October 16 Wraps Up

October was a busy month for NASA-AZ with a multi-track lineup including PIR and FIR East. The October 16 event brought us back to the East Course at Firebird International Raceway, our first visit back to this track since June.

Even though it is considered to be the Fall Season (at least that’s what people are telling me) temperatures were still HOT. Cooking inside of a hot car was highly reminiscent of our summer events for many of you. Personally, I think it would be great if I can make it home without smelling like gym shoes! One can only hope that Mother Nature brings us a cool front in the near future! I think it’s safe to say that everyone, especially our corner workers, deserves a break from the heat.


Did anyone find grip out there? Consider yourself lucky if you did. The East track recently received a fresh coat of resurfacing material on its highly abused surface, which certainly affected limits of adhesion. These changes naturally created additional challenges for our drivers, transforming the track into a skating rink. Early sessions were the most affected, causing the lap times to increase comparatively to what’s been on record.  As the day went on there was noticeable improvements in grip helping to keep cars pointed in the right direction.


Time Trial and Racers… Unite!

Because this event was absent of Race Group, Time Trialers and Racers united together in their respective Big Bore and Small Bore sessions. With the slick track conditions it was inevitable that spectators were going to witness some John Deer’n action … and the consequential DQ.

McKeen and Evanson battle it out!

McKeen and Evanson battle it out!

The fastest Time Trials driver in this event was Wayne McKeen, driving his TTR Z06 Corvette running our only sub-minute TT lap with a 59.947. Tage Evanson was next in line running a quick 1:01.630 in TTS followed by CV Wells turning 1:01.810.

In TTU Tony Szirka in his Evo 8 won TTU for the weekend with 1:03.015 with David Montgomery and Joe Terrell, both in Corvettes pulling 1:04.031 and 1:06.723 respectively. It was a close match in TTA between Brian Tuner and John Dowling as both were running very similar lap times. Turner ultimately took the win for the day with 1:04.280, with Dowling finishing only a few tenths off with 1:04.863.

Jeremy Renshaw takes the win in TTB

Jeremy Renshaw takes the win in TTB

Another close match was found in TTB lead by two BWW M3’s driven by Jeremy Renshaw and David Tellez. Renshaw’s 1:05.117 sealed the deal for first place followed by Tellez with a 1:05.538. Phil Robles put some good laps down taking the win his  TTC Honda Civic with 1:06.833 after splitting his time in Big Bore testing the K-Sport DC5-R, followed by Jason Milller running 1:07.629 taking second.


Robert Rose driving #3 TTD Mazda Miata ... AKA "Black Betty"

The field of TTD cars suddenly increased with the 944 Spec drivers joining in, making for a healthy dose of competition for those in momentum cars. A close win was taken yet again by Robert Rose in his Mazda Miata (aka Black Betty) running 1:07.721, while Mervin Tan was less than a tenth away running a 1:07.811. Dave McCombs brought the newest TTD car to the field this weekend, joining the fun had by our pack of 944s with his Acura Integra. Then last but not least, TTE and TTF were solo driven by Geri Amani and Eric Jacobsen running 1:10.1 and 1:12.747 respectively.

Top Drivers from Big Bore:
TTR #07 – 2006 Z06 Corvette, Wayne McKeen – 59.947
TTU #11 – 2003 Evo 8, Tony Szirka – 1:03.015
TTS #17 – 1995 Honda Civic, Tage Evanson – 1:01.630
TTA #524 – 1978 Porsche 911, Brian Turner – 1:04.280

Top Drivers from Small Bore:

TTB #11 – 1997 BMW M3, Jeremy Renshaw – 1:05.117
TTC #12 – 1992 Honda Civic, Phil Robles – 1:06.833
TTD #3 – 1993 Mazda Miata, Robert Rose – 1:07.721
TTE #34 – 1991 Mazda Miata, Geri Amani – 1:10.108
TTF #97 – 2003 Ford Focus, Eric Jacobsen – 1:12.747



Our schedule accommodated a full HPDE line-up; with everyone from first time HPDE1 drivers to HPDE4 veterans in attendance. A few of our corner workers had the chance to join us for some laps, including Melanie in her Integra Type-R. She spent the day entertaining her friend who traveled all the way from Germany, and who also happens to be a part of a touring saxophone quartet!

Melanie and her guest from Germany - Good times in HPDE3

Melanie and her guest from Germany - Good times in HPDE3

With their distinctive logos and vibrant car graphic, the Snail Performance group of Subaru’s are hard to miss in HPDE4. These drivers have also shown a lot of dedication in their attendance to our events, exhibiting both teamwork and commitment running both HPDE and Time Attack consistently.

Markos detailing his Subie ever so maticulously

Markos detailing his Subie ever so maticulously

Our regular HPDE driver from Las Vegas, Michele Abbate, joined us yet again running her Mazdaspeed Protégé. With an unlucky twist of fate at the end of Saturday, Michele’s engine decided to call it quits while running the UMS Time Attack session, leaving her stranded before her journey back home. Thanks to the amazing generosity of those in the NASA-AZ community, fellow drivers pulled-through with an overnight engine-swap, which helped Michele get back home… just in time for her college class early Monday morning. Now that’s what I call dedication!


Time Attack

UMS Tuning Evo 8 driven by Tony Szirka

UMS Tuning Evo 8 driven by Tony Szirka

The UMS Time Attack invites drivers in HPDE3 or higher to bring out their best in aims to drive the fastest lap in their class. Lap times were slightly skewed due to track conditions, but nonetheless our participants exhibited some great driving. First up is the UMS Evo 8 driven by Tony Szirka who has maintained his consistent wins in TA-C , this time running a 1:02. Subaru driver Taylor Wilson took a first place finish in TA-B with a 1:07.385, followed by Gabe Ortega in TA-A with a 1:08.903.

