12th Sep2016

Coming Up This Week!

by Michael Chandler

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We have coverage of the record breaking NASA Utah Round 7 weekend!

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Good ole boys turnin left AND right!

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We use the term “touring car” loosely.

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And a dog!

Lots of stuff, starting tomorrow morning.  Check it out, and spread the good word!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
22nd Jul2016

NASA Utah Round 5: The Melty Way

by Michael Chandler

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It was hot.  Very hot.  So hot, in fact, that some competitors ended up being less than competitive because of it.  Andy Moench’s and Mike Bratsch’s TT3 cars were feeling the heat, as were some of the Spec Z cars.  Greg Warnock’s E92 M3 racecar succumbed to overheating issues, but he just hopped into his Cayman GT4 Clubsport and got some more laps in.  I mean, who doesn’t have a back up race car in this day and age?  Speaking of Greg’s race…

THUNDER

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That’s where we start our coverage.  Surprisingly, it was pretty drama free.  At least from where I was.  We had one GTS3 competitor, and that was Mayor McCheese himself: Blake Troester!

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Byron Smith was back!  Unfortunately for him, Darrell Troester was still there.  He finished a lap up on Byron, and claimed another GTS4 win.

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Despite going spin cycle early in the race, Gerry Shear (who gets it) got everything straightened out and took home a GTS5 win.

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NASA Utah’s own BFG, Bob Evans, took the Snickers Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup High Downforce Prototype to the top of the podium in ST1.

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J.R. Smith, proving that good things can be made better with the addition of an LSx, claimed another ST2 win.

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Benevolent Overlord Matt Guiver hopped in the Minion (or banana mobile) and out drove five of the Ford Performance Racing School Mustangs.  Five!  That’s a lot of Mustangs to beat out.

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In the Super Unlimited class, Pirate Supreme Les Long threw down some blistering laps and took home the class win.  Could he take home the overall win?

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Well, no.  Makes & Modesl had their Huracan Super Trofeo back on track, and Derek was a man on a mission.  Despite rising temperatures setting off alarms, he managed to claim the GTSU win AND the overall race group win.  Speaking of that white, German/Italian super-weapon…

TIME TRIAL

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Brendon Stewart hopped in the driver’s seat for the TT sessions and threw down a best time of 1:35.580 to take the TTU win.

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TT1 saw a few Vipers.  Definitely not a bad thing, especially given the news that FCA will be killing the big snake after 2017.  Topping the podium was one of those snakes, the one driven by David Gilliland.  He slithered around the East course of UMC in 1:41.8.44

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Shawn Murphy wasn’t there that long on Saturday.  He had a wedding to go to.  I suggested someone Facetime him in, but that one didn’t fly.  My brilliant idea didn’t fly, but Shawn did.  And in the crowded combined session to boot.   His best time in his “street car” was 1:40.988.

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As mentioned earlier, Andy and Mike’s cars were feeling the effects of the heat.  The heat didn’t seem to be a problem for James Pasquier, and his reliable as the sunrise 993 911.  He set his best time in the last session of the day!  Clearly we should all get 911’s, and be immune from heat.

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Darin Beaudoin barely escaped the day with a win in TTB.  He had Stephen Martin hot on his heels.  Stephen posted a best time of 1:47.795, which was so close to Darin’s time.  Darin, in his Honda Miata, posted a 1:47.760.

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For those keeping score at home, Porsches have claimed five wins on the day so far.  After this, they will have claimed six.  Max Dufford, in his Boxster, ran a 1:48.977 in TTC.

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Todd Green, listed in the #60 which I don’t have a picture of nor even see, took home the win in TTE.  He posted a best time of 1:47.335 in the second TT Storm session.  I don’t have a photo of that car, but I do have a photo of the mythical beast that is L’oreal! I MEAN PAUL MITCHELL!!!  Speaking of things that you could hear about later…

LIGHTNING

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Things got a little spooky, then kinda violent.  Some Spec Miata drivers got too close coming out of Release, and one spun.  Later in the race: a couple of Spec Z drivers got together, sending one into the dirt.  Aside from those events, and another Spec Z losing an engine over the course of the race which left the car stranded at pit in, the race was fairly straightforward.  Let’s start with Spec Miata, where Chris Bond returned!  He took home with win, and managed to stay clear of any sort of shenanigans.

