16th Oct2013

NASA Utah Round 6

by Michael Chandler

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Nationals were only a month behind them when the Miller locals returned to the west track for Round 6 of the NASA Utah season.  It was also three weeks before the season ending endurance race.  That led to some of your favorites taking the weekend off.  They still came out to instruct HPDE and hang out, but their chariots were still.

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But that doesn’t mean the track was empty.  Cole Powelson was out in RaceCo’s new Porsche, Todd Ainsworth was out in his STi in ST2, George Smith hustled his flying banana C5 Corvette to a win in the Super Unlimited class and first place overall in the race, and Park got a few runs in in his Vette as well.

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Oh, and Jason Smith raced Roger Miller’s World Challenge Mustang.  More on this humbling experience in a later post…

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STR1 went to Bob Evans in the Snickers, EA Sports Ford Fusion.  He battled with Jason for a good chunk of the race, but he left him behind when they encountered traffic.  Passing Jason got him into second overall.

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Again the Spec Miata/GTS guys were out with the bigger, faster guys.  While Jason and Bob had a good battle going, there was a dog fight happening at the front of the herd of Miatas.

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Todd Green and Mike Ferrara were never out of the other’s sight the whole race!  They might as well have tied their cars together, thats how close they were.  After an epic battle, Mike emerged the victor.  They might not be as fast as the open wheel or ST cars, but they fight just as hard if not harder than those other classes.

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Speaking of open wheel, the shorter track kept them closer than usual.  There weren’t any dirt drops or wheel touching, a la the Japanese GP, but the closeness brought action.

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This is Dave Wann.  He ran a 1:49.75, and did the best pirouette of the day.  Kudos to you Dave, kudos.

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I see you race a Z32.  I too like to live dangerously.  And if I remember right this either placed or won TTC.  You don’t see a lot of Z32 300ZX’s out on track days, which is a shame because, as our friend here is demonstrating, they can do some serious work.  They’re also such handsome vehicles.

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You don’t see too many Z cars out in general, at least out on our little ribbon of tarmac.  370z’s are pricey, and S30s are gorgeous and more people would rather do them up and then take them to shows instead of the track.  Hopefully seeing that Datsun go will bring a few more out.

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Here are some random photos from the HPDE session.  Nothing too crazy to report, just some guys getting in some supervised laps.  Anyway, thats what happened in a rather light day.  We’ll be out there for the season ending endurance race on the 26th, and we’ll do a photo dump ahead of that.  We’ll see you there!

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Words and Photos by Michael Chandler.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Sep2013

NASA National Championships

by Michael Chandler

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NASA racers and support crew swarmed Miller Motorsports Park between the 4th and 8th of September for the NASA National Championships.  Every class of NASA sanctioned racer were out there, along with your humble reporter/photographer.  Well, the teams were there the whole time.  I, unfortunately, only made it out on Friday the 6th, but I brought you pictures!  And results!

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Us Against One Clothing printed up some stickers for the locals to run if they chose to.  The locals weren’t going to roll over and make it easy for the out of towners to win.

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The American Iron (AI), American Iron Extreme (AIX) and Camaro Mustang Challenge (CMC) guys were taking advantage of the Full Course layout by doing what Camaros and Mustangs do best: go fast in a straight line.  There were plenty of straights for them to wring their pony cars out.  The AI and AIX classes were dominated by Mustangs that made the trip to Miller Motorsports Park from as far away as Ohio!  But it wasn’t all Mustangs (well, the winners were all piloting Mustangs) or out of towners.

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Gary Free in his RaceCo prepped, South Towne Storage sponsored FR500S took fourth in AIX, besting two other competitors.  Corey Weber and Todd Davis brought out some classic American wheels to compete with.  Weber took fourth in AI while Davis took tenth.

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TTU, 1, and 2 were dominated by the home team.  Kyle Schick ran a blistering 1:55 to take TTU, while Shawn Murphy and his full interior STi took TT1 with a 2:03.  Smith-Burke Racing took TT2 by two tenths of a second!  Their 2:01.039 was just barely quick enough for the title, while Greg Valdez missed out on the podium by four tenths.  He still managed to out run a twin turbo 911 and a 911 GT3 by four and six seconds respectively.