Taylor Wilson takes the win in TA-B

Taylor Wilson takes the win in TA-B

With the new UMS Dyno Day on the calendar, we can expect some drivers to undergo re-classing efforts. Next time the scales are available at the track, make use of them to ensure you are within the required weight ranges. The dyno results from UMS will not only help you properly class your vehicle, but will be required if you wish to accumulate series points throughout the season.

Here are our top three finishers for each class:

UMS Tuning – 1:02.081

Travis Barnes – 1:04.360
Rus Whelan – 1:07.220

Taylor Wilson – 1:07.385
Phil Robles – 1:07.545
Dan Lynch – 1:08.266

Gabe Ortega – 1:08.903

Leland Forbes – 1:09.925
Michele Abbate – 1:10.561


Current TA-Points standings:

Gabe Ortega TA-A FWD 200pts
Philip Robles TA-B FWD 174pts
Travis Barnes TA-C AWD 148pts

Robert Smithson TA-C AWD 134pts
Markos Mylonas TA-A AWD 120pts

A quick reminder to regular TA competitors: the last TA event of the year is a DOUBLE POINTS event. That means 40-points will be up for grabs for our first place finishers. Current standings are obviously not final so you best be on your game for the last event!


Safety Reminder: NASA-AZ Passenger Policy

The number one priority at all NASA events is safety. We can’t be reminded enough that while we aim to have fun on track, being safe is a must. A lot of drivers want to share the excitement with their guests, inviting them a long as passengers. Since the question “…how can I take a passenger with me?” comes up rather often, here’s a quick check list of requirements that are covered in our morning drivers meetings:

  • Passengers are only allowed in HPDE3, HPDE4 and Time Trial groups;
  • Passengers MUST sign the “passenger waiver” at the registration desk and receive a passenger wrist-band;
  • Passengers MUST be approved from the group leader you are running in;
  • Passenger cards are REQUIRED and MUST be surrendered before entering grid;
  • For Time Trial drivers, your times will not count when you are accompanied by a passenger;

These same rules apply to driver COACHES. They too must have the credentials listed above. If your coach is not signed up to drive at the event, just because they are more experienced than you does not make them exempt from these requirements, nor does their experience give them license to drive your car.


Clean up!


With the precarious track conditions, quite a bit of cleaning had to be done between sessions. We should all take a minute and thank everyone who helped push brooms across the racing surface so we could all enjoy our time on track!


Event Preview

Next up for NASA-AZ is Phoenix International Raceway for a season finale event featuring a full HPDE schedule Saturday and combined sessions Sunday, complete Time Trial sessions, Time Attack, and our annual 3-hour Thanksgiving Day Endurance Race plus simultaneous 1-hour Sprint Race.

This will be your LAST chance to gather up extra points, and could easily put current standings up for grabs. With Time Trial and Time Attack sessions awarding drivers with double-points on Sunday, running on Saturday only could leaving you missing the points needed to take the class win for the season. Racers participating in the Enduro on Sunday will also reap the benefits of double points (standard CCR Points allocation x2) for ALL drivers of the car. All NASA Enduro rules will apply with exceptions made in the announced supplementary rules.

With double points on the line no driver can afford to miss this arguably most important event of the year!

Official NASA Enduro Rules

Supplemental Rules

What better way to spend Thanksgiving than to be around the sights and smells of the race track! Stick around after the races for some Thanksgiving fun, good food, and charitable fund-raisers that help those in need.

Go here to register: https://www.nasaproracing.com/event/1094

Note that if you are a Racer who wants to enter the double points Enduro then you will ALSO need to register for the “Enduro” option as listed on the event registration page. For anyone co-driving a car that is already registered, you will need to only register for the “Enduro” option. It is advisable to register early, this is a very popular event!

See you at the track!


Article written by Geri Amani.
Special thanks to Christopher Wynne for his photographic contributions (www.rolex24pics.com).

October 2-3 Wraps Up

PIR At last! After being away from this track for a handful of months, the October event at Phoenix International Raceway was welcomed by many. This was also the first event after NASA National Championships, where many of our Racers and Time Trialers placed respectably in this national event. Congratulations everyone who traveled to Miller Motorsports Park and for representing some great driving from the Arizona region!


Doug Evans, Matt McIntyre and Ricky (Boo-Boo) Johnson take to the Podium at NASA National Champtionships / Miller Motorsports Park

Here are our podium winners!

STR1 – Mark Alger – 1st Place
Super Unlimited – Donald Uhlir – 3rd Place
Super Touring 1 – Mark Alger – 2nd Place
PTA – David Leyvas – 2nd Place
PTA – Matthew Seech – 3rd Place
TTB – Matt McIntyre – 1st Place
TTB – Ricky Johnson – 2nd Place
TTB – Douglas Evans – 3rd Place
TTF – Eric Jacobsen – 2nd Place
GTS4 – Gregory Dalgarn – 2nd Place
GTS5 – Chad Nelson (Replacement Car) – 1st Place
GTS5 – David Leyvas – 2nd Place
TTU – Mark Alger – 2nd Place
TTS – Tage Evanson – 2nd Place
PTB – Ricky Johnson – 2nd Place

Champagne celebrations commence!

Champagne celebrations commence! Doug Evans and Eric Jacobsen join the fun.

