Words and photos by Michael Chandler
Round 5 of the NASA Utah season took the racers, corner workers, fans and assembled media back to the West course, where things were fairly routine… Until they weren’t. We’ll get to that in a bit. We have some news from the TT groups!
TTB is turning into an episode of Best Motoring International, where we have S2000s battling the Toyobarus/Subiyotas! The podium spots were held by two S2000s and a BRZ, with the BRZ of Toby Crawford occupying the bottom spot. Dave Wann and his rice patty hat were in second, and the mysterious Michael Forsythe and his… general mysteriousness took the win in his silver S2000.
Greg Valdez got Lelantos back out on track after *rolls 20 sided die* she fell into a mysterious vortex. Thankfully the trip to all parts unknown didn’t have any adverse affect, because he took TT1 by a solid four seconds over a face we haven’t seen in a minute on these hallowed pages:
The J and P in JDP Motorsports, Jordan Priestley showed up in a black Corvette and ran pretty quick times. Quicker than a certain silver Camaro? One can only speculate… Anyway, back to the folks who got gold medals/bottle openers.
Earning another win for the fellows from Stuttgart (shield, not star) was Robert Rathbone in TT2. He managed to beat Shawn Larson (in an Evo I haven’t seen, but appreciate the existence of), and Rhett Panter (who didn’t spin this time!). This puts him… 800 points ahead for the season. It’s a bit early, but we here at CAM feel safe in declaring Robert Rathbone your 2015 NASA Utah TT2 champion!
Darin Beaudoin topped the podium in TT3 in his Evo X, ahead of the Focus-less Alex Whetman and James Pasquier’s 911.
Todd Green is happy because he got himself another TTE win! He’s giving the thumbs up, I swear.
And Lex Luthor stand in Derek Wolthoff exhibited dominant behavior in TTU, and beat out Joe Sim in the Turbo Labs NSX. And that neatly wraps up Time Trial, on to something else!
The podiums in both of the day’s races looked identical, so Mr. Biner won himself some gold medals in Super Formula.
And former 15 year old phenom Bruno Carniero got himself another couple of wins in Formula.
As you can see, thee Formula competitors took the podium ceremony extremely seriously.
Welcome to Thunder: where an old Sprint Cup car battles a 997 Cup car, and nobody bats an eye!
In GTS4 Byron Smith battled… Well, that’s not the right word. His competition consisted of a Spec E30, which was not really much competition. Regardless, Byron got himself another win and I got to ogle his E90 a bit more. Everybody won.
GTS5 featured a battle of two Tatum Racing 996s: the #41 of Darrell Troester and the #66 of Chris Vivolo. As is illustrated here, Darrell took the win over Chris.
It was another battle in GTSU, but despite his best efforts Les Long could not chase down the TW Racing Audi R8, he did look good trying to chase him down though.
You learn something new everyday, and on Saturday I learned that Spec E46 #1 exists as a thing and #2 they are grouped in Thunder. The lone Spec E46 competitors were Natasha and Aristotle Balogh, and those are some strong names. Natasha won, but I think we’re all winners for having read their names.
Bob Evans, and his Ford Fusion Sprint Cup car took the win in ST1. At this point, it’s getting to be less and less of a Sprint Cup car and more of a Trans-Am car. We support this 100%.
Travis Tidball was utterly quick, so four and a half seconds quicker on his fastest lap than the next ST3 competitor was on his. Word on the street (Instagram) is that Travis’s car might be looking different come the next round…
Super Unlimited could’ve been an insane three way shootout between Joe Sim’s turbocharged NSX, the old Pirelli World Challenge Skull Candy Altima Touring Car helmed by Lara Tallman, and the Evo of Jeff Kearl. What ended up happening was Jeff running away with it, finishing a lap ahead of Lara, and three laps ahead of Joe. We now go to the podium ceremony, previously recorded:
He may have been dejected, but he’s the only one with a picture on the podium. Let that be a lesson to you folks: you skip the barbecue, you miss out on free food and beverages and the opportunity to get sweet ass pictures with your medal on the podium.
The Lightning race was red flagged, and the course cleared after an incident in turn two of the green flag lap involving Gus Stribakos in the 888 Porsche, David Sherman in the 5 Spec Miata, Ben Lamberson in the 916 Audi Quattro (this was his first wheel to wheel race, fyi), and Greg Troester in the 518 Porsche 944. The result of the carnage was Gus Stribakos potentially writing off his car and conceding the GTS3 championship to Bill Noblitt, David Sherman losing his points lead in Spec Miata and probably having to find another Miata to Spec-ify, Greg Troester having to replace at least a control arm yet still being in the fight for Spec 944, and Ben Lamberson having to dig into his parts car to get his car back on track for Sunday’s race. Everyone BUT Ben was sidelined for Sunday’s race, and he finished second to Todd Green. Thankfully everyone was alright, physically at least.
Hopefully we’ll see everyone back out there this season.
Blake Troester piloted the McDonald’s/Makes and Models Porsche 944 to a win in GTS3. By the way, what’s with the McDonald’s livery? I am mystified, and hungry when I see it on track. I need answers! Or wild rumors, either or.
In other 944 news, Douglas Turnquist put his atop the PTB podium.
Todd Green took the win in PTE on Saturday. On Sunday he held off Ben Lamberson’s freshly repaired Audi. On Saturday he called Ben up to the podium, which was touching. However, Ben already had himself a souvenir from the day…
A souvenir grab for a lucky fan!
Matt Williamson took advantage of the fracas and emerged with his first win of the season! He’s up to third place in the points standings, and could hop into second if David Sherman is out for the upcoming race weekend.
Arthur Golebiowski took yet another win in Spec Z, with Tom Kaminski in second. In other news: the sky is blue, and the sun rises in the east. Seriously guys, stop being so consistently good and good consistently! I mean, it makes writing this stuff up and getting the photos super easy, but I would like to say “in a stunning upset” or “the bridesmaid finally becomes the bride” or some other colloquialism.
And finally: we had Spec E30! And in Spec E30 we had a winner: the Ameritastic car of Natasha Balogh rode the waves of sweet freedom to the win.
And as we wave goodbye to another NASA Utah weekend, we can look forward to the next race weekend. August 7-9 to be exact, with a WERC 6 hour endurance race starting at 5:30 on Saturday. Endurance racing! Into the night! YOU’D BE MAD TO MISS OUT ON THIS!!!