14th Mar2016

“Pro Am”

by Michael Chandler

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One of these cars is driven by a guy who has driven a McLaren MP4-12C GT3 for K-Pax Racing, and the other is being driven by a guy who set an Evo on fire.  Guess who’s driving which.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
19th Aug2015

The Wreck

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

“Why didn’t you move?” It was a good question.  The corner worker came down from his stand, handed me and a maintenance worker bottles of water, and asked me his question.

“I don’t know… I figured the armco would hold and the car would stay trackside I guess.”

He gave me a look, then started talking to the maintenance guy.  I kept snapping photos of WRX the safety crew was loading on to the flatbed.

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A few minutes earlier I watched my friend, Jonny Tapia, lose his WRX as he was coming through Witchcraft, the fastest turn on the Outer Loop, and do what many other drivers before him did: hit the armco on the inside of the track.  I was walking up the hill, towards the top of the Attitudes, when I heard tires screaming for grip.  I turned around, raised my camera and started firing off photos without even thinking.

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It took a second, after the dust settled, for me to realize who was driving.  I ran towards the car, while the corner worker was yelling into his radio.  I got to the side of the car and asked Jonny if he was alright.  Thankfully he and his passenger were.  I relayed this to the corner worker, via yelling and two thumbs up, who was still shouting into his headset.

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Jonny and his passenger climbed out of the wrecked Subaru, and looked at the remnants of the car.  Understandably, he was torn up about the incident.  She kept trying to comfort him, but it was to no avail.

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He never fully broke down though.  He put a lot of time into the car, and seeing it like that was crushing.  In the paddock he was more at peace with the state of his car, and was hopeful about returning to the track.  It will be a while before his car is back on track, but everyone in the garages was hopeful it would be.

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As is procedure for an incident such as this, an ambulance came to take the fateful pair to the medical center to get checked out.  After they left I saw the scope of the damage.  The left front Enkei RPF1 was shattered by the force of the impact.  The big APR wing was ripped off one of its uprights, and sent an end plate over the armco.  The rear windows were smashed out, there were ripples in the body panels, and a tail light was destroyed.  The splitter sat low and crooked, so much so that it munched a ramp as the safety crew was pulling it onto the flatbed.  The front bumper was ripped off during the impact, and was thrown on to the truck after the car was loaded.

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“Why didn’t you move?” I don’t know.

*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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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.


07th May2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 2: Let’s Make A Toto Reference

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler, Michael Wells and Gavin Pouquette

Some things are inevitable: death, taxes, and one rain soaked NASA Utah event.  Nobody died, everyone had paid their taxes (probably), but it did rain.  A lot.

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But here’s the thing: it wasn’t raining all weekend.  In fact, for the Saturday races, everyone qualified in the dry.  Well, everyone except Madison Snow.  He ran in the dry, and then the UIS Snow Racing Porsche 911 went back in the trailer.  BUT! But, McKay (the younger one) was not averse to running in the rain, nor was he averse to annihilating the field.

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McKay came out in an IMSA Prototype Lights class car, and proceeded to eek out a 7.4 second win over Ian Lacy in the first Super Formula race (which was dry) and ran away from Terry Biner by a staggering 1:36 in the second!

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The second race was utterly drenched.  Nobody was going to be able to utterly dominate, unless they’re name was Ayrton Senna, and we’re never going to see that level of genius for many years.  However, there is a young Brazilian who drove extremely well in the rain.  If you’ll direct you view to the right side of the picture above, you will see him lurking in the mist.

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Fifteen year old phenom Bruno Carneiro took both Formula class races, an impressive feat considering that the second race might as well have been held in a swimming pool.  For those keeping track, Bruno has won three of the last four Formula races.

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Speaking of tin tops, let’s talk TT.  Greg Valdez, pictured here on race slicks and with a completed wrap, is taking to TT1 like a fish to water.  He took the overall wins on both days of the weekend, while Shawn Murphy kept it close both days, but could not out run Greg.

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Alex Whetman’s Focus of Doom narrowly defeated Travis Tidball’s C5 Corvette on Saturday, and beat up on Matt Guiver on Sunday.  Guiver was in the freshly completed Us Against One Clothing E36 BMW M3.  Speaking of Us Against One Clothing and Alex Whetman, they put our name and logo on a shirt with a picture of the FoD on it.  Head on over, pick up a shirt (or several) and support some good local dudes.

