08th Jun2017

Back in the Bowl: Salt City Drift Round 2

by Michael Chandler

I went and did some drifty stuff in the middle of the Porsche GT3 Cup madness.  Friday night the Salt City Drift folks got together at RMR, and slid the bowl with varying levels of success.  There was a competition, but I bailed long before that went down.  Anyway, here’s a gallery

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 Sep2016

I Don’t Understand the USTCC

by Michael Chandler

ustcc-2016-camautomag-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

When I think touring car racing, I think of BTCC or DTM.  A series with a defined rule set, familiar cars built to similar specs, and strong manufacturer representation. When I look at the United States Touring Car field, and peruse the rule book, I don’t really see that.  I don’t see DTM or BTCC.  I see an organized series, with defined rules and multiple classes, but I don’t see a touring car series.  At least in the traditional sense.  And to be honest, I don’t mind.

ustcctumc910michaelchandlercamautomag-8

I’m going to lose some of you here, and I’m ok with it because I think that this is the best analogy for the USTCC.  In Forza and Gran Turismo (although this may have changed for GT, the last iteration I played in the series was GT4), in the campaign/story mode, you have some series where you can basically have a fully modified car racing against stock or lightly modified cars.  I loved those series, because I LOVED lapping alright cars in something utterly stupid.  Stupid like a Daihatsu Storia CX with a turbo so big, it needed a push from a competitor to get going.  The USTCC has a lot of that ridiculousness in it!  The GT class will basically allow you to build something pretty nuts, provided you can stay within some guidelines.  They’ll even let you trot out a kit car or a purpose built race car, like an old V8 Super Car, GT3 Cup car, or a purpose built tube frame chassis.  Granted that the tube frame car has a silhouette of a production based car less than 8 years old.  Because of those rules, we can have the picture above.

ustcctumc910michaelchandlercamautomag-2

There’s some other interesting stuff about the series.  They have factory support from Honda, Mini and Mazda.  Finishers get cash, granted you’re not in the Sportsman class.  Drivers could win tires if they finish on the podium, and they give out other stuff at random.  I’m certainly wouldn’t complain if I walked away from the race with a fist full of cash and some prizes.  The USTCC isn’t a traditional touring car series, and I don’t know why they call themselves a touring car series.  It’s not really a touring car series, but who cares?  It’s an interesting little series.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
09th Feb2016

Let’s Rate the Automaker’s Super Bowl Commercials

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

A healthy chunk of us watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, and some of us watched for the commercials.  I watched because it involved going to a place where there was awesome brisket and hominy dip, but that’s neither here nor there.  Since this is an auto enthusiast website, let’s not discuss the game but instead talk about some commercials!  Specifically the commercials from the auto manufacturers.  This year we had commercials from Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Mini, Buick, Toyota, Audi, and FCA.  What were each of these manufacturers pushing, and who (or what) did they get to push whatever it is? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER!  And then let’s rate them on a scale from 1-10.  Sound good? Great!

Full Disclosure: I missed the first quarter, and was far more concerned with wolfing down food than with what was going on on the screen.  With the exception of Kia, Mini and Honda, this is the first time I’m seeing these commercials.

Let’s start with

Kia:

They’re pushing the new Optima with Christopher Walken and sock puppets!  OOO, look how shiny and not like any other mid-sized sedan it is!  Except it kinda looks like a Camry, and that interior doesn’t look THAT amazing.  But I do appreciate the dig they’re taking at everyone else.  Buying a mid-sized sedan is a lot like choosing socks: you just pick something that won’t stand out, and go on about your day.  Some options are more boring than others, but at the end of the day we’re talking about socks.  The things that keep your feet warm and dry, and comfortable in your shoes.  They don’t need to be flashy, and wacky sock guy isn’t a great guy to be.  I EXPRESS MY PERSONALITY THROUGH MY SOCKS!  ZABOW!!!  Please don’t be that guy, or be that guy and let me hurl grapefruits at you.  Either or.

And was anyone else hoping Christopher Walken was going to break out his monologue from Pulp Fiction?  It wouldn’t have been nearly as marketable, but it would’ve been the best commercial in twenty-years.

Score: 6.5

Hyundai:

They had four ads this year!

In the first one, titled The Chase, a pair of hikers (a guy and a gal) are being chased through the woods by two Grizzly Bears.  Thinking quickly, the guy speaks into his smart watch, and the 2017 Elantra fires up.  They hop in, and escape the bears.  Hooray!  But then the bears are given some dialogue, and I am suddenly overcome by the desire to burn whoever green lit that idea at the stake.  Why do I want to revive the practice usually reserved for witches?  You saw the vegan joke, right?  I rest my case.

