14th Oct2016

2016 TresDuro: Tres Means Three Part 3

by Michael Chandler

Time Trial C

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With a total time of 7:24.302, Max Dufford claimed a big TTC win.  Having to drive three different tracks in one day, including one that nobody has driven on in a couple of years, is a test for anyone.  Max rose to the occasion, and drove his Boxster to the limits set forth by the modifications allowed in the rulebook!

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Taking home a shiny piece of silver neck wear was Rod Kujaczynski. Still rocking a RaceCo decal, but sans cowboy hat, Rod’s total time was an impressive 7:29.662!

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Bringing home the bronze was Joe Evers, with a total time of 7:30.852.  Three medals went to three people who drive German cars.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

Time Trial D

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Trever “with an E” Pope managed a combined time of 7:53.343, not too bad for running around in a more practical Miata.  Trever is one of the many drivers who helps out, and instructs the HPDE drivers.  The young up and comers, or older up and comers, can learn some things from Trever.  He may be alone in TTD, but he’s consistent and he doesn’t get caught up trying to run down someone in a faster class.

Time Trial E

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Piloting his trusty Mazderati, Tyler Nisonger threw down a total time of 7:41.375.  As you can see in this photo, Tyler saves weight by only having one door mirror.  These are the little things that separate the winners from the “also ran” crowd.

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Erick Gerday also ran, but wasn’t an “also ran”.  His combined time of 8:02.322, while not stellar, is nothing to sneeze at.  Explore the limits of the rulebook a little bit, and get some more seat time, and Erick should start knocking seconds out of that time.

Time Trial B

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Darin Beaudoin, the goofy fella in the best Miata ever, took home the TTB gold.  How?  NO CLUE!  But I do know he waved at me on one of his out laps.  Did I get a picture of it?  NOPE!  Blame Andy Moench.  He was ahead of Darin on track, and waved at me first.  Quick PSA: If you’re going to wave at a photographer do it on an out lap, a pace lap, or a cool down lap.  Don’t do it when you’re trying to set a flyer, or mid race.  It’s one of those things that’s cool for the two of us, but will be infinitely embarassing if I have to write “and as they waved at me, the accidentally dropped two tires off track, which caused them to spin, which got them stuck in the sand trap”.  Ok, with that out of the way we can move on.

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Jan Gerday, running both TT and Spec Z, had a combined time of 7:32.775.  Running six total session in the same car is quite the feat, and it’s validated when you get a medal at the end of the night.

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Another Z getting a medal.  The 350Z is a useful tool in a racing situation, if you know how to use it.  And Justin Jones knows how to use it.  His 7:38.607 was six seconds off the pace of the Spec Z driver Jan Gerday, but eight seconds ahead of fourth place finisher David Muskovitz.

Time Trial 3

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James Pasquier was back, after some noticeable absences in the recent past.  The lack of a doctor’s note notwithstanding, James’s combined time of 7:06.328 got him another gold medal to add to the sizable pile.  I assume it’s a pile.  What I’m trying to say is James wins a lot.

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In a stunning upset, Mechanic Mike Bratsch beat out Andy Moench!  This after Mike helped Andy fix his car between sessions.  Sponsored by crippling instruments of debt, AMEX credit cards, Mike pounded out a 7:08.188.  You can’t drive fast enough to out run your debts Mike.  You just can’t.  Sounds cryptic, but really is absolutely meaningless.

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Andy Moench, with a car fixed by the skilled hands of Mechanic Mike, drove slower than Mechanic Mike.  He did drive all of the sessions, and he wasn’t that much slower than Mike.  His total time was 7:09.727.

Time Trial 2

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Shawn Murphy continued to set records.  He reset his record on the Outer Loop, and took over the East and Full track records.  His car still has a full interior, and he drives it around on the streets.  His total time was 6:37.029.  It was the fastest of the TT drivers.  His car, and how fast it is, hurts my brain.  I don’t understand it, I never will understand it, and I’m ok with that.

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Finishing in second place was Jenn Wolthoff in the Makes & Models Porsche 911 GT3.  Her total time was 7:09.621.  I understand that time, and how fast that car is.  There is no witchcraft involved in it.  Just good, clean, wholesome, pure, unadulterated speed.

Time Trial 1

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TT1 had two drivers who drove in all three races AND all three TT sessions.  And they did it in different cars.  David Gilliland hopped out of his Spec Z and into his Viper T/A.  His 6:58.015 was deserving of a gold medal at the barbecue.  I agree with the decision to give him a gold medal.

