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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18th Jul2017

Round 5 Teaser Gallery

by Michael Chandler

Still working through the photos, but here are a few to tide you over until the big gallery is done.

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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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19th Jun2017

The Rest of the Round 4 Photos

by Michael Chandler

Write-up coming… Eventually?  In the meantime, here are the photos from Sunday.  Enjoy the gallery, buy stuff so I can keep coming out and covering the races (also so I can replace the pants I ripped hopping fences this last round), and stay tuned for the write-up.

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16th Jun2017

Not All of the Round 4 Photos

by Michael Chandler

Here are 236 photos from last Saturday. As soon as I get out of work (shockingly, I have a day job), I’ll get through the Sunday photos, and do the write up.  In the meantime, enjoy these photos.  Also, buy some prints so I can buy better equipment to take better photos with more pants.

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05th Jun2017

Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy Race 6

by Michael Chandler

It was a brutally hot day out at Utah Motorsports Campus, but the Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy drivers and teams readied themselves and cars for the 45 minute race.  But before they could race, they had to qualify.  

Leading the GT4 pack to the green flag would be Sean McAlister, in the Silver class #00 Competition Motorsports Cayman.

Starting right next to Sean was Jeff Kearl in the #26 Rearden Racing entry.

Carter Yeung rounds out the top three Silver qualifiers, in the #7 GMG car.

The top of the Silver Master class was Steve Goldman, in the #1 Competition Motorsports car.

Qualifying behind him was Martin Brauns, the lone Flying Lizard entry in the entire GT4 field.

LA Car Guy Mike Sullivan qualified third in the third of Competition Motorsports’ entries in the class.  Qualifying fifth overall was Hutton McKenna in the #17 GMG Racing entry, but was assessed a 5 grid spot penalty for an infraction in race 5.

Qualifying on top of the Platinum class (997.2 GT3 Cup cars), was Ray Shahi in the #65 Truspeed Autosports car.

Qualifying second in class was David Lockwood in the lone Air Power Racing entry, the all white #42 car.

And the #32 Truspeed Autosports car of Larry Schnur rounded out Platinum’s top three.  And all three of them (Schnur, Lockwood, and Shahi) received 5 spot grid penalties for infractions in race 5.

Bryce Ward, in the #57 Winward Racing car, was the fastest Diamond Masters qualifier.

Michael Zuieback (#2 Competition Motorports) was right behind him, .249 seconds to be exact.  

Mike McAlister was close to Michael, but not close enough to climb into second.  He and the #18 Competition Motorsports car had to settle for third in Diamond Masters.

Topping GT3 qualifying, and the top Diamond class qualifier, was Loren Beggs, in the 08 911 Design car.

Russell Ward put the other Winward Racing car (#35) second overall and second in class.  The last Diamond entry, the 07 GT Technik car of Max Root failed to post a time in the qualifying session.  Now that we’ve got starting positions sorted, let’s see if that helped them during the race.

Steve Goldman, you #1 Silver Masters qualifier, went wire to wire and collected another win on the weekend.

In a dramatic shakeup, Mike Sullivan (yes, the LA Car Guy himself), grabbed second place in class!  Just like he did in race 5.

On the short step of the podium was Martin Brauns.

Jeff “Jefferson” Kearl snagged the top spot in Silver, holding off a hard charging…

Sean McAlister!  His battler with Jeff Kearl was a great one to watch.

Carter Yeung’s race result mirrored his qualifying result: a strong third.

Despite the top three qualifiers in the Platinum class receiving 5 grid spot penalties, they all managed to finish on the podium.  Atop the podium was the number one qualifier Ray Ray Ray Shahi.

Larry Schnur grabbed himself the middle spot on the podium.

And David Lockwood slipped, but only a little bit.  He came third in class.

Bryce Winward went wire to wire in Diamond Masters, and took home the win.

 

Mike Zuieback also went wire to wire, but he came second.

Coming in third was not Mike McAlister, who spun in the Attitudes during the first lap, but Dave Elsner in the second 911 Design entry.

The other 911 Design car, driven by number one qualifier Loren Beggs, took the top spot in Diamond AND the race.

Bryce Ward fought to keep the pressure on Loren Beggs, but ultimately fell short.  But second place is not a bad place to be in, especially considering the field.

He did set a time in qualifying, but Max Root managed to finish seventh overall and third in class.

And there you have it, a solid weekend of racing.  The series makes its next stop at the end of July, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  The month after that they retun to UMC, along with the Pirelli World Challenge.

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