25th Aug2017

The Driving Experience: Parker and the GTR

by Michael Chandler

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The Nissan GTR hit the US market when Gavin was fifteen years old, and he’s been a fan ever since. On this episode of The Driving Experience, Gavin takes fifteen year old GTR fan Parker up East Canyon, so Parker can meet his hero.

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19th Feb2016

Go Forth Into The Weekend!

by Michael Chandler

AE 33 GTR PWC MMP 2015  Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Sep2015

Ford GP of Utah Day 2 Highlights

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It was a nice morning at Miller Motorsports Park.  The paddock was buzzing with activity as drivers were preparing to go out on track, and crews were readying the cars.  The first group out were the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy, which featured a couple of locals.

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Both Desire Wilson and John Scarlett were driving out of the Air Power Racing garage, and both did well on the weekend.  Desire finished first in Platinum on both days, and John took home first in Platinum Masters on Saturday and second on Sunday.  For those keeping track, with their wins that makes a total of 6 wins for MMP locals!  Could Vesko do some upsetting in GTS and make it 7?

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Unfortunately no.  Vesko did wind up in second though, behind one Mr. Michael Cooper in his Blackdog Speedshop Z/28 Camaro.  With his win on Sunday, and with Andrew Aquilante’s 12th and 10th pllace finishes in the weekend’s events, pushed him to a 107 point lead in the driver’s championship standings.  Seeing a black and red Camaro cross the line 1st at the Ford GP of Utah gave me a feeling of deja vu.

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The two cars involved in the big incidents on Saturday, the Swisher Z4 GT3 and the iRacerCoaching.com R8 LMS Ultra of Drew Regitz, were back and ready to go for the final GT/GTA/GT Cup race of the weekend.  And things were different up top!

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JD Davison…

 

 

 

 

!

 

 

Collected his second second place finish of the weekend.  Guy Smith on the other hand…

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Yes, a previous winner at Miller in the Continental GT3 swooped in, and finished in third.  Third!

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But our guy Johnny took first.  Again.  See, the top spots were different because Guy… I’m not gonna spoon feed you on this one.  Now, to address the fellow with the dog.

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That fellow is Colin Thompson, driver of the #11 Porsche Bucks County/Penn Valley 911 GT3 Cup.  The dog is his dog, which made the trip out from Pennsylvania to watch his owner claim the win in the GT Cup category, and join him in celebrating the win on pit lane.  I forgot the dog’s name, but he was super chill.

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GTA Shook out with a pair of SLS GT3s in the top two podium places, and a Ferrari on the last spot.  Frank Montecalvo in the Bayshore Racing SLS crossed the line first, with Eric Lux’s Rembrandt Charms/Monticello Motor Club SLS following behind.  Eric’s journey to second in class wasn’t easy.  Martin Fuentes in the Scuderia Corsa/Hublot/Samsung Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia kept Eric in his mirrors most of the race, but Eric fought and got around Martin to take home second.

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And there we have it, another amazing World Challenge event in the books.  Opportunities to see cars, drivers and racing like this don’t come up too often, especially in our neck of the woods.  Watching the GT, GTA, GT Cup and GTS cars stretch their legs on the massive front straight, and blast through the high speed corners, then seeing the Touring Cars bang around the track and hit the kerbing and getting air under the tires all in the same day is one of the best ways to spend any day.  With the news that Miller Motorsports Park will become the Utah Motorsports Campus, and that the new ownership is just as excited to keep the racing going at the track, we’re hoping to see more Pirelli World Challenge events at our home track in the coming years.  And we’re hoping to see more of you guys out there too!  Seriously, where can you go from seeing this:

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To this:

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Then see the drivers up close:

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And sometimes personal:

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Before they grid up and take the green flag?:

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Not a whole lot of events are this open to their fans, and feature this diverse a line up.  If you get a chance to, come to the track and spend the weekend watching high caliber racing!

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

 

01st Sep2015

Ford GP of Utah Day 1 Highlights

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

And now to the highlights from Saturday’s races.  We’ll start with GT, where Johnny O’Connell (man of the people) took his ATSV.R GT3 wire to wire, holding off both of the Nissan GTR GT3s for the win.  Coming in second was JD Davison in the #33 Always Evolving GTR, and in third was Bryan Hoikotter.  Hoikotter is a graduate of the Nissan GT Academy, you know, the thing where hot shoe Gran Turismo players have a chance to become hot shoe race car drivers.  GT Academy drivers have done reasonably well, Hoikotter himself is sitting in third in the driver’s championship at the moment.

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Back to Johnny for a minute.  He’s been on a bit of a dry spell since Canada.  He’s finished in the top ten at the last two stops (Mid-Ohio and Road America), but hasn’t been on the podium since returning from the Great White North.  Not only did he break that four race winless streak, he also set a new track record in the process!  Always good seeing a driver as skilled as Johnny wringing the most out of a new chassis.

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Last year the fans at Miller missed out on seeing the Realtime Racing Acura TLX-GTs.  This year the fans got to see World Challenge legend Peter Cunningham and the people’s champ Ryan Eversley hustle the Acuras around the warm, dusty track.  When the checkered flag flew, Peter held of the Bentley of Guy Smith for 8th and Ryan kept Olivier Beretta (currently second in GT Driver’s standings) behind him for 11th.  I was excited to see the Acuras, and to finally see Ryan drive in person.  He’s a good dude.

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Mark Wilkins, Canadian driver of the Korean sedan making this possibly the most international entry of the weekend, went wire to wire and collected a win in GTS.  The GT/GTA/GT Cup drivers were a little more cautious around the kerbing on the Attitudes, but the GTS guys were more than willing to hit them like they owed them money.  The only people who hit them harder might have been the TC/TCA/TCB guys.  Now, this is where I make a segue…

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Vesko Kozarov, Salt Lake’s own, drove the Skullcandy/Stance Nissan 370Z to a third place finish.  Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right?  Local guy, on his home track, in a car he’s very familiar with, finishes on the podium.  If that were it, this wouldn’t be much of a story.  More of a footnote really.  However, that third place finish is made all the more impressive because…

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He was also cleaning up in TC!  By Saturday he had already won the first of three Touring Car races of the weekend, and by the end of the day he had collected his second win in the Skullcandy Nissan Altima.  The GTS and second TC/TCA/TCB races were back to back!  That means he drove to third in GTS, took the car back to his spot in the paddock, jumped in the Altima, made it over to pre-grid, then lined up in 8th and drove like a madman to win.  That is my highlight of the weekend: Vesko finishing on the podium in back to back races in two different classes.

Tomorrow we return with more eye candy from the weekend, with more highlights coming on Thursday.  Were you at the Pirelli World Challenge Ford Grand Prix of Utah?  What was your highlight from the weekend?  Share it with us!  Drop it in the comments!  Or post a picture you creeped of me shooting photos.  Either or.

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