22nd Jul2016

NASA Utah Round 5: The Melty Way

by Michael Chandler

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

THUNDER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME TRIAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIGHTNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Aug2014

The Canandaigua Incident

by Michael Chandler

By now we’ve all seen the video, seen the knee jerk reactions online, and seen various talking heads on TV attempt to assign blame to either Tony Stewart or Kevin Ward Jr.  And while we want this to be a completely black and white, cut and dry instance, it isn’t.  This was as series of poor decisions that lead to the worst possible result.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: Last night in a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York, Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr. were involved in a racing incident in turn one.  Stewart slid into Ward, causing Ward to spin and lose his right rear tire.  The caution flag is thrown, and Ward gets out of his car and begins walking down the track (towards the infield) looking for and pointing at Stewart’s car.  Stewart comes close to Ward, hits the accelerator causing the back end to step out.  Ward was hit by, and dragged under Stewart’s right rear tire some thirty feet before being thrown from the car.  Ward was motionless when medical personnel got to him.  He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.  He was twenty years old.

Stewart, after hitting Ward, came to a stop on the back straight of the track.  Racing was suspended at the track, and police are investigating the incident.  Stewart returned to Watkins Glen, where he initially announced he would be racing in today’s Sprint Cup race.  Earlier today it was announced that Reagan Smith would be taking his place in the #14 car for today’s race.

This incident, this tragedy, isn’t even a day old yet everyone is wanting to assign blame to someone.  It’s not as simple as that.  A series of events brought us to where we are right now, and if different decisions had been made at any point I doubt we would be talking about the death of a race car driver.

Everyone knows that Tony Stewart is a hot head, and this has lead to some heated interviews and outright fights.  He gets caught up in the heat of the moment, and calms down after a few days.  He is a competitive man, which is why he was racing in a sprint car race less than a day before he was racing in a Sprint Cup race.  He collided with a twenty year old kid, who then got out of his car and was pointing and walking towards his car.  Maybe he didn’t see him, maybe he was trying to scare him a little bit.  Either way, he ended up colliding with Ward and eventually killing him.

Kevin Ward was competitive too.  He began racing karts at age four, and by thirteen won multiple Micro Sprint championships.  After that he went into the 360 Sprint Car division, where he won rookie of the year honors in 2012.  At the time of the incident he was in a bit of a slump, due to mechanical issues, but was optimistic the bad luck would pass.  In turn one Stewart slid into him, causing Ward to spin out and cut down a tire.  He got out of the car, and began looking for Stewart.  He made his way down the track, began pointing at Stewart as he approached, and was then struck by the rear of Stewart’s car.  He was dragged and thrown over thirty feet.  He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Ward should have never gotten out of the car, and he should have never walked down the track with traffic still moving.  That was a bad decision.  If he had waited to catch Stewart in the paddock, then this would be an entirely different story, but he didn’t.  Stewart, assuming he saw him (which I think he did see him), should have been lower on the track.  He should have put as much space between himself and Ward as possible.  He shouldn’t have tried to scare him, if that was indeed what he was trying to do.  Stewart has won multiple Sprint Cup championships, and an IRL title, so he clearly knows better.  But he made the bad decision to buzz the kid.

A series of poor choices by two men lead to the untimely death of one, and the unknown weight of taking a person’s life for another.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward family, and I sincerely hope that this was a tragic accident and was not done with malicious intent by Tony Stewart.

Words by Michael Chandler

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