22nd Jul2015

New NSXs at Miller

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The first thing I saw when I drove through the gates at Miller Motorsports Park was an exotic looking red car duck behind a row of SUVs, and into one of the GP garages.  Unsure of exactly what I saw, I felt the need to drive over there and see whatever it was.  I came around the SUVs and began looking into the open garages.  I saw a new Porsche 911 Turbo in one, and in the next garage was a white R8.  In the next two garages I saw some people sitting, and someone talking to them.  At this point I thought it was a private track day, and… Well, I was kind of right.

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In the next garage was what I saw, and indeed it was something red and exotic looking.  It was a brand new NSX, in what appeared to be near production trim.  No ridiculously huge wheels, no team of Honda/Acura goons surrounding it, no production crew or anything.  It was just there in, across from a group of people who I can only assume were driving it.  I say that last bit, because it was lapping the East track.  I was hoping to sneak over and grab some photos, but when I had an opportunity to run over the NSX was at a stand still on track.  Not sure what happened, because it did get running again.  Then it disappeared.

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Since I didn’t know if I could be trackside on the East track while those were running, I elected to not risk getting kicked out.  At the lunch break I stood in the shade of the grandstands at Tooele Turn, and waited for them to come back out.  And I waited, and waited… and waited, waited, waited… and waited.  Then a van came out, and did a lap of the course, which was littered with cone gates.  It did two GLACIAL laps and went in.  Then a pick up truck came out, and took some brisker laps, then disappeared.  And then nothing… There was silence.  NASA Utah was at lunch, Salt City Drift was at lunch, everyone was lunching except me.  And then I heard something with a V8 and pipes fire up.  Shortly after, I saw the old Mustang pace car leading A PAIR of NSXs around!  I leapt into action: I ran to the fence, and down track towards the bottom of the Attitudes.  I started snapping off photos, and was awash in a feeling of accomplishment.  Then hunger kicked in, so I left the NSXs to run about.

And that was only one of three things happening at the track this past weekend. Stay tuned to see what else was going on, and why you should always listen when someone tells you to get out to the track!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
08th Jun2015

RallySport Direct Eat, Greet and Meet… Meet

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What started as a humble swap meet, hosted by a humble online retailer, has grown into a sizable meet at the physical home of a porperly big online retailer.  Thankfully, RallySport Direct maintains the feel of a shop run by a bunch of your friends and they have dropped the whole swap thing from their annual meet.

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And thankfully their neighbors are ok with having the meet attendees borrow their parking lots.  I wound up in one of these parking lots, and after receiving some puzzled looks from some mark 4 Supra owners (I’ll have some thoughts on that in a later column), I grabbed my friends Bobby and Brad and we wandered through the meet.

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One of the first cars we came across was Alex Prasop’s Honda Del Sol.  He’s had this car forever, and he’s put hours and hours of work into this.  Some people may look down their nose at a humble little Honda, but a lot of those people are the kind of folk who will create a scenario to show off their friends’ high dollar cars and act offended when people call them a WASPy a**hole.

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While most people are content with bolting on overfenders or flares, Alex was not.  He made his own fenders, along with doing his own engine swap and shaving and wire tucking his engine bay.  If I were given the choice between this, a well worn Honda built by an owner who is very passionate about his car or a new AMG Merc built by someone with more money than taste, who only cares that his car is cost prohibitive to most enthusiasts, I’d take the Honda.

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That said, I wouldn’t say no to a 911 or a Gallardo.  A classic 911 or a loud, brash Lamborghini are always head turners, and seeing them come out to a meet and them being driven by cool people (especially the 911, thanks for holding up for some pictures!) makes them even better.

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RallySport made their name slinging Subaru parts, and if you’re in need of some I recommend pointing your internet their way.  That being said, most people lower their Subarus and do their best to keep them clean.  Not these guys.  They’ve lifted them, put on massive offroad tires, added offroad lights, and the Legacy even added a snorkel.  These cars aren’t parking lot queens, or track day terrors.  They’re ready to get dirty, and stay dirty.

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The Subarus weren’t the only ones in the dirt game.  They were accompanied by this 4WD Civic Wagovan!  Underneath all that glorious mud was some red paint, but it didn’t look bad covered in Earth tones.

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In the same lot as the dirt crew was this bagged Mustang GT.  Not something you see everyday, especially around here, but a lot of the new muscle cars look great when they’re on the ground.  Bagging these big pony cars is something that needs to be done more, and this guy needs to drop us a line because I want to know more.