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George Smith took the fight to the STR-1 crowd and emerged with the title in the JDP Motorsports/Smith Marketing Services C5 Corvette.  Corvettes appeared on the podium in ST2 (won by Smith-Burke Racing), ST3 and SU, with outright wins in ST2 and 3!

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SU field was the most exotic.  A pair of  prototype-esqe cars, a pair of Thunder Roadsters, a Viper, a Honda S2000 and a Corvette all vied for the title, but when the checkered flag dropped the #7 Elan DP02 of Jon Van Canegham emerged victorious.

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Also, the Brits were represented.

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Spec Miata was arguably the most action packed field.  Most of the packs were at least four cars deep, and dueling pairs of Miatas and lone Miatas were more the exception than the rule.  Blinkers were left on, doors were smashed, it was one of the more fun groups to see tear it up.  When the dust settled Matt Schultz climbed atop the podium.  He represents the NASA Northwest region.  The best the hometown crew could do was 13th (Chris Bond, 007).  Can’t win them all…

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If Spec Miata was the most action packed, most fun group to watch; then the GTS group was the prettiest.  Porsches and BMWs running hard lap after lap.  The sight was glorious, and the noise was epic!

Out of a possible twenty-eight championships, MMP locals took six.  Nearly one quarter of your NASA National Champions call Miller Motorsports Park home…  Well, not literally, but you get my drift.  The number could’ve been more just as easily as less.  Brendon Stewart’s Evo was still in pieces, Jason Smith sold his very quick Civic, Travis Williams’s FR500S was still down from the endurance race, and I’m not sure where Dave Dingman disappeared to.  Sally McNulty’s WRX was dealing with a bad head gasket, Jordan Priestly was doing support work for some of the drivers.  Those are six locals who could’ve competed for, if not taken a championship.  And we’ll just gloss over the Snows and John Potter, because we know how well they usually do.

The championship trophies may have been handed out, but the racing isn’t over for the season.  The final two events are in October: 4th-6th on the West track and 25th and 26th on the Outer Loop.  Still plenty of good times to be had, and for the TT guys, faster laps since it *should* be cooler out.

A full list of winners, placers, show-ers, just missed its and also rans can be found here.  BUT since you’re here, I present you with a list of the Champions, their class and their home region:

  • Alec Udell, American Iron, Texas
  • John Miksula, American Iron Extreme, Midwest
  • Aaron McSpadden, Camaro Mustang Challenge, Texas
  • Matt Schultz, Spec Miata, Northwest
  • David Schotz, TTB & C, Arizona
  • Sonny Watanasirisuk, TTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, TTE, Great Lakes
  • George Smith, STR1, Rocky Mountain
  • Michael von Quilich, Super Touring 1, California-Southern
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, Super Touring 2, Utah
  • Kenneth Smith, Super Touring 3, Great Lakes
  • Jon Van Caneghem, Super Unlimited, California-Southern
  • Tyler Palmer, 944 Spec, California-Southern
  • Dick Hunter, GTS2, Texas
  • Tony Colicchio, GTS3, California-Northern
  • Michael McAleenan, GTS4, Northwest
  • Peter Spencer, GTS5, Utah
  • David Schotz, PTB, Arizona
  • Dennis Holloway, PTC, California-Southern
  • Need Speed Orozco, PTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, PTE, Great Lakes
  • Walter Carlos, PTF, California-Southern
  • David Dirks, Spec Z, Rocky Mountain
  • Shawn Murphy, TT1, Utah
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, TT2, Utah
  • Christopher Mayfield, TT3, Rocky Mountain
  • Kyle Schick, TTU, Utah 

And there you have it.  See you in a a few weeks, and because I told them this is where to look, here’s a picture of this AIX Mustang:

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-Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
05th Sep2013

Western Endurance Racing Championship at Miller Motorsports Park part 2

by Michael Chandler

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I arrived back in the pits to find…  The Mustang, in one piece and not on fire.  As it turns out “blew up” means different things to different people.  Unfortunately the clutch gave out, which ended the day for Travis, Todd, Dave and Jason.  It was a melancholy scene, but the hour and a half they were out there wasn’t so bad.  They’re night was done, but for others the evening was about to begin.