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In TTB, AKA Spec 86, someone in something that is called a GT86 in places that aren’t America won the class on both days.  That someone is Toby Crawford, and that something is a Subaru BRZ.

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TTE was missing Ben Lamberson, and his championship winning Audi, so that opened up a path to victory for another competitor.  On Saturday Joe Schubert took a stroll down that path, and on Sunday long time rival Jeb Brown took the win.

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And in TTU an Audi (TW Racing) beat a couple of Hondas (the Turbo Lab NSX and Rhett Panter’s Integra) on Saturday, and on Sunday tried its hand at being an S1 Quattro. It did not go well, but it still won TTU.

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And playing by himself in TT2 was Robert Rathbone in his 911 GT3.

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The Lightning group is getting big.  More and more Spec Zs are emerging, which means the field is growing.  On Saturday there were 8 cars in the field, and 7 on Sunday.

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Arthur Golebiowski took advantage of the wet conditions, which caused an untimely spin for Chad Aalders (who, according the the results sheet, only did three laps. But did he make them count!) to take the win on Saturday.  On Sunday the weather was better, and the Lyfe Motorsports Spec Z (piloted by Cole Powelson) narrowly denied Arthur of a weekend sweep.  The margin of victory on Sunday? .305 seconds.

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman swept the weekend in the #44 Carpenter Motorsports Miata.  Ignore what the windshield says!  It was David I tell you!!!

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GTS3, PTC, PTE, and 944 Spec had one competitor each.  They were Bill Noblitt (#644, GTS3), Ed Mineau (#221, PTC), Todd Green (#58, PTE), and Otto Silva (#21, 944 Spec).  I would say they need more in class competitors, but they’ve taken to making the drivers in the bigger classes really work on the track.

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Saturday’s and Sunday’s Thunder races could not have been more different.  Just look at it!  Saturday’s affair was rain soaked, while Sunday’s could not have had more perfect weather.

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The weather didn’t matter to John Scarlett, he took wins in GTSU on both days.  On Sunday he had the TW Racing Audi R8 LMS breathing down his neck, his margin of victory was a mere .144 seconds.  That wouldn’t be really surprising, that R8 LMS is a fast car, but it is insane considering that Derek Wolthoff started the race from the back of the grid!

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ST3 was a classic Chevy vs. Ford battle.  On Saturday the Mustangs dominated the podium, with Gary Free in the Towne Storage FR500S standing on the top spot and Madison Milgard in second in one of the brand new Ford Performance Racing School BOSS 302 FRS Mustangs.  Sunday was all about the bowtie, with Travis Tidball in his C5 Corvette taking top honors and Joe Bogie in second in his fifth generation Camaro.

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Super Unlimited was won on Saturday by Joe Sim in the Turbo Lab NSX, which as a Honda fanboi at heart, was awesome to see.  On Sunday Byron Smith put his BMW on top of the podium.

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Mike Mielke in the super truck that can, did win ST2 on both days of the weekend.  Should the Silver Streak be detuned so it can compete in a more populous field?  Should it be tuned UP to compete in ST1?  Personally, I like it where it is.  So long as it remains on track.

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On Sunday we had Dan Worley in his Tatum Racing prepped LSx powered Porsche 944 competing in ST1, and Chris Vivolo was out and about in the #66 Porsche 911 in GTS5.  Both were the lone competitors in their classes, and both were Porsches.

And that’s all she wrote.  The next race weekend is fast approaching, the 16th and 17th of this month in fact.  The racers will be hustling around the East course, which features Miller Motorsports Park’s signature turn and the most dramatic elevation changes on the entire track.  Come, join us, there might be cookies, and there will definitely be some great racing.

