14th Aug2016

Pirelli World Challenge at the Grand Prix of Utah GTS Race 2

by Michael Chandler

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The madness that is a Pirelli World Challenge GTS class race has risen and fallen.  This race had all the staples of a great race: close racing, plenty of passes, near misses, and some not misses.  The field, which features everything from the GT4 spec KTM X-Bow up to the almost too powerful Camaro ZL1.  In the end, one driver would rise to the top.  Stand on the highest step, and therefor have the strategic advantage in the champagne spraying that happens at every podium event.  That man is Scott Heckert.

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Scott, in the lone Sin R1 GT4, overtook Brett Sandberg (#13 KTM X-Bow GT4) and held off Nate Stacy (#14 Ford Mostang BOSS 302S) at the beginning of the race, and held on to the lead for the rest of it.  A late race full course yellow, brought on by the #29 Ginetta of Harry Gottsacker colliding with the #46 Lotus of Scott Dollahite, cut Heckert’s massive lead down to nil.  However, on the restart, he built back that lead, as Nate Stacy and Brett Sandberg battled each other for position.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th May2016

Where They Stand: Race Group Standings

by Michael Chandler

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Two rounds down, and a third quickly approaching, now is a good time to take a look at the points standings.  Today we’re going to look at the Thunder and Lightning groups, and we’re going to start in GTS2.  In the above photo, we have the class leader Chris Haunold.  He’s currently 90 points ahead of Ed Mineau, and 110 ahead the other guy in the picture: Tom Rogers.

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Consistency is key, and in GTS3 Mark Reichman has consistently finished in second place in both of the races he’s run this season.  Fortunately for him, he’s the only driver to run both races. With 180 points, he’s 80 points ahead of both Jeff Burton and Doug Turnquist.

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Nathan Rohner is still the only PTB driver.

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PTE is a very tight race, with Ben Lamberson nipping at the heels of Todd Green.  Only 35 points separate the two, but I wouldn’t count out Randy Cummings.  He’s a late comer to the class, but he had some solid finishes at the last race weekend.  He’s 205 points down, BUT if Todd and Ben have a few missteps he could be right in this thing.

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Spec Boxster is a thing, and Mark Boschert is in the lead.  He’s also the only driver in class.  But just look at that Boxster!  Sharp.

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Spec Miata is looking to be a hotly contested class.  Currently less than 100 points separates the class leader, Chris Bond, from 4th place, Craig Shane.  Call the cars whatever you want, but this class is going to be one to watch all season.  Don’t be surprised if we see the top of the class get shuffled several times.

Spec Z is the tightest race in the Lightning group, with Arthur Golebiowski a mere 10 points ahead of Tom Kaminski.  The gap from first to 5th place is 43 points!  That means everyone in the top 5 has to be on their game every race to have a chance at knocking Arthur off the top spot.

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Russ Timmons is by his lonesome in GTS5.  Someone buy a 997 911 and join him.

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Darrell Troester is barely holding off Byron Smith in GTS4.  The gap was cut from 110 to 10 last race weekend when Darrell no-showed, which let Byron claim an easy class win.  How will this shake out?  Only time will tell!

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Us Against One Racing, comprised by any number of your favorites (Todd Ainsworth, Alex Whetman, Grimace), is clinging to a 5 point lead in ST3.  5 points!!!  That’s currently the tightest race in any of the race group classes!  Figuratively glued to the banana yellow bumper of the M3 is Frank Gannett in the #93 Ford Performance Racing School BOSS 3o2RS, and James Harrell is right behind him in the #87 FPRS Mustang!  This is ridiculous, and also fun.  So let’s keep this up.

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J.R. Smith is the lone ST2 driver.  Someone buy a… something and join him.

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Bob Evans is atop the ST1 ladder in the Snickers Ford Fusion.  We gotta come up with some more sponsors for him.  I want to put at least three back slashes in when I write about his car.  Let’s figure this out, people!

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Super Unlimited is being dominated by the Air Power GT3R’s.  They currently have a 225 point lead, and four consecutive wins in class.