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David Bradshaw was a nother Spec Z driver who was jumping between cars all day.  He would jump out of his Spec Z, get some feedback on his race, then hop into his 996 Cup car for a TT session.  Then out of the Cup car, feedback, into the Z, and race.  His game of musical cars didn’t hurt his times, as he ended up with a 7:03.08.

Time Trial Unlimited

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Mike Kresser got himself a gold medal, after playing musical cars like his Lyfe teammate David Bradshaw.  Mike drove like a man possessed and posted a total time of 6:48.304.  Not too bad for a guy with a bad back and another race car to drive.

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Greg Warnock, and his widebody M3, came up just short against Mike’s 997 Cup car.  His total time was 6:58.414.  Again, not bad for someone who was pulling double duty all day.  And if you’re someone who says “I hate flares!”, then you haven’t seen this car turning laps.  It needs those flares to cover the massive slicks it uses to grip the tarmac.  You don’t hate flares, you just hate useless and/or ugly flares.

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Rounding out the top three is James “1000% not Jordan” Collier.  Less than two seconds separated him from Greg.  James’s total time in his Viper ACR was 7:00.335.  Notice how a lot of the photos are with the headlights on?  That’s because they got way behind schedule at some point.  So far, in fact, that the final TT session got underway AFTER sunset.  I made the most of it, and got some very cool pictures.  The corner worker at Tooele Turn had a brief, but loud meltdown.  We were all out of our comfort zone, corner worker.  But we survived.

And there it is, at least for TT.  Looking for Thunder and/or Lightning coverage?  I’ve got them in separate posts.

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

 

Off
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.
18th May2016

Where They Stand: Time Trial Standings

by Michael Chandler

 

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Now it’s time to take a look at the Time Trial standings.  There aren’t nearly as many classes in TT, but there are plenty of close battles.  Like TTE!  Paul Mitchell, the most fabulous Miata of them all, sits atop the class with Tyler Nisonger 40 points behind.  How is this going to shake out?  Well, back in third is Ben Lamberson.  He’s 70 points down, but definitely not out.  It’s a long season, and that’s not an insurmountable gap.

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Trevor Pope is sitting atop TTD, riding high on three straight wins.

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TTC didn’t have a single competitor last weekend, so Tom Rogers is still leading the group.

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New Miata owner, and fella with a jaunty last name, Darin Beaudoin is sitting atop TTB, with Adam Hurdman 100 point behind him in second place.

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One of the BRZ/FRS drivers to step up to TT3 was Andy Moench, and he finds himself in first place.  Another driver who made the jump is Mike Bratsch, who currently sits in second place.

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Shawn Murphy and his “street car” are 45 points ahead of the Makes & Models 911 GT3.  The 911 is tied with the Pink Ribbon Racing BRZ, which is getting some fresh new rubber.  Shawn is throwing on some new sideskirts and fender flares for the next round, so this weekend is going to be interesting.

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David Gilliland and his bright orange Viper are leading the way in TT1.  Nice to see that bright, menacing thing running around and winning.

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At the end of the rainbow is an Italian/German race car driven by a collection of talent that used to drive a German race car.  That would be Makes & Models and their shiny new Huracan ST.  They have a 20 point lead over Wade Hall in TTU.  If you were to take in to account the wins Makes & Models scored when they took their old R8 LMS out for Round 1, they’d have a 220 point lead over Wade.  Regardless, Makes & Models is still learning the car while Wade is sharpening his driving skills.  This one could get interesting.

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

 

10th Feb2016

I See You Like To Live Dangerously

by Michael Chandler

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I, too, like to live dangerously.

*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.
18th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 2

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

No time for pleasantries, let’s get right to it! The day opened up with the second Touring Car class race of the weekend, and while nobody attempted to climb over anybody else there was still some close racing.

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Nathan Stacy came into the Black Rock hairpin too hot in the #14 TSG/Ford Racing Motorsports Development Group Ford Fiesta, opening the door for Brian Price to drive the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit right on through.  Unfortunately their battle was for third place, Johan Schwartz used the Schwartz to put his Garrett Racing/Drive4Diabetes Honda fit on top of the podium, with Andrei Kisel in the #57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com Mini Cooper taking home second place.  Despite his third place finish, Brian Price took home the Driver’s Championship for the B Spec Class!

