NASA Summer Night at West September 2015

Night racing returned to NASA-AZ on September 5th at Wild Horse Pass West track.   It was a beautiful late summer evening with nice early cloud cover, a few light sprinkles and bunch of great cars and drivers out to test the lighting and get some track experience. As usual at our local events we were treated with a delicious food vendor serving burgers, tacos, burritos and cold sodas.

I had never been to a night event but was very surprised at how fun it was. Turning on headlights was definitely an unusual sensation in a race-car. And more than one driver got to grid with their headlights completely taped over prior to realizing that a change was necessary!


This was a non-points event for the Race Groups so many of the bigger (non-lighted) cars didn’t show up. But many others did and it was a great chance to practice night and lighted operations for those planning longer enduros in the future where a long overnight drive will be required.


Big Crowd! I was totally surprised to see so many HPDE-1 drivers.   We had 15 paid entrants for DE1 and this is awesome to see so many first-timers come out for their future addiction.

Big round of thanks to the DE1 contingent: Nicole Booye, Ernesto Bustamante, Christian Caldron, Clayton Creekmore, Albert Dupre, Craig Foss, Mark Gonchar, Robert Johnson, Bryan Korte, Johannes Laraway, Heinrich Schultz, Avtar Singh, T. Philip Thomas, Keith Wong and Jason Zucco.     Hope to see everyone moving up to HPDE2 soon.

And speaking of HPDE2, there was a good crowd here too with 18 signed up. It’s great to come back and see the same drivers you remember from your previous HPDE1 event and track your progress together. Many of the drivers from my DE1 were with me at Comp School and are now beside me racing for the finish line in wheel to wheel action. Great fun ahead!


Between DE3 and DE4 were over 30 more drivers. At this point it’s a good idea to start getting focused on driver safety equipment and start to consider when the next Competition School you might be eligible to attend is. It’s the most fun you will have on track!

Time Trial:

This was a non-points Time Trial event but the event was still be eligible for track records and contingency. With 20 drivers signed up and limited track time it proved to be an exciting few sessions.   The 3 sessions were not only full but combined with all classes on a dark track. It makes for exciting driving and everyone kept their heads on a swivel!

Time Attack:

This was also a busy and short session for the UMS Tuning sponsored Time Attack which started at 11:00pm. We had 15 drivers signed up heading into the event for this relatively short 10 minute session.

Next event is Inde back in Wilcox, AZ:

Remember this is a Comp School event and everyone looking to advance to racing and points events should be considering getting their Comp School out of the way.   See your class leader or mentor for more details.



Join the NASA-AZ forums to check out the latest info on upcoming events, questions and answers, Etc.

Also check out our Facebook page.

Edits and comments:   PS… Always glad to get input from other classes and drivers that want to help expand the information in the recap.  Pictures, notes, assistance, editing are always appreciated!


Who’s Who in NASA: Zack Niemeyer

Full Name:  Zack Niemeyer
Where is your Hometown?  Cave Creek, AZ
How long have you lived in AZ? Native!
Favorite Food(s):  Hot Wings
Favorite Music:  Rock, Rap, Electronic but NO Country
Occupation:  Technical Sales Engineer, Trane
NASA Run Group:  Currently TTC
Current Daily Driver: 2007 Crown Vic Police Interceptor (Black)
Current Race Car 1995 Mazda Miata (Purple)
Specs: 2003 VVT Motor,
9″ 6UL Wheels
Hoosier R7 205/50/15
Xida Sus Coilovers
OS Giken Differential
Racepak Dash Display
AEM Infinity ECU
Previous Car(s): 1974 VW Bug, 1990 Nissan 300ZX TT, 2004 Chevy Corvette Z06

Wakeboarding  aka Flying

Wakeboarding aka Flying

Ever see a flash of purple go by you in the paddock? That would be Zack Niemeyer on his skateboard! At 22 years old, Zack is one of our youngest regulars in the Time Trials group. He is an Arizona native, growing up in Cave Creek. In May, he graduated with his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from ASU. He has always been active playing various sports, skateboarding, snowboarding and was even on the ASU Wakeboarding Team for the last 4 years. When he isn’t in the water or racing, he spends time with his girlfriend of 2 years, Jennifer, who he met during Spring Break in Lake Havasu (oh to be young!). This is a big year for him, he also closed on his 1st house in Tempe last week!


