April 2nd Wraps Up


April 2nd brought us back to Firebird International Raceway for the infamous “Night Event”, which is host to the Modified Tuner Shootout, a full lineup of HPDE, Time Trials, day/night races, and the UMS Tuning Time Attack.


For our drivers that like to view the track going sideways, there were ample drift sessions which nonetheless attracted quite a few spectators and participants.  This event was host to TWO hyper-drive sessions with a full field of 19 drivers each. I think it’s safe to say that with all the fun students were having, a few got bitten by the racing bug! Everyone at NASA-AZ hopes to see them back on the track soon!

There was a little something for everyone at this event. With fewer vendors on the site it was all about the drivers. In fact, a large number local car club members arrived just to spend time with us, including AZAWD and the S2k Club. Entertainment was abound, including the pavilion display of an ex-Champ car, a DJ who played music all night long, plus live music played by fellow NASA-AZ racer Terry Denton. Three HUGE bouncy houses were made available (free of charge) ensuring a safe and enjoyable time for our young ones.



Most importantly, the day was split between the West and Main tracks for a wide assortment of activity on both. Thanks to the hard work and dedication to the many NASA-AZ officials and workers, the event was a great success. Let’s take a look at the details and why this particular event will always be one to remember.


Modified Tuner Shootout

Some very fast (and very loud) machines came out for a good show as the Modified Tuner Shootout got underway with the Autocross Competition on the FIR West track. Cone configurations were setup around the track to dictate the clockwise course. A flying start for our drivers at West track start-finish immediately led into a slalom. Winding around the carousel and a hard right turn, they double-backed through the same slalom from which they came. Simple, fast, but challenging to set a blazing AND clean lap.



Later in the day, drivers transitioned to the Main track for the Modified Time Attack sessions. The opportunity to watch fast machines at work showcasing their true straight-line potential on one of the longest straightaways in Arizona was a sight to see.


There was a good mix of regional tuners, including AFI Turbo (Jeremy Renshaw), Science of Speed (Mike Speck), Snail Performance (Travis Barnes), UMS Tuning (Tony Szirka), KSport (Phil Robles), and Hasport (Tage Evanson). Out-of-state participants included Sportcar Motion, AQ Motorsports, and Zenkai. Given restrictions per the Modified officials, I’m not allowed to report official results here but they will be made available in the coming issue of Modified Magazine.


Race Group

Aside from the Tuner Shootout, Race Group was certainly one of the much awaited highlights of the day and evening. The races were great for both Small Bore and Big Bore–drivers and spectators alike. What I like most about FIR West is that it’s a track that equalizes the game across the board. A track like this showcases driver ability and technical know-how versus straight-line speed.

After West qualifying sessions, drivers found themselves plotted into their respective grid spots for the race. Leroy Moore took the pole in Small Bore and did a great job positioning his car by turning a lap 2-seconds faster than his PT-C competition. Spare not those apexes! Our 944 field brought Norm Hamden to the front of his class at the race start. Geri Amani in her PT-E Miata qualified in the front of her class and mid-pack overall; a first for this new Small Bore racer.

The start of Small Bore was a dusty one–tires dipped all around the track, leaving a light dusting for everyone who followed. As the front of the pack brought us a battle between Leroy Moore and Tony Lisa in PT-C, the 944Spec field played out with a few surprises. Norm Hamden kept his position in first while Glen Gormley managed to swap places with Joe Paluch who finished second and third, respectively. A few excursions upset the usual order of cars, bringing focus to PT-E with an all-out red car dual between Geri Amani and Shane Kneisel. Swept wide at the beginning of the race, Amani lost her original starting position as the Small Bore field spread apart. It was then a nose-to-tail battle between Amani and Kneisel for the entire race. Quick to defend any opening, Shane did his part in securing his first position in PT-E with Amani directly in his mirror finishing second.


Big Bore brought quick laps to FIR West, with a few more track records during the race. The fastest of the pack was Chad Nelson, who qualified at the pole position, followed by Mark Alger in the SU class.  ST-2 had a great show of participants on this little track, with Bryan McCormick starting at the front of his class, followed by Ron Ballard only a few tenths away. Rick Johnson (Ricky Boo-Boo) and Steve Lisa led ST-1. Brian Turner did a great job in PT-A qualifying at the front of his class, with John Dowling only a couple tenths away. Racer Matt McIntyre really moved around the track, taking pole in PT-B and putting him right in the mix of PT-A lap times in his BMW E36 M3.

During the Big Bore race Chad Nelson was unstoppable. He turned a near sub-minute lap of 1:00.003, a new track record for SU. Mark Alger was unable to catch Nelson and finished second in SU. Ron Ballard brought good stuff to the track moving up positions and finished first in ST-2, followed by CV Wells and Sarah Cattaneo. Steve Lisa was our lone ST-1 racer but turned quality laps in taking the win. The PT-A win was delivered (pun intended!) by Brian Turner, followed by John Dowling and Sean Southland. Last but not least was our PT-B line up of BMW’s, with Matt McIntyre in first and Jeremy Renshaw in second.