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TCA was an in house battle, with Jason Wolfe and Nik Jonsson battling for the class win.  Jason Wolfe in the #36 Wolfe Trucking/Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup squeaked out a first place finish over Nik Jonsson in the #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  The margin of victory was .003 seconds!  Rounding out the podium was Jason Cherry in the Autism Society of America/Avpro Jets/Purposeful Architecture Shea Racing Mazda MX-5 Miata.  Jason Wolfe’s narrowest of narrow victories cemented his Driver’s Championship.

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Touring Car wasn’t nearly as hotly contested as TCA and B Spec was, but that’s not to say it was completely devoid of action.  Steven Doherty in the #94 Skullcandy/Nissan/GT Academy Altima Coupe fired off a 1:38.411 lap on his way to victory, which was better than the existing track record!  No slouch himself, Michael Pettiford in the #41 Go4It Racing Schools/ Hawk Brakes Pontiac Solstice turned a 1:38.693 lap; however, he could not overcome the lead Doherty had.  Fred Emich, #30 Emich Racing/Emich Volkswagen Jetta GLI had the same problem of an insurmountable lead, but he still parked the Jetta on the podium.  The 4th place finisher would end up taking home the Driver’s Championship: Michael DiMeo in the #71 Grand Alarms/Compass 360 Racing/Children’s Tumor Foundation Honda Civic Si.

The Touring Car classes in World Challenge didn’t garner as large of crowds as the GT classes did, and that’s a bit of a shame in my opinion.  Sure the cars aren’t as fast or as flashy, but the racing is just as good, and just as competitive as it is in the senior circuit.  If you ever get the chance: find a good seat, settle in and watch the entire field go nose to tail and try to get around each other.

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Next on the docket was the Miller GT Challenge group.  The twenty car field consisted of eight of your favorite locals in the title class, nine United States Touring Car Championship drivers, and three USTCC GT drivers.  In the UTSCC field it was a battle of BMWs, with Jason Alexandridis in the #22 Perfromance Technic M3 beating out another M3, this being the #12 of Beau Borders, for the class win.

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In the GT field it was two manufacturers vying for the win.  Unfortunately the #34 GoGoGear.com BMW of Larry Bani retired, relegating him to third place.  Finishing ahead of him was the #16 Red Star Racing BMW of Daniel Akhromstev.  Sitting atop the heap was the #98 Honda S2000 of Andrie Hartanta.

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And finally in Miller GT we saw a three way battle for first place.  Derek Wolthoff in the #08 Makes And Models/TW Racing Audi R8 LMS battled Cindi Lux in the #5 Lux Performance Dodge Viper SRT and Cole Powelson in the #23 AMS Performance/OS Giken/RaceCo Nissan GTR.  The battle raged for twenty-five laps, but nearing the end of the race a piece of the GTR’s under tray came loose and caused them to fall off the pace.  Cindi and Derrick continued the fight, but by the time the checkered flag came down it was Derrick who was in front by 4.7 seconds.

On a side note: Cole Powelson has been a friend of the site’s for many years.  Today he announced that he would be leaving his position at RaceCo to create a new opportunity for himself in motorsports.  All of us here wish him the best of luck going forward, and we can’t wait to see what he ends up doing.

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On to the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS race, where championships were on the line!  Well, at least in GTA and GTS, the latter of which is where we begin.  Lawson Aschenbach in the #1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 needed to hold off Jack Baldwin and Mark Wilkins to claim his Driver’s title.  Fortunately for Lawson, and unfortunately for Mark, the prior race’s incident between the Kias left Mark looking up from third place in the standings, and 17th in the race.  Drew Regitz, #02 TRG-AMR Aston Martin GT4, battled with Lawson all race long, but Lawson pulled eeked out a .461 second lead by the drop of the checkered.  Jack Baldwin, in the #73 RESET-MD/GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S took the class win by nearly a second over Lawson, but the win was not enough for Jack to claim the Driver’s Championship from Lawson.

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Less than 100 points separated the contenders for the GTA Driver’s championship, and Michael Mills (#41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R) secured his championship with his hard fought third place finish in the race.  Marcelo Hahn in the #0 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 narrowly took second place in the race behind the #54 Black River Caviar/Black Swan Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Tim Pappas. It was Pappas who ran away from the field, and finished with a three second finish over Hahn.

