04th Apr2016

Check Out Lone Star Drift This Year

by Michael Chandler

Now you should always support your local, grassroots series and drivers and sponsors.  They’re the ones who are keeping the fires burning at home, getting the kids involved, and proving that you don’t need a crazy 2JZ or LSx to get wild.  HOWEVER, there is one series we should all pay attention to: Lone Star Drift.  Why?  Because they’re doing some very interesting things.  They have their Street Legal series, which has rules such as:

  • Cars must be full interior, or within 90% of it.
  • Hydro e brakes are not recommended for the series, it is recommended you make your stock e brake setup work.  A well maintained cable e brake setup works fantastic in most cars, and is cheaper than a Hydro.
  • 240sx may have any generation SR20DET that came in JDM models or KA24 motors in the USDM models.  KA24 motors are allowed stock SR20DET injectors and turbo to be installed.
  • IS300 and SC300 may have JDM market 1JZ motors

An affordable series that makes drivers be better drivers, instead of just throwing money at a chassis?  Madness!  Oh, and it gets better.  They ditched qualifying.  Yes, to run in the Lone Star Drift series you don’t have to go through the traditional qualifying system.  What are they doing instead?  They’re implementing elements of the Dejager system that’s being used in Vicdrift in Australia.  Have no idea what any of what I just typed means?  They explain it better than I can, they even have a video to help!

In my opinion, everything they’ve done is awesome.  I think other people should take a look into some of these things, especially the Street Legal series.  I’ve seen a lot of people get buried in builds they think they need to do just to go slide, because sometimes the only exposure to drifting they’ve had has been Formula D.  And as far as the Dejager system goes: getting people who are on the same skill level competing with each other, instead of having the have’s kick in the heads of the have not’s will breed better competitors.

Keep an eye on Texas, they might be on to a few things.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
23rd Mar2016

We’re Going To Try Something Again

by Michael Chandler

WERC endurance race 2015 MMP Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-111

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

As you’ve seen, we can convey the story from a race day or show reasonably well.  We can tell you who won, how fast they went, and maybe give you a little insight on what these guys and gals go through during race day, and the days (and even weeks) leading up to an event.  What we can’t tell you are some of the stories that brought the drivers, shop owners and other personalities into our lives.

You know that Matt Guiver, Todds Ainsworth and Green, and Alex Whetman split seat time in the Paul Mitchell Miata, but do you know how they formed up like Voltron?  Or how they even got into racing in the first place?  Did you know that, before Lyfe Motorsport came to be, Cole Powelson worked at the now defunct Race Co.  Did you know that I used to drive by his house when I was delivering pizzas years ago?  Did you know that Steven Costello restores Formula 1 cars, and has a pretty interesting history relating to Formula 1?  Do you want to know these things, and other things about other people?  Well, we’re going to try and help you out if you answered yes…

We’re bringing back the podcast.  Yeah, we had a podcast, but nobody seemed to enjoy it and producing them was a chore.  This time it will be different!  First off, there won’t be any video accompanying it.  You don’t have to stare at the awkward staff!  Secondly,they’ll be coming out once a month.  I want these, and the rest of the posts you see on the site to be great.  I need time to make them so, hence the once a month schedule.  Could they come out more frequently in the future?  We’ll see, but for now: once a month.  And finally: these are going to be fairly laid back.  There are things I want to know, but I’m not going to force anything because I want them to tell their stories.

This is an entirely new endeavor for me, and hopefully it’ll be something you enjoy.  I’m excited to get going on this, and I hope you’re excited to hear some stories from some of these folks.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
01st Mar2016

The Golden Age of the Automobile

by Trent

Bugatti Chiron

These may be some fighting words, but we are in the golden age of the automobile. Just yesterday, the Bugatti Chiron was announced and most of us don’t really care because it’s far beyond our means. I understand that, but there was one thing that really stood out to me, the speedo. It goes to 500…really! FIVE HUNDRED kilometers per hour! Though it’s top speed is limited to a mere 423km/h or 261 mph, that is still insane to the point where you’d never expect a production vehicle this side of Hennessey to ever reach that number when I first started driving.

That was only 14 years ago, and airbags back then basically came in two flavors(front and side). Now they have airbags in your seatbelts and Volvo, the crazy Swedes that they are, is even toying with airbags on the outside of the vehicle. We live in an age where if your new car doesn’t do 0-60 in under 4 seconds, it doesn’t get a second mention. Do you know how much work you have to do to get a 93 Civic to do 0-60 in 4 seconds?

Yes cars are becoming increasingly complicated, and heavier, but I can do 0-60 in 5.8 seconds while getting 31 mpg in a large sedan like the Lexus ES350 and yet it will feel as though I’m gliding on Ashley Furniture’s latest and greatest sofa.

If you think I’m wrong, and many of you may feel that way, look toward the future. How many RWD platforms are still being developed? Look at the movement towards autotonomous cars where you have no driving inputs at all. We’re killing the auto industry every day and these next 10-15 years will be the last hurrah with the safest, quickest vehicles on the road before we give up our ability to purchase a fun vehicle to our Prius-loving, hipster overlords. Just as we are doing now looking back to the 90’s and 80’s and saying, “They don’t make them like they used to”, we’ll be doing the same to this generation of cars before long.

Trent Bray

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

09th Feb2016

Let’s Rate the Automaker’s Super Bowl Commercials

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

A healthy chunk of us watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, and some of us watched for the commercials.  I watched because it involved going to a place where there was awesome brisket and hominy dip, but that’s neither here nor there.  Since this is an auto enthusiast website, let’s not discuss the game but instead talk about some commercials!  Specifically the commercials from the auto manufacturers.  This year we had commercials from Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Mini, Buick, Toyota, Audi, and FCA.  What were each of these manufacturers pushing, and who (or what) did they get to push whatever it is? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER!  And then let’s rate them on a scale from 1-10.  Sound good? Great!

Full Disclosure: I missed the first quarter, and was far more concerned with wolfing down food than with what was going on on the screen.  With the exception of Kia, Mini and Honda, this is the first time I’m seeing these commercials.

