14th Oct2016

2016 TresDuro: Tres Means Three Part 2

by Michael Chandler

German Touring Series 2

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Five cars took the grid for GTS2, not a bad number.  We had some familiar faces show up back on track, and another 911.  Never a bad thing.  Unfortunately my favorite Porsche model didn’t take the top spot, BUT my favorite Boxster did.  Adam Heller in the 09 Emotive Boxster took home the win in all three races, and walked away with some shiny hardware.

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In second place is Tom Rogers, in his E30 3 Series.  The old #160 was dead reliable, as far as I could tell, and finished each race on the podium.  Quick side note: I don’t know why I want to, but I have this strong desire to spell Tom’s name with an H.  Thom instead of Tom.  No reason why, but I just really want to do it.  Anywell, Tom ran well all day, and all season.

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Getting himself the only medal that is man-made (gold and silver are naturally occurring, mankind had to figure out how to make bronze), was Chris Haunold.  I’m pretty sure he keeps chatting me up at the events, but I’m not 100% sure.  If it is, you’re a pleasant fellow.  If it isn’t, then there’s a pleasant fellow roaming the paddock and making small talk.  Neither is a bad thing.

Pro Touring E

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The sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, and Todd Green (aka Poppa Smurf, aka the unofficially official corrections department of this fair website) won himself another PTE medal.  It wasn’t easy, the blue car was willing to go fast, but it made Todd work for it.  The hard work paid off, and Todd got himself some more hardware.

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Troy Duffin in his Datsun 510 (still packing an L series engine and drum brakes in the rear) was your second place finisher in the class.  It’s good to be shooting photos of Troy again, takes me back to when there was NASA sanctioned open wheel racing at our weekends.  Good times.

Rounding out the podium was Team Slap Hands in the #158… car?  I shot 4600 photos over two days, and I don’t have a #158, which (according to MyLaps) only took part in the first race.  I do have some photos of a #58, which was around the cars that the Team Slap Hands car supposedly did.  Who is the #58?

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PAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLL MITTTCCCCCCHHHHHHHEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.  Speaking of MyLaps, guess who didn’t run the race that produced this photo opportunity? Yeah, so good ole Paul (who had a rotating cast throughout the weekend) either took home third, or fifth.  Regardless, Smilin Joe Sims is listed in 4th. UPDATE: Yeah, it was all Paul Mitchell.  The 158 and 58 are one and the same.  The Timing and Scoring system doesn’t like having the same number with multiple drivers in a class, hence this whole confusion.

Spec Boxster

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Spec Boxster is still a thing, and it’s still occupied by one man.  One hero: Mark Boschert.  He wasn’t all by himself though.  His pace on two of the three races kept him close to either the GTS2 cars, or the PTE field.  On East he outran the Spec Miatas by a few seconds, but trailed the slowest Spec Z by over four seconds.  Boxsters are cheap, people!  Come on!  Someone else grab one, and get in on some spec racing!

Spec Miata

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It was Williamson and Bond vying for the class win.  By taking the first two races, and finishing second in the third, Chris Bond earned himself a much deserved martini.  It was close though, Matt Williamson kept close in those first two races, just like he did all season.  The TresDuro was a microcosm of the entire Spec Miata season, and it was awesome to watch.

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Matt Williamson was knocking on the door all season, but he couldn’t get over the hump.  I’m telling you, next season he’s going to clear that hump.  Spec Miata is an old class, but it always breeds great drivers and good racing.  Next season, spend some time watching Matt Williamson fight for the crown.

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Craig Shane finished the day in third.  He’s a grinder, he was the only Spec Miata driver to start every race this season!  That’s sixteen races!  Craig is a lot like the Miata he races: dead reliable.  Craig deserves some sort of award for his reliability.

Spec Z

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You guys remember when Spec Z was just three cars?  I do.  You know how many cars took to the tarmac for this year’s TresDuro?  16.  Man how this ridiculousness has grown.

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Topping this ridiculousness was Arthur Golebiowski, one of the OG Spec Z drivers.  Doing this for two and a half years gives you some skills and insight, and Arthur has all of those things rolling around his head.  His average margin of victory was over six and a half seconds in the TresDuro, which begs another question: what does he think about while he’s all by himself at the front?  Is he like Kimi Raikonen, dreaming of his next nap?  Kittens?  Arthur is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, strapped into a silver 350Z.

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Not an OG, but definitely a long time Spec Z driver, Chad Aalders took home second place!  Chad spent most of his day battling another OG, and looking longingly at Arthur’s taillights.  Well, I’m not so sure about that last part, but he spent a fair amount of time looking at the back of Arthur’s car.

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Rounding out the top three is Tom Kaminski.  He spent plenty of time in his retro liveried Z battling Chad, and chasing down Arthur.  Tom and Arthur having been battling it out with each other since 2014, and I hope they keep it up for years to come.

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Speaking of blasts from the past, we had a Thunder Roadster field!  JD Stull came out swinging, and took the win in all three races.  Normally I’d stop the Thunder Roadster writing at that, BUT THERE WAS ANOTHER THUNDER ROADSTER!

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Yes, there was another!  Jihn Han, coming out of nowhere, took home some hardware.