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Otto Silva wasn’t the only 944 Spec driver this weekend!  He was still the winner, but he wasn’t alone!

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We haven’t had any open wheel races this season, which has meant that the usual drivers have been doing other things to occupy their time.  Apparently one of those “other things” for Troy Duffin is getting a hold of a Datsun 510 racer.  He brought it out this weekend, and took home the win in PTE.

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Here we see the GTS2, PTB, and Thunder Roadster winners, all at once!  Tom Rogers got himself a win in GTS2, Nathan Rohner in his RX7 (which was originally built as an autocross car) got another PTB win, and JD Stull took the win in Thunder Roadster.  This was JD’s first race, and it was great seeing him out in competition.

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We had one, lone GTS1 competitor: Steve Burns.  He and Chris Bond had a solid battle all race, which was great to watch.

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And in Spec Z, we had the #42 DXDT car, driven by David Askew, atop the podium.

PHEW!  What a day!  On to some miscellaneous stuff:

  • Todd Green usually dominates PTE, except this race.  Why?  Because he had a dead battery.  He got a push start, but ended up being two laps down.  Wouldn’t know it by the way he drove.
  • The Spec Z that lost an engine was the #46 DXDT car, driven by James Burke.  It was smoking on every downshift from what I heard from some of the other drivers
  • It was Kyle Schick who wound up in the dirt.  Can’t quite remember who hit him though, but I do have footage of the contact!
  • I ran around and slapped some CAM stickers on to some competitors cars.  If you’d like one, shoot me an email and have some space on the passenger side of your car clear.
  • For those of you who want to purchase photos: go to here

And that is that!  We’ll be back for Round 6, and the 6 Hour Enduro on August 6.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
30th May2016

It’s Memorial Day

by Michael Chandler

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We’d like to take a minute and pay our respects to those fought and died for this country.  Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t be able to do what it is we do.

Ok, now go fire up that grill!  And if you recorded any of the racing that happened yesterday: watch it!  It was all great!!!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
02nd May2016

I Love/Hate Watching Racing on TV

by Michael Chandler

A photo posted by CAMautoMag (@camautomag) on

Words, photo and opinion by Michael Chandler

We live in an age where every form of motorsports is available on your TV.  And to be honest, it’s great having it as easily accessible as it is.  HOWEVER, I am going to take a minute to air one large complaint that I have:

The TV broadcasts that we have for the IMSA WeatherTech series are just awful, and Fox Sports is a terrible TV home for the series.  Allow me to explain why these things are so awful.

ISSUE THE FIRST!: The Announcers

Yes, I know what they’re doing is difficult: you’re trying to relate what’s going on in a very fast paced sport to people who might not be that fast paced in their ability to process information.  You have to know who is in which car, where everyone is on the track, and what’s going on in the different classes.  All difficult, but there’s one thing that they don’t do: look for action outside of the lead group or really focus on teams that aren’t big names.  If there’s an amazing battle for 5th, you probably won’t see it.  And if you’re not Porsche or Corvette, we’re not gonna know you’re there.  It’s incredibly frustrating, especially if the leaders are well clear of any competition.  I would much rather see that 5th place battle between some teams and drivers I’m not intimately familiar with.

ISSUE THE SECOND!: The Pit Lane reporters

They’re not as useless as the sideline reporters in a basketball or football game (sideline reporters are utterly useless), they can tell us what happens to a car when it goes behind the wall or what driver is hopping in during a driver change.  They provide some valuable information you wouldn’t get from the announcers in the booth, but the TV crew seems to love trying race for the bottom against the sideline reporters.  They repeatedly ask crew chiefs vague, soft questions; or talk to some corporate fellow in a polo who has no idea what the hell is going on in the race, series, or world in general.  I don’t care what the VP of North American SUV Operations has to say about the “venue”, tell me if the Action Express Corvette DP came in and got a set of scrub tires!  Give me information damnit!  If I wanted useless nonsense, I’d fire up one of the 24 hour “news” networks and tune in for some “news”.

