26th Mar2018

It’s Always Cold: NASA Utah Round 1

by Michael Chandler

For as long as I’ve been doing covering NASA Utah, one thing has remained true: one of the first three rounds ends up falling on a cold, bleak, miserable weekend.  Thankfully, it would appear we got that out of the way early.  Was round 1 bleak?  You bet.  The Thunder group for Saturday’s race was dwarfed by the Spec Z field.  It featured one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen, and had the only time (that I can remember) where someone lapped someone else IN CLASS.  Was it miserable?  I was, and still am, fighting a cold.  Having a cold and trying to do ANYTHING makes it very miserable.  And the wind!  It’s always windy, but dear god it’s so much worse when it’s cold!  Did I mention that it was cold?  Yeah, it snowed on Saturday.  Snow.  Happened during the Lightning group race, which made it wet and gross for the Thunder race.  

Snuday was nicer.  Still cold and windy, but we didn’t have rain or snow.  So that was a nice change of pace.  Anyway, let’s get to the action!

TTE was dominated by the seemingly undefeatable pairing of Todd Green and Paul Mitchell.  I say seemingly, because in Sunday’s Lightning race Matt found one of Paul’s weaknesses: hubs.  One of the hubs decided it wanted to become a throwing star, so it attempted to shape itself into said shape.  Thankfully that happened after it took the TTE wins.

We had two winners in TTD.  John Butcher claimed the win on Saturday, while David Curtis (who sucks) got the win on Sunday.  

TT4 also had split winners.  Pithon racing, and their metallic red Lotus Elise, took home the win on Saturday.  They then went home, which allowed Tyler Poselli, in his harlequin S2000, to get himself a win.

JAMES PASQUIER IS BACK!  I wouldn’t know him from Steve, but man do I love his 993.  Just look at it!

Such a pretty car.  That glorious Porsche swept the weekend in TT3.

John Howar and his big winged Lotus got himself a pair of TT2 wins.  How big is that wing?

Like, that big.

TT1 saw the debut of one of Makes & Models newly evolved cars!  Remember Jen’s white GT3?  Well, here it is.  New colors, new aero, probably some other stuff!  It swept the weekend, making for a solid debut.

David Bradshaw got himself a new 997 GT3 Cup car!  And with it he secured himself a pair of TTU wins.

In a shocking turn of events, Jason “Neither Brendon nor Scott” Harward took the reigns of the one and only Siesta Fiesta, and took home a pair of PTF wins.  Is it slow?  Unquestionably.  Is it hilarious to watch?  Without a doubt.  Was he out there in a Fiesta while some of you were complaining about the weather? Siesta Fiesta: 1.  Your excuses: 0.  

BTW, where the hell was the Evo?

On Sunday we had Mark Boschert in his Boxster competing solo in GTS2, and just kinda exploring the space.  

Spec Miata was yet another class with two winners on the weekend.  On Saturday Dan McKeever ran through the snow and away from the field for the win.  On Sunday, in a wild race from top to bottom (the podium shuffled a few times, inopportune lap traffic, just ridiculousness), Ben Lamberson in THE DEVASTATOR claimed his first Spec Miata win!  

The Spec Z weekend was very interesting.  Tom Kaminski took the win on Saturday, a race in which Chad Aalders retired and had to replace or repair some steering components (maybe the rack?  I’m not 100% sure on what he did).  Arthur Golebiowski, our favorite Eastern European driver, finished in second.  Now, because they’re sporting gentlemen, or because they like a challenge, they elected to ignore the qualifying results on Sunday and start from the back of the pack.  So they were at the back, leaving Chad Aalders on pole, with Richard Fitzgerald and Justin Jones behind him.  Now, I usually talk about how it’s Tom or Arthur from one another, with Chad back there in third, which may have led some of you to think Chad is the best of the rest.  Sunday was proof that he’s just as good as either of them.  He boat raced Richard from the green flag, and didn’t have anyone in sight until the closing laps when Tom fought his way into second!  AND Chad still had 4 seconds on him!

Saturday’s Thunder race was the most unprecedented thing I’ve seen.  As you can see in the photo above, it was wet.  I’ve said earlier, it was cold.  These two things don’t make for really great racing, in the traditional sense.  Everything is slower, there’s a lot more sliding because there’s no heat in anything.  But it leads to weird results.  Results like two 911 GT3 Cup cars and a Huracan Super Trofeo finishing behind a Boxster, an old FR500S Mustang, and a 20 year old M3.  Let’s get into that, shall we?

Back from the grave, and looking like pure evil, the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo was back out in competition AND sporting the new Evo kit.  They left it raw, which added to the evilness, but it won’t stay that way.  Tragic sounding, but it sounds like they’re gonna be doing something pretty cool with the wrap.  Anyway, the magical combination of driving what’s basically a new car and terrible conditions led to Derek retiring the car on Saturday.  He completed two laps, and had Tom Rogers’s M3 glued to him.  On Sunday he drove the whole race, posted a best time of 1:30.074, and claimed the win over David Bradshaw.

Robert Ames swept the GTS5.  On Saturday he heroically completed four laps.  On Sunday he went for 16, and his best lap was about 40 seconds faster than his Saturday’s best.

Perry Needham managed six laps in ST1.  Not six laps on Saturday, and a full race on Sunday.  6 total.  On Saturday he retired after three laps because of the weather, and then had a mechanical on Sunday that had him towed off after three laps.

The only class that had a double digit lap total was ST4, and because of that they were the overall race winners.  Tom not only took the win, he put Toby (who was in Travis Williams’s Mustang and on not the best tires) a lap down!  In the middle of the race!  It was a crazy race.  He then repeated on Sunday.  The winning, not the lapping.

And there we have it.  The race weekend that was pretty damn ridiculous, for a variety of reasons.  Thanks to everyone who came out to support the drivers and teams, and to everyone who bought a CAM sticker!  It really helps us be able to come out and cover these events.  Speaking of, the next NASA Utah round is April 13-15 on the East Track.  The one with all the elevation changes!  We’ll be there on Saturday and Sunday.  Shooting photos, asking extremely important questions, slinging stickers, and generally hanging out.  We hope to see you there!

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