15th Oct2017

The NASA Season Is Over!

by Michael Chandler

It’s been a hell of a season, and it was a hell of a weekend.  There will be stories, and more photos, later, but right now let’s look at the people who took home some hardware on Saturday.

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19th Sep2017

The Classics at NASA Utah Round 7

by Michael Chandler

We all know about the 944’s and older 911’s running around during a NASA weekend.  This past NASA round saw a host of modern classics hanging out, and running on track, but there were also some legitimate classics running.  Legitimate classics like this vintage 911

It was in the Lightning group on Sunday, along with Ed Mineau’s 911.  The car was in ST4, and came in dead last, but damn did it make coming in last look good.  

What do you when you find out that the car you bought for LeMons won’t pass tech because of the bolt in roll cage?  Well, you take it NASA racing of course!  That’s part of the history of this car.  It also spent some time kicking around the Rocky Mountain SCCA and NASA regions before being dusted off for a potential LeMons run.  When the team saw the bolt in cage, they immediately found something without one.  And the rest is history.

Literally next to the GTI was this BMW 2002, which has seen plenty of track time.  I can’t confirm this, but just looking at it tells tales of track days gone by.  It wasn’t ratty, just well worn.  Like an old baseball glove.  It was refreshing to see a 2002 put through the paces, instead of being treated like it’s made of glass.

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18th Sep2017

NASA Utah Round 7 Write-Up

by Michael Chandler

There was no way I was going to just let you have the gallery without any sort of context to the pictures.  You knew it, I knew it, that judgmental cat in your neighborhood knew it, everybody did.  So, in addition to telling you who won what, I’ll also tell you some fun stories from the weekend.  And we start with me, because my tales are short and one of them is humorous.  First, my phone died right after I posted the second Instagram video on Saturday.  That was fun.  Shortly thereafter I tripped over the concrete blocks in pit lane.  It wasn’t just a stumble, my legs flew out from under me and I taco’d myself on the block.  Saved the camera though!  All of this happened in front of Les Long, of Air Power Racing.  He didn’t come over to see if I was ok, or even ask.  No, after I gave a visual indication that I was alright, he said “SAFE” and gave me the safe sign.  I appreciate that he did that instead of asking if I was ok, because I guarantee you my fall looked hilarious.   Anyway, I have a new phone and I’m over the fall.  Now, on to race car things!

We had a new BOSS 302 Mustang out on track!  Not being one of the “slow school Mustangs”, this was a privateer effort.  Dane Jorgenson beat out David Bradshaw for the weekend sweep of ST1.  The car is sponsored by Bob Smith Ford, but I just started calling the car, Dane, and the rest of his team “Bob Smithford”.  Congratulations Bob Smithford!

ST2 was a battle of panda Evos.  Yes, two almost identical looking cars were competing in the same class: Brendon Stewart’s stalwart Evo 9 (or 8, whatever) duked it out with rookie Jason Harward.  Brendon, despite having a bent shock tube, established his dominance in the weird, and frankly scary, Evo subculture.  One of you needs to paint your car before next season, or else I’m gonna get rowdy with a few cans of Krylon.  

Speaking of Evos and weird subcultures: the Evo Bros were back in town!  They were here a few events ago, getting some time in with their Evo before they went to the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb.  They came back, after having the same kind of hill climb a lot of other people did: the kind where you sit and wait.  Anyway, here’s a gallery of their car in the paddock:

DXDT has a car for sale, for those interested.

Here are the Thunder group results from the weekend that have yet to be mentioned:

GTS4

Daren Jorgenson on Saturday, and Darrell Troester on Sunday

GTSU

 

Davis Warnock on Saturday, and David Lockwood (WHO HAS A LIVERY ON HIS NEW CAR!) on Sunday.

ST3

Us Against One Racing, featuring Todd Ainsworth and not Todd Ainsworth.

Super Unlimited

Greg Warnock.  And now on to something different, but similar.

Spec Z was interesting for many, many reasons.  Starting with Jan Gerday, who was mixing it up in the back of the pack on Saturday!  Yes, she was fighting with rookies Corey Brand and Sammer Kattan, and getting really spicy with it.  It was a lot of fun to watch!  Unfortunately she couldn’t keep them behind her, but I’ll be damned if she wasn’t giving it her all.

Arthur took home both wins, which puts him 42 points ahead of Tom Kaminski for the championship.  There are two races left, the Tresduro weekend, but I’m confident in giving Arthur another championship.  Anything could happen, but still.  And speaking of things that could happen, we’re down two Z’s now.  Here’s what happened:

At the beginning of Saturday’s race, there was some bumping.  Tom bumped into Chad Aalders going into turn 1.  No big deal, it happens.  Then he bumped into him again, which is where the problem started.  Chad’s car snapped sideways and was being pushed along by Tom.  Chad’s car gripped up, Tom leapt over him (literally.  One of Arthur’s GoPros caught the whole game of leap frog), and Chad’s car went shooting across the track.  Right into the path of Kirk Jellum, who was going to shoot a gap that had appeared in front of him.

There was nothing Kirk could do.  He broad sided Chad, sending both of them off track and out of the race.  Kirk’s car is down for the count, and his new tires are dead.  When it rains, it pours.  

Chad’s car is 1000% done for.  The cage did its job, and absorbed a lot of the impact, so much so that the passenger door bars cracked apart.  The whole chassis is also twisted now.  Thankfully, BOTH of them walked away from the weekend.  Hell, I talked to Kirk in the paddock.  It absolutely sucks to see something like this happen, but thankfully these cars are built to such high safety standards so we’ll be able to see our friends race again.  

