02nd Feb2017

Double Pizza Double Feature: The CAMcast

by Michael Chandler

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the CAMcast!  This week we have the entire crew in for some of the episode, but we still bring some news, opinions, and an unhinged rant or two.  We talk everything from the Rolex 24 at Daytona to how we’d change and enforce emissions standards.  It’s quite the episode.

 

We’re on iTunes!

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
19th Aug2016

Weekend Wallpaper August 18

by Michael Chandler

PWC at GP of Utah GT wallpaper Sunday Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

It’s the weekend, all weekend long! And in honor of that, have yourself a brand-spankin-new wallpaper for your desk OR laptop.

But Mike!  What about my phone???  I need to have an awesome wallpaper for it!

Well guy, guess what?

PWC at GP of Utah Sprint X mobile wallpaper Sunday Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

BAM!  You know the deal, right click, save as, set as background, make co-workers (or employees at Best Buy or the Apple Store) weep with jealousy.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Jun2016

We’re Drifting TONIGHT!!!

by Michael Chandler

SCD August 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-46

YYYEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!  It’s finally happening!  From 5pm until midnight, see local heroes, Scoundrels, some Not Very Good guys, and whoever else shows up slide around the bowl at Rocky Mountain Raceways.  It’s gonna be a hell of a time, and you should come out to it.

SCD August 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-20

Originally I had planned on writing a long post about how you can’t set out to create an underground scene, and that something can’t be underground if you create a public Facebook event for it, then invite a ton of people to said “underground” event.  And I was going to say something about how the street scene, for better or worse, will never die.  And in a way, it shouldn’t.  I was also going to throw out a “Golden Ticket”, but I didn’t work out the logistics and I have a sneaking suspicion that whoever’s car wouldn’t pass tech.  Such is life in the mean streets.  But instead of an 800+ word column, you get this sub 300 word invite to come join us tonight!

SCD August 2 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-29

Who knows?  You might come away with an awesome prize!*  To review: Tonight, Rocky Mountain Raceways, 5PM until Midnight, in the oval.  Be there, you babies.

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

*You’re not getting a damn bumper, or any big car parts.

02nd Feb2016

Hot Rod Cadillac

by Michael Chandler

Ford GP of Utah Gavin Pouquette Photography CAMautoMag-8

Gavin Pouquette of the Gearless Podcast and Everyday Driver slums it tags along with us to some races here and there.  He’s a good egg with a good eye, and whips his Subaru like a sir

03rd Sep2015

Ford GP of Utah Day 2 Highlights

by Michael Chandler

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

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.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford Grand Prix of Utah day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-35 Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-30

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?

Pirelli World Challenge Ford Grand Prix of Utah day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-100

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.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-71 Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-73

 

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!

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-121

JD Davison…

 

 

 

 

!

 

 

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

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-156

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

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-162

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.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-134

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.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-142 Pirelli World Challenge Ford Grand Prix of Utah day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-16 Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-169

 

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.

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-241 Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-225 Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-232

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:

Pirelli World Challenge Ford Grand Prix of Utah day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

 

To this:

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-53

Then see the drivers up close:

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-89

And sometimes personal:

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-97

Before they grid up and take the green flag?:

Pirelli World Challenge Ford GP of Utah Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-119

 

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.

 

15th Apr2015

Mystery Mobiles!

by Michael Chandler

11068392_618395380414_8805210241659943961_n

Greg Valdez spotted these camouflaged cars up in Park City today.  He was just as puzzled as we were, so we put the question of “What are we looking at?” to the people.  Being the humble media outlet we are, we ran it by someone at a slightly larger outfit.

A new Volt running around Park City?  Color us intrigued!  But then Mike Mcgrath, the features editor at Edmunds, chimed in  


Interdasting…  Do we have a camouflaged CT6 plug in hybrid testing alongside a Volt on a wintry spring day?  Is it a CT6 and an ELR?  More importantly, why are they at an Allstate office?  You have any insight on this?  Comment away and enlighten us

18th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 2

by Michael Chandler

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 NASCAR Pro Series K&N West Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 35)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

No time for pleasantries, let’s get right to it! The day opened up with the second Touring Car class race of the weekend, and while nobody attempted to climb over anybody else there was still some close racing.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 33) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 33)

Nathan Stacy came into the Black Rock hairpin too hot in the #14 TSG/Ford Racing Motorsports Development Group Ford Fiesta, opening the door for Brian Price to drive the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit right on through.  Unfortunately their battle was for third place, Johan Schwartz used the Schwartz to put his Garrett Racing/Drive4Diabetes Honda fit on top of the podium, with Andrei Kisel in the #57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com Mini Cooper taking home second place.  Despite his third place finish, Brian Price took home the Driver’s Championship for the B Spec Class!

