17th Jul2014

Salt City Drift: One Hour at a Two Day Event

by Michael Chandler

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Last weekend was the Salt City Drift Two Day event in the West paddock at Miller Motorsports Park.  Two days of tire shredding, camping, hanging out with friends, shenanigans and so forth.  I was there for an hour on the first day.  It wasn’t a wasted hour though, there were some quality runs in those sixty minutes.  Including a few from Nate Wallace in his Camaro.

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We remember when he was the enthusiastic guy in the Camaro who spun out at every opportunity.  We watched him spin out less and start putting together some solid runs.  Then this weekend he made the S.S. Ontario his Camaro boogie like nobody’s business. We dig his enthusiasm, and watching him progress from where he was to where he is now has been great to watch.

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Remember Derrick Lopez? Had the RWD STi, did some Vegas Pro/Am, then kinda disappeared? Well he’s been doing some fabrication work for some other locals, helping out who he can when he can, and making another driftaru.  Except this one is black.  His entries into the big right hander were nuts, and he was hanging it out like Petter Solberg.

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O.P. Anderson was battling overheating issues when I arrived, but managed to get his fans in order in time to make a few runs… and hit another barrier.  I missed that unfortunately, but I managed to get plenty of shots of him not running into things.

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Nick Stucky doesn’t have a Miata.  He does have a mint-ish green V8 powered S13, which he wasn’t driving while I was there.  He was busy directing traffic, working the start line, and doing donuts in a M3.  I believe he was showing the owner how the donut box works, giving him some pointers on the basics, and rocking out in his sparkly helmet.

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Jordan Collier’s terrible idea S13 was alive! And running well!  Sort of.  Something about not being able to put a lot of fuel in it or something, but it didn’t break while I was there so that’s a step in the right direction.  It’s also bright green now, which is… very safe?  Here’s to hoping Jordan can keep the car running through the rest of the year.

And as quickly as I arrived, I left.  Sorry there aren’t more photos, but at least there are some and that’s better than none.  The next event is scheduled for September 13, in downtown Salt Lake.  Be there, and be awesome no matter how long you stay.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
18th Apr2014

Sorry we’ve been MIA

by Michael Chandler

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You know how it goes, things start moving along then life just gets in the way and BAM! suddenly it feels like you’ve been stuck on an island for years.  Well, mercifully it hasn’t been years, but it’s been too long.

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It’s not like we haven’t been doing ANYTHING. I took Big Rhonda out to Cars and Coffee, and had Ziptie Dynowerks throw a boost controller in her.  There’s more to the boost controller story than “They put it in, we set it, all is well.”  We talked to Cole from RaceCo about winning a couple of Global Time Attack events and a bunch of other things. We even caught up with Clint and his orange RB26 powered 260Z as it made it’s way down the strip for the first time.

We’re also going to be out at Pit Walk tomorrow, and ISS on Sunday. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Basically, stuff is coming. And we missed you too.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
02nd Apr2014

Salt City Drift Round 1

by Michael Chandler

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It was a busy, busy day at Miller Motorsports Park on March 22.  It was the opening of the NASA Utah season, the Radical Cup made a stop, and in the West Paddock some degenerates excited youth were sliding around like one is want to do when given the opportunity.  I wasn’t around to see any sort of competition, but I did pop in long enough to snap some photos and see people whip 360s through the exit gate of the course.  Someone even punted a cone while doing so!

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See?!

Anyway, the next round is all the way out on June 14 in (wait for it) Downtown Salt Lake City!  Exciting right??  See you then, and in the meantime enjoy the photos.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
20th Sep2013

Drift Utah 6

by Michael Chandler

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The sun rose over a chilly Miller Motorsports Park.  The rain had stopped, but the already slick surface of the west paddock was puddle ridden.  The drivers arrived and unloaded their cars, and prepared them for a full day of drifting.

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Nick and Brandon gathered the drivers for a meeting and a rundown of the course.  Some showers had returned, which made it feel even colder than it did earlier.  After fielding few questions and introducing the DJ (Joey Harrington, aka G-Type, aka The Hair, aka Trueno the Panda), the drivers went out for a parade lap.  And then the fun began

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The guys took the first few cuts somewhat conservatively.  I say somewhat, because the slick track was a bit of a trick to get used to with the water.

