With December brought the final event of the year for NASA AZ at the always popular Firebird East. Going into the weekend a cold front came on with a forecast of proposed showers for Saturday and cold temperatures for Sunday. By the time race weekend came, the forecast proved true, but that did not stop the eager drivers from making their way to the track for the last time before the New Year.
Norm Hamden shows an amazing example of car control hanging his car out while Jeff Wojnar and Rick Downing hold their line going 3 wide through turn 9!! This is just one of many examples of the fight that went into the Small Bore Sprint race on Saturday.
It was dark, wet, and just plain cold all day on Saturday. This however was not enough to stop our racers from going full bore in a final attempt to gain points for the year. Small bore qualfiying was nothing less than a taste of what was to come during the sprint race later that day. With drivers dipping 2 off here and there, pushing as hard as possible for starting position, everyong showed that a little weather was not going to stop any of them from making their last event of the year worth while. The big bore qualifying session showed Mark Alger jumping away from the pack quickly to set his pace and make a quick exit. CV Wells ran consistently getting used to the track conditions that would later only get worse. John Dowling and Brian Turner did not seem to want to come off track. Whether they were pushing eachother for faster and faster qualifying times or were just having a blast enjoying the track conditions, they put on quite a show.
Saturday Small Bore
As if to make things even more interesting, mother nature decidided to shower on our racers just as the Small Bore group took the green flag. With 20 cars on track and questionable conditions, this was sure to be quite the race. With everyone charging out of the gate, it wasn’t one lap into the race we saw drivers going four wheels off in the popular end of turn 4. Norm Hamden and Tage Evanson in his rented #8 944 were off to a quick battle for the lead. They did their best to pull away from the pack but Simon Pavlick would not make it easy for them running just behind. Scott Phillips has been the driver to look out for this year and he certainly made his presence known as he picked off one driver at a time making his way through the pack. In the RX7 group, Shane Kneisel made quick work of taking and holding onto the lead. He would eventually take the overall win for the RX7 series on Saturday. Less than half way through the race, Tage Evanson had a big off in turn 7 leaving Norm Hamden a wide open door to run away with the lead. Never one quit, Tage wasted no time making back the 3 positions he lost putting him right back at the front of the pack but not before Darren Griffith in the #7 944 made a sneak attack on the whole pack eventually passing Norm for the overall lead! With just a few laps left Norm Hamden found himself in the sand trap leaving Darren Griffith to take the overall win. Other great battles during the small bore race included Tage Evanson and Scott Phillips during the second half of the race with Scott eventually taking back his position, as well as Leland Forbes and Steve Marlow running heel to toe.
Saturday Small Bore Results
Class 944 Spec
1st : #7 Darren Griffith
2nd : #8 Tage Evanson TeamArizonaPain.com
3rd : #04 Pete Dimuzio
1st : #97 Scott Phillips
2nd : #624 Simon Pavlick
1st : #20 Shane Kneisel
2nd : #45 Jeff Sachs
3rd : #66 Michael Babcock
Saturday Big Bore
Saturdays big bore drivers got the short end of the stick. With race rubber ready, a downpoor hit just before the big bore session. This led to only 6 cars going out on track with one being Mark Alger whom left the race before the green flag to return with rain tires. Each of the drivers showed great patience rounding the track waiting for the the surface to slowly dry up. Unfortunately the course never completely dried, but this wasn’t enough to stop drivers such as Jeremy Renshaw in his BMW and Leroy Moore in the Flatout Motorsport Pro Truck from going out and having a great amount of fun. In fact, Jeremy Renshaw was actually able to lap the entire field!
Saturday Big Bore Results
1st : #11 Jeremy Renshaw
1st : #46 John Dowling
2nd : #524 Brian Turner
1st : #9 Leroy Moore
2nd : #12 Dan Klaudt
3rd : #4 Mark Alger
Sunday Small Bore
Sunday while still cold, was completely clear and proved to be a great day for racing. The small bore raced had an interesting start. In the RX7 class, Jeff Sachs qualified pole. During the out lap of the race, Jeff set the pace for the start; however the other drivers fell back eventually giving Jeff a full corner on the pack when the green flag dropped. Over the next few laps Jeff continued to add distance from the pack and went on to the win for the RX7 class. Simon Pavlick and Scott Phillips were back at it again, trading positions and turning some great lap times. They made a huge gap from the rest of the pack and despite Scott’s best efforts; Simon took the win on Sunday. Leland Forbes in his #510 Integra and Darren Griffith had a great battle until Leland had to make a quick pit stop to ironically secure a piece of his safety equipment.
While Darren was leading the race, Norm Hamden and Steve Marlow battled closely behind for 2nd place until Norm found an opportunity to pass and took the position. Having gapped the Spec 944 pack, Darren found himself attempting to trade positions with Ford Spec Racer Elliot Firereich. After a few great laps Darren made the pass. He would have surely gone on to win the Spec 944 race had a mechanical failure not stopped him in his tracks. This left Norm Hamden to take a well-deserved win.