BUT HOLD ON! That was just Saturday!  There was a whole ridiculous race happening on Sunday!  Richard Fitzgerald retired because power steering is for the weak.  Damn near everyone put tires off, in the case of Mike Kresser all of the tires, and Arthur won again.  It was all sorts of ridiculous, and fun to watch.  AND THERE’S ON MORE RACE WEEKEND ON THE CALENDAR!  

How do you make racing more ridiculous?  Make things smaller, and remove body panels.  That’s how Thunder Roadster does it, and it’s been ridiculous racing all season long.  This weekend saw Jihn Han doing his best to show JD Stull his rookie stripe.  Jihn was not going to let JD have an easy pass, especially at turn 5.  JD would have a good run, but Jihn would go all Leeroy Jenkins and just go into the turn with gun ablaze.  Jihn held off JD, earning a win and some hero points for the way he did it.

Rearden swept GTS3.  And none of the drivers repeated their finishing positions.  Saturday had Daren in first, seen here trying to eat his medal, Robert “Honeybear” Coneybear in second, and Steve “Zeppo” Marx in third.  On Sunday it was Daren in third, Steve in second, and Laura Tallman, the head of the Rearden beast, in first.

And here are the rest of the winners from the Lightning group:

GTS2

Ed Mineau

Spec Miata

Matt Williamson swept the weekend.

Super Touring 4

Tom Rodgers beat some Miatas, his arch-nemesis (Blake Troester), and a very old 911 for the weekend’s sweep.

944 Spec

Perry Needham and Ol’ Red (I’ll come up with a better nickname) were the best of all the other identically preparred Porsche 944s.

Before we dive into TT, we need to talk about Chris Karlin’s BMW.  As you can clearly see, it is spewing A LOT of black smoke.  No, I’m not mentioning him specifically because he ruined everybody’s day by driving a flaming wreck around the track.  Not at all.  I’m mentioning him because he brought his modified 335d out for some hot laps.  Yes, it is a diesel.  Yes, it was making enough torque to yank a few stumps or drag some Miatas around.  Yes, it belched black smoke several times during a lap.  It was AMAZING.  And now on to some people who are… WAIT!

Shout out to Scott Michael Chamberlain, friend of the program, has graduated from the HPDE program!  He’ll be running TT next month.  Ok, that sets up a better transition to the TT stuff.

David Curtis, aka Baby Driver, who was having an existential crisis while watching a replay of Formula Drift Pro 2’s final round (it was really bad.  The driving, not the crisis.  That was hilarious), got himself a win on the weekend!  Yup, he won TTD on Sunday.  

This guy won himself a gold medal for his TTU efforts on Saturday.  I don’t really have much for this, I just really wanted to use this photo of Mike.

And now your winners

TT1

Rhett Panter on Saturday, and David Bradshaw on Sunday.

TT2

Colton Cisneros and his big ass diffuser took both wins.

TT3

The reformer John Calvin on Saturday, and Geoffrey Crockett on Sunday.

TT4

Pithon Racing on Saturday, and slow ass Mike Bratsch on Sunday.

TTC

The one and only John Butcher!

TTD

Trever Pope on Saturday, and Baby Driver on Sunday

TTE

This fuckin wise-acre on both days.

TTU

Mike Kresser on Saturday, and the dad from Calvin and Hobbes (David Lockwood) on Sunday.

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15th Aug2017

NASA Utah Round 6 Gallery

by Michael Chandler

Sorry this is so late, having back to back weekends like we’ve had have really made things rough.  BUT here’s a giant gallery for you!  You can purchase photos here.

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10th Aug2017

Endurance Racing Tests More Than Machinery

by Michael Chandler

On a recent episode of the Deadcast, the Deadspin.com podcast, they had a debate about what is the most mentally grueling sport.  They brought up tennis, some weird amateur marathons and cycle races, then someone threw out endurance auto racing.  It got some approval, but it was then shot down because “you’re sitting down the whole time”.  While yes, the driver and crew spend a fair bit of time sitting, they’re not exactly hanging out or going on a leisurely cruise.  Let’s take this past weekend’s Utah 6 Hour as an example, and go from there.

Some teams didn’t even get the mundane testing sessions others had.  The Pink Ribbon Racing Team, locals Toby and Lisa Crawford, along with Michele Abbate and her husband/crew chief Anthony Philleo, and with JJ Chen of Pink Ribbon Racing, were wrenching on the car most of the weekend.  The supercharged Subaru BRZ lost a differential seal during Friday practice, which meant they had to overnight one to the track.  Then they needed a new differential, because of course.  Thankfully they borrowed one from Mike Bratsch.  Then the car was ready for qualifying and the actual enduro!  Michele started the race, and showed some good pace, considering this was her first race in the car and on an unfamiliar track.  They did some pit stops, and a driver change, and all was alright.  Then, at about the half way mark, something went wrong.  The car went behind the wall, and everyone jumped on it.  After a long fight, they retired.  A faulty coil pack the likely culprit.

A stint in an endurance race isn’t a Sunday drive.  Yes, you’re sitting the whole time, but you’re also wearing a fire suit, driving gloves and shoes, and a helmet.  Did I mention that a lot of these cars don’t have amenities such as air conditioning or bluetooth?  The only thing coming in on the radio is someone in the pit telling you the gap to the car in front of you, your lap times, and when you need to come in to the pits.  And more so than usual, you have to be aware of what’s going on around you.  Your daily driver might have lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking, but racing cars don’t.  All of that falls on to the sack of meat in the driver’s seat, and a spotter if you’re lucky.  A lot of the teams aren’t that lucky on this level.  If the driver has a momentary lapse of focus, things can go really bad really quick.  Nothing really bad happened at this year’s race, but there was one scary moment.  And that moment almost went from “oh no!” to a speechless moment.  

