05th Jun2017

Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy Race 6

by Michael Chandler

It was a brutally hot day out at Utah Motorsports Campus, but the Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy drivers and teams readied themselves and cars for the 45 minute race.  But before they could race, they had to qualify.  

Leading the GT4 pack to the green flag would be Sean McAlister, in the Silver class #00 Competition Motorsports Cayman.

Starting right next to Sean was Jeff Kearl in the #26 Rearden Racing entry.

Carter Yeung rounds out the top three Silver qualifiers, in the #7 GMG car.

The top of the Silver Master class was Steve Goldman, in the #1 Competition Motorsports car.

Qualifying behind him was Martin Brauns, the lone Flying Lizard entry in the entire GT4 field.

LA Car Guy Mike Sullivan qualified third in the third of Competition Motorsports’ entries in the class.  Qualifying fifth overall was Hutton McKenna in the #17 GMG Racing entry, but was assessed a 5 grid spot penalty for an infraction in race 5.

Qualifying on top of the Platinum class (997.2 GT3 Cup cars), was Ray Shahi in the #65 Truspeed Autosports car.

Qualifying second in class was David Lockwood in the lone Air Power Racing entry, the all white #42 car.

And the #32 Truspeed Autosports car of Larry Schnur rounded out Platinum’s top three.  And all three of them (Schnur, Lockwood, and Shahi) received 5 spot grid penalties for infractions in race 5.

Bryce Ward, in the #57 Winward Racing car, was the fastest Diamond Masters qualifier.

Michael Zuieback (#2 Competition Motorports) was right behind him, .249 seconds to be exact.  

Mike McAlister was close to Michael, but not close enough to climb into second.  He and the #18 Competition Motorsports car had to settle for third in Diamond Masters.

Topping GT3 qualifying, and the top Diamond class qualifier, was Loren Beggs, in the 08 911 Design car.

Russell Ward put the other Winward Racing car (#35) second overall and second in class.  The last Diamond entry, the 07 GT Technik car of Max Root failed to post a time in the qualifying session.  Now that we’ve got starting positions sorted, let’s see if that helped them during the race.

Steve Goldman, you #1 Silver Masters qualifier, went wire to wire and collected another win on the weekend.

In a dramatic shakeup, Mike Sullivan (yes, the LA Car Guy himself), grabbed second place in class!  Just like he did in race 5.

On the short step of the podium was Martin Brauns.

Jeff “Jefferson” Kearl snagged the top spot in Silver, holding off a hard charging…

Sean McAlister!  His battler with Jeff Kearl was a great one to watch.

Carter Yeung’s race result mirrored his qualifying result: a strong third.

Despite the top three qualifiers in the Platinum class receiving 5 grid spot penalties, they all managed to finish on the podium.  Atop the podium was the number one qualifier Ray Ray Ray Shahi.

Larry Schnur grabbed himself the middle spot on the podium.

And David Lockwood slipped, but only a little bit.  He came third in class.

Bryce Winward went wire to wire in Diamond Masters, and took home the win.

 

Mike Zuieback also went wire to wire, but he came second.

Coming in third was not Mike McAlister, who spun in the Attitudes during the first lap, but Dave Elsner in the second 911 Design entry.

The other 911 Design car, driven by number one qualifier Loren Beggs, took the top spot in Diamond AND the race.

Bryce Ward fought to keep the pressure on Loren Beggs, but ultimately fell short.  But second place is not a bad place to be in, especially considering the field.

He did set a time in qualifying, but Max Root managed to finish seventh overall and third in class.

And there you have it, a solid weekend of racing.  The series makes its next stop at the end of July, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  The month after that they retun to UMC, along with the Pirelli World Challenge.

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Jun2017

GT3 Cup Saturday Practice Gallery

by Michael Chandler

It’s another Porsche packed day of fun and adventure here at Utah Motorsports Campus.  The Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA finished up their morning practice session.  Here’s what it looked like:

Qualifying starts at 1:10 this afternoon, and the green flag drops at 3:45.  Tickets are still only $5, and the weather is beautiful out here.  Come and watch!

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
02nd Jun2017

Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy North America Practice! [UPDATED]

by Michael Chandler

Steven Costello, long time friend of CAM, is now the series director for Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy North America!  And he invited me to come out and shoot the event, which I am.  Today is just a practice day, but the drivers are already hitting the curbs in the Attitudes like their lives depend on it.  Here’s a gallery of that, and some less intense stuff.