Saturday Gallery

Sunday Gallery

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag and their respective owners.
02nd Apr2015

The Wells Report: NASA Utah Round 1

by Michael Chandler

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Photos by Michael Wells

Back again is Michael Wells, with his series of photos we like to call The Wells Report

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


31st Mar2015

NASA Utah 2015 Round 1: WE’RE BACK!

by Michael Chandler

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Words by Michael Chandler, photos by Michael Chandler and Gavin Pouquette


WE’RE BACK RACING!!!  Yes, our long local nightmare is finally over.  The 2015 NASA Utah season opened up this past weekend on the Outer Loop of Miller Motorsports Park, and it.  Was.  Glorious!  Let’s kick off our coverage with the TT groups, where the action was.

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Joe Sim brought out the Turbo Labs turbocharged Acura NSX and ran a blistering 2:00.305 to take the win in TTU.  The NSX made an appearance at Round 6 last year, and was even running around at GT Live back in 2007 and 2008!  Coming in second place was TW Racing in the familiar Audi R8 LMS.  Can the former GT3 car out pace the local legend?  Will we see more of the NSX period?  And what about the Lyfe Motorsports GTR?  Will it defend its title as TTU monster?  We have the better part of the season to find out!

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After a late night tuning session at Ziptie Dynowerks, Greg Valdez took his WRX STi atop the podium in his first TT1 event.  Shawn Murphy, who had an impromptu barbecue on the front straight last year, came in second and retired early with car troubles.  Third place was occupied by Dave Gilliland.

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Alex Whetman broke the Focus of Doom, but won the TT3 class in the process.  The 2:06.2 he ran was a full 4.7 seconds faster than the second place  Team Emerald West Porsche 911!  Jon Carver put his #49 Corvette in third.

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In TT2 we saw a battle between Robert Rathbone’s 911 and Frank Wilson’s C7 Corvette Z06.  In this battle, the Porsche pulled out the win.

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Paul House came out for one TT4 session in his Spec Z, and won himself a nice bottle opener.

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Richard Thiessens took some time out of coordinating HPDE instructors to take the class win in TTB.

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TTE is looking to be a hotly contested class.  Ben Lamberson and his Audi barely squeaked by Jeb Brown’s Subaru for the class win.

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We had some new faces in Open Wheel!  And those new faces actually won!  In Super Formula David Lockwood in his sharp, livery free car took race one; and Terry Biner, in the familiar Rodizio Grill car took race two.

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Formula is also seeing a new face.  Literally.  Bruno Carneiro (who is fifteen years old.  15!) has jumped from karts into a Formula Mazda car prepped by Ian Lacy Racing, and won race two after finishing behind Troy Duffin in race one.  Steven Costello took third in both races.

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Bruno and David weren’t the only newcomers to the Open Wheel group.  Askew Motorsports was out in a Radical for qualifying and a few laps in race one.  I, for one, would like to see Formula and Super Formula grow as fast and as large as Spec Z has.

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Speaking of Spec Z, it is huge!  There were six competitors for Saturday’s race, and a total of seven cars registered for the day.  In the race Arthur Golebiowski topped the podium, with Tom Kaminski in the Dip Kings 350Z in second, and Chad Aalders in third.  Shay Chappell, last year’s TT3 champion, has left his Porsche 911 Turbo at home and hopped into a Spec Z.  Shay can wheel, as is evidenced by his championship, so he won’t be in the basement for long.  With fellow newcomers Richard Fitzgerald and Askew MotorSport, this series is only getting more contested.

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In Spec Miata, David Sherman qualified on pole with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In the race David Sherman brought home the win, with Mike Ferrara and Allan Anderson behind him.  In other news, David Dingman was back out on track in a blue and yellow Miata!  David’s a great guy, and we’re glad to have him back out on track.

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And in the last Spec class, 944 Spec, Samuel Kapp and Otto Silva began what is always a season long battle for the championship.  These guys duke it out every round, and it’s always a good clean fight.

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In GTS2 Chris Haunold, in the red #9 Porsche, beat out Jim Miller, in the red #9 Porsche.  Oh man, watching that red Porsche cross the finish line after seeing the red Porsche retire with mechanical issues was something else.  Red Porsche.

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Bill “Wild Willie” Noblitt jumped from PTB to GTS3 and took the win over “Good Guy” Gus Stribakos in another all Porsche battle.

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They may have been the only ones in their respective classes, but Todd Green (#58 Paul Mitchell Miata) and Douglas Turnquist (#421 Porsche 944) took their wins and battled with the entire Lightning race group.