The second ad is titled Ryanville, and features two ladies driving down a suburban street where every man they see is noted Canadian Ryan Reynolds.  He’s riding a bike.  He’s giving and receiving a traffic ticket.  He’s an entire construction crew.  He’s playing five on five football with nine other Ryan Reynoldses, one of whom seems way too aggressive for this being a simple pick up game.  I believe this to be the “evil” clone.

The women swoon and gawk, and damn near hit Ryan Reynolds the dog walker.  Thankfully for them (the world at large really), their Elantra has whatever they’re calling their collision avoidance and automatic braking system.  The world will have more Deadpool appearances, which makes this a much better world to live in.

First Date: Kevin Hart’s daughter goes on a date with a boy who may have nefarious intentions.  Kevin is reasonably concerned, so he let’s them take his Genesis 5.0.  The Genesis is equipped with Car Finder, which he uses to stalk the couple.  He’s at the movie they go to, he’s hiding in a pile of stuffed animals at the midway on the pier, and he shows up on a ladder hanging underneath what looks like an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Their final spot was titled Better, and revolves around a boy who has a seemingly unique birth defect (condition? abnormality?): he has a V8 that produces a blue light protruding from his chest.  We see him go from baby, to toddler, to elementary school (where he knows how many moons Saturn has and can play Galaga like a pro), to high school (where he ignores his friend and talks to some attractive female classmates), to college (where he burns the midnight oil in the library), to post collegiate life (where he enjoys fitness and helping the elderly).  And then we see where he works, and who he works with.  The where appears to be a Hyundai design studio, and the who are other people with THE SAME ENGINE THING ON THEIR CHESTS!  Turns out that the engine is a metaphor.  “Better is the engine that drives us,” says Paul Rudd, who did the voice over work in all of the Hyundai spots.  We then see the intrepid lad looking at a concept vehicle that he penned.  Is Hyundai better than they were before?  Definitely.  Are they better than most of their competitors?  Well, they’re better than enough of them to remain a relevant player.

Score: 7. Blame the bears and the engines, praise Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.

Honda:

In the third quarter is where America was introduced to the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, which looks like an Odyssey that had everything behind the C-pillar cut off and replaced with a truck bed.  In this ad we have a farmer transporting sheep, a handful at a time, to a pasture for grazing.  We can hear Queen’s Somebody to Love playing from the truck as the farmer unloads what has to be his twentieth load of sheep.  He drives off, and the sheep start singing the classic song.  They stop when the farmer, and three more sheep, return.  And it’s here that we find out why the sheep are singing Queen: because of the truck bed audio system that’s an option on the new Ridgeline!  I can understand how this could be a useful feature, but I’m not 100% sure I get how it went from a note in a focus group to a thing that you can get on your truck.  Anyway, the farmer drives away and the sheep begin singing again.  Then we see the truck in front of a barn, and hear a voice over talking about the truck bed audio.  The camera slides over to reveal that the farmer’s dog is delivering the lines.  After seeing this ad, I noticed the four dogs running around the room.  I felt a sudden wave of melancholy wash over me, and I went back for more brisket and chicken nuggets.

Score: 6.  Any other song, and this would’ve been scored much lower.

Acura:

Acura was pushing the 2017 NSX, something they’ve been doing for four years now.  Instead of having Jerry Seinfeld, noted Porsche fan, trying to get the first NSX (something he didn’t do in the 2012 ad, and something he didn’t do this year), they released a 30 second version of a longer commercial they released a week before!  They show the car going from a block of aluminum to a car via all the processed that are necessary to go from block of aluminum to car, with Runnin With The Devil playing in the background.  While not a bad commercial, this is another one of the many odd steps Acura has taken during this whole NSX gestation period.  Why undercut your Super Bowl commercial by releasing the minute long version a week before the game?  I demand answers!

*pounds fist on table*

*Funko POP figures fall down*

OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!!!!

Score: 7 for the extended cut, 4 for this version.  Seriously…

Mini

Several celebrities (take that with a grain of salt) hurl labels at the Minis.  Tony Hawk, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson, T Pain, Serena Williams, a little girl, Michael Whinnet, some racing drivers, and Harvey Keitel are all here to tell you that people who defy labels define themselves.  And they also want you to buy a Mini Clubman, which I’m gonna go ahead and say don’t.  For $29,000 there are better options, ones that don’t include a pillar running through the middle of your rear window.

By the way, does anyone remember Harvey Keitel driving an NSX in Pulp Fiction?  Why can’t HE be pushing the NSX?  Why, of all things, the Mini Clubman?

Score: 7.5. Who are some of these people??