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Over in the feature lot, or at least the lot closest to RallySport Direct itself, was this 4 door R32 Skyline sitting on a staggered set of Super Advans.  If you look closely, you’ll see that there isn’t an RB under the hood.  Nope! It’s an SR20!  Too many doors, not enough cylinders, and all sorts of awesome!  Sign me up, I’ll take two.

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Next to my new favorite Skyline (sorry Brody), was another SR20 powered oddity: JR Crosby’s Lotus Super7.  I’ve seen theis car a few times over the years, and I still can’t get over the looks of the Ur-kit car.

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As long as I’ve been aware of the car it’s always been orange, and it’s always had that SR.  The Shelby wheels are new, as are the Nankang tires (which is obvious just looking at them).  Despite being insanely easy to look into the cockpit, I’ve never done so.  So, I did.  The well worn Start button tells you that this car has seen its fair share of road time.  The gauges are laid out in a very sensible fashion, the tachometer and speedometer are right above the steering column, with oil pressure and temperature, water temperature in a row to the right of them.  Below that trio is the wideband and the boost gauge.  It’s sparse, but utilitarian, probably something Colin Chapman would approve of.

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Lyfe Motorsports brought out pretty much everything except the GTR they’re prepping for World Time Attack; which, if you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, is a bare shell that doesn’t have a roof.

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They did bring out their other GTR, the one that has been dominating Global Time Attack and will be racing to the clouds at Pike’s Peak later this month.  This 1000+ horsepower beast is all business, and, as you can clearly see, they associate with only the best of companies.

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And then there’s this yahoo…

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The Brett King Design livery looks good on his still full interior TT1 car.  Yeah, full interior.  Headliner and all.  He drives this thing to work in Wyoming, because why not?

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While people were fawning over the turbocharged V6 in the Lyfe GTR, the old guard of turbo V6s rolled through.  A pair of Buick Grand Nationals came through and turned all the heads.  Seeing one at an event like this (something import heavy) is awesome, a pair is mind blowing.

This is always a great event, it’s well run and they bring out a lot of representatives of the part manufacturers they sell, and they give away a lot of awesome stuff too.  We’re looking forward to next year, as we always are.

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

 

 

 

27th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 3: Fetch Thine Umbrellas!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Michael Wells

The unusually wet spring Utah has been experiencing has meant that there were two consecutive rain soaked round of the NASA Utah season for the first time in…  Well, ever.  Mercifully the rain wasn’t as heavy as the second round, and it had let up by Sunday.  So without further ado, let’s get to the winners!

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman led the suddenly surging Spec Miata field to a win on Saturday, and Daniel Williams kept fighting the good fight and took advantage of the sunny Sunday weather to win on Sunday.  Will he sell on Monday?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I doubt he’ll be letting go of his silver NB.

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Spec Z on Saturday was wild.  Tom Kaminski was chasing the eventual class leader Arthur Golebiowski like a man possessed.  He was coming around Clubhouse Turn at full opposite lock, which probably didn’t help close the gap but it looked very cool.  Meanwhile, Kyle Schick (6th in class) had another scary moment in Clubhouse.  He spun out, but managed to slide off the racing line.

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As mentioned earlier, Arthur Golebiowski took the win on Saturday and the #98 of Team Askew Motorsports ran a tight race and took home their first win of the season on Sunday!

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Bill Noblitt battled Gus Stribakos in GTS3, and took the win in his mid-engined Porsche on both days.  Say what you will about the Boxster, but that car in the right hands can do some pretty awesome things.

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Paul Mitchell, guided by the steady hand of Todd Green, navigated the rain and took the win in PTE on Saturday.  Paul wasn’t done for the weekend, but he was done in PTE.  GTS2 had a competitor on Sunday: the Team CA Sport BMW 3 Series.  We need more lots of things out on track, and E36s are one of them.

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While we’re all familiar with Todd Ainsworth’s new ST3 E36 M3, we’re not familiar with the red E36 M3 pictured above (but below Todd’s).  Turns out the red car is driven by one of our favorite Corvette drivers: George Smith.  Where is the Vette?  Beats me, I didn’t see much of George so I couldn’t ask him but it spent the weekend running around in ST2.  There it ran into something the engineers who created the M3 never imagined it would be competing against: a pickup truck.