When the car comes in, the crew goes over the wall.  At this level, only certain things can be done at certain points in the stop.  Unlike a NASCAR or IndyCar stop, where fuel goes in while tires are being changed, here fuel has to be done independent of the tires.  So the fuel nozzle goes in, fuel goes in the car, nozzle goes out, then the car goes up on jacks and the tires can be changed.  Spill some fuel, that’s a penalty.  Swap tires before the fuel is done, that’s a penalty.  Have too many people over the wall, that’s a penalty.  Fuel person not in the proper gear? Penalty.  There are an insane amount of ways to get penalized in the pits, and I’ve only mentioned the stuff that could happen in the box.  There are pit lane speed limits, you have to be in the correct lane while traversing the pits, and you could get parked in the penalty box for leaving your pit stall in an unsafe manner.  OR you could not have tires and fuel ready for the stop.  The car sitting while the crew fumbles for fuel cans and tires might as well be a penalty.  Everyone in that pit has to be ready to go, and on the same page, or else the race can get out of reach without the car moving an inch.

Even before getting the car for qualifying, drivers have to sit through a meeting.  A meeting where they are given information such as pit lane speed limits, rejoining the track from pit lane, all of these seemingly little obvious things are told to all the drivers at once.  This is where they ask for clarification on rules, get them, and enjoy some air conditioning.  This part really isn’t so bad.

This is the rough part: driving at night.  It’s dark out there.  Away from main straight, there isn’t much light outside of whatever the car has on it.  Teams strap light bars, put brighter bulbs in the headlights, and even with all of that, it is still the kind of darkness that makes a person uncomfortable.  The race organizers put additional reflectors out on the track, to mark the limits of it, but the drivers are going mostly by instinct.  The small envelope of light is all you can see out there.  Anything beyond the reach of the light is the unknowable unknown.  Could the rumble strips be out there?  Or is it the kitty litter?  Who knows, but that bright light behind you is getting a lot brighter.  Is it a Miata, or is it a Porsche?  Hopefully it’s the former, because you’re probably at your turn in point for the next turn.  In front of you is darkness, behind you is blinding light, and you’ve been driving at a high rate of speed by feel for the past half hour.  Or has it been forty minutes?  Should you be expecting the radio to crackle to life?  OH SHIT THERE’S A TURN!

Then the race ends.  You come down the front straight one last time, and you see the waving checkered flag.  OH THANK GOD!  A cool down lap, then it’s time to get out of that hot ass racing suit, and into a nice cold beer.  And get a trophy if you and your team did well enough.  Hell, drink enough beer and you can make those cans into a trophy.  If you made it through all six hours, congratulations!  If not, it was a damn good try!  You can try again next year, or at the next endurance race you are eligible to enter.  Maybe it’ll be shorter, two or four hours perhaps.  Or maybe you’ll end up doing a twelve hour race, or twenty-four, or even a twenty-five hours.  Whatever you do, you’ve done one of the most mentally grueling sports a person can go through.  

And now the race’s winners

E0: RK Motorsports

E1: TAPG Motorsports

E3: Neth Racing Works

ENP: Ice 9 Motorsports

ES: TruSpeed Autosport

ESR: Norma’s Last Chance

And now, a gallery.  If you’re interested in purchasing photos from this, or any NASA Utah event, head to my SmugMug page.

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02nd Aug2017

Utah 6 Hour PREVIEW

by Michael Chandler

WERC endurance race 2015 MMP Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-175.jpg

We’re fast approaching the annual Utah 6 Hour endurance race, a Western Endurance Racing Championship race that brings out all types: fool hardy amateurs in Miatas, seasoned veterans in Miatas, and everyone else who doesn’t think Miata is always the answer, they all show up to our slice of heaven in a cow pasture to ply their trade.  And in an effort to ply my trade, here’s a preview of the cars and teams you’ll see.  Class by class, with the usual mix of useful information and bad jokes you’ve come to expect.  AND AWAY WE GO!

E0

In E0, we have ten entries in a wide breadth of vehicles.  Some of which have your favorite locals, and others that you may have seen elsewhere.  Let’s talk about them!