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The GT class featured a podium completely devoid of Driver’s Championship contenders.  Andy Pilgrim, #8 Cadillac Racing CST-V.R, would finish fourth in the driver’s standings but his third place finish in the race secured Cadillac’s Manufacturer’s Title over Audi.  The top of the podium was decided by less than 1/4 of a second.  Robert Thorne in the #6 K-PAX Racing Mclaren MP4-12C GT3 traded blows with Ryan Dalziel in the #31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3R, but managed to hold off the Porsche at the line.

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The real battle to watch was further down the pack.  The fight for positions 6-7-8 featured your top three Driver’s Championship contenders.  Unfortunately, the incident at the beginning of the previous day’s race that left Skeen with a broken axle pretty much secured the title for Johnny O’Connell and his #3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V.R.  Second place in the championship was still up for grabs, and Anthony Lazarro battled Mike Skeen tooth and nail for it.  Unfortunately for Anthony and the crew of the #61 R.Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, Mike knew the score.  His 23rd place finish the race before narrowed the gap between himself and Lazarro, so he had to outright beat him in the race or at the very least keep him close.  The Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra ran well, but not well enough to keep the Ferrari behind it.  The 3.2 second gap, at first glance, would seem to vault Lazarro into second place; however,  Skeen only finished two places behind him.  The gap was not enough, and Mike Skeen maintained his second place.

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Finally on the day was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.  The Home Tracks series are the entry level series in the NASCAR system.  Do well enough there, and the potential to move into the Camping World Truck Series arises.  From there it’s Nationwide series, and finally the Sprint Cup.  Could one of these drivers be the next rising star? Who knows, but your third place finisher is the series’s Rookie of the Year.  James Bickford put the #6 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford on the podium and secured the ROTY honors.  Second place belonged to Bickford’s teammate Dylan Lupton in the #9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Sprint/Lucas Oil Ford.  Taking home the win was David Mayhew in the #17 MMI  Services/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet.  Two races are left in the season, and Lupton is withing striking distance of Driver’s Points leader Greg Pursley.

And so that ends our weekend at the Grand Prix.  It was quite the two days.  Below are galleries with far more photos in them, neatly divided up into their respective series.  We hope to see you again at next year’s Utah Grand Prix, or at the very least on the 27th of September for NASA Utah Round 6.

Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GTS

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCA/TCB

Miller GT/USTCC

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

 

 

16th Sep2014

2014 Utah Grand Prix Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

When Miller Motorsports Park released their 2014 schedule many, many months ago, I saw the Utah Grand Prix in September.  You remember Trent went to it years ago and got some very cool shots.  Well, now was my turn.  So I put in my application for credentials a few months in advance… And was told by John Gardener, the Marketing Communications Manager at Miller Motorsports Park, that I needed to resubmit them when the event was about a month out and that I wouldn’t have any issues getting credentials.  So I waited some more, resubmitted and was granted them!  I was going to my first big boy event, where there would be very serious photographers and big name manufacturers.  The scale of the event didn’t really hit me until the night before, when I felt like a very small fish in a very large pond.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and side tracked.  First, let’s talk about exactly what the Utah Grand Prix is.  This year there was NASCAR K&N West Series racing (which you’ll see in part two of this), Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy racing (All Porsche 911s, all of the time), Miller GT and United States Touring Car Championship (Your local favorites and the USTCC field running all at once), and finally Pirelli World Challenge Championship racing.  AKA SCCA World Challenge, this is the other big sports car racing series in the US.  This event was also a make up for the rained out opening round, and the season finale!  Championships were on the line!  And for those staring blankly at the screen, wondering what World Challenge is, here’s a break down:

GT/GTA/GTS

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Ahh, Grand Touring.  The Gentlemanly auto racers.  Actually, it’s mostly sports cars of varying degrees.  As we reported, World Challenge will let you run FIA GT3 spec cars in GT and GTA, which is why you see the Bentley Continental GT3 bearing down on the GTS class Kia Optima.  GT and GTA is the home of the GT3 cars (Continental GT3, McLaren MP4-12C GT3, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, etc) along with Cadillac CTS-V.Rs, the Acura TLX GT (which was wrecked in the previous race and wasn’t repaired in time for this one), and in genreral cars that were too much for GTS (Alex Loyd’s Corvette and Louis-Phillip Montour’s Dodge Viper).  GTS is home to more pedestrian entries, if you want to call them that.  Mustang Boss 302S’s, Nissan 370Zs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Porsche Caymans represent the majority of the field.  Also running in the class are the Kia Optimas and Aston Martin GT4s, with the Kias competing for the Manufacturer’s Title in class.

