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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

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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:

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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

 

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (124 of 148)

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.

 

29th May2014

NASA Utah Round 3

by Michael Chandler

 

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (90 of 148)

Good news: there wasn’t a monsoon at Miller Motorsports Park over Memorial Day Weekend!  Bad news: … Yeah.  The good weather and holiday weekend brought out a healthy sized field.  The TT class had twenty-one competitors in seven sub-classes, with TT3 fielding nine competitors!

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (65 of 148)

And in TT3 we had a very close battle for the third spot on the podium!  Chad Hess took his Porsche 911 to the final podium spot by a mere 1/1000 of a second over Shay Chappell’s Porsche 911.  Finishing ahead of the tight battle was Josh Miller in second and Travis Tidball in first.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 148)

Scott Corsetti edged out Greg Valdez for the win, with Vincent McAllister rounding out the group.

TT1 saw the debut of a new chassis from T W Racing: Among the field of familiar cars was an Audi R8 LMS, which posted the fastest time of the TT field, and took home the TT1 win.  Two seconds behind the Audi was the Corvette of Smith-Burke Racing, and two seconds behind them was the #667 Subaru of Shawn Murphy.  Is this a sign of things to come?  Will we soon see other IMSA GTD class cars competing in TT?  I, for one, welcome our new IMSA overloards and may long should they reign.

Ahem

TTE was a two man race between Ben Lamberson’s Audi and Jeb Brown’s Subaru.  Ben bested Jeb by two and a half seconds.  TTC, TTB, and TTU were all one man affairs; with Richard Thiessens in TTB, Rod Kujaczynski in TTC, and Wild Schick Racing in TTU.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (145 of 148)

There were two open wheel races this weekend, and this time nobody spun like a top!  The field even lined up, most likely unintentionally, for a very cool photo.  And the racing was a good watch as well, specifically Chris Taylor going through the top of The Attitudes.  He had no quarrel with getting right on top of the curbing!  Unfortunately his placed in third for both Formula races.  The finishing orders didn’t change at all for the classes in either race.  Troy Duffin took first in Formula and Steven Costello took second.  In Super Formula, Terry Biner beat out Ian Lacy both times; however, Ian posted a quicker fast lap than Terry in both races.  Also of note: Ian ran a little over half the laps in each race.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (46 of 148)

The Lightning group had some close racing, but not necessarily for the Spec Z field.  Arthur Golebiowski ran away from Tom Kaminski and Paul House.  Arthur also ran away from the rest of the competitors in the run group, putting an eight second gap between himself and the next fastest driver.  The next fastest driver was Blake Troester in GTS3, who took the class win over Gus Stribakos who retired from the race with four laps to go.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (62 of 148)

Spec Miata was a chess match, with Chris Bond looking to make a move on McKay Snow for most of the race.  When an opportunity presented itself Chris took it, and put a 1.3 second gap between himself and the young Snow.  David Sherman finished in third.

PTE was interesting.  Allan Anderson and Todd Ainsworth finished second and third respectively, but Todd Green ran away with the win, and even got his nose in the Spec Miata pack. He was right up there with McKay and Chris.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (50 of 148)

While Spec Z and PTE had the largest margins of victory of the group, 944 Spec had the slimmest.  Samuel Kapp and Otto Silva might as well have had their bumpers tied together the whole race.  Samuel beat out Otto by 0.137 seconds.  Placing third, a respectable 1.491 seconds behind Mr. Kapp was Greg Troester.

American Iron and PTB only had one competitor each, which is somewhat sad.  Bill Noblitt and his PTB Boxster need a playmate, and Mike Mieke’s Firebird looks so lonely out there.  Someone grab a Fox Body and get out there with Mike, and someone else get cracking on another PTB entry!

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (76 of 148)

After the Lightning came the Thunder, which saw John Potter (Detroit) take the Magnus Racing Porsche out against David Donner in GTSU.  David was a good sport as John hung a 28.277 second gap on him.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (107 of 148)

GTS5 had Alan Wilson, the guy who designed the track at Miller Motorsports Park, defeating Michael Stevenson while also showcasing a new track design on the hood of his yellow Porsche.

Darrell Troester (the third Troester for those keeping score at home) was competing against people in other classes, because he was the lone competitor in GTS4.

The three car field of ST1 featured three cars powered by big, american V8s.  Unfortunately for Bob Evans and Dan Worley one of those cars was the Smith-Burke Corvette, which walked away from them at a brisk pace.  Bob put the #88 Snickers/EA Sports Ford Fusion in second and Dan retired five laps in.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (109 of 148)

Bad Luck Brendon had some bad luck in ST2, but not catastrophically bad!  It was more of a puzzling bad.  On lap 11 his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution just stopped running.  No fires, no wheels flying off, no hitting of tire barriers and armco.  It just stopped.  After it was towed to the paddock, and after the race, the car started up and ran again.  Initial speculation was that something over heated, and the leisurely tow off the track allowed it to cool off enough to start working again.  Either way, he took home the class win because he was the only one in the class.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (91 of 148)

Super Touring 3, aka the Mustaing And Occasional Others class, was deep as usual.  In a class dominated by Ford products, a pair of Corvettes managed to take two fo the top three spots.  Cary Wilson put his black and green Corvette atop the podium, while Travis Tidball parked his blue Corvette in third.  Alex Whetman, through sheer grit, cunning and over boosting, put the Focus of Doom in second.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (124 of 148)

Super Unlimited was interesting not only because Dave Dingman’s Miata was in the class, and not because of Bob Blizzard’s Ford Ranger looking thing.  The class was won by James Miller in the chop top C4 Corvette, with George Smith in second and Bob Blizzard sliding his way into third.  Wild Shick Racing, which posted the fastest single lap time of the group, finished last after contact with the Smith-Burke Racing Corvette left Kyle with a down right rear tire.  I’ve heard the story from Kyle, and I’d like to hear the Smith-Burke side.