Buick

Remember when we thought Buick was going to be cool again?  While we have the Regal GS, we have to take things like the Cascada to get it.  Is it a shorter Murano Cross Cabrio?  A taller VW Eos?  Whatever it is, it’s at a wedding and it’s criminally under vandalized.  Seriously, who are these guests and why isn’t that thing filled with balloons, tissue paper, and other random crap?  *annoyed grunt*

Since it’s a wedding, there HAS to be a bouquet toss.  The bride throws the bouquet over the assembled women vying for the flowers, and one recreates an O’Dell Beckham Jr. catch.  The bystanders remark on how Beckham Jr. like her catch was, then OBJ himself says that she was out of bounds.  Adorably hilarious.  Where’s that Avista sport coupe?  MAKE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE!

Score: 5.5.  Could’ve been worse, could’ve been a lot better though.

Toyota

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!  The only exciting Prii are not even really Prii.  The entire time this commercial was playing, I was imagining running those idiots off the road.  The day America falls in love from some bumbling idiots, running aimlessly from the cops in a Prius, is the day the fiery gates of Hell open up, and fire and brimstone fall from the sky and finish ruining our shit.

Score: Words cannot express how much I hate this commercial.

Audi


New R8?  Good.  Bowie’s Starman in the background? Amazing.  A son using said R8 to reignite his former astronaut father’s interest in life?

This was the best commercial from the auto makers for this Super Bowl.  I felt all of the feels.

Score: 11.  IT’S JUST DUSTY IN HERE, OKAY?!?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA kept it all about Jeep, and it’s 75 year anniversary.  The first one talks about all the things Jeeps have done in those 75 years, and the other talks about all the things they currently do because they’re Jeeps.  No model in particular, just Jeep.  These two fall short, especially when compared to the three stellar commercials to come out of the FCA camp in years past.

Score: 8.  Not great compared to their previous entries, but stellar compared to most of the other ones.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Jun2013

NASA 2013 Round 4

by Michael Chandler

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-32

 

Another busy weekend out at Miller Motorsports Park!  NASA Utah and the United States Touring Car Championship were running on the outer loop, DRFT Utah (formerly iDrift, formerly you damn kids) were in the midway, and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series was on the offroad course.  We were very explicitly told to stay away from the Lucas Oil stuff, which is a good thing because it allowed me to focus on the NASA and USTCC stuff and Trent to focus on filming the drifting.  Today we’re going to focus on the road racing.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-53

The small bore group was stacked with familiar faces, and a couple of new ones.  This meant the herd of Miatas were not only doing battle with each other, but Spec 944s, a Spec E30, a Civic hatchback and a pair of E36 BMWs that led the pack most of the day.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

The lone E30 had absolutely no problem with using every square inch of the track.  If it was paved, he was on it.  Kudos to him for charging every corner!

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-13

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-57

Battles were happening all over the track, but the closest one and most hard fought were between the #12 Miata and the #15.  They might as well have been tied together for most of the race.  In the end the #12 pulled away.

 

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-41

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-17

Meanwhile in the Big Bore group, the regulars were joined by German Touring Class cars and a lone Super Unlimited class prototype.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-68

The SU prototype was near the top of the field all day, chasing down John Potter in the Magnus Racing Porsche 911.  Unfortunately, the prototype spun out in Release which gave Mr. Potter the class win.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-21

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-67

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-82

We had a trio of rookies running!  Todd Ainsworth was out in his silver STi, and Brendon Stewart got his Evo together and made his race start!  It was a miraculous event.  His engine was out of the car forty five minutes before the start of the race.  Someone mistakenly installed the wrong seal, so the engine and transmission had to come out and a new seal had to be found.  George Evans of Ziptie Dynowerks stepped in and ran to find one.  A dealer in Tooele had one in stock, but the parts department was closed and the manager of the dealership refused to go back and get it for him.  Deterred but not defeated, George ran to Salt Lake (forty minutes away) to get the correct seal.  The Ziptie guys got everything back together and got him on track.

Then on Sunday his engine decided it didn’t want to keep its internals all to itself, so it shot a rod through the block which caused a bit of a fire.  Quite the downer to an otherwise awesome weekend for him.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-66

Jason Smith and the Innovative Garage crew got the K20 powered Civic out on the track, where it proceeded to clean up.  He won his class, passed the USTCC field, and finished mid-pack after starting towards the back of it.  Impressive feat.

 

NASA June 22 HPDE 3 4 TT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-8

The TT group was paired with the HPDE 3 & 4 drivers, but that didn’t affect the quality of the on track product.  Greg Valdez made the start in TT2 his Ziptie Dynowerks sponsored STi, while Shawn Murphy began a dominating run in TT1 in his GrimmSpeed backed STi.

NASA June 22 HPDE 3 4 TT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-35

Kyle Schick, fresh off his excellent showing at Global Time Attack, took the TTU win in the RaceCo GTR.

NASA June 22 HPDE 3 4 TT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

Sally was also coming off a good weekend at Chuckwalla Raceway, and hoped the good times would continue.  And they did for a while…

NASA June 22 HPDE 3 4 TT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-30

Then the car started over heating in pre-grid for the third session.  A lap later she came rolling through Wind Up, and came to a stop in the gravel on the outside of the turn.  She made it back to the pits under her own power, but the damage was done.  A blown head gasket ended her day prematurely.

