27th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 3: Fetch Thine Umbrellas!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Michael Wells

The unusually wet spring Utah has been experiencing has meant that there were two consecutive rain soaked round of the NASA Utah season for the first time in…  Well, ever.  Mercifully the rain wasn’t as heavy as the second round, and it had let up by Sunday.  So without further ado, let’s get to the winners!

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman led the suddenly surging Spec Miata field to a win on Saturday, and Daniel Williams kept fighting the good fight and took advantage of the sunny Sunday weather to win on Sunday.  Will he sell on Monday?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I doubt he’ll be letting go of his silver NB.

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Spec Z on Saturday was wild.  Tom Kaminski was chasing the eventual class leader Arthur Golebiowski like a man possessed.  He was coming around Clubhouse Turn at full opposite lock, which probably didn’t help close the gap but it looked very cool.  Meanwhile, Kyle Schick (6th in class) had another scary moment in Clubhouse.  He spun out, but managed to slide off the racing line.

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As mentioned earlier, Arthur Golebiowski took the win on Saturday and the #98 of Team Askew Motorsports ran a tight race and took home their first win of the season on Sunday!

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Bill Noblitt battled Gus Stribakos in GTS3, and took the win in his mid-engined Porsche on both days.  Say what you will about the Boxster, but that car in the right hands can do some pretty awesome things.

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Paul Mitchell, guided by the steady hand of Todd Green, navigated the rain and took the win in PTE on Saturday.  Paul wasn’t done for the weekend, but he was done in PTE.  GTS2 had a competitor on Sunday: the Team CA Sport BMW 3 Series.  We need more lots of things out on track, and E36s are one of them.

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While we’re all familiar with Todd Ainsworth’s new ST3 E36 M3, we’re not familiar with the red E36 M3 pictured above (but below Todd’s).  Turns out the red car is driven by one of our favorite Corvette drivers: George Smith.  Where is the Vette?  Beats me, I didn’t see much of George so I couldn’t ask him but it spent the weekend running around in ST2.  There it ran into something the engineers who created the M3 never imagined it would be competing against: a pickup truck.

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Mike Mielke can wheel in that truck!  Hopefully this season we’ll see some epic, and frankly strange, battles between the super truck and George’s new M3.  Because who hasn’t wanted to see that?

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Travis Tidball got himself a wing to go along with his fancy new (for this season) bodywork!  He also got himself a pair of wins out of the weekend.  The car was back on the dyno at JDP Motorsports to verify its power-to-weight ratio after some questions were raised during the weekend.  The results?  The car is ST3 legal.  The C5 Corvette: ruining people’s race weekends since 2001!

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A big surprise was seeing Brent Holden running in with the NASA Utah guys and gals instead of with the Pirelli World Challenge crew up in Canada.  No matter, he had an impressive showing in his Global Motorsports Group Audi R8 LMS Ultra and took wins in the Super Unlimited class on both days.

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On Sunday he battled the TW Racing R8 LMS, and you know what?  The older LMS got around the Ultra!  It was an amazing battle to watch!  However, an untimely penalty forced the TW Racing R8 into the pits to serve out its penalty and cut the fight short.  How did the GTSU class R8 fare in it’s class?

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Not well, unfortunately.  The 911 GT3 Cup cars of Alan Wilson and Les Long took the wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively.  The Air Power Racing prepped Porsche of Les Long is currently tied for first in the season’s points race with the TW Racing Audi.  How will this back and forth battle play out?  Hopefully we’ll see more tight battles between the two as the season plays out.

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More Porsches battled in GTS5.  On Saturday David Lockwood notched another win for the Air Power Racing camp, while Darrell Troester picked up a win for himself and Tatum Racing on Sunday.

Have I told you that I really like the E90 3 series?  Because I like the E90s, especially in race trim.  Conveniently, Byron Smith drives a race prepped E90 AND he won the GTS4 class.  That confluence of events allowed me to express my opinion on the E90.  Moving on…

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TT1 is being dominated by Subarus.  On Saturday, Shawn Murphy in the Lyfe Motorsports STi took the win over Ziptie Dynowerks STi of Greg Valdez by less than a second.  On Sunday the roles were reversed and Greg beat out Shawn, but the margin of victory was smaller: only .33 seconds separated the two!

TT2 is ruled by the iron fist of Robert Rathbone, and his authority is enforced by his 911 GT3.  All those who oppose him will be laid to WASTE!!!  Well, not really… at all.  He is currently running away with the TT2 championship.

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Alex Whetman is a bad, bad man in a bad, bad Focus.  He took TT3 on both days, earning his 4th and 5th wins on the season. He also had the fastest TT times of the weekend.  Not just TT3, ALL of TT.  By the way, buy the shirt.

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In the sea of FRS’s and BRZs, what rises to the top?  A Honda S2000.  Dave Wann took TTB  on both days, and is right in the thick of things in the class.  We don’t have a shirt to promote here, or anything really.

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Paul Mitchell ladies and gentlemen!  The intrepid Miata won TTE on the weekend, but that’s not the story here.

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Jeb Brown and Ben Lamberson are continuing their battle from last season, with Jeb currently leading Ben by a mere 70 points.  Was this little update necessary?  Eh, probably not.  But would you look at that picture!

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Fresh off their win at Global Time Attack, Lyfe Motorsports brought out their R35 GTR on Sunday AND!… Did not post a time during a TT session.  They did post the fastest time of the day (1.31.803!) during the Thunder group practice that morning. The TW Racing R8 LMS did post times during TT sessions.  Did it on both days.  It’s fastest time in the class was a 1:40.763, but that wasn’t the fastest lap it did over the weekend.  In the Sunday Thunder Group race, they posted a 1:33.825!