ISSUE THE THIRD!: The streaming

As I’m pounding out this semi-though out rant, I’m listening to the Radio Le Mans call of the Monterrey GP, specifically the Prototype and GTLM race.  I tried to stream the race via the IMSA website, and I was greeted with a screen that said I needed to watch the race on Fox Sports 1, or Fox Sports Go.  I was trying to avoid the FS1 catastrophe, so I went to FSGo.  And it’s the TV broadcast I’m trying to avoid, complete with commercial breaks.  All I want to to is listen the the Radio Le Mans crew call the race, give me information and insight I don’t have, and watch these amazing machines whip around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  I don’t want commercials for La Quinta Inn or the Chevrolet Malibu, I want my racing!  I broke down.  I fired up the Fox Sports stream, muted it, turned on Radio Le Mans, and made a horrifying discovery: the visuals were MINUTES behind the audio.  MINUTES.  There are 120 of those in today’s race!  How?  How is this happening???

ISSUE THE FOURTH!: The TV home

When SPEED became Fox Sports, people rejoiced.  It looked like all the racing we were able to find on our cable boxes wasn’t going anywhere.  Then they announced that there was going to be a Fox Sports 2, and then stuff got shoved onto that.  Stuff like the PC/GTD Monterrey GP race, big chunks of the 12 and 24 hour races, and some races all together.  This wouldn’t be a problem if FS2 was a channel that existed in people’s cable packages, or IMSA wasn’t so insistent on not streaming something on their site that’s being broadcast on this shadow TV network.

And let’s talk about how the IMSA stuff gets shown on TV via tape delay, and that taped race often starts late because of UFC post fight coverage, or FA Cup soccer, or some other niche sport.  I’m fine with both the UFC and European soccer, but when I end up waiting fifteen minutes for my race to start so three talking heads in an empty arena can talk about a fight that ended quite a while ago, I get a bit peeved.

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

ABC, NBC, Fox proper and ESPN all have their hands in either Indy, F1, or NASCAR; but, they all split time with those series.  CBS has Pirelli World Challenge, but they pop that onto CBS Sports Network, which is in the outer realm of your cable lineup.  But while it’s way the hell down the channel listings, it has some great racing on it: V8 Super Cars, Blancpain Sprint Series, Stadium Super Trucks.  It’s almost ready-made for the WeatherTech series.  If CBS could/wanted to get their hands on the rights, they could elevate this series to the level it should be.

Unfortunately, that probably isn’t going to happen.  IMSA’s co-founder is Bill France Sr., who founded the redneck rodeo we know as NASCAR.  They’re headquartered at the same place.  If you’ve noticed, there’s a lot of NASCAR races on Fox.  Same with all of the WeatherTech races.  The powers that are would rather negotiate with a long time partner, than try to start a new relationship.

Michael, you simpleton! In July NASCAR jumps to the NBC networks! Oh, I know.  Again, long time partners.  NBC airs the NASCAR Mexican series on their Spanish language properties, and has been for a few years now.  Why bring a third party in, especially one that you don’t have a relationship with at the moment?

So, we’re stuck with this.  Thankfully the audio you can stream on the IMSA site is done by the Radio Le Mans crew, so that’s a bright spot in this sea of floating turds.  And Fox Sports 1 is available on 4 out of the 7 Comcast packages, half of the Dish packages, and 5 of the 6 DirecTV packages, so there’s that too.  Hopefully this gets better, and they stop shoving stuff to FS2 or just allow people to stream the races with the audio they want.

The next WeatherTech Series race is the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic from the Raceway at Belle Isle Park June 3&4.  Qualifying will be on the IMSA site starting on the 3rd at 5:05PM Eastern, and the race itself is going to be aired on Fox Sports 1 on the 4th at 12:30PM Eastern.  That’s 3:05PM Mountain for qualifying, and 10:30AM for the race.

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

 

02nd Mar2016

If This Looks Odd to You

by Michael Chandler

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Then you haven’t been to a NASA Utah event, and you should change that.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
12th Oct2015

Weekend Round Up October 10-11

by Michael Chandler

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Many things happened this weekend, perhaps you missed something.  Don’t worry, we did too, BUT we’re bringing you the highlights right here!