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The cones at the entry of the first big right hander took a beating from a few of the drivers, but then OP went on course…

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DERP!  By the way, the E36 M3 is apparently built like a tank.  His car showed no signs of damage, and he gave ride alongs the rest of the day.

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Turbo and N/A S chassis were taking cuts, mustaches not required.

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Your favorite Pro/Am drivers and the resident Formula D driver were out giving ride alongs, and showing off some tandem skills.

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Then this showed up.  Things were getting wild, crazy even.

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Thankfully a contest broke out, which calmed things down.  David Curtis took the win, and whatever prize came with the respect and adulation.  All was calm.

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Well, at least it wasn’t weird.

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What the hell?

The last and final event of the Drift Utah season is tomorrow, September 21, in the Midway at Miller Motorsports Park.  $6 to watch, $5 for a single ride along, $20 for an all day Ride Alone Pass, $90 to come take some solo cuts, $140 to dance with a partner.  Register here, and make sure to come spectate by 4pm.  Thats when the contest starts!

And as always:

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
16th Sep2013

NASA National Championships

by Michael Chandler

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NASA racers and support crew swarmed Miller Motorsports Park between the 4th and 8th of September for the NASA National Championships.  Every class of NASA sanctioned racer were out there, along with your humble reporter/photographer.  Well, the teams were there the whole time.  I, unfortunately, only made it out on Friday the 6th, but I brought you pictures!  And results!

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Us Against One Clothing printed up some stickers for the locals to run if they chose to.  The locals weren’t going to roll over and make it easy for the out of towners to win.

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The American Iron (AI), American Iron Extreme (AIX) and Camaro Mustang Challenge (CMC) guys were taking advantage of the Full Course layout by doing what Camaros and Mustangs do best: go fast in a straight line.  There were plenty of straights for them to wring their pony cars out.  The AI and AIX classes were dominated by Mustangs that made the trip to Miller Motorsports Park from as far away as Ohio!  But it wasn’t all Mustangs (well, the winners were all piloting Mustangs) or out of towners.

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Gary Free in his RaceCo prepped, South Towne Storage sponsored FR500S took fourth in AIX, besting two other competitors.  Corey Weber and Todd Davis brought out some classic American wheels to compete with.  Weber took fourth in AI while Davis took tenth.

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TTU, 1, and 2 were dominated by the home team.  Kyle Schick ran a blistering 1:55 to take TTU, while Shawn Murphy and his full interior STi took TT1 with a 2:03.  Smith-Burke Racing took TT2 by two tenths of a second!  Their 2:01.039 was just barely quick enough for the title, while Greg Valdez missed out on the podium by four tenths.  He still managed to out run a twin turbo 911 and a 911 GT3 by four and six seconds respectively.

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George Smith took the fight to the STR-1 crowd and emerged with the title in the JDP Motorsports/Smith Marketing Services C5 Corvette.  Corvettes appeared on the podium in ST2 (won by Smith-Burke Racing), ST3 and SU, with outright wins in ST2 and 3!

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SU field was the most exotic.  A pair of  prototype-esqe cars, a pair of Thunder Roadsters, a Viper, a Honda S2000 and a Corvette all vied for the title, but when the checkered flag dropped the #7 Elan DP02 of Jon Van Canegham emerged victorious.

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Also, the Brits were represented.

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Spec Miata was arguably the most action packed field.  Most of the packs were at least four cars deep, and dueling pairs of Miatas and lone Miatas were more the exception than the rule.  Blinkers were left on, doors were smashed, it was one of the more fun groups to see tear it up.  When the dust settled Matt Schultz climbed atop the podium.  He represents the NASA Northwest region.  The best the hometown crew could do was 13th (Chris Bond, 007).  Can’t win them all…

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If Spec Miata was the most action packed, most fun group to watch; then the GTS group was the prettiest.  Porsches and BMWs running hard lap after lap.  The sight was glorious, and the noise was epic!