Official results for all cars can be found @ http://www.nasachampionships.com/2010results.html


It’s the fall season in Arizona and somehow we all enjoyed (or loathed) some unseasonably warm weather.  Most of us were hoping for cooler temperatures to help with those lap times.  Surpringly enough it was HOTTER than our Summer events, with temperatures hitting 99 and 100 respectively. This event reached triple digits by late morning, keeping the ambient temperatures hot for the duration.  Saturday’s high in the garage was 108!  It appears that this was the hottest NASA event in our recent memory, or perhaps ever recorded. Through all this climate-induced suffering, I was left wondering a couple things… a) why weren’t there more people at the Summer events? and b) where in the world was that kiddie-pool Tage brought last time!?


Instruction in the NASA-AZ Competition School

Instruction begins in the NASA-AZ Competition School.

This event was notably unique as it hosted the annual NASA-AZ Competition School taught by racing veterans Gary Felton, Mike Browning, and Norm Hamden. Drivers in HPDE4 and Time Trial signed up to learn all about the do’s and do not’s of racing. The class held 14 students driving 100hp to 600hp cars, making for “interesting” and dynamic on-track sessions as part of the curriculum.

For those of you interested in running Race Group, the Competition School is a requirement within NASA but is only offered once per year, so it is best to prepare far advance for the next time it is made available.

In the NASA Competition School, students must understand all the required rules and tactics that make racing with NASA fun and safe. Of course, there is much emphasis on the CCRs (we can’t say this enough) but everyone who runs with us (whether you are in Race Group or HPDE1) should take time to review them.


NASA-AZ Competition School - Practice Drill, Race Start

NASA-AZ Competition School - Practice Drill, Race Start

Here are some highlights from the Competition School:

  • Safety Requirements for Race Group – What the driver needs to wear and what the car MUST have before it runs on the racing surface IN Race Group.
  • Rules – Familiarity and understanding of the Club Codes and Regulations (CCRs), including flag knowledge, safety rules, and organization protocols used within NASA. Review the CCRs if you haven’t already.
  • On-Track Drills – Side-by-side driving, passing etiquette (i.e., racing room, smart driving), practice race starts, and driving off-line.
  • Guest Speakers – Racers from our region took time to speak with students and were available for Q & A, including Chad Nelson, Mark Alger, and Paul Bloomberg.

Congratulations to all of our drivers who completed the school and who joined Race Group for the first time on Sunday!


Safety Reminders
As always, the main concern NASA has for everyone on track is their safety. I will keep this brief but will mention some important points for everyone to remember next time they drive with us:

  • The Oval at PIR – A lot of us love the high-speed thrills PIR offers us, but lets keep in mind the oval is the most dangerous and probably least forgiving part of any track we run. If you see a skunk in the oval, don’t abruptly lift or brake.
  • Predictability and Car Control–  If you see a spinning car down the main straight, don’t abruptly lift or brake or you might spin too (get the car straight and then brake in a straight line). It’s important not to overact while driving on track, in most cases your car will overact with you.
  • When the Rules are Ignored / Forgotten – If you see a car making some drastic maneuvers, or is found exiting the track incorrectly in the middle of the oval, don’t abruptly lift or slow down, just ease up and go around them but maintain your speed!!!
  • Passing Room and Etiquette – If a slow car is in front of you, plan your passes accordingly. Don’t risk your car or the other driver’s car by dive bombing them and cutting it too close.
  • Hydrate! When weather heats up, we know you spend a lot of time making sure your car runs properly, but don’t neglect your body.  Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.

Small Bore Race Group

The weekend was filled with some great racing, where the Small Bore field consisted of our regular attendance of 944 spec cars, along with a PT-C/H2 Integra driven by Erik Woods, and all the way from Las Vegas a Spec Miata driven by Dale Shoemaker.  Saturday brought Austin Newmark and Darren Griffith to swap places after qualifying, with Darren taking the win on Saturday’s race for 944 Spec, followed by Dave Hauck placing third. Determined Newmark changed the name of the game on Sunday, taking back the first position during Sunday’s race, followed by Darren Griffith and Rich Geisler.

Always a Father-son Pair, Austin Newmark after the Small Bore Race

Always a Father-son Pair: The Newmarks after the Small Bore Race

Small Bore Race Group

Small Bore leaving grid...

I will try to report this with as little bias as possible! Small Bore had a new addition to the racing field, Geri Amani in her #34 Miata joined on Sunday’s race resulting in an all-out Miata battle with #98 car driven by Dale Shoemaker. Many eyes moved towards the rear of the pack where the two Miata’s battled it out for the duration of the race. Perhaps this will encourage drivers who are considering race group to look at how much fun Miata’s can be despite their lack of horsepower.


Top Racers Small Bore on Saturday:

944 Spec
1 – #7, Darren Griffit
2 – #47x, Austin Newmark
3 – #08, Dave Hauck

1 – #5 Erik Woods

1 – #98, Dale Shoemaker


Top Racers Small Bore on Sunday:

944 Spec
1 – #47x, Austin Newmark
2 – #7, Darren Griffith
3 – #03, Rich Geisler

1 – #5, Erik Woods

1 – #98, Dale Shoemaker
2 – #34, Geri Amani


Big Bore at the Impound

Big Bore at the Impound

Big Bore Race Group

Big Bore turned it up after the Small Bore sessions, with a field of fast cars from SU, ST, and PT classes.  The fastest of the races on both days were Mark Alger and Brent Crosser in SU placing first and second respectively, with Chad Nelson in ST-1 closing the lap time gap between SU and ST-2. On Saturday, ST-2 brought good stuff to the track with some sideways-action and eye-catching passes by Tage Evanson who ultimately placed third, while CV Wells and Rick Touton took first and second. Brian Turner delivered the goods in his UPS-themed Porsche taking first in PT-A, and Jeremy Renshaw winning PT-B.