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Mike Mielke can wheel in that truck!  Hopefully this season we’ll see some epic, and frankly strange, battles between the super truck and George’s new M3.  Because who hasn’t wanted to see that?

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Travis Tidball got himself a wing to go along with his fancy new (for this season) bodywork!  He also got himself a pair of wins out of the weekend.  The car was back on the dyno at JDP Motorsports to verify its power-to-weight ratio after some questions were raised during the weekend.  The results?  The car is ST3 legal.  The C5 Corvette: ruining people’s race weekends since 2001!

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A big surprise was seeing Brent Holden running in with the NASA Utah guys and gals instead of with the Pirelli World Challenge crew up in Canada.  No matter, he had an impressive showing in his Global Motorsports Group Audi R8 LMS Ultra and took wins in the Super Unlimited class on both days.

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On Sunday he battled the TW Racing R8 LMS, and you know what?  The older LMS got around the Ultra!  It was an amazing battle to watch!  However, an untimely penalty forced the TW Racing R8 into the pits to serve out its penalty and cut the fight short.  How did the GTSU class R8 fare in it’s class?

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Not well, unfortunately.  The 911 GT3 Cup cars of Alan Wilson and Les Long took the wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  The Air Power Racing prepped Porsche of Les Long is currently tied for first in the season’s points race with the TW Racing Audi.  How will this back and forth battle play out?  Hopefully we’ll see more tight battles between the two as the season plays out.

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More Porsches battled in GTS5.  On Saturday David Lockwood notched another win for the Air Power Racing camp, while Darrell Troester picked up a win for himself and Tatum Racing on Sunday.

Have I told you that I really like the E90 3 series?  Because I like the E90s, especially in race trim.  Conveniently, Byron Smith drives a race prepped E90 AND he won the GTS4 class.  That confluence of events allowed me to express my opinion on the E90.  Moving on…

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TT1 is being dominated by Subarus.  On Saturday, Shawn Murphy in the Lyfe Motorsports STi took the win over Ziptie Dynowerks STi of Greg Valdez by less than a second.  On Sunday the roles were reversed and Greg beat out Shawn, but the margin of victory was smaller: only .33 seconds separated the two!

TT2 is ruled by the iron fist of Robert Rathbone, and his authority is enforced by his 911 GT3.  All those who oppose him will be laid to WASTE!!!  Well, not really… at all.  He is currently running away with the TT2 championship.

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Alex Whetman is a bad, bad man in a bad, bad Focus.  He took TT3 on both days, earning his 4th and 5th wins on the season. He also had the fastest TT times of the weekend.  Not just TT3, ALL of TT.  By the way, buy the shirt.

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In the sea of FRS’s and BRZs, what rises to the top?  A Honda S2000.  Dave Wann took TTB  on both days, and is right in the thick of things in the class.  We don’t have a shirt to promote here, or anything really.

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Paul Mitchell ladies and gentlemen!  The intrepid Miata won TTE on the weekend, but that’s not the story here.

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Jeb Brown and Ben Lamberson are continuing their battle from last season, with Jeb currently leading Ben by a mere 70 points.  Was this little update necessary?  Eh, probably not.  But would you look at that picture!

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Fresh off their win at Global Time Attack, Lyfe Motorsports brought out their R35 GTR on Sunday AND!… Did not post a time during a TT session.  They did post the fastest time of the day (1.31.803!) during the Thunder group practice that morning. The TW Racing R8 LMS did post times during TT sessions.  Did it on both days.  It’s fastest time in the class was a 1:40.763, but that wasn’t the fastest lap it did over the weekend.  In the Sunday Thunder Group race, they posted a 1:33.825!

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McKay Snow was out again in the Patron Elan DP02, racing in Super Formula.  He took both races in commanding fashion.

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Formula saw Troy Duffin take the first race of the day with young Bruno Carneiro in second.  In the second race, they swapped podium places: Bruno won, and Terry took second.  At the end of the day, the young Brazilian clings to a twenty-five point lead in the class.

And there you have it.  If you’re doing rain dances, stop it!  Round 4 is also on the East Course, and the Lucas Oil Offroad series will be dropping by the off road course at MMP as well.  Come out, bring an umbrella (and possibly a winter coat.  You won’t be laughing when it snows three and a half feet!), and take in a full weekend of all sorts of racing!

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

Michael Wells Gallery!

