22nd Jul2017

NASA Utah Round 5: Warm Mornings

by Michael Chandler

Who doesn’t love a warm morning?  Just hearing “warm morning” conjures up images of eating half a cantaloupe while wearing a terry cloth polo shirt, while telling the neighbor kid that you do love a warm morning, despite the fact that it’s 3:30pm.  Thankfully the NASA weekend didn’t have any of that weirdness, nor were the mornings warm.  Well, the one I was there for was hot.  I slept in on Sunday, and managed to get there when it was just getting hot enough to ruin people’s attempts at fast laps.  Thankfully there were some people who only needed to have one good lap.

TT1 saw David Bradshaw in his Lyfe prepped 996 Cup Car set a personal best (1:37.601) on Saturday!  The personal best was only good for second place, because Rhett Panter came down in his crazy widebody S2000 and ran a 1:36.389.  David was not defeated though, he came back on Sunday and took the class win on Sunday.

Shawn Murphy ran a 1:32.976 on Saturday and 1:33.865 on Sunday.  Both of his times, in his TT2 car which he drives on the streets because Wyoming is still calling plays out of the 1887 playbook, were good enough to win TTU.  Imagine what this thing could do if he pulled some weight out of it…

Speaking of TTU: Mike Kresser ran unopposed in the class all weekend.  He threw down a 1:33.567 on Saturday, and a 1:33.872 on Sunday.  He also bought a couple of the super stylish CAMautoMag shirts, a thing you should also do.

John Calvin bagged another TT3 win on Saturday, with a 1:42.706.  Say what you will, a Mustang can be very competitive.  A point which we’ll come back to later.  Something that’s always going to be competitive, granted it’s not some hair-brained project that’s constantly trading hands, is a boosted E36.  Coincidentally that is what Geoffrey Crockett happens to drive.  He laid down a 1:42.758 on Sunday.

I managed to miss both of Nam Yoon’s TT4 winning laps, so I’m using a photo from the last time NASA was on the West track.  Anyway, he ran a 1:40.150 on Saturday, and a 1:39.425 on Sunday.

Front wheel drive hatchbacks seem to be the platform of choice for TTC.  Eduardo Acurero, in his monster CRX, took the win on Saturday with a 1:44.392.  John Butcher, in his tried and true Mini Cooper S, collected the win on Sunday with a 1:49.435.

Trever Pope took home both TTD wins on the weekend, but didn’t collect any tires from the class’s contingency program.  Why?  There wound up not being enough drivers in the class.  How?  Some of the other competitors self DQ’d because, if I’m remembering correctly, of something to do with the tires they were running.  I’m not 100% sure, and I know I will be corrected.

I don’t remember seeing Todd Green’s blue Miata over the weekend, but I do remember seeing ol’ Paul Mitchell turning laps.  Knowing the following: Todd regularly drives Paul, he’s driven Paul more than the blue car this year, and he’s made Paul easier and better to drive recently; it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Todd was driving Paul in TTE all weekend.  Regardless, Todd took the win on both days.

Now on to something where the drivers have to string together multiple, successive good laps instead of just one perfect lap.  And we’ll start in the Lightning group, and with GTS2 where a pair of Porsches split the weekend’s wins.  On Saturday Adam Heller, Boxster driver and all around nice guy, beat out Mark Boschert, the only Spec Boxster driver and probably a nice guy, for the win.  On Sunday Ed Mineau, in his black 911, beat our Mark for the win.  

Darren Jorgensen, proud owner of some CAM slaps, spent the weekend beating up on his fellow Rearden Racing teammates and M235i Racing drivers in GTS3.  He beat Steve Marx (#44) on Saturday, and Andrew McCubbins (#13 with the sweet rookie stripe) on Sunday.  

Carter James was a man on a mission.  He knifed his way through the Spec Miata field on both days, and had a nice little battle with Matt Williamson on Sunday.  He duked it out with Andy Moench on Saturday.  He even went to so far as to try and get into some fights with some of the other classes.  

Tom Rogers sold his E30!  I know, I was just as shocked as you all must be.  I’ll give you a minute…  Ok, anyway, he bought an E36 and stepped up to ST4 with the intent of dethroning Blake Troester!  OVERTHROW THE BURGEROCRACY!  Unfortunately he didn’t do that in the first outing with the new car, because Mayor McCheese has that Porsche dialed.  Jennifer Gannett couldn’t topple the Burger Civil Servant on Sunday.  

Only one Thunder Roadster, which is probably for the best because I don’t think we could handle another insane battle.  Brian Trapnell took Joe Sim’s roadster out for some competitive laps.