Sunday Small Bore Results
1st: #624 Simon Pavlick
2nd: #97 Scott Phillips
Class 944 Spec
1st: #99 Norm Hamden
2nd: #47x Steve Marlow
3rd: #8 TeamArizonaPain.com
Class Ford Racer Spec
1st: #1 Elliott Friereich
1st: #510 Leland Forbes
1st: #45 Jeff Sachs
2nd: #2 Kevin Michaels
3rd: #21 Devon Dahn
Sunday Big Bore Race
Sundays Big Bore race was interesting to say the least, before the race even began. A number of class championships landed on the results of this race. PT-A would rely on this race to determine the winner. The championship was between John Dowling and Brian Turner. The winner of this race would take the overall championship. The ST-2 championship was between Bryan McCormick and CV Wells. Because of the weather on Saturday, the drivers formed a gentleman’s agreement that neither would race until Sunday and that would decide the winner. With that being said, the green flag dropped and Clay Koevary in the #36 Porsche was off to a quick lead followed by Mark Alger in his Viper.
In ST-2 CV Wells was holding onto 1st place but Bryan was close behind and determined to take the win. In PT-A, Brian Turner and John Dowling were putting on a great show. A mechanical failure leaving John with only half of his gearbox to choose from, let Brian take the pass but it wasn’t enough to catch Erik Davis. Kudos goes out to Jeremy Renshaw as he paced the race behind John and Brian as not to disrupt their battle for the championship. While Clay Koevary ran away with the overall win, CV Wells and Bryan McCormick continued to stay close together.
Due to a miscalculation on fuel, CV Wells car began experiencing fuel starvation during the plentiful FIR East right hand turns, making him unable to blast out of many turns like he had in previous laps. With only one lap to go, Bryan made a quick turn onto the straight and made a pull for CV. Bryan got the pass and went on to take the ST-2 1st place position. Unfortunately due to a penalty from the start of the race, passing under a yellow to regain his position lost during an out lap spin, Bryan was pushed back to 3rd place. Initially this penalty was assumed to give CV Wells the ST-2 title, however due to a miscalculation of points and the gentleman’s agreement just a day before, a “0” score drop for each them allowed Bryan McCormick to take the ST-2 championship!
Sunday Small Bore Results
1st: #36 Clay Koevary
2nd: #4 Mark Alger
3rd: #9 Leroy Moore
1st: #24 CV Wells
2nd: #3 Tyler Thompson
3rd: #727 Bryan McCormick
1st: #67 Erik Davis
2nd: #524 Brian Turner
3rd: #46 John Dowling
1st: #11 Jeremy Renshaw
Following a great season battling right to the end with John Dowling, Brian Turner had this to say,
“We knew going into this weekend that I had to finish ahead of John D to clinch the PTA season. Saturday I was hoping to be in position during the race in the rain to make a move. Unfortunately I cut my race short by running out of fuel (d’oh!) leaving it up to Sunday to clinch. Sunday qualifying saw most everybody improve their personal bests. After a clean race start Eric Davis checked out with a comfortable lead in PTA. My car held up this time during the race, but John’s car decided to throw in the towel Sunday about 20 minutes in with a transmission issue which allowed me to clinch the season.
I’d like to thank my dad/crew chief for all of his hard work during the season. I couldn’t have done it without ya! John D-It’s been an honor for me to race with you. Thanks for all of the close battles this year! Jeremy-Thanks for letting John and I duke it out Sunday! Doug- Thanks for your help at the enduro!”
John Dowling knowing first-hand the hard work and effort that goes into winning a championship said this.
“I would like to congratulate Brian, and more importantly, his entire team for their 2011 win and final race at the East Track. I have been racing since 2005 with over 250 pole positions on the purple 911 with 9 or 10 regional championships since 2005, including winning the last 2 years of the St. Johns Grand Prix. Many newer model cars from BMW M-3’s to 997 have made the attempt to end the winning streak, congratulations again to Brian’s entire team and their efforts for 2011.
A broken shifter tube occurred about 15 minutes into the race. I continued in 3rd gear. When the rev limiter went off I coasted to the end of the straights. This cooked the brakes and made the car a handful. Scary, “My Laps dot com” lists a 1:03.236 on lap 24. Who needs gears?”
Here is a reflection from Jeff Wojnar on the appreciation we all have for those that make all of this possible.
“I would like to include a huge thank you from myself, and the other 944 Spec racers, to Adina, Tage and the entire NASAAZ staff. The season and events are top notch; operated with an incredibly enthusiastic and positive attitude. I feel comfortable and welcome at each event. I look forward to the exciting 2012 season organized by Tage for this club.”
