03rd Nov2015

SEMA 2015 Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Nicholas Cherpeski

The show is officially open!  We braved the crowds to bring you a ton of photos, including the new Ford GT race car and the first Fiesta RS in the country!  Check them out below

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
06th Oct2015

NASA Utah Round 7 SATURDAY BONUS GALLERY!!!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photo by Michael Wells, MCWells Photography

Michael Wells was at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, while I was yelling at the underside of my car.  Because he’s a great guy, he sent us some photos to share with you guys!  Check them out!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Sep2015

Top of the Line Imports Show and Shine

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

We covered a Top of the Line Imports meet last year, and it was a good time.  People go the extra mile to get their car ready for the meet and, for most, it showed.  This year’s meet was no different.

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This thing really stood out to me.  It’s a Volvo C30 on air!  The C30’s are already handsome little moosen, but put some good looking wheels on one and bag it and it becomes something else entirely.

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All the cool kids are bagging their cars, and most of them are not afraid of showing off their tanks and compressors.  I saw a lot of people who ditched the carpet in the trunk in favor of some hardwood.  Nobody had any parquet though…

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Someone went down their own path with the “hardwood” idea.  Good for you hockey enthusiast, good on you.

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One person decided to buck convention, and not mount their tank on the trunk floor.

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More modern cars made up the majority of the vehicles, but some classics came out.  This ’28 Ford Model A, complete with a stained glass rear window.

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And there was a Volkswagen Type 181, the Kurierwagen, lovingly known here as The Thing!  It was surfed out, complete with a short board sticking out the back.

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And in the shadow of another classic, stood the penultimate piece of classic JDM goodness.

Summer is officially over, that doesn’t mean the meets are; however, bigger meets with hundreds of cars and DJs and pizzas are.  But you can bask in the glow of the pictures on your screen and reminisce about the good times.

 

 

08th Jun2015

RallySport Direct Eat, Greet and Meet… Meet

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What started as a humble swap meet, hosted by a humble online retailer, has grown into a sizable meet at the physical home of a porperly big online retailer.  Thankfully, RallySport Direct maintains the feel of a shop run by a bunch of your friends and they have dropped the whole swap thing from their annual meet.

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And thankfully their neighbors are ok with having the meet attendees borrow their parking lots.  I wound up in one of these parking lots, and after receiving some puzzled looks from some mark 4 Supra owners (I’ll have some thoughts on that in a later column), I grabbed my friends Bobby and Brad and we wandered through the meet.

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One of the first cars we came across was Alex Prasop’s Honda Del Sol.  He’s had this car forever, and he’s put hours and hours of work into this.  Some people may look down their nose at a humble little Honda, but a lot of those people are the kind of folk who will create a scenario to show off their friends’ high dollar cars and act offended when people call them a WASPy a**hole.

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While most people are content with bolting on overfenders or flares, Alex was not.  He made his own fenders, along with doing his own engine swap and shaving and wire tucking his engine bay.  If I were given the choice between this, a well worn Honda built by an owner who is very passionate about his car or a new AMG Merc built by someone with more money than taste, who only cares that his car is cost prohibitive to most enthusiasts, I’d take the Honda.

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That said, I wouldn’t say no to a 911 or a Gallardo.  A classic 911 or a loud, brash Lamborghini are always head turners, and seeing them come out to a meet and them being driven by cool people (especially the 911, thanks for holding up for some pictures!) makes them even better.

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RallySport made their name slinging Subaru parts, and if you’re in need of some I recommend pointing your internet their way.  That being said, most people lower their Subarus and do their best to keep them clean.  Not these guys.  They’ve lifted them, put on massive offroad tires, added offroad lights, and the Legacy even added a snorkel.  These cars aren’t parking lot queens, or track day terrors.  They’re ready to get dirty, and stay dirty.

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The Subarus weren’t the only ones in the dirt game.  They were accompanied by this 4WD Civic Wagovan!  Underneath all that glorious mud was some red paint, but it didn’t look bad covered in Earth tones.