On Sunday Ron Ballard joined the fun taking second, CV wells maintained first while Tage kept third. Marc McCombs was found in the mix along with Alger and Crosser in SU. McCombs, having  just completed the Competition School did a great job out there finishing third in his #9 Dodge.  For the PT-A class John Dowling and Brian Turner played a game of musical podium spots, exchanging first and second respectively.  Last but not least, our PT-B drivers maintained their wins, with Paul Bloomberg jumping in for third place.


Paul Bloomberg's #51 ITR with a decal makeover!

Paul Bloomberg's #51 ITR with a decal makeover!

Small Bore wasn’t the only group who were joined by new racers;  Marc McCombs in the #9 Dodge, Bob Gottlieb in his white #78 stock car, and Bryan McCormick in his yellow-gold / Kronik Energy Drink BMW M3 joined in on Sunday’s race. Congratulations on your progress moving into race group!


Top Racers Big Bore on Saturday:

Class SU
1 – #4, Mark Alger
2 – #206, Brent Crosser

Class ST-1
1 – #407, Chad Nelson

Class ST-2
1 – #240, CV Wells
2 – #961, Rick Touton
3 – #17, Tage Evanson

Class PT-A
1 – #524, Brian Turner
2 – #46, John Dowling

Class PT-B
1 – #11, Jeremy Renshaw
2 – #30, Marty Saltzman


Top Racers Big Bore on Sunday:

Class SU
1 – #4, Mark Alger
2 – #206, Brent Crosser
3 – #9, Marc McCombs

Class ST-1
1 – #407, Chad Nelson

Class ST-2
1 – #240, CV Wells
2 – #93, Ron Ballard
3 – #17, Tage Evanson

Class PT-A
1 – #46, John Dowling
2 – #524, Brian Turner

Class PT-B
1 – #11, Jeremy Renshaw
2 – #30, Marty Saltzman
3 – #51, Paul Bloomberg


Time Trial Groups

Drivers managed to sweat it out while turning some hot laps on a warm track, with temperatures skewing results for both Big Bore and Small Bore.  While both Time Trial groups were missing drivers due to their participation in Competition School, a few managed to squeeze in some laps after the class.  It has been said that the art of Time Trials is largely the ability to turn your fastest time in only a few laps. Despite missing nearly all of his TT sessions while running Competition School, Matt McIntyre jumped in the last session on both days turning a 1:08.67 as his fastest time for the weekend, also maintaining his lead in TTB.

For those of you who have run with NASA for several years, you might remember …

Clayton always has great looking cars. Back Then: Nissan 350z ... The Present: Nissan Sentra Spec V

Clayton Peck really knows how to present his cars, featuring "Gulf" colors and decals. Back Then: Nissan 350z ... The Present: Nissan Sentra Spec V

… Clayton Peck!

He joined us in Time Trials after a long break from racing, now driving his #35 Gulf-themed Sentra Spec V, increasing the total number of TTF competitors.  Clayton never ceases to amaze with his trend-setting color-coordination, including sunglasses and helmet that perfectly match his car. Let’s give a warm welcome back to the track for Clayton!


Top TT Small Bore Drivers on Saturday:
TTB #31 – 1997 BMW M3,  Matt MacIntyre – 1:09.11
TTC #175 – 1989 Chevy Camaro, Dave Schotz – 1:09.53
TTD #3 – 1993 Mazda Miata, Robert Rose – 1:13.27
TTE #12 – 1995 Mazda Miata – Brad Lundahl – 1:15.95
TTF #7 – 1995 Honda Accord, Tage Evanson – 1:17.31


Top TT Small Bore Drivers on Sunday:
TTB #31 – 1997 BMW M3, Matt McIntyre – 1:08.67
TTC #75 – 1989 Chevy Camaro, Dave Schotz – 1:09.04
TTD #3 – 1993 Mazda Miata, Robert Rose – 1:12.96
TTF #7 – 1995 Honda Accord, Tage Evanson – 1:17.30


Big Bore Time Trial also experienced an absence of TTR cars due to the Competition School,  however they jumped in the last sessions for an end-of-day shootout. Wayne McKeen brought out some fast times running a 1:04.26 as his best for the weekend. Pete Creek was not far behind with a 1:05.71.  Tage Evanson brought good stuff to the track setting a new TTS record with a 1:05.09 — an impressive time for an unusually warm October weekend.


Top TT Big Bore Drivers on Saturday:
TTR #455 – 2006 Z06 Corvette, Wayne McKeen – 1:05.06
TTU #4 – 2003 Viper CC, Mark Alger – 1:04.41
TTS #17 – 1995 Honda Civic, Tage Evanson – 1:05.09
TTA #524 – 1978 Porsche 911, Brian Turner – 1:10.23


Top TT Big Bore Drivers on Sunday:
TTR #455 – 2006 Z06 Corvette, Wayne McKeen – 1:04.26
TTU #4 – 2003 Viper CC, Mark Alger – 1:05.29
TTS #17 – 1995 Honda Civic, Tage Evanson – 1:06.03
TTA #524 – 1978 Porsche 911, Brian Turner – 1:10.81



Hard at work between HPDE Sessions.

Hard at work between HPDE sessions.

I’m always pleased to see new HPDE drivers join the fun at our events. As it’s been said, HPDE often is the starting point for the next generation of Time Trialers and Racers. Over the past several months there has been some additional effort made by a lot of you moving up the HPDE ladder. Don’t forget to take time to meet and chat with Time Trialers and Racers, they are some of our fastest drivers and can be extremely helpful in getting some of your questions answered.

Chet Mann of SRD decided to take his own car on the track!

Chet Mann of SRD decided to take his own car on the track!