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Racing is a physical effort, which is why the drivers do their best to stay in some semblance of shape.  Some take it a bit more serious than others…  Seeing a man do lunges and jog across three pit stalls is a sight I don’t think I will ever forget.  As he was preparing his body and mind for the stint ahead, RaceCo was bringing their guy in for a driver change and fuel stop.

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Intense doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere during an endurance race pit stop.  There are a lot of moving parts and, while longer than pit stops in other motor sports, time is a huge factor.  Those extra seconds add up, and turn in to minutes, which over the course of a six hour race could become tens of minutes.  Cole Powelson, driver and chief push broom technician at RaceCo, hopped out and declared himself #1 after relaying some information about the car.  He had a couple of minutes to relax and change before it got windy again…

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Wind can be handled, but the dust and lack of visibility could cause havoc.  Seeing from Clubhouse to Release was almost impossible, even if you were standing in between the turns.  Mercifully the winds died down and visibility picked back up.  I gathered my things, hopped in my car and made my way to Black Rock, the first in a series of hairpin turns on the west section of the track.

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The turn sits at the end of a high speed section, so naturally this is where the brakes would see the most use.  Everyone was lighting up their brake rotors, especially the vehicles that carried buckets of speed in to the turn.  The Factory Five GTM and the Radical had absolutely no problem cooking their brakes coming in to the turn, lap after lap after lap.

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With the sunset painting the sky with hues of orange, blue, purple and magenta, the on track action almost seemed like an added bonus.  There was barely enough light in the sky to illuminate the racers, and when that faded we all had to resort to artificial means of light.

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The cars would cast eery slivers of light on to the track, illuminating only what was in their immediate path.  Their tail lights were the eyes of shifty demons scurrying about the track, looking for a victim to terrorize.  It was quite a sight to behold, and a rather difficult one to capture.  Unable to capture thin windows of light, I did something that seemed like a good idea: setting the camera on a tripod and capturing the trails of light the cars were leaving behind.

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Most everyone had bright, white lights.  Everyone, except the Radical.  It had a white LED light bar on the roll hoop, but red orange lights on the front of the car.  The track took on a sinister glow when it passed.  It left a devilish red-orange trail with a little white halo above it.  It was also hitting the curbing, which can be seen by the ripples on the left side of the picture.  Most everyone else played it safe and only touched the curbing while taking  as straight a path through the Attitudes as they could.

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I don’t like saying it, but the grand stands on the race weekends I have been in attendance have been rather empty.  This night was no exception.  One of the best spots to watch a race from are the stands on the outside of Release, the track’s final turn before the straight.  From those seats one can see cars coming through Witchcraft and disappear as the cross the Attitudes.  They reappear just past the clubhouse, and you can see them all the way until they dip out of sight as they travel through turn 1.

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I returned to the pits, and made my way through lifeless GP garages to a dark and busy pit lane.  Privateers and factory backed crews toiled under the work lights to ready their cars for another stint.  By this time everyone was preparing for their last outing on the track for the night.  The drivers were exhausted, the crews were fatigued but still they fought on.

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The end was in sight for those still driving.  Last minute information was relayed to drivers, fuel was topped off, lights were cleaned and finally the engines were fired.  Off in to the blackness one more time…

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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


03rd Sep2013

Western Endurance Racing Championship at Miller Motorsports Park Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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This was going to be an entirely different article.  It was going to be like the old Honda Challenge stuff we did: chronicling the local guys on their home track as the battle the out of towners.  I was going to talk about how Dave Dingman, Todd Ainsworth, Travis Williams and last second addition Jason Smith took the fight to them over the course of the six hour race.  It was going to be heroic and epic and all of those things.

But then their day went belly up.  Here’s how it happened: Dave went out first, and irony found him.  See, Dave pilots the Freeway Mazda Miata we all know and love in the NASA Utah events.  As he was out in Travis’s FR500S Mustang was hit by a (wait for it) Miata.  This prompted the stewardess to tell Travis and Jason that he had thirty minutes to come in and file a report.  If he didn’t the team would receive a five minute penalty.

