26th Jun2017

NASA Utah Round 4: Batten Down The Hatches!

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 4 was a weird, interesting weekend.  I didn’t stick around for the races on Saturday because I had to go to my friend’s wedding, where I ran into Dave Kizerian’s (NASA Utah director. Big guy, affable, ginger.  Know who I’m talking about?) wife.  While I was out I guess the Spec Z guys decided that that was the perfect time to get wild.  Jerks!  

Then Sunday came to be, where it was far windier.  I learned that Mike Kresser has a Porsche tattoo, wind does stuff, and I either need a haircut or a chinstrap for my picture takin hat. Don’t want it blowing on track and causing a black flag.  Enough of that, let’s talk about who did what!

Taking both of the GTS2 wins on the weekend was Tom Rogers, in the trusty #160 BMW 325i.  Remember how I just said Sunday was windier than Saturday?  You can see that in the lap times.  Tom’s best lap in Saturday’s race was a 1:48.923, whereas Sunday’s best race lap was 1:51.181.  I was talking to Blake Troester ahead of Sunday’s qualifying session, and he mentioned how much the wind was impacting some of the cars.

Speaking of Blake, he and his fry-o-later grease powered Porsche took home back to back wins in ST4.  He and his crew chief, Grimace, were seen celebrating their win in the Lake Point McDonald’s Play Place.

The Rearden Racing camp collected a pair of GTS3 wins.  Steve Marx (I’m out of Marxist jokes) took the win on Saturday in his white BMW M235i Racing, and Greg Warnock took home the win in his Mercato Partners liveried M235i Racing.

In PTD/Japanese Classic Touring Catagory: Troy Duffin in DUFN8LY, a Datsun 510, took both of the weekend’s wins.  Those who are reading this, let’s put together a field of classic vehicles (around the same vintage of Troy’s 510) that would be awesome to see out there.  I’m thinking another 510, an SA RX-7, a couple of E30 BMWs, and a lunatic in an old Civic.  Like a 1300 CVCC hatchback.  Yeah, that’d be insanely awesome.  Drop your choices in the comments below!

Did you know that Paul Mitchell can be a handful?  Yeah, it sets records and wins races, but according to Todd Green it was a bit hairy to drive.  He remedied this by doing an alignment! And corner weighting the car.  And replaced some bushing, two control arms (one of them was  bent!), and changed the spring rates. All that work yielded the same results: wins in PTE.  Wait, when did PM get a hole in its hood??? 

Andy Moench, proud pappa and owner of a sweet rookie stripe, won Saturday’s Spec Miata race.  Could he repeat on Sunday?  Well, no… Carter James won on Sunday, so therefore Andy couldn’t.  We can only have one winner Andy!  Congratulations James.

Thunder Roadster is still the most fun group to watch.  Bob, JD, Joe… The other guy who wasn’t on the timing sheets.  Anyway, Joe Sim’s sideways antics paid off on Sunday, but Bob Evans channeled the wisdoms of the giants and got himself the Saturday win.  

Perry Needham is establishing his dominance in 944 Spec, which is weird.  Not Perry winning all the races on the weekend, or even the class itself.  The name is weird.  Shouldn’t it be Spec 944?  Anyone?  Greg?  Perry?

Spec Z had their own race group on Saturday, which is great because that means the class is growing and according to folks with business degrees and acumen: growth is good!  To that end, we haven’t seen that many different winners.  I’m not going to complain, especially when Tom Kaminski and his retro HKS themed Z win.  Which he did on Saturday.  On Sunday the class was back with the Thunder group, which isn’t a bad thing either.  Other not bad things are Lyfe Motorsport’s #22 entry, driven by either Cole or Kyle but not Chris because he’s “Other Gary”, taking the win in class.  Speaking of class, guess who wasn’t at round 4.

If you guessed Shawn Murphy, you’d be correct!  You’d also be correct if you guessed Santa Claus, Jordan Taylor, or any number of other imaginary people.  So that means he and his “street car” won’t be mucking up these results!  One person benefiting from the cowboy’s absence was Jordan Priestly.  He ran the JDP Motorsports C7 Corvette development mule extremely consistently in TT1, posting a 1:39.833 on Saturday and a 1:39.762 on Sunday.  

Two other people benefiting from Shawn’s fall into the Mystery Spot are Brendon Stewart who, despite figuring out his new tires, posted a 1:43.392 on Saturday.  Other good news for Brendon: he fixed his electrical issues and has all of the forward gears!  Always glad to see his *rolls 1D10* Evo 6 fully healthy!  Sunday’s win was claimed by the man in the brightly colored, and hugely winged Lotus Elise: John Howar!  His best time on Sunday was a 1:44.972.  

A pair of iconic red vehicles split the TT3 wins.  Both are two wheel drive, and both are sporting forced induction.  One is a great FWD platform, and the other is a 3 Series.  Yes, of course I’m talking about Tyler Mikesell and his red Integra and *moves results page closer and further from face* Geoffrey Crockett and his red E36 M3!  Tyler posted a 1:49.675 on Saturday, while Geoffrey threw a 1:50.477 on the board.

