14th Oct2016

2016 TresDuro: Tres Means Three Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The 2016 NASA Utah season came to an end this past weekend.  I know, I’m sad too.  But instead of the usual, conventional, “one track configuration for the entire weekend” business that we’ve seen at every other weekend this year; Dave, Matt, and Momma NASA (Cheri Miller) had something special for the end of the year.  Instead of running the Outer Loop, or the East track, or even the Full track, they arranged it so the drivers could race on ALL THREE IN THE SAME DAY!!! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the TresDuro.

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IT’S BACK, BABY!  Just like last year, and the year before; BUT, unlike last year, they were blowing the dust off the gigantic Full track.  To the best of my knowledge, the last time the Full track was run was two years ago.  I should probably explain how one wins the TresDuro, since it has been a year.  It’s pretty simple for the race groups: you qualify once, and start the first race from that position.  Where you finished in that race is where you start the next race from.  Where you finish also gives you points.  Driver/team with the most points at the end of the third race wins.  For TT: they take your fastest times on each track, add them together, and person with the lowest overall time is the winner.  Got it?

It’s been a hot minute, but the drivers managed to drive the track without getting lost or forgetting which configuration they were driving!  However, the weekend wasn’t without incident.  That incident, while unfortunate, provides a convenient segue into the actual race coverage.

THUNDER

German Touring Series Unlimited

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Taking home the win in GTSU by a mere 5 points was Makes & Models, in their Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo 620-2.  Their main competition throughout the day was David Donner, in his Porsche 911GT3R.  You know, the other Effort Racing car that showed up at Air Power Racing at the beginning of this year.  David had the pace to run away with it, but a broken axle in race 2 served up the win to Makes & Models.  The TresDuro would hinge on the third and final race.  The Lamborghini was on the pole, and Les Long’s 997 Cup car was starting from second.  And then this happened.

This is video of the start of the third race, shot from Michael Eifling’s ST1 Corvette.  It was uploaded by Brendon Stewart, driver of the Makes & Models Huracan.  FULL DISCLOSURE: I’ve known Brendon for many years, long before he was working and driving for Makes & Models.  Makes & Models has been friendly with us, we have stickers on the Huracan and a few other Makes & Models cars.  That said, it’s pretty clear Les makes a move to the left to keep the Lamborghini behind him.  Then as the Lambo starts moving to his right and passing him, he moves to the right and pushes him West pit out.  The result of all of these moves was the Huracan spinning out in turn one, and having to rejoin at the back of the field.  Despite that, Brendon fought through the field and finished second.

 

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5 points behind Makes & Models was David Donner.  It’s been a few rounds since we’ve seen him at UMC, but he’s been spending that time wisely.  He’s very in tune with the 911 GT3R, and showed INSANE pace in the first race.  Good God was he flying!  David, I’m begging you!: come out for more races!  I’d love to see you, David Lockwood, Derek, and the DXDT guys have an all out death match (not really a battle to the death, but you know what I mean) one NASA weekend.  Do it for me, do it for the children, do it for America!  Or England if your James Burke.

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In third place, with 255 points, was Les Long.  He narrowly edged out David Lockwood for the final podium spot.  Les is a really good driver, but I’m not used to seeing him drive as aggressively as he did on Saturday.  From what I’ve seen over the years, he is most definitely not a dirty driver.  Just an aggressive driver, something we typically enjoy.  While he may be at fault for the incident at the beginning of the third race, I think he just got caught up in the heat of the moment.

Super Touring 1

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Being alone in a class has advantages sometimes, and Michael Eifling took full advantage of being the sole ST1 driver.  He took the fight to Robert Gardner, in the orange Jagermeister Porsche, and they had amazing battles all day long.  Good on ya Michael!  Thanks for not just turning laps, and taking the easy win.  Also, thank for bringing Buddha!

Super Touring 2

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ST2 started the day with two competitors: JR Smith in his Porsche Boxster, and Toby Crawford in his Subaru BRZ.  By the end of the first race, there was only one.  The head gaskets in Toby’s BRZ let go, allowing the man, the myth, the legend that is JR Smith to take the win.

Super Touring 3

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ST3 had a field of 5 cars: four of the Ford Performance Racing School BOSS 302 FRSes and the Minion mobile, the UAO Clothing M3.  I know I saw Alex in the car on Saturday, so I’m going to say it was he who won the shiny, not chocolate filled gold medal for ST3.  I’m sure I’ll hear about it if I’m wrong, but until then: congratulations Alex! UPDATE: Todd Ainsworth also drove on Saturday. Matt Guiver probably wasn’t in the car on Saturday, so we can rule him out.  So congratulations Todd and Alex on the win!

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In second place was Frank Gannett.  Frank the Tank has been pounding away in that Mustang, and doing a damn good job too.  Hopefully we see Frank in a different chassis next season, preferably one that doesn’t belong to the fine folks at the Ford Performance Racing School.

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Rounding out the podium was Josh Williams, in the #85 FPRS BOSS 302 FRS.  It’s in my favorite color, which makes it the best looking Mustang they have at the school.  Ask for it by name!

Super Unlimited

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Super Unlimited also had a five car field, but unlike the ST3 field there wasn’t a dominant model in the field.  There was; however, a dominant team: CA Sport.  They represented four of the five cars, the fifth being George Smith’s Corvette.  It was also a rather diverse field: the aforementioned Corvette, a PWC TC Class 370Z, a widebody E92 M3, and a pair of Cayman GT4 Clubsports.  It was one of those Caymans, the #41 driven by Andrew Smith, that took home the win.

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Chasing Andrew was Davis Warnock, in the #70 CA Sport Cayman GT4 Clubsport.  It was really fun watching these two cars duke it out for first place, and mix it up with some of the other classes.  And the new liveries look great.

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Locking out the podium for CA Sport was Lara Tallman in the 370Z.  Hey!  I just noticed that it has one blue mirror!  I like that.  And also congratulations to CA Sport for locking out the podium!  That quite the feat, especially considering who all could’ve run in the class and taken a spot on the podium.

And there you have it for Thunder!  Looking for Lightning or Time Trial?  I’ve got those in their own posts, so you don’t have a 3000+ word article to rifle through

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27th May2016

NASA Utah Round 3 Bonus Gallery

by Michael Chandler

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LOOK OVER THERE!

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A bunch of bonus images from the last NASA Utah round!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
15th Mar2016

Vesko Might Be Moving Up A Class

by Michael Chandler

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I say that, because he was running this all day on Saturday.  Listen, there’s nothing wrong with reckless speculation!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
15th Mar2016

Not So Super

by Michael Chandler

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Here we see the GTSU class UIS Porsche running down the Super Unlimited CA Sport 370Z.  I’m thinking that the Z isn’t as “super” as, say, George Smith’s Corvette or the Air Power 911 GT3R.  Or as unlimited as the UIS Porsche…

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
14th Mar2016

Can’t Argue With The View

by Michael Chandler

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Spent all Saturday at Utah Motorsports Campus for Round 1 of the 2016 NASA Utah season, and it was a blast!  I’m still working on the photos, but here’s one that best shows what you missed if you didn’t make it out.

*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.

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