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After a brief discussion, the team decided to leave him out.  When he came in they’d get his side of the story, top him off with fuel and send him on his marry way.  His side of the story goes something like this: he gave the Miata plenty of room going in to turn one, but closed the door because thats how his line was.  The Miata, seeing that there wasn’t any room, decided to stick its nose in there.  Contact was made, it was the Miata’s fault.  Anyway, the team didn’t have radios so Travis grabbed a white board and a red marker to communicate to Dave that he was to come in.  He scribbled something on the board and ran to the pit wall.

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As it turns out, it’s hard to see red on white as you’re at speed with the sun in your face.  The crew in the next pit stall noticed Travis’s mistake, gave Jason a black marker, and the sign was re-scribbled.  Travis again ran to the pit wall and held the sign.  It worked better that time around, and Dave came in.

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Travis got Dave’s story and explained the situation.  He also made sure Dave stayed strapped in, because if he unstrapped then his stint would be over.  Jason topped off the fuel tank and Todd held the fire extinguisher just in case.  The tank was brimmed after some more conversation, and Dave took off making sure not to abuse the clutch upon his exit.  They weren’t going to leave him out there for too much longer, so I hung around the pits so as to not miss the driver change.

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The professionals at RaceCo were a few stalls down, showcasing the professionalism, enthusiasm for produce and the proper way to kinda listen to someone’s story about something…or whatever.  They were also fielding a FR500S Mustang in the race.  The competition had been meet, and they had watermelon and a canopy in their stall.  More on them later, because Dave was about to come in for the first driver change of team TRADINGWOR’s night.

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Dave out, Todd and fuel in.  Dave took over fire extinguisher duties, while Travis helped Todd get settled in.  Jason, and his Vans, manned the fuel can.  Notes were passed between the drivers and the rest of the team.  I imagine that this is what it was like in the fifties.  All the drivers had other responsibilities and the only time they could communicate what the car was doing or feeling like was when they came in for fuel and fresh rubber.  Except I don’t think anyone would be wearing bright red shoes, but I could very well be wrong.

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Todd left gingerly, but not any harder than you or I leaving a stop light quickly.  Dave proceeded to tell us his story, and show us when the Miata decided to test just how small it was.  He also mentioned that the car felt good, and he wasn’t using the clutch much.  He was rev matching up and down shifts because he wanted to keep the clutch for later in the night.  Remember: it was a marathon, not a sprint.  With that handled, I hopped in the Subaru and made my way to turn one to catch some of the cars on track.

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Miller is a challenging track for many reasons, but one reason I have heard many times is it’s very dusty.  This is because the track is built in the middle of high desert grazing land, which will grow wild grasses and other native vegetation but not a whole lot else.  The track is never going to look like Road America, and that’s not a huge problem.  Willow Springs is in the middle of a desert in the middle of nowhere, and it does plenty fine.  However, that lack of vegetation has one drawback.  That drawback, coupled with the recently constructed motocross track in the infield of the east half of the road course, can become a calamity when it gets windy…  Like it did the whole weekend and pretty much every evening in Tooele county.  Eventually the wind died down and visibility returned to a safe level.

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An HPD backed Fit was out.  They were banking on only having to stop a few times for fuel.  They were also excited by the prospect of being lapped so it would look like they were in the race!  That’s the kind of optimism and creative thinking we like around here.  We also like E30 BMWs with crazy light bars, because who needs lights in factory locations when you have a bunch of really bright LEDs on your hood?  Oh, and there was the very patriotic Factory Five GTM.  Nothing says freedom like a mid-engined LS powered car you can assemble in your garage.

I sent a text to my friend Jenny to inform her that Jason was going to be driving the #22 Mustang.  The pack passed by a few more times before she responded.  Her response was concise and very concerning:

“I knooowwwww It just blew up though! :(”

After seeing that a few thoughts raced through my head: where did it blow up?  Why wasn’t there a yellow flag?  Why wasn’t the safety crew rolling out?  Did I miss them on the track the whole time I was stand on the outside of turn one?  I ran back to the Subaru and double timed it to the pits.

