24th Oct2014

Tresduro: NASA Utah’s 2014 Season Finale

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-26

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Every year for… many years NASA Utah, and MPRA before them, have thrown an endurance race to close out the season.  Normally it’s the standard X amount of hours in a row, on a track that has the corners in the same places as the lap before.  This year things would be different.  Very different.  Not mind blowingly, life alteringly different, but still different.  There would still be an endurance race, but not all in a row.  It would run on the Outer Loop… and the East Course… and the West Course.

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro Open Wheel CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-12

That’s right baby!  Dynamic track!  Basically here’s how it would shake out: All the HPDE groups and TT would run on the Outer Loop only, while the race group and the open wheel guys would jump between all three configurations.  If you remember the Pirelli World Challenge races from a couple of months ago, then this track switching concept isn’t so foreign.  They ran the World Challenge GT races on the Outer Loop, Spec B and Miller GT Challenge on the West Course and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West guys got the East Course.  What was foreign, and I can’t stress this enough, was having the same group of competitors running three different track configurations on the same day for the same race!  Well, technically it wasn’t all the same race, but the drivers’ times in each race would be combined and whoever had the best time would be the class winner.  Speaking of which, let’s stop talking about the track thing and talk about racing!

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro Open Wheel CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-5

The Open Wheel guys were in the same boat as the Race Group: three different tracks, three races, one time to decide a winner.  In Formula Troy Duffin and Steven Costello continued their season long battle, but at the end of the long day there had to be a winner.  And that winner was Troy, who completed 34 laps in the allotted time compared to Steven’s 33.  In Super Formula it was the the #11 Rodizio Grill sponsored car of Terry Biner running away with the class win, leaving Steve Burns and John LaBrie to duke it out for second.  In what can only be described as driving feats never seen since the days of Juan Manuel Fangio*, Steve Burns defeated John LaBrie!

*Not really true at all, but both John and Steve had really good drives in their races

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro HPDE 3-4 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-4

It was time for the TT competitors to take to the track after the Open Wheel drivers vacated it.  Their four sessions held weight because, while the season points chases were over for everyone else, this was a points event for the TT drivers.  While some people had wrapped up their season titles (more on that in another post), some people were still fighting tooth and nail for theirs.  People like Shay Campbell and James Pasquier, who pitted their Porsche 911s against some ST3 competitors and a healthy chunk of the Spec Z field.  Despite finishing in 14th, five spots behind James and scoring 5 points less than him, Shay locked up his TT3 points title!  Meanwhile, at the front of the TT3 crowd, Travis Tidball took the win.

In TT1 the guys of TW Racing put their Audi R8 LMS atop the podium, and solidified their championship.  However second place in the class was up for debate.  If you remember, Shawn Murphy ventilated the engine block in his WRX STi which sidelined it for the remainder of the season and seemingly opened the door for Smith-Burke Racing to leapfrog one of our favorite Wyomingans… Wyomingites?  Whatever, Shawn needed to hold off the C5 Corvette, so he did what any enterprising man with a willing girlfriend would do: he used her car for the last two events.  He didn’t win, but he scored JUST enough points to hold off the Data Motorsports backed Corvette to stay in second place.

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro HPDE 3-4 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-3

In TTE Ben Lamberson put used all 127 horsepower his Audi could muster to beat Steve Larsen, and cement his title.  TTU was missing it’s most notable competitor: the Lyfe Motorsports/Wild Schick Racing R35 GTR was in California doing some testing, which left the class wide open for Rhett Panter to win.  TT2 was won by David Bradshaw, and Josh Bennett took home the win in TTB.

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And we finally arrive at the Race Group, the other group that would take on the perils of driving three different tracks over the course of one race day.  It also had some interesting driver line-ups, including George Smith piloting a Miata with Les Long, Derek Wolthoff driving Brendon Stewart’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and…  Well, there’s no easy way to say this…

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PPPAAAAAAAUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL MMMMIIIITTCCCCCCHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which was driven by Matt Guiver, Todd Ainsworth, Alex Whetman and Todd Green.  That mighty team could only muster a third place finish in E3, behind Allan Anderson (who slid around Wind Up, but it’s cool because he has a Corolla so he knows what he’s doing) and David Sherman. NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-59

In E0 we saw No Whammies (Travis Tidball) hit big money and stop atop the podium, ahead of Travis Williams in the #22 Discount Tire FR500S Mustang and Good Guy Gus Stribakos in the 888 Porsche.