We had a new face in the HPDE1 classroom… Chet Mann from Superior Racing Development took to the track in his stock Honda del Sol running HPDE1 on Saturday, then moved up to HPDE2 on Sunday. Chet may be new as a driver but is very familiar with motorsports. He not only helps promote NASA-AZ, but also supports many local drivers in their Time Trial, Road Racing, and Drift competition efforts through his business (www.SuperiorRacing.com). I think it is safe to assume that Chet has now been bitten by the racing bug, as his enthusiasm was truly evident and inspiring. I hope to see more events with him in the driver’s seat!


UMS Tuning Time Attack

The UMS Time Attack provides drivers from run groups DE3 and up with some open track in a competition format. After talking with other drivers it became obvious that the Time Attack session had been a great success. 22 drivers took to the track in three classes, meaning the UMS  TA series is becoming stronger and more competitive than ever. Our top line up starts with the UMS Tuning car #101 driven by Tony Szirka, taking center stage winning TA-C with a 1:06.526. Next up was Phil Robles dominating TA-B with 1:12.419, then Gabe Ortega continuing his consecutive wins in TA-A running a 1:13.648.


Gabe Ortega takes the lead yet again in TA-A.

Gabe Ortega continues his winning streak in TA-A.

Top Three Drivers for TA-C
#101 UMS Tuning – 1:06.526
#2 Snail Performance – 1:10.471
#3 Robert Smithson – 1:12.659

Top Three Drivers for TA-B
#12 Phil Robles – 1:12.419
#1 Justin Bowie – 1:12.667
#2 Dan Lynch – 1:12.746

Top Three Drivers for TA-A
#424 Gabe Ortega – 1:13.648
#2 Leland Forbes – 1:16.640
#2 Dave McCombs – 1:17.000


BBQ Celebrations

Good food, good times.

Good food, good times!

When the track goes cold the BBQ grill heats up, bringing everyone together after a long day of track driving. For this event, all of us loaded up on the tasty carbohydrates; plenty of breads, pasta and a healthy side of salad. Let’s not forget the great selection of beer!

Hungry, hungry drivers!

Hungry, hungry drivers!

Tower at PIR
The end of the day on Saturday presented some beautiful skies.

The end of the day on Saturday presented some beautiful skies.

Fellow driver and NASA chef extraordinaire Gordon Levy started preparations early in the week ensuring that everyone was covered for Saturday’s festivities. Many thanks to Gordon for his continued dedication and culinary expertise that provides us with such a great menu each event.


Event Preview

After getting our fix at PIR, NASA-AZ will return for a one-day event on the East Track at Firebird International Raceway. This track is one of my personal favorites, and I’m always looking forward to days we get to run there. It is the kind of track where a mix of fast and technical corners coexist, and can be challenging for a wide variety of cars and driver skill levels.

A change in format will be in place for our event at FIR East, as there will be no Race Group sessions on Saturday, nor will the NASA-X be held on Sunday. However, the full HPDE and TT schedule will remain intact. Before you take this as disappointing news it should be noted that those who run with us at FIR East will also get the chance to run at a local track most of us have only heard stories about… Arizona Motorspors Park (AMP). Best of all it won’t cost you a dime to attend.

There’s a bit of fine print here…

While AMP is NOT (and I repeat – NOT) officially “OPEN”, there is a sound testing day being conducted open to all drivers that are registered for the FIR East event AND pass the sound meter test. Cars who register at 92db or less will be given the ‘green flag’ to run at AMP on Sunday the 17th.

This is not an official NASA event, so no timing/scoring will be in use. There is also a limit on the number of people who can be present at the facility. With the allowance is set up to 110 people  (between staff, gate workers and flaggers), it is fair to say that this will be limited to around 80-90 drivers.

With that being noted, now’s the time to get your restrictive exhaust back on your race car, or add that silencer that your girlfriend forced you to buy last year because she said your car was too annoying… then hit the track with us at FIR East October 16th and AMP October 17th! See you there!

Article written by Geri Amani
photographs by Geri Amani, Twisted Priorities, and Chet Mann.

August 14-15 Wraps Up


It was a hot one at Firebird West and the last of the Summer events of the 2010 season. As it was during our event in June, nearly everyone awoke only a few hours after Friday ended to the so-called “cool” of the summer morning with a hint of race gas looming in the air. With the overhead lights shining above the pits attracting countless flying desert insects, the gates swung open for us at 4am rolling out a full schedule of Race Group, Time Trial, HPDE and Time Attack sessions. Our condensed summer schedule always means plenty of nonstop back-to-back excitement. Lets take look at the highlights from this event along with a few safety reminders and some helpful information for those of you going to NASA Nationals at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

Tage shows all of us how to stay cool in Arizona.

Tage shows all of us how to stay cool in Arizona during a NASA Summer event.

Let’s take a poll… how many of you were sticking to your seats by the end of the day? Raise your hand. Okay, that pretty much makes all of you. We must be serious drivers (or a little crazy) driving in 100+ degree heat, right? Take a whiff of that expensive helmet. That’s the odor of pure commitment. There comes a time when one must ask why we endure such extreme temperatures, wakeup at unreasonable hours (or get no sleep at all) when we could opt to laze about in the air conditioned indoors while nursing a chilled beer. I like to think we exert such effort because NASA-AZ offers unique camaraderie combined with the element of competition that we naturally assemble together during and after the events.

A gathering of 40 meet at the Tilted Kilt for post-track day jubilations!

A gathering of 40 meet at the Tilted Kilt for post-track day jubilations! Yes, that's NASCAR on the big screen.