And there it is, the round up of the Lightning group.  Looking for the Thunder and/or Time Trial write ups?  I’ve got separate posts for them.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
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14th Jul2016

CAMcast: NASA Utah Championship Standings

by Michael Chandler

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Hey hey!  Finally got another episode of the CAMcast up!  No guest this episode, but I go over the current NASA Utah championship standings and then tease a few things.  I drink some water, drop some papers on the floor, all in half an hour.  If that’s not efficiency, I don’t know what is.

 

Feel free to listen to the episode here, or download it here.  Enjoy the episode, and I’ll see you at UMC this weekend!

02nd Nov2015

Tresduro 2015: The Final Chapter

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

After ten years, and countless races from such series as the American Le Mans Series, Grand Am Rolex, Ferrari Challenge and NASCAR, the final chapter of the racing history at Miller Motorsports Park was written by the locals.  The last official race on the track was the final race in the 2015 NASA Utah season: the Tresduro.  What was a season ending endurance race has now become a winner takes all, three session day, with races held on three different configurations of the track.  On this day, the drivers would race on the Outer Loop, the East Track, and for the first time in years the Full Track.

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The fields were huge.  For the first time that I can remember, the all HPDE spots sold out.  The amount of cars in the HPDE 1, 2, and 3 groups were staggering.  And the TT groups were equally huge.  So large that they had to split the group up for the second timed session.  TTC, D and E would run with the HPDE 4, and the rest of the TT group would be out there afterward.

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TTE had four competitors, all in Mazdas.  Tyler Nisonger, in the On Point Supplements Miata, ran away with the class win.  His margin of victory was 23 seconds!  The gap between Hal Mortimer (#77 Mortimer Family FB RX-7) in second place, and Kelly Fisher (#19 Pro Tint/PT Auto Sales Miata) was only 10 seconds.  A dominating win for Tyler.

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TTC was occupied by one man.  One lone competitor in a BMW.  His name: Tom Rogers.  His car: an E30 BMW 325i.  His trunk was black, but the small spoiler on the decklid was red.  And he won gold.

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TTB was the deepest TT group.  Dave Wann in his S2000 battled Toby Crawford and his supercharged BRZ all day.  Toby’s added boost kept Dave within his sight, but Dave kept his better Miata just out of Toby’s grasp.  Dave walked away with another win on the season, and closed the book on a championship winning season.

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TT3 was down a competitor, since Jonathon Tapia did not return this season after his devastating wreck, but was still stacked with talented drivers.  With a twelve second margin of victory, James Pasquier took home a gold medal to hang on the wing of his 993 911.

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The lone TT2 competitor was Robert Poirier, in the only V8 powered car on the time sheets: the Black Diamond Development Mustang.

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Shawn Murphy, fresh from Lyfe Motorsport’s trip to World Time Attack in Sydney, Australia, came out swinging at Greg Valdez.  They traded blows in their Subarus (metaphorically, I’ll go ahead and say that Shawn would probably wreck Greg if they went full Days of Thunder), but a blown coupler put Shawn at a disadvantage for the third session.  Not being able to run at full boost allowed Greg to eek out a win.

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Formula series champion Bruno Carniero was not driving at the Tresduro.  He was at the track, but he was getting ready to go to China and compete in a Formula 4 race.  He finished on the podium if you’re curious.  In the formula races at the Tresduro, it was a one man show: Troy Duffin took home the final Formula class win awarded at Miller Motorsports Park.

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John LaBrie battled Steve Burns all day in Super Formula.  John managed to hold off Steve in each of the three races to end the day atop the podium.

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There was one Race Group.  For the final event, the powers that be combined the Thunder and Lightning groups into one, massive and competitive herd of cars, 38 deep.

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GTS2 was a battle of Porsches.  Heller and Miller’s Boxster duked it out with Chris Haunold’s 911, and the first generation Boxster took down the 911.  This may be a first for the oft slighted chassis, but hopefully not the last.

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GTS 3, 4 and 5 were all (unfortunately) occupied by one driver each.  GTS 3 saw Carol Nichols drive her Cayman to the land of golden bottle openers disguised as medals.  Byron Smith took his BMW to the promised land in GTS 4, and Gerry Shear collected a win for the Air Power Racing GTS 5 class 911.

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GTSU was full of drama.  In the second race, on the East Course, David Lockwood in the #42 Porsche 911 Cup Car collided with the Makes and Models R8 LMS in the first turn of the first lap of the race.  This contact ended both of their days.  In the final race on the Full Track, McKay Snow made contact with George Smith and guaranteed that the DXDT Racing R8 LMS Ultra would take home the victory.

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Ben Lamberson was the lone PTE driver.  Unfortunately he had no slicks, so he was on some 200 tread wear summer tires that somehow lasted all day!  Unfair advantage?  Perhaps…

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Spec Miata was a five way battle.  After the dust settled, Allan Anderson emerged holding the gold medal.

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Spec Z was, yet again, another massive field.  There were ten cars in this one field alone!  Arthur Golebiowski was battling all day.  Arthur managed to dispatch his competitors, earning a hard fought victory.  On another note, look at Tom Kaminski’s door!  That’s the most perfectly placed tire mark I’ve ever seen.