Did the car blow up?  Was Todd horribly disfigured?  Does Travis have to buy a new car?  Where are the night shots?  All of these questions will be answered in the thrilling conclusion!

21st Aug2013

NASA Utah Round 5

by Michael Chandler

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August 10th was an extremely busy day at Miller Motorsports Park.  The Gotham Dream Car Sprint was happening in the Midway, starting at 6pm there was a Western Endurance Racing Championship six hour endurance race, and during the day the NASA locals were joined by some SCCA fellows for some laps!  Exciting right?  You betcha!  However, the arrival of the SCCA guys meant that some of your NASA heroes raced with them instead of in the NASA groups.

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This was most apparent with the open wheel guys.  It was one of the larger open wheel fields in recent memory.  And since this was a SCCA deal, I don’t have the results…  Sorry guys, but I do have more pictures!

Looks like you herped when you should've derped there Bill.

Looks like you herped when you should’ve derped there Bill.

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See?  That kinda makes up for the lack of actual information!

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I’m not 100% sure what these are, but I think they’re Club Ford cars.  Whatever they are, they’re very cool and deserve some time in the spotlight.

I don’t have results for the SCCA groups*, but I do have results for the NASA guys.  With the increase in traffic on track, they split the NASA folks in to three groups:

  • Thunder:  GTS 3, 4, 5; American Iron, Camaro Mustang Challenge, Spec Z, STR1, and ST2, 3 and U
  • Lightning:  GTS1, 2, 3; Spec Miata, Spec E30, Spec 944, and PTB, C, E and F
  • TT:  I’m not explaining this one

Let’s start with the TT group.

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Despite a momentary lack of traction control, which led to a slight off track excursion, Kyle Shick took top honors for TTU in the RaceCo/Envision Wraps GTR with a 1:59.336.  The car is fine, and Kyle was his usual smiling self about the incident at the awards dinner later in the evening.

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The TT1 crown was claimed by Steven Streimer in the Lux Performance/Streimer MotorSports/Natalie’s Estate Winery Porsche 911 with a time of 2:03.395

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Greg Valdez took #lelantos to the top of the heap in TT2 with a time of 2:09.348.  The Ziptie Dynowerks sponsored STi has been getting better over the course of the season.  Fun fact: the wing on the car is wider than Greg is tall.

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The TT3 title was claimed by this fellow: Steve Nagel in the MarVista BMW M3.  His time: 2:09.318.  I would say something witty or funny, but I know nothing about him so I shall refrain.

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Emilio Cervantes and his 949 Racing sponsored Mazda Miata took the TTB crown with a 2:13.901

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Another Miata took TTC.  This time it was Sonny Watanasirisuk with a lap time of 2:17.986

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AND Jay Kidd took first AND last in TTE by being the only competitor in the field.  The Track Speed Engineering Miata put up a 2:20.258.

Moving on to the Lightning group, and more specifically the three Spec classes that were running.

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Dan McKeever took Spec Miata in the #10 Falcon Graphics sponsored roadster.

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Larry Moore took the Spec E30 win in his wild Bavarian coupe.  Quick question: when did red and blue become the official M colors?  This came up while out shooting and nobody had a good answer.

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And Samuel Kapp was deemed the fastest  of the Spec 944s.

The Pro Touring field was pretty deep, featuring privateers and a factory backed effort.  Logically the factory team would be the fastest on the day right?  Allow me to show you why that isn’t really true.

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When you show up in a Fit, you make Miatas look like fire breathing Blancpain series Lamborghinis.  That said, it probably had to fill up once the whole weekend.  It also took the PTF class.

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Andrew Kidd put the #71 Track Speed Miata in the winner’s circle again in the PTE category.  See that Porsche he’s chasing?

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It’s the PTC class winner driven by Ed Mineau!  Eight hundredths of a second separated the fastest laps turned by your E and C class winners.

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And speaking of Porsches, Douglas Turnquist took the PTB win in his non-Spec 944.

In GTS they really turned up the wick!  Well, sort of.  These still are semi-reasonable cars we’re talking about.

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Lee Bohning took the #36 Alpine Autohaus M3 to the winners circle in GTS2.

