18th Feb2016

Throwback Thursday

by Michael Chandler

Greg's STi-5

Lelantos, before she got her new red dress

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
02nd Feb2016

The Black Pearl

by Michael Chandler

The Black Pearl Track Pirate

While it’s been mostly me lately, this isn’t a one man band.  Trent, the co-founder of this glorious website, knows his way around a camera and photo shoot

12th Feb2014

Bad Luck Brendon

by Michael Chandler

Lap Battle HPDE3-1

Hitting every light on the way to work and showing up half an hour late. Parking seventeen miles away from the mall entrance, and coming out to see that not only has someone parked next to you BUT they have completely ignored the lines and are millimeters from your car’s door. Running out of gas. All of these are considered bouts of “bad luck”. Brendon Stewart laughs at your bad luck. Why does he laugh at your pain? Because while you were sitting in traffic he was in his garage replacing his second transfer case pinion gear. While you were contemplating teaching that fellow a lesson, he was missing ANOTHER race weekend because his Evo decided to not want to work. What was he doing while you were trudging to the gas station, readying your body for the gouging you were about to receive? Well, let’s just say it was worse than that…

Despite all of the problems, Brendon is hopeful for the 2014 season. He sat down with me to talk about last year’s problems and this years plans.

NASA June 22 HPDE ST Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-82

What happened last season?

In general what happened?

Yeah, in general what happened.

Oh man, last season was tough. I had a lot of really unfortunate situations with mechanical failures in the car. Just seemed like every single time I went out I didn’t ever have a very successful day, until the very last race of the year; so I was always working the car and everything was always not right.

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The most spectacular failure that we all saw was the fire. What happened there?

Umm, that was incredibly unfortunate because that was a brand new engine. So my stock engine spun a rod bearing after 5000 race miles, which is not really that unusual. It was probably time for a refresh, but because it happened I ended up building an engine. Thought I’d spend the money and make it nice, not cut any corners, and it ran really, really well. It was a really good engine, first day.

It was too good to be true

Second day unfortunately, just kinda down the main straight it spun another bearing and started knocking. And I just tried to limp it around to get back to the pits, and it didn’t even make it another half a lap. It seized, shot a rod through the block and everything caught fire, and that’s that.

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So you said that was a new motor, but was that the original transmission? Did you have to replace that?

I believe that was the original transmission, which has been rebuilt a few times. New synchros, maintenance stuff. There’s never been any catastrophic transmission failure, which is good… yet.

Yet *knocks on wood*

But I have blown through two transfer case pinion gears, two engines in this car now. Umm… I think that’s the extent of the really big problems.

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The really big ones that have sidelined you. Was this your first year doing door to door or your second?

First year doing door to door. I was just working on doing all my individual rookie races done so I could get my full competition license. Unfortunately I was only able to complete two full race days, which actually count, so I still need to work on that. Gonna be an interesting 2014.

Did you have to change anything going from TT (time trail) to ST (door to door)?

Umm yeah, the biggest changes were safety items in the car so I really didn’t have to change a lot of, really anything for rules other than safety cause the power to weight ratio rules and stuff like that were all the same.

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So nothing mechanical wise, just safety stuff.

Exactly. I had to get an updated harness, I had to add either a new seat or a seat brace and I added a seat brace. Window net, fire suppression system. I had to change my roll cage a little bit cause it was uncompliant. But other than that…

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The car is for sale, and all I heard was that you want something V8 and rwd for your next platform. But the car hasn’t sold…

The car has not sold, but I do have an interested person potentially … So we’ll see what happens with that, but if it doesn’t go through then I’ll continue to just race this car through next year. Hopefully work on making it more reliable, and be able to finish developing the car because I still don’t feel that I’ve been able to reach its full potential in its current state.

What were you going to be getting? If the Evo sold you’d be getting…

If the Evo sells, or sold, it’d be an S13 240 chassis with an LS1 V8. Pretty basic, reliable.

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I don’t want this to happen, but I gotta ask: if last season’s events start to repeat (this year) will you just hang it up or will you keep trying to get out there?