I don’t know where Perry Needham came from, or what he’s doing when he’s not on track, but he’s on a tear this year!  This weekend he swept 944 Spec by edging out Greg Troester on Saturday, then hanging a lap on Greg on Sunday.  Is he some sort of savant?  A hot shoe who decided to trot out the wrong 30 year old Porsche?  We demand answers!

Spec Z had their own run group again!  It was only on Saturday, but they made the most of their solo track time.  Richard Fitzgerald and his new livery qualified first, and looked to go wire to wire.  Then Arthur Golebiowski and his *throws dart at a map of Eastern Europe* Moldovian magic came up and took the lead!  And then there was a battle for the rest of the podium.  Tom Kaminski and Chad Aalders set their sights on Richard.  Tom was the first to get around him, which was pretty uneventful.  Then Chad had his go, and I proceeded to lose my mind as I watched it unfold.

Richard spun on the outside of turn 5, naturally leading to the rest of the turn being open for Chad to drive through.  And then Richard, while still sliding through the turn, started to come down towards the inside!  As you can see, it was pretty close.  Chad managed to take the position without taking any damage, and Richard got himself going again and finished in fourth.

Sunday saw Cole “He’s not Kyle” Powelson run away from the field in a car that had a destroyed CV boot, which could’ve led to catastrophe.  Thankfully it didn’t, but still.

And now on to the fastest group, the Thunder group.  And we start with a car that ran in the Lightning group: Darren Jorgensen’s Turner Motorsports built, Rearden Racing prepped M235i Racing.  A car which can be best described as an in-betweener.  There was no inbetween in GTS 4 though, because he swept the weekend.

GTS3 is on the Thunder results sheet for Sunday, and Andrew McCubbins was out in the group for the race.  So following that logic, we can safely say that he did take GTS3.  Or at least he did, until I get a correction!

Despite dealing with some issues related to it being borderline unbearably hot, George Smith brought out his Corvette in ST1 trim and held off the Ginettas for the win on Saturday.  Sunday saw on one Ginetta, and a lone yellow car.  Not George’s Corvette, but David Bradshaw’s 996 Cup car.  Frank “The Tank” Gannett got himself a redemption win, after being thwarted the day before.

ST2, aka the battle for Makes & Models supremacy, saw Brendon Stewart sweeping the weekend.  He got himself into a pretty good battle with Darren Jorgensen both days, but the old Evo couldn’t quite get around the brand new BMW.  Toby, in the Pink Ribbon Racing BRZ, was dealing with fueling issues and traffic.  Notably the Ford Performance Racing School Mustangs and Andrew McCubbins, who took a very wonky line through turn five all day.  Sunday was a bit better for him, but he still lost to Brendon.

Speaking of those FPRS Mustang BOSS 302FRSs, one got itself a win on the weekend!  And was really messing with a lot of the other drivers.  The blue #85, driven by William “Big Bill” Johnson, was not only the fastest Mustang of the day, but managed to finish 11th overall, just behind one of the GTSU competitors.  Those cars can be really competitive with the right driver and right setup.  We had another highly competitive E36 take a win on Sunday, the Us Against One Clothing M3 held off a pair of the FPRS Mustangs to collect another win for the Minion Mobile.

Both of the 911 GT3Rs were out on track for the first time in a long time.  Al Tiley, who had himself a little get together with the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo last month, was back out in his GT3R!  Always good seeing Al, really nice guy.  He swept the weekend in GTSU, dominating a bunch of 911 Cup cars of various generations.  David Donner in his GT3R, a car that has challenged the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, took home both Super Unlimited wins on the weekend.  He wasn’t really challenged by Les Long, in the #496 911 (which I hear has a four liter engine, which is AWESOME), but he didn’t dominate like Al did.  

And there it is!  The round 5 weekend in 1500-ish words.  No long winded, flowery wrap up, because we have the 6 Hour Enduro coming up quick!  August 4-6 is Round 6 AND THE SIX HOUR ENDURO!!!  Registration information, the schedule, and some general information (IE garage rentals and camping, and gate fees) are up on the NASA Utah website.  And keep checking it out, because more info will be posted!  We’ll be back next month!  Buy a shirt!

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
15th Jun2016

Let There Be Lightning: NASA Utah Lightning Round 4

by Michael Chandler

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The rains fell on the Lightning race, which made for a very interesting session.  The race began with banging doors and rooster tails, but thankfully no incidents to speak of.