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Michael Eiffling battled Big Bob Evans in ST1, and managed to top Bob for the top podium spot.  Despite this victory, Bob towered over Michael.  Short of making Bob stand in a hole, he will tower over everyone.

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Yet another ST2 race saw Mike Mielke as the lone competitor.  And yet again, I’m not complaining about seeing his truck on track mixing it up.  There needs to be another ST2 truck.

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ST3 was the second deepest field with 8 cars.  Travis Tidball cracked his differential housing wide open, and retired early.  Travis Williams was out in the old, reliable #22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang FR500S, but old and reliable wasn’t enough to win.  No, the win would belong to the Us Against One/Spherion E36 M3.  Todd Ainsworth’s choice to jump into a BMW has proven to be a fortuitous one, and sharing seat time with Alex Whetman has payed dividends as well.

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George Smith’s Corvette has been around for a while.  He’s competed in it from the old MPRA days, all the way through this past event.  And despite having contact with McKay Snow, George managed to take home the final Super Unlimited win awarded at Miller Motorsports Park.  It was fitting that one of the old guard took home the last victory.

And there it is, the final race at Miller Motorsports Park.  I know you may have been expecting some long love letter to Miller, with some race highlights sprinkled in.  A love letter will be coming later, but this post was about the last race day at our home track as we know it.  Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an honor to bring you these write ups and galleries.  I’m glad that you’ve liked them as much as you have, and I look forward to bringing you more from Utah Motorsports Campus in the coming years.

Until then, this has Michael Chandler from Miller Motorsports Park.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
27th Jul2015

NASA Utah Round 5: The Main Course

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Round 5 of the NASA Utah season took the racers, corner workers, fans and assembled media back to the West course, where things were fairly routine… Until they weren’t.  We’ll get to that in a bit.  We have some news from the TT groups!

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TTB is turning into an episode of Best Motoring International, where we have S2000s battling the Toyobarus/Subiyotas!  The podium spots were held by two S2000s and a BRZ, with the BRZ of Toby Crawford occupying the bottom spot.  Dave Wann and his rice patty hat were in second, and the mysterious Michael Forsythe and his… general mysteriousness took the win in his silver S2000.

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Greg Valdez got Lelantos back out on track after *rolls 20 sided die* she fell into a mysterious vortex.  Thankfully the trip to all parts unknown didn’t have any adverse affect, because he took TT1 by a solid four seconds over a face we haven’t seen in a minute on these hallowed pages:

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The J and P in JDP Motorsports,  Jordan Priestley showed up in a black Corvette and ran pretty quick times.  Quicker than a certain silver Camaro?  One can only speculate…  Anyway, back to the folks who got gold medals/bottle openers.

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Earning another win for the fellows from Stuttgart (shield, not star) was Robert Rathbone in TT2.  He managed to beat Shawn Larson (in an Evo I haven’t seen, but appreciate the existence of), and Rhett Panter (who didn’t spin this time!).  This puts him… 800 points ahead for the season.  It’s a bit early, but we here at CAM feel safe in declaring Robert Rathbone your 2015 NASA Utah TT2 champion!

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Darin Beaudoin topped the podium in TT3 in his Evo X, ahead of the Focus-less Alex Whetman and James Pasquier’s 911.

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Todd Green is happy because he got himself another TTE win!  He’s giving the thumbs up, I swear.

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And Lex Luthor stand in Derek Wolthoff exhibited dominant behavior in TTU, and beat out Joe Sim in the Turbo Labs NSX.  And that neatly wraps up Time Trial, on to something else!

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OPEN WHEEL!

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The podiums in both of the day’s races looked identical, so Mr. Biner won himself some gold medals in Super Formula.

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And former 15 year old phenom Bruno Carniero got himself another couple of wins in Formula.

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As you can see, thee Formula competitors took the podium ceremony extremely seriously.

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Welcome to Thunder: where an old Sprint Cup car battles a 997 Cup car, and nobody bats an eye!

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In GTS4 Byron Smith battled… Well, that’s not the right word.  His competition consisted of a Spec E30, which was not really much competition.  Regardless, Byron got himself another win and I got to ogle his E90 a bit more.  Everybody won.

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GTS5 featured a battle of two Tatum Racing 996s: the #41 of Darrell Troester and the #66 of Chris Vivolo.  As is illustrated here, Darrell took the win over Chris.

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It was another battle in GTSU, but despite his best efforts Les Long could not chase down the TW Racing Audi R8, he did look good trying to chase him down though.

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You learn something new everyday, and on Saturday I learned that Spec E46 #1 exists as a thing and #2 they are grouped in Thunder.  The lone Spec E46 competitors were Natasha and Aristotle Balogh, and those are some strong names.  Natasha won, but I think we’re all winners for having read their names.

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Bob Evans, and his Ford Fusion Sprint Cup car took the win in ST1.  At this point, it’s getting to be less and less of a Sprint Cup car and more of a Trans-Am car.  We support this 100%.