I don’t know. That’s a really tough question honestly, because it’s been really difficult to keep going and I have so much passion for this sport that I really want to keep going. But at some point. I don’t know, something needs to change for me to keep being able to do it. If I keep having bad luck, or if there’s a really big problem then it’s going to be tough.

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Hopefully you can get back out there! And I noticed something. When the car was orange you had the sock monkey hanging from the riser on the spoiler, and everything was kick ass. Then the next year you didn’t (have the sock monkey) and everything went wrong.

It’s true.

Can you have the sock monkey on the spoiler? Or…

Umm… I’m not sure because I got a lot of grief when it was on the spoiler previously, but they let it slide cause it was actually sewn on and they were afraid it was going to fall off and cause debris. But that was also before we moved into the NASA rule set, so they’re a lot more strict now. But maybe I can put it inside the car now.

Kinda like Mumphrey, with Ryan Gates and his Evo.

One extra horsepower!

 

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler, Trent Bray and Michael Wells.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
19th Sep2012

Lap Battle and HPDE Group 3

by Michael Chandler

Great news!  This past weekend had a gaggle of stuff going on at Miller Motorsports Park!  Sad news.  If you want to see the photos, you’re gonna have to look at them on our Facebook page.  You already spend more time on Facebook than you do working while at work, so really this is just a heads up.  Anyway, on to the stories from the day!

Brendon and his Evo were there, but his head gasket wasn’t.  At least it isn’t a mystery problem.

JDP Motorsports brought out their Camaro, and proceeded to place 1st in their class.  It does better on the West course, like all higher power cars do; however, it still looked right at home on the East course.

Super fan Sally was out, making hand gestures and generally being quick.

Max brought out the Evo, and reached into his growing bag of skills and laid down some seriously quick times.

Porsche’s natural enemy is Corvette, but Mustangs can be just as formidable.

This is normally where I stick the gallery, but due to technical issues (umm…  Yeah…) you’re going to have to go to the Facebook page and look at the album to see all 55 photos.  Sorry folks, but it’s not like you’re actually working.

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article, Video, 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

 

 

02nd Aug2012

Lap Battle July 28

by Michael Chandler

LapBattle.com Time Attack was out and running about seventeen seconds slower than the NASA race groups, but it was to be expected.  They also were running with HPDE Group 3, which was interesting.

Sally was excited to get out there!  Especially AFTER she got her hands on some slightly used tires to replace the new tires that she won.  Her beau Shawn wasn’t in much better shape, he was having boost issues and was essentially running on wastegate pressure.  That issue allowed Max, the guy in the silver Evo, to take make it past Shawn.

The Stock vehicles were out, and were cleaning up.  The S10 was hitting the corners pretty hard, and the Charger was expressing its dominance pretty much everywhere.

The JDM Legends/Solid Autoworks/Rally Sport Direct WRX was out, and again was having its issues. Last month it was bending brake pads, this time it was having a hard time keeping hoses clamped on.  Could be worse, that black Viper ended up sounding like an old tractor by the end of the day. But that wasn’t the worst outcome.

Allan, owner of everyone’s favorite yellow Datsun 510, broke his AE86 Corolla!  Miraculously he pulled off track right in front of me.  He wasn’t too thrilled about the situation, but he wasn’t exactly devastated by it either.

It was another solid event put on by Matt, Biggie and everyone else.  Next month (August) they will be racing on the 18th on the West Course, so come out and see some big speeds or register yourself and get out there for yourself.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article, Video, 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
12th Jul2012

Less is More: Track Day STi

by Trent

 

Subaru WRX STi track car feature on CAMautoMag from CAMautoMag on Vimeo.

 

 

“Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere”

-Sir Colin Chapman

 

Colin Chapman founded a small car company based around this philosophy. They made street and racing cars following this mantra, and most of the time it worked brilliantly and didn’t kill anyone. People (not necessarily the people who are running his company) still subscribe to his now legendary philosophy. Greg Valdez is one of those people.