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And we finally arrive at GTSU, where McKay Snow (smile damnit!) is atop the field that includes a few Super Trofeo spec Lamborghini Huracans and a the other 911 GT3R.  He’s 30 points ahead of the Makes & Models Huracan ST, which may or may not last.  The Makes & Models team is figuring out that Lamborghini, and McKay may get called up for a ride this season.  He’s got the talent, and people need drivers.  Either way, prepare to watch a battle in the unlimited class of the German Touring Series.

CORRECTION: Arthur Golebiowski is currently leading the Spec Z championship, not Chad Aalders.  The article has been changed to show Arthur in the lead.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Apr2016

It’s Monday, So Let’s Look at the Race Group Standings

by Michael Chandler

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But at least it’s race week!  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the point standings look:

In Super Unlimited the leader is the #41 Porsche of Air Power Racing.  Easy to do when you’ve got a very recently campaigned 911 GT3R.

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Spec Z has DXDT racing in the lead, with Arthur Golwbiowski and Tom Kaminski hot on their heels.  Right now only 55 points separate first in class from last.

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The one, and only, Chris Bond is in first in Spec Miata.  I would keep an eye on Matt Williamson, second in class, this season.  He could very well come up and take the season title.

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Dan McKeever and one of the Ford Performance Racing School Mustangs are holding onto first place in ST2, with the Us Against One Clothing team hot on their heels.  Noticeably absent is Mike Mielke, last year’s champion.  Will we see him this season?  Only time will tell.

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ST1 is being dominated by Bob Evans, in a car that I like to say is a rejected high downforce NASCAR prototype.  Somebody needs to join Bob, preferably someone in a Chevrolet.

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Todd Green is holding off Ben Lamberson in PTE, proving that Paul Mitchell is more powerful than the Lord of the Rings.

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By the power of spinning Doritos, Nathan Rohner has locked down PTB.  Someone, anyone, I beg of you: build a Z car and face off against Nathan.  We need that classic battle to play out, for the good of humanity.

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McKay Snow is on top in GTSU, with Makes & Models and DXDT Racing in a tie for second place.  With Makes & Models fiddling around with a new car, and DXDT getting into the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, this one could belong to the kid.

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Darrell Troester in his white 996 GT3 Cup car have a commanding lead over Byron Smith in GTS4, but don’t expect the chasm to grow.

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GTS2 has a pair of classic 911’s atop the class, but Ed Mineau has a 110 point lead in his black Porsche.

And that’s the current standings in the various classes in the Race Group.  In another post we’ll look at the TT standings, but right now digest the race group standings.  Come out this weekend, and be able to look at the battles on the West Track and say to yourself “Oh, this has championship implications”.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Mar2016

We’re Not Doing With Race Photos

by Michael Chandler

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We might be done after today, but I doubt it.

Photo by Michael Wells!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
01st Mar2016

Stupid, Simple Fun

by Michael Chandler

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While new cars are getting faster, and handling better, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity that is an old car.  The venerable AE86 is as about as simple as it gets: twin cam 1.6L engine, 5 speed manual, and a limited slip diff in the middle of a live rear axle.  It gets simpler, but not by a whole lot.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Sep2015

Ford GP of Utah Day 2 Highlights

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It was a nice morning at Miller Motorsports Park.  The paddock was buzzing with activity as drivers were preparing to go out on track, and crews were readying the cars.  The first group out were the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy, which featured a couple of locals.

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Both Desire Wilson and John Scarlett were driving out of the Air Power Racing garage, and both did well on the weekend.  Desire finished first in Platinum on both days, and John took home first in Platinum Masters on Saturday and second on Sunday.  For those keeping track, with their wins that makes a total of 6 wins for MMP locals!  Could Vesko do some upsetting in GTS and make it 7?