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Meanwhile, in GTS3, Stefan Sajic piloted his E46 M3 to victory.  In addition to being M3s and winning their classes, these cars have something else in common: red roll cages.  I support that 103%.

And now on to the senior circuit: the Thunder group.

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Mark Smith piloted the Eagle Marine Boss 302 Mustang to victory in American Iron, beating an F Body with a big wing.  However, the General would have his revenge!

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And that came in the form of Joe Bogie taking the Camaro Mustang Challenge win!

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The Spec Z crown was claimed by David Dirks, seen here chasing down a CMC competitor.

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GTS was dominated by Porsches.  Gus Stribakos took his physics defying machine to glory in GTS3.

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Darrell Troester won GTS4 in his 996 GT3.

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And Les Long turned a blistering 1:58.901 on his way to a GTS5 victory!  His time was THIRD fastest of the day!

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ST3 was loudly won by Daniel Wennerberg in the Pure Performance, high visibility BMW.

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Bob beat Skip for the STR1 win.  One of my favorite moments from the day was Matt Guiver, at the awards presentation, asking “Hey Bob, where’s Skip?”  Not sure why, but I enjoyed it.

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And the Davidson Racing team took top honors in SU, the Thunder Group, and on the day.  They won their class by 1:07.978, making second place George Smith (and his fastest lap time 1:57.705) look like he was standing still.

After the NASA guys finished up, the SCCA guys got to turn some laps…

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And this happened.  Spec Miatas might not be the fastest cars on track, but they aren’t afraid to bang! Not entirely sure how, or why, but Tyler Dahl and Glenn Conser were going at it the entirety of the SCCA Small Bore race.

And on a more somber note, this was unfortunately the last NASA Utah event Regional Director Roger Miller attended.  The following weekend he traveled to Kansas City for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.  He and co-driver Ian James finished eleventh in the race.  Tragically that evening, Roger passed away in his sleep.  Roger was a truly great man, and driver.  His passion for racing was unparalleled, and he wanted to bring more people into the fold and share that passion with them.  He will be missed, but the work he has done with NASA Utah will never be forgotten.

Fal Enduro 2012-32


Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*If anyone has the SCCA results, feel free to send them over and we’ll get a post up for them

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
08th Aug2013

Supercar Invitational 2013

by Michael Chandler

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On July 19 super car owners, guests, on lookers gathered at Miller Motorsports Park for the second Supercar Invitational.  An invitation only event where owners of vehicles such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and Porsches could get some instruction from NASA instructors then put the hammer down on their own for some hot laps.  Oh, and see the Caterham up close.

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A McLaren MP4-12C, a twin turbo Lamborghini Gallardo and even a Lexus LFA took to the track, wowing fans with their speed and sound. However there was one notable, flamable Italian make missing.  Nobody brought a Ferrari.  Tragically the howl of its flat plane V8 was not heard, but since there wasn’t one in attendance it couldn’t set itself ablaze.  The lack of the melodic Italian was not missed.  Everyone was treated to the scream of the Lexus’s V10 (Toyota’s F1 program wasn’t a total loss!), cracking of the wastegates on the Lamborghini and the subdued rage of the McLaren.

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Some of your favorite NASA drivers were allowed to take their cars out for some track time, and take the supercar owners to school!  Greg’s STi chased down some high dollar vehicles, and nobody knew what was under the hood of the fast S30.  It’s a VQ35DE from a 350Z if you are curious, it sounds amazing and makes the old Datsun move.  Meanwhile Kyle ,when he wasn’t in his street GTR (which now had the same vinyl wrap as his race GTR) was attempting to pace the Caterham SP.300/R in his race GTR, but to little success because the Caterham didn’t seem too interested in that game…  Oh well, hopefully its presence got a few people excited enough to order some so we can see them turn their wheels in competition!

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‘Murican muscle was out in force!  Everything from a previous generation Mustang up to a Corvette ZR1 were taking laps.  The orange and black Mustang kept gaining confidence through out the day, and by the end was hitting the curbing like it owed him money.  The ZR1 was wearing slicks on all four corners, like it should be if it’s going to be whipping around a road course, and made full use of them.  The panda GT500 Mustang sounded like you would expect one to sound: unadulterated rage with some supercharger whine mixed in.  It was glorious.