Let’s start with


They’re pushing the new Optima with Christopher Walken and sock puppets!  OOO, look how shiny and not like any other mid-sized sedan it is!  Except it kinda looks like a Camry, and that interior doesn’t look THAT amazing.  But I do appreciate the dig they’re taking at everyone else.  Buying a mid-sized sedan is a lot like choosing socks: you just pick something that won’t stand out, and go on about your day.  Some options are more boring than others, but at the end of the day we’re talking about socks.  The things that keep your feet warm and dry, and comfortable in your shoes.  They don’t need to be flashy, and wacky sock guy isn’t a great guy to be.  I EXPRESS MY PERSONALITY THROUGH MY SOCKS!  ZABOW!!!  Please don’t be that guy, or be that guy and let me hurl grapefruits at you.  Either or.

And was anyone else hoping Christopher Walken was going to break out his monologue from Pulp Fiction?  It wouldn’t have been nearly as marketable, but it would’ve been the best commercial in twenty-years.

Score: 6.5


They had four ads this year!

In the first one, titled The Chase, a pair of hikers (a guy and a gal) are being chased through the woods by two Grizzly Bears.  Thinking quickly, the guy speaks into his smart watch, and the 2017 Elantra fires up.  They hop in, and escape the bears.  Hooray!  But then the bears are given some dialogue, and I am suddenly overcome by the desire to burn whoever green lit that idea at the stake.  Why do I want to revive the practice usually reserved for witches?  You saw the vegan joke, right?  I rest my case.

The second ad is titled Ryanville, and features two ladies driving down a suburban street where every man they see is noted Canadian Ryan Reynolds.  He’s riding a bike.  He’s giving and receiving a traffic ticket.  He’s an entire construction crew.  He’s playing five on five football with nine other Ryan Reynoldses, one of whom seems way too aggressive for this being a simple pick up game.  I believe this to be the “evil” clone.

The women swoon and gawk, and damn near hit Ryan Reynolds the dog walker.  Thankfully for them (the world at large really), their Elantra has whatever they’re calling their collision avoidance and automatic braking system.  The world will have more Deadpool appearances, which makes this a much better world to live in.

First Date: Kevin Hart’s daughter goes on a date with a boy who may have nefarious intentions.  Kevin is reasonably concerned, so he let’s them take his Genesis 5.0.  The Genesis is equipped with Car Finder, which he uses to stalk the couple.  He’s at the movie they go to, he’s hiding in a pile of stuffed animals at the midway on the pier, and he shows up on a ladder hanging underneath what looks like an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Their final spot was titled Better, and revolves around a boy who has a seemingly unique birth defect (condition? abnormality?): he has a V8 that produces a blue light protruding from his chest.  We see him go from baby, to toddler, to elementary school (where he knows how many moons Saturn has and can play Galaga like a pro), to high school (where he ignores his friend and talks to some attractive female classmates), to college (where he burns the midnight oil in the library), to post collegiate life (where he enjoys fitness and helping the elderly).  And then we see where he works, and who he works with.  The where appears to be a Hyundai design studio, and the who are other people with THE SAME ENGINE THING ON THEIR CHESTS!  Turns out that the engine is a metaphor.  “Better is the engine that drives us,” says Paul Rudd, who did the voice over work in all of the Hyundai spots.  We then see the intrepid lad looking at a concept vehicle that he penned.  Is Hyundai better than they were before?  Definitely.  Are they better than most of their competitors?  Well, they’re better than enough of them to remain a relevant player.

Score: 7. Blame the bears and the engines, praise Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.


In the third quarter is where America was introduced to the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, which looks like an Odyssey that had everything behind the C-pillar cut off and replaced with a truck bed.  In this ad we have a farmer transporting sheep, a handful at a time, to a pasture for grazing.  We can hear Queen’s Somebody to Love playing from the truck as the farmer unloads what has to be his twentieth load of sheep.  He drives off, and the sheep start singing the classic song.  They stop when the farmer, and three more sheep, return.  And it’s here that we find out why the sheep are singing Queen: because of the truck bed audio system that’s an option on the new Ridgeline!  I can understand how this could be a useful feature, but I’m not 100% sure I get how it went from a note in a focus group to a thing that you can get on your truck.  Anyway, the farmer drives away and the sheep begin singing again.  Then we see the truck in front of a barn, and hear a voice over talking about the truck bed audio.  The camera slides over to reveal that the farmer’s dog is delivering the lines.  After seeing this ad, I noticed the four dogs running around the room.  I felt a sudden wave of melancholy wash over me, and I went back for more brisket and chicken nuggets.

Score: 6.  Any other song, and this would’ve been scored much lower.


Acura was pushing the 2017 NSX, something they’ve been doing for four years now.  Instead of having Jerry Seinfeld, noted Porsche fan, trying to get the first NSX (something he didn’t do in the 2012 ad, and something he didn’t do this year), they released a 30 second version of a longer commercial they released a week before!  They show the car going from a block of aluminum to a car via all the processed that are necessary to go from block of aluminum to car, with Runnin With The Devil playing in the background.  While not a bad commercial, this is another one of the many odd steps Acura has taken during this whole NSX gestation period.  Why undercut your Super Bowl commercial by releasing the minute long version a week before the game?  I demand answers!

*pounds fist on table*

*Funko POP figures fall down*

OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!!!!

Score: 7 for the extended cut, 4 for this version.  Seriously…


Several celebrities (take that with a grain of salt) hurl labels at the Minis.  Tony Hawk, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson, T Pain, Serena Williams, a little girl, Michael Whinnet, some racing drivers, and Harvey Keitel are all here to tell you that people who defy labels define themselves.  And they also want you to buy a Mini Clubman, which I’m gonna go ahead and say don’t.  For $29,000 there are better options, ones that don’t include a pillar running through the middle of your rear window.

By the way, does anyone remember Harvey Keitel driving an NSX in Pulp Fiction?  Why can’t HE be pushing the NSX?  Why, of all things, the Mini Clubman?

Score: 7.5. Who are some of these people??