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There were multiple 944 Spec racers!  Unfortunately only one of them remembered to bring rain tires.  That lucky, prepared driver was none other than Otto Silva!  He took home another class win in the trying conditions, and did so without any spooky events.

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The normally robust Spec Miata field dwindled to a mere three cars.  Sad, considering that weather like this levels out the field and gives the little Mazdas plenty of opportunities to harass some of the faster competitors.  Carving a path through the puddles and onto the podium was Carter James.

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At some point in the day Tom Rogers broke something on his BMW.  All was looking lost.  A trip to BMW of Murray was taken, and the part was acquired!  Now it was a matter of getting back to the track, the part on the car, and the car on track.  It was a break neck run, for all of the afore mentioned activities.  Tom got the car back together, and out of the garage just in time to be released onto the track for the race.  He fought mightily, and caught up with the pack.  Unfortunately he couldn’t make up all the time, and he finished second to Chris Haunold, but that was a hell of a story wasn’t it?

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The race saw quite the duel between a pair of unlikely foes: Todd Green in the blue car (his PTE Miata) and Joe Sim in… Well it was an Escort, and it was in PTF.  Todd Chased down Joe, and held him off.  The whole thing was… Ok, it was pretty ridiculous to see Joe’s Escort try and run down Todd’s Miata.  In the end, Joe was DQ’d for reasons I don’t know, and Todd is on his way to another PTE title.

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Spec Z was a bit interesting.  Chad Aalders blew his motor, so he was borrowing Kyle Schick’s car.  That didn’t go ideally, but Chad made it work.  I saw Arthur, normally someone who does great in the rain, get incredibly slidey.  He slid through turn one like he was trying to qualify for a Formula D round.  It was insanity, lunacy, ridiculousness.  And out of the madness was came one car.  That car was the #46 DXDT Racing Z.  And out of that car climbed James Burke.  He earned that win.

And there it is, a race where the rain fell on the lightning.

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


31st Mar2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 1: WE’RE BACK!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler and Gavin Pouquette


WE’RE BACK RACING!!!  Yes, our long local nightmare is finally over.  The 2015 NASA Utah season opened up this past weekend on the Outer Loop of Miller Motorsports Park, and it.  Was.  Glorious!  Let’s kick off our coverage with the TT groups, where the action was.

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Joe Sim brought out the Turbo Labs turbocharged Acura NSX and ran a blistering 2:00.305 to take the win in TTU.  The NSX made an appearance at Round 6 last year, and was even running around at GT Live back in 2007 and 2008!  Coming in second place was TW Racing in the familiar Audi R8 LMS.  Can the former GT3 car out pace the local legend?  Will we see more of the NSX period?  And what about the Lyfe Motorsports GTR?  Will it defend its title as TTU monster?  We have the better part of the season to find out!

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After a late night tuning session at Ziptie Dynowerks, Greg Valdez took his WRX STi atop the podium in his first TT1 event.  Shawn Murphy, who had an impromptu barbecue on the front straight last year, came in second and retired early with car troubles.  Third place was occupied by Dave Gilliland.

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Alex Whetman broke the Focus of Doom, but won the TT3 class in the process.  The 2:06.2 he ran was a full 4.7 seconds faster than the second place  Team Emerald West Porsche 911!  Jon Carver put his #49 Corvette in third.

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In TT2 we saw a battle between Robert Rathbone’s 911 and Frank Wilson’s C7 Corvette Z06.  In this battle, the Porsche pulled out the win.

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Paul House came out for one TT4 session in his Spec Z, and won himself a nice bottle opener.

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Richard Thiessens took some time out of coordinating HPDE instructors to take the class win in TTB.

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TTE is looking to be a hotly contested class.  Ben Lamberson and his Audi barely squeaked by Jeb Brown’s Subaru for the class win.

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We had some new faces in Open Wheel!  And those new faces actually won!  In Super Formula David Lockwood in his sharp, livery free car took race one; and Terry Biner, in the familiar Rodizio Grill car took race two.

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Formula is also seeing a new face.  Literally.  Bruno Carneiro (who is fifteen years old.  15!) has jumped from karts into a Formula Mazda car prepped by Ian Lacy Racing, and won race two after finishing behind Troy Duffin in race one.  Steven Costello took third in both races.

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Bruno and David weren’t the only newcomers to the Open Wheel group.  Askew Motorsports was out in a Radical for qualifying and a few laps in race one.  I, for one, would like to see Formula and Super Formula grow as fast and as large as Spec Z has.