His journey into NASA AZ began when he purchased a 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. One day, he was inside a local race shop and saw a picture on the wall of a similar 300Z. Turns out the picture was of Brett Lengel driving at a NASA event. Zack, not knowing a thing about track days, asked the shop guys about the picture and they led him to NASA AZ. In May 2011, he took the plunge and attended his 1st HPDE1 event at INDE Motorsports Ranch with Norm Hamden as his in-car instructor. He was instantly hooked! He quickly moved through the HPDE program and settled happily into HPDE4. After some gentle pressuring from group leader, Robert Rose, he decided to make the jump into Time Trials. He started in TTD and recently (amid much fanfare) moved into TTC. He has proven himself a worthy competitor, finishing on the podium at all 9 Time Trials events in 2015! He plans on going to NASA Competition School in October and should be active in Race Group in 2016.

Zack & Rick
Zack’s love of cars is hereditary. His father, Rick Niemeyer, is also a car enthusiast. Rick attends all track events with his son and also happens to be his #1 sponsor. (Funny how that works!) The two man team does 100% of the mechanical work on the car themselves. Their only outside help is from Tony Szirka who regularly tunes the car at UMS Tuning.

Purple Miata
The team is currently prepping the Miata for the NASA Western States Championships at Laguna Seca. Like most seasoned drivers, it will be a race to finish before they hit the road next week. In June, the cars engine detonated leaving the team to rebuild over the last few weeks. It will be Zack’s first time driving outside the Arizona Region! You’ll be able to follow this young driver as he races for the podium at NASA Western Championships July 31- August 2, 2015.

NASA June 6, 2015 Morning Event

NASA-AZ concluded the first semester of 2015 with an early morning race at WildHorse Pass West track.    The morning events are a way allow drivers to get an extra track day and still avoid some of the summer heat.  Luckily this June 6th began with rain showers early in the morning and yet still dried up enough to allow the racers to experience a mostly dry track.


Due to the compressed schedule the early morning events are not a Points event for Race Group but are for Time Trial and Time Attack.  We also ran a full complement of HPDE classes which included 11 registered new HPDE drivers.  It’s always exciting to see new drivers joining in and getting a taste of the action.  Congratulations and Welcome to:  Ahmed Mohamed, Vince Burbes, Carlos Cardenas, Mike Iannacone, Mike Kelly, Larry McEnnis, Tim Robertson, Matt Springer, Tony Thomas, Alejandro Timbancaya, Conor Wroble.  Hope to see each of you come back soon and move up to HPDE2 and beyond.

There were 19 drivers registered for HPDE2 and while I know the rain scared away a few we still had a good turnout.  HPDE 3 & 4 were similarly well attended with about 14 in each including some new faces and a bunch of NASA-AZ regulars.  We appreciate everyone coming out.

Julie Shugarman moving up to HPDE3!  Nice driving and great video.

A Whopping 44 drivers signed up for the Time Trial sessions with what looked like about one of every type of car ever made.   UMS Tuning’s Tony Szirka ran the best lap overall and was first in Time Trial Unlimited at 1:01.17.  John Bianchi, Jeremy Renshaw and Erik Davis posted the best speeds in TT1, TT2 and TT3 respectively.  Michael Kasdorf was the lone driver in TTB and Eric Jacobson had similar competition in TTF.  TTC, D and E were all well attended with 6-9 cars in each with best times by Team Schotz, Chris Ambrosio and Team Whiskey Business respectively leading their class.

Time Attack, sponsored by ran 14 cars across 4 classes.  Aaron Hiar and Jay Ronquillo led the A group as usual with Phil Robles and Eric Kennel #1 & #2 in B, Team Shift Fast and Russ Whelan in C.

The Summer Break is now upon us and many have plans for big engines upgrades and suspension swap projects.  I remember sitting in a download several years ago at Inde and the instructors mentioned this same thing… but encouraged each of us to go easy on the performance modifications and look at investments in driver safety first.    It’s a good time to look at installing a fire-system or roll cage to get yourself eligible for RaceGroup in 2016 with completion of an upcoming Competition school.

Additionally summer is a good time to do an “Annual Inspection” on your car.  Virtually all aircraft complete an Annual Inspection which includes opening  up all the panels, inspecting engine, pulling the wheels, bearings and brakes and correcting all “squawks” found.  This also makes it easier to check each and every nut and bolt and apply TorqueSeal to have a visual indication of a loosening fastener (

Have a great summer and we look forward to getting back on track in just a few short months.


Join the NASA-AZ forums to check out the latest info on upcoming events, questions and answers, Etc.

Also check out our Facebook page.

Edits and comments:   PS… Always glad to get input from other classes and drivers that want to help expand the information in the recap.  Pictures, notes, assistance, editing are always appreciated!

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