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In the same lot as the dirt crew was this bagged Mustang GT.  Not something you see everyday, especially around here, but a lot of the new muscle cars look great when they’re on the ground.  Bagging these big pony cars is something that needs to be done more, and this guy needs to drop us a line because I want to know more.

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Over in the feature lot, or at least the lot closest to RallySport Direct itself, was this 4 door R32 Skyline sitting on a staggered set of Super Advans.  If you look closely, you’ll see that there isn’t an RB under the hood.  Nope! It’s an SR20!  Too many doors, not enough cylinders, and all sorts of awesome!  Sign me up, I’ll take two.

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Next to my new favorite Skyline (sorry Brody), was another SR20 powered oddity: JR Crosby’s Lotus Super7.  I’ve seen theis car a few times over the years, and I still can’t get over the looks of the Ur-kit car.

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As long as I’ve been aware of the car it’s always been orange, and it’s always had that SR.  The Shelby wheels are new, as are the Nankang tires (which is obvious just looking at them).  Despite being insanely easy to look into the cockpit, I’ve never done so.  So, I did.  The well worn Start button tells you that this car has seen its fair share of road time.  The gauges are laid out in a very sensible fashion, the tachometer and speedometer are right above the steering column, with oil pressure and temperature, water temperature in a row to the right of them.  Below that trio is the wideband and the boost gauge.  It’s sparse, but utilitarian, probably something Colin Chapman would approve of.

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Lyfe Motorsports brought out pretty much everything except the GTR they’re prepping for World Time Attack; which, if you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, is a bare shell that doesn’t have a roof.

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They did bring out their other GTR, the one that has been dominating Global Time Attack and will be racing to the clouds at Pike’s Peak later this month.  This 1000+ horsepower beast is all business, and, as you can clearly see, they associate with only the best of companies.

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And then there’s this yahoo…

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The Brett King Design livery looks good on his still full interior TT1 car.  Yeah, full interior.  Headliner and all.  He drives this thing to work in Wyoming, because why not?

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While people were fawning over the turbocharged V6 in the Lyfe GTR, the old guard of turbo V6s rolled through.  A pair of Buick Grand Nationals came through and turned all the heads.  Seeing one at an event like this (something import heavy) is awesome, a pair is mind blowing.

This is always a great event, it’s well run and they bring out a lot of representatives of the part manufacturers they sell, and they give away a lot of awesome stuff too.  We’re looking forward to next year, as we always are.

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

 

 

 

27th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 3: Fetch Thine Umbrellas!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Michael Wells

The unusually wet spring Utah has been experiencing has meant that there were two consecutive rain soaked round of the NASA Utah season for the first time in…  Well, ever.  Mercifully the rain wasn’t as heavy as the second round, and it had let up by Sunday.  So without further ado, let’s get to the winners!

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman led the suddenly surging Spec Miata field to a win on Saturday, and Daniel Williams kept fighting the good fight and took advantage of the sunny Sunday weather to win on Sunday.  Will he sell on Monday?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I doubt he’ll be letting go of his silver NB.

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Spec Z on Saturday was wild.  Tom Kaminski was chasing the eventual class leader Arthur Golebiowski like a man possessed.  He was coming around Clubhouse Turn at full opposite lock, which probably didn’t help close the gap but it looked very cool.  Meanwhile, Kyle Schick (6th in class) had another scary moment in Clubhouse.  He spun out, but managed to slide off the racing line.

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As mentioned earlier, Arthur Golebiowski took the win on Saturday and the #98 of Team Askew Motorsports ran a tight race and took home their first win of the season on Sunday!

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Bill Noblitt battled Gus Stribakos in GTS3, and took the win in his mid-engined Porsche on both days.  Say what you will about the Boxster, but that car in the right hands can do some pretty awesome things.

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Paul Mitchell, guided by the steady hand of Todd Green, navigated the rain and took the win in PTE on Saturday.  Paul wasn’t done for the weekend, but he was done in PTE.  GTS2 had a competitor on Sunday: the Team CA Sport BMW 3 Series.  We need more lots of things out on track, and E36s are one of them.