Remember when we thought Buick was going to be cool again?  While we have the Regal GS, we have to take things like the Cascada to get it.  Is it a shorter Murano Cross Cabrio?  A taller VW Eos?  Whatever it is, it’s at a wedding and it’s criminally under vandalized.  Seriously, who are these guests and why isn’t that thing filled with balloons, tissue paper, and other random crap?  *annoyed grunt*

Since it’s a wedding, there HAS to be a bouquet toss.  The bride throws the bouquet over the assembled women vying for the flowers, and one recreates an O’Dell Beckham Jr. catch.  The bystanders remark on how Beckham Jr. like her catch was, then OBJ himself says that she was out of bounds.  Adorably hilarious.  Where’s that Avista sport coupe?  MAKE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE!

Score: 5.5.  Could’ve been worse, could’ve been a lot better though.


NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!  The only exciting Prii are not even really Prii.  The entire time this commercial was playing, I was imagining running those idiots off the road.  The day America falls in love from some bumbling idiots, running aimlessly from the cops in a Prius, is the day the fiery gates of Hell open up, and fire and brimstone fall from the sky and finish ruining our shit.

Score: Words cannot express how much I hate this commercial.


New R8?  Good.  Bowie’s Starman in the background? Amazing.  A son using said R8 to reignite his former astronaut father’s interest in life?

This was the best commercial from the auto makers for this Super Bowl.  I felt all of the feels.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA kept it all about Jeep, and it’s 75 year anniversary.  The first one talks about all the things Jeeps have done in those 75 years, and the other talks about all the things they currently do because they’re Jeeps.  No model in particular, just Jeep.  These two fall short, especially when compared to the three stellar commercials to come out of the FCA camp in years past.

Score: 8.  Not great compared to their previous entries, but stellar compared to most of the other ones.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Feb2016

The International Races You Should Watch This Year

by Michael Chandler

CAM goes to COTA 5 19 13 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-37

I got some complaints after the last list of races you should watch was posted. “Where’s Le Mans?” “What, no Formula 1?!” Well you can stop complaining, because here’s the list of international* races you should watch!  All times are MST

Australian V8 Super Cars

It’s been described as Australian NASCAR.  They’re not entirely wrong, think if a NASCAR Sprint Cup Car had a glorious one night stand with a British Touring Car Championship Civic Type-R.  The love child would be an Australian V8 Super Car: raw power, functional doors, and zero problems with contact.  We had the opportunity to see the series’ lone American race, and it was insane.  They have a lot of races on the calendar, but here are three you should watch:

Darwin Triple Crown, May 20-22: Darwin has a massive front straight, with top speeds over 165mph.  Then the drag race is over, because turn 1 is a tight left hander that spits the drivers into the twisty back half of the track.  Did I mention that it’s hot at the track the whole weekend?  Oh, and there are three races instead of two.  Yeah, every V8SC race is a double header.

Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, October 6-9: Mount Panorama, like Sarth and the Nurburgring, is a public road.  However, there are homes and businesses on the track.  It also hosts two of the craziest races in the world: the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and the Super Cheapauto Bathurst 1000.  The latter is a 1000km (620 mile) race, in V8 Super Cars, on a track that has all sorts of dangers including random kangaroos jumping onto the track.  Chaz Mostert had a monster wreck last year, and their always seems to be a big one every year.  This is the longest single race of the year, and it’s worth watching every second of it.

Coates Hire Sydney 500, November 25-27: It’s the last race of the year.  Every driver on every team battles every second of the race.  Races. All three of them.  Yup, it’s another triple header.  And they do it on the streets.  Yes, the final race of the V8 Super Cars season is a fight on the streets of Sydney.

How to watch: If you feel like spending money you can subscribe to SuperView, the series’ streaming service.  I can’t tell you a price right now, because they haven’t started selling subscriptions yet.  If that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always something on Livestream.  Seriously, the last few years I’ve watched plenty of races on it with the only hiccups coming from my patchy wifi.  We’ll definitely post a link for Bathurst, so we can all watch together.

One Offs

So, there are some races that don’t really fit into any particular series, which is why I’m giving you a few to watch

Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, February 7:  Actually the action will get going Friday at 6:30PM for us.  Thanks time zones and datelines! A long endurance race on a ridiculous track in a country where all the flora and fauna wants to kill you??  SIGN US UP!!!  With an international field featuring cars ranging from full on GT3 cars, Porsche GT3 Cup cars, and even RWD V8 powered Ford Foci and Mazda 3’s!  And guess what!  Watching this thing is stupid easy!  They conveniently provide a link for those of us not in Australia.  And I’m providing it to you: http://bathurst12hour.com.au/stream-int

ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race, May 28-29: I was going to tell you to watch the WEC race at the Nurburgring, but that’s only on the GP circuit.  This bad boy takes place on the GP circuit AND the Nordschleife.  And it’s only GT cars, and possibly Jim Glickenhaus’s SCG 003.  Which is a sight in its own right.  Tell me you aren’t itching to see a 24 hour race on the Green Hell.  Seeing a pack of cars run through the Karussell, in the middle of the night is making me feel all tingly in inappropriate places.  And you should be feeling the same, unless you’re dead inside.  Last year the race was streamed through the ADAC Zurich YouTube page, which is an interesting place in and of itself.  Go ahead and spend some time there.

Formula 1

No, I didn’t forget about Formula 1.  Truth be told, it’s not my open wheel series of choice, BUT I do recognize that it is an amazing series.  So in keeping with the three race theme, here are the three races I think you should tune into this year.

Monaco Grand Prix, May 29: One of the three legs of the Motorsport Triple Crown, and a classic in every sense of the word.  Run on the streets of Monaco in Monte Carlo since 1929, it has played host to many legendary drives.  Most notably Ayrton Senna’s 1984 rain soaked charge.  In that race he qualified 13th in his Toleman TG184, drove like a mad man, and passed everyone but Alain Prost (his future teammate) in 31 laps.  Thus began a legendary career.  Since then greats  such as Schumacher, Coulthard, Alonso, and Keke’s kid have won the race multiple times.  This year we might be seeing the inter-team rivalry at Mercedes continue, but who knows?  The Silver Arrows can’t be dominant forever.  This race, like all Formula 1 races, are boradcast on the NBC family of networks.  This race, being legendary and all, is on the full peacock: NBC.

