01st May2017

Thrills, Chills, and Fluid Spills: NASA Utah 2017 Round 2

by Michael Chandler

This past NASA Utah weekend had a little something for everyone: thrilling racing action, track records falling, chilling events, and lots of people cleaning up stuff.  That last thing threw the schedule out the window.  By the time I got out to my first shooting spot, the maintenance crew and some corner workers had been dropping absorbing material, and sweeping it up for about ten minutes. After another thirty-ish minutes, the Thunder group came out for a practice session.  And after them was the TT guys.  Let’s talk about how they did.

OH!  There were also ten new track records set during the weekend.  Anyway, TT!


TT1 was a battle old as time: German precision versus American power.  David versus David, Beetle versus Tractor!  In the end, David Bradshaw took home the win on Saturday (1:41.013) and Sunday (1:40.663) in his Beetle Porsche 911 Cup, ahead of David Gilliland and his tractor Dodge/SRT Viper (1:40.913)

I asked myself “I wonder if Shawn has set a track record today?”  I asked myself that question aloud, as I was standing alone.  Just a little peak into how my race weekends go.  Anyway, YES he did.  On Saturday he threw down a 1:36.124, the fastest TT time and fourth fastest lap time of the day.  On Sunday his time was a pedestrian 1:36.689.

TT3 saw a very diverse pair of winners on the weekend: Saturday was Richard Thiessens in his blacked out hawkeye STI (1:44.766), and Sunday had David Nadler in his shiny sliver and blue Cayman (1:46.523).

Nam Yoon, who is definitely not Rhett Panter but is also driving a white S2000, managed to hold off a brilliant and fast Mike Bratsch to take the win in TT4 on Saturday (1:43.851).  On Sunday he didn’t have to deal with Mike’s BS, and collected another win (1:44.065).

A man in a tiny BMW displayed some driving prowess, and won things!  That man: John Butcher.  The tiny BMW: a Mini Cooper S.  The things he won: TTC on Saturday (1:54.276) and Sunday (1:53.429).

TTD was dominated by Hondas on the weekend.  Kenneth “KC Masterpiece” Russell on Saturday (1:50.085), and Eduardo “Edwardo” Acevedo, who threw down either a 1:48.630 (a track record) or a 1:52.719 depending on which entry you read on the official results.

Todd Green went out in Paul Mitchell for TTE duties, and got himself a pair of wins in the little hairdresser mobile.  He posted a 1:48.272 on Saturday, and a 1:48.379 on Sunday.  Consistent?  You bet!

And finally: a radical man with a radical plan, or at least just a Radical SR3. John Insinger took home both TTU wins on the weekend, posting a 1:41.643 on Saturday and a 1:41.556 on Sunday.  And with that, we come to a close on TT.  Now let’s see how the Lightning group was doing.

GUYS!  Someone other than Tom Rogers or Chris Haunold won in GTS2!  Well, Tom won on Sunday, but Adam Heller took the class win on Saturday AND set a GTS2 record with a 1:44.896!  

I don’t have a Marx Brothers joke prepared, and I don’t want to test the waters of the Karl Marx joke pool, so I’ll just plainly say that Steve Marx took both wins in the Rearden Racing dominated GTS3 class.  He also set a GTS3 record on Sunday (1:42.858) while winning that race.

Troy Duffy got his 510 back together, and was rewarded with PTD wins all weekend long, and a PTD track record on Sunday (1:49.734)

PTE had a newcomer to its ranks: Jessica Burton?  Could she unseat long standing champion Todd Green???  Well, no.  At least not this weekend.  Todd took both wins, and set a track record for PTE on Saturday with a fastest lap of 1:47.195.

Matt Williamson was the best Spec Miata-er of the weekend, taking home a pair of wins.

Part of the joys of being in  completely new race class is that you get to be the first one in the record books.  Jennifer Gannett is the first in the ST4 records with a pair of wins, and the ST4 track record.  She posted a fastest lap of 1:50.274!

