Who’s Who in NASA: Hal Dunn

Full Name:  Hal Dunn
Where is your Hometown?  Baltimore, MD
How long have you lived in AZ? Yuma since 2001
Marital Status: Married 41 years to Karen
Children/Grandchildren: Sons – Robert & Matthew
Grandkids – Ryan, Genna & Jacob
Pets: Two Males Dachshunds Freddy (who enjoys the track) & Wolfie, Female Terrier Molly and Chihuahua Mia
Favorite Music:  Rock & Roll from all decades
Favorite TV Show:  TopShot, Last Man Standing, Survivor, Food Network
Occupation: Chief Warrant Office US Army (Retired), Corporate Pilot (current)
NASA Run Group:  Currently TTC, PTC
Current Daily Driver: Ford Explorer

 

Current Race Car 2013 Scion FRS White #51
Specs: “Lightly Modified”
Hypercoil Springs
Tarmac Racing Coilovers
Hawk Pads (stock calipers/rotors)
Hoosier 245/40/17
AirAid Intake
JDL Equal Length Header
Custom Exhaust
Cage by Precision Chassis Works
Tuned for E85 Fuel
Stock HP: 165
Current HP: 195
Previous Race Car(s): 944 Spec, 2006 Mustang

2013 Scion FRS

2013 Scion FRS

This Who’s Who started a few months ago when Tage asked Hal Dunn if he’d like to be the Series Director for our PT Race Classes. For months, we went back and forth but never quite found time to sit down together. I’m glad we finally had our “interview” because I realized I knew very little about Hal even though he’s been racing with us for years!

Hal spent 23 years in the US Army that began when he enlisted in 1971. By 1974, he had graduated flight school and was flying Cobra Helicopters on his own. Over the years, he has flown over 45 different types of aircraft and has lived all over the world including Germany and the Marshall Islands. Ironically, while living in the Marshall Islands he was part of a Sail Boat Racing group where he had to figure out “handicaps” for the different types of vessels that were competing. Eventually work led him to Yuma, Arizona where he has made a home for the last 15 years. He currently owns a company that maintains and pilots 5 corporate jets out of Yuma.

Hal first learned about NASA from an advertisement for the American Iron group. Shortly after reading about the the AI group he drove up to Phoenix International Raceway to see a NASA AZ event. Much to his disappointment, Hal found that this region had ZERO Mustangs driving in AI. Thankfully, he ran into Norm Hamden and was signed up for DE1 by the next event with Norm as his instructor. Hal progressed quickly to race group and was soon driving competitively in the 944 Spec group (Norm has a way of getting people to run that group!). Between 2006-2009 Hal drove regularly in 944 Spec but after ongoing car issues and incidents he decided to take a break. His break was short lived and less than a year later he was back driving his 2006 Mustang in TTB. Sadly, in May 2012, his beautiful Mustang and the wall near start/finish at INDE had a little “incident”. After mentioning a new car he had read about, his son arranged for a salesman to bring the new car by his house for a “test” drive. Hal laughed as he told about the test drive of a lifetime with a very enthusiastic salesman. And just like that he was the proud owner of a new 2013 Scion FRS (just not THAT one LOL). The FRS has proved itself a great car. With what Hal considers “light” modifications, he has been having a blast driving in both TTC/D and PTC the last few years.

2006 Mustang

2006 Mustang

944 Racing in the Rain

944 Racing in the Rain

Some highlights of Hals time with NASA have been Nationals at Miller Motorsports Park in 2013. Hal described the feeling being overwhelmed as he took in the facility and excitement of the event. He proudly finished 4th in TTD that year. He also remembers checking off an item from his bucket list 30 some years later. In the 1970’s he flew a Helicopter over Road Atlanta and it instantly became a bucket item for him to drive. In 2014, he finally realized that dream as he drove in the East Coast NASA Nationals on Road Atlanta. And with much emotion, Hal describes one of his favorite moments within NASA AZ. After hitting the wall at INDE Motorsports Ranch, Hal describes how Jason Griepentrog (who he had just met that event) took the time to sit with Hal and make sure he was ok, then stay late at the end of the weekend to help load the car back into his trailer.

This year Jeff Abrams and Hal have been battling it out in both TTC and PTC. It is tight racing between the Scion FRS and Mazda Miata. Every race is a real competition with each of them going back and forth between 1st and 2nd place podium finishes all season long. Hal happily describes this year as the most fun he has ever had on track.

Jeff and Hal on the Podium in April 2015

Jeff and Hal on the Podium in April 2015

As the new PT Series Leader for NASA AZ, Hal hopes to grow the class and encourage more drivers to try it. He notes that lack of updated information and accessibly online have hindered the group and hopes to make some changes so that more people can see that PT can accommodate a wide variety of cars and budgets. Other future plans might one day include dusting off another Mustang that is nearly complete sitting in his garage, possibly starting up an AI group in AZ and maybe driving the Nurburgring that he also saw from air many years ago.

Nap Time at the Dunn House

Nap Time at the Dunn House

Know someone you’d like to see in a future Who’s Who? Email adina@nasaaz.com