What was new?
Our event organizers took note of things that went well and not so well the last time we ran FIR West back in March, and made some changes for this event. The new grid layout ultimately made the day run much smoother for those controlling traffic. It increased safety for spectators by keeping them out of a potentially dangerous impact zone, and allowed groups to safely enter the track while the last cars from the previous run exited. This allotted us 30-40 minutes of additional overall track time which is why we were lucky to enjoy four separate HPDE run groups, along with split TT and Race Groups!

Leadership Changes
NASA-AZ also has a new face representing our Time Trial program. Effective immediately, Eric Jacobsen will assume the role of TT Director along with Jeremy Renshaw. Eric is a regular Time Trial competitor, well known for his TTE Ford Taurus that was nicknamed “The Pumpkin”, but is now found tracking a silver Ford Focus. Eric’s positive and professional attitude, rules expertise and all around “nice guy” demeanor made him a perfect fit and an obvious choice.

Jacobsen will be filling the shoes of Brady Dohrmann (TT Director) as he opted to “retire” from the sport we all love (and sometimes hate). After 12+ years of track driving, all of us in NASA-AZ express our gratitude for Brady’s leadership, rules expertise, tech support, download skills, and event write-ups, not to mention a significant amount of general admin support. We sincerely wish all the best to Brady and hope that he becomes as competitive in his “ironman” quest (or whatever else his new hobby becomes) as he was in a race car.


Sound Testing for AMP
In anticipation of the grand re-opening of AMP, sound meter testing and logging took place at FIR West to get a gauge on how “loud” we really are. AMP will be under strict sound regulations and will not allow for any car to run there until its peak sound levels have been “properly documented”. Needless to say the loudest of the bunch will need to make modifications to their cars to reduce the associated noise pollution. AMP has indicated that the sound limitation will be set at 92dB per car with a 99dB track limit. The latest information can be found on the NASA-AZ forum: http://forums.www.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=4198

Rules! Rules! Rules!

Let’s face it; rules are there for the safety of all drivers, workers and spectators. I’ll be politically correct here: we all need to remember that drivers that deliberately push the limits of these rules or blatantly break them WILL receive appropriate sanction or penalty that is prescribed in the CCRs or worse, as determined by NASA-AZ leadership.

Watch your Speed.

You’ve heard it from Tage in the morning drivers meetings, but I will remind us all here: “keep it slow in the pits.” Remember when you were a little boy (or girl) and your crazy neighbor with the hot rod ran over your beloved puppy? Let’s not let this happen… or worse yet… to your children! Keep speeds at 5mph for the safety of everyone.

Did you see that flagger?

If it takes a couple of laps for you to realize that a flag has been thrown or thrown AT you and you don’t see it, don’t be surprised if you get the attention of an official when you exit your vehicle after the session. Flags are put into use for the safety of all; they facilitate communication between corner workers and the driver to anticipate track conditions or to make drivers aware of their behavior. It’s important to remember what the flags mean. Keep an eye out for them.

Race Groups – Big Bore and Small Bore

All race groups enjoyed a good turn out of participants this event, with full practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday and split races on Sunday. The biggest run group was of course 944 Spec, but few classes ran with less than four drivers. It was also noted that the green flag race start was difficult or impossible to see for those gridded up on the “outside”.  NASA-AZ will address this for future races at FIR West. Here’s a closer look what took place on track and the results when the checkers fell.

Big Bore
No doubt the narrow features of FIR West make it interesting for a pack of fast cars. Starting with Qualifying Tage took the pole in ST-2, bringing home the fastest lap in this group in one lap, then exited the track. I am guessing he had to return to his Director duties… stat! In PT-A David Leyvas qualified first, followed by Jeremy Renshaw leading PT-B.

Ron Ballard, #93 Mustang takes the win in Big Bore.

Ron Ballard, #93 Mustang takes the win in Big Bore.

The race on Sunday had to have been one of the more entertaining races I’ve watched in awhile, nothing short of off track excursions, mechanical issues and slick track conditions which ultimately sorted out the field. Starting with ST-2, Ron Ballard took the win, bumping Tage Evanson to second a few laps after race start and keeping him mid-field for the remainder of the race. It does appear that the man piloting Casper the Friendly Civic is a “one lap kind of guy”. His excuse? “I didn’t want to beat ‘the customer’. Sort of like how you don’t beat a client at a friendly round of golf.” I fully expect Tage to make a full come back in the next race. But, as the saying goes by famous Golfer Raymond Floyd, “They call it golf because all of the other four-letter words were taken.” Race also happens to be a four-letter word!

Moving on to PT-B, Jeremy Renshaw held his place finishing first with Marty Saltzman placing second. Brian Turner brought out good stuff to the track, starting the race in fourth but ultimately taking the win in PT-A, with David Leyvas not far behind placing second.

Here are the top finishers for Big Bore:
ST-2 – Ron Ballard #93

PT-A – Brian Turner # 524
PT-B – Jeremy Renshaw #12

Small Bore
944 Spec dominated FIR West with a lot of circumstances that certainly rearranged our drivers in all sorts of directions. Beginning with qualifying, Austin Newmark took center stage with a quick lap that placed him in the pole position, with Rich Geisler and Norm Hamden not far behind. For the qualifying session we also enjoyed the company of our #8 Spec Miata, driven by Charles Jackson.

Post-race, Small Bore group.

Post-race, Small Bore group.

Austin Newmark's dad is always at the track supporting his son's efforts in Race Group.

Austin Newmark's dad is always at the track supporting his son's efforts in Race Group.