Finally, we would like to welcome back Clay and the Koevary family with their #36 Porsche Cup Car as well as Tyler Thompson in the 2009 World Motors BMW back to NASAAZ. We hope to see both teams back next year along with everyone who participated this year.
There was a great showing in Time Trials for the last event of the year. With over 30 competitors here are your results from TT. Saturday was led by TeamArizonaPain.com who despite mechanical difficulties ran a 0:57.153 for 1st place TT-R and a new track record. In 2nd was Richard Koevary running a 1:01.7. TT-U was led by the always fast Mark Alger who in his second session ran a 0:58.637. In 2nd were Wayne Oxtoby with a 1:03.4 and Gary Felton in 3rd running a 1:04.2.
TT-S was led by CV Wells who ran a blistering fast 1:00.3. Bryan McCormick took 2nd by a tiny margin running a 1:00.6 and Pete Creek took 3rd with a 1:01.4. TT-A was led by your PT-A champion, Brian Turner running a 1:03.4. In 2nd was Ravi Tomerlin with a 1:05.5 followed by Gabe Ortega who managed a 1:05.8 despite having car troubles all weekend.
Coming our strong on Saturday, Matt McIntyre ran a 1:02.0 in his first session for a new track record and 1st place TT-B. In 2nd was Jeremy Renshaw with a 1:02.8 and Phil Robles in 3rd with a 1:05.6. Running away with TT-C was Dave Schotz running a 1:03.9 followed by Joel Schotz with a 1:07.7 and Justin Markieqizc with a 1:08.5. Brad Lundahl ran a 1:08.1 for 1st place TT-E. TT-F was won by Eric Jacobsen with a 1:13.6 with Paul Bloomberg in 2nd with a 1:14.5.
Highlights from Sunday were as follows. TeamArizonaPain.com, who was back for 1st place TT-R, was unable to break their record set the previous day. Due to mechanical failures, the team was actually borrowing a Radical SR3 owner by DE4 driver Terry Lee for Sunday. Despite the car having both handling and engine problems, it was not enough to stop this team. Mark Alger led TT-U once again while Pete Creek took Sunday for TT-S. Brian Turner came out and ran a 1:03.0 for the win in TT-A and a new track record. Matt McIntyre having set the TT-B track record the previous day bettered his time once again running a 1:018. Dave Schotz took TT-C but was unable to improve his time from Saturday. Robert Rose took TT-D again improving his time and Eric Jacobsen took the win for TT-F.
Also look for a few new faces in Time Trials for the 2012 season. These drivers were on track testing with the other TT drivers and will all be moving up next year. Those drivers are Justin Bowie, Albert Borboa, Jason Griepentrog, and Taylor Wilson.
UMS Tuning Time Attack Series
With this being the final event of the season, many competitors were anxious to set a great time and clench a podium spot for the year. The point’s race was close and many positions came down to this event. Despite track conditions, drivers did their best to maintain their overall positions. The results are as follows:
1st: Robert Rose
2nd: David Lutter
3rd: Leland Forbes
1st: Ravi Tomerlin
2nd: Phil Robles
3rd: Melanie Bedrin
1st: Russ Whelan
2nd: Taylor Wilson
3rd: Justin Bowie
For end of the year results be sure to check the NASA AZ forums. Also be sure to watch for the announcement of the 2012 rule setting meeting. We want everyone to be a part of growing this series.
Great job to all the drivers that came out for HPDE over the weekend. With only a few off track excursions, many drivers were finding their confidence behind the wheel. We had a number of drivers graduate into the following class as well. From DE2 we had seven drivers move up to the DE3 ranks. Those drivers include Gabriel Wiley, Chris Plumlee, Zach Spisak, Rodney Pesavento, Adam “Addrock” Rosin, Ambrose Earle, and Karl Wehrle. DE3 drivers moving into DE4 include Martin Smit, Kevin Gay, and Dan Kellet. If you are a driver in HPDE and would like to move up next year, be sure to contact your group leader during the holiday break and set up a check ride into the next group. We encourage each of you not to become comfortable in your current group, and always look to challenge yourself by moving up and advancing your driving abilities.
Well that wraps up 2011 we want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and we hope to see everyone back next year!
Next Event Info
Our next event will find us at Firebird Main for the season opener.
We will be running the FAST configuration too so don’t miss out!!
Race Groups (Both days)
Time Trial (Points events both days)
Time Attack (Sunday only)
Saturday night BBQ too!!!
Jan 14-15 Registration is open click here to sign up!
Join the NASA-AZ forms to check out the latest info on upcoming events, questions and answers, Etc.
Also check out our Facebook page.
Written By: Taylor “Dr. Koby D” Wilson
Editing and Pictures By: Travis Barnes
Editing: Tage Evanson
Photos of the slide by Tom Barnes from www.twistedpriorities.com