Belgian Grand Prix, August 28: You come into the corner downhill, have a sudden change [of direction] at the bottom and then go very steep uphill. From the cockpit, you cannot see the exit and as you come over the crest, you don’t know where you will land. It is a crucial corner for the timed lap, and also in the race, because you have a long uphill straight afterwards where you can lose a lot of time if you make a mistake. But it is also an important corner for the driver’s feeling. It makes a special impression every lap, because you also have a compression in your body as you go through the bottom of the corner. It is very strange – but good fun as well. – Fernando Alonso, describing the Eau Rouge-Radillon combination.

Yeah, and they take it at over 180mph.  Reason enough to watch.  Another reason? The weather can, and will, be different at one end of the track than the other.  It’s a gorgeous track being driven by some of the best drivers in the world.  And Pastor.  This one will be on NBCSN.

Japanese Grand Prix, October 9: Suzuka has been hosting Japan’s F1 race off and on since 1987.  It’s the only Figure 8 track on the F1 calendar, and has been the backdrop for some legendary battles.  The Prost-Senna battles from 1988-1990 determined championships and became the stuff of legend.  It’s also seen its tragedies.  The 2014 race saw the tragic wreck of Jules Bianchi, which led to his untimely passing.  Forza Jules.

The race will be broadcast on NBCSN. And now back to sports car racing!

24H Series

With its inaugural season in 2008, the 24H Series is a newcomer to the sports car world.  As its name implies, it’s long races.  Either 12 or 24 hours, with fields  populated by GT3, GT4, touring, sports and silhouette cars.  The series hosts the first endurance race of the year, Dubai, and spends time at some great tracks across the globe.  Let’s start the tour in jolly old England

Silverstone, April 1-3: 24 hours on April Fool’s Day?  I am in!  And you should be too.  I may or may not have had the Dubai race on at work, via Radio Le Mans, and it was an excellent broadcast.  And as we’ve seen, Silverstone is a fantastic place for a 24 Hour race.  They put all the races on their YouTube page after the checkered flag flies, so you can watch the races whenever you’d like!

Paul Ricard, July 15-17: Back to back endurance races in France?  Why not?  While Circuit Paul Ricard doesn’t include public roads like Circuit del la Sarthe, it does have it’s share of history.  It hosted the French Grand Prix fourteen times between 1971 and 1990, and it’s the track Alain Prost cut his teeth on.  It’s a 3.6 mile track, and like Sarthe it had its monster straight neutered with a chicane.  It’s a very fast and flat track, and should provide plenty of action over the course of the 24 hour race.

Barcelona, September 2-4:  Oh I’m going to tell you to watch a Spanish race, just not the F1 race.  If you’re going to spend time at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, why not spend an entire day?  2.89 miles, 16 turns, elevation changes, ever changing winds that make getting the aero package right insanely difficult (ask Fernando Alonso about the wind) will make this seem like several races in one.  Go fire up Forza and give it a few laps, then tell me you don’t want to see a full field of GT cars running door to door.

World Endurance Championship

“Where’s Le Mans???” IT’S IN HERE! How dare you think I’d forget Le Mans.  And I’ve thrown in a couple of other notable races to book end your WEC viewing experience.

6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, May 7: You should watch all the races at Spa that you possibly can!  The WEC field will be slower than the F1 field, but the fact that this is a six hour race at the beginning of summer will make this a fantastic viewing experience.  Plus you get to see the prototypes from Audi, Porsche and Toyota battle it out while knifing through the GT cars!  It’s going to be quite a sight.  And a sight you can watch via the stream on the WEC website, with commentary from Radio Le Mans!

24 Heures du Mans, June 18-19: Just look at that pretentious spelling!  If this were any other race you’d have every right to punch me the next time you saw me, BUT THIS IS LE MANS!  It deserves to have that ridiculous spelling, because THIS is the crown jewel of endurance racing.  I don’t need to explain the history.  I don’t need to tell you about Ford going  1-2-3 in 1966, of a privateer team in a McLaren F1 GTR (essentially a street car) taking the OVERALL win in 1995, or Mark Webber going ass over tea kettle in a Mercedes-Benz CLR during a practice session in 1998.  There are many great races on this list, but this is THE ONE you should watch.  From beginning to end, from tech inspection to the parade, from practice and qualifying to the race itself.  Watch every second of this you can, tune into Radio Le Mans and listen, if you can jump on plane and watch it live, do it!

6 Hours of Fuji, October 16: The other home of the Japanese Grand Prix!  Unfortunately Fuji hasn’t hosted the race since 2010, but it has hosted the old World Sports Car Championship, D1, JGTC, Super GT, Super Taikyu, and World Endurance Championship.  This is a storied circuit.  It’s where James Hunt and Niki Lauda settled the 1976 Formula 1 Driver’s Championship, and it’s also the site of an ugly incident during a JGTC race in 1998.  Anyway, this track is always interesting.  The first turn is a sharp right hander, coming at the end of a nearly mile long front straightaway.  Watch the race just to see how that is navigated by the field.


And there you have it.  14 more races for you to watch, and enjoy.  We’re not responsible for any strain this puts on your personal or professional relationships, loss of employment, or anything else that might happen because you decide to spend all your time watching great racing.


*”But Michael, there’s a Formula 1 race in Texas!” Yeah, I know.  I also know that it’s subject to being canceled, so it’s not on the list.
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.



