05th Feb2016

The Bathurst 12 Hour Starts Tomorrow!

by Michael Chandler

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

Do you want to see a house that thinks it’s a car tackle one of the most treacherous tracks in the world?  OF COURSE YOU DO!  Go to the live stream at 6:30PM and watch the driving ensue!

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.