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While we’re all familiar with Todd Ainsworth’s new ST3 E36 M3, we’re not familiar with the red E36 M3 pictured above (but below Todd’s).  Turns out the red car is driven by one of our favorite Corvette drivers: George Smith.  Where is the Vette?  Beats me, I didn’t see much of George so I couldn’t ask him but it spent the weekend running around in ST2.  There it ran into something the engineers who created the M3 never imagined it would be competing against: a pickup truck.

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Mike Mielke can wheel in that truck!  Hopefully this season we’ll see some epic, and frankly strange, battles between the super truck and George’s new M3.  Because who hasn’t wanted to see that?

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Travis Tidball got himself a wing to go along with his fancy new (for this season) bodywork!  He also got himself a pair of wins out of the weekend.  The car was back on the dyno at JDP Motorsports to verify its power-to-weight ratio after some questions were raised during the weekend.  The results?  The car is ST3 legal.  The C5 Corvette: ruining people’s race weekends since 2001!

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A big surprise was seeing Brent Holden running in with the NASA Utah guys and gals instead of with the Pirelli World Challenge crew up in Canada.  No matter, he had an impressive showing in his Global Motorsports Group Audi R8 LMS Ultra and took wins in the Super Unlimited class on both days.

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On Sunday he battled the TW Racing R8 LMS, and you know what?  The older LMS got around the Ultra!  It was an amazing battle to watch!  However, an untimely penalty forced the TW Racing R8 into the pits to serve out its penalty and cut the fight short.  How did the GTSU class R8 fare in it’s class?

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Not well, unfortunately.  The 911 GT3 Cup cars of Alan Wilson and Les Long took the wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  The Air Power Racing prepped Porsche of Les Long is currently tied for first in the season’s points race with the TW Racing Audi.  How will this back and forth battle play out?  Hopefully we’ll see more tight battles between the two as the season plays out.

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More Porsches battled in GTS5.  On Saturday David Lockwood notched another win for the Air Power Racing camp, while Darrell Troester picked up a win for himself and Tatum Racing on Sunday.

Have I told you that I really like the E90 3 series?  Because I like the E90s, especially in race trim.  Conveniently, Byron Smith drives a race prepped E90 AND he won the GTS4 class.  That confluence of events allowed me to express my opinion on the E90.  Moving on…

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TT1 is being dominated by Subarus.  On Saturday, Shawn Murphy in the Lyfe Motorsports STi took the win over Ziptie Dynowerks STi of Greg Valdez by less than a second.  On Sunday the roles were reversed and Greg beat out Shawn, but the margin of victory was smaller: only .33 seconds separated the two!

TT2 is ruled by the iron fist of Robert Rathbone, and his authority is enforced by his 911 GT3.  All those who oppose him will be laid to WASTE!!!  Well, not really… at all.  He is currently running away with the TT2 championship.

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Alex Whetman is a bad, bad man in a bad, bad Focus.  He took TT3 on both days, earning his 4th and 5th wins on the season. He also had the fastest TT times of the weekend.  Not just TT3, ALL of TT.  By the way, buy the shirt.

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In the sea of FRS’s and BRZs, what rises to the top?  A Honda S2000.  Dave Wann took TTB  on both days, and is right in the thick of things in the class.  We don’t have a shirt to promote here, or anything really.

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Paul Mitchell ladies and gentlemen!  The intrepid Miata won TTE on the weekend, but that’s not the story here.

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Jeb Brown and Ben Lamberson are continuing their battle from last season, with Jeb currently leading Ben by a mere 70 points.  Was this little update necessary?  Eh, probably not.  But would you look at that picture!

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Fresh off their win at Global Time Attack, Lyfe Motorsports brought out their R35 GTR on Sunday AND!… Did not post a time during a TT session.  They did post the fastest time of the day (1.31.803!) during the Thunder group practice that morning. The TW Racing R8 LMS did post times during TT sessions.  Did it on both days.  It’s fastest time in the class was a 1:40.763, but that wasn’t the fastest lap it did over the weekend.  In the Sunday Thunder Group race, they posted a 1:33.825!

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McKay Snow was out again in the Patron Elan DP02, racing in Super Formula.  He took both races in commanding fashion.