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Unfortunately no.  Vesko did wind up in second though, behind one Mr. Michael Cooper in his Blackdog Speedshop Z/28 Camaro.  With his win on Sunday, and with Andrew Aquilante’s 12th and 10th pllace finishes in the weekend’s events, pushed him to a 107 point lead in the driver’s championship standings.  Seeing a black and red Camaro cross the line 1st at the Ford GP of Utah gave me a feeling of deja vu.

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The two cars involved in the big incidents on Saturday, the Swisher Z4 GT3 and the iRacerCoaching.com R8 LMS Ultra of Drew Regitz, were back and ready to go for the final GT/GTA/GT Cup race of the weekend.  And things were different up top!

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JD Davison…

 

 

 

 

!

 

 

Collected his second second place finish of the weekend.  Guy Smith on the other hand…

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Yes, a previous winner at Miller in the Continental GT3 swooped in, and finished in third.  Third!

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But our guy Johnny took first.  Again.  See, the top spots were different because Guy… I’m not gonna spoon feed you on this one.  Now, to address the fellow with the dog.

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That fellow is Colin Thompson, driver of the #11 Porsche Bucks County/Penn Valley 911 GT3 Cup.  The dog is his dog, which made the trip out from Pennsylvania to watch his owner claim the win in the GT Cup category, and join him in celebrating the win on pit lane.  I forgot the dog’s name, but he was super chill.

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GTA Shook out with a pair of SLS GT3s in the top two podium places, and a Ferrari on the last spot.  Frank Montecalvo in the Bayshore Racing SLS crossed the line first, with Eric Lux’s Rembrandt Charms/Monticello Motor Club SLS following behind.  Eric’s journey to second in class wasn’t easy.  Martin Fuentes in the Scuderia Corsa/Hublot/Samsung Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia kept Eric in his mirrors most of the race, but Eric fought and got around Martin to take home second.

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And there we have it, another amazing World Challenge event in the books.  Opportunities to see cars, drivers and racing like this don’t come up too often, especially in our neck of the woods.  Watching the GT, GTA, GT Cup and GTS cars stretch their legs on the massive front straight, and blast through the high speed corners, then seeing the Touring Cars bang around the track and hit the kerbing and getting air under the tires all in the same day is one of the best ways to spend any day.  With the news that Miller Motorsports Park will become the Utah Motorsports Campus, and that the new ownership is just as excited to keep the racing going at the track, we’re hoping to see more Pirelli World Challenge events at our home track in the coming years.  And we’re hoping to see more of you guys out there too!  Seriously, where can you go from seeing this:

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To this:

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Then see the drivers up close:

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And sometimes personal:

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Before they grid up and take the green flag?:

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Not a whole lot of events are this open to their fans, and feature this diverse a line up.  If you get a chance to, come to the track and spend the weekend watching high caliber racing!

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

 

07th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 2: Let’s Make A Toto Reference

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 2 Saturday-26

Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler, Michael Wells and Gavin Pouquette

Some things are inevitable: death, taxes, and one rain soaked NASA Utah event.  Nobody died, everyone had paid their taxes (probably), but it did rain.  A lot.

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But here’s the thing: it wasn’t raining all weekend.  In fact, for the Saturday races, everyone qualified in the dry.  Well, everyone except Madison Snow.  He ran in the dry, and then the UIS Snow Racing Porsche 911 went back in the trailer.  BUT! But, McKay (the younger one) was not averse to running in the rain, nor was he averse to annihilating the field.

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McKay came out in an IMSA Prototype Lights class car, and proceeded to eek out a 7.4 second win over Ian Lacy in the first Super Formula race (which was dry) and ran away from Terry Biner by a staggering 1:36 in the second!

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The second race was utterly drenched.  Nobody was going to be able to utterly dominate, unless they’re name was Ayrton Senna, and we’re never going to see that level of genius for many years.  However, there is a young Brazilian who drove extremely well in the rain.  If you’ll direct you view to the right side of the picture above, you will see him lurking in the mist.

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Fifteen year old phenom Bruno Carneiro took both Formula class races, an impressive feat considering that the second race might as well have been held in a swimming pool.  For those keeping track, Bruno has won three of the last four Formula races.