Craig Lowndes Gets 6th Bathurst 1000 Victory

Steven Richards was also driving the car, but not at the same time as Lowndes.  Lowndes did it without hands for a bit though, so that’s something.  The win in Australia’s great race was Holden’s 13th.  Lowndes’s Red Bull Racing Australia teammate, Jamie Whincup, set a lap record in the closing laps of the race while in 18th place. Mark Winterbottom and Steve Owen in the Pepsi Max Crew Ford Falcon finished the race in second, fighting back after receiving two black flag penalties.  Garth Tander and Warren Luff, in the Holden Racing Team Commodore, rounded out the podium.  The first ever all female driver line up of Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie finished the race in 21st.

Mercedes Locks Up F1 Constructor’s Championship

 

Mercedes, as a team, needed to score a total of 3 more points than Ferrari to secure the championship.  Lewis Hamilton winning the race overall helped, Nico Rosberg retiring didn’t.  With Sebastian Vettel in second and Kimi Raikkonen in fifth made it look like Mercedes would have to wait, but then Kimi challenged Valtteri Bottas in a turn and proceeded to punt his fellow countryman.  Kimi, who knows what he’s doing, was awarded a 30 second penalty for this act of Fin on Fin violence. That 30 seconds put him in 8th, and that allowed Mercedes to win back-to-back constructor’s titles.

Patrick Dempsey Won His First WEC Race

 

The Fuji 6 Hour was a wet affair, but Patrick Dempsey and Marco Seefried didn’t seem to mind as they took the win in the GTE-Am class.  The win is Dempsey’s first in World Endurance Championship competition, and was another win for manufacturer from Stuttgart.  Porsche finished 1-2 in LMP1, with the #18 919 Hybrid being ordered to let the #17 of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartly and Timo Bernhard take over the lead.  The reason for the order was because the driver line up in the #17 car has a better chance of winning the driver’s championship.

G-Drive Punts KCMG to Take Lead in WEC LMP2 Championship

Entering the race KCMG was ahead of G-Drive for the LMP2 Championship.  During the race, both G-Drive drivers (Romain Rusinov in the #26 and Gustovo Yacaman in the #28) mixed it up with the lone KCMG entry, driven by Richard Bradley.  Rusinov battled hard, and made contact with Bradley.  The Stewards ruled the contact part of racing for the lead and issued no penalties.  They were both on the lead lap, the #28 of Gustavo Yacaman was a lap down.  After the final fuel stops, Yacaman spun Bradley, which forced the KCMG car to pit for a new tire.  After fighting back to third place, Yacaman then punted the KCMG.  KCMG received a DNF, and Yacaman’s actions are under investigation.  As of now, the #26 G-Drive car holds a 12 point lead over KCMG’s lone #47 car in the LMP2 Championship.

Joey Logano Wins In Charlotte, But This Happened Too

 

Kyle Busch (in the pink #18) kinda looked like he was going to duck into the pits, and Kyle Larson (in the #42) decided he wanted in too.  Busch didn’t get on pit lane, at least not by choice.  Kyle Larson, from high on the track, came all the way down in a gloriously failed attempt to pit.  Larson hit Busch, and the Commitment Cone, and both wound up on pit lane.  Larson managed to not hit the wall after spinning, and they both managed to stay on the lead lap.

Fredric Aasbo Wins in Irwindale

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He had a commanding lead heading into Forumla D’s final event of the season, and he kept it.  The win secured his Formula D championship, his Formula D World Championship, and helped Scion and Hankook lock up their respective championships in the series as well.

And there you have it, all the weekend’s highlights in one place so you can get on with your day.

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

08th Jan2015

The Man, The Myth, The Beard: Rutledge Wood

by Michael Chandler

 

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Photo Credit: Matthew McDermott, History Channel

 

He’s big, he wears plaid/flannel shirts, has an impressive collection of cars, and has a melon the size of Europa.  He is Rutledge Wood, and he is one of the hosts of Top Gear in America.  Rut is one of us: he likes/owns weird cars, builds many cool projects, is a motorsports fan, and is willing to sit down and chat with fellow gear heads.  We caught up with him at SEMA last year to get a quick interview.  Unfortunately, my phone (which I was using to record the interview) died before I could get my first question out.  BUT I did take notes!