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Formula saw Troy Duffin take the first race of the day with young Bruno Carneiro in second.  In the second race, they swapped podium places: Bruno won, and Terry took second.  At the end of the day, the young Brazilian clings to a twenty-five point lead in the class.

And there you have it.  If you’re doing rain dances, stop it!  Round 4 is also on the East Course, and the Lucas Oil Offroad series will be dropping by the off road course at MMP as well.  Come out, bring an umbrella (and possibly a winter coat.  You won’t be laughing when it snows three and a half feet!), and take in a full weekend of all sorts of racing!

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

Michael Wells Gallery!

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

 

09th Apr2015

It’s a Spec New World

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The Spec Z field is exploding for NASA Utah, Spec Miata is healthy, 944 Spec provides a solid battle every race, and there’s even a Spec E30 class that has yet to be explored.  Spec racing is a hell of a way for people to get into door to door racing, without having to build something crazy.  The blueprint is right there, all you have to do is follow it.

There are probably a ton of more spec series available, but there are plenty that don’t exist.  They probably don’t exist for good reason, but today we’re going to explore the brave frontier!  Buy your supplies, and prepare to lose half the party to Cholera.  WAGONS HO!

Spec S Chassis

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Drifting is starting to get ridiculous.  700-900 horsepower?  V8s with ridiculously engineered exhaust collectors?  What happened to welding up the diff in an S13 or S14 and getting wild?  It’s been proven that you don’t need rear mounted radiators, hydraulic e-brakes or sequential gear boxes to slide, but looking at Formula D makes one think otherwise.  I think it’s time to change this.  I’ve kicked this idea around with Dave, and we’ve come up with a rough framework for an amazing new drift series: Spec S Chassis.  An entire field of S13s and S14s, all sporting KA24DEs.  The only modifications you can do internally is a hot cam swap (running an exhaust cam in place of an intake cam), and that’s it.  Welded diffs, basic steering angle mods, and coilovers are all you get suspension wise.  You can run whatever tire you want, granted it is the specified size.  Suddenly it’s not who has the biggest budget and most power, it’s who has the skills to boogie.  It’s still judged, but (and since this exists in the minds of a few) there will be completely different judges than in Formula D.

Now, I know Lone Star Drift is trying a budget minded series this season and that’s fantastic.  The drivers have their chose of chassis and can do some modifications (motor swaps like SRs in 240s and such, and engine cooling is open, and suspension is open but no attachment points can be moved), and all the competitors have to run Kenda tires.  You can still petition to have some modifications let in, but hopefully they’re not too lenient with it.  However, if you really want to see who is the best driver, you’d stick them in identically prepared cars and let them go at it.

Super Pursuit

Crown Vic

Travis over at Jalopnik proposed a Spec Panther series/class, and it has all the required legs to be something.  The Panther platform Fords are in abundance and are cheap, and he laid out the rules.  It’s great, and since he came up with it a square almost two years ago I’m not going to bogart his idea.  I’m going to expand upon it, and take it to ridiculous new heights.  Instead of just seeing Crown Vics, Grand Marquies and Town Cars running around, why not expand it to ALL the common and cheap former police vehicles?  Why not?!

Crown Vics, Chargers, Caprices and Impalas are eligible in this series, and they would have to have some of the basic spec requirements (cage, minimum wieght, spec tires, etc).  These cars wouldn’t be street legal, but neither are Spec Miatas or Zs.  The spotlights would be removed, BUT the cars can run light bars provided they’re attached securely.  And each car would have to be painted, or wrapped, to look like an actual police car.  Not 100%, but at least black and white or similar colors to a local municipality.  Who wouldn’t want to see this?!?

WGT: Wagon Grand Touring

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We love wagons.  There’s no shame in that, because wagons are awesome. Unfortunately, with the rise of minivans then CUVs, the humble wagon has started to disappear.  Ford, FCA and GM aren’t making any.  BMW and Mercedes do, but finding one is like finding a unicorn.  This pretty much leaves VWs, Subarus, and Volvo.   And this wouldn’t be the first time a Volvo wagon was out racing! Unfortunately, the Touring Brick would be outlawed.