*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

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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.
22nd Apr2015

Import Spring Showoff 2015

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

After years of evolution and months of planning, the 2015 iteration of the Import Spring Showoff opened up at the Maverick Center last Sunday.  And much like every year prior, this one saw massive growth.  Over 2000 cars and over 8000 people came to the show!  And in that mass of people and cars there were some seldom seen gems

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Gems like Corbin Lines’s 1986 Dodge Omni GLHT.  Not as highly sought after as the Omni GLHS’s, but still packing all the same goodness, Corbin’s weighs a scant 1980 lbs and makes over 500 horsepower to the wheels!  All that power with that lack of weight makes the car useless on the streets, but a monster on the track.

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There were plenty of FD RX-7s in attendance this year, but none quite as wild as this 2JZ swapped example.  Some call this blasphemous, but the big Toyota mill fits so well under the hood of the sleek Mazda.

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The matte purpley Scion is packing a nice sized Borg Warner turbocharger, a nice wrap (hence the color) and took home the Favorite Scion award.  The red car is well on its way to becoming a challenger for the award next year, sitting nicely on a set of Work Emotion XD-9s.

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Jon Truong’s custom widebody WRX made its debut.  The metal work on the fenders looked amazing, and allows the massive CCW wheels to tuck nicely into the wheel wells.

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Lyfe Motorsport brought out the big guns, and the biggest trailer at the show: their massive four car hauler.  Inside the hauler were the two Spec Z cars they prepped in 30 days (!), a 996 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, and their venerable R35 GTR with it’s new wrap from Envision.  In addition to the cars that had to be hauled to the show, Shawn Murphy drove his freshly wrapped STi down from Wyoming and parked it in the booth.

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A sea of people and cars filled the enormous parking lot, vendors lined an entire row, and plenty of deserving builds drove home with awards.  It was an impressive show on all fronts, and we can’t wait until next year.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Apr2015

Import Spring Showoff: The History

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

This coming Sunday is the Import Spring Showoff, one of the largest shows/meets in the state.  This year it is going to be held at the Maverick Center, which is a physically larger venue than the Davis County Fairgrounds that have held it the past couple of years.  Every year this event keeps growing, and it’s amazing to think that this all started as a simple barbecue at Barnes Park.

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Back in the days of MySpace and forums, the Teknik crew of northern Utah would gather at Barnes Park in Kaysville and celebrate spring.  It wasn’t a massive, sponsor laden affair.  It was the crew and some friends just hanging out.  Soon after these little meets is when I popped into the picture.  The little Teknik barbecue had become the Eliterides meet, and subsequently grew in size.  They still weren’t massive, but they were bigger. This was the way it was for a few years, but by 2007 some of the Teknik members founded Utah Acuras and turned the little barbecue into a decent sized meet.  The little parking lot on the west side of the park was too small for the needs of the meet, but the southwest parking lot was perfectly sized.  This was the home of the meet for many years, but when Utah Acuras evolved into Utah Hondas things began to change.

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2008 through 2010 saw a lot of growth, and plenty of non Hondas in attendance.  By 2010 the meet had outgrown the southwest lot, and attendees were lining 200 North.  The Spring Meet was going to be changing again, but it wasn’t going to be moving too far.

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In 2011 the meet filled the northwest lot, and spilled into the surrounding parking lots.  There were sponsor booths, and raffles!  It was looking like the massive event that we know it as today.  The next year the meet grew even more, and the organizers ran into some problems.  Some BIG problems.  First, the parking lot was full 45 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin.  Secondly, and more importantly, Kaysville City PD shut the meet down early because the staff failed to get the proper permits and make the proper reservations.  According to Jeff Woodyatt “It was then that we realized (along with more non-Honda’s in attendance than Honda’s) that it was time to turn the spring meet into a legit event for all makes and models.”  2013 was the first official year of the Import Spring Showoff, and it was held at the Davis County Fairgrounds.  Permits and reservations were acquired, and the rest is history.

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As the meet evolved things were added and removed.  The most notable addition were the awards given by the attendees and staff.  Some have faded from our memories, but there’s one that some will never forget.  Yes, I’m talking about The Ghetto Award.  First given out to a Civic hatchback that was very slow and rather haggard, it was given to a Civic coupe with a bird drawn on its hood in primer the next year.  In 2007 Dave, yes our Dave, got a hold of a small steel wheel and got creative with a can of spray paint and a sharpie.