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Travis Tidball was utterly quick, so four and a half seconds quicker on his fastest lap than the next ST3 competitor was on his.  Word on the street (Instagram) is that Travis’s car might be looking different come the next round…

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Super Unlimited could’ve been an insane three way shootout between Joe Sim’s turbocharged NSX, the old Pirelli World Challenge Skull Candy Altima Touring Car helmed by Lara Tallman, and the Evo of Jeff Kearl.  What ended up happening was Jeff running away with it, finishing a lap ahead of Lara, and three laps ahead of Joe.  We now go to the podium ceremony, previously recorded:

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He may have been dejected, but he’s the only one with a picture on the podium.  Let that be a lesson to you folks: you skip the barbecue, you miss out on free food and beverages and the opportunity to get sweet ass pictures with your medal on the podium.

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The Lightning race was red flagged, and the course cleared after an incident in turn two of the green flag lap involving Gus Stribakos in the 888 Porsche, David Sherman in the 5 Spec Miata, Ben Lamberson in the 916 Audi Quattro (this was his first wheel to wheel race, fyi), and Greg Troester in the 518 Porsche 944.  The result of the carnage was Gus Stribakos potentially writing off his car and conceding the GTS3 championship to Bill Noblitt, David Sherman losing his points lead in Spec Miata and probably having to find another Miata to Spec-ify, Greg Troester having to replace at least a control arm yet still being in the fight for Spec 944, and Ben Lamberson having to dig into his parts car to get his car back on track for Sunday’s race.  Everyone BUT Ben was sidelined for Sunday’s race, and he finished second to Todd Green.  Thankfully everyone was alright, physically at least.

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Hopefully we’ll see everyone back out there this season.

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Blake Troester piloted the McDonald’s/Makes and Models Porsche 944 to a win in GTS3.  By the way, what’s with the McDonald’s livery?  I am mystified, and hungry when I see it on track.  I need answers!  Or wild rumors, either or.

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In other 944 news, Douglas Turnquist put his atop the PTB podium.

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Todd Green took the win in PTE on Saturday.  On Sunday he held off Ben Lamberson’s freshly repaired Audi.  On Saturday he called Ben up to the podium, which was touching.  However, Ben already had himself a souvenir from the day…

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A souvenir grab for a lucky fan!

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Matt Williamson took advantage of the fracas and emerged with his first win of the season!  He’s up to third place in the points standings, and could hop into second if David Sherman is out for the upcoming race weekend.

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Arthur Golebiowski took yet another win in Spec Z, with Tom Kaminski in second.  In other news: the sky is blue, and the sun rises in the east.  Seriously guys, stop being so consistently good and good consistently!  I mean, it makes writing this stuff up and getting the photos super easy, but I would like to say “in a stunning upset” or “the bridesmaid finally becomes the bride” or some other colloquialism.

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And finally: we had Spec E30! And in Spec E30 we had a winner: the Ameritastic car of Natasha Balogh rode the waves of sweet freedom to the win.

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And as we wave goodbye to another NASA Utah weekend, we can look forward to the next race weekend.  August 7-9 to be exact, with a WERC 6 hour endurance race starting at 5:30 on Saturday.  Endurance racing!  Into the night!  YOU’D BE MAD TO MISS OUT ON THIS!!!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
14th Jul2015

NASA Utah Round 4: The Hot Edition!

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It only took three rounds, but it finally got hot.  Hot to the point where the heat ripples were uncomfortably close, and the water bottles in my car were scaldingly hot.  Despite that, I arrived late and got to shooting, observing, and heat exhausting.

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Despite only completing two laps, Chris Haunold took the win in GTS2 at the wheel of my favorite 911, NAY! Porsche that runs around at Miller.  Yeah, I said it.  Your move everyone else with a Porsche.  Impress me!

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Mayor McCheese took the win in GTS3.  Amazing he can fit that giant, tasty head of his in there…  Hold on, I’m getting something over the wire…  Mayor McCheese was not driving…  In fact, he cannot drive because he is a fictional character…  Blake Troester was the driver, not the man with a burger for a head.

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Ed Mineau took first in PTC.  His best lap time in his 911 was 1:50.691, which was .4 seconds slower than…

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Todd Green!  He’s a wizard, I swear.  He’s run down Spec Z’s; albeit in the rain, but a Miata running down a 350Z on the west course (which tends to favor more powerful cars) is quite a feat.  He also grabbed a win in TTE, which is class that is a story unto itself.

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Spec Miata was won by… *papers shuffling* AH!  Daniel Williams!  Yes, that’s it.  He put himself atop the seven car heap, which is a lot of cars.

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It was not a heap, despite David Sherman’s best efforts!  Actually his best efforts were employed fighting for position during the race.  This wasn’t his best effort, but it was a good recovery.

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Arthur Golebiowski took Spec Z, with Tom Kaminski right behind him, and Richard Fitzgerald behind the both of them.  Look at Richard hitting those curbs!  You go Richard!  Also, keep on keepin on Arthur and Tom.

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And in Spec 944, neither Samuel Kapp nor Otto Silva won.  Another Troester won, this one being Greg.  A guy named Greg in a red car doing some winning…  Wonder where we’ve seen that before.

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Wasn’t in Open Wheel.  Another hot hand behind the wheel of a kart did some winning.  Bruno Carneiro, Formula driver and owner of possibly the coolest name of the day, took time off from showing smaller children how to drive fast and selling Rodizio Grill gift certificates (what’s a small time media mogul gotta do to get their hands on one?) to have a solid drive on his way to a win in class.