NASA June 22 HPDE 3 4 TT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-43

Park Beutler was turning laps with the TT group in his ST1 Corvette.  Was he quick?  Yes.  Could he drive this car home?  If he didn’t feel like driving his Porsche 911, he could.

 

NASA June 22 USTCC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

And then we come to US Touring Car.  This is odd, because it isn’t the premier touring car series in America.  Does that change anything?  Well, if you were hoping for a massive field and door banging racing and brand new chassis then I have some bad news for you…

NASA June 22 USTCC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

It was a small field.  So small that for their race they were grouped with the Big Bore group, which provided lots of passing action…  For the Big Bore guys.  The touring cars were quick, but they were lumped in to a group that had a Grand Am Porsche, a World Challenge Mustang, a former Sprint Cup Ford, and some flat out faster cars.

NASA June 22 USTCC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

NASA June 22 USTCC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

These were the newest cars in the field.  And they were willing to go door to door with anyone, which is always a good thing.

NASA June 22 USTCC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

They were definitely some of the more competitive guys on track.  I’ve been out there many times, but never have I seen someone cut someone off heading in to pit entrance.  Let me repeat that: one of the USTCC guys swung in front of another one, who had his hand out and was heading in.  No hand out, cut over the red and white painted section right before the Armco, nothing.  The game was on, and it was awesome to watch.

 

NASA June 22 Open Wheel Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

There were a few new cars in Open Wheel, but unfortunately it was its usually small field.

NASA June 22 Open Wheel Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

The small fields are disappointing because these are brilliant little machines.  They’re quick, handle well and are the next step up in the racing evolutionary chart.

NASA June 22 Open Wheel Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

NASA June 22 Open Wheel Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

That, and they look really cool.  Hopefully as our little community grows we will see more people jumping in to these little formula cars and going wheel to wheel.

It was a good weekend.  No event in July, but we’ll be back out there in August for Round 5!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.
16th Aug2011

$30K Check: 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-Spec

by Trent

Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-SpecI’m breaking with convention! For all of the $30K Check articles we’ve done, we haven’t yet chosen a brand new car. Well, even though I recently picked up a new car in a similar price range, this is a car my heart yearned for. I already have a weekend car, so I went for practicality on my most recent purchase. However, if I wanted a new car that could hit the track on the weekends and commute me around town during the week, this thing strikes a perfect balance to me.

Your first thought might be, why not save some money and get the 2.0T R-Spec? Simply because I think the 3.8 has better around town manners. Sure the back seat isn’t large and in charge, but how often do I need it? It’s suitable for short distances and maybe your friends won’t ask you to drive them around. Plus one there! I also know from a neighbor that you can fit a 125lb. dog in the back seat without issues.

The R-Spec package on the Hyundai Genesis takes away the things you don’t need, and adds the goodies from the Track package like Brembo brakes, Limited-Slip differential, and sportier suspension. It still has A/C and a stereo, but no leather or heated seats needed here. The best part of this car, is that it’s a few grand shy of $30K, leaving enough room for a set of track tires and brake pads. Maybe I’ve convinced myself I need to go trade my car in…

Hyundai Genesis Coupe

-Trent Bray
Photos by Hyundai USA

18th Apr2011

CAM Video Podcast #2

by Trent

CAM Video Podcast
The second edition of our car video podcast kicks of with better sound, better location, and better video quality. We’ve also shortened it’s length a bit and added Johnny to the mix. Available to download in HD, SD, and Mobile! Check it out after the jump. (more…)

19th Jan2011

Dispatches From A Small Market Auto Show

by Michael Chandler

On Martin Luther King Day I took in the final day of the Salt Lake International Auto Show. It happens every year, and I always go so I can put my ass in the seats of some of the cars I’ve been reading about. I say some because not every car is there (Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger) and some are locked (ZR1). This isn’t a huge show, like Detroit, LA or New York, but it’s an opportunity for us (the public) to get some time inside the new models.

With that in mind, I grabbed my ancient Nikon point and shoot, hopped in the Subaru, and made my way to the Southtowne Expo Center to sit in cars I can’t afford at the moment. (more…)

Off
10th Jan2011

The Next…Nissan 240SX

by Trent

GT Live Day 2

Here we are with a new edition of “The Next”, a feature in which we choose a staple in the automotive enthusiast pantheon and then pick a new comer and tell you why the newcomer will become the next staple. Today we discuss the Nissan 240SX. (more…)

30th Dec2010

CAM Cars of the Year – 2010

by Trent

Here it is, our list of the greatest cars of 2010 and some honorable mentions. Read More…Mustang 5.0 (more…)