  • In the #89 Team Automaxx Nissan 350Z we have Spec Z regulars Richard Fitzgerald, Tom Kaminski, Chad Aalders, along with Stephen Martin.  From Matt Guiver “2nd year attempting to finish the 6 hour. Running Stephens car, Stephen is also running it in the sprint race! All star team roster means pace is good, just need strategy and a trouble free run. Competing against much faster cars in E0.”  All Star might be an understatement, two of the top three Spec Z drivers (Tom and Chad) in the car, and Richard had an amazing showing at the last weekend.  Look for these guys to make E0 difficult for some other teams
  • NASA Regular Toby Crawford is being joined by Michele Abbate in the #432 Makes & Models Subaru BRZ.  Who is Michele?  Well, she’s a championship winning road racer along with being a finalist in the Hoonigans’ #HooniganWanted female driver search.  Toby and the BRZ haven’t always been on the same page this season, but hopefully they can work out a tentative peace so they can see the checkered flag.
  • Erik Davis, Jeremy Renshaw, James Fluckey, DJ Quint, and Phillip Buffington will be sharing the #8 German Auto Service BMW 325is.  Don’t know much about this team, except that apparently DJ works for Toyota.  Or is somehow affiliated with the automotive giant.
  • TruSpeed Autosport is back this year to defend their win from last year.  The familiar #45 is sporting the Mother’s Polishes and Wax livery, but there has been a last minute driver change.  Tom Haacker and James Slavik won’t be joined by Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA pro Kelly Collins.  Instead Sloan Urry, local hot shoe and Porsche specialist, will be taking his place.
  • Strom Motorsports is entering an Audi RS3 LMS in this year’s enduro.  The #77 car will be driven by David DePillo and the man himself Brett Strom.  
  • The #61 Roadshagger Racing M3 will be driven by Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley.  The car is sponsored by Simply Vegas Real Estate, which is leading me to think that these guys are coming up from the greater Las Vegas area.
  • In the Heart of Gold (the #42 car Spec Z) we have Jan Gerday, joined by Spec Miata gangster Carter James and Spec Z wizard Arthur Golebiowski.  Neither driver is sporting two heads, nor are they from Betelgeuse V, but according to Matt “this could be a threat for Spec Z E0 podium run.”
  • Daren Jorgensen and Steve Marx are teaming up in a Rearden Racing prepped BMW M325i Racing to challenge for the top spot in class.  The car will be wearing Darren’s #65
  • The #50 RK Motorsports M3 will be driven by Andy Kwitowski and Skip Rebozzi.  If you think I copied and pasted that sentence, you’re wrong!  Anyway, the car is sponsored by AK Construction, and is orange and white.
  • Our final E0 entry is the #175 Team BMW Z4 Z4 M Coupe, sponsored by Anne.  Don’t know if that’s a person, or a company, or what, but there’s that.  The driving duo will be Dean Mansour and Blaine McNutt.

E1

By the way, all of these photos are from last year’s race.  So, don’t show up on Saturday and expect to see these cars out on track.  ANYWAY…

  • DJ Quint is back, and in an FRS.  He’s listed as one of three driver in the #86 TAPG Motorsports FRS.  The other drivers listed are Richard Woodroffe and Michael Donick.  Matt Guiver says of the team “Another FRS! They ran previously with NASA Utah in our endurance race several years back. Now they are back to see if they can get more laps in then Toby!”
  • Tom Rogers may be in a new BMW 3 Series for his regular NASA duties, but he’s bringing back the ol’ #160 325is for the enduro!  Tom is joined by fellow NASA regulars Joe Evers and Chris Haunold for the race, and apparently the SGS in SGS Motorsports means something.
  • Jennifer Gannett is bringing out her Ian Lacy Racing prepped Miata, and will be joined by Shawn Humphries and Brendon Johnson.  Two Ford Performance Racing School instructors.  Matt thinks this trio will “battle for E1 supremacy”, and I’m inclined to agree.
  • PCS Motorsports’s #184 Porsche Boxster will be driven by Robert Gardner.  Robert, driver of the orange Jaegermeister Porsche in Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy, and his team will be referred to as Party Time Racing from here on out.  
  • The #7 GTI Racing entry is not a GTI, but is a BMW 330i.  Mark Mitchell and John Norris will be sharing driving duties.
  • J.R. and George Smith are not related, but they do race together.  And for this enduro they will be driving the #40 J.R. Smith Coaching Porsche Boxster.  From Matt, “J.R. and George Smith (not related) are once again teaming up and hoping for better luck this weekend. Having made several attempts to run endurance racing in the past across several platforms, have so far met with the fickle racing gods hope to change their luck with a very reliable Spec Boxter.”

E2

One E2 entry, the #88 Stick My Car Ford Fiesta.  Matt says of the car and team “Jason (Harward) has recruited the stalwart Joe Sim and plans to campaign the Fiesty Fiesta!” 

E3

Nine entries in E3, and eight of them are Miatas.  One is a very special Miata…

  • That special Miata is Paul Mitchell, #58.  I’ll let Matt explain: “Team M.A.T.T (Matt Guiver, Alex Whetman, Todd Ainsworth, and Todd Green) trying to capture the E3 title once more on their home court, we have worked hard on making PM easier to drive, and getting our team drivers some much needed time behind the wheel. It’s going to come down to good stops, fast driver changes, and solid pace to keep PM in the fight for the top step.”  Paul is the little car that seemingly can, no matter what.  It’s as reliable as your grandfather’s watch, and has probably survived as much stuff as the old man too.  Don’t count out ol’ Paul.
  • Robert Ames is apparently going to be this year’s Iron Man, as he’s the only driver listed in the #178 Sector Purple Racing Miata.  Good luck Robert.
  • The #76 Hair On Fire Racing Miata will be driven by father and son team Matthew and David Dirks.  David is the 2013 Spec Z National Champ, so don’t sleep on this car.
  • Neil Houston and Alex Nelsen will challenge the podium in the #29 NRG Motorsports Miata.
  • The #3 FG Sport Miata will be driven by Bolivar Monjaraz, and NASA TT regular Eduardo Acuero.  From Matt, “Boli has chosen Eduardo Acuero to join him for the 6 hour. Boli has crewed professional races, and several successful 25 hour teams. He is very excited to join the driving ranks and apply everything he has learned in his long crew career to make a successful bid for E3 this year.”  Could they win?  It’s a six hour race, anyhting is possible.  But this will be a team that’ll battle until the very end.
  • The #1 Rocky Mountain Reapers entry also has one driver listed, Erik Nemnich.  Who will be the 2017 Iron Man?  STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!!!
  • The Neth Racing Works #15 Miata will be shared by Robert, Nadine, and David Neth.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re all related.
  • Christopher and Andrew Steyn are the duo in the Steyn Motorsports #11 Miata.
  • The Brave Little Toaster is the lone Porsche 944 in the sea of Miatas.  Greg, Blake, and Darrell Troester are sharing duties in the #518 944, and they could give ol’ Paul some fits.  