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Bad Luck Brendon Stewart detuned his Evo so he could drop down to Super Touring 3 and have some competition.  Long time ST3 competitors Travis Tidball (whose blue Corvette is getting wide) and Gary Free (in the Race Co FR500S Mustang) put up a fight against the newcomer, but in the end they couldn’t stop him.  Brendon won the battle, but lifted the cylinder head in the process.

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Les Long ran away from the GTSU field, and the rest of the race group in fact.  He posted a best lap time of 1:59.411 during the race.

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In GTS5 Russ Timmons held on to a lead of less than a second over Darrell Troester to take the class win.  Chris Vivolo and his blue and white 996 911 rounded out the podium.

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Byron Smith pitted his BMW against the 370Z of Lara Tallman.  It was a close battle, one in which neither driver could put much distance between the other.  By the time the checkered flag dropped Byron was ahead by 0.593 seconds, and took the win.

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Unfortunately not everyone had playmates within their class.  Dan Worley in the Tatum Racing LSX Porsche 944 claimed the ST1 win.  Mike Mielke showed up to ST2 just in time to take over as lone ranger, ironically while driving a Ranger.  And in GTS4 Shawn Tatum held court (see what I did there?  HILARIOUS!) in the Dell & Schaefer Porsche Cayman.

NASA Utah Round 1 Saturday winners Michael Chandler Photography-21

And that’s all she wrote.  It was a solid opening to what’s going to be a great season.  A great season that has an event every month through October!  There’s no excuse to not come out and catch one of these events, and there’s plenty of time to start working your way through the HPDE program so you can start competing with the a fore mentioned drivers.

The next event is April 24-26, and it’s on the West course.  It’s longer straight sections favor the higher horsepower cars, so be prepared to see some blistering lap times in the Thunder race group.  Grab some friends, pile into the car and make your way out to watch some racing!

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






12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What you see here is something we can all get behind.  Literally and figuratively.  This is an Integra GSR that has, to say the least, a lot of work done.  To say the most it’s had the custom touch applied to almost everything.

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-15

We met Rhett at Miller Motorsports Park at a NASA event about a year ago.  He was there campaigning his GSR in  Time Trial.  We really dug the car, and Rhett.  He’s a humble, down to Earth guy.  We chatted with him for a little bit, then he loaded up the car and disappeared back to Idaho.  For a while.  We honestly thought he had disappeared  and was gone forever.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and he and the car reappeared .

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In his absence from the track he did some work.  Some very custom work to the front end especially.   He didn’t really like any of the aftermarket bumpers on the market, but he liked some aspects of them.  So, he bought one and cut it apart.  He liked the Voltex bumper for the Lancer Evolution, so he grabbed some cans of spray foam and got to spraying.  He cut and trimmed, and shaped and formed, and he had a mold for a bumper.  But then he decided he didn’t like it, and started looking at cars closer to his Integra.  Specifically the Honda S2000, because both are long hood vehicles, as opposed to the stubby hooded Evo.  Out came the knife and the spray foam and, after filling the garage with foam shavings, he had the foam cored Carbon Fiber bumper you see before you.  It’s so strong you can stand on the inlet and only have to worry about scratching the finish. The canards are are also one off pieces, made by vacuum infusing utilizing carbon fiber with foam cores.

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Continuing the one off theme, the hood is also something Rhett and company fabricated.  No, he didn’t just cut a hole in the hood and slap on a set of DMax vents.  It’s vacuum infused carbon fiber with a foam core.  The fenders have been heavily modified with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass around foam cores.  The roof is also vacuum infused carbon fiber around a foam core.  Even the APR GTC 200 wing sits atop custom chassis mounted stands.  The only exterior parts that aren’t custom are the Pro Car Innovations side skirts, rear bumper and doors.

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The interior hasn’t received nearly as many custom touches as the exterior, but it does have some nice touches like the carbon fiber panel with Carlyle rocker switches.  Cobra Sebring Pro seats replace the factory chairs, with Crow five point harnesses holding the occupants in place.  A Tuner View II display has been custom mounted, and JDM arm rest and airbag deletes installed.  Gear changes are initiated with a Hybrid Racing adjustable shifter, and directional changes are made with a 330mm MOMO steering wheel on an NRG quick release.  And since he runs in NASA sanctioned events, and not some fly by night series, he has a 6 point certified roll cage.