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Speaking of tin tops, let’s talk TT.  Greg Valdez, pictured here on race slicks and with a completed wrap, is taking to TT1 like a fish to water.  He took the overall wins on both days of the weekend, while Shawn Murphy kept it close both days, but could not out run Greg.

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Alex Whetman’s Focus of Doom narrowly defeated Travis Tidball’s C5 Corvette on Saturday, and beat up on Matt Guiver on Sunday.  Guiver was in the freshly completed Us Against One Clothing E36 BMW M3.  Speaking of Us Against One Clothing and Alex Whetman, they put our name and logo on a shirt with a picture of the FoD on it.  Head on over, pick up a shirt (or several) and support some good local dudes.

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In TTB, AKA Spec 86, someone in something that is called a GT86 in places that aren’t America won the class on both days.  That someone is Toby Crawford, and that something is a Subaru BRZ.

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TTE was missing Ben Lamberson, and his championship winning Audi, so that opened up a path to victory for another competitor.  On Saturday Joe Schubert took a stroll down that path, and on Sunday long time rival Jeb Brown took the win.

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And in TTU an Audi (TW Racing) beat a couple of Hondas (the Turbo Lab NSX and Rhett Panter’s Integra) on Saturday, and on Sunday tried its hand at being an S1 Quattro. It did not go well, but it still won TTU.

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And playing by himself in TT2 was Robert Rathbone in his 911 GT3.

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The Lightning group is getting big.  More and more Spec Zs are emerging, which means the field is growing.  On Saturday there were 8 cars in the field, and 7 on Sunday.

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Arthur Golebiowski took advantage of the wet conditions, which caused an untimely spin for Chad Aalders (who, according the the results sheet, only did three laps. But did he make them count!) to take the win on Saturday.  On Sunday the weather was better, and the Lyfe Motorsports Spec Z (piloted by Cole Powelson) narrowly denied Arthur of a weekend sweep.  The margin of victory on Sunday? .305 seconds.

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman swept the weekend in the #44 Carpenter Motorsports Miata.  Ignore what the windshield says!  It was David I tell you!!!

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GTS3, PTC, PTE, and 944 Spec had one competitor each.  They were Bill Noblitt (#644, GTS3), Ed Mineau (#221, PTC), Todd Green (#58, PTE), and Otto Silva (#21, 944 Spec).  I would say they need more in class competitors, but they’ve taken to making the drivers in the bigger classes really work on the track.

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Saturday’s and Sunday’s Thunder races could not have been more different.  Just look at it!  Saturday’s affair was rain soaked, while Sunday’s could not have had more perfect weather.

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The weather didn’t matter to John Scarlett, he took wins in GTSU on both days.  On Sunday he had the TW Racing Audi R8 LMS breathing down his neck, his margin of victory was a mere .144 seconds.  That wouldn’t be really surprising, that R8 LMS is a fast car, but it is insane considering that Derek Wolthoff started the race from the back of the grid!

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ST3 was a classic Chevy vs. Ford battle.  On Saturday the Mustangs dominated the podium, with Gary Free in the Towne Storage FR500S standing on the top spot and Madison Milgard in second in one of the brand new Ford Performance Racing School BOSS 302 FRS Mustangs.  Sunday was all about the bowtie, with Travis Tidball in his C5 Corvette taking top honors and Joe Bogie in second in his fifth generation Camaro.

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Super Unlimited was won on Saturday by Joe Sim in the Turbo Lab NSX, which as a Honda fanboi at heart, was awesome to see.  On Sunday Byron Smith put his BMW on top of the podium.

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Mike Mielke in the super truck that can, did win ST2 on both days of the weekend.  Should the Silver Streak be detuned so it can compete in a more populous field?  Should it be tuned UP to compete in ST1?  Personally, I like it where it is.  So long as it remains on track.