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (80 of 148)

It was another good weekend for race fans and organizers.  Hopefully the June event will be an even better one.  If you’d like to come out and race, then go ahead and register!  If you just want to come out and watch some racing and meet some drivers, then that’s a great option as well.  Either way, we look forward to another race weekend and seeing you guys out there!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
25th Apr2014

Import Spring Showoff 2014

by Michael Chandler

ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (84 of 125)

What once was the UtahHondas.net spring meet has bloomed into one of the, if not the biggest show of the year.  450 cars made it into the pay lot, and into the judging for the various awards, while hundreds more filled the parking lots surrounding the Davis County Fairgrounds.  I popped the top on the Supra, grabbed a camera, and made my way north.  I arrived, made my way to one of the lots, reapplied the top and got to shooting.

ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 125) ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (6 of 125)

I didn’t quite make it into the paid lot, I ran into Nick Long as he was walking out.  We chatted and saw this bright green Bricklin SV-1 affectionately named “Kermit”.  After staring at what Canada can do we parted ways and I made my way in.

ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (53 of 125) ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (110 of 125)

There was almost everything there: a very clean NA2 NSX, to a Yugo!  A freaking Yugo!  Look at how clean that little communist hatchback is!  The Yugo, for those who don’t know, is a Fiat 127 built by Communists for as little as humanly possible.  Then Malcom Bricklin, the guy behind Bricklin and responsible for introducing Subaru to America, started importing and selling the things as inexpensive transport.  Then some lady got blown off of a bridge in Michigan while driving one and the rest is history.  Now that you’ve had a history lesson, here’s a gallery for you to enjoy.

22nd Apr2014

Catching up with the RBZ

by Michael Chandler

RBZ burnout Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1)

When last we saw Clint Stoneham’s RB26DET powered 260Z, it was little more than an old Datsun shell wrapped around a new Datsun body.  But now things have changed.  It’s been tuned, had a cage built and certified, and it finally made a few passes.  After weeks of talking about it, I met up with Clint, Jason Kemp, and Melvin North.  What followed were four passes interrupted by some hunting.

By the time I got there (thanks for cutting me off twice Prius!) they already had the car unloaded and were getting her ready to make the first pass of the day.  After waiting in the staging lanes Clint pulled the orange sled into the burnout box and lit up the slicks.  And then he made his pass which, if I’m honest,  wasn’t exactly stellar.  I’ll spare you the time (i.e. I forgot to write it down), but it was slower than what the car was capable of.  While Clint was making the maiden pass, the rest of us heard something.  We met back in the pits, and the guys got to work.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 10)Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 10)

Out came the laptop, and the theories of what sounded like an ignition problem.  The data logs didn’t show anything, but we all heard it breaking up.  Thinking the spark plugs were amiss, Jason and Clint pulled them and Jason re-gapped them.  Fun Fact: the engine of a car gets hot while making a 1/4 mile pass, and it stays that way for a minute.  Guess who relearned that lesson?  No, not me.  I had my hands full of camera.  With the plugs re-installed and the coil packs back on, we piled onto the side by side and followed Clint to the staging lanes.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 10)

Things were better, 10.87 compared to something much slower.  But the ignition was still breaking up.  Jason, who has a 900+whp 2JZ swapped Mk 3 Supra (!), posited that it might be weak coils.  The RB26 and 2JZ are made for a similar purpose, maybe they had similar problems.  Logs still showed nothing, plugs looked great, so it was back in the side by side for another pass.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 10)

Clint lined up, burned out, and proceeded to go 10.50.  Still improving, and still breaking up.  Back in the pits I learned that the best time he could post was a 10.00, and the fastest he could go was 135mph.  Anything beyond that would require more safety equipment in the car.  So with that in the air, the guys again started taking the coil packs off the engine and pulling spark plugs.  The original plan was to swap in a set of HKS spark plugs, but Jason noticed something on the cylinder 3 coil pack.  There was carbon tracking, which meant electricity was arcing in the pack itself.  It wasn’t dead, but it was hurting.  Thinking a decrease in cylinder pressure would help, they switched places between the bad #3 pack and the known good #1 pack.  With the car buttoned up, we made our way back to the line.

 

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 10) Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 10)

Before we left, Jason did some slight tweaking.  The boost was turned up ever so much and “a touch of fuel” was pulled out.  “This will exacerbate the problem” said Jason, knowing that some of us only heard that the boost was going up to around 24 or 25psi.  The 4th pass yielded a 10.33, which all things considered is not bad.  Plans were made for another pass and I would have stayed to watch him make a 10.2 pass, but a supercharged Charger SRT8 decided it wanted to break after doing a burnout… then repeat the the burnout/breakdown cycle again after a few cars were waved ahead of him.  Unfortunately I had a prior engagement and had to leave, BUT FEAR NOT! There is another chance for us all to see this thing go for the gusto!  This Friday night, or April 25th if you’re reading this after the event, is the first Midnight Drags at RMR and Clint will be making some passes in the brisk evening air.  I encourage you all to come out and watch.

Clint wasn’t the only fellow running at the Test N Tune.  I snapped some photos of those characters, and included them and all of the RBZ photos in a gallery below!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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