Out of a possible twenty-eight championships, MMP locals took six.  Nearly one quarter of your NASA National Champions call Miller Motorsports Park home…  Well, not literally, but you get my drift.  The number could’ve been more just as easily as less.  Brendon Stewart’s Evo was still in pieces, Jason Smith sold his very quick Civic, Travis Williams’s FR500S was still down from the endurance race, and I’m not sure where Dave Dingman disappeared to.  Sally McNulty’s WRX was dealing with a bad head gasket, Jordan Priestly was doing support work for some of the drivers.  Those are six locals who could’ve competed for, if not taken a championship.  And we’ll just gloss over the Snows and John Potter, because we know how well they usually do.

The championship trophies may have been handed out, but the racing isn’t over for the season.  The final two events are in October: 4th-6th on the West track and 25th and 26th on the Outer Loop.  Still plenty of good times to be had, and for the TT guys, faster laps since it *should* be cooler out.

A full list of winners, placers, show-ers, just missed its and also rans can be found here.  BUT since you’re here, I present you with a list of the Champions, their class and their home region:

  • Alec Udell, American Iron, Texas
  • John Miksula, American Iron Extreme, Midwest
  • Aaron McSpadden, Camaro Mustang Challenge, Texas
  • Matt Schultz, Spec Miata, Northwest
  • David Schotz, TTB & C, Arizona
  • Sonny Watanasirisuk, TTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, TTE, Great Lakes
  • George Smith, STR1, Rocky Mountain
  • Michael von Quilich, Super Touring 1, California-Southern
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, Super Touring 2, Utah
  • Kenneth Smith, Super Touring 3, Great Lakes
  • Jon Van Caneghem, Super Unlimited, California-Southern
  • Tyler Palmer, 944 Spec, California-Southern
  • Dick Hunter, GTS2, Texas
  • Tony Colicchio, GTS3, California-Northern
  • Michael McAleenan, GTS4, Northwest
  • Peter Spencer, GTS5, Utah
  • David Schotz, PTB, Arizona
  • Dennis Holloway, PTC, California-Southern
  • Need Speed Orozco, PTD, California-Southern
  • Jason Kohler, PTE, Great Lakes
  • Walter Carlos, PTF, California-Southern
  • David Dirks, Spec Z, Rocky Mountain
  • Shawn Murphy, TT1, Utah
  • Team Smith-Burke Racing, TT2, Utah
  • Christopher Mayfield, TT3, Rocky Mountain
  • Kyle Schick, TTU, Utah 

And there you have it.  See you in a a few weeks, and because I told them this is where to look, here’s a picture of this AIX Mustang:

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-Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
21st Aug2013

NASA Utah Round 5

by Michael Chandler

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August 10th was an extremely busy day at Miller Motorsports Park.  The Gotham Dream Car Sprint was happening in the Midway, starting at 6pm there was a Western Endurance Racing Championship six hour endurance race, and during the day the NASA locals were joined by some SCCA fellows for some laps!  Exciting right?  You betcha!  However, the arrival of the SCCA guys meant that some of your NASA heroes raced with them instead of in the NASA groups.

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This was most apparent with the open wheel guys.  It was one of the larger open wheel fields in recent memory.  And since this was a SCCA deal, I don’t have the results…  Sorry guys, but I do have more pictures!

Looks like you herped when you should've derped there Bill.

Looks like you herped when you should’ve derped there Bill.

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See?  That kinda makes up for the lack of actual information!

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I’m not 100% sure what these are, but I think they’re Club Ford cars.  Whatever they are, they’re very cool and deserve some time in the spotlight.

I don’t have results for the SCCA groups*, but I do have results for the NASA guys.  With the increase in traffic on track, they split the NASA folks in to three groups:

  • Thunder:  GTS 3, 4, 5; American Iron, Camaro Mustang Challenge, Spec Z, STR1, and ST2, 3 and U
  • Lightning:  GTS1, 2, 3; Spec Miata, Spec E30, Spec 944, and PTB, C, E and F
  • TT:  I’m not explaining this one

Let’s start with the TT group.

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Despite a momentary lack of traction control, which led to a slight off track excursion, Kyle Shick took top honors for TTU in the RaceCo/Envision Wraps GTR with a 1:59.336.  The car is fine, and Kyle was his usual smiling self about the incident at the awards dinner later in the evening.