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The idea behind the award was to recognize the most haggard, beat up, and generally terrible car that came to the meet.  It was meant to motivate the recipient to make their car less offensive to everyone, and it usually happened.  That hatchback wound up making 500 horsepower, and the coupe got painted.  However, the winner of the 2007 award never actually received it.  In 2007, at the joint Utah Acuras and HondaTech meet, it rained.  It always rained at HondaTech meets, and this year was no different.  A lone, multicolored Eclipse rolled through the meet.  Everyone was in their cars, avoiding the rain and watching the harlequin DSM slowly roll through.  One man, a hero, could not let this car leave without a physical representation of the recognition he earned.  Dave lept out of his car, hoisted the award above his head and began chasing the Eclipse.  Not knowing what Dave wanted, and not eager to find out, the Eclipse quickly left the parking lot while Dave gave chase.  Tragically, that was the last time the award was given.  It’s probably for the best, as I doubt that anyone would A) be able to take it as the joke it is and B) fix up their hoopty.

Now that we know where we’ve been, and how a humble meet became the juggernaut that it is today, we need to take a look at how this meet happens every year.  In part two of this story, we’ll take a look behind the scenes so you can see everything that goes into making Import Spring Showoff happen every year.

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

 

26th Jan2015

Old Man Yellow

by Michael Chandler

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In this era of instant gratification, where some measure their worth in the amounts of likes, shares, favorites and retweets, taking time and doing things right is lost.  A lot of people’s “builds” are nothing more than installing coilovers or airbags, and new wheels.  It seems that people have forgotten that the more time you put into something the better it can be.  This 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 two door post sedan received a frame off restoration, something that takes year to accomplish in its own right.  Daniel Chillinski, the owner, has taken ten years to bring the car to this point.  It was worth the time.

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Daniel bought this car when he was 18, from the original owner.  A little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays, and to the store once a week.  Or something like that, because the math says the Chevelle did less than 5000 miles per year in its forty-seven year life span.  The car was still packing the 230 cubic inch straight six engine, and three speed transmission with a column shifter.  Most of the original things have changed about this car, except the color.  According to Daniel “the color was going to be much more radical burnt orange, and gunmetal grey but after so many years I couldn’t part with the original Butternut yellow.”  That Butternut yellow was dubbed “Old Man Yellow” by a friend of his who was in town, on leave from the Navy, was refreshed by Nocturnal Performance.  They also threw the color on the custom hood that’s sporting an L88 style hood scoop.  All the emblems were taken to Unknown Coatings to be powdercoated in black chrome.

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In his decade of ownership, Daniel has made quite a few changes to this retiree.  The Johnson-era suspension is long gone, replaced by more modern equipment.  Up front he installed a set of Hotchkis tubular upper control arms and lowering springs.  To settle the motion of the front end there’s a set of QA-1 twelve way adjustable shocks, and to help keep it planted there’s a PST sway bar.  All the old suspension bushings have replaced with pieces sourced from PST as well.  Hauling this Nimitz-class carrier to a halt are BAER two piston calipers clamping onto 13.5″ rotors.

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The rear has also seen its fair share of upgrades.  It too has BAER brakes, just smaller: single piston calipers on 11.5″ rotors. There are more Hotchkis control arms in the back (upper and lower), but just like the front they’re tubular.  It’s lowered on Hotchkis lowering springs, and stiffened up by a Hotchkis rear sway bar.  The main attraction is the rear end: a Moser twelve bolt piece, with 3.55 gears and Positrac to boot.  Why does this classic need such a beefy rear end?

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Because it has 489 cubic inches of America under the hood!  The 489 (that’s 8 liters to those playing the modern version of the home game) started life as an equally massive 427 cubic inch (7 liter) tall deck big block, but then was bored .030″ over and stroked half an inch to come to the massive displacement it currently sits.  Seeing as how this whole build took ten years, you can be assured he didn’t just drop a big block in the cavernous engine bay and call it a day.  He did things to it.

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Things like put a big Howe Racing aluminum radiator in the nose, which he had covered with cardboard (the radiator, not the nose) because it was so cold on the day we shot.  Sanderson shorty headers mate to a Pypes three inch exhaust, and an MSD 6AL box and plug wires help get the ignition boogying.  Hanging off the front of the motor are some Billet Specialties V-Belt accessories. And then there’s the stuff on top of the massive motor…

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This artsy* photo has the Dart Pro 1 heads and intake manifold in it, along with the Barry Grant Mighty Demon 850 CFM carburetor.  This whole set up provides for a lot of forward propulsion.  Propulsion that the old three on the tree couldn’t handle… Probably.  In place of the three speed is a beefy Tremec TKO 600 five speed gear box, with a floor shifter.

