Cory Starr

February, 2009

NASA Profiles:  Cory Starr

corystarr

Vital Stats

Home: Casa Grande, AZ

Job: School, NASA

Run Group: HPDE2

Car: ’91 Nissan 300ZX

Think about your high school job from way back when.  In the case of some NASA members, you might need a calculator to figure out how long ago that was!  Maybe you delivered pizza or were a lot attendant at a local car dealership, where if you were lucky, got to beat on some poor customer’s Mercedez Benz.  While most of the junior class at Casa Grande Union High School spends their weekends bagging groceries or pressure washing parking lots, our next contestant in the Who’s Who spectacle brought to you by NASA Arizona, hangs out with the cool crowd and plays with race cars.

I know what you’re thinking – who?  What car does he drive?  Thing is, nearly everyone who has driven at a NASA event has not only seen Cory Starr, but chances are we’ve all given him thumbs up, or perhaps been singled out with the infamous furled black flag.  If you haven’t guessed it yet, Cory is one of the dedicated NASA corner workers who ensures our safety and good times on track.  After dedicating an uncountable number of days behind the concrete in turn two, Cory recently started driving in the HPDE program.  Oh, yeah, and he’s only 17 years old as well, making him one of NASA’s youngest participants.

A brief encounter with NASA Arizona legend Kyle Giannuzzi tipped Cory onto the underground world of club racing.  “I was sitting there reading a car magazine, when this guy named  Kyle walked up.  In less than 30 seconds, we were arguing about something car related.  When that was finished, he told me to check out the May night event”, Cory recalled.  Mind you, that was May 2007, making Cory only 15 years old when he worked his first NASA event!

Since then, Cory has worked his way up to become the assistant worker chief, filling in when Kyle is absent.  The years of corner working naturally progressed into entering the HPDE1 school, and then into his current run group of HPDE2.  During the interview, I gave Cory two options:  1.  Drop out of high school and devote your life to NASA like the rest of us, or 2.  Tell me about college and your plans to become a member of Congress to fight for club racing rights around the USA.  “Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of mechanical engineering.  The most interesting part of corner working is watching vehicles work – more specifically, the differences in suspension movement and dynamics.”

Random Facts

Favorite Food: Shrimp Scampi

One Word about High School: Racial

First NASA Event: May Night Event 2007

Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz: Salma Hayek

Coolest Car in NASA AZ: You kidding?  My Car!

Right now Cory commutes from Casa Grande on the weekends to be part of NASA Arizona, both in working and driving.  His Nissan 300ZX is progressing steadily, largely due to extra help from his friend Charles at Powertrix.com and advice from participants at the NASA events.  Cory has chosen to work on upgrading his suspension system, which seems to naturally feed his appetite for mechanical systems and suspension design.  When he’s not in school or working for NASA, his hobbies include working on his car, reading about his car, thinking about Salma Hayek and planning out future modifications for his 300ZX.

What became apparent in my interview with Cory is his undeniable passion for racing, vehicles and enthusiasm being able to contribute to NASA Arizona – all things that are easy to lose sight of after a long weekend at the track.  For that reason, Cory’s presence within NASA Arizona is invaluable, and we wish him many successful years to come!

Written by:  Brady Dohrmann

Time Trial vs. Time Attack

Welcome to the Driver’s Corner – a section that will be dedicated to discussing a various issue, or issues that come up in NASA Arizona.  With such a wide variety of drivers ranging from HPDE1 to race group, and even spectators, the hope is for someone to take something away from this section and learn a little bit about what goes on at NASA events.  That being said, it’s time for this month’s installment:  Time Trial vs. Time Attack…

tatt_grid

I’ll save you the lecture about which one I think is better, that’s not the point.  The point of this topic is to clear up the mess and confusion that surrounds these two series, as it can be entirely all too confusing for the average non-participant to think about.  NASA Arizona is the only region on the country to have an active Time Attack series, in addition to the Time Trial program.  Without further ado, here are some definitions:

Time Trial (TT): TT is a nationally sanctioned series supported by NASA.  With the only differentiating factor being the name, the structure—the rules, rulebook, classing system, CCRs—is identical to that of the Performance Touring (PT) and Super Touring (ST) system the race group uses.  A PTA car is a TTA (Time Trial, Class A) car.  A TTC car is a PTC car.  A driver wishing to race and run in the time trial program can crossover between the two series without changing a thing.  The PT rules extraordinaire Paul Bloomberg, classes PT cars the same way Jeremy Renshaw classes TT cars.

The TT format on track is simple:  drivers enter the track at timed or spaced intervals, and the purpose is to turn the fastest lap possible.  The fastest single lap from the entire day determines the finishing position within the class (TTB, TTC, TTA, etc).  Think of it as a race group qualifying session.  Formerly dubbed HPDE 4, the Time Trial group averages 30-35 entrants, split up into Big Bore and Small Bore groups that run apart from one another to ensure clean laps.

tatt_group

Speaking of which, clean laps are the name of the game for TT!  Considering a driver has all day to turn one single fast lap, drivers often chart track conditions and weather to determine the fastest possible conditions for their single lap.  Balancing the track conditions, time of day, air temperature and ideal tire temperatures can be tricky, but when combined with lapped traffic, can make for some interesting comments during the download sessions!

Summary

Pro:  You get four, 20-minute sessions to turn your best lap

Con:  With all TT drivers on track at the same time, traffic can be an issue

Rules:  Very specific classes; rules are inline with race groups.  Nationally sanctioned and supported by NASA

Time Attack (TA):  The TA series was formed locally and has no national support from NASA, and no national rulebook or guidelines.  All rules, format, driver classing and administration were formed here in Arizona by NASA members.  The TA series mimics the trendy time attack events put on (on a much larger scale) by Super Street Magazine and the Redline Time Attack Series.  A twist to the TA series is the entry fee.  On top of the NASA daily entry fee, all drivers pay $20 cash to get into the TA event.  All the money is put into a pot, and then it is divided up and given back to the winners of each class as prize money.  While it doesn’t exactly pay for a day at the track, it’s often enough for a nice steak dinner or tank of race fuel.

The classing for TA is simple:  power to weight.  There are three classes, each with a range of power to weight limits.  For example, TA class B (aka, TA-B) has a power to weight limit of 9:1 to 13.99:1.  As long as you’re within those guidelines and your tires are DOT approved, anything goes.  The purpose of this is to allow new entrants easily and not have the worry of classing cars using a complex set of rules.  The TA series is more “loose”, and meant to be fun, although some take it rather seriously!

tatt_240sx

The competition format is simple:  think Indy 500 qualifying day.  The TA entrants are divided up into groups of 3-4 drivers.  The drivers in each group are released onto track, usually about 15-20 seconds apart, thus giving plenty of space for everyone.  The lap out is the warmup, with a green flag waving the first time by the start line.  Each driver gets two hot laps, then a checkered flag.  The limited number of laps and the added pressure of driving on a nearly empty track with people watching, makes for a tough experience that can be a lot of fun.

Summary

Pro:  It’s you on an empty track – generally no issues with traffic

Con:  You only have two laps to rip off one good one!

Rules:  Very basic, very open

So there you have it, be confused about Time Trial and Time Attack no more!  If you are interested in either series, talk to your HPDE group leader, or the Time Attack director Jeremy Ward, or Time Trial director Jeremy Renshaw.  Both series are “invite only” (meaning, you have to meet the minimum requirements) and require a specific level of track experience.

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