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On Sunday we had Dan Worley in his Tatum Racing prepped LSx powered Porsche 944 competing in ST1, and Chris Vivolo was out and about in the #66 Porsche 911 in GTS5.  Both were the lone competitors in their classes, and both were Porsches.

And that’s all she wrote.  The next race weekend is fast approaching, the 16th and 17th of this month in fact.  The racers will be hustling around the East course, which features Miller Motorsports Park’s signature turn and the most dramatic elevation changes on the entire track.  Come, join us, there might be cookies, and there will definitely be some great racing.

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag and their respective owners.
02nd Apr2015

The Wells Report: NASA Utah Round 1

by Michael Chandler

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Photos by Michael Wells

Back again is Michael Wells, with his series of photos we like to call The Wells Report

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

 

31st Mar2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 1: WE’RE BACK!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler and Gavin Pouquette

 

WE’RE BACK RACING!!!  Yes, our long local nightmare is finally over.  The 2015 NASA Utah season opened up this past weekend on the Outer Loop of Miller Motorsports Park, and it.  Was.  Glorious!  Let’s kick off our coverage with the TT groups, where the action was.

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Joe Sim brought out the Turbo Labs turbocharged Acura NSX and ran a blistering 2:00.305 to take the win in TTU.  The NSX made an appearance at Round 6 last year, and was even running around at GT Live back in 2007 and 2008!  Coming in second place was TW Racing in the familiar Audi R8 LMS.  Can the former GT3 car out pace the local legend?  Will we see more of the NSX period?  And what about the Lyfe Motorsports GTR?  Will it defend its title as TTU monster?  We have the better part of the season to find out!

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After a late night tuning session at Ziptie Dynowerks, Greg Valdez took his WRX STi atop the podium in his first TT1 event.  Shawn Murphy, who had an impromptu barbecue on the front straight last year, came in second and retired early with car troubles.  Third place was occupied by Dave Gilliland.

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Alex Whetman broke the Focus of Doom, but won the TT3 class in the process.  The 2:06.2 he ran was a full 4.7 seconds faster than the second place  Team Emerald West Porsche 911!  Jon Carver put his #49 Corvette in third.

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In TT2 we saw a battle between Robert Rathbone’s 911 and Frank Wilson’s C7 Corvette Z06.  In this battle, the Porsche pulled out the win.

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Paul House came out for one TT4 session in his Spec Z, and won himself a nice bottle opener.

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Richard Thiessens took some time out of coordinating HPDE instructors to take the class win in TTB.

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TTE is looking to be a hotly contested class.  Ben Lamberson and his Audi barely squeaked by Jeb Brown’s Subaru for the class win.

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We had some new faces in Open Wheel!  And those new faces actually won!  In Super Formula David Lockwood in his sharp, livery free car took race one; and Terry Biner, in the familiar Rodizio Grill car took race two.

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Formula is also seeing a new face.  Literally.  Bruno Carneiro (who is fifteen years old.  15!) has jumped from karts into a Formula Mazda car prepped by Ian Lacy Racing, and won race two after finishing behind Troy Duffin in race one.  Steven Costello took third in both races.

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Bruno and David weren’t the only newcomers to the Open Wheel group.  Askew Motorsports was out in a Radical for qualifying and a few laps in race one.  I, for one, would like to see Formula and Super Formula grow as fast and as large as Spec Z has.

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Speaking of Spec Z, it is huge!  There were six competitors for Saturday’s race, and a total of seven cars registered for the day.  In the race Arthur Golebiowski topped the podium, with Tom Kaminski in the Dip Kings 350Z in second, and Chad Aalders in third.  Shay Chappell, last year’s TT3 champion, has left his Porsche 911 Turbo at home and hopped into a Spec Z.  Shay can wheel, as is evidenced by his championship, so he won’t be in the basement for long.  With fellow newcomers Richard Fitzgerald and Askew MotorSport, this series is only getting more contested.

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman qualified on pole with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In the race David Sherman brought home the win, with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In other news, David Dingman was back out on track in a blue and yellow Miata!  David’s a great guy, and we’re glad to have him back out on track.