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Almost as glorious as ze Germans.  Much like France in 1940, they arrived quickly and stayed for a while.  There were a trio of Silver Arrows (none of which were silver, and one of which was driven by a rather impatient man), a pair of R8s and a couple of 911s and M3s of both flavors (coupe and sedan).  Two of the Mercs were packing the machine gun 6.2 liter V8, and had no issue with using the loud pedal.  The R8s howled everywhere they went, and the drop top was a fan favorite amongst the spectators.  The 911s turned fast laps and looked like all fast 911s do going around corners: good.  The M3 coupe was doing taxi service, giving ride alongs (I didn’t go on one…  Kinda regretting that now) while the sedan eventually won an award: slowest speed for the trap speed run.  In his defense, he didn’t know where the finish line was so he let off at the 1/4 mile mark.  Speaking of the trap speed run…

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They had one!  Complete with blonde starter girl!  The winner was, surprise surprise, the twin turbo Gallardo.  But I can say that we were all winners on the day.  Supercar owners got to stretch their cars’ legs and spectators got to see said leg stretching and even go for ride alongs.  There were free drinks and food, which makes any event that much better.  And there was a helicopter too.  Very cool.  And models.  Also cool.  I look forward to next year’s event, where hopefully we will see a prancing horse in addition to the bull, the beetles and the fax machine.


Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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


21st May2013

CAM Goes To Cota Day 3

by Michael Chandler

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No time for shenanigans, time to get to the…  Hey!  Thats an Aston Martin Rapide…  So pretty. The parking lot held some intense vehicles, but more on those later.

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We were here for the racing!  Not the parking lot finds, and we managed to get quite a bit in on our last day.  We caught some of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS race.  You know, the one with the GT3 cars in it now.  We saw a lap or two from ground level, but then decided to get a better vantage point.

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We (Cherp, James and myself) climbed the Tower.  Well, we rode the elevator up because it was a lot of stairs.  We got some great shots up there of the GT/GTS guys and the Porsche Cup races.  We also got some touristy ones.

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These guys were running hard, but in the end Madison Snow took the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy race, while James Sofronas won the GT class in his GMG R8 and Andy Lee put his Best IT Camaro on top of the podium in the GTS class.

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But then it was time for the main events!  The first race almost saw Mark Winterbottom put his Pepsi Max Crew/FPR Falcon atop the podium, but a bad pit stop relegated him to a disappointing 7th.  Holden locked out the top six spots, with Coulthard, Lowndes and Whincup on the podium in the order.  Rick Kelly in his Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan placed 9th and Tim Slade put the Heavy Haulage Australia Racing Mercedes in 20th.  Then we had an hour to kill between the races, so we wandered…

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And wound up at the Start/Finish line.  We consumed energy drinks and water, purchased souvenirs, and then heard 28 cars bounce off the rev limiters before launching up the hill.

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And what a hill it is.  It’s 150 feet of rise from the bottom of the hill to the top.  That makes it the most elevation change of any F1 circuit on the schedule.  See?  You learned something!  We then moved down the front straight, to turn 20.  The final turn of the circuit.

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We saw plenty of action.

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And also some inaction…

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And then the checkered flew.  The big news?  A MERCEDES FINISHED BETTER THAN 20TH!!!  Tim Slade and the HHA Racing Mercedes came in 17th!  Meanwhile Rick Kelly was yet again the highest placing Nissan (8th), and Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom put his Flacon in 6th.  Holden took places 1-5, with the podium consisting of Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Ginsbergen.

And that was it for the races, but the parking lots at CotA held a few gems themselves.  There was the McLaren on Saturday, then there was this SRT Viper that was being loaded in to a hauler.

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And these!

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Holdens!  We ran across two fellows who import Utes, then convert them to left hand drive by sticking Pontiac GTO or G8 dashes in them.  The best part is they then can be legally registered!

After ogling the cars, we packed up and made our way in to Austin for dinner, then shenanigans.  The next morning we returned our faithful chariot to the rental agency, hopped on the plane and made our way home.  It was an epic trip for the lot of us.  Nobody races like the V8 Supercar guys.