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (32 of 33) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (21 of 33)

TCA was an in house battle, with Jason Wolfe and Nik Jonsson battling for the class win.  Jason Wolfe in the #36 Wolfe Trucking/Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup squeaked out a first place finish over Nik Jonsson in the #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  The margin of victory was .003 seconds!  Rounding out the podium was Jason Cherry in the Autism Society of America/Avpro Jets/Purposeful Architecture Shea Racing Mazda MX-5 Miata.  Jason Wolfe’s narrowest of narrow victories cemented his Driver’s Championship.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (25 of 33) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (29 of 33) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (26 of 33)Utah Grand Prix Day 2 TC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (28 of 33)

Touring Car wasn’t nearly as hotly contested as TCA and B Spec was, but that’s not to say it was completely devoid of action.  Steven Doherty in the #94 Skullcandy/Nissan/GT Academy Altima Coupe fired off a 1:38.411 lap on his way to victory, which was better than the existing track record!  No slouch himself, Michael Pettiford in the #41 Go4It Racing Schools/ Hawk Brakes Pontiac Solstice turned a 1:38.693 lap; however, he could not overcome the lead Doherty had.  Fred Emich, #30 Emich Racing/Emich Volkswagen Jetta GLI had the same problem of an insurmountable lead, but he still parked the Jetta on the podium.  The 4th place finisher would end up taking home the Driver’s Championship: Michael DiMeo in the #71 Grand Alarms/Compass 360 Racing/Children’s Tumor Foundation Honda Civic Si.

The Touring Car classes in World Challenge didn’t garner as large of crowds as the GT classes did, and that’s a bit of a shame in my opinion.  Sure the cars aren’t as fast or as flashy, but the racing is just as good, and just as competitive as it is in the senior circuit.  If you ever get the chance: find a good seat, settle in and watch the entire field go nose to tail and try to get around each other.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (14 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (31 of 35)

Next on the docket was the Miller GT Challenge group.  The twenty car field consisted of eight of your favorite locals in the title class, nine United States Touring Car Championship drivers, and three USTCC GT drivers.  In the UTSCC field it was a battle of BMWs, with Jason Alexandridis in the #22 Perfromance Technic M3 beating out another M3, this being the #12 of Beau Borders, for the class win.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (34 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (15 of 35)

In the GT field it was two manufacturers vying for the win.  Unfortunately the #34 GoGoGear.com BMW of Larry Bani retired, relegating him to third place.  Finishing ahead of him was the #16 Red Star Racing BMW of Daniel Akhromstev.  Sitting atop the heap was the #98 Honda S2000 of Andrie Hartanta.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (26 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 35)

And finally in Miller GT we saw a three way battle for first place.  Derek Wolthoff in the #08 Makes And Models/TW Racing Audi R8 LMS battled Cindi Lux in the #5 Lux Performance Dodge Viper SRT and Cole Powelson in the #23 AMS Performance/OS Giken/RaceCo Nissan GTR.  The battle raged for twenty-five laps, but nearing the end of the race a piece of the GTR’s under tray came loose and caused them to fall off the pace.  Cindi and Derrick continued the fight, but by the time the checkered flag came down it was Derrick who was in front by 4.7 seconds.