Nam Yoon (more like Nam Yoonicorn!  AMIRITE???  I’ll stop now) and his white S2000 managed to beat out a TT4 field consisting of a BRZ (or FRS, whatever the hell Mike drives), a Lotus Elise, a Mustang, and a Spec Z (along with some other stuff) to earn both wins on the weekend.  He posted a 1:43.116 on Saturday, and a 1:42.717 on Sunday.  Good job Mr. Yoonicorn! Ok, now I’ll stop.

John Butcher’s TTC winning shares a few things in common with a Jaguar E-Type: they’re both British (well, close enough), both iconic vehicles (see previous parenthetical), and both have hoods that open forward and have integrated headlights!  However, only one of them did anything useful at round 4.  John posted a 1:52.098 on Saturday, and a 1:54.938 on Sunday.

TTD was a war of momentum cars, seeing Ken Russell and his Kanjo styled Civic hatchback hustling his way to the win on Saturday with a 1:50.573.  Trever Pope, in the more practical Miata that is a Subaru BRZ, took the win on Sunday with a best 1:52.051.  

The winningest Miata in all of UMC history, Paul Mitchell, was awarded more victories.  This time Todd Green, or any of the other seventeen drivers of the car, stood atop the podium to get the shiny TTE hardware.  Saturday Todd ran a 1:48.382, and Sunday he ran a 1:47.052.

Mike Kresser, the guy with the Porsche tattoo, took a pair of gold medals back to his motor-home for his TTU exploits.  Yeah, motor-home.  Complete with a coffee maker!  I don’t care how hot it is, coffee is the lifeblood for lunatics like me.  His coffee fueled best laps in his 996 generation Porsche 911 Cup car were a 1:37.049 on Saturday, and a 1:36.723 on Sunday.

And now we’re on to the final race group: Thunder.  And in the Thunder race group is the GTS4 field, where Daren Jorgensen picked up another pair of wins in his M235iR, which is apparently done up by Turner Motorsports.  At least that’s what the stickers on the bumper, and the giant windshield banner lead me to believe.  More on this, as it develops!

We had only one other GTS class running, and that was GTSU.  As you can see, there’s a different Porsche that we haven’t seen in a while here.  That’s because Al Tiley’s regular Porsche, the #31 911 GT3R, had a bit of a boo-boo after some contact was made with the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo during qualifying.  It’s racing, bad touches happen between cars occasionally.  Thankfully everybody seems to be ok!  Or was when I talked to them in the paddock.  Al a bit more-so, because he swept the weekend.

George Smith was in fine form on the weekend.  He was running the Corvette in ST1 trim, which was a pretty good steup.  He took home both class wins, and the overall race group win on Sunday.  His battle with David Lockwood was an amazing one to watch, especially from the top of the Attitudes.

ST2, a class exclusively featuring Makes & Models employees, has been an interesting one to watch over the year.  Brendon has had his share of bad luck.  Engine troubles, then losing a gear and having to kick his fuse panel to keep the car running.  BUT he’s got that figured out!  Meanwhile Toby Crawford has been tweaking his Pink Ribbon Racing, and a bunch of other sponsors, BRZ as he’s been going.  He also had to deal with some issues related to the engine letting go at the end of last year.  Who would reign supreme: the Bad Luck Evo, or the ever changing BRZ?  Well, the Evo took this weekend.  Skills played a part, but so did Toby’s windshield being covered  in oil. Perhaps next month Toby’s aerodynamic trickery will push him ahead of Brendon.

ST3, the class where the winner is going to win a Friday test day in one of the Ford Performance Racing School’s BOSS Mustangs, saw a V6 Mustang beat out a pair of FPRS Boss 302 FRS Mustangs and a Minion on Saturday.  Yes, Steve Burns’s VP Racing Fuels/Ian Lacy Racing Mustang is only packing six cylinders of fury, but it was more than enough to take the win.  On Sunday, a Minion beat out all the Mustangs.  The Us Against One Clothing M3, called the Minion and not the Banana Mobile, held off all the ponies for the win on Sunday.

And finally we come to the Super Unlimited class, which was filled exclusively by Rearden Racing entries.  On Saturday, Greg Warnock in his Cayman GT4 Clubsport held off Lara Tallman in the TC spec 370Z.  At least I think it’s spec’d for Pirelli World Challenge TC class.  Anywell, Lara claimed the win on Sunday.

And there you have it, 1600+ words on the NASA weekend that was.  If you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  You deserve a prize of some sort.  How about this, you’re prize is knowing that next month (July 14-16) the NASA drivers will be plying their skills on the West Course.  But if you want a real prize: come up with the best nickname for any of the drivers mentioned above, send it to [email protected], and we’ll dig up something in the office (could be a t-shirt, could be some Hot Wheels, could be some random item!) to give to you.  See you all next month!

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