It would be open to four cylinder wagons, naturally aspirated and turbocharged, so no BMW or Meccedes.  The modifications would be more open for the NA cars, and the turbo cars could carry a weight penalty.  Tires would be spec, but different sizes for the NA and turbo cars.  Cages, obviously and fuel cells.  No roof racks, baskets or boxes/pods.  Having these grocery getters running around would open up some interesting new avenues for competition.  Honestly, some Top Gear-esqe shenanigans like a mandatory pit stop to load the car with groceries would add some hilarity.  Or fastest lap with the most cargo.  The possibilities are endless, like a child’s imagination.

So that’s what I’ve come up with.  How about you?  Feel free to add your ideas, tweaks and your own classes in the comments.

*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.

 

 

 

 

 

06th Feb2015

Meet Your Heroes

by Michael Chandler

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Someone, somewhere once said to never meet your heroes.  They said never meet your heroes because they can never live up to the ideal you’ve built for them in your mind.  I take issue with this.  I had two posters on my wall as a kid: a Lamborghini Countach and Michael Jordan.  From everything I’ve seen and heard, MJ is a hyper-competitive guy who has taken to posterizing old guys at his basketball fantasy camps.  The Countach is impossible to drive, you can’t see out of it, reversing it requires a spotter and someone to stop traffic, and the “creature comforts” leave something to be desired.

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One year when I was a kid two things happened: I saw Michael Jordan play and I saw a Countach in person.  The events weren’t related; however, if I saw MJ driving a Countach down my street my little head would’ve exploded.  Why am I telling this rambling story?  Because I met one of my heroes, the Lambo, and it didn’t change how I thought or think about it.  It’s still one of my favorite cars, flaws be damned.  My feelings would probably change if I drove it, but that would be getting to know it and not just meeting it.

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The other morning I went to Cars & Coffee because I wanted to shoot photos and clear my head.  At the far end of the parking lot there was this pair of Diablos: a 1997.5 Roadster and a 2000 VT.  These were the stars of the meet, people were coming up and taking photos of and with them, Chad (owner of the green machine) was revving the motor for the children and was answering pretty much every question about the big Italians.  For some of these people, these were/are their hero cars.  And they were loving them.

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Did the dog leg gear box let them down?  No.  Did the tall instrument cluster and low seating position kill the image of their hero?  Not a chance.  These people got to walk up to their hero, say hi, take some pictures and gawk at them.  None of their flaws shown through.  Were the fans aware of these “issues”? Yeah, anyone who has read ANYTHING about them knows the problems, but that doesn’t matter.  Seeing the car you had all over your wall as a kid in the flesh makes you completely ignore all of those issues.  You go back to being an excitable little kid.  It’s great.

 

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When I was in high school I wanted two cars: an Evo (to spite Trent who had just picked up a brand new STi.  I was and am a very petty person) and a Mopar of any sort.  Challenger, Charger, Dart, didn’t matter.  I just wanted one.

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When I was pulling in to park, I spotted this Challenger T/A.  I parked as close to it as I could (without parking among the cars who were there to be seen) and instantly noticed a Ford F-350 that had all of its utility modified out of it parked next to the Challenger.  The hulking mass of the diesel cast a massive shadow over the car, making a proper photos showcasing the color and graphics on the T/A almost impossible.

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Then, suddenly, the Ford grumbled to life and slowly rolled out of the parking lot.  The driver’s side of the Challenger was awash in sunlight, and was being approached by the owner and a giddy passenger.  I snapped off a few frames, and then…

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The owner fired it up, and let the 340 roar.  His passenger was grinning ear to ear as the mechanical noise of the trio of carburetors fed fuel and air into the motor.  I was giddy too.  This wasn’t the first time I had seen a nice Challenger, but it was nice running into one that was fanning the flames of enthusiasm in a young fan.

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The posters may have come down long ago, but the kid who put them up is still alive in all of us. Weekly meets like Cars & Coffee give us opportunities to be wide eyed, excitable kids.  Wake up early on Saturday, go meet your heroes.