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In a class by himself, literally, was the Idaho Mountain Touring Porsche 911 in E1.  Let’s take a moment to appreciate how pretty it is.  Ahhhhhhhh.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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ES.  The Big boys.  You know the Names: TW Racing, Big Bob Evans, Dandy Dan Worley, Steve “Mister” Burns and “Mister En Fuego” Brendon Stweart.  They were all fighting for the victory.  The gritty field went wheel to wheel and door to door all day! Except when Brendon broke a suspension component.  That sidelined him.  And Bob blew a tire in the last race of the day, so his day ended early too… But when they were running, they were threatening to take away podium finishes from other drivers!  In the end it came down to two teams: the TW Racing crew had adjusted their R8 LMS so Allen Turner could fully exploit it’s advantages, while Tatum Racing had the LSx powered Porsche 944 tuned to peak efficiency for Dan Worley.  Who would emerge victorious?

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In the end the Audi proved too much for the Porsche, and TW Racing took home the class and overall victory.

In the end, we all took home a victory.  Over the course of the season we saw drivers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and overcome devastating events.  We saw camaraderie and good natured competitiveness, and most importantly: everyone at the end of the day could walk away uninjured.

And so ends the NASA season.  On behalf of me and the staff here at CAMautoMag, I would like to say thank you to Matt Guiver, Dave Kizerian and Dan McKeever for the awesome season, the track workers for the thankless and tireless jobs they do to make the racing happen, and especially to the drivers.  Everyone from the HPDE 1 drivers, all the way up to the Super Unlimited class drivers and everyone in between.  We do this because we have the same passion as you guys, and since we can’t get out there and drive with you guys (yet!) the next best thing is to come out shoot some photos and say some nice words about what you’re doing out there.

We’ll be at the Awards Banquet on November 22, where we’re looking forward to seeing everyone!  We will also have things for you to purchase if you so choose.

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

 

 

06th Oct2014

Officer Stucky and his Crown Vic

by Michael Chandler

Crown Vic

 

The Ford Crown Victoria has been the go to police cruiser for decades, and as such you can find nearly any vintage for next to nothing at a police auction or a private sale.  Nick Stucky found one for sale in Oregon, got it, and brought her back to Utah.  And then he went autocrossing.

 

 

Some interesting notes about Nick’s cruiser: It is, in fact, and old police car.  It came with the cherry light and window bars.  Also, it’s packing a 351 cubic inch, carbureted  V8  that was marketed as a performance option over the fuel injected 302 cubic inch V8.

Also, look at that interior.  Look at it!  It’s burgundy and vinyl and glorious!  And the body roll, which doesn’t help keeping oneself planted in any of the seats.  Tragically he couldn’t run with the hub caps on.  While it isn’t the safest thing to have them flying off and rolling around, it would just add the the spectacle that is watching something the size of Delaware run through the cones.

 *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.

 

 

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

09th Sep2014

Boise Drift Day 1

by Michael Chandler

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (43 of 84)

 Words and photos by Michael Chandler

 

“Who’s going to the Boise Drift two day event?” It was a simple question that was posed to the Drift Utah Facebook group.  I saw photos from the last event, poked fun at everyone who had broken (i.e. everyone), but never gave much thought to actually going to one.  I would have to drive, I had no idea what their photos rules were, or even where I was going.  Plus my arm was still in a sling.  With all that in mind, I posted “If I can find a ride I can.” And that’s when this went from poorly thought out idea to a reality.

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 84)

After some back and forth with Hector Jurado and Jordan Collier, I decided to hitch a ride up with Hector.  He, and his friend Riley, were going to pick me up at 5:45AM on Saturday and then we’d head up to the Common Cents gas station in Roy to gas up, procure things and meet up with Jordan and Zack Penman.  We made good time, gassed up Hector’s new Ford F350 and his old S13 coupe and waited for everyone.  Zack and his crew rolled in, and while they gassed up we continued to wait for Jordan.  And wait we did.  Hector called him, left a voice mail, and we decided to leave him.

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 84)

The drive up was pretty uneventful, aside from Jordan calling us around 8am to say he slept in and that he’d be coming up with Mike Fulkerson (hereafter known as Mikey) so I’ll introduce you to Hector a little bit.  Before he got into drifting he was a Honda kid.  He owned three EG Civics before buying a his first 240SX off of someone on the internet.  He over payed for it, but it was his!  And it was low.  Worryingly low.  On the drive home the rear struts blew out, so he had to have it towed.  Upon further inspection some interesting things were discovered.  First: the car was said to have “coilovers” and it did.  It had two, and they were in the rear.  The front had compressed stock struts with the upper and lower spring perches bolted to each other.  No springs, just that ridiculousness.  Second: the car was said to have an SR20DET, and it had most of one.  It was pretty clearly an SR20DET at one point in time, but someone pulled the turbo off at some point and welded a “downpipe” to the exhaust manifold and then to the exhaust.  He got rid of that nightmare, and into a friend’s cleaner (and cheaper) 240.  And now he has the teal coupe you’ll be seeing a lot of.

