June 13, 2021

NASA Utah Round 6: a Prelude to Night Shenanigans

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

On the eve of August the 8th, twenty-six teams took the grid for the Western Endurance Racing Championship 6 hour endurance race.

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This story is not about them.  This story is about all your favorite NASA Utah drivers, doing what they do: race!  Or work towards their competition license, whatever the case may be.  Since I’ve shown off a couple of photos from the Thunder group race, we’ll start there.

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There were seven (7!) BMW specific classes.  In BMW-BM class, Ralph Warren took the win in the #17 Achilles Tire M3.

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In CM, Vic Pizzino drove his multi-colored E46 M3 to the top spot. In a noteworthy twist, Vic’s older M3 posted a faster fast lap than Ralph’s slightly less old M3: 2:04.029 vs. 2:04.437

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My favorite BMW of the weekend, the Bavarian Motors Limited E30.  Just look at it: an E30 coupe, silver, big wing.  It is Bavarian glory in motion.  At the hands of a jamoke like me, it’d be slow, and awkward, and probably be stuck in a gravel trap.  In the hands of someone competent, like Andrew Sanchez, it is a class winning car.

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In JP, JF (James Fluckey) took P1 and did not have to go OMT.

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NEIL DALY LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! He took his Spec E30 325i all the way to a win, and skipped out on the barbecue to prepare for the enduro.  You fool!  You missed out on a bottle opener/medal AND free burgers!  It’s ok though, you and your sporty little BMW are forever immortalized on these hallowed pages.

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AND rounding out our BMW specific classes, the Team Technik/HQ Autosport E46 won E46.  All hail the magical roundel.

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Breaking up the Bavarian parade is Jeff Kearl!  He took his ridiculous Evo VIII/IX to victory lane in GTS3.

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There was no denying victory from Shawn Tatum in GTS4.  Partially because the Cayman is a competent chassis, partially because he was all by his lonesome.  Why does nobody want to race with the mid-engined Porsches?

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Chris Vivolo led the charge in GTS5, and ran his Tatum Racing prepped 996 GT3 Cup car to a win!

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We have ourselves a new player in GTSU: DXDT Racing.  They’re a new full service race shop out at Miller, and they have themselves an R8 LMS Ultra chassis to promote themselves with.  So far so good, they took the win in their debut race, and looked good doing so.  Much like fellow GTSU competitors TW Racing, they had the guys at Envision vinyl wrap the chassis.  And much like the TW Racing R8 LMS, it looks good.

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Thought you were done with BMWs?  GUESS AGAIN!  Brett Strom in the #66 Spec E46 330i took the win over the almost identical looking #65 330i.  Ok, it’s all America from here on out!.. Until we get to SU, but the winning car wasn’t a BMW.

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Big Bob Evans, in the most American thing short of a Uncle Sam riding a Bald Eagle, took home another win in ST1.

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The second most American thing, Mike Mielke’s “truck”, actually had competition in ST2!  It was a BMW driven by George Smith!  Unfortunately George’s bad luck followed him to this chassis, and his race ended prematurely.

Remember Travis Tidball’s rather pedestrian looking C5 Z06 Corvette?  Sure, it had the wide fenders, splitter and big wing, but it was the factory dark blue and the new body parts were black.  Well, the wizards at Envision wrapped his car up as well.  This was before he went to Laguna Seca, and did battle on The Corkscrew.  He returned from Monterrey, and claimed himself an ST3 victory.

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AND in SU: Brent Holden, who will be back this coming weekend for Pirelli World Challenge, out drove Vesko to take home the coveted gold bottle opener!  Which he didn’t actually claim, because he was getting ready for the enduro.

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On to Lightning, where there were things, and stuff!

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In GTS1, some intrepid heroes in a 2.8L A4 took home the win.  The drive of the QMD/034 Motorsports A4 will go down in history because it actually finished!

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Usually a Boxster or Cayman stands out, but for Jim Miller he was one of four.  In fact, he wasn’t even the only red and white Porsche!  None of that mattered, because Jim got himself a win in GTS2.

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Speaking of mid-engined Porsches, Mark Klenin and his white Cayman GTS won the Porsche heavy GTS3 class.

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Doug Young, and his E36 won… somthing.  The NASA timing and scoring sheet has him in GTSU, which seems odd…  And he’s not even on the Mylaps.com sheets.  Eh, whatever.  It’s a good looking BMW, and it deserves to be seen!

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If Doug Turnquist’s business cards don’t simply say “PTB Winner”, then he needs new business cards.  He always seems to be winning…

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What is this?  A FRS outside of TTB?  WELL I NEVER!  But Richard Woodroffe does, and he did collect himself a shiny new bit of hardware for winning PTC.

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FIT!!!!!!!! FIT FIT FIT FIT FIT! FFFFFFFFFFFIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! James Nazarian beat not one, but two Miatas in a Honda Fit!  One of which was Todd Green’s!  Can you understand why I’m irrationally excited about this?!?  FIT!

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Daniel Williams took home another win in Spec Miata, which makes 4 on the year for Mr. Williams.

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Arthur Golebiowski continued his domination in Spec Z with another win.  He’s won nine of the twelve races this season.  Nine out of twelve!  And he hasn’t finished worse than third in the three he didn’t win!  And despite that, Chad Aalders and Tom Kaminski are STILL right there in the hunt for the season championship.

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And finally, Otto Silva claimed himself the top spot on the podium in 944 Spec.

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And now it’s time for Time Trial, where things got extremely interesting.

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Greg Valdez did what Greg does, and won in TT1.  He also gave Michael Wells a ride on Sunday, which I think he enjoyed.

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Definitely looks like he was enjoying himself.

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Robert Rathbone cruised to another win in TT2, which is easy to do in a 911.

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Darin Beaudoin took home the top honors in TT3, and somehow escaped my camera while on track.  Stop being elusive Darin!  STOP IT NOW!

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Dave Wann is not as elusive, as is evidence by this photograph.

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He also works the podium ceremonies!

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Mike Donich drove home a win in TTC.

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Todd Green collected a win in TTE.  I didn’t get a shot of him out in the TT sessions, but here he is in the Lightning race.  Lookin good Todd.

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And Brent Holden got another medal, this time for TTU.  Funny how a pro caliber R8 can turn fast laps…

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All the Open Wheel fun was moved to Sunday, due to the Enduro… or something.  The big takeaway is that there was only open wheel racing on Sunday.  And on that Sunday Bruno Carneiro, the only teenager I’m willing to take the word of (the ball is in your court youths!), won both Formula races.  Because that’s what he does.

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Ian Lacey hopped into a Super Formula car for the first time in seven races, and proceeded to win both races on the day.

And that about does it for this NASA Utah weekend.  There is one thing, a rather big thing that I’m leaving out of this particular story; however, it’s because I feel it warrants its own post.  I will leave you with a teaser, in addition to the usual gallery from BOTH days of the weekend.

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