ENP

PROTOTYPES!

  • The NASA Rocky Mountain Region director Dave Balingit is driving the #16 NASA Rocks Elan NP01
  • Dakota Dickerson and Clayton Magouyrk are in the #1 Ice 9 Motorsports NP01.
  • And Charles Streicher will share driving duties with Benjamin Waddell in the #82 Ice Nine Motorsports NP01.

ES

For the bigger horsepower cars, and other ridiculousness.  Four very diverse entries.

  • Alex Welch, a World Challenge pro out of Colorado, is joining Eban Bell in the #76 Red Beard Racing Porsche Cayman S.
  • The Team Prototype Development Group is back with their Factory Five GTM.   Beau Borders and Mike Holland will be splitting time in the #4 car.
  • ColdCock Whiskey #66 Chevrolet Silverado Super Truck is going to be turning some laps with Troy Lindstrom and Shawn Sampson behind the wheel.
  • David Nadler is going to be out in the #613 Tatum Racing Cayman.

ESR

The top class, with two entries.

  • The #21 Diamond Level Motorsports NP01 will have Scott and Aaron Meyer, and Joseph Fagner behind the wheel.
  • Norma’s Last Chance, a Norma M20FC #1, will be driven by Phil Fogg Jr.  A Norma M20FC is an open top prototype, approved by the FIA and ACO for use in their various series, and can have accept any of a series of engines.  From a tiny 1.2L turbocharged unit, up to a massive LS7.  I have no idea what this Norma has, but it’s going to be pretty cool to see it.

And there it is, all of the entries for this year’s Utah 6 Hour.  We’ll be out there on Saturday, and we hope to see you as well!

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26th Jul2017

NASA Utah Round 5 Gallery

by Michael Chandler

Hey look!  A ton of Round 5 photos to look at.  Photos you can look at, and buy if you’d like to.  We’ll be out at the Enduro, come slap hands and grab one of the last few stickers!

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22nd Jul2017

NASA Utah Round 5: Warm Mornings

by Michael Chandler

Who doesn’t love a warm morning?  Just hearing “warm morning” conjures up images of eating half a cantaloupe while wearing a terry cloth polo shirt, while telling the neighbor kid that you do love a warm morning, despite the fact that it’s 3:30pm.  Thankfully the NASA weekend didn’t have any of that weirdness, nor were the mornings warm.  Well, the one I was there for was hot.  I slept in on Sunday, and managed to get there when it was just getting hot enough to ruin people’s attempts at fast laps.  Thankfully there were some people who only needed to have one good lap.

TT1 saw David Bradshaw in his Lyfe prepped 996 Cup Car set a personal best (1:37.601) on Saturday!  The personal best was only good for second place, because Rhett Panter came down in his crazy widebody S2000 and ran a 1:36.389.  David was not defeated though, he came back on Sunday and took the class win on Sunday.

Shawn Murphy ran a 1:32.976 on Saturday and 1:33.865 on Sunday.  Both of his times, in his TT2 car which he drives on the streets because Wyoming is still calling plays out of the 1887 playbook, were good enough to win TTU.  Imagine what this thing could do if he pulled some weight out of it…

Speaking of TTU: Mike Kresser ran unopposed in the class all weekend.  He threw down a 1:33.567 on Saturday, and a 1:33.872 on Sunday.  He also bought a couple of the super stylish CAMautoMag shirts, a thing you should also do.

John Calvin bagged another TT3 win on Saturday, with a 1:42.706.  Say what you will, a Mustang can be very competitive.  A point which we’ll come back to later.  Something that’s always going to be competitive, granted it’s not some hair-brained project that’s constantly trading hands, is a boosted E36.  Coincidentally that is what Geoffrey Crockett happens to drive.  He laid down a 1:42.758 on Sunday.

I managed to miss both of Nam Yoon’s TT4 winning laps, so I’m using a photo from the last time NASA was on the West track.  Anyway, he ran a 1:40.150 on Saturday, and a 1:39.425 on Sunday.

Front wheel drive hatchbacks seem to be the platform of choice for TTC.  Eduardo Acurero, in his monster CRX, took the win on Saturday with a 1:44.392.  John Butcher, in his tried and true Mini Cooper S, collected the win on Sunday with a 1:49.435.

Trever Pope took home both TTD wins on the weekend, but didn’t collect any tires from the class’s contingency program.  Why?  There wound up not being enough drivers in the class.  How?  Some of the other competitors self DQ’d because, if I’m remembering correctly, of something to do with the tires they were running.  I’m not 100% sure, and I know I will be corrected.

I don’t remember seeing Todd Green’s blue Miata over the weekend, but I do remember seeing ol’ Paul Mitchell turning laps.  Knowing the following: Todd regularly drives Paul, he’s driven Paul more than the blue car this year, and he’s made Paul easier and better to drive recently; it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Todd was driving Paul in TTE all weekend.  Regardless, Todd took the win on both days.