Rutledge came upon the opportunity to co-host Top Gear while he was working as a correspondent on NASCAR Race Day on SPEED.  He’s a NASCAR fan, but his first race was in 2005.  I asked him what his favorite NASCAR tracks were, past and present.  His answers? Riverside for the classic, but the modern tracks were a toss up between Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.  His favorite NASCAR moment wasn’t a race, but it was going down the hill at Bristol in the snow!  Remember folks, it’s the little things.  Speaking of little things…

Rutledge Wood at SEMA 2014

Rutledge, talking about The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Photo credit Michael Chandler, CAMautoMag.com

 

His least favorite Top Gear challenge involved many little things.  It was the nightmare fuel challenge that was the rat helmet.  *shudder* On an infinitely lighter note, his favorite challenge vehicle was the big single turbo, 2JZ powered Scion xB, which he bought because who wouldn’t want that in their garage?  He also bought the school bus snow plow doom bringer from the Snow Show episode.  Again, who wouldn’t want that??  I asked him for any bits of information about the upcoming season and he wanted to tell me everything, the look was there in his face, but he said that there was too much good stuff coming down the pipe.

And finally I asked about the bearded man behind the bearded man on TV.  In the first season he came clean about his love for Hondas.  I asked if he was still a Honda guy, and he is.  He’s also a VW guy, and a Chevy guy, and a MOPAR guy.  He’s a car guy.  A car guy who’s gone through 75 cars like a boss.  Ok, with that knowledge in hand I asked him what his favorite car is and what mode of transportation was his favorite outside of the car.  Favorite car is a resto-mod ’57 Bel-Air, a total cruiser.  And his favorite mode of transportation is the car.  The plane is convenient, but nothing beats the car.  And finally, if he’s running out the door and has to grab something to sustain himself it’s going to be a protein bar with a cup of coffee or some juice.

Ladies and gentlemen, he is a mythic creature.  A loathsome offensive brute, yet impossible not to look at.  He’s just like us: he works hard, works on awesome cars, and goes home to his family every night.  The only difference is he’s worked as a NASCAR correspondent and now he’s hosting Top Gear.

Words by Michael Chandler, photos as credited
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Oct2014

Tresduro: NASA Utah’s 2014 Season Finale

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Every year for… many years NASA Utah, and MPRA before them, have thrown an endurance race to close out the season.  Normally it’s the standard X amount of hours in a row, on a track that has the corners in the same places as the lap before.  This year things would be different.  Very different.  Not mind blowingly, life alteringly different, but still different.  There would still be an endurance race, but not all in a row.  It would run on the Outer Loop… and the East Course… and the West Course.

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That’s right baby!  Dynamic track!  Basically here’s how it would shake out: All the HPDE groups and TT would run on the Outer Loop only, while the race group and the open wheel guys would jump between all three configurations.  If you remember the Pirelli World Challenge races from a couple of months ago, then this track switching concept isn’t so foreign.  They ran the World Challenge GT races on the Outer Loop, Spec B and Miller GT Challenge on the West Course and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West guys got the East Course.  What was foreign, and I can’t stress this enough, was having the same group of competitors running three different track configurations on the same day for the same race!  Well, technically it wasn’t all the same race, but the drivers’ times in each race would be combined and whoever had the best time would be the class winner.  Speaking of which, let’s stop talking about the track thing and talk about racing!

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The Open Wheel guys were in the same boat as the Race Group: three different tracks, three races, one time to decide a winner.  In Formula Troy Duffin and Steven Costello continued their season long battle, but at the end of the long day there had to be a winner.  And that winner was Troy, who completed 34 laps in the allotted time compared to Steven’s 33.  In Super Formula it was the the #11 Rodizio Grill sponsored car of Terry Biner running away with the class win, leaving Steve Burns and John LaBrie to duke it out for second.  In what can only be described as driving feats never seen since the days of Juan Manuel Fangio*, Steve Burns defeated John LaBrie!