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McKay Snow was out again in the Patron Elan DP02, racing in Super Formula.  He took both races in commanding fashion.

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Formula saw Troy Duffin take the first race of the day with young Bruno Carneiro in second.  In the second race, they swapped podium places: Bruno won, and Terry took second.  At the end of the day, the young Brazilian clings to a twenty-five point lead in the class.

And there you have it.  If you’re doing rain dances, stop it!  Round 4 is also on the East Course, and the Lucas Oil Offroad series will be dropping by the off road course at MMP as well.  Come out, bring an umbrella (and possibly a winter coat.  You won’t be laughing when it snows three and a half feet!), and take in a full weekend of all sorts of racing!

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

Michael Wells Gallery!

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

 

05th Jan2015

Tooele Historics: Brabham F1 Restoration

by Michael Chandler

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Out in Tooele, at a shop at Miller Motorsports Park, is a man breathing life back into a pair of F1 chassis.  They aren’t ground breaking achievements in the sport, they’re a pair of chassis that more often than not finished poorly or failed to qualify.  They were made by a historic name, during an uneventful time in their history.  They are a pair of Brabham chassis, a BT59 and a BT60, and they’re being restored by Steven Costello, a man who knows more about putting these together than any of us ever could.

Brabham F1 Restoration

I say he knows more about this because he does.  He has had a long career in motorsports, both driving and turning wrenches.  In the nineties he was one of a handful of Americans working as mechanics in Formula 1.  He was employed by Equipe Ligier, and now he’s using those years of knowledge to bring yet another Brabham chassis to life for Race Co.

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These chassis were bought at auction by a pair of brothers.  Included in their purchase were all manner of spares, fasteners, and paperwork including spec sheets for individual practices, qualifying sessions and races.  The brothers plan to race these things, against each other, at Miller upon their completion.  When I stopped in on Halloween Steven had the BT59 on stands, with the Judd V8 mounted.  It was looking like a race car, while the BT60 was still in pieces.  The 59 was more complete, but still nowhere near done.  It was waiting on some components to be shipped back from being rebuilt.  You can’t easily find some of these parts, and you can’t just drop it off at your local shop to be rebuilt or tackle it yourself with your handy dandy socket set.

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And some of the parts had to be sent off for inspection.  Those suspension arms you see next to the blue tote?  They were x-rayed to ensure they weren’t cracked.  And they aren’t powder coated.  It’s a special compound that you see on every major open wheel car, because it’s lighter and doesn’t hinder inspection processes.

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Speaking of lightness, do you see all of those containers?  They’re full of fasteners.  Fasteners made of titanium.  This is a back marker team.  A team that finished 9th in the Constructor’s Championship in 1990, and was doing so bad in the first half of 1991 that the FIA made them pre-qualify for races in the second half of the season.  And they outright failed to qualify twice!  They finished 9th in the Constructor’s Championship behind a struggling Lotus, and then collapsed.

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After a team collapses things go up for sale.  Sometimes the people who buy the team’s assets use them in their own attempt to race.  Others buy the big, showy pieces (engines, cockpits, nose cones, spoilers, etc) and display them or piece together a shell of a car for display purposes.  And sometimes a privateer buys them, and takes them to a place that has experience with rebuilding old chassis, in an effort to bring them back to life so they can go race them.  Thankfully those brothers took the latter route, and took them to a great shop who brought in an extremely knowledgeable man to bring them back to life.  Hopefully we’ll see the cars back together, out pairing off with the BT60 chassis Race Co already restored this year, in our own historic gathering.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
31st Mar2014

NASA Utah Round 1: Open Wheel

by Michael Chandler
Troy Duffin leading Steven Costello through The Attitudes

Troy Duffin leading Steven Costello through The Attitudes

The Open Wheel run group had Forumla sharing the track with Super Formula.  Steven Costello and Troy Duffin were the pair of Formula drivers, and in race one Troy retired after four laps.  In race two he did not start, which gave both of the wins to Steven.

Bodee Gay and his repaired Super Formula Mazda

Bodee Gay and his repaired Super Formula Mazda

Dennis Gay

Dennis Gay

Super Formula had drama before race one.  The cold track along with the cold tires on Bodee Gay’s Mazda powered RaceCo prepped car sent him on an off track excursion.  Mercifully there was enough time between that session and race one to button the car back together.  He placed fourth in race one and did not start race two.  Dennis Gay in the #22 RaceCo prepped Mazda took third in both races, posting a best time of 1:54.866 in race one.

Terry Biner

Terry Biner

Steve Burns

Steve Burns

Steve Burns and Terry Biner traded shots in both races.  In race one Terry took first in his Rodizio Grill backed car over Steve’s VP Racing Fuels Mazda by 5.989 seconds.  The positions were flipped in race two, where Steve took the win by 9.313 seconds.

This is a field that, in my opinion, needs to get deeper.  Running one of these open wheel cars isn’t as expensive as you’d think, and the Super Formula cars are running lap times in the 1:55 range.  If getting into one of these bad boys is something you’re interested in then have a chat with the guys at Race Co.  Then go read up on what you need to be able to race with these guys! The next race weekend is April 25-27 on the West track.  Registration is open and we look forward to seeing everyone return for Round 2 of the NASA Utah racing series

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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