On a side note: Cole Powelson has been a friend of the site’s for many years.  Today he announced that he would be leaving his position at RaceCo to create a new opportunity for himself in motorsports.  All of us here wish him the best of luck going forward, and we can’t wait to see what he ends up doing.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (68 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (86 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (19 of 117)

On to the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS race, where championships were on the line!  Well, at least in GTA and GTS, the latter of which is where we begin.  Lawson Aschenbach in the #1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 needed to hold off Jack Baldwin and Mark Wilkins to claim his Driver’s title.  Fortunately for Lawson, and unfortunately for Mark, the prior race’s incident between the Kias left Mark looking up from third place in the standings, and 17th in the race.  Drew Regitz, #02 TRG-AMR Aston Martin GT4, battled with Lawson all race long, but Lawson pulled eeked out a .461 second lead by the drop of the checkered.  Jack Baldwin, in the #73 RESET-MD/GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S took the class win by nearly a second over Lawson, but the win was not enough for Jack to claim the Driver’s Championship from Lawson.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (101 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 117)

Less than 100 points separated the contenders for the GTA Driver’s championship, and Michael Mills (#41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R) secured his championship with his hard fought third place finish in the race.  Marcelo Hahn in the #0 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 narrowly took second place in the race behind the #54 Black River Caviar/Black Swan Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Tim Pappas. It was Pappas who ran away from the field, and finished with a three second finish over Hahn.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (95 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (22 of 117)

The GT class featured a podium completely devoid of Driver’s Championship contenders.  Andy Pilgrim, #8 Cadillac Racing CST-V.R, would finish fourth in the driver’s standings but his third place finish in the race secured Cadillac’s Manufacturer’s Title over Audi.  The top of the podium was decided by less than 1/4 of a second.  Robert Thorne in the #6 K-PAX Racing Mclaren MP4-12C GT3 traded blows with Ryan Dalziel in the #31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3R, but managed to hold off the Porsche at the line.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (82 of 117) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 World Challenge GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (106 of 117)

The real battle to watch was further down the pack.  The fight for positions 6-7-8 featured your top three Driver’s Championship contenders.  Unfortunately, the incident at the beginning of the previous day’s race that left Skeen with a broken axle pretty much secured the title for Johnny O’Connell and his #3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R.  Second place in the championship was still up for grabs, and Anthony Lazarro battled Mike Skeen tooth and nail for it.  Unfortunately for Anthony and the crew of the #61 R.Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, Mike knew the score.  His 23rd place finish the race before narrowed the gap between himself and Lazarro, so he had to outright beat him in the race or at the very least keep him close.  The Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra ran well, but not well enough to keep the Ferrari behind it.  The 3.2 second gap, at first glance, would seem to vault Lazarro into second place; however,  Skeen only finished two places behind him.  The gap was not enough, and Mike Skeen maintained his second place.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 NASCAR Pro Series K&N West Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 NASCAR Pro Series K&N West Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (32 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 NASCAR Pro Series K&N West Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 35)

Finally on the day was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.  The Home Tracks series are the entry level series in the NASCAR system.  Do well enough there, and the potential to move into the Camping World Truck Series arises.  From there it’s Nationwide series, and finally the Sprint Cup.  Could one of these drivers be the next rising star? Who knows, but your third place finisher is the series’s Rookie of the Year.  James Bickford put the #6 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford on the podium and secured the ROTY honors.  Second place belonged to Bickford’s teammate Dylan Lupton in the #9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford.  Taking home the win was David Mayhew in the #17 MMI  Services/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet.  Two races are left in the season, and Lupton is withing striking distance of Driver’s Points leader Greg Pursley.

And so that ends our weekend at the Grand Prix.  It was quite the two days.  Below are galleries with far more photos in them, neatly divided up into their respective series.  We hope to see you again at next year’s Utah Grand Prix, or at the very least on the 27th of September for NASA Utah Round 6.

Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCA/TCB

Miller GT/USTCC

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

 

 

16th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 1

by Michael Chandler

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (11 of 189)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

When Miller Motorsports Park released their 2014 schedule many, many months ago, I saw the Utah Grand Prix in September.  You remember Trent went to it years ago and got some very cool shots.  Well, now was my turn.  So I put in my application for credentials a few months in advance… And was told by John Gardener, the Marketing Communications Manager at Miller Motorsports Park, that I needed to resubmit them when the event was about a month out and that I wouldn’t have any issues getting credentials.  So I waited some more, resubmitted and was granted them!  I was going to my first big boy event, where there would be very serious photographers and big name manufacturers.  The scale of the event didn’t really hit me until the night before, when I felt like a very small fish in a very large pond.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and side tracked.  First, let’s talk about exactly what the Utah Grand Prix is.  This year there was NASCAR K&N West Series racing (which you’ll see in part two of this), Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy racing (All Porsche 911s, all of the time), Miller GT and United States Touring Car Championship (Your local favorites and the USTCC field running all at once), and finally Pirelli World Challenge Championship racing.  AKA SCCA World Challenge, this is the other big sports car racing series in the US.  This event was also a make up for the rained out opening round, and the season finale!  Championships were on the line!  And for those staring blankly at the screen, wondering what World Challenge is, here’s a break down:

GT/GTA/GTS

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (170 of 189)

Ahh, Grand Touring.  The Gentlemanly auto racers.  Actually, it’s mostly sports cars of varying degrees.  As we reported, World Challenge will let you run FIA GT3 spec cars in GT and GTA, which is why you see the Bentley Continental GT3 bearing down on the GTS class Kia Optima.  GT and GTA is the home of the GT3 cars (Continental GT3, McLaren MP4-12C GT3, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, etc) along with Cadillac CTS-V.Rs, the Acura TLX GT (which was wrecked in the previous race and wasn’t repaired in time for this one), and in genreral cars that were too much for GTS (Alex Loyd’s Corvette and Louis-Phillip Montour’s Dodge Viper).  GTS is home to more pedestrian entries, if you want to call them that.  Mustang Boss 302S’s, Nissan 370Zs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Porsche Caymans represent the majority of the field.  Also running in the class are the Kia Optimas and Aston Martin GT4s, with the Kias competing for the Manufacturer’s Title in class.

TC/TCA/TCB

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (21 of 189)

TC is short for Touring Car, and if you’ve ever watched any of European Touring Car series then you know how wild the econo boxes can be!  Sorry, sport “sedans”; although, as you can see the Skullcandy Altima is a coupe.  That’s neither here nor there.  TC and TCA is populated by small displacement rear wheel drive cars, like the Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe and the venerable Mazda MX-5 Miata, and front wheel drive cars like Civic Si’s, Altimas and Jetta GLIs.  TCB is the land of the little B Spec cars, Honda Fits, Mini Coopers and Fiat 500s.  Armed with this knowledge, lets get on with this story.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (12 of 189)

I had to be at the track early.  Not pre-dawn early, but early for someone who is usually ready to face the day at the crack of noon.  I arrived, got my wrist band and found a seat in the media center.  I chatted with Michael Wells, and finally met Chance Hales.  After the meeting, Chance, myself and Shawn Pierce, who shoots for NoBraking.com, piled in to my Subaru and made our way to some corners for the practice sessions of GT/A/S TC/A/B and Miller GT.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (17 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (24 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (54 of 189)

By lunch we made our way half way around the track.  We formed a plan for the qualifying sessions and races, and made our way to the paddock.  I dropped them at the Media Center and made my way to RaceCo to chat with Cole Powelson and Kyle Schick, and meet up with Derrick Wolthoff of Makes and Models and TW Racing.  On the way I ran into George Smith, and asked him why he suddenly disappeared from the Miller GT session.  The crank sensor in his Corvette failed, and it was an all hands on deck effort to replace it.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (60 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (61 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (66 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (69 of 189)

Eventually I made it to the Makes and Models garage just in time to tag along with Derrick to talk about getting some fuel from some people.  Those people happened to be Audi Customer Support Racing, Global Motorsports Group and Mike Skeen who was #2 in GT Driver’s championship.  While Derrick was conducting business, I wandered about the paddock and got some photos.  I would’ve stayed for more photos, but the next session was coming up quick so I had to get my car and grab Chance and Shawn.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (64 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (70 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (71 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (73 of 189)

Not without getting a little sidetracked though.  The Black Swan Racing SLS AMG GT3 is the most gorgeous car in the field, hands down.  And the KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3s have names: Reginald and Edward.  Why they’re named that is beyond me, but it led me to thinking of names for the Cadillacs and the Bentleys.  The Caddys are George and James, while the Bentleys are Lord Percival Umberbottom and Duke Albert Thistleton IV.  I didn’t ask either team if they would consider naming or changing the names of their cars, but I think Cadillac would’ve been a bit more receptive to the idea.