25th Jan2016

The Big Races You Should Watch This Year

by Michael Chandler

Photo by Nicholas Cherpeski

This weekend the new Ford GTs will debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which is the first big race of the year*.  Since you’re a fan of racing, you already knew that.  But what if you’re just getting into racing?  Or what if you’re too busy to keep up with the schedules of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge, and whatever other series you want to watch?  Well I’m here to tell you give you an idea as to what to watch, when to watch it, and how to watch it.  Since it’s bearing down on us, let’s start with the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship

IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship

Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 30-31

First run in 1966, the Rolex 24 at Daytona is the longest (and one of the oldest) races on the IMSA calendar.  In that 1966 race (hey! That was 50 years ago!) a Ford GT Mk II took the win.  This year, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing hopes to repeat that historic win.  Except they’ll have more than Ferraris to compete against.  Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL, and Porsche North America join Risi Competitzione and Scuderia Corsa in preventing the Fords from reaching Victory Lane in GTLM.  Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is also fielding two cars in the Prototype class, where they’ll be facing off against Wayne Taylor Racing, Action Express, the factory Mazda effort, and the Panoz DeltaWing.  Ryan Eversley has a drive in one of the BAR1 Motorsport Prototype Challenge Oreca FLM09’s.  And in GT Daytona, local team Magnus Racing hopes to take another class win, but in an Audi R8 LMS GT3.  Also in local news: Madison Snow is driving with Paul Miller Racing in their Lamborghini Huracan GT3.  So now that you know some story lines, here’s how to watch it:

TV coverage starts at noon local (Mountain) on Fox Sports 1, then at 2PM it jumps to Fox Sports 2.  You’ve got six hours to figure out where Fox Sports 2 is, then at 8PM coverages heads to IMSA.com for the overnight shift, then back to Fox Sports 1 at 5AM.  At 8:30 it hops back to Fox Sports 2 (where ever that is.  Seriously, I think it’s something only bars and restaurants can get), then the final stint will be played out on Fox Sports 1 at 11AM.  HOOBOY that’s a lot of hoping around.  Thankfully, you can watch on Fox Sports Go.  All you have to do is sign in through your cable provider.  Radio Le Mans was on the call on the IMSA coverage last year, which was great.  If they’re not, fear not.  They’ll still be covering the whole race, practice, qualifying and even the support series (Continental Tire Sports Car and Ferrari Challenge) starting at 7:15AM on the 28th.  That gets the year started, but there are two more races to watch on the IMSA calendar…

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, March 19

Another historic race in Florida!  Even though it’s half as long, there are still some confusing coverage jumps.  Coverage begins at 8:30AM on Fox Sports 1, and hangs out there for two hours.  At 10:30 it jumps to Fox Sports 2 (just find it on Fox Sports Go), then to IMSA.com at 5PM.  The race will finish on Fox Sports 2, with coverage beginning on that enigma at 8PM.  Frankly, I’d love it if one of you intrepid readers convinced your local bar to switch a TV to the end of the race.  If you do that, please let us know!  Cause that would be amazing.  Again, Radio Le Mans will also be covering the race so if you can’t get it on the TV, or don’t have access to Fox Sports 2, this will be your best bet.

Petit Le Mans, October 1

While there are a ton of other amazing races on the schedule (Lime Rock, Mosport, COTA, Watkins Glen), they’re… well, short.  The Next longest race is Watkins Glen (July 3, with all six hours on Fox Sports 1 starting at 7:30AM), but there’s something about races going into the night that makes them seem more special.  And when one of the races has Le Mans in the title, well it take some precedent.  Thankfully this one doesn’t jump into the abyss and never return.  Coverage starts at 9AM on Fox Sports 1, and jumps to IMSA.com at 10AM.  Two hours later it vanishes into Fox Sports 2, only to return to IMSA.com at 6PM.  Again, Radio Le Mans if you can’t get the video to work.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-122

Pirelli World Challenge

Grand Prix of Long Beach, March 3-6

Sticking with sports cars, we head over to Pirelli World Challenge.  It happens to be my favorite of the two American sports car series because #1 it’s just the GT cars #2 the races are short and #3 every weekend is a double header.  Unfortunately, the TV broadcasts are never the same day, they’re edited down to fit into the time slot so you only get one race, and they’re on CBS Sports Network.  Not as hard to find as Fox Sports 2, but not readily accessible either.  Anyway, watching the field bang through the narrow streets of Long Beach is a riot.  Especially when you get to see it twice.  Long Beach is the second race of the season, after COTA and St. Petersburg respectively.

Now, while I mentioned that the TV broadcasts are always tape delayed, they are live streamed through the World Challenge site.  These races are also more accessible to watch in person, which you really should do if you get the chance.

Road America, June 23-26

Road America is a road course set in Wisconsin, is surrounded by trees, has a bridges that are sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage and Sargento Cheese.  I mean, what more could you ask for?  Oh, yeah.  The massive hill leading up to start/finish, Kink, their massive Carousel turn.  It’s an amazing track to just look at, let alone watch racing on.  Watching the cars roll up the hill for the traditional rolling start that is traditional, adds to the tension.  Fire up the computer, crank up the AC, and enjoy some great racing on one of America’s greatest tracks.

Utah Motorsports Campus, August 12-14

You knew this one was coming.  This will be a welcome event, especially after the tumultuous year that was surrounding Miller Motorsports Park/Utah Motorsports Campus.  Watching the field scream down the front straight, and go hard on the brakes into turn one is an amazing sight.  The cars go through Witchcraft side by side, and don’t go single file until after they pass through the Attitudes.  And, as someone who has seen the grandstands empty, I love seeing the grandstands at Release packed.  Plus turn 1 always gets somebody.  Always.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, October 7-9

While no longer in it’s heyday, Laguna Seca is still an amazing track to watch races on.  I didn’t put the IMSA Laguna race on the list because I feel that this is a better race to watch because it’s only GT cars, and it’s also the final race of the season.  The added weight weight of this being the final race push this ahead of the IMSA race for me.  There’s going to be some interesting interactions through turns ten and eleven, and into turn two.  It’s gonna be a good one.  Speaking of good things at Laguna Seca…

Indy Car

Well, technically Indy Lights are running at Laguna, but the big boys USED TO race in Monterrey.  Amyway, it’s America’s top open wheel series, which means some people will scoff at it because it’s not Formula 1.  To them I ask: have you watched any Indy Car?  It’s pretty good stuff.  Plus it has The Greatest Spectacle In Racing, which is one of the three events you have to win to join Graham Hill as winners of the Triple Crown of Motorsports.  The other two being the Monaco GP and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Here are the three events you should be watch this year.