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Meanwhile, McKay Snow (who is not Madison, despite what the podium photos indicate) won in Super Formula.  Speaking of Madison, who isn’t McKay…

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This isn’t him.  This is Chris Vivolo, who took the win in GTS5.  Good work Chris.

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You can see where the confusion comes from.  Both Madison and Chris drive Porsche 911s, both have white and gray on them, and have big spoilers.  The differences are subtle, but if you look close enough you can see them.  Also, Madison is around eight seconds quicker than Chris.  So, there’s that.  Madison also won in GTSU.  He’s also not McKay.

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After Austin Dillon’s big wreck at Daytona last weekend, people were throwing around the idea of adding more downforce to the current Sprint Cup cars.  Bob Evans’s cup car isn’t the current generation (although I’d love to see them running around.  Somebody get the Frances on the horn!), but it does have all sorts of aero.  Not sure it would work for plate racing, but it works well here.  Well enough for first in ST1.

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Good news! Mike Mielke is continuing the tradition of ST2 being a solo field.  Bad news: I’m out of pick up truck jokes.  So… good news for Mike, I guess.

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Travis Tidball has been the sole carrier of the Corvette Racing flag in the door to door classes, which is sad because there were some killer Corvettes out there.  He may be the last one, but he’s been carrying that one well.  He planted the flag atop the podium in ST3.  Speaking of…  I’m out of transitions too.  Dukes!

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So, TT1 is interesting.  We have David Gilliland in his Viper battling Greg Valdez and Shawn Murphy in their respective STis, and while that battle is happening we have Shawn battling his car.  This event was a great opportunity for Shawn to take advantage of Greg’s Lelantos (that’s his car) being down.  Unfortunately, Shawn had a mishap which ended his weekend early.  We’ll talk about that later, but let’s focus on David and his orange Viper winning!  The current Vipers look amazing, and are proven winners.  I’m glad that he was on top that day.

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Robert Rathbone did a thing!  That thing was winning TT2 in his usual calm manner.  However, things weren’t calm all over.

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Rhett spun out in turn one.  Didn’t get stuck, or catch on fire, or anything.  He just got loose and wound up in the dirt.  Anyway…

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So, Alex Whetman won in TT3 in the Focus of Doom BUT I missed out on his sessions.  HOWEVA he did place second in TTE in, what I can only assume was Paul Mitchell.  I say that because that’s the only Miata he has ready access to.  If I’m wrong, I’ll hear about it and I’ll gladly correct this bit, but until then: here’s a picture of PAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLL MITCHEEEEEEELLLLLLLLL.

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Dave Wann took the win in Spec BRZ/FRS And Occasional Others.  Formally known as TTB, but we’re cool so we can keep the titles casual.  Also: Dave was super excited!  LOOGITIM!

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TTU was won by a Francis Wilson in the #47 350Z, or so say the time sheets.  However, I don’t have a picture of a #47 350Z.  What I do have are photos of a #714 350Z and a #47 C7 Z06.  Francis, if you’re reading this and I completely missed you, I apologize.  If one of these is you, congratulations!

Anyway, that’s it.  I skipped Sunday because 1. I was exhausted and probably would’ve died in the heat and 2. it was Father’s Day, so I elected to spend the day with him.  That said, I’ll be out there this coming weekend, traipsing around the West track on Saturday.  West track, this weekend.  Be there.

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

 

03rd Apr2015

NASA Utah Round 1 In Motion

by Michael Chandler

Video by Gavin Pouquette

Seeing the photos and reading the write ups of the NASA Utah events are one thing, but seeing the car actually moving is another thing entirely!  For Round 1 we brought out Gavin Pouquette to shoot some video, and cut it together so we can show it to you all!  And without further ado, here it is!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
25th Aug2014

NASA Utah Round 5

by Michael Chandler

 

 

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (32 of 191)

Round 5 of the NASA Utah season played host to the Formula 3 PanAm racers, and a WERC 6 Hour endurance race.  Excitement was abound from sunrise to well into the night.  Our man Michael Wells will be providing photos from the endurance race, along with some additional photos from the weekend as he usually does.  Let’s start off with some fiery news on the TT front.

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It is literary fiery because TT1 National Champion Shawn Murphy’s STi burst into flames on the front straightaway at 140mph.  Thankfully he was unhurt, and the car didn’t suffer too much damage from the impromptu barbecue.  AND despite the immolation of his vehicle, Shawn still took third in TT1!

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Taking the TT1 win was Allen Turner, piloting the TW Racing Audi R8 LMS.  Second place was held down by the boys at Smith Burke Racing.

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Greg Valdez was your TT2 winner, Chad Hess climbed to the top of the heap in TT3, and mad man Todd Green took home the TTE win AND the PTE win, and then drove in the endurance race.  He is insane, and we tip our hat to him.  In TTB and TTD Richard Thiessens and Joel Selman took home the wins.  They were also the only ones in their classes.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 191)

The Open Wheel regulars were joined by the Formula 3 PanAm drivers for both of the Open Wheel races on Saturday.  Race 1 was won by Javier Echeverria and race 2 was won by Gerardo Garcia.