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Rhett campaigns the Unlimited class, where his competition includes an R35 GTR and an Audi R8 LMS.  He couldn’t just roll out there with crazy aero and nothing more than an exhaust, so he got to work on making the B18C1 mill ready to handle the stout competition.  The block itself is stock and retains the OEM 81mm bore, but the pistons and rods have been tossed in favor of Wiseco Race shaped and prepped pistons atop Eagle rods.  ACL race bearings keep things spinning in an orderly manner.  The cylinder head has received plenty of love as well.  It’s been ported, polished and bowl matched and lovingly stuffed with GSC T1 camshafts and Supertech HD valve springs and retainers.

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Up top there’s a Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold with a 70mm Pro Series throttle body bringing in the air.  A Skunk2 composite fuel rail sends fuel to a quartet (…four) Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors.  A 6 port B&R breather box keeps the air out of the oil, before sending it through the custom thermostatic oil cooler setup.  The cooler itself is almost the size of a stock Civic radiator! The 1.8 liter VTEC mill is held in place with Hasport billet mounts with 94a durometer inserts, and Avid billet torque mounts

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All of that oil cooling is necessary because there is a Turbo By Garrett GT3071 turbocharger hanging off of a LoveFab Mini EQ manifold. The manifold has been wrapped and the turbo itself sits under a blanket, both are from DEI. That hairdryer gets it’s fresh air from a custom, carbon fiber ram air air box and massive four inch piping.   Since this isn’t some old turbo Colt, there’s an intercooler.  A big one.  A big, custom dual back door piece.  The excess pressurized air is releived via a Synapse blow off valve.  Because of the increased thermal load, there has to be a big, custom radiator.  The spent air, after exiting the turbo, leaves the car through a custom three inch V-Band exhaust with a five inch, round, Magnaflow muffler.  Other custom parts include a custom electric power steering, and water pump system.  There’s also a custom transmission cooler and pump set up.

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Which is good, because there’s an Elite/Gear X Transmission straight-cut 1-5 dog box that needs to be kept cool.  Shoved in that transmission is an OS Giken 1 way plate differential, which sends power to Drive Shaft Shop 3.9 axles and hubs.  Massive StopTech four piston calipers clamp down on 12.9 inch rotors.  There are bronze and spherical bearings all over the car from Password:JDM, Pro Car Innovations and Special Motorsports Projects.

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Password:JDM also provided the rear camber and lower control arms, and Hard Race provides front camber A arms.  There are Eibach Multi Pro R2 coilovers at all four corners, because adjust-ability is crucial when you’re chasing fractions of a second.  An ASR subframe brace  and Integra Type-R rear sway bar are, well, in the rear. Rhett has two sets of wheels for the car, and three sets of tires.  Variety is the spice of life, and being well prepared for most situations is pretty awesome.  Depending on the day the car is either on a set of 17×9 Rota Grids, or 17×9.75 XXR 527s.  His choices for rubber are 235/40 Toyo R888s, 225/40 Hoosier R6s, and finally 255/40 Hankook RS3s.

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As we were shooting the photos, Rhett told me his car was invited to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and also have a spot in the SEMA show.  This was an awesome thing to hear, and really cool to see his car at the show and roll out.  How did Rhett do? Well, much like the day we shot the car he was having issues.  The fuel pump went out, so a stock one had to be used.  This meant 30% throttle, no more than 6500rpm, and no VTEC.  Suddenly becoming the lowest horsepower vehicle sounds like it would have been a disaster, but Rhett managed to finish twenty-eighth out of  ninety-two competitors.  Not too bad for something built in a garage in Idaho.

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



07th May2014

NASA Utah Round 2: The Monsoon

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah round 2 Open Wheel Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (15 of 15)

April 26 was a miserable, cold, wet day. The daytime high hovered in the lower forties, the rain came down in buckets, and often sideways thanks to the stiff wind. Miller Motorsports Park had planned a huge opening weekend event, but the weather put the kaibosh on that. That said, that NASA Utah guys and gals, SCCA auto-crossers and Masters of the Mountain riders were not detered by the rain. Well, some may have been but there was still a sizable group of racers out in the rain.