*Not really true at all, but both John and Steve had really good drives in their races

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It was time for the TT competitors to take to the track after the Open Wheel drivers vacated it.  Their four sessions held weight because, while the season points chases were over for everyone else, this was a points event for the TT drivers.  While some people had wrapped up their season titles (more on that in another post), some people were still fighting tooth and nail for theirs.  People like Shay Campbell and James Pasquier, who pitted their Porsche 911s against some ST3 competitors and a healthy chunk of the Spec Z field.  Despite finishing in 14th, five spots behind James and scoring 5 points less than him, Shay locked up his TT3 points title!  Meanwhile, at the front of the TT3 crowd, Travis Tidball took the win.

In TT1 the guys of TW Racing put their Audi R8 LMS atop the podium, and solidified their championship.  However second place in the class was up for debate.  If you remember, Shawn Murphy ventilated the engine block in his WRX STi which sidelined it for the remainder of the season and seemingly opened the door for Smith-Burke Racing to leapfrog one of our favorite Wyomingans… Wyomingites?  Whatever, Shawn needed to hold off the C5 Corvette, so he did what any enterprising man with a willing girlfriend would do: he used her car for the last two events.  He didn’t win, but he scored JUST enough points to hold off the Data Motorsports backed Corvette to stay in second place.

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In TTE Ben Lamberson put used all 127 horsepower his Audi could muster to beat Steve Larsen, and cement his title.  TTU was missing it’s most notable competitor: the Lyfe Motorsports/Wild Schick Racing R35 GTR was in California doing some testing, which left the class wide open for Rhett Panter to win.  TT2 was won by David Bradshaw, and Josh Bennett took home the win in TTB.

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And we finally arrive at the Race Group, the other group that would take on the perils of driving three different tracks over the course of one race day.  It also had some interesting driver line-ups, including George Smith piloting a Miata with Les Long, Derek Wolthoff driving Brendon Stewart’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and…  Well, there’s no easy way to say this…

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PPPAAAAAAAUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL MMMMIIIITTCCCCCCHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which was driven by Matt Guiver, Todd Ainsworth, Alex Whetman and Todd Green.  That mighty team could only muster a third place finish in E3, behind Allan Anderson (who slid around Wind Up, but it’s cool because he has a Corolla so he knows what he’s doing) and David Sherman. NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-59

In E0 we saw No Whammies (Travis Tidball) hit big money and stop atop the podium, ahead of Travis Williams in the #22 Discount Tire FR500S Mustang and Good Guy Gus Stribakos in the 888 Porsche.

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In a class by himself, literally, was the Idaho Mountain Touring Porsche 911 in E1.  Let’s take a moment to appreciate how pretty it is.  Ahhhhhhhh.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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ES.  The Big boys.  You know the Names: TW Racing, Big Bob Evans, Dandy Dan Worley, Steve “Mister” Burns and “Mister En Fuego” Brendon Stweart.  They were all fighting for the victory.  The gritty field went wheel to wheel and door to door all day! Except when Brendon broke a suspension component.  That sidelined him.  And Bob blew a tire in the last race of the day, so his day ended early too… But when they were running, they were threatening to take away podium finishes from other drivers!  In the end it came down to two teams: the TW Racing crew had adjusted their R8 LMS so Allen Turner could fully exploit it’s advantages, while Tatum Racing had the LSx powered Porsche 944 tuned to peak efficiency for Dan Worley.  Who would emerge victorious?

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In the end the Audi proved too much for the Porsche, and TW Racing took home the class and overall victory.

In the end, we all took home a victory.  Over the course of the season we saw drivers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and overcome devastating events.  We saw camaraderie and good natured competitiveness, and most importantly: everyone at the end of the day could walk away uninjured.

And so ends the NASA season.  On behalf of me and the staff here at CAMautoMag, I would like to say thank you to Matt Guiver, Dave Kizerian and Dan McKeever for the awesome season, the track workers for the thankless and tireless jobs they do to make the racing happen, and especially to the drivers.  Everyone from the HPDE 1 drivers, all the way up to the Super Unlimited class drivers and everyone in between.  We do this because we have the same passion as you guys, and since we can’t get out there and drive with you guys (yet!) the next best thing is to come out shoot some photos and say some nice words about what you’re doing out there.