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Steve Burns took both Super Formula races, only just barely, while Troy Duffin dominated the Formula races.

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The Lightning race saw some close, dare I say chippy, racing.  Spec Miata was a hard fought class, along with the ever growing Spec Z class.  Byron Smith, driving the white BMW above, took home the GTS3 win over Gus Stribakos in dominating fashion.

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Ashley Burt proved his 350Z was more Spec-tacular than the other competitors in class, and was rewarded with a win, and a lame pun.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (33 of 191)

We had a PTA class for the first time in… I can’t remember.  Despite showing up late to grid, Ralph Warren and John Trefethen battled from the drop of the green flag, with Ralph proving his 135i was the superior BMW by less than a tenth of a second.  We would see them again in the Thunder Race.

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Sam Kapp and Otto Silva continued their season long 944 Spec battle, with Sam taking the win over Otto.  Otto would not let Sam take the win without a fight, as they battled hard until the checkered flew.

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And in Spec Miata… Umm, well I’m fairly confident McKay Snow took the victory but I’m not sure.  At the time of the writing of this piece, there were no results OR even a class listed in the Saturday results on MyLaps.com.  However, Spec Miata is in the Sunday results, where David Sherman beat out McKay Snow for the class victory.  And Doug Turnquist won PTB on Saturday, by virtue of being the only man in the class.

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It was an all Corvette front row in the Thunder Race, but only one of those front row Corvettes finished the race.  James Miller and the chop top/Barbie/Swamp Thing/however you want to describe it C4 Corvette went wire to wire, taking the SU class and overall win.

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David Donner came out swinging in his new livery, and proceeded to take victory in GTSU over John Scarlett.

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The TW Racing Audi R8 LMS took the ST1 class with Derek Wolthoff at the helm.

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Chris Vivolo hung an 8.9 second gap on Darrell Troester in GTS4, and collected himself a victory.

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Travis Tidball rose to the top of ST3, and ran all the way to victory lane!  Well, wherever he was parking because there wasn’t an actual victory lane.  You get the idea.

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ST2 and GTS5 were one man classes, which were won by Brendon Stewart and Alan Wilson respectively.

NASA Utah 2014 Round 5 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (111 of 191)

The Thunder Race group was also filled out by the addition of BMW CCA Club Racers.  In the CM class, Vic Pizzino took his E46 to the winner’s circle; while in BM we saw the 135 battle the 17.  This time the 17 took the win, thanks to some fancy driving by Loren Trefethen.

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JP was won by Tom Bell, and IP was won by James Fluckey.

And that is that.  Sorry this isn’t packed full of my usual wit, or has more photos in it, but there’s a good reason for it!  The day before the event I broke my arm, and since I’m not Wolverine it’s still broken.  I shot the event one handed because I couldn’t really do much with my other arm.  If any of you drivers remember the photographer giving the thumbs up at pit in, it was me doing that.  I don’t usually do this, but I have a gallery of all of the photos from the event (and previous events) on my Smug Mug site.  The bills are starting to accumulate, and I would greatly appreciate it if you guys would take a look and maybe buy a couple of things from me.

Anyway, enough of the sob story.  Here’s the big ole gallery for you guys to enjoy!

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

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

 

 

07th Jul2014

NASA Utah Round 4

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (2 of 225)

Round four of the NASA Utah season was held on the East Track of Miller Motorsports Park on a lovely late June Saturday.  Not only were the usual competitors out and about, there were guests from some of the neighboring states who came to get their fill of racing.  The track also welcomed competitors from the Formula 3 PanAm series for what was… Well, the little Abarth powered cars were out and about.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (69 of 225)

See? There they are.  It was immensely interesting to watch them run around and hear their turbos spooling up.  Unfortunately Saturday was a series of practice sessions for these little cars, but the Formula and Super Formula racers made up for it with their two races and combined nine car field.  You could say the action was *puts on sunglasses* hot.

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YYYYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry.  The Formula field was home to the flame throwers of #42 Chris Taylor and #16 Steve Dickert, pictured above.  While they looked the coolest while doing so, they finished in positions three (Taylor) and four (Dickert) in both races.  Second place in both races went to Steven “No, I don’t know Elvis” Costello, and taking the win twice was Troy “The Duffman” Duffin.  This is the second consecutive race day where the Duffin and Costello took the top two spots, and the first weekend where they received nicknames.  It may also be the last weekend for the nicknames.  On to Super Formula!

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Races one and two were taken by Ian Lacy, with an average margin of victory of twenty seconds.  Who was looking at the back end of Lacy’s Mazda was a different matter.  In race one it was Terry Biner in the #11 Rodizio Grill car, who was ahead of the #6 piloted by Bryant Gay.  In race two the pair switched, with Gay finishing ahead of Biner.  Positions four and five in both races were held by John LaBrie and Dennis Gay respectively.