The Small Bore race started with slick and dusty conditions… with dusty incidents taking place on the first lap. Newmark was quickly sent to the back of the pack, left sitting still in the entry of the carousel turn. It became evident he was determined to regain his position, battling his way towards the front after each lap. Newmark dominated 944 Spec this weekend; starting first, bumped to last, then back to first – all within a 25-minute sprint race. Rich Geisler maintained his pace finishing second, followed by Kent Buckley finishing third in front of Joe Palush. For Buckley, this race proved to be a great personal achievement. When I asked Buckley his thoughts about the race, he replied “… that was one of my best races! I’ve never been able to beat Joe in a toe to toe battle, will remember that for a while! Forgot to hook up the camera, dammit!!” As an aspiring racer myself, I extend a round of applause to Kent in achieving this on-track milestone!

Kent Buckley gives Norman Hamden a ride around the pits.

Kent Buckley gives Norman Hamden a ride around the pits after the race.

We had another driver join Small Bore on Sunday, Mike Halpin in #4 Spec Miata. While the 944 Spec racers showed little love on track for their Mazda counterparts, Halpin and Jackson found themselves in an all-out two car Spec Miata battle. Halpin saved the best for last, ultimately finishing first in the Spec Miata class.

Top three finishers from 944 Spec:
1 – #47
x Austin Newmark
2 – #03
Rich Geisler
3 – #11
Kent Buckley

Top finishers from Spec Miata:
1 – #4
Michael Halpin
2 – #8
Charles Jackson

Time Trial Groups

It was a slow weekend for everyone; with Time Trial drivers doing everything they could to overcome very hot and slick track conditions. Everyone enjoyed split run groups this event, with combined sessions at the end of the day. Taking a look at the results there were no new track records. Clearly the summer weather was not helping anyone shave off those extra tenths. Congratulations to everyone for enduring the heat during your hot laps!

Dave Evans, #453 TTB Nissan 350Z.

Dave Evans, #453 TTB Nissan 350Z.

Matt MacIntyre led the pack this weekend with the fastest laps in Small Bore, running a rather quick 1:04.63 in his TTB BMW M3. David Schotz in his 1989 Chevy Cameo took TTC with a 1:06.24, and TTD was led by Robert Rose running a 1:07 flat. Another Miata joined the fun in TTE on Saturday; Brad Lundahl and Geri Amani enjoyed a good Mazda chase around the track on Saturday, with Amani finding the fastest TTE lap on Sunday with a 1:10.13. TTF was represented by Eric Jacobsen in his Ford Focus running a 1:13.63.

Matt McIntyre, TTB #31 BMW M3.

Matt McIntyre, TTB #31 BMW M3.

Simon Pavlick made a return to the track on Sunday driving a TTB Honda hatch.

Simon Pavlick made a return to the track on Sunday driving #526 TTB Honda hatch.

Top Drivers from Saturday:
TTB – Matt McIntyre #31 / 1997 BMW M3: 1:04.84

TTC – Dave Schotz #175 / 1989 Chevy Camaro: 1:06.70

TTD – Robert Rose #16 / 1993 Mazda Miata: 1:07.00

TTE – Brad Lundahl #12 / 1995 Mazda Miata: 1:10.32
TTF – Eric Jacobsen #97 / 2003 Ford Focus: 1:14.06

Top Drivers from Sunday:
TTB – Matt McIntyre #31 / 1997 BMW M3: 1:04.63

TTC – Dave Schotz #175 / 1989 Chevy Camaro: 1:06.24

TTD – Robert Rose #16 / 1993 Mazda Miata: 1:07.18

TTE – Geri Amani #34 / 1991 Mazda Miata: 10.13
TTF – Eric Jacobsen #97 / 2003 Ford Focus: 1:13.63

Big Bore

The faster bunch of Time Trialers brought good stuff to the track, with Wayne McKeen taking the lead yet again on both days with his fastest lap being a 1:01.48 in his TTR Corvette. Tony Szirka ran the fastest TTU lap for the weekend with a 1:04.00, Darrell Rayburn driving his TTS Corvette found a quick 1:02.91, and TTA Porsche 997 driven by David Leyvas ran a 1:06 flat.

Big Bore lined up on grid.

Big Bore lined up on grid.

Top Drivers from Saturday
TTR – Wayne McKeen #7 / 2002 Corvette: 1:01.48

TTU – John Bianchi #5 / 2006 Z06 Corvette: 1:04.12
TTS – Darrell Rayburn #421 / 2007 Corvette: 1:03.60
TTA – David Leyvas #997 / 2006 Porsche 997: 1:06.00

Top Drivers from Sunday:
TTR – Wayne McKeen #7 / 2002 Corvette: 1:01.50
TTU – Tony Szirka #11 / 2003 EVO 8: 1:04.12
TTS – Darrell Rayburn #421 / 2007 Corvette: 1:02.91
TTA – Brian Turner #524 / 1978 Porsche 911: 1:06.18


There was plenty of fun for everyone running HPDE this event, enjoying separate sessions for every group. It’s always great to see some familiar and new faces along with the latest upgrades that they’ve made to their car… and the last minute fixes that took place the night before. That’s what Redbull is for, right?! Everyone seemed genuinely excited about running on this track. After all, it’s been nearly two months since the last event and everyone had the chance to put rubber to the road.

Markos gives Ravi a good chase during an HPDE session.

Markos gives Ravi a good chase during an HPDE session.

Some of the most shiny stickers in HPDE, 240SX driven by Yahasmin Soto.

Some of the most shiny stickers in HPDE, 240SX driven by Yahasmin Soto.

A few drivers always seem to arrive at the track in an especially cheerful mood, and as the saying goes, attitude is everything! Leland Forbes, corner worker and HPDE3 driver, expressed his love for motorsports with custom rattle-can paint on his Acura Integra.

Leland's car certainly refelects his attitude. All smiles!

Leland's car certainly refelects his attitude. All smiles!

See previous picture.

See previous picture.