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Speaking of Spec Z, it is huge!  There were six competitors for Saturday’s race, and a total of seven cars registered for the day.  In the race Arthur Golebiowski topped the podium, with Tom Kaminski in the Dip Kings 350Z in second, and Chad Aalders in third.  Shay Chappell, last year’s TT3 champion, has left his Porsche 911 Turbo at home and hopped into a Spec Z.  Shay can wheel, as is evidenced by his championship, so he won’t be in the basement for long.  With fellow newcomers Richard Fitzgerald and Askew MotorSport, this series is only getting more contested.

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman qualified on pole with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In the race David Sherman brought home the win, with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In other news, David Dingman was back out on track in a blue and yellow Miata!  David’s a great guy, and we’re glad to have him back out on track.

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And in the last Spec class, 944 Spec, Samuel Kapp and Otto Silva began what is always a season long battle for the championship.  These guys duke it out every round, and it’s always a good clean fight.

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In GTS2 Chris Haunold, in the red #9 Porsche, beat out Jim Miller, in the red #9 Porsche.  Oh man, watching that red Porsche cross the finish line after seeing the red Porsche retire with mechanical issues was something else.  Red Porsche.

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Bill “Wild Willie” Noblitt jumped from PTB to GTS3 and took the win over “Good Guy” Gus Stribakos in another all Porsche battle.

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They may have been the only ones in their respective classes, but Todd Green (#58 Paul Mitchell Miata) and Douglas Turnquist (#421 Porsche 944) took their wins and battled with the entire Lightning race group.

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Bad Luck Brendon Stewart detuned his Evo so he could drop down to Super Touring 3 and have some competition.  Long time ST3 competitors Travis Tidball (whose blue Corvette is getting wide) and Gary Free (in the Race Co FR500S Mustang) put up a fight against the newcomer, but in the end they couldn’t stop him.  Brendon won the battle, but lifted the cylinder head in the process.

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Les Long ran away from the GTSU field, and the rest of the race group in fact.  He posted a best lap time of 1:59.411 during the race.

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In GTS5 Russ Timmons held on to a lead of less than a second over Darrell Troester to take the class win.  Chris Vivolo and his blue and white 996 911 rounded out the podium.

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Byron Smith pitted his BMW against the 370Z of Lara Tallman.  It was a close battle, one in which neither driver could put much distance between the other.  By the time the checkered flag dropped Byron was ahead by 0.593 seconds, and took the win.

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Unfortunately not everyone had playmates within their class.  Dan Worley in the Tatum Racing LSX Porsche 944 claimed the ST1 win.  Mike Mielke showed up to ST2 just in time to take over as lone ranger, ironically while driving a Ranger.  And in GTS4 Shawn Tatum held court (see what I did there?  HILARIOUS!) in the Dell & Schaefer Porsche Cayman.

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And that’s all she wrote.  It was a solid opening to what’s going to be a great season.  A great season that has an event every month through October!  There’s no excuse to not come out and catch one of these events, and there’s plenty of time to start working your way through the HPDE program so you can start competing with the a fore mentioned drivers.

The next event is April 24-26, and it’s on the West course.  It’s longer straight sections favor the higher horsepower cars, so be prepared to see some blistering lap times in the Thunder race group.  Grab some friends, pile into the car and make your way out to watch some racing!

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






29th Aug2014

NASA Utah Round 5: The Wells Report

by Michael Chandler

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Michael Wells returns with glorious photos from the entirety of the NASA Utah Round 5 weekend.  He, unlike myself, had two fully functional arms with which to drive and shoot with; and made use of his limbs by heading all over the track to grab the killer shots you see before you.  He also stuck around for the WERC endurance race and got some amazing pictures of that too.  Amazing pictures such as this:

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There are oh so many more in the gallery below.

Photos by Michael Wells, words by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Sep2013

NASA National Championships

by Michael Chandler

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NASA racers and support crew swarmed Miller Motorsports Park between the 4th and 8th of September for the NASA National Championships.  Every class of NASA sanctioned racer were out there, along with your humble reporter/photographer.  Well, the teams were there the whole time.  I, unfortunately, only made it out on Friday the 6th, but I brought you pictures!  And results!

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Us Against One Clothing printed up some stickers for the locals to run if they chose to.  The locals weren’t going to roll over and make it easy for the out of towners to win.

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The American Iron (AI), American Iron Extreme (AIX) and Camaro Mustang Challenge (CMC) guys were taking advantage of the Full Course layout by doing what Camaros and Mustangs do best: go fast in a straight line.  There were plenty of straights for them to wring their pony cars out.  The AI and AIX classes were dominated by Mustangs that made the trip to Miller Motorsports Park from as far away as Ohio!  But it wasn’t all Mustangs (well, the winners were all piloting Mustangs) or out of towners.