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The TT1 crown was claimed by Steven Streimer in the Lux Performance/Streimer MotorSports/Natalie’s Estate Winery Porsche 911 with a time of 2:03.395

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Greg Valdez took #lelantos to the top of the heap in TT2 with a time of 2:09.348.  The Ziptie Dynowerks sponsored STi has been getting better over the course of the season.  Fun fact: the wing on the car is wider than Greg is tall.

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The TT3 title was claimed by this fellow: Steve Nagel in the MarVista BMW M3.  His time: 2:09.318.  I would say something witty or funny, but I know nothing about him so I shall refrain.

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Emilio Cervantes and his 949 Racing sponsored Mazda Miata took the TTB crown with a 2:13.901

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Another Miata took TTC.  This time it was Sonny Watanasirisuk with a lap time of 2:17.986

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AND Jay Kidd took first AND last in TTE by being the only competitor in the field.  The Track Speed Engineering Miata put up a 2:20.258.

Moving on to the Lightning group, and more specifically the three Spec classes that were running.

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Dan McKeever took Spec Miata in the #10 Falcon Graphics sponsored roadster.

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Larry Moore took the Spec E30 win in his wild Bavarian coupe.  Quick question: when did red and blue become the official M colors?  This came up while out shooting and nobody had a good answer.

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And Samuel Kapp was deemed the fastest  of the Spec 944s.

The Pro Touring field was pretty deep, featuring privateers and a factory backed effort.  Logically the factory team would be the fastest on the day right?  Allow me to show you why that isn’t really true.

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When you show up in a Fit, you make Miatas look like fire breathing Blancpain series Lamborghinis.  That said, it probably had to fill up once the whole weekend.  It also took the PTF class.

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Andrew Kidd put the #71 Track Speed Miata in the winner’s circle again in the PTE category.  See that Porsche he’s chasing?

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It’s the PTC class winner driven by Ed Mineau!  Eight hundredths of a second separated the fastest laps turned by your E and C class winners.

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And speaking of Porsches, Douglas Turnquist took the PTB win in his non-Spec 944.

In GTS they really turned up the wick!  Well, sort of.  These still are semi-reasonable cars we’re talking about.

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Lee Bohning took the #36 Alpine Autohaus M3 to the winners circle in GTS2.

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Meanwhile, in GTS3, Stefan Sajic piloted his E46 M3 to victory.  In addition to being M3s and winning their classes, these cars have something else in common: red roll cages.  I support that 103%.

And now on to the senior circuit: the Thunder group.

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Mark Smith piloted the Eagle Marine Boss 302 Mustang to victory in American Iron, beating an F Body with a big wing.  However, the General would have his revenge!

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And that came in the form of Joe Bogie taking the Camaro Mustang Challenge win!

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The Spec Z crown was claimed by David Dirks, seen here chasing down a CMC competitor.

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GTS was dominated by Porsches.  Gus Stribakos took his physics defying machine to glory in GTS3.

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Darrell Troester won GTS4 in his 996 GT3.

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And Les Long turned a blistering 1:58.901 on his way to a GTS5 victory!  His time was THIRD fastest of the day!

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ST3 was loudly won by Daniel Wennerberg in the Pure Performance, high visibility BMW.

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Bob beat Skip for the STR1 win.  One of my favorite moments from the day was Matt Guiver, at the awards presentation, asking “Hey Bob, where’s Skip?”  Not sure why, but I enjoyed it.

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And the Davidson Racing team took top honors in SU, the Thunder Group, and on the day.  They won their class by 1:07.978, making second place George Smith (and his fastest lap time 1:57.705) look like he was standing still.

After the NASA guys finished up, the SCCA guys got to turn some laps…

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And this happened.  Spec Miatas might not be the fastest cars on track, but they aren’t afraid to bang! Not entirely sure how, or why, but Tyler Dahl and Glenn Conser were going at it the entirety of the SCCA Small Bore race.

And on a more somber note, this was unfortunately the last NASA Utah event Regional Director Roger Miller attended.  The following weekend he traveled to Kansas City for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.  He and co-driver Ian James finished eleventh in the race.  Tragically that evening, Roger passed away in his sleep.  Roger was a truly great man, and driver.  His passion for racing was unparalleled, and he wanted to bring more people into the fold and share that passion with them.  He will be missed, but the work he has done with NASA Utah will never be forgotten.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*If anyone has the SCCA results, feel free to send them over and we’ll get a post up for them

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
29th May2013

iDrift Round 3

by Michael Chandler

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Memorial Day Weekend brought tire smoke, friends and a contest to Miller Motorsports Park.  For what?  iDrift Round 3 of course!  The focus shifted back to the West Paddock where the barriers were placed, James Dean and Darth Vader were propped up (and subsequently blown down.  Damn wind…), and rides were given.  And look!  Jordan’s 1UZ powered S13 was alive and kicking!