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A Husrt shifter at that!  We’ve seen some cool shift knobs in our history here at CAM, and this one is right up there.  But that’s not the coolest thing about the interior.

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“During the initial build of the car when I started dating my wife I actually told here that the car was more important than her and she ended up sewing the interior for the car.”  She did a killer job.  That is the seat she sewed up in black leatherette with orange inserts, and she did not pull a Marge Simpson and knit some seatbelts.  Daniel grabbed a set of Corbeau four point harnesses.  He also has an Art Morrison four point roll cage in there for that extra little bit of protection.

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The dashboard received the custom touch.  A set of Autometer Cobalt gauges relay important information to Daniel.

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On the day we were shooting he didn’t need to keep cool, but on days he does there’s a Vintage Air air conditioning system to blow conditioned air throughout the cabin.  Below the “I can’t believe that’s not an OEM a/c control panel” sits a Pioneer DEH-800PRS head unit, an upgrade from the old AM radio.  It sends signals and sounds to an MB Quart Q Series amp and mono amp, and 6.5″ component speakers.  There’s also a trio of RE Audio 8″ subwoofers in individual ported boxes.

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This car took ten years.  In those ten years Daniel dated a girl who became his wife, graduated college, and moved a couple of times.  During the restoration, which he did in his two car garage, the car took up more space in their house than they did: doors were in the office, drive shaft was in the guest bedroom, etc.  His wife really got to see his passion for cars, and is seeing it again.  He’s building a four door Integra for the LeMons race at Miller Motorsports Park coming up in October.  But that’s not his only Honda project.

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Daniel used to daily drive an Integra LS, which is a fun little car in its own right.  But then it his 210,000 miles, and that’s a lot of miles.  He needed something different, and up popped this AP1 S2000.  He picked it up in November of 2013 and it’s been pretty mild since, only receiving a K&N FIPK intake and JDP carbon fiber duck tail spoiler.  This level of modification shall not last, as he plans install a set of KW Variant 2 coilovers, and more aggressive wheels and tires.

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It has taken ten years to transform the Old Man Yellow Chevelle from lightly driven, straight six powered cruiser into a 489 powered boulevard bruiser.  Could he have thrown in a 350 and called it a day years ago?  Definitely, but it wouldn’t be as impressive as it is today.  This Chevelle, and the S2000 down the road, rolls as a testament to taking time to get the ultimate build: one that will stand the test of time, and THAT is the ultimate gratification.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

*Not terribly artsy, but it’s still pretty cool

 

 

Off
09th Jan2015

Living The Dream

by Michael Chandler

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How do you measure success?  Are you successful if you have millions of dollars, property across the globe, dozens of cars, a few boats and access to a private plane?  Is it having a family, working a 9-5, 3 kids, a dog and a modest house?  Is it finishing that dream build you’ve been wanting to do since you were old enough to know whats what?  What if it’s none of those, but a combination of them?  People say that I’m living the dream because I cover races, take pictures of cars, and occasionally travel to do so.  I don’t say that I am.  If anyone I know is living the dream, it’s Jason Smith.  His job is to teach people how to drive fast in the desert, and race across it himself.  He has his drift project BMW and daily drives a very nice Ford Raptor.  He has a nice house in the suburbs of Las Vegas, where he lives with his lovely wife, three awesome children and two dogs.  That’s the dream, but it hasn’t always been.

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I first met Jason way back in 2010, right after CAM was founded.  I was going to cover the NASA Nationals, specifically the Honda Challenge races because the only locals I knew were running in that.  And I barely knew them.  I was going to interview the three of them, but before meeting face to face I sent them some basic questions.  I figured we would chat when we met and I would have more.  Jason was the only one to respond to the email questions.  At the interview he told me he wouldn’t be running in Honda Challenge, nor would he be there most of the weekend because of his job at Discount Tire.  But he had set up the other two cars for success (which was undone by an out of town “expert”).  That told me he was a good dude, and he would only cement that the longer we knew each other.