TC/TCA/TCB

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TC is short for Touring Car, and if you’ve ever watched any of European Touring Car series then you know how wild the econo boxes can be!  Sorry, sport “sedans”; although, as you can see the Skullcandy Altima is a coupe.  That’s neither here nor there.  TC and TCA is populated by small displacement rear wheel drive cars, like the Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe and the venerable Mazda MX-5 Miata, and front wheel drive cars like Civic Si’s, Altimas and Jetta GLIs.  TCB is the land of the little B Spec cars, Honda Fits, Mini Coopers and Fiat 500s.  Armed with this knowledge, lets get on with this story.

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I had to be at the track early.  Not pre-dawn early, but early for someone who is usually ready to face the day at the crack of noon.  I arrived, got my wrist band and found a seat in the media center.  I chatted with Michael Wells, and finally met Chance Hales.  After the meeting, Chance, myself and Shawn Pierce, who shoots for NoBraking.com, piled in to my Subaru and made our way to some corners for the practice sessions of GT/A/S TC/A/B and Miller GT.

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By lunch we made our way half way around the track.  We formed a plan for the qualifying sessions and races, and made our way to the paddock.  I dropped them at the Media Center and made my way to RaceCo to chat with Cole Powelson and Kyle Schick, and meet up with Derrick Wolthoff of Makes and Models and TW Racing.  On the way I ran into George Smith, and asked him why he suddenly disappeared from the Miller GT session.  The crank sensor in his Corvette failed, and it was an all hands on deck effort to replace it.

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Eventually I made it to the Makes and Models garage just in time to tag along with Derrick to talk about getting some fuel from some people.  Those people happened to be Audi Customer Support Racing, Global Motorsports Group and Mike Skeen who was #2 in GT Driver’s championship.  While Derrick was conducting business, I wandered about the paddock and got some photos.  I would’ve stayed for more photos, but the next session was coming up quick so I had to get my car and grab Chance and Shawn.

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Not without getting a little sidetracked though.  The Black Swan Racing SLS AMG GT3 is the most gorgeous car in the field, hands down.  And the KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3s have names: Reginald and Edward.  Why they’re named that is beyond me, but it led me to thinking of names for the Cadillacs and the Bentleys.  The Caddys are George and James, while the Bentleys are Lord Percival Umberbottom and Duke Albert Thistleton IV.  I didn’t ask either team if they would consider naming or changing the names of their cars, but I think Cadillac would’ve been a bit more receptive to the idea.

Anyway, Chance and Shawn decided they wanted to skip the next session, and go grab some food.  I agreed with this, and off we went.

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After lunch we made our way to Witchcraft and The Attitudes for the Pirelli GT3 Cup race, which had a healthy amount of local Drivers in it who had quite a showing.  David Donner, Alan and Desire Wilson, John Scarlett, Les Long and Darrell Troester all demonstrated what is meant by a home field advantage.  We stayed in the attitudes for the World Challenge GT qualifier, before making our way down to turn one for the start of the TC race.

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And what a start it was! In the opening lap Paul Holton in the #65 Shea Racing Honda Fit collided with, and almost drove over top of, the #58 Racing.ca Mini Cooper of Glenn Nixon.  Somehow Holton’s Fit was able to continue with the race.  The same could not be said for Nixon’s Mini.  Both drivers received Driver Conduct penalties, $1000 fines and lost 20 points each.  Holton finished 9th in class, and 22nd overall while Brian Price in the #51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit finished first in TCB.  Adam Poland in the Eastex Motorsports MX-5 Miata took the TC class win, and Nic Jonsson took the TCA win in Russell Smith’s #38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup.  After the track was cleaned up, it was time for the GT race.

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Before I tell you about the race itself, I need to tell you something we were told in the media meeting.  We were told we couldn’t be on the pit wall for the beginning of the GT race.  Why? World Challenge does a standing start, like Formula 1 does.  Most of the time, this isn’t an issue but lately drivers stalling on the start has been a problem.  When a driver stalls, and is in the middle or front of the grid, everyone behind him has to take evasive maneuvers.  Sometimes these maneuvers result in collisions, which can send pieces of the cars flying.  So for our safety, we weren’t allowed on the pit wall for the start of the race.