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Jordan approved of his vehicle’s performance.  Some of the drivers had to work the course, much like at an autocross event.  However, they got a golf cart which served many purposes.

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Jordan used it as a chariot to spear cones, while Trent sat in judgement while at the helm.  What was he judging?

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Jason Smith in O.P. Anderson’s car for one!  After some *ahem* difficulties, Jason started whipping the E36 around like an old hand.  He even took second in the competition!  Was it rigged?  Doubtful.  If it was he would have won.  Although, this would be the best cover for any sort of rigging…

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Hey Nick, your thing is dragging…  He also blew up his rear diff, which is amazing because the former diff was a weak 1.6L piece that lasted years with the power he’s putting down.  Those usually break at slightly higher or sometimes even stock power levels.  He has a 1.8L diff now, and a new bumper on the way.

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This guy took third.  I don’t know who he is, but the primered coupe was consistent all day.  Also, James blew over long before I got there and lost his head somewhere along the way.  A tragedy, I know.  But hey, he does approve of what is going on here.

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Here’s your winner ladies and gentlemen.  Smoke?  Plenty.  Smoothness?  And how!  Fancy colors?  YOU BET!  His entries were also on point, and he wasn’t afraid to approach the barriers or clipping points.  He deserved the win.

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There was also this: Brent Cheney’s old S14!  No longer Brent’s and no longer SR powered.  It belongs to Rob, and it’s packing a LSx.  How he did in the contest I don’t know, but it did sound good.

It was a good day for everyone who made it out.  Missed out?  Don’t worry!  THERE ARE MORE COMING!!!  Next one is June 22 in the Midway.  Don’t worry about not having a car, or astronomical ticket prices.  I haven’t had a car to drive for any of these, and tickets are only $6 at the door.  And those tickets let you watch whatever is going on at the track that day.  That’s a lot of entertainment for $6.

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.
27th Apr2012

Photo Friday

by Michael Chandler

Welcome to the weekend my friends!  Got a couple of photos from the last Lap Battle/NASA weekend for you to enjoy.  Downloading remains the same: right click (or control click if you’re on a Mac) then view image, right click again and save image.  Then set it as your desktop background and make all of your friends/co-workers/classmates/cats jealous!

Remember a couple of years ago when I followed Kris McCoy and Randy Gibb during Honda Challenge?  Well, since then Randy has tried selling his DC5 and Kris has started racing in a S2000.  I saw Kris at the Enduro and snapped a few shots, but this is the first time I’ve seen them racing together in a while.  Just like old times.

 

This pretty much sums up Lap Battle: M3, fun track day car; S2000, fun track day car; gutted STi, weapon of terror.  They are turning into Release, which spits you out onto the front straight.  Guess what happened next.

 

-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
06th Apr2012

Photo Friday

by Michael Chandler

Hooray for Friday and a holiday weekend!  Right now it’s snowing (boo!) but here are a pair of photos from the sunshine filled weekend at Miller Motorsports Park

When it comes to track days, there are few more useful tools than the Ariel Atom.  Aluminum tubing, an engine (either a Honda sourced K series or the absolutely insane Hartley built V8, which is two Suzuki Hayabusa 4 cylinders fused together), a transmission, seats, and the other bare necessities needed to declare it a car.  Despite those necessities, this one is loaded into a trailer and towed down to Miller Motorsports Park so it can play with other track day toys.

 

While the Atom is a nice track day toy, a dedicated E92 M3 race car is…well, it’s a race car.  All the nice things that make the M3 a fun street car (414hp 4 Liter V8, 51/49 weight distribution, 6 speed manual) are cranked up to 11 in race trim.  This puppy came from Colorado to participate in the enduro, and despite whatever problems it had, it sounded and looked amazing coming down The Attitudes.

-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
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