Some of our drivers travel a very long distance to reach the Phoenix area, one of which is Michelle Abbate from Las Vegas. A tip of the helmet goes to Michelle for making such a long journey just to join us on track!

Michele gives a thumbs up before heading on track.

Michele gives a thumbs up!

A few folks moved up in the HPDE ladder, including Sergio Perez in white E46 and appeared to be really working it in HPDE4. Brian McCormick in his Kronik Energy M3 is considering preparations for Race Group, while others are looking to move into TT.

The HPDE program is a fun and safe environment to learn the limits of yourself and your car, offering all there is to know about getting a start in motorsports. With four different levels in HPDE, our instructors can help you find a faster line, increase driver skills, and increase awareness. For those of you interested in competition driving, be sure to speak with our TT and Race Directors for information on how you can participate.

Time Attack

Another great turnout for the UMS Tuning Time Attack event, where 24 drivers took to the track in three classes. Gabe Ortega took the win in TA-A, running a brisk 1:06.89 (also continuing his streak of TA-A class wins this year). Brian McCormick took over TA-B with 1:06.76, and Tony Szirka ran a 1:04.13, which secured his win for TA-C.

Time Attack grided up!

Time Attack grided up!

Here are the top three drivers from each TA Class:

Tony Szirka – 1:04.13
Travis Barnes – 1:06.71
Robert Smithson – 1:08.23

Brian McCormick – 1:06.76
Dave McCombs – 1:07.486
Dave Evans – 1:08.50

Gabe Ortega – 1:06.8
Leland Forbes – 1:09.44
Markos Mylonas – 1:09.66

2010 NASA National Championships

For those of your going up north to run at NASA National Championships this year, you will be pleased to know that this event will count as local points and bonus attendance points (Time Trial points event #16 and Race Group points event #13 main race only), so don’t miss your chance to ramp up your totals for the end of the 2010 season. This is NASA’s most notably challenging event of the year, which takes place at Miller Motorsports Park where competitors from all over the country show up to battle for the National Champion title in their class.

If you are planning to attend, and haven’t registere­­d yet, be sure to do so as rates increase the longer you delay: http://www.nasaproracing.com/event/1110

Miller is a state-of-the-art road racing facility that is located just 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City in Tooele, Utah, and is easily accessed by major highways (I-80) and surrounding county roads. It is a relatively new track, officially opening its gates for the first time in 2006. Since then it has been considered the finest facility of its kind in North America. Miller Motorsports Park now hosts many of the world’s most significant racing series such as the American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Superbike World Championship, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the new Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. How lucky NASA is to be able to race here also!

There will be several tire vendors at MMP including Toyo, Hoosier, and Goodyear. The word is out that vendors may be backordered so be sure to place your orders well before the event. The fuel pumps at MMP are open 24-hours a day and have pay at the pump convenience for Texaco 85/91/Diesel, and Sunoco 260 GT (100 Octane, unleaded, oxygenated), Sunoco 260 GTX (98 Octane, unleaded, not oxygenated), and Sunoco 110 leaded. There are also a wide range of contingency programs for a cumulative total nearing $1-million dollars including Hawk, MAZDASPEED, Hasport, Honda Racing, Race Keeper, 986, Yokohama, just to name a few. Top runners driving eligible vehicles will have a chance to race at the season finale World Challenge event to be held at Miller Motorsports Park October 1-3, 2010.

I’ve included some general schedule information for reference, but be sure to check out the latest information and discussions regarding this event on the official NASA Forums Championship thread: http://www.nasaforums.com/viewforum.php?f=75

Full Preliminary Schedule (PDF): http://www.nasaproracing.com/racing/national/Sched_Nationals_2010.pdf

Wednesday, September 15 : Test & Tune (additional fee)
Thursday, September 16 :
Warm up / Qualifying / Qualifying Races
Friday, September 17 :
Warm up / Qualifying / Qualifying Races
Saturday, September 18 :
Championship Races
Sunday, September 19 :
Championship Races

Event Regulations (PDF): http://www.nasaproracing.com/racing/national/NationalsRegulations_2010_10.pdf

Current Entry List: http://nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=34680

Per the schedule, here are the Race Directors for each group. Be sure to become familiar with them at the event should any issues arise on or off track.

Group A: Fernandez – Factory Five Racing, Camaro Mustang Challenge, CMC 2
Group B:
Covini – American Iron, American Iron Xtreme, STR1, STR2
Group C:
Lepper – Honda Challenge
Group D:
Winkleman – Performance Touring A, Super Touring, Super Unlimited, ASC
Group E:
Lang – 944Spec, SpecE30, Spec3
Group F:
Johnson – Spec Miata
Group G:
Anderson – Time Trial: TTA, B, C, D, E, F
Group H
: Pantas – German Touring Series (1-5), BSR
Group I:
Anderson – Time Trial: TTR, S, U
Group J
: Rucker – Performance Touring (B, C, D, E, F), Legends
Group K:
Balingit – Formula Mazda

And finally, NASA-AZ is tentatively planning a regional meet-up at Miller, details to follow.

Next Event Sneak Preview: October 2-3, 2010 (Sat & Sun)
The next regional event will take place at Phoenix International Raceway October 2-3, bringing us to our normal full schedule of HPDE, TT, Race Groups, and Time Attack. It will be nearly 5 months since we’ve last visited this track so don’t miss out on your chance to turn some fast laps in some significantly cooler weather! It should also be noted; for those of you interested in joining Race Group, October will be the time to make it official as we will be offering the annual Competition School. When registration opens you can sign up for this event here: http://nasaproracing.com/event/1093.

Article written by Geri A. Amani. Photography by Geri A. Amani and RacePhotoLabs.

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