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Gary Free in his RaceCo prepped, South Towne Storage sponsored FR500S took fourth in AIX, besting two other competitors.  Corey Weber and Todd Davis brought out some classic American wheels to compete with.  Weber took fourth in AI while Davis took tenth.

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TTU, 1, and 2 were dominated by the home team.  Kyle Schick ran a blistering 1:55 to take TTU, while Shawn Murphy and his full interior STi took TT1 with a 2:03.  Smith-Burke Racing took TT2 by two tenths of a second!  Their 2:01.039 was just barely quick enough for the title, while Greg Valdez missed out on the podium by four tenths.  He still managed to out run a twin turbo 911 and a 911 GT3 by four and six seconds respectively.

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George Smith took the fight to the STR-1 crowd and emerged with the title in the JDP Motorsports/Smith Marketing Services C5 Corvette.  Corvettes appeared on the podium in ST2 (won by Smith-Burke Racing), ST3 and SU, with outright wins in ST2 and 3!

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SU field was the most exotic.  A pair of  prototype-esqe cars, a pair of Thunder Roadsters, a Viper, a Honda S2000 and a Corvette all vied for the title, but when the checkered flag dropped the #7 Elan DP02 of Jon Van Canegham emerged victorious.

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Also, the Brits were represented.

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Spec Miata was arguably the most action packed field.  Most of the packs were at least four cars deep, and dueling pairs of Miatas and lone Miatas were more the exception than the rule.  Blinkers were left on, doors were smashed, it was one of the more fun groups to see tear it up.  When the dust settled Matt Schultz climbed atop the podium.  He represents the NASA Northwest region.  The best the hometown crew could do was 13th (Chris Bond, 007).  Can’t win them all…

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If Spec Miata was the most action packed, most fun group to watch; then the GTS group was the prettiest.  Porsches and BMWs running hard lap after lap.  The sight was glorious, and the noise was epic!

Out of a possible twenty-eight championships, MMP locals took six.  Nearly one quarter of your NASA National Champions call Miller Motorsports Park home…  Well, not literally, but you get my drift.  The number could’ve been more just as easily as less.  Brendon Stewart’s Evo was still in pieces, Jason Smith sold his very quick Civic, Travis Williams’s FR500S was still down from the endurance race, and I’m not sure where Dave Dingman disappeared to.  Sally McNulty’s WRX was dealing with a bad head gasket, Jordan Priestly was doing support work for some of the drivers.  Those are six locals who could’ve competed for, if not taken a championship.  And we’ll just gloss over the Snows and John Potter, because we know how well they usually do.

The championship trophies may have been handed out, but the racing isn’t over for the season.  The final two events are in October: 4th-6th on the West track and 25th and 26th on the Outer Loop.  Still plenty of good times to be had, and for the TT guys, faster laps since it *should* be cooler out.

A full list of winners, placers, show-ers, just missed its and also rans can be found here.  BUT since you’re here, I present you with a list of the Champions, their class and their home region:

  • Alec Udell, American Iron, Texas
  • John Miksula, American Iron Extreme, Midwest
  • Aaron McSpadden, Camaro Mustang Challenge, Texas
  • Matt Schultz, Spec Miata, Northwest
  • David Schotz, TTB & C, Arizona
  • Sonny Watanasirisuk, TTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, TTE, Great Lakes
  • George Smith, STR1, Rocky Mountain
  • Michael von Quilich, Super Touring 1, California-Southern
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, Super Touring 2, Utah
  • Kenneth Smith, Super Touring 3, Great Lakes
  • Jon Van Caneghem, Super Unlimited, California-Southern
  • Tyler Palmer, 944 Spec, California-Southern
  • Dick Hunter, GTS2, Texas
  • Tony Colicchio, GTS3, California-Northern
  • Michael McAleenan, GTS4, Northwest
  • Peter Spencer, GTS5, Utah
  • David Schotz, PTB, Arizona
  • Dennis Holloway, PTC, California-Southern
  • Need Speed Orozco, PTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, PTE, Great Lakes
  • Walter Carlos, PTF, California-Southern
  • David Dirks, Spec Z, Rocky Mountain
  • Shawn Murphy, TT1, Utah
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, TT2, Utah
  • Christopher Mayfield, TT3, Rocky Mountain
  • Kyle Schick, TTU, Utah 

And there you have it.  See you in a a few weeks, and because I told them this is where to look, here’s a picture of this AIX Mustang:

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-Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

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