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

Who’s Who in NASA: Zack Niemeyer

DSC_1205
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.

Who’s Who in NASA: Nikki Dayton

 

nikki1    

Full Name:  Corrie Sue Nicole Dayton  AKA “Nikki”, “T&A”
Where is your Hometown?  Salem, OR
How long have you lived in AZ? Since 2005
Favorite Food(s):  Italian (of course) and Mexican
Favorite Music:  Nothing particular
Occupation:  Dept Coach at Discover Financial Services
NASA Position:  NASA Timing and Scoring Official

     

 

 

 

          Nikki was born and raised in Salem, OR, where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Eric of 16 years this year on July 6. Wanting to be closer to family in Arizona, they moved down from Oregon with their two kids Taylor and Austin. Nikki wanted to be a veterinarian when she was younger, resulting in her Dr. Doolittle side with all of her family’s pets: two dogs: Barkley our border collie and Roxxi our half Chihuahua and half Jack Russell, two cats: Allie and Bella, and the kids both have guinea pigs: Milo, Leia and Sophia.

          In 2009, Nikki started to frequent the local NASA events to watch Eric race. After getting to know some of the fellow racers she enjoyed coming to the events. Eventually this led to her becoming involved with NASA, anyone remember her smiling face at the gate with the wavier forms? She now takes care of all the Official Timing and Scoring for every NASA event. Some of her favorite times in NASA are watching Eric and her friends racing in Honda Challenge. For now Nikki is comfortable on the sidelines and chooses not to get out on track yet. Although she has thought about it but after being on track as a passenger at various events she is happier staying off the track. I am sure that will change though. 🙂

          When she’s not at work or at the track Nikki enjoys watching her kids play sports, camping, traveling, hang out with friends pool side and some good T&S Hamburgers. Future plans for Nikki and her family is to be happy and healthy, for her kids to be successful and happy in their own lives and maybe in 10 years or so have a grandbaby to spoil.austin-taylor

          So the next time you’re looking at the time sheets after a race you will know a little more about the person behind all those numbers.

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