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The Time Trial group saw new faces from our neighboring states, and also the freshly wrapped T.W. Racing Audi R8 LMS.  Derek Wolthoff took home the win in TT1, but not after a situation in one of the morning sessions.  The car lost all power, leading to the session being black flagged.  There was concern as to what happened.  I managed to find Derek in his garage during the lunch break, but he was napping.  Thankfully someone else with the team told me a relay box came loose, which cause the loss of power.  The reattached the box and away they went in the next session.  Second place belonged to Mark Melchor and his blue FD chassis RX7, and rounding out the podium was another blue car: Shawn Murphy’s STi.

TT2 was a two man affair between Greg Valdez and John Allen.  On paper it would seem as though Allen’s 911 would walk away from Greg’s STi, but Lelantos proved victorious by running a 1:43.648, 1.57 seconds quicker than the Porsche could manage.

Christopher Mayfield and his red BMW took the top spot in TT3, running away from Travis Williams’s Mustang which edged out Shay Chappell’s Porsche 911.

TTB saw two of the top three spots owned by Honda S2000s.  Michael Forsythe and Hsun Chen took first and third, with Richard Thiessens breaking up the potential 1-2 S2000 podium by less than half a second with his STi.

In TTD Gordon Anderson’s Miata too the win over Kieth Pizio’s Honda Civic, while in TTE another Miata (driven by David Sherman) beat out Ben Lamberson’s Audi and Jeb Brown’s Subaru to take thw win.

Cole Powelson took the Wild Shick Racing GTR to the winner’s circle in TTU, followed by Robert Cowan in his Shelby Cobra kit car.  Richard Weston is listed in third place in the class, but no time is listed.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (121 of 225)

A twenty-three car field made up the Lightning race group, and within it there were bright flashes of brilliance.  The first such flash came form Arthur Golebiowski in Spec Z.  Not only did he win the class, but he yet again took the top spot in the run group.  To be fair, the Spec Z class was the fastest class in the group and also one of three 5 car classes.  Second place in Spec Z belonged to Ashley Burt, and third was Tom Kaminski’s.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (146 of 225)

The top of the Spec Miata field was a race long battle between Chris Bond and MacKay Snow.  Chris held the young Snow off for a while, but MacKay got around the red 007 car and managed to keep Bond in his mirrors, securing another win for the Snow family.  Meanwhile, David Sherman took the other white and blue Miata to the low step on the podium.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (30 of 225)

Speaking of Miatas, Todd Green took his to another victory in PTE.  Mr. Green can wheel, and the 40+ second margin of victory and a fastest lap two and a half seconds faster than the next quickest show that.  Allan Anderson and Randy Cummings battled for second place, with Cummings coming out on top.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (32 of 225)

Mr. Joseph Ostrander narrowly beat out Rob Hickman for the GTS2 win.  The BMWs battled all race long, and Hickman kept trying to make moves on Ostrander but nothing would stick.  Christina Werley, a bit further back from the acation, took third place.

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The 944 Spec class had the second closest gap between the winner and second place.  Daniel Williams and Greg Troester went head to head all race, fighting through traffic to keep pace with the other.  Williams passed Troester and managed to hold him off for a win by .220 seconds!  Otto Silva  rounded out the podium.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (31 of 225)

Despite being in PTB, Bill Noblitt ran with the top two GTS2 competitors.  His total time of 22:06.854 was five seconds slower than GTS2 second place finisher Rob Hickman.  He took the class win by default, but still put on quite a driving performance.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (187 of 225)

After the Lightning comes the Thunder, and this group was very solid.  There were multi-class battles all over the track (pictured above: ST2 class winner Brendon Stewart and GTS4 class winner Chris Vivolo battle through The Attitudes), and also some disappointments.  Kyle Shick blew the intercooler piping off in the Wild Shick Racing GTR and retired after five laps.  Dave Dingman lost the clutch in the Freeway Mazda sponsored Miata after four laps, and spent the rest of the race stuck on the side of the track.

There were three one man classes in the group.  Camaro Mustang Challenge was occupied by Joe Bogetich and his white Camaro.  Russ Timmons and his orange and chrome Porsche 911 were all by their lonesome in GTS5, and Dennis Gay in the white RaceCo 911 was the one man band in GTSU.

As mention previsouly, Chris Vivolo took the win in GTS4.  He put a twenty-seven and a half second lead on John Allen, who took second, while Gregory Dell finished a lap down for third.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (204 of 225)

Ricky Rudd, I mean Bob Evans in the #88 Snickers Ford Fusion Car Of Tomorrow beat out  Patrick Laughlin’s deBoulle Porsche 911 for a ST1 win.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (42 of 225)

Brendon Stewart was the only driver in ST2 to finish on the lead lap, which meant he won.  A lap down in second was Drew Wadolny.  Nine laps down was Dave Dingman, who retired with clutch issues.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (47 of 225)

Travis Tidball held off the massive ST3 pack to claim a victory.  Second place in the nine car class was Todd Ainsworth in the Us Against One clothing STi, with Jason Bamberg nipping at his heels in the #92 Mustang.

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With the Wild Shick Racing GTR retiring after five laps, Super Unlimited was George Smith’s to lose.  He did not do that, finishing a lap ahead of Skip Sasser’s S10 pickup.