Now on to something where the drivers have to string together multiple, successive good laps instead of just one perfect lap.  And we’ll start in the Lightning group, and with GTS2 where a pair of Porsches split the weekend’s wins.  On Saturday Adam Heller, Boxster driver and all around nice guy, beat out Mark Boschert, the only Spec Boxster driver and probably a nice guy, for the win.  On Sunday Ed Mineau, in his black 911, beat our Mark for the win.  

Darren Jorgensen, proud owner of some CAM slaps, spent the weekend beating up on his fellow Rearden Racing teammates and M235i Racing drivers in GTS3.  He beat Steve Marx (#44) on Saturday, and Andrew McCubbins (#13 with the sweet rookie stripe) on Sunday.  

Carter James was a man on a mission.  He knifed his way through the Spec Miata field on both days, and had a nice little battle with Matt Williamson on Sunday.  He duked it out with Andy Moench on Saturday.  He even went to so far as to try and get into some fights with some of the other classes.  

Tom Rogers sold his E30!  I know, I was just as shocked as you all must be.  I’ll give you a minute…  Ok, anyway, he bought an E36 and stepped up to ST4 with the intent of dethroning Blake Troester!  OVERTHROW THE BURGEROCRACY!  Unfortunately he didn’t do that in the first outing with the new car, because Mayor McCheese has that Porsche dialed.  Jennifer Gannett couldn’t topple the Burger Civil Servant on Sunday.  

Only one Thunder Roadster, which is probably for the best because I don’t think we could handle another insane battle.  Brian Trapnell took Joe Sim’s roadster out for some competitive laps.

I don’t know where Perry Needham came from, or what he’s doing when he’s not on track, but he’s on a tear this year!  This weekend he swept 944 Spec by edging out Greg Troester on Saturday, then hanging a lap on Greg on Sunday.  Is he some sort of savant?  A hot shoe who decided to trot out the wrong 30 year old Porsche?  We demand answers!

Spec Z had their own run group again!  It was only on Saturday, but they made the most of their solo track time.  Richard Fitzgerald and his new livery qualified first, and looked to go wire to wire.  Then Arthur Golebiowski and his *throws dart at a map of Eastern Europe* Moldovian magic came up and took the lead!  And then there was a battle for the rest of the podium.  Tom Kaminski and Chad Aalders set their sights on Richard.  Tom was the first to get around him, which was pretty uneventful.  Then Chad had his go, and I proceeded to lose my mind as I watched it unfold.

Richard spun on the outside of turn 5, naturally leading to the rest of the turn being open for Chad to drive through.  And then Richard, while still sliding through the turn, started to come down towards the inside!  As you can see, it was pretty close.  Chad managed to take the position without taking any damage, and Richard got himself going again and finished in fourth.

Sunday saw Cole “He’s not Kyle” Powelson run away from the field in a car that had a destroyed CV boot, which could’ve led to catastrophe.  Thankfully it didn’t, but still.

And now on to the fastest group, the Thunder group.  And we start with a car that ran in the Lightning group: Darren Jorgensen’s Turner Motorsports built, Rearden Racing prepped M235i Racing.  A car which can be best described as an in-betweener.  There was no inbetween in GTS 4 though, because he swept the weekend.

GTS3 is on the Thunder results sheet for Sunday, and Andrew McCubbins was out in the group for the race.  So following that logic, we can safely say that he did take GTS3.  Or at least he did, until I get a correction!

Despite dealing with some issues related to it being borderline unbearably hot, George Smith brought out his Corvette in ST1 trim and held off the Ginettas for the win on Saturday.  Sunday saw on one Ginetta, and a lone yellow car.  Not George’s Corvette, but David Bradshaw’s 996 Cup car.  Frank “The Tank” Gannett got himself a redemption win, after being thwarted the day before.

ST2, aka the battle for Makes & Models supremacy, saw Brendon Stewart sweeping the weekend.  He got himself into a pretty good battle with Darren Jorgensen both days, but the old Evo couldn’t quite get around the brand new BMW.  Toby, in the Pink Ribbon Racing BRZ, was dealing with fueling issues and traffic.  Notably the Ford Performance Racing School Mustangs and Andrew McCubbins, who took a very wonky line through turn five all day.  Sunday was a bit better for him, but he still lost to Brendon.

Speaking of those FPRS Mustang BOSS 302FRSs, one got itself a win on the weekend!  And was really messing with a lot of the other drivers.  The blue #85, driven by William “Big Bill” Johnson, was not only the fastest Mustang of the day, but managed to finish 11th overall, just behind one of the GTSU competitors.  Those cars can be really competitive with the right driver and right setup.  We had another highly competitive E36 take a win on Sunday, the Us Against One Clothing M3 held off a pair of the FPRS Mustangs to collect another win for the Minion Mobile.

Both of the 911 GT3Rs were out on track for the first time in a long time.  Al Tiley, who had himself a little get together with the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo last month, was back out in his GT3R!  Always good seeing Al, really nice guy.  He swept the weekend in GTSU, dominating a bunch of 911 Cup cars of various generations.  David Donner in his GT3R, a car that has challenged the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, took home both Super Unlimited wins on the weekend.  He wasn’t really challenged by Les Long, in the #496 911 (which I hear has a four liter engine, which is AWESOME), but he didn’t dominate like Al did.  

And there it is!  The round 5 weekend in 1500-ish words.  No long winded, flowery wrap up, because we have the 6 Hour Enduro coming up quick!  August 4-6 is Round 6 AND THE SIX HOUR ENDURO!!!  Registration information, the schedule, and some general information (IE garage rentals and camping, and gate fees) are up on the NASA Utah website.  And keep checking it out, because more info will be posted!  We’ll be back next month!  Buy a shirt!