Starting with an already modified 2005 STi, Greg did what Sir Chapman would approve of: he proceeded to rip heavy things out of it. All of the doors have been gutted. The glass windows in the rear doors have been replaced by acrylic, and the front windows are non existent. There is a, singular, Prodrive by Sparco racing seat (from his old race car) and a matching red Corbeau 5 point harness. A 353mm black suede Sparco steering wheel replaces the stock unit (and its pesky, heavy airbag), and a Splash short hub adapter and a WORKS Bell quick release make the wheel work. The interior is so spartan the controls for the center differential have been left hanging out next to the Kart Boy short throw shifter.

The car was already fairly modified when Greg bought it. The cage was already in there, the Stoptech ST60 big brake kit was already installed along with the Hawk DTC-70 pads in the front and the Pagid RS 14 pads in the rear. The APR extended wheel studs and Kics lug nuts were there too; however, the massive 18×10.5 Enkei RPF1’s and Pirelli race slicks were additions made by Greg. They fit under the Karlton fender flares rather nicely, and the flares accentuate the Cusco lip.

 

This car was known for it’s track ready suspension setup. A setup that never saw any real track time. The car has TEIN Super Racing coilovers at all 4 corners, with 16k spring rate springs in the front and 14k in the rear. Theres a GT Spec subframe brace, and a Carbing front strut tower bar and a tow hook up there too. The tow hook doesn’t work too well, so Greg added the pair in the front and another in the rear. There is also a mess of Cusco parts, including: a center brace, T brace, H brace, 22mm front AND rear sway bars, rear subframe brace, trailing arms and lateral links. Kartboy front and rear endlinks replace the OEM units. The roll center adjuster comes from Whiteline as does a racing version of their anti-lift kit. All of this does wonders, but is pushed aside when you notice the 30 POINT WRC SPEC ROLL CAGE. Let me say that again: A 30 POINT WRC SPEC ROLL CAGE. Serious really doesn’t begin to describe the cage. Most of the bushings have been replaced: Kart Boy shifter, transmission, and rear crossmember, TIC rear differential, and Beatrush propeller shaft bushings all occupy the places the old bushings.

 

The interior is non-existent, and the suspension is beyond serious. The motor has to be some crazy stroked out, big turbo monster right? Nope! Ladies and gentlemen, the very fast white Subaru is powered by what is essentially a COBB stage two tuned motor. It has a full turbo back Turbo XS exhaust, a COBB version 1 Accessport, a SPT short ram intake (with a very clever, homemade NACA duct feeding it), an APS equal length Ti header (that has been wrapped), a Koyo aluminum radiator and a 13 row Mocal oil cooler. This thing runs on 91 octane pump gas for crying out loud!

 

This combination of weight reduction (the car weighs just over 3000lbs with Greg in it, while a stock ’05 STi weighs just shy of 3300lbs WITHOUT a driver), heavy suspension modification and tuning (courtesy of the guys at Innovative Garage) and light power additions (that idiot kid who ALWAYS wants to race you in his STi? Stage 2 crew) have turned this “could be” track day terror into a car that laps the 2.2 mile East Course at Miller Motorsports Park in the mid 1:40’s. Less truly is more

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler, Video by Trent Bray

*Article, Video, 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

03rd Jul2012

Lap Battle Round 4

by Trent

Another oppressively hot warm Saturday meant the NASA Utah guys were hosting the monthly Lap Battle/HPDE/Racing sessions.  We’ll discuss the Racing in a couple of days, today is all about Lap Battle and HPDE.

The big news, other than the first Lap Battle session not getting timed due to transponder issues, involved two long awaited cars: Park’s all black C5 Corvette and the return of Brendon’s Evo. Last year Park was running around in one of the FR500S Mustangs, but now he has a very evil looking (and sounding) Vette. Brendon lost his brakes during a Lap Battle session last year, and put his orange Evo into the tire wall.  The Evo was busted, but not gone!

HPDE brought out a mess of Corvettes (including a C6 ZR1), a brave soul in a Jetta 2.5 SE, and a handful of Mustangs.