Anyway, Chance and Shawn decided they wanted to skip the next session, and go grab some food.  I agreed with this, and off we went.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (77 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (81 of 189)

After lunch we made our way to Witchcraft and The Attitudes for the Pirelli GT3 Cup race, which had a healthy amount of local Drivers in it who had quite a showing.  David Donner, Alan and Desire Wilson, John Scarlett, Les Long and Darrell Troester all demonstrated what is meant by a home field advantage.  We stayed in the attitudes for the World Challenge GT qualifier, before making our way down to turn one for the start of the TC race.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (100 of 189)

And what a start it was! In the opening lap Paul Holton in the #65 Shea Racing Honda Fit collided with, and almost drove over top of, the #58 Racing.ca Mini Cooper of Glenn Nixon.  Somehow Holton’s Fit was able to continue with the race.  The same could not be said for Nixon’s Mini.  Both drivers received Driver Conduct penalties, $1000 fines and lost 20 points each.  Holton finished 9th in class, and 22nd overall while Brian Price in the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit finished first in TCB.  Adam Poland in the Eastex Motorsports MX-5 Miata took the TC class win, and Nic Jonsson took the TCA win in Russell Smith’s #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  After the track was cleaned up, it was time for the GT race.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (132 of 189)

Before I tell you about the race itself, I need to tell you something we were told in the media meeting.  We were told we couldn’t be on the pit wall for the beginning of the GT race.  Why? World Challenge does a standing start, like Formula 1 does.  Most of the time, this isn’t an issue but lately drivers stalling on the start has been a problem.  When a driver stalls, and is in the middle or front of the grid, everyone behind him has to take evasive maneuvers.  Sometimes these maneuvers result in collisions, which can send pieces of the cars flying.  So for our safety, we weren’t allowed on the pit wall for the start of the race.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (131 of 189)

This was a good thing, because guess what happened.  The GTS Kias got into each other, and Mike Skeen broke an axle in his Audi R8 LMS Ultra.  Mike made it off track under his own power, but the Kias had to be towed off.  This immediately brought out the yellow flag and the safety car.  Since this was a timed race, some of the other photographers began getting worried/annoyed, which led me to cracking off a one liner.  It was not well received.  Anyway, the Kias were finally removed, and the green flag flew again.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (136 of 189)

After watching the calamity of turn one iron itself out (everyone is trying to get around everyone else.  Remember the incident between the Fit and the Mini?), we made our way over to the Clubhouse to grab some photos of the final three turns, where more calamity ensued.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (142 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (143 of 189)

An incident occurred as soon as we got to Clubhouse turn.  The #6 KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C of Robert Thorne got into the back of the #96 Capaldi Racing/Dat Dog Ford Mustang Boss 302S of Brad Adams, causing both cars to spin out right in front of the massive and massively fast Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3s and Cadillac Racing CTS-V.Rs.  Thankfully nobody else was involved in the spin.

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (171 of 189) Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (184 of 189)

With Mike Skeen’s race over before it began the battle for the podium came down to two iconic luxury marques: Bentley and Cadillac.  Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim battled the Bentleys of Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger for two of the top three spots.  When the dust settled, Guy Smith was atop the podium.  His Continental beat out O’Connell’s CTS-V.R by 3.47 seconds for the top spot.  It was very nearly a 1-2 finish for the Brits, but Johnny held Leitzinger off by less than 1/10 of a second!

Utah Grand Prix Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (139 of 189)

Michael Mills in the #41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R took the GTA class win, and without the class leading Kias in his way or Driver’s Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach’s Black Dog Speed Shop Camaro ZL1 to worry about Nick Esayian cruised to victory in GTS in his TRG-AMR North America Natural Cures Aston Martin GT4.

And that wraps up the first of two days I spent at the Utah Grand Prix.  Stay tuned for Day 2, which held the Pirelli World Challenge final races, the Miller GT race, and the NASCAR K&N West Series race!  Below are a few galleries, neatly organized by series.

World Challenge GT/A/S

World Challenge TC/A/B

Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy

Miller GT

 

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

 

30th Dec2010

CAM Cars of the Year – 2010

by Trent

Here it is, our list of the greatest cars of 2010 and some honorable mentions. Read More…Mustang 5.0 (more…)