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20th Jul2017

CAMcast: Welcome to the RallyDome

by Michael Chandler

Four men enter, one podcast leaves!  Welcome back to the CAMcast ladies, gentlemen, and 1997 Ford Tauruses.  Mike and Dave are joined by Rick Conk and Michael “Pumpkin” Nielsen from RallySport Direct!  The gang go off on many tangents, and hit a few agenda items, including:

  • Joest joining up with Mazda to revamp their DPi program
  • Formula Drift went to Canada
  • Formula One went to England
  • NASA Utah happened over the weekend
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles
  • Creating the most unlimited form of motorsport
  • Why you should never drive distracted

Thank you for joining us!  Stream the episode above, download it here, or subscribe via RSS.  Take a few minutes to rate us and leave a comment on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever else you find us. Buy a shirt, and help us keep this train a rolling.  And tell a few friends about us!  We’ll be back next week, see you then.  

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26th Jun2017

NASA Utah Round 4: Batten Down The Hatches!

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 4 was a weird, interesting weekend.  I didn’t stick around for the races on Saturday because I had to go to my friend’s wedding, where I ran into Dave Kizerian’s (NASA Utah director. Big guy, affable, ginger.  Know who I’m talking about?) wife.  While I was out I guess the Spec Z guys decided that that was the perfect time to get wild.  Jerks!  

Then Sunday came to be, where it was far windier.  I learned that Mike Kresser has a Porsche tattoo, wind does stuff, and I either need a haircut or a chinstrap for my picture takin hat. Don’t want it blowing on track and causing a black flag.  Enough of that, let’s talk about who did what!

Taking both of the GTS2 wins on the weekend was Tom Rogers, in the trusty #160 BMW 325i.  Remember how I just said Sunday was windier than Saturday?  You can see that in the lap times.  Tom’s best lap in Saturday’s race was a 1:48.923, whereas Sunday’s best race lap was 1:51.181.  I was talking to Blake Troester ahead of Sunday’s qualifying session, and he mentioned how much the wind was impacting some of the cars.

Speaking of Blake, he and his fry-o-later grease powered Porsche took home back to back wins in ST4.  He and his crew chief, Grimace, were seen celebrating their win in the Lake Point McDonald’s Play Place.

The Rearden Racing camp collected a pair of GTS3 wins.  Steve Marx (I’m out of Marxist jokes) took the win on Saturday in his white BMW M235i Racing, and Greg Warnock took home the win in his Mercato Partners liveried M235i Racing.

In PTD/Japanese Classic Touring Catagory: Troy Duffin in DUFN8LY, a Datsun 510, took both of the weekend’s wins.  Those who are reading this, let’s put together a field of classic vehicles (around the same vintage of Troy’s 510) that would be awesome to see out there.  I’m thinking another 510, an SA RX-7, a couple of E30 BMWs, and a lunatic in an old Civic.  Like a 1300 CVCC hatchback.  Yeah, that’d be insanely awesome.  Drop your choices in the comments below!

Did you know that Paul Mitchell can be a handful?  Yeah, it sets records and wins races, but according to Todd Green it was a bit hairy to drive.  He remedied this by doing an alignment! And corner weighting the car.  And replaced some bushing, two control arms (one of them was  bent!), and changed the spring rates. All that work yielded the same results: wins in PTE.  Wait, when did PM get a hole in its hood??? 

Andy Moench, proud pappa and owner of a sweet rookie stripe, won Saturday’s Spec Miata race.  Could he repeat on Sunday?  Well, no… Carter James won on Sunday, so therefore Andy couldn’t.  We can only have one winner Andy!  Congratulations James.

Thunder Roadster is still the most fun group to watch.  Bob, JD, Joe… The other guy who wasn’t on the timing sheets.  Anyway, Joe Sim’s sideways antics paid off on Sunday, but Bob Evans channeled the wisdoms of the giants and got himself the Saturday win.  

Perry Needham is establishing his dominance in 944 Spec, which is weird.  Not Perry winning all the races on the weekend, or even the class itself.  The name is weird.  Shouldn’t it be Spec 944?  Anyone?  Greg?  Perry?

Spec Z had their own race group on Saturday, which is great because that means the class is growing and according to folks with business degrees and acumen: growth is good!  To that end, we haven’t seen that many different winners.  I’m not going to complain, especially when Tom Kaminski and his retro HKS themed Z win.  Which he did on Saturday.  On Sunday the class was back with the Thunder group, which isn’t a bad thing either.  Other not bad things are Lyfe Motorsport’s #22 entry, driven by either Cole or Kyle but not Chris because he’s “Other Gary”, taking the win in class.  Speaking of class, guess who wasn’t at round 4.

If you guessed Shawn Murphy, you’d be correct!  You’d also be correct if you guessed Santa Claus, Jordan Taylor, or any number of other imaginary people.  So that means he and his “street car” won’t be mucking up these results!  One person benefiting from the cowboy’s absence was Jordan Priestly.  He ran the JDP Motorsports C7 Corvette development mule extremely consistently in TT1, posting a 1:39.833 on Saturday and a 1:39.762 on Sunday.  