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We would run into each other at the track, we added each other on Facebook, and one day I had a problem.  The tires on my Subaru were toast.  I needed new ones, but I didn’t really want to deal with the local tire dealers.  Then Jason piped up.  He said that if I bought a set online that he would mount them for me.  All I would have to do is drive to his shop, Innovative Garage, in Orem.  So I did just that.  I was ready to pay him for his services, but he said it was all good.  He owed me for the Honda Challenge coverage.  After that we kept in touch on Facebook and such, seeing each other at meets and the track.  Then he moved his shop to my neck of the woods, and then something else happened.

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Our boy got a job at Miller Motorsports Park, working on the Mustangs, taking people out in said Mustangs and being a driver/instructor for their Raptor Assault program.  Our baby boy was growing up!  Innovative was still kicking, and they were doing a lot of suspension set up for local racers.  They were also dabbling in the local drift scene.  Before long Innovative was the title sponsor, and Jason (along with some of the local drifters) was the driving force behind Salt City Drift.

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From tire tech to a driving instructor by day and champion of the local drift scene by night, He had come a mighty long way.  Through him drifting had a better foothold at Miller, and some locals had sponsors for their pro-am endeavors.  It had looked like Jason had set down roots, and wouldn’t be leaving Utah.  How could he?  It’s not like an even better opportunity would come along…

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As fate would have it, a better opportunity did come about.  The Vegas Off Road Experience offered him a position where he’d be doing a lot of the same things: instructing, working on the vehicles, and racing said vehicles.  Not just little things, but full on desert races: Vegas To Reno and the Mint 400.  He also go to do stuff at SEMA, like drift and jump one of the VORE Raptors and hob knob with industry execs.  If that isn’t top 5 dream job, then I don’t know what is.

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I consider Jason a true friend, a guy who if he needs something I’ll go out of my way to help.  And he’s done the same for me and CAM.  When we needed a place to stay for SEMA last year he opened his house to Joey and I.  He hooked me up with parts for Rhonda, and I’ve shot some products for Innovative and Miller when he was there.

When people ask me what living the dream is I point to my friend Jason and say “that”.  He’s doing what he loves, providing for his family by doing so, and raising a trio of awesome kids.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What you see here is something we can all get behind.  Literally and figuratively.  This is an Integra GSR that has, to say the least, a lot of work done.  To say the most it’s had the custom touch applied to almost everything.

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We met Rhett at Miller Motorsports Park at a NASA event about a year ago.  He was there campaigning his GSR in  Time Trial.  We really dug the car, and Rhett.  He’s a humble, down to Earth guy.  We chatted with him for a little bit, then he loaded up the car and disappeared back to Idaho.  For a while.  We honestly thought he had disappeared  and was gone forever.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and he and the car reappeared .

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In his absence from the track he did some work.  Some very custom work to the front end especially.   He didn’t really like any of the aftermarket bumpers on the market, but he liked some aspects of them.  So, he bought one and cut it apart.  He liked the Voltex bumper for the Lancer Evolution, so he grabbed some cans of spray foam and got to spraying.  He cut and trimmed, and shaped and formed, and he had a mold for a bumper.  But then he decided he didn’t like it, and started looking at cars closer to his Integra.  Specifically the Honda S2000, because both are long hood vehicles, as opposed to the stubby hooded Evo.  Out came the knife and the spray foam and, after filling the garage with foam shavings, he had the foam cored Carbon Fiber bumper you see before you.  It’s so strong you can stand on the inlet and only have to worry about scratching the finish. The canards are are also one off pieces, made by vacuum infusing utilizing carbon fiber with foam cores.

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Continuing the one off theme, the hood is also something Rhett and company fabricated.  No, he didn’t just cut a hole in the hood and slap on a set of DMax vents.  It’s vacuum infused carbon fiber with a foam core.  The fenders have been heavily modified with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass around foam cores.  The roof is also vacuum infused carbon fiber around a foam core.  Even the APR GTC 200 wing sits atop custom chassis mounted stands.  The only exterior parts that aren’t custom are the Pro Car Innovations side skirts, rear bumper and doors.

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The interior hasn’t received nearly as many custom touches as the exterior, but it does have some nice touches like the carbon fiber panel with Carlyle rocker switches.  Cobra Sebring Pro seats replace the factory chairs, with Crow five point harnesses holding the occupants in place.  A Tuner View II display has been custom mounted, and JDM arm rest and airbag deletes installed.  Gear changes are initiated with a Hybrid Racing adjustable shifter, and directional changes are made with a 330mm MOMO steering wheel on an NRG quick release.  And since he runs in NASA sanctioned events, and not some fly by night series, he has a 6 point certified roll cage.