Tomorrow and Sunday are race days.  There will be a practice session, then qualifying, and then finally the race.  Racing gets underway at 3:45pm tomorrow, and 1:10pm on Sunday.  Saturday’s practice session starts at 9:50am, Sunday’s at 8:35am. Tickets are only $5, and kids 12 and under get in for free!  It’s going to be a beautiful weekend, so why not spend it watching some great racing at a beautiful facility?

Find us on social media, subscribe to the CAMcast podcast, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Jan2017

Some World Challenge News

by Michael Chandler

It’s the off season for the Pirelli World Challenge, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.  Far from it!  You know that, but you might not know the details.  So, to that end, I’m gonna bring you a few news items of note.  Things to look for when the series comes through in August.  

Thing The First: DXDT Racing’s New Car

DXDT will be running a new Mercedes AMG GT3 in five Sprint-X and three regular sprint races this season.  Hooray shiny new car!  They’ll start the season at Virginia International Raceway April 28-30, then they run the rest of the schedule.  That’s definitely something to keep an eye on.  They’ve done great in the Super Trofeo series, and last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca they went 1-2 in the GT Cup class in Sprint X.  To be honest, I’m more interested in hearing this thing at full tile than I am in seeing it.  Why? Have you heard the AMG V8’s?  There you go.

Thing the Second: Panoz Has a GTS Program

Yeah, Panoz is back in GT racing.  With Tommy Milner at the helm, Panoz will have a two car, full season GTS effort.  The car will be the Avezzano GT4, pictured above.  What the hell is an Avezzano?  It’s… It’s that blue car up there.  Details of the street car include a 450 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8, a six speed manual.  Not sure how those will change when it enter the series, but it will enter with full carbon fiber widebody, splitter, sideskirts, and rear diffuser.  The only announced driver is Ian James, who has A LOT of experience in many different types of cars (including previous stints with Panoz).  In addition to running the PWC effort, Milner is on hand to develop the car into a proper GT4 car; although, Panoz hasn’t made a homologation request to the GT4 geverning body: the SRO.

Thing the Third: Magnus Joins PWC

YES, Magnus is leaving the IMSA WeatherTech series and will be running a TWO car effort in PWC.  Formerly Twitterless and current team owner John Potter will drive one of the Audi Sport customer racing R8’s, and an as of yet unnamed Audi Sport customer racing supplied driver will be in the other.  They’ve won Rolex 24 races (one in a Porsche and one in an Audi), Sebring, and a couple of Tequila Patron North American Endurance championships, along with plenty of class wins.  They’ll be running the regular sprint races, along with the SprintX races.  More importantly, a fan favorite joins an incredibly fan friendly series, which means we all win.

*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Nov2016

Mustang GT4: A Pony for the World’s Racers

by Michael Chandler

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Seeing a Mustang racing at an IMSA or World Challenge race isn’t a surprising sight.  Seeing one racing in Europe, duking it out with the emerging GT4 cars (M4 GT4, Cayman GT4 Clubsport, McLaren 570 GT4) is about to become a reailty.

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Multimatic, the people who build the racing Mustangs and all of the Ford GTs, took a new Shelby GT350R, and made it so it could play in Europe, Asia, anywhere that is adopting the new GT4 rule set.  Places like IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (GS class) and Pirelli World Challenge (GTS/G4).  The car retains the 5.2 liter flat-plane crank V8, but mates it with a 6 speed, paddle shifted transmission.  It has dampers, lower control arms, and rear stabilizers bars that will take the abuse of the different series it’ll be seeing.

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It even comes with an FIA compliant roll cage.  And a fancy switch panel!  

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It also sports revised aerodynamics, complete with words of caution.  Expect to see the car storming around in the coming years.  And if you’re thinking of getting into GT4 racing, take a look at this slice of Americana

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
13th Aug2016

Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah Qualifying Results

by Michael Chandler

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We’ve got qualifying results for GT, GTA, GTS and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy!  On pole in GT is Alvaro Parente in the #9 K-Pax Racing McLaren 650S GT3.  As of press time we are not sure what the name of Alvaro’s car is, but we are looking into it!

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Frankie Montecalvo put the #66 DIME Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 on the pole in GTS.  Here he is, running down Brent Holden in the #14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

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In GTS, the Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 driven by Scott Heckert will be starting on the pole.

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On the overall pole in Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA is Dino Crescentini in the Diamond Class.

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TruSpeed Autosport is showing some class leading speed yet again, as the #45 driven by Tom Haacker is on the Platinum class pole.

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Larry Schnur is starting up front in Platinum M.

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Jensen Keith took the Bob Evans line to the pole in Silver class.

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And in Silver M we have Steve Goldman out in front for the start.

*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

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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

 

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