We’ll be at the Awards Banquet on November 22, where we’re looking forward to seeing everyone!  We will also have things for you to purchase if you so choose.

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

 

 

18th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 2

by Michael Chandler

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 NASCAR Pro Series K&N West Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 35)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

No time for pleasantries, let’s get right to it! The day opened up with the second Touring Car class race of the weekend, and while nobody attempted to climb over anybody else there was still some close racing.

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Nathan Stacy came into the Black Rock hairpin too hot in the #14 TSG/Ford Racing Motorsports Development Group Ford Fiesta, opening the door for Brian Price to drive the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit right on through.  Unfortunately their battle was for third place, Johan Schwartz used the Schwartz to put his Garrett Racing/Drive4Diabetes Honda fit on top of the podium, with Andrei Kisel in the #57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com Mini Cooper taking home second place.  Despite his third place finish, Brian Price took home the Driver’s Championship for the B Spec Class!

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TCA was an in house battle, with Jason Wolfe and Nik Jonsson battling for the class win.  Jason Wolfe in the #36 Wolfe Trucking/Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup squeaked out a first place finish over Nik Jonsson in the #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  The margin of victory was .003 seconds!  Rounding out the podium was Jason Cherry in the Autism Society of America/Avpro Jets/Purposeful Architecture Shea Racing Mazda MX-5 Miata.  Jason Wolfe’s narrowest of narrow victories cemented his Driver’s Championship.

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Touring Car wasn’t nearly as hotly contested as TCA and B Spec was, but that’s not to say it was completely devoid of action.  Steven Doherty in the #94 Skullcandy/Nissan/GT Academy Altima Coupe fired off a 1:38.411 lap on his way to victory, which was better than the existing track record!  No slouch himself, Michael Pettiford in the #41 Go4It Racing Schools/ Hawk Brakes Pontiac Solstice turned a 1:38.693 lap; however, he could not overcome the lead Doherty had.  Fred Emich, #30 Emich Racing/Emich Volkswagen Jetta GLI had the same problem of an insurmountable lead, but he still parked the Jetta on the podium.  The 4th place finisher would end up taking home the Driver’s Championship: Michael DiMeo in the #71 Grand Alarms/Compass 360 Racing/Children’s Tumor Foundation Honda Civic Si.

The Touring Car classes in World Challenge didn’t garner as large of crowds as the GT classes did, and that’s a bit of a shame in my opinion.  Sure the cars aren’t as fast or as flashy, but the racing is just as good, and just as competitive as it is in the senior circuit.  If you ever get the chance: find a good seat, settle in and watch the entire field go nose to tail and try to get around each other.

Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (14 of 35) Utah Grand Prix Day 2 Miller GT Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (31 of 35)

Next on the docket was the Miller GT Challenge group.  The twenty car field consisted of eight of your favorite locals in the title class, nine United States Touring Car Championship drivers, and three USTCC GT drivers.  In the UTSCC field it was a battle of BMWs, with Jason Alexandridis in the #22 Perfromance Technic M3 beating out another M3, this being the #12 of Beau Borders, for the class win.

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In the GT field it was two manufacturers vying for the win.  Unfortunately the #34 GoGoGear.com BMW of Larry Bani retired, relegating him to third place.  Finishing ahead of him was the #16 Red Star Racing BMW of Daniel Akhromstev.  Sitting atop the heap was the #98 Honda S2000 of Andrie Hartanta.

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And finally in Miller GT we saw a three way battle for first place.  Derek Wolthoff in the #08 Makes And Models/TW Racing Audi R8 LMS battled Cindi Lux in the #5 Lux Performance Dodge Viper SRT and Cole Powelson in the #23 AMS Performance/OS Giken/RaceCo Nissan GTR.  The battle raged for twenty-five laps, but nearing the end of the race a piece of the GTR’s under tray came loose and caused them to fall off the pace.  Cindi and Derrick continued the fight, but by the time the checkered flag came down it was Derrick who was in front by 4.7 seconds.

On a side note: Cole Powelson has been a friend of the site’s for many years.  Today he announced that he would be leaving his position at RaceCo to create a new opportunity for himself in motorsports.  All of us here wish him the best of luck going forward, and we can’t wait to see what he ends up doing.