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And in the last Spec class, 944 Spec, Samuel Kapp and Otto Silva began what is always a season long battle for the championship.  These guys duke it out every round, and it’s always a good clean fight.

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In GTS2 Chris Haunold, in the red #9 Porsche, beat out Jim Miller, in the red #9 Porsche.  Oh man, watching that red Porsche cross the finish line after seeing the red Porsche retire with mechanical issues was something else.  Red Porsche.

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Bill “Wild Willie” Noblitt jumped from PTB to GTS3 and took the win over “Good Guy” Gus Stribakos in another all Porsche battle.

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They may have been the only ones in their respective classes, but Todd Green (#58 Paul Mitchell Miata) and Douglas Turnquist (#421 Porsche 944) took their wins and battled with the entire Lightning race group.

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Bad Luck Brendon Stewart detuned his Evo so he could drop down to Super Touring 3 and have some competition.  Long time ST3 competitors Travis Tidball (whose blue Corvette is getting wide) and Gary Free (in the Race Co FR500S Mustang) put up a fight against the newcomer, but in the end they couldn’t stop him.  Brendon won the battle, but lifted the cylinder head in the process.

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Les Long ran away from the GTSU field, and the rest of the race group in fact.  He posted a best lap time of 1:59.411 during the race.

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In GTS5 Russ Timmons held on to a lead of less than a second over Darrell Troester to take the class win.  Chris Vivolo and his blue and white 996 911 rounded out the podium.

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Byron Smith pitted his BMW against the 370Z of Lara Tallman.  It was a close battle, one in which neither driver could put much distance between the other.  By the time the checkered flag dropped Byron was ahead by 0.593 seconds, and took the win.

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Unfortunately not everyone had playmates within their class.  Dan Worley in the Tatum Racing LSX Porsche 944 claimed the ST1 win.  Mike Mielke showed up to ST2 just in time to take over as lone ranger, ironically while driving a Ranger.  And in GTS4 Shawn Tatum held court (see what I did there?  HILARIOUS!) in the Dell & Schaefer Porsche Cayman.

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And that’s all she wrote.  It was a solid opening to what’s going to be a great season.  A great season that has an event every month through October!  There’s no excuse to not come out and catch one of these events, and there’s plenty of time to start working your way through the HPDE program so you can start competing with the a fore mentioned drivers.

The next event is April 24-26, and it’s on the West course.  It’s longer straight sections favor the higher horsepower cars, so be prepared to see some blistering lap times in the Thunder race group.  Grab some friends, pile into the car and make your way out to watch some racing!

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

 

 

 

 

 

06th Aug2014

Happy 8/6 Day!

by Michael Chandler
corolla

Courtesy of Toyota

 

Ah, August 6.  A day that means nothing to most people, but holds a special place in our hearts.  Why? Because today we celebrate the most fun 106hp and a solid axle could provide: the AE86 chassis Corollas!

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-40

Yes, the lowly mighty Corolla.  Formerly cheap, still rear wheel drive, a delightful drift car and road racer.  Able to swallow any motor, from a hopped up stock four cylinder all the way up to a NASCAR V8, these are the little cars that said “Mash the throttle pedal, ignore the brake and kick that clutch like it owes you money.  We’re gonna have some fun”

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So far you’ve just seen photos of them drifting, or emitting horses from under the hood, but they road race.  They road race hard.  In Japan they had the N2 Series, which was nothing but hopped up Corollas battling other hopped up Corollas in a blur of bright colors and box flares.  It was epic.  But it only lasted two years… in the mid 80’s.  But people kept on building the Corollas to the defunct N2 specifications.  In 1988 TRD caught wind of this, and decided to hold an annual N2 race on the legendary Tsukuba Circuit.

 

And so here we are today, discussing the long legacy of a car that has gained fame as a road racing car, drift machine, and tofu delivery vehicle.  Do you have any fun AE86 stories?  Pictures, video?  If you do, share them!  Sharing is caring, especially on this unofficial holiday.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler.

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