It was an interesting weekend in Thunder Roadster.  JD Stull took the weekend’s wins, while Joe Sim (dude in the Turbo Lab NSX?  Dude who owns and runs Turbo Lab?  Is any of this ringing a bell?) managed to have one hell of a Saturday: He retired after suffering catastrophic suspension damage six laps into the race, but managed to set a record with a 1:45.087.  

944 Spec is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.  No longer is it just Otto Silva and someone else!  No, you have Greg Troester in his theft recovered 944 taking the win on Saturday, and Perry Needham taking home the win on Sunday!

Now we’re about to jump into the Thunder results, and some stuff happened.  Stuff you probably know about, and might have seen.  Well, I managed to miss everything so I can’t really get into a lot of detail or give my opinion.  I’m just gonna tell you what I saw, and stuff that I can confirm.  And with that disclaimer, on to the results.

Greg Warnock got wins in GTS4 in two different cars on the weekend: a Cayman GT4 Clubsport and a BMW 235i Racing.  At least that’s what the official results lead me to believe.  

Claiming more GTS5 wins was Darren Jorgensen in his M4.  He was also out in his orange 1M for GTS3.  Not really material to the story, just like to point out that we had an orange, race prepped 1M turning laps in anger.

Spec Z is growing at an alarming rate a healthy clip.  Saturday’s race saw 18 entrants, and Sunday’s 14.  Coming out on top of the pile on Saturday was Arthur Golebiowski, adding credence to the crackpot theory that he’s some sort of robot, bent on domination of the human race through spec racing.  He managed to blow a massive hole in that theory, or add an interesting wrinkle to it, on Sunday by making contact with Toby Crawford’s Pink Ribbon Racing BRZ and ending both of their races early.  That mistake, or intentional move to keep his robot identity under wraps, allowed Chris “Not Gary” Stone to take home the win in the Towne Storage/Lyfe Motorsport Z.

Hi Drew!  Yeah, I was at the top of the Attitudes on Saturday, and you were atop the podium in ST1 both days!

Despite having issues including blowing up 4th gear, Brendon Stewart managed to not only take home both of the ST2 wins in the return of his Evo, but also set an ST2 record with a 1:39.704.  Not a bad first full weekend back.

ST3 is seeing a new wrinkle to the championship.  The winner at the end of the year will get a free rental of one of the BOSS Mustangs on a race weekend Friday, courtesy of the Ford Performance Racing School.  Not a bad prize.  To that end, Shawn Umphries (an instructor at the school, so not 100% sure he’s going to be eligible for the grand prize) took home the win on Saturday, and Kameron Chandler (no relation) collected the win on Sunday.

Super Unlimited had Andrew Smith claiming the win on Saturday (turn off those lights!), and Paul Terry hopping out of the DXDT Lamborghini he drove last month and into that sharp lookin Z06 for the Sunday win.  Speaking of Lamborghinis

Let’s get to Saturday’s race, which lasted 7 laps.  What happened initially was a turn one, lap one incident that led to a Full Course Yellow, and a black flag.  Everyone went into the pits, then lined up again for a restart, and went out behind the safety car. There was a successful restart (yay!), and some good clean laps (more yay!), and then there was an incident (boo!) involving the DXDT Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and the Makes & Models Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.  This brought out another caution, and the checkered flag shortly thereafter.  Escaping the carnage of Saturday’s race was Al Tiley, in his Great Canadian Heliskiing 911 GT3R (prepped by Air Power Racing).  Makes & Models repaired their car, and took home Sunday’s win in what I can only assume was a much more mellow race.

And there you have it: a recap of a weekend that had a bit of everything.  We all learned some things, or had some stuff reinforced.  Instead of boring you with more boring words, I’m going to link you to a giant gallery of photos from the weekend!

The next NASA Utah Weekend is May 19-21 on the West Track, a power track.  Registration is open, and I encourage everyone to come out to at least watch some amazing local racing.  Support the drivers and teams by coming out and cheering them on, support NASA Utah by coming out and seeing what a weekend is like, and support UMC by buying a ticket and walking through the gate.  We’ll be out there, and we hope to see you too.

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