Two other people benefiting from Shawn’s fall into the Mystery Spot are Brendon Stewart who, despite figuring out his new tires, posted a 1:43.392 on Saturday.  Other good news for Brendon: he fixed his electrical issues and has all of the forward gears!  Always glad to see his *rolls 1D10* Evo 6 fully healthy!  Sunday’s win was claimed by the man in the brightly colored, and hugely winged Lotus Elise: John Howar!  His best time on Sunday was a 1:44.972.  

A pair of iconic red vehicles split the TT3 wins.  Both are two wheel drive, and both are sporting forced induction.  One is a great FWD platform, and the other is a 3 Series.  Yes, of course I’m talking about Tyler Mikesell and his red Integra and *moves results page closer and further from face* Geoffrey Crockett and his red E36 M3!  Tyler posted a 1:49.675 on Saturday, while Geoffrey threw a 1:50.477 on the board.

Nam Yoon (more like Nam Yoonicorn!  AMIRITE???  I’ll stop now) and his white S2000 managed to beat out a TT4 field consisting of a BRZ (or FRS, whatever the hell Mike drives), a Lotus Elise, a Mustang, and a Spec Z (along with some other stuff) to earn both wins on the weekend.  He posted a 1:43.116 on Saturday, and a 1:42.717 on Sunday.  Good job Mr. Yoonicorn! Ok, now I’ll stop.

John Butcher’s TTC winning shares a few things in common with a Jaguar E-Type: they’re both British (well, close enough), both iconic vehicles (see previous parenthetical), and both have hoods that open forward and have integrated headlights!  However, only one of them did anything useful at round 4.  John posted a 1:52.098 on Saturday, and a 1:54.938 on Sunday.

TTD was a war of momentum cars, seeing Ken Russell and his Kanjo styled Civic hatchback hustling his way to the win on Saturday with a 1:50.573.  Trever Pope, in the more practical Miata that is a Subaru BRZ, took the win on Sunday with a best 1:52.051.  

The winningest Miata in all of UMC history, Paul Mitchell, was awarded more victories.  This time Todd Green, or any of the other seventeen drivers of the car, stood atop the podium to get the shiny TTE hardware.  Saturday Todd ran a 1:48.382, and Sunday he ran a 1:47.052.

Mike Kresser, the guy with the Porsche tattoo, took a pair of gold medals back to his motor-home for his TTU exploits.  Yeah, motor-home.  Complete with a coffee maker!  I don’t care how hot it is, coffee is the lifeblood for lunatics like me.  His coffee fueled best laps in his 996 generation Porsche 911 Cup car were a 1:37.049 on Saturday, and a 1:36.723 on Sunday.

And now we’re on to the final race group: Thunder.  And in the Thunder race group is the GTS4 field, where Daren Jorgensen picked up another pair of wins in his M235iR, which is apparently done up by Turner Motorsports.  At least that’s what the stickers on the bumper, and the giant windshield banner lead me to believe.  More on this, as it develops!

We had only one other GTS class running, and that was GTSU.  As you can see, there’s a different Porsche that we haven’t seen in a while here.  That’s because Al Tiley’s regular Porsche, the #31 911 GT3R, had a bit of a boo-boo after some contact was made with the Makes & Models Huracan Super Trofeo during qualifying.  It’s racing, bad touches happen between cars occasionally.  Thankfully everybody seems to be ok!  Or was when I talked to them in the paddock.  Al a bit more-so, because he swept the weekend.

George Smith was in fine form on the weekend.  He was running the Corvette in ST1 trim, which was a pretty good steup.  He took home both class wins, and the overall race group win on Sunday.  His battle with David Lockwood was an amazing one to watch, especially from the top of the Attitudes.

ST2, a class exclusively featuring Makes & Models employees, has been an interesting one to watch over the year.  Brendon has had his share of bad luck.  Engine troubles, then losing a gear and having to kick his fuse panel to keep the car running.  BUT he’s got that figured out!  Meanwhile Toby Crawford has been tweaking his Pink Ribbon Racing, and a bunch of other sponsors, BRZ as he’s been going.  He also had to deal with some issues related to the engine letting go at the end of last year.  Who would reign supreme: the Bad Luck Evo, or the ever changing BRZ?  Well, the Evo took this weekend.  Skills played a part, but so did Toby’s windshield being covered  in oil. Perhaps next month Toby’s aerodynamic trickery will push him ahead of Brendon.

ST3, the class where the winner is going to win a Friday test day in one of the Ford Performance Racing School’s BOSS Mustangs, saw a V6 Mustang beat out a pair of FPRS Boss 302 FRS Mustangs and a Minion on Saturday.  Yes, Steve Burns’s VP Racing Fuels/Ian Lacy Racing Mustang is only packing six cylinders of fury, but it was more than enough to take the win.  On Sunday, a Minion beat out all the Mustangs.  The Us Against One Clothing M3, called the Minion and not the Banana Mobile, held off all the ponies for the win on Sunday.

And finally we come to the Super Unlimited class, which was filled exclusively by Rearden Racing entries.  On Saturday, Greg Warnock in his Cayman GT4 Clubsport held off Lara Tallman in the TC spec 370Z.  At least I think it’s spec’d for Pirelli World Challenge TC class.  Anywell, Lara claimed the win on Sunday.

And there you have it, 1600+ words on the NASA weekend that was.  If you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  You deserve a prize of some sort.  How about this, you’re prize is knowing that next month (July 14-16) the NASA drivers will be plying their skills on the West Course.  But if you want a real prize: come up with the best nickname for any of the drivers mentioned above, send it to [email protected], and we’ll dig up something in the office (could be a t-shirt, could be some Hot Wheels, could be some random item!) to give to you.  See you all next month!

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