Also of note: the day before we left for this event, Hector did something a decent chunk of American citizens can’t do.  He passed the citizenship test and was rewarded with a tiny American flag!  Also citizenship in this country, but that flag is nothing to sneeze at.

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After a pit stop at the Garden of Eden truck stop, we pulled into Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls and unloaded.  Zack and Hector brought a fair amount of tires, all mounted on different wheels for easy swapping between sessions.  We all made our way to the little shed that housed the almighty waiver sheet, exchanged money for wristbands and signed our lives away.  And then we had a driver’s meeting.  And then Hector and Zack went out.

Boise Drift Labor Day Weekend Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 2) Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 84)

They gave ride alongs to whomever wanted one, and they were eventually joined on track by a fellow named Worm.  He proceeded to make some serious runs in his bone stock 350Z, while being chased by his friend in the camera car.  That camera car happened to be a turbo single cam Civic hatchback, and it kept up with everyone fairly well.  And well is how things were going, and then Zack’s problems began.

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In the course of the day his car decided to stop working entirely (top photo) and then shed a wheel.  Also along the way he managed to hurt his wrist, but he wasn’t too torn up about any of it.  His car started up again, and he got his wheel back on and went out to give more rides and play a fun little game with Hector.

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And that game was “Who can touch the wall on the front straight?” As we can see here, Hector was the victor.

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At this point you’ve seen Hector, Zack and Worm taking cuts.  They weren’t the only ones doing so! From the top down we have Jason in the multicolor Rustang, David (one of our gracious hosts) in his SR20DET swapped Corolla, Brad and the little Miata that tried, and Mike in his missiled out S13 coupe.  In a previous post I referred to Mike’s car as the “community” car because I saw many people who weren’t Mike drifting in it.  It’s not wrong, or weird.  Just pointing out Mike’s trust and generosity.

All was fun and well, and fairly normal for a drift event.  Then two fairly unique Toyotas appeared.

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (34 of 84) Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (37 of 84)

First was Dennis Niedrich’s Previa.  It had a roll cage (sort of) and no doors aft of the front ones.  The bench seat was hanging around, and it was eventually mounted back in the van… Backwards.  If someone like myself (but obviously not me because I can’t be trusted to do so) were to give out awards, Dennis would get one because that looked like the most fun.  This is why I don’t give out awards anymore.

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Parked next to Dennis in the paddock was this black Celica Supra.  Seeing one out and about, and ready to shred tires is a hoot in and of itself; however, this one became the biggest hoot when I saw the 1UZ-FE sitting under the hood.  Dane, the fellow who built this, barely finished it in time to come down from Boise to Twin Falls.  He said that that drive was basically the big shakedown run.  The drive served its purpose, because (from what I could see) the car ran flawlessly.  Speaking of 1UZs…

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (80 of 84)

Guess who finally showed up. The trio of Jordan, Mikey and Brandon Wicknick (America’s Favorite Drifting Ginger! TM.  In your face Forsberg!) pulled in around 5pm, and were mostly unloaded by 5:30.  I say mostly because Jordan’s transmission got caught on the trailer as he was backing off of it, and the car kept dying.  Eventually he got off the trailer, and along with Mikey and Brandon, put on a show:

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The mere sight of Brandon’s Formula D car drew a small crowd, even before it was fired up.  It drew a massive one when he hit the track.  He even took me for a ride in it! I learned a few things while riding with him:

  • How fast a pro level drift car moves and changes direction is mind boggling.  His car is the fastest car I’ve been in.
  • His passenger seat is clearly designer for a child, or a very slim human being.  I barely managed to wedge myself in there.
  • I have no idea how to work a five point harness, let alone do it with one good arm.

After a while we (Mikey, Brandon, Jordan, Chance Behunin, Hector, Riley and myself) piled into Brandon’s truck and went into town for dinner.  Since Brandon was driving, we were going to a La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant where the give you chips and salsa.  The chips and salsa was a big selling point for Brandon.  After dinner, we filled up some gas cans, trolled the local populace and returned to the track just in time for the weather to take a dramatic turn.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of what the wind did, but I can tell you it blew people’s tents over and almost away and it threw a pop up canopy over 75 feet into a crowd of people huddled around a fire pit.

