugh; OR, we could remember the good times.  Good times like Nik Preusser’s first xB.

Fredric Asabo Scion TC Formula D

Or Fredric Aasbo’s tC

WERC endurance race 2015 MMP Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-69

Or the FRS we saw at last year’s WERC 6 Hour race.  Let’s remember the good times people, and rejoice that the Scion lineup is getting shoehorned into Toyota’s.

29th May2015

Give Me the Works: Lancia Delta HF Integrale

by Michael Chandler

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-9

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

So, sometime last week CAM turned 5.  Yes!  We’ve been plugging away at this for five years.  Going to track days, meets, SEMA, all sorts of places to show you cool cars and events and people.  In those five years we’ve seen some exceptionally cool things, but more often than not we see some mind blowingly cool things in our own backyard.  Things like a Lancia Delta HF Integrale running about in one of the HPDE groups at the last NASA Utah weekend.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

The Delta was Lancia’s last Group B WRC monster.  It featured an insane twin charged, two liter, four cylinder engine.  It was the peak of rallying insanity!  This isn’t one of those, BUT it is a former “works” car.  The 16 valve engine produced 200 horsepower, and sent the car to 62mph in five and a half seconds.  Five and a half seconds doesn’t seem fast today, but that was faster than an E30 M3 and a half second behind a 911 Turbo of the day.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-3

This belongs to a fellow also named Mike.  He, like myself, is also from the Chicago area so we hit it off quickly.  He told me that this is one of two former works cars in the country, and that its sister car competes in hill climbs and ran the Tail of the Dragon.  Hopefully this car will follow in its sister car’s footsteps (tire marks?) and get into some classic rallies and hill climbs.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-8

These cars are legal for import now, but you may want to think twice before having one shoved into a container.  Lancias were never really known for being rust proof.  In fact, about a third of all Lancias made in the late 80’s and early 90’s have completely rusted away*.  Also, these being performance vehicles they have probably been beat on.  Pretty hard.  And finally, while people in the States have been messing around with engines like the RB series and SR’s, not a lot of people have been messing with Lancia mills over here.  Something to think about, because you don’t want to find yourself 1500 miles away from the nearest mechanic when you start hearing a ticking noise.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-2 Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-7

All that said, I’d bring one over in a heart beat.  Just look at it!  It’s a four door hatchback, but it’s so much better looking than a four door Golf.  The wide fenders and bulged hood don’t seem like tacked on after thoughts, they look like they were always meant to be there.  They have a purpose, but not to the point where it’s sacrificing aesthetics.  It’s definitely a child of the 80’s, but unlike an IROC Camaro it hasn’t become associated with the cheesiness of the decade.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF Works CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-5

I could throw all the usual cliches a writer uses when describing an Italian car, but I’m not going to.  But I will leave you with a question: if you could bring over a former race car, what would it be?  It has to comply with our current import laws (that draconian 25 year crap), but besides that it can be any former race car.

 

06th Feb2014

Genuflection: C4 Corvette

by Trent

C4 Corvette

Genuflection:
gen·u·flec·tion
/ˌdʒɛnyʊˈflɛkʃən/ [jen-yoo-flek-shuhn]
–noun
an act of bending the knee or touching it to the ground in reverence or worship.

I may catch some flack for this one, but it’s another car I truly did love growing up. It’s a car our late friend Johnny even had for a period of time.

I’ll set the tone. I was young and impressionable, easily distracted by loud, shiny things. Well, a red, loud, shiny thing just happened to be on my walk home from elementary school each day. From as young as I can remember walking home from school in the early 90’s, there was a house that beheld a Red C4 Corvette in the garage. Many times the garage would be open as I walked past. Occasionally, I’d get to hear it burble to life and drive off down the winding residential road. This late-model C4 was more refined to my eye than the early-model cars and more desirable.

It struck a chord in my young mind that this car was cool. Never mind the owner who was graying, it still made the right noises and looked the part. This was before critically thinking about soft-touch interior panels and high gas prices. It was a car and a motor. Before everyone cared about what brand of wheels they rocked and air vs. static. It was pure, innocent fun without hatred or bias. Simple, but the short list of things I wanted in a car at that age were all there.

I was fortunate enough to visit the Corvette Museum a couple years ago and rekindle my Corvette flame. And despite the rear end that still bothers me a little, a C7 Corvette is something I wouldn’t turn down. Chances are, I will never own a C4 Corvette, not because I don’t respect them anymore, but because I am often fighting for space in my garage and driveway as-is. However, in the early 90’s, my heart wanted a red Ferrari, a red Lamborghini, and a red Corvette. For now, a red Viper will suffice. More on that another time.

-Trent Bray

[Source: Genuflection: genuflection. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genuflection]

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

31st Aug2011

Genuflection: Hot Wheels

by Michael Chandler

Genuflection:
gen·u·flec·tion
/ˌdʒɛnyʊˈflɛkʃən/ [jen-yoo-flek-shuhn]
–noun
an act of bending the knee or touching it to the ground in reverence or worship. (more…)

23rd Aug2011

Genuflection: Acura NSX

by Trent

Modified Acura NSX
Genuflection:
gen·u·flec·tion
/ˌdʒɛnyʊˈflɛkʃən/ [jen-yoo-flek-shuhn]
–noun
an act of bending the knee or touching it to the ground in reverence or worship.

I was looking back on cars that I adored growing up, and some stuck out more than others. I thought of the Twin Turbo Triplets(300ZX,Supra,3000GT VR4), and although one of them influenced me more than the others(more on that another time), a Naturally Aspirated car stuck out in my mind as a car I lusted after more than those. Despite this car’s shortcomings, I still lust after it today, the one and only Acura NSX.

The NSX at the time set the world on fire and gave credence to Acura having some credibility in the sports car market, and in my opinion, set the stage for the 94-01 Acura Integra to become a sporty FWD icon. It had 270HP which at the time was a big deal from an N/A motor and an aspirational 8,000RPM redline!

Thoughts of a red one of these parked in my driveway were racing through my mind. Unfortunately Honda let the NSX languish and didn’t give it the proper updates it deserved, much like the fate of the S2000. And even with rumors of a new NSX surfacing every few months, none will capture the glory quite like the original NSX. One day I will own one of these cars.

-Trent Bray

[Source: Genuflection: genuflection. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genuflection]

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

Off
05th Apr2011

Genuflection: The Renaissance

by Mustangjohnny

 

1983 Toyota Celica Supra. Farragut, TN 11-13-2010 17:32hrs
Genuflection:
gen·u·flec·tion
/ˌdʒɛnyʊˈflɛkʃən/ [jen-yoo-flek-shuhn]
–noun
an act of bending the knee or touching it to the ground in reverence or worship.

 

For me, “Genuflection” means more than just looking back and reflecting on something great from the past, but looking back and reflecting on something great from the past that still has the mystique it did so many years ago. These are cars that have stood the test of time. For most of these cars, I will drift back into what I like to call, “My Renaissance”. (more…)

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