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The Time Trial entrants were doing their best to cope with the poor conditions, some were coping better than others. In TT1 Shawn Murphy elected to wear his BF Goodrich R1 slicks, which was the wrong decision. His 1:58.285 was second fastest of the day, a staggering five seconds behind the TW Racing Audi R8, but somehow ahead of the Smith-Burke Corvette which turned a very sideways 2:01.957.
One of NASA Utah’s most adorable competitors, Greg Valdez, brought his STi but left the cover on it. He instead brought out his trusty Impreza to do battle against Scott Corsetti’s Porsche. Trustworthy is may be, the TT2 win went with the black Porsche, in which Scott put up a best time of 2:01.203 compared to Greg’s 2:09.194.
TT3 pitted old Porsche 911 vs. less old 911, with Shay Campbell’s 996 chassis 911 walking away from John Carver’s 993, 1:59.344 versus a 2:23.328.
Both TTB and C had one competitor each: Rod Kujaczynski and his GTI in TTC, and Richard Theissen and his 2012 STI in TTB. Despite being in different classes they finished with somewhat similar times: Richard posted a best time of 1:59.739, and Rod threw down a 1:58.286. Both of those times would’ve been competitive in TT1 given the conditions. Let it be said yet again: rain is the great equalizer.
TTE had Jeb Brown in his GC chassis Impreza duking it out with Ben Lamberson in his Audi 90 Quattro. Having been in the Audi I can tell you it has… heart? Ben hustled it to a solid 2:08.142, which wasn’t quite good enough to take the class win. Jeb ran a 2:04.179

NASA Utah round 2 Lightning race group Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (6 of 20)

The Lightning race pitted the usual Spec Miatas against the Spec Zs, with a PTE entry and a GTS2 class car in the mix as well. It also featured something somewhat out of place: Mike Mielke’s American Iron class Pontiac Firebird. Usually the big V8 cars run either against each other in the Thunder race (ST, SU) or against the clock (TT), so seeing the bird running with the smaller cars was a bit different. Or maybe the weather was finally getting to me, not 100% sure, but Mike was out there taking every placed on the podium in AI.
Other driver’s taking first and last in their respective classes were Jim Miller in GTS2, and Allan Anderson in PTE. Not having any class competition doesn’t mean that they didn’t have care-free racing. In addition to the weather they had a three car Spec Z field and a five car Spec Miata field to contend with.
Spec Z displayed a trio of properly prepped race cars, wearing mostly OEM 350Z wheels and tires. Why? Because the tires wrapped around the factory wheels are better capable at handling the odd downpour than the slicks Arthur, Tom and Paul usually run. That said, Arthur Golebiowski made the best use of the stock rubber taking top spot on the podium. Tom Kaminski placed second and Paul House rounded out the podium.
The field of Miatas seemed to enjoy the rain. They would playfully splash in the puddle at the exit of turn two, then slide their way out of it and continue with their lap. David Sherman made it around first, followed by McKay Snow with Chris Bond in third. How long until we see McKay join his brother and mother in the SU field? I don’t know, but I’ve got “It was a Snow-y day in SU” lined up and ready to go when he does.

NASA Utah round 2 Thunder race group Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (12 of 29)

Speaking of SU: it had a new, but familiar competitor! Kyle Schick made the jump to door to door racing, and picked an utterly awful day to do so. That said, he didn’t do too badly considering the seasoned field he was up against. John Scarlett ran away with the win, and Lara Tallman came in third… Behind Wild Schick Racing, aka Kyle. Yes, in his debut race he took second! Can we attribute this to a diminished field and the weather? Probably, but still: second place in that weather behind John Scarlett is not a bad first outing.
The Smith-Burke duo, bolstered by their sideways TT run, took first in ST1. They were the only ones in the class, but it was still an impressive run.
ST2 was a two man battle between Dave Dingman, who returned in his bananas Miata, and Brendon in his rain tire shod Evo. While Brendon had rain tires he was missing some other crucial pieces of equipment: windshield wipers and a defroster. I watched an in car video of his qualifying run, and by the end you couldn’t see a thing. Half way through it was looking dicey. Nonetheless Brendon got out there and battled with Dave, who picked a bad day to make his return. Dave took the win in the poor conditions, proving that Miata is the answer.
I want to take a moment, and propose that we start referring to ST3 as “The Mustang and Occasional Others” class, because the majority of the field is comprised of Mustangs. That said, only one Mustang put itself on the podium: Gary Free took third place, ahead of fellow Mustang driver Travis Williams, but behind Cary Wilson’s Corvette. Alex Whetman, and the Focus of Doom, took the top spot in the rain.