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We haven’t seen one of the Subie-yota twins take to the track, but we have seen them there.  We’ve also seen them doing…well, whatever this is:

We’ll see you track rats in a little over three weeks for the next event!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler, video by Trent Bray

*Article, Video, 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 May2012

Lap Battle/NASA Round 3

by Trent

Going to change it up a bit and combine the NASA/Lap Battle post. Scream at me if I’m doing it wrong.
First off, it was great seeing some HPDE cars out on the track tearing it up. Especially the 993 Turbo Porsche that has now become the subject of my dreams at night.
Porsche 993 Turbo track day
This was also the triumphant return of Brody Hamblin’s WRX on the track. This car has seen magazine features, but never seems to stay on the track very long. This time it was out there and it was fast, fast enough to nab the quickest AWD time.
Lap Battle Time Attack Subaru WRX

The Subaru’s featured recently by us in The Happy Couple Subaru’s were out at the track and Sally was rocking a new set of coilovers and Shawn managed the second fastest AWD time.
C4 Corvette race car
The NASA event was action packed with Jeff Miller’s chopped top C4 Corvette starting 4th and finishing 1st beating out the Porsche Cup cars. Well done! We look forward to another weekend out at the track next month!
Tommy CAMautoMag
Special thanks to Tommy for joining me at the track and rocking the iPhonography while Mike had to work.

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Photos and Words by Trent Bray

*Article, Video, 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

23rd Apr2012

Lap Battle! April 21

by Michael Chandler

Twas a busy weekend at Miller: bikes were racing on the west course, karts were running and Lap Battle and NASA racing/HPDE were happening on the east course.  I was running around, dealing with the latter as best I could.  Lret’s talk about Lap Battle now, then after lunch (but before you go home from work) we’ll talk about the NASA stuff.  Deal?

 

Zane didn’t make it out this weekend, but it was ok because there was another insanely fast car running around: a 996 911 Cup car.  It proceeded to dominate.

That little red Cobalt you see?  From what I hear it’s running 20lbs of boost and was keeping pace with Shawn’s beast.  Speaking of Shawn…

He had a leak in his water/meth system.  This was a problem that resulted in a good quote (“Where can I buy some meth?”) and an ingenious solution: top off the tank with water and run race gas.  It worked, and Shawn ran well.

A Craftsman Truck Series-esqe truck showed up for a little bit, but then it decided it didn’t want to run anymore and initiated its self destruct sequence.  That brought the session to an end.

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-Michael Chandler

*Article, Video, 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
02nd Apr2012

Lap Battle 2012 Round 1

by Michael Chandler

Stock car, Impreza, and Corvette race cars

March 31 marked the official start to the Lap Battle and NASA seasons at Miller Motorsports Park.  A few of the NASA competitors shied away from the three hour endurance race, instead using the Lap Battle sessions as shake down runs.  This brought out a few interesting competitors, including: 2010 NASA ST1 champion George Smith (yellow C5 Corvette), a Dodge Charger Stock Car, and Mark Miller in his Cosworth powered 2012 STI.  Mark retired early, which left George and the stock car to battle it out for the Unlimited RWD class win.

Speaking of winners, George took URWD, Zane took UAWD, and there wasn’t anyone in UFWD but thats not too surprising.  Times for all the competitors can be found here.

No high dollar exotics were in the paddock this weekend, however this event did mark the return of the Ariel Atom that showed up to a few events last year.

Ariel Atom track car

Aside from that, and the Stock Car and Corvette, it was the usual mix of of Evo’s and STi’s

WRX STi vs. Evo

Along with a few BMW’s

E46 M3 vs. E90 M3

It was overall a good day for everyone, except for Brent.  Tragically his SR20 gave up the ghost during the last session.  His return will definitely be later this season.

Blown SR20 Nissan 240

The next Lap Battle is April 21 on the East Loop.  Check out LapBattle.com for registration info and we hope to see you out there!

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Words and Photos by Michael Chandler, Video by Trent Bray

*Article, Video, 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

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