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Rhett campaigns the Unlimited class, where his competition includes an R35 GTR and an Audi R8 LMS.  He couldn’t just roll out there with crazy aero and nothing more than an exhaust, so he got to work on making the B18C1 mill ready to handle the stout competition.  The block itself is stock and retains the OEM 81mm bore, but the pistons and rods have been tossed in favor of Wiseco Race shaped and prepped pistons atop Eagle rods.  ACL race bearings keep things spinning in an orderly manner.  The cylinder head has received plenty of love as well.  It’s been ported, polished and bowl matched and lovingly stuffed with GSC T1 camshafts and Supertech HD valve springs and retainers.

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Up top there’s a Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold with a 70mm Pro Series throttle body bringing in the air.  A Skunk2 composite fuel rail sends fuel to a quartet (…four) Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors.  A 6 port B&R breather box keeps the air out of the oil, before sending it through the custom thermostatic oil cooler setup.  The cooler itself is almost the size of a stock Civic radiator! The 1.8 liter VTEC mill is held in place with Hasport billet mounts with 94a durometer inserts, and Avid billet torque mounts

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All of that oil cooling is necessary because there is a Turbo By Garrett GT3071 turbocharger hanging off of a LoveFab Mini EQ manifold. The manifold has been wrapped and the turbo itself sits under a blanket, both are from DEI. That hairdryer gets it’s fresh air from a custom, carbon fiber ram air air box and massive four inch piping.   Since this isn’t some old turbo Colt, there’s an intercooler.  A big one.  A big, custom dual back door piece.  The excess pressurized air is releived via a Synapse blow off valve.  Because of the increased thermal load, there has to be a big, custom radiator.  The spent air, after exiting the turbo, leaves the car through a custom three inch V-Band exhaust with a five inch, round, Magnaflow muffler.  Other custom parts include a custom electric power steering, and water pump system.  There’s also a custom transmission cooler and pump set up.

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Which is good, because there’s an Elite/Gear X Transmission straight-cut 1-5 dog box that needs to be kept cool.  Shoved in that transmission is an OS Giken 1 way plate differential, which sends power to Drive Shaft Shop 3.9 axles and hubs.  Massive StopTech four piston calipers clamp down on 12.9 inch rotors.  There are bronze and spherical bearings all over the car from Password:JDM, Pro Car Innovations and Special Motorsports Projects.

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Password:JDM also provided the rear camber and lower control arms, and Hard Race provides front camber A arms.  There are Eibach Multi Pro R2 coilovers at all four corners, because adjust-ability is crucial when you’re chasing fractions of a second.  An ASR subframe brace  and Integra Type-R rear sway bar are, well, in the rear. Rhett has two sets of wheels for the car, and three sets of tires.  Variety is the spice of life, and being well prepared for most situations is pretty awesome.  Depending on the day the car is either on a set of 17×9 Rota Grids, or 17×9.75 XXR 527s.  His choices for rubber are 235/40 Toyo R888s, 225/40 Hoosier R6s, and finally 255/40 Hankook RS3s.

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As we were shooting the photos, Rhett told me his car was invited to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and also have a spot in the SEMA show.  This was an awesome thing to hear, and really cool to see his car at the show and roll out.  How did Rhett do? Well, much like the day we shot the car he was having issues.  The fuel pump went out, so a stock one had to be used.  This meant 30% throttle, no more than 6500rpm, and no VTEC.  Suddenly becoming the lowest horsepower vehicle sounds like it would have been a disaster, but Rhett managed to finish twenty-eighth out of  ninety-two competitors.  Not too bad for something built in a garage in Idaho.

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

 

 

08th Oct2014

ScrapeFest 2014

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

On September 28, in the parking lot of Sandy Station, Salt Scrapers held their first ever meet.  Having “Scrapers” in their name, they naturally decided to call it ScrapeFest.  It was a meet celebrating all things stanced, slammed, flush and otherwise low.  All the familiar faces were there: David Arellano, Nik Preusser, Taigon Rider (you know that deep blue Datsun 260Z 2+2 with the white wheels and oil cooler?  That’s his) and Jenny Lou who was acting as one of the hosts.  I was still waterlogged from the day before, so I showed up late.  Despite that, I did snag some photos and I did secure a feature with the previously mentioned Datsun.  So without further ado, here’s the gallery:

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