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, May 29

They’ve run this race in Speedway, Indiana 100 times.  From a rounded rectangle paved with bricks and a pagoda looking race control tower, to still a rounded rectangle with a pagoda looking race control tower BUT with modern paving and a full on road course, which Indy Car will be utilizing two weeks before the 500.  If you win you get a bottle of milk, and your face will be added to the Borg Warner Trophy.   Your visage will be along side the likes of Mario Andretti, the afore mentioned Graham Hill, AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser,big AND little Al Unser, Bobby Rahal, Rick Mears, Emerson Fittipaldi, Arie Luyendyk, Jaques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya (who only needs a win at Le Mans to be the only other person to win the Triple Crown), and Dan Wheldon.  You become a legend.  This is my Memorial Day weekend ritual: watch ALL of the 500 coverage, watch the entire race, and then the post race coverage.  I watched this race when I was a kid with my dad, and he watched it with his dad when he was a kid.  Of all the races on this list, this is the most special.  At least it is to me.  Coverage for the 500 begins at 10AM on ABC.

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, July 31

Mid-Ohio is just ludicrous.  It’s old, first opened in 1962.  It’s been hosting Indy Cars (well, started off hosting CART but that’s another story) since 1990.  And it was ROUGH back then.  Concrete patches on the apexes, old school concrete retaining walls, the kind of stuff that’ll put hair on your chest regardless of gender or age.  In 2006 it was repaved, the concrete was ditched, gravel traps were expanded, and walls were moved.  Last year’s race had seven lead changes, and Graham Rahal won.  Every other year Scott Dixon wins, so he’ll probably do that.  But who knows.  Regadless, it’s a great race to watch.  Coverage for this race begins at 12:37PM (oddly specific) on CNBC.

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, September 18

Another final race of a season!  This is another ridiculous race, because the track is ridiculous.  Go fire up Forza and take some laps of this track in the in car view, without the guide line on.  Tell me how hard turns 2, 3 and 3A are.  Now imagine yourself in the middle of a pack of cars, all of which are driven by people who are trying to score points for the championship.  They’re gonna get stacked up in 2 and 11, and it’s going to be an amazing sight.  Last year there were ten, 10!, lead changes, and Scott Dixon won his second consecutive race at Sonoma.


And there you have it.  Ten races, organized and sanctioned by American series, that’ll get you through the year.  Anything we missed?  Aside from NASCAR?  Feel free to leave us a comment.




09th Apr2015

It’s a Spec New World

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 1 Saturday CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-144

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The Spec Z field is exploding for NASA Utah, Spec Miata is healthy, 944 Spec provides a solid battle every race, and there’s even a Spec E30 class that has yet to be explored.  Spec racing is a hell of a way for people to get into door to door racing, without having to build something crazy.  The blueprint is right there, all you have to do is follow it.

There are probably a ton of more spec series available, but there are plenty that don’t exist.  They probably don’t exist for good reason, but today we’re going to explore the brave frontier!  Buy your supplies, and prepare to lose half the party to Cholera.  WAGONS HO!

Spec S Chassis

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (28 of 56)

Drifting is starting to get ridiculous.  700-900 horsepower?  V8s with ridiculously engineered exhaust collectors?  What happened to welding up the diff in an S13 or S14 and getting wild?  It’s been proven that you don’t need rear mounted radiators, hydraulic e-brakes or sequential gear boxes to slide, but looking at Formula D makes one think otherwise.  I think it’s time to change this.  I’ve kicked this idea around with Dave, and we’ve come up with a rough framework for an amazing new drift series: Spec S Chassis.  An entire field of S13s and S14s, all sporting KA24DEs.  The only modifications you can do internally is a hot cam swap (running an exhaust cam in place of an intake cam), and that’s it.  Welded diffs, basic steering angle mods, and coilovers are all you get suspension wise.  You can run whatever tire you want, granted it is the specified size.  Suddenly it’s not who has the biggest budget and most power, it’s who has the skills to boogie.  It’s still judged, but (and since this exists in the minds of a few) there will be completely different judges than in Formula D.

Now, I know Lone Star Drift is trying a budget minded series this season and that’s fantastic.  The drivers have their chose of chassis and can do some modifications (motor swaps like SRs in 240s and such, and engine cooling is open, and suspension is open but no attachment points can be moved), and all the competitors have to run Kenda tires.  You can still petition to have some modifications let in, but hopefully they’re not too lenient with it.  However, if you really want to see who is the best driver, you’d stick them in identically prepared cars and let them go at it.

Super Pursuit

Crown Vic

Travis over at Jalopnik proposed a Spec Panther series/class, and it has all the required legs to be something.  The Panther platform Fords are in abundance and are cheap, and he laid out the rules.  It’s great, and since he came up with it a square almost two years ago I’m not going to bogart his idea.  I’m going to expand upon it, and take it to ridiculous new heights.  Instead of just seeing Crown Vics, Grand Marquies and Town Cars running around, why not expand it to ALL the common and cheap former police vehicles?  Why not?!

Crown Vics, Chargers, Caprices and Impalas are eligible in this series, and they would have to have some of the basic spec requirements (cage, minimum wieght, spec tires, etc).  These cars wouldn’t be street legal, but neither are Spec Miatas or Zs.  The spotlights would be removed, BUT the cars can run light bars provided they’re attached securely.  And each car would have to be painted, or wrapped, to look like an actual police car.  Not 100%, but at least black and white or similar colors to a local municipality.  Who wouldn’t want to see this?!?

WGT: Wagon Grand Touring

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

We love wagons.  There’s no shame in that, because wagons are awesome. Unfortunately, with the rise of minivans then CUVs, the humble wagon has started to disappear.  Ford, FCA and GM aren’t making any.  BMW and Mercedes do, but finding one is like finding a unicorn.  This pretty much leaves VWs, Subarus, and Volvo.   And this wouldn’t be the first time a Volvo wagon was out racing! Unfortunately, the Touring Brick would be outlawed.