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People were having a tough time with the rain, but most people over came this. The open wheel racers were having a more difficult time than others. Why? Because of how they work. They need downforce to grip, and to create downforce they need air to move over the car to push the car down into the ground. To get enough air moving over the car they need to go fast. This is not a problem when it’s a nice, warm day; however, when it is raining cats and dogs and all sorts of other animals it begins very difficult. This was evident between turns five and six. Everybody got sideways at the least, and spun around in the dirt at the most. Thankfully everybody finished their races, nobody had a major incident.
In race one Terry Biner took top spot in Super Formula, followed by the #5 car of David Lockwood and the #12 car of Steve Burns. In Formula Chris Taylor took the win, followed by Steven Costello. The results in the second Formula race were the same, while in Super Formula Terry Biner took another win while Steve Burns took second.

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It was a rough day for us all, rougher for some than others, but all in all it was a good day. Everyone came in cold and wet, but under their own power. The next event is on May 24th and 25th, where hopefully we won’t have another storm. Either way, we’ll be out there and we hope to see you guys there too!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler.  All results courtesy of MyLaps.com

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
31st Mar2014

NASA Utah Round 1: Time Trial

by Michael Chandler
NASA Utah Round 1 Thunder and Lightning group CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (105 of 105)

Smith-Burke Racing setting their second record of the day!

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata

Paul McGarvey in his second run group and second Miata


Many TT drivers had moved up to the road racing classes, and several had not completed their off season builds yet. Absent was everyone’s favorite Wyoming local, TT1 Champion Shawn Murphy, but he came down to visit and show his support and supply NASA Utah’s own Matt Guiver with a well deserved malty beverage. Smith-Burke racing ran fast laps in both the racing group and the time trial group.  Paul McGarvey joined the Vette with his V8 powered Miata, but Paul was one man splitting time between two different classes, while J.R. Smith and James Burke could split seat time.  Hard work paid off and the Vette managed to break Danny Popp’s four year old TT1 track record with a 1:58.09.

Greg Valdez

Greg Valdez

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

Scott Corsetti chasing down Josh Miller

In TT2 Greg Valdez picked up right where he left off at Nationals last year.  His 2:04.356 was more than enough to take the win over Scott Corsetti’s 911 turbo. Greg repeated his victory on Sunday. Both TT2 drivers were good sports and spent a great deal of their day instructing new drivers in the HPDE program.

NASA Utah Round 1 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (12 of 14)

Trip Hunter

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Corry Perkins

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John Carver

TT3 saw new and old Porches battle a Corvette and a WRX wagon.  Rookie time trial driver Trip Hunter took the class win in his Martini Liveried Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, posting a 2:11.793, 2.8 seconds ahead of Corry Perkins’s 911.  Rounding out the podium was John Carver, who put his black and silver Corvette in third with a 2:15.329.  Josh Miller drove his WRX wagon to a fourth place finish (2:16.879), and James Pasquier posted a best time of 2:18.657 in his yellow 993 chassis 911, the oldest, but perhaps classiest, car in the field.

Kyle Schick

Kyle Schick

Reigning TTU Champion Kyle Schick was learning how the RaceCo/OS Giken/Ohlins Racing/VP Fuels/AMS GTR handled in rear wheel drive configuration.  2:04.185 was his best time during Saturday’s sessions.

Will we see Shawn Murphy next round?  Will Trent Smith get all four wheels of the GTR spinning together?  Can there possibly be more Porsches on track?  Find out all of this and more next month! 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 by Michael Chandler and Matt Guiver.  Photos by Michael Chandler

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