NASA Utah Round 4 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (224 of 225)

It was a solid day of racing, with a record number of entrants: 132.  Will there be more in August for Round 5?  Here’s to hoping we see some new faces and yours August 15-17 for some racing on the outer loop!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Apr2014

NASA Utah 2014 Round 1 Photo Gallery

by Michael Chandler

As with most events, we took a ton of pictures at the NASA Utah season opener.  Unfortunately we could only stick so many in the actual reports; however, instead of letting these photos hang out on our hard drives we made some galleries so you can see what didn’t make the cut.  It’s broken down like the coverage posts were, (Thunder and Lightning combined groups, open wheel, and then TT) so you don’t have to scroll through a few hundred photos to find the one you want.

Thunder and Lightning:

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Open Wheel:

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TT:

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

 

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
12th Feb2014

Bad Luck Brendon

by Michael Chandler

Lap Battle HPDE3-1

Hitting every light on the way to work and showing up half an hour late. Parking seventeen miles away from the mall entrance, and coming out to see that not only has someone parked next to you BUT they have completely ignored the lines and are millimeters from your car’s door. Running out of gas. All of these are considered bouts of “bad luck”. Brendon Stewart laughs at your bad luck. Why does he laugh at your pain? Because while you were sitting in traffic he was in his garage replacing his second transfer case pinion gear. While you were contemplating teaching that fellow a lesson, he was missing ANOTHER race weekend because his Evo decided to not want to work. What was he doing while you were trudging to the gas station, readying your body for the gouging you were about to receive? Well, let’s just say it was worse than that…

Despite all of the problems, Brendon is hopeful for the 2014 season. He sat down with me to talk about last year’s problems and this years plans.

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What happened last season?

In general what happened?

Yeah, in general what happened.

Oh man, last season was tough. I had a lot of really unfortunate situations with mechanical failures in the car. Just seemed like every single time I went out I didn’t ever have a very successful day, until the very last race of the year; so I was always working the car and everything was always not right.

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The most spectacular failure that we all saw was the fire. What happened there?

Umm, that was incredibly unfortunate because that was a brand new engine. So my stock engine spun a rod bearing after 5000 race miles, which is not really that unusual. It was probably time for a refresh, but because it happened I ended up building an engine. Thought I’d spend the money and make it nice, not cut any corners, and it ran really, really well. It was a really good engine, first day.

It was too good to be true

Second day unfortunately, just kinda down the main straight it spun another bearing and started knocking. And I just tried to limp it around to get back to the pits, and it didn’t even make it another half a lap. It seized, shot a rod through the block and everything caught fire, and that’s that.

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So you said that was a new motor, but was that the original transmission? Did you have to replace that?

I believe that was the original transmission, which has been rebuilt a few times. New synchros, maintenance stuff. There’s never been any catastrophic transmission failure, which is good… yet.

Yet *knocks on wood*

But I have blown through two transfer case pinion gears, two engines in this car now. Umm… I think that’s the extent of the really big problems.

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The really big ones that have sidelined you. Was this your first year doing door to door or your second?

First year doing door to door. I was just working on doing all my individual rookie races done so I could get my full competition license. Unfortunately I was only able to complete two full race days, which actually count, so I still need to work on that. Gonna be an interesting 2014.

Did you have to change anything going from TT (time trail) to ST (door to door)?

Umm yeah, the biggest changes were safety items in the car so I really didn’t have to change a lot of, really anything for rules other than safety cause the power to weight ratio rules and stuff like that were all the same.

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So nothing mechanical wise, just safety stuff.

Exactly. I had to get an updated harness, I had to add either a new seat or a seat brace and I added a seat brace. Window net, fire suppression system. I had to change my roll cage a little bit cause it was uncompliant. But other than that…

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The car is for sale, and all I heard was that you want something V8 and rwd for your next platform. But the car hasn’t sold…

The car has not sold, but I do have an interested person potentially … So we’ll see what happens with that, but if it doesn’t go through then I’ll continue to just race this car through next year. Hopefully work on making it more reliable, and be able to finish developing the car because I still don’t feel that I’ve been able to reach its full potential in its current state.

What were you going to be getting? If the Evo sold you’d be getting…

If the Evo sells, or sold, it’d be an S13 240 chassis with an LS1 V8. Pretty basic, reliable.

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I don’t want this to happen, but I gotta ask: if last season’s events start to repeat (this year) will you just hang it up or will you keep trying to get out there?

I don’t know. That’s a really tough question honestly, because it’s been really difficult to keep going and I have so much passion for this sport that I really want to keep going. But at some point. I don’t know, something needs to change for me to keep being able to do it. If I keep having bad luck, or if there’s a really big problem then it’s going to be tough.

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Hopefully you can get back out there! And I noticed something. When the car was orange you had the sock monkey hanging from the riser on the spoiler, and everything was kick ass. Then the next year you didn’t (have the sock monkey) and everything went wrong.

It’s true.

Can you have the sock monkey on the spoiler? Or…

Umm… I’m not sure because I got a lot of grief when it was on the spoiler previously, but they let it slide cause it was actually sewn on and they were afraid it was going to fall off and cause debris. But that was also before we moved into the NASA rule set, so they’re a lot more strict now. But maybe I can put it inside the car now.

Kinda like Mumphrey, with Ryan Gates and his Evo.

One extra horsepower!

 

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler, Trent Bray and Michael Wells.

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