It would be open to four cylinder wagons, naturally aspirated and turbocharged, so no BMW or Meccedes.  The modifications would be more open for the NA cars, and the turbo cars could carry a weight penalty.  Tires would be spec, but different sizes for the NA and turbo cars.  Cages, obviously and fuel cells.  No roof racks, baskets or boxes/pods.  Having these grocery getters running around would open up some interesting new avenues for competition.  Honestly, some Top Gear-esqe shenanigans like a mandatory pit stop to load the car with groceries would add some hilarity.  Or fastest lap with the most cargo.  The possibilities are endless, like a child’s imagination.

So that’s what I’ve come up with.  How about you?  Feel free to add your ideas, tweaks and your own classes in the comments.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Mar2015

The Problem with Meets

by Michael Chandler

EDITORIAL Problem With Meets Michael CHandler CAMautoMag

Words and photos by Michael Chandler


There was a long, long period of time where I didn’t go to many of the local meets or get togethers.  Mostly it was because the usual group of guys I would see at these had moved on to bigger and better things (marriage, children, moving out of a house with 7 dudes sharing 3 bedrooms and into their own house, careers), but it was also because I kept seeing more and more idiots at these meets.

What do I mean by “idiot”? Well take the winners in the picture above for example.  This was at the Utah Japanese Classic Car barbecue.  It was a mellow day, where everyone was just hanging out when suddenly we heard something approaching from over the horizon.  It was the Forester, which sounded like it was in first gear for the sheer sake of being in first gear, with the Impreza in tow.  They pulled in and did a couple of laps against the flow of traffic, in first gear the whole way.  After stopping to hop out and talk to someone who was leaving (which blocked traffic by the way), they took another lap.  Unable to find two parking spots next to each other, and unwilling to be separated, they did douchiest thing I’ve seen this year: they parked behind two cars parked in the handicap stalls and got out.

They parked behind two cars that were parked legally in the handicap stalls.  The intrepid Subaru owners just made their own spots by blocking in two cars, and made their way off to peruse the classic J tin.

Now, I used to own an Integra and I was pretty cool about it for the most part.  I didn’t try and race everything on the road, I didn’t do burnouts or rev my engine at meets, nor did I have any sort of body kit on the car, but people still looked down their nose at me because I was in a Honda.  Why? Because there were plenty of idiots in Hondas who were more than willing to reinforce the “ricer” stereotype.  It’s been many years since I’ve owned my little Integra, but there are still plenty of people who are more than willing to reinforce the stereotypes of old.  Unfortunately they’ve changed their flagship make.

I was in high school when Subaru gave the US its first WRX.  During our senior year Trent (the co-founder of this site) picked himself up a brand new to us all STi.  That was over ten years ago, and now these cars are cheap enough for today’s youth to snatch up.  And they have been in droves.  It pains me to say this, but the Subaru kids are the new Honda kids.  They come to meets and do painfully stupid things, they try and race everything they see, and they’re more than willing to jump on whatever trendy bandwagon that pops up.  And the situation remains the same: for everyone cool owner like David (Gumball WRS) there are hoards of people who want to slam their cars and show off the fact that they spun their $600 coilovers all the way down.

Maybe I’m getting old.  Well, old compared to the latest crop.  I’m pushing 30, and it seems everyone I talk to at these things is 25 and under.  Most of the problem folks look all of 16 to me, but anyone under the age of 20 looks like a 12 year old.  I might be getting old, but I still remember what it’s like to have that first awesome car that has honest to God aftermarket support.  The excitement to install fresh parts and to show them off, but a wise man once said “Discretion is the better part of valor”.  Yes, you’re low and you have an exhaust.  Guess what?  You came to a meet to show off your hard work, or easy work, or the previous owner’s work.  You don’t need to lap the parking lot, just park!  Can’t park next to your friend?  That happens, but I have some terrific news for you: you’re still at the same meet!  It’s not like one of you is in Layton, and the other in Herriman.  Even at the big meets and shows (ISS, Slammed Saturdays) you’re never more than a two minute walk away from your buddy.  And in the case of ISS, if you both paid for spots you’re always within eyesight of each other.

I like going to meets and seeing the new builds from people I’ve never met, and seeing old builds I remember from way back when that have been tucked away for years.  I like talking to people about them, and setting up cruises and get togethers.  I like encouraging people to come out to the track, and at the very least watch a few sessions.  It’s hard though, when you run across people who care about themselves and their friends more than anyone else at the meet.  Meets are wonderful things, it’s a chance for people to get out from behind their computers and see what everyone has been working on, but when you act like an idiot and like you are the center of the meet, you kill it for the rest of us.

TL;DR: Don’t be an idiot, be cool

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
06th Feb2015

Meet Your Heroes

by Michael Chandler


Someone, somewhere once said to never meet your heroes.  They said never meet your heroes because they can never live up to the ideal you’ve built for them in your mind.  I take issue with this.  I had two posters on my wall as a kid: a Lamborghini Countach and Michael Jordan.  From everything I’ve seen and heard, MJ is a hyper-competitive guy who has taken to posterizing old guys at his basketball fantasy camps.  The Countach is impossible to drive, you can’t see out of it, reversing it requires a spotter and someone to stop traffic, and the “creature comforts” leave something to be desired.


One year when I was a kid two things happened: I saw Michael Jordan play and I saw a Countach in person.  The events weren’t related; however, if I saw MJ driving a Countach down my street my little head would’ve exploded.  Why am I telling this rambling story?  Because I met one of my heroes, the Lambo, and it didn’t change how I thought or think about it.  It’s still one of my favorite cars, flaws be damned.  My feelings would probably change if I drove it, but that would be getting to know it and not just meeting it.


The other morning I went to Cars & Coffee because I wanted to shoot photos and clear my head.  At the far end of the parking lot there was this pair of Diablos: a 1997.5 Roadster and a 2000 VT.  These were the stars of the meet, people were coming up and taking photos of and with them, Chad (owner of the green machine) was revving the motor for the children and was answering pretty much every question about the big Italians.  For some of these people, these were/are their hero cars.  And they were loving them.