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On to the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS race, where championships were on the line!  Well, at least in GTA and GTS, the latter of which is where we begin.  Lawson Aschenbach in the #1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 needed to hold off Jack Baldwin and Mark Wilkins to claim his Driver’s title.  Fortunately for Lawson, and unfortunately for Mark, the prior race’s incident between the Kias left Mark looking up from third place in the standings, and 17th in the race.  Drew Regitz, #02 TRG-AMR Aston Martin GT4, battled with Lawson all race long, but Lawson pulled eeked out a .461 second lead by the drop of the checkered.  Jack Baldwin, in the #73 RESET-MD/GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S took the class win by nearly a second over Lawson, but the win was not enough for Jack to claim the Driver’s Championship from Lawson.

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Less than 100 points separated the contenders for the GTA Driver’s championship, and Michael Mills (#41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R) secured his championship with his hard fought third place finish in the race.  Marcelo Hahn in the #0 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 narrowly took second place in the race behind the #54 Black River Caviar/Black Swan Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Tim Pappas. It was Pappas who ran away from the field, and finished with a three second finish over Hahn.

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The GT class featured a podium completely devoid of Driver’s Championship contenders.  Andy Pilgrim, #8 Cadillac Racing CST-V.R, would finish fourth in the driver’s standings but his third place finish in the race secured Cadillac’s Manufacturer’s Title over Audi.  The top of the podium was decided by less than 1/4 of a second.  Robert Thorne in the #6 K-PAX Racing Mclaren MP4-12C GT3 traded blows with Ryan Dalziel in the #31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3R, but managed to hold off the Porsche at the line.

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The real battle to watch was further down the pack.  The fight for positions 6-7-8 featured your top three Driver’s Championship contenders.  Unfortunately, the incident at the beginning of the previous day’s race that left Skeen with a broken axle pretty much secured the title for Johnny O’Connell and his #3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R.  Second place in the championship was still up for grabs, and Anthony Lazarro battled Mike Skeen tooth and nail for it.  Unfortunately for Anthony and the crew of the #61 R.Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, Mike knew the score.  His 23rd place finish the race before narrowed the gap between himself and Lazarro, so he had to outright beat him in the race or at the very least keep him close.  The Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra ran well, but not well enough to keep the Ferrari behind it.  The 3.2 second gap, at first glance, would seem to vault Lazarro into second place; however,  Skeen only finished two places behind him.  The gap was not enough, and Mike Skeen maintained his second place.

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Finally on the day was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.  The Home Tracks series are the entry level series in the NASCAR system.  Do well enough there, and the potential to move into the Camping World Truck Series arises.  From there it’s Nationwide series, and finally the Sprint Cup.  Could one of these drivers be the next rising star? Who knows, but your third place finisher is the series’s Rookie of the Year.  James Bickford put the #6 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford on the podium and secured the ROTY honors.  Second place belonged to Bickford’s teammate Dylan Lupton in the #9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford.  Taking home the win was David Mayhew in the #17 MMI  Services/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet.  Two races are left in the season, and Lupton is withing striking distance of Driver’s Points leader Greg Pursley.

And so that ends our weekend at the Grand Prix.  It was quite the two days.  Below are galleries with far more photos in them, neatly divided up into their respective series.  We hope to see you again at next year’s Utah Grand Prix, or at the very least on the 27th of September for NASA Utah Round 6.

Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCA/TCB

Miller GT/USTCC

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

 

 

23rd Jul2014

NCWTS Mudsummer Classic Is Just Fantastic

by Michael Chandler

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is at Eldora Speedway for their Mudsummer Classic. I should be on my way to a junkyard to harvest parts for Big Rhonda, but I’m firmly planted on this couch watching a practice session. Why is this note worthy?

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Because it’s on dirt. Overly powerful, tube framed trucks not intended to be sliding around in the dirt doing just that. Fox Sports 1 is where to watch practice (9:30-11am), qualifying (3-4pm), and the actual race which starts at 7pm mountain time.

Words by Michael Chandler, photo courtesy of American Racing Network.

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