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This was a good thing, because guess what happened.  The GTS Kias got into each other, and Mike Skeen broke an axle in his Audi R8 LMS Ultra.  Mike made it off track under his own power, but the Kias had to be towed off.  This immediately brought out the yellow flag and the safety car.  Since this was a timed race, some of the other photographers began getting worried/annoyed, which led me to cracking off a one liner.  It was not well received.  Anyway, the Kias were finally removed, and the green flag flew again.

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After watching the calamity of turn one iron itself out (everyone is trying to get around everyone else.  Remember the incident between the Fit and the Mini?), we made our way over to the Clubhouse to grab some photos of the final three turns, where more calamity ensued.

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An incident occurred as soon as we got to Clubhouse turn.  The #6 KPAX Racing McLaren MP4-12C of Robert Thorne got into the back of the #96 Capaldi Racing/Dat Dog Ford Mustang Boss 302S of Brad Adams, causing both cars to spin out right in front of the massive and massively fast Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3s and Cadillac Racing CTS-V.Rs.  Thankfully nobody else was involved in the spin.

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With Mike Skeen’s race over before it began the battle for the podium came down to two iconic luxury marques: Bentley and Cadillac.  Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim battled the Bentleys of Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger for two of the top three spots.  When the dust settled, Guy Smith was atop the podium.  His Continental beat out O’Connell’s CTS-V.R by 3.47 seconds for the top spot.  It was very nearly a 1-2 finish for the Brits, but Johnny held Leitzinger off by less than 1/10 of a second!

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Michael Mills in the #41 Effort Racing Porsche 911 GT3R took the GTA class win, and without the class leading Kias in his way or Driver’s Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach’s Black Dog Speed Shop Camaro ZL1 to worry about Nick Esayian cruised to victory in GTS in his TRG-AMR North America Natural Cures Aston Martin GT4.

And that wraps up the first of two days I spent at the Utah Grand Prix.  Stay tuned for Day 2, which held the Pirelli World Challenge final races, the Miller GT race, and the NASCAR K&N West Series race!  Below are a few galleries, neatly organized by series.

World Challenge GT/A/S

World Challenge TC/A/B

Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy

Miller GT

 

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

 

25th Aug2014

NASA Utah Round 5

by Michael Chandler

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

30th Jul2014

Octane Party

by Michael Chandler

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This past weekend there was a little party thrown out at Miller Motorsports Park.  The man, the myth, the legend Zane Miller invited me out to it the night before it was thrown.  Naturally I said yes.  This wasn’t some house party rager, or casual cocktail affair.  This was the Octane Party, and there were tens of millions of dollars worth of racing history just hanging out for all to see.

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They emptied the museum and parked the contents on the grass behind the grandstands on Wind Up turn.  Mustangs, Cobras, GT40s and a Daytona Coupe were carefully arranged so everyone could take in the heritage.  They were clearly the bells of the ball, but they weren’t the only classics out on this day.

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There was this gorgeous Porsche 914.  The bright orange paint, along with it being the only 914 there, made it stand out among the Audis and lone 911 it was parked amongst.  Another outstanding feature? the 1.7 liter motor has been ditched in favor of a 3.2 liter flat six.  Suffice it to say that this car turns into an orange blur when let out on an auto cross course.

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The Dodge Challenger is awesome.  The Dodge Viper is awesome as well.  What happens when you combine the two AND pop a supercharger in there for good measure?  A big ole, fat sack of American kick ass is what!  Ekins Garage built this for Menlove Dodge, a local dealer, and left no detail un-scrutinized.

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Who doesn’t love a good rat rod? Chopped, channeled, and rusty is the way we like em.  Also loud, and judging by the lack of anything resembling an exhaust I feel confident in giving this thing the CAM seal of approval.

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Are super cars what do it for you? Well here’s an Underground Racing Lamborghini Gallardo that went 225mph, in the rain!  Story goes that the rain began as soon as he left the line for his standing mile run.  There are also some Ferraris in this picture, along with a Lexus LFA.

Are there better ways to spend a Sunday? Yes, but not too many.  We’d like to thank Zane and the organizers of this party, along with Miller Motorsports Park for hosting.  We’re looking forward to the next event Zane has planned, because that guy knows how to host a party.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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