Did the dog leg gear box let them down?  No.  Did the tall instrument cluster and low seating position kill the image of their hero?  Not a chance.  These people got to walk up to their hero, say hi, take some pictures and gawk at them.  None of their flaws shown through.  Were the fans aware of these “issues”? Yeah, anyone who has read ANYTHING about them knows the problems, but that doesn’t matter.  Seeing the car you had all over your wall as a kid in the flesh makes you completely ignore all of those issues.  You go back to being an excitable little kid.  It’s great.



When I was in high school I wanted two cars: an Evo (to spite Trent who had just picked up a brand new STi.  I was and am a very petty person) and a Mopar of any sort.  Challenger, Charger, Dart, didn’t matter.  I just wanted one.


When I was pulling in to park, I spotted this Challenger T/A.  I parked as close to it as I could (without parking among the cars who were there to be seen) and instantly noticed a Ford F-350 that had all of its utility modified out of it parked next to the Challenger.  The hulking mass of the diesel cast a massive shadow over the car, making a proper photos showcasing the color and graphics on the T/A almost impossible.


Then, suddenly, the Ford grumbled to life and slowly rolled out of the parking lot.  The driver’s side of the Challenger was awash in sunlight, and was being approached by the owner and a giddy passenger.  I snapped off a few frames, and then…


The owner fired it up, and let the 340 roar.  His passenger was grinning ear to ear as the mechanical noise of the trio of carburetors fed fuel and air into the motor.  I was giddy too.  This wasn’t the first time I had seen a nice Challenger, but it was nice running into one that was fanning the flames of enthusiasm in a young fan.


The posters may have come down long ago, but the kid who put them up is still alive in all of us. Weekly meets like Cars & Coffee give us opportunities to be wide eyed, excitable kids.  Wake up early on Saturday, go meet your heroes.

Bonus gallery!:

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.



09th Jan2015

Living The Dream

by Michael Chandler

VORE vacation-20

How do you measure success?  Are you successful if you have millions of dollars, property across the globe, dozens of cars, a few boats and access to a private plane?  Is it having a family, working a 9-5, 3 kids, a dog and a modest house?  Is it finishing that dream build you’ve been wanting to do since you were old enough to know whats what?  What if it’s none of those, but a combination of them?  People say that I’m living the dream because I cover races, take pictures of cars, and occasionally travel to do so.  I don’t say that I am.  If anyone I know is living the dream, it’s Jason Smith.  His job is to teach people how to drive fast in the desert, and race across it himself.  He has his drift project BMW and daily drives a very nice Ford Raptor.  He has a nice house in the suburbs of Las Vegas, where he lives with his lovely wife, three awesome children and two dogs.  That’s the dream, but it hasn’t always been.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-66

I first met Jason way back in 2010, right after CAM was founded.  I was going to cover the NASA Nationals, specifically the Honda Challenge races because the only locals I knew were running in that.  And I barely knew them.  I was going to interview the three of them, but before meeting face to face I sent them some basic questions.  I figured we would chat when we met and I would have more.  Jason was the only one to respond to the email questions.  At the interview he told me he wouldn’t be running in Honda Challenge, nor would he be there most of the weekend because of his job at Discount Tire.  But he had set up the other two cars for success (which was undone by an out of town “expert”).  That told me he was a good dude, and he would only cement that the longer we knew each other.

Jason's First Start-6

We would run into each other at the track, we added each other on Facebook, and one day I had a problem.  The tires on my Subaru were toast.  I needed new ones, but I didn’t really want to deal with the local tire dealers.  Then Jason piped up.  He said that if I bought a set online that he would mount them for me.  All I would have to do is drive to his shop, Innovative Garage, in Orem.  So I did just that.  I was ready to pay him for his services, but he said it was all good.  He owed me for the Honda Challenge coverage.  After that we kept in touch on Facebook and such, seeing each other at meets and the track.  Then he moved his shop to my neck of the woods, and then something else happened.

MMP Mustangs CAM Michael Chandler-4Raptor Assault Michael Chandler-8

Our boy got a job at Miller Motorsports Park, working on the Mustangs, taking people out in said Mustangs and being a driver/instructor for their Raptor Assault program.  Our baby boy was growing up!  Innovative was still kicking, and they were doing a lot of suspension set up for local racers.  They were also dabbling in the local drift scene.  Before long Innovative was the title sponsor, and Jason (along with some of the local drifters) was the driving force behind Salt City Drift.

iDrift Michael Chandler-18 iDrift 5 25 13 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-13

From tire tech to a driving instructor by day and champion of the local drift scene by night, He had come a mighty long way.  Through him drifting had a better foothold at Miller, and some locals had sponsors for their pro-am endeavors.  It had looked like Jason had set down roots, and wouldn’t be leaving Utah.  How could he?  It’s not like an even better opportunity would come along…

SEMA-2014-Wednesday-CAMautoMag.com-137 SEMA-2014-Wednesday-CAMautoMag.com-138

As fate would have it, a better opportunity did come about.  The Vegas Off Road Experience offered him a position where he’d be doing a lot of the same things: instructing, working on the vehicles, and racing said vehicles.  Not just little things, but full on desert races: Vegas To Reno and the Mint 400.  He also go to do stuff at SEMA, like drift and jump one of the VORE Raptors and hob knob with industry execs.  If that isn’t top 5 dream job, then I don’t know what is.

NASA Utah round 7-95SEMA-2014-Tuesday-CAMautoMag.com-182

I consider Jason a true friend, a guy who if he needs something I’ll go out of my way to help.  And he’s done the same for me and CAM.  When we needed a place to stay for SEMA last year he opened his house to Joey and I.  He hooked me up with parts for Rhonda, and I’ve shot some products for Innovative and Miller when he was there.

When people ask me what living the dream is I point to my friend Jason and say “that”.  He’s doing what he loves, providing for his family by doing so, and raising a trio of awesome kids.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.