Who’s Who in NASA: Tony Szirka


Full Name: Anthony “Tony” Frank Szirka

Where is your Hometown? Ligonier, PA

How long have you lived in AZ? Since 1995, moved to Phoenix in 2002.

Favorite Food(s): Yes

Favorite Music: Depends on mood…Metal to Rap

Occupation: Car Nerd

NASA Position / Run Group: Tech official / TTU




          Tony was born in Romania “but is Hungarian” he grew up in Oradea till the age of 9 when his family moved to America. They settled down in Ligonier, Pennsylvania where Tony grew up. Shortly after his 18th birthday Tony joined the U.S. Army where he was trained as a generator mechanic (52D) and stationed in Germany with the 3rd ID 103d MI Unit. During his stay in Germany Tony met his future tony-shannon-armywife Shannon who was also in the Army. They both dated during their tour in Germany and before Tony’s enlistment was up he asked Shannon to marry him. She said yes of course!! Tony got out of the Army and moved back to Pennsylvania in 1993, Shannon shortly followed as she had to finish her enlistment in the Army as well. They were married that same year in Pennsylvania while Tony was attending Vale Technical Institute. A year later in November their daughter Tabitha was born and Tony graduated from college with his degree in Automotive Technics and Management. In 1995, Tony and his family moved to Prescott, AZ to be close to some of Shannon’s family and to start life somewhere new with his family. Tony worked for York Motors in Prescott as an Auto Technician while Shannon attended college to become a Nurse. Also, during this time Tony was introduced to racing by an acquaintance, Erwin Rice, who invited him out to a track day with Gemini Racing. Tony started to attend many different racing events with Hotchkis and Baer Brake at Button Willow and Firebird Raceway. In January 2001, the Szirka family’s first son was born “Ulrik” bringing the male and female balance into check.

        In 2002, Shannon made a top secret trip to Phoenix for a job interview at a hospital for a surgery nurse position. She got the job and on the way back she stopped by the Volkswagen dealership and picked her out a new Jetta to drive back to tell everyone “to pack up we’re moving”. They moved to Mesa where Tony started working for Mode INC. running the engine dyno, building custom wiring harnesses and engines for Porsches. Tony, happy to be in the performance part of the automotive industry, decided in 2004 he would open up his own performance shop. So in August 2004, UMS Tuning was born. For those of you that don’t know UMS Tuning is named after Tony’s son Ulrik, they are the initials of his full name. With his own shop up and running Tony wanted to get back into racing so in 2006 he started running in NASA AZ with his 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution. Tony has worked his way up through the HPDE ranks and in 2010 he started running Time Trial. During this time Tony competed at Super Lap Battle from 2008 to present, Modified Tuner Shootout from 2009 to present, and Global Time Attack in 2011. Some of Tony’s most memorable experiences in racing happened this year while running with GTA. He was their Race Steward which gave him the opportunity to race at different race tracks to include, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Autobahn Country Club. When Tony isn’t busy running the shop or racing you might find him at the karting track, riding his BMX bike or just relaxing at home with his family and pets. Well that’s a wrap for Tony “Sriracha” Szirka be sure you say ‘Hi’ next time you see him if not he might fail your car at Tech as he is a NASA AZ Tech Official.


Written by: Travis Barnes

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