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler, Nicholas Cherpeski and James Dahl.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.



19th May2013

CAM Goes To COTA Day 2

by Michael Chandler

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After a hearty, umm, breakfast, we made our way to the track to see our first V8 Supercars races!

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By this point we’ve established seating in the rental mobile: Trent at the helm, Cherp in the navigator position…

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…with Jamie and myself in the rear.

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Today we all went our separate ways when we got to shooting.  I elected to go to the bottom of the hill where turn two is and the outside of turn one at the top of the hill.

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Then I made my way to the turn three, four, five complex where the drivers were hitting the curbing hard.  They were putting a lot of air under the tires.

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Then I made my way across the bridges to meet up with the guys after the race.  Jamie Whincup took the win, with Red Bull Racing teammate Craig Lowndes taking second and Fabian Coulthard rounding out the podium.  We then walked back across the bridges, watched Jamie eat a kolach, then settled in on the hill above turn eighteen for race two.

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There was a lot of action in race two, unfortunately not a lot where we were…  But we did get to see some passing!

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And even some three wide action that didn’t work out in turn nineteen.

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It was mostly orderly and clean, which is good because having the safety car out every three laps would turn the twenty-seven lap sprints into monstrous endurance races.

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The checkered flew, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes took positions one and two with Fabian Coulthard taking third.  Holden shut out the podium yet again, and also took positions four and five with Mark Winterbottom putting his Ford Performance Racing/Pepsi Max Falcon in sixth.  Rick Kelly put his Jack Daniels Nissan Altima in eighth.  The Mercedes E-Classes didn’t fare that well, with one not finishing while the other two took positions twenty and twenty-six.

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With the racing done, Trent posed for a delightfully touristy photo and we left.

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But not before we spotted a McLaren MP4-12C leaving one of the dirt lots!

Two more races tomorrow.  Will Red Bull Racing continue their dominance?  Can Ford crack the podium?  Will a Mercedes finish higher than twentieth?  Find out tomorrow!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.


18th May2013

CAM Goes To COTA: Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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It’s the inaugural Austin 400 V8 Supercars race, and as a group Trent, Cherp, James and myself decided to chip in and come down.  We’re going to be down here until Monday, and at the track today and tomorrow.  We flew in yesterday and went straight to the track.  Here’s a brief run down of events preceding and during our trip to Circuit of the Americas here in Austin.


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Cherp flew in to Salt Lake from Seattle.  He did some prodigious foursquare-ing, and proceeded to creep on us at the terminal in Salt Lake until we found him.  Him, Jamie and myself grabbed some coffee before boarding.  Unfortunately we were separated during the flight, and they got a window on their aisle.  Cherp and I were left to entertain ourselves…


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Naturally, when we deplaned, we were greeted by a bar.


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It was then time to procure the rental mobile.  We were getting a Focus, or something “similar”.


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The idea of the Focus gave Jamie a stroke… Or something…


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…while Cherp seemed just delighted by the prospect of the Focus.


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Similar?  YOU BET!  Similar price?  the BMW was $50 more PER DAY.  So we opted for the Focus, which we have claimed as our own.  And then we were off!


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She’s a sight to behold.


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You know who was excited to get in?  JAMIE!


We were greeted with raucous backfire from the Aussies and Kiwis during the practice session we watched.  We were then treated to a practice session from one of the support series: IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup, where we noticed some familiar cars from Miller Motorsports Park.

We’ll be back out there today, and tomorrow.  Follow the lot of us on Instagram and Twitter for more photos and shenanigans: @camautomag @cherp92lx @dubbindahl and @mchandphoto

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.
10th May2013

Weekend Wallpapers May 10

by Michael Chandler

Back after a very long hiatus are the weekend wallpapers!  Today we’ve got a couple of quality photos just asking to be in your life.

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First up is the RaceCo R35 GTR, sitting on its air jack on pit lane in the fading light, waiting to add to the legend of the GTR.


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Next is one of the original Gulf GT40s, one of the first cars to ever wear the now iconic livery.  This car’s legend was set in stone long ago.


Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Right/ctrl click on the image and open in a new tab/window, then right/ctrl click and save it.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.