The decision was made to sleep in Brandon’s 45′ enclosed trailer.  Only problem is the people sized door on the side doesn’t open from inside the trailer.  To ensure we’d be able to get out of the trailer without kicking a hole in the side of it, Brandon attached a bungie cord to the door, and then to a conduit inside the trailer.  Bundled in our sleeping bags, Brandon then turned off the lights, and we slept.

Did we survive the night? Does Brandon’s trailer have a new “door”? If Train A, traveling at 70mph, leaves Westford heading towards Eastford, 260 miles away.  At the same time Train B, traveling at 60mph, leaves Eastford heading towards Westford.  When do the two trains meet? How far from each city do they meet? Find out the answers to those burning questions in tomorrow’s dramatic conclusion!

 

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
29th Aug2014

NASA Utah Round 5: The Wells Report

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 5 2014 Michael Wells CAMautoMag (25 of 29)

Michael Wells returns with glorious photos from the entirety of the NASA Utah Round 5 weekend.  He, unlike myself, had two fully functional arms with which to drive and shoot with; and made use of his limbs by heading all over the track to grab the killer shots you see before you.  He also stuck around for the WERC endurance race and got some amazing pictures of that too.  Amazing pictures such as this:

WERC 6 hour Endurance Race 2014 Michael Wells CAMautoMag (8 of 11)

There are oh so many more in the gallery below.

Photos by Michael Wells, words by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
25th Aug2014

NASA Utah Round 5

by Michael Chandler

 

 

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (32 of 191)

Round 5 of the NASA Utah season played host to the Formula 3 PanAm racers, and a WERC 6 Hour endurance race.  Excitement was abound from sunrise to well into the night.  Our man Michael Wells will be providing photos from the endurance race, along with some additional photos from the weekend as he usually does.  Let’s start off with some fiery news on the TT front.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 191)

It is literary fiery because TT1 National Champion Shawn Murphy’s STi burst into flames on the front straightaway at 140mph.  Thankfully he was unhurt, and the car didn’t suffer too much damage from the impromptu barbecue.  AND despite the immolation of his vehicle, Shawn still took third in TT1!

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (115 of 191)

Taking the TT1 win was Allen Turner, piloting the TW Racing Audi R8 LMS.  Second place was held down by the boys at Smith Burke Racing.

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Greg Valdez was your TT2 winner, Chad Hess climbed to the top of the heap in TT3, and mad man Todd Green took home the TTE win AND the PTE win, and then drove in the endurance race.  He is insane, and we tip our hat to him.  In TTB and TTD Richard Thiessens and Joel Selman took home the wins.  They were also the only ones in their classes.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 191)

The Open Wheel regulars were joined by the Formula 3 PanAm drivers for both of the Open Wheel races on Saturday.  Race 1 was won by Javier Echeverria and race 2 was won by Gerardo Garcia.

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Steve Burns took both Super Formula races, only just barely, while Troy Duffin dominated the Formula races.

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The Lightning race saw some close, dare I say chippy, racing.  Spec Miata was a hard fought class, along with the ever growing Spec Z class.  Byron Smith, driving the white BMW above, took home the GTS3 win over Gus Stribakos in dominating fashion.

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Ashley Burt proved his 350Z was more Spec-tacular than the other competitors in class, and was rewarded with a win, and a lame pun.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (33 of 191)

We had a PTA class for the first time in… I can’t remember.  Despite showing up late to grid, Ralph Warren and John Trefethen battled from the drop of the green flag, with Ralph proving his 135i was the superior BMW by less than a tenth of a second.  We would see them again in the Thunder Race.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (52 of 191)

Sam Kapp and Otto Silva continued their season long 944 Spec battle, with Sam taking the win over Otto.  Otto would not let Sam take the win without a fight, as they battled hard until the checkered flew.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (55 of 191)

And in Spec Miata… Umm, well I’m fairly confident McKay Snow took the victory but I’m not sure.  At the time of the writing of this piece, there were no results OR even a class listed in the Saturday results on MyLaps.com.  However, Spec Miata is in the Sunday results, where David Sherman beat out McKay Snow for the class victory.  And Doug Turnquist won PTB on Saturday, by virtue of being the only man in the class.

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It was an all Corvette front row in the Thunder Race, but only one of those front row Corvettes finished the race.  James Miller and the chop top/Barbie/Swamp Thing/however you want to describe it C4 Corvette went wire to wire, taking the SU class and overall win.

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David Donner came out swinging in his new livery, and proceeded to take victory in GTSU over John Scarlett.

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The TW Racing Audi R8 LMS took the ST1 class with Derek Wolthoff at the helm.

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Chris Vivolo hung an 8.9 second gap on Darrell Troester in GTS4, and collected himself a victory.