Bonus gallery!:

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

12th Jan2015

The Ford GT: They’re Going Back to France

by Michael Chandler

Probably.  Yes, today everyone at the North American International Auto Show is going nuts over the 600hp, 3.5L twin-turbo V6 Ecoboost powered Ford GT.  And they should be doing just that.  Look at that thing!  It’s glorious!  It’s what the GT40 was!  Kinda…

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The GT40 was a giant middle finger aimed at Enzo Ferrari and his precious cars and race program.  Ferrari doesn’t do much of the factory backed GT racing anymore, because they’ve gone all in on F1.

Ok, so it isn’t EXACTLY like the GT40, but it is like it in that it is a potentially world beating super car made by a company whose headquarters are in a crumbling metropolis.  Who is it going to beat, and where is it going to beat them?

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Why are those two logos mashed together?  Because it can, and eventually will, be seen in both!  The 3.5L twin turbo mill fits nicely into the confines of the WEC’s LM GTE class.  IMSA TUDOR USCC’s GTLM class ‘s rules are pretty much the same as the WEC’s LM GTE class rules.  That said, we’ll probably see it storming around here at home in TUSC before it goes abroad and plants Old Glory in everything.  The current rumor, according to Sportscar365, regarding that TUSC endeavor is that it will be a 2 car, factory team with Chip Ganassi Racing running it.  And Chip Ganassi knows a few things about running a winning team.

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Will it be successful?  Maybe.  The new Vipers came out of the gate with a whimper, but ended with a roar and won the GTLM class before Dodge killed the factory effort.  We can speculate more on this when we get more details, but right now let’s all look at how awesome this thing looks

Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Ford Motor Company and Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
06th Jan2015

The Happiest Place in Nevada

by Michael Chandler
Photo by Becky Smith

Photo by Becky Smith, VORE

We’ve all been here before.  It’s time for a vacation, but some of those bucket list events are too far away, too expensive, or just not happening during your allotted vacation time.  What’s a gearhead to do?  Settle in on the couch and watch all the old FIA GT series races YouTube has to offer?  No damnit!  You’re not spending your vacation like an unemployed goon!  Pack your bags, book a flight, hotel and rental car.  We’re going to Vegas, and we’re gonna have some fun in the desert.  Halfway between Las Vegas and Boulder City, next to a gun range, sits a happy little slice of awesome that is the Vegas Off Road Experience (VORE).

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It is here where all sorts of fun and excitement happens.  And by “fun” I mean off road hooning to your heart’s content.  No matter what you decide to do you will get some instruction from the talented instructors.  Now, you have to ask yourself “Do I want a hopped up Raptor as my chariot, or do I want to hop in a trophy truck and get the whole enchilada ?” The choice is up to you, and your wallet.  Prices range from $295 for 5 laps on the “short course” in one of the trophy trucks or 45 minutes in a Raptor, to $2995 for a two day jaunt in the desert to give you the full Sportsman level experience.

There are also add ons to the afore mentioned packages.  Add ons such as luxurious limo or party bus transportation to and from the facility, video and photography, and shooting some guns and blowing up a car!  Where else are you finding all of these things at once???  NO WHERE!*

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Now, when we say talented instructors, we mean talented.  When they’re not teaching you how to take the jumps on the short course, or how to fly through the desert, they’re racing.  The Vegas to Reno race is a staple every year, along with the MINT 400.  The folks teaching you really know what they’re talking about, and you will leave VORE not only with memories, but with knowledge that’ll make you a better driver.

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There you have it folks.  Your next vacation is planned out.  No need to thank me, just go and enjoy your trip.  And watch out for turtles please.

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While we were at VORE we were given the nickel tour by Becky Smith.  She took us out on the short course in a Raptor, let us tag along to shoot some photos of someone on course, and let us hang out until Jason came back from giving a desert tour.  We can’t thank Jason and Becky and everyone else at VORE for their hospitality.

For booking information, or more information than what I’ve put up here, head over to VORE.com.  When you’re booking your experience ask for Jason Smith, or at least tell them he sent you.

Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler and Becky Smith .
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

*Don’t quote me on that, but I highly doubt there is another place in the US where you can receive top notch off road racing instruction AND pop off a few rounds.