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Travis Tidball rose to the top of ST3, and ran all the way to victory lane!  Well, wherever he was parking because there wasn’t an actual victory lane.  You get the idea.

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ST2 and GTS5 were one man classes, which were won by Brendon Stewart and Alan Wilson respectively.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (111 of 191)

The Thunder Race group was also filled out by the addition of BMW CCA Club Racers.  In the CM class, Vic Pizzino took his E46 to the winner’s circle; while in BM we saw the 135 battle the 17.  This time the 17 took the win, thanks to some fancy driving by Loren Trefethen.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (143 of 191)

JP was won by Tom Bell, and IP was won by James Fluckey.

And that is that.  Sorry this isn’t packed full of my usual wit, or has more photos in it, but there’s a good reason for it!  The day before the event I broke my arm, and since I’m not Wolverine it’s still broken.  I shot the event one handed because I couldn’t really do much with my other arm.  If any of you drivers remember the photographer giving the thumbs up at pit in, it was me doing that.  I don’t usually do this, but I have a gallery of all of the photos from the event (and previous events) on my Smug Mug site.  The bills are starting to accumulate, and I would greatly appreciate it if you guys would take a look and maybe buy a couple of things from me.

Anyway, enough of the sob story.  Here’s the big ole gallery for you guys to enjoy!

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

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

 

 

30th Jul2014

Octane Party

by Michael Chandler

Octane Party 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 58)

This past weekend there was a little party thrown out at Miller Motorsports Park.  The man, the myth, the legend Zane Miller invited me out to it the night before it was thrown.  Naturally I said yes.  This wasn’t some house party rager, or casual cocktail affair.  This was the Octane Party, and there were tens of millions of dollars worth of racing history just hanging out for all to see.

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They emptied the museum and parked the contents on the grass behind the grandstands on Wind Up turn.  Mustangs, Cobras, GT40s and a Daytona Coupe were carefully arranged so everyone could take in the heritage.  They were clearly the bells of the ball, but they weren’t the only classics out on this day.

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There was this gorgeous Porsche 914.  The bright orange paint, along with it being the only 914 there, made it stand out among the Audis and lone 911 it was parked amongst.  Another outstanding feature? the 1.7 liter motor has been ditched in favor of a 3.2 liter flat six.  Suffice it to say that this car turns into an orange blur when let out on an auto cross course.

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The Dodge Challenger is awesome.  The Dodge Viper is awesome as well.  What happens when you combine the two AND pop a supercharger in there for good measure?  A big ole, fat sack of American kick ass is what!  Ekins Garage built this for Menlove Dodge, a local dealer, and left no detail un-scrutinized.

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Who doesn’t love a good rat rod? Chopped, channeled, and rusty is the way we like em.  Also loud, and judging by the lack of anything resembling an exhaust I feel confident in giving this thing the CAM seal of approval.

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Are super cars what do it for you? Well here’s an Underground Racing Lamborghini Gallardo that went 225mph, in the rain!  Story goes that the rain began as soon as he left the line for his standing mile run.  There are also some Ferraris in this picture, along with a Lexus LFA.

Are there better ways to spend a Sunday? Yes, but not too many.  We’d like to thank Zane and the organizers of this party, along with Miller Motorsports Park for hosting.  We’re looking forward to the next event Zane has planned, because that guy knows how to host a party.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Jul2014

NASA Utah Round 4 Bonus Gallery

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 4 Michael Wells CAMautoMag (24 of 32)

The Good Dr. Z, that’s Michael Wells, sent us some photos from the last NASA Utah round.  These are all from the Sunday of that weekend, so we have some snaps of the Formula 3 race, along with some snaps of your favorite locals.

Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Wells

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Jun2014

Question: What’s the Oddest Race Car You’ve Seen?

by Michael Chandler

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This question came about after I saw this Ranger/Explorer thingamajig make its third lap at Miller. It is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen take a lap (a quick lap at that), and that got me to wondering about odd racers you’ve seen.

Years ago, when GT Live was still a thing, you would see FWD time attack cars with giant wings protruding from the front. Not a splitter, not cannards, a big ole wing. It was very weird, but it did work… Sort of.

So, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen turn a lap in anger?  Show us in the comments. We’ll deliberate and post the weirdest. Weirdest of the weird gets a small grab bag of Hot Wheels, so bring on the strange!

Some ground rules: LeMons doesn’t count. We all love it, but the cars come from the deepest depths of insane people so they’re out. Also, bonus points if you’ve seen it with your own eyes. And post a picture so we all know what it is you’re talking about.

Words and photo by Michael Chandler

*Article is copyright of CAMautoMag.com and its respective owners.