Drivers took their finishing positions into the FIR Main race with Big Bore set to lead the field. This race was short-lived, however, as the unthinkable happened to one of our racers, Tage Evanson. Circumstances can always be “worse” but it’s safe to say this was more than shocking for everyone who ran this race and for the spectators in the grandstands.

As the racers circled around the track, roughly 9 laps in, the #17 white Honda Civic suddenly caught fire as a shift was made to 5th gear. Almost instantly the car was engulfed in flames with Tage still inside. Slowing from 100+ mph and no signs of the flames subsiding, Tage escaped while the car was still moving down the straight in approximately 8-seconds, then rushed over the barrier wall to safety. He then obtained a fire extinguisher and attempted to aid in putting out the fire. Evanson suffered third-degree burns to the back of his neck, with less severe burns to his face. It can only be said that preparedness and the use of safety gear kept Evanson from experiencing further injury or quite possibly the loss of his life. It can never be stressed enough that each of us take the proper measures to use the best safety gear one can afford. Practice getting out of your car each time you work on it, and then practice getting out faster. It could safe your life!

For a complete account of Tage’s experience and recovery updates, visit this thread http://forums.www.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=4774

Top Racers from FIR West (Big Bore)

1 – Chad Nelson #14
2- Mark Alger #4

1 – Ron Ballard #93
2- CV Wells #24
3- Sarah Cattaneo #42

1 – Steve Lisa #19

1 – Brian Turner #524
2- John Dowling #46
3- Sean Southland #777

1 – Matt McIntyre #31
2- Jeremy Renshaw #11
Top Racers from FIR West (Small Bore)

1 – Leroy Moore #019
2- Tony Lisa #119

944 Spec
1 – Norm Hamden #99
2- Glen Gormley #924
3- Joe Paluch #94

1 – Shane Kneisel #20
2- Geri Amani #34
3- Paul Siefert #11

Time Trial

Quick laps and good times were had for our NASA Time Trialers, as both FIR West and Main tracks were used as a speed-setting playground. Firstly, I have to bring notice to a few new track records that were set over the weekend. Starting with the FIR West Big  Bore sessions we have Tage Evanson, who set a new TTU track record running a speedy 1:00.4 followed by Alger who took second running a close 1:01.4! Next up was Rick Johnson in third who ran a respectable 1:03.0. In TTS the fastest laps were turned by Pete Creek, who ran a 1:02.0, Phil Buffington turned a 1:03.1, followed by CV Wells who pulled a 1:03.4.

TTA lap-time leader was Brain Turner, who also set a new track record in his class, running a 1:05.0. Justin Markiewicz turned a second place lap running a 1:06.8, closely followed by Doug Evans with a 1:06.9.


Next up is Mervin Tan, Saturday’s TTB winner. Mervin turned a quick 1:05.8, while Matt McIntyre took second running 1:06.0, and Chris Wilson placed third running a brisk 1:06.8. Following the TT lineup are our TTC cars led by Dave Shotz, who turned a first place lap of 1:05.5. Next up, Phil Robles ran a 1:06.3 in his Honda Civic and took second. Eric Dayton finished third in his Acura Integra with a 1:08.1.

Moving along to TTD, Joe Catteneo ran his Mini Cooper S and turned some respectable laps. With a fastest of 1:06.8, Joe ended the TTD winning streak of Robert Rose, who took second with a 1:07.6, followed by Brett Lengel’s 1:08.8.

In TTE, Marc McCombs took first running 1:09.1, followed by Brad Lundahl who ran 1:10.2, followed by a 1:10.7 turned by Geri Amani. Last but not least is our TTF car driven by Eric Jacobsen (officially listed as a 1985 Mazda POS), who turned a 1:20.1.

Once the Modified Tuner sessions were over, Time Trialers had their chance to run FIR Main. Essentially, starting a new set of sessions with an opportunity to accumulate additional season points. Starting with TTU, Mark Alger turned our fastest lap overall and ultimately reset the Main track record with 1:04.952. Next up, Snail performance Subaru WRX STI (Travis Barnes) came in second running 1:07.011, followed by Science of Speed (Mike Speck), who turned 1:07.455.

In TTS, Pete Creek is at the top of the roster again and set the latest TTS track record with 1:04.456, followed by Phil Buffington who ran a 1:06.071. Not far behind was a 1:06.297 turned in by CV Wells.  The absence of Brain Turner left the first place spot open in TTA. In the end, Justin Markiewicz ran a 1:09.396 and secured the win for the event. Doug Evans was only a few tenths behind Markiewicz, taking second with a 1:10.016 lap time. Third place went to Sean Southland, who was just a little ways away running a 1:10.905.

Matt McIntyre brought good stuff to the Main track, running a quick 1:08.763 while securing first in TTB. Second place was Mervin Tan, who turned 1:10.515. A 1:10.997 lap time positioned Chris Wilson in third.  Our TTC lineup was led by Dave Shotz–yet again–and another track record–yet again–running a 1:09.273. Phil Robles took home second and ran a 1:10.636, followed by Eric Dayton who tuned a 1:14.365.

Robert Rose regained his first place winning position in TTD with a lap time of 1:12.233. Dave McCombs, who ran a 1:14.696, took second place. Brett Lengel took third running a 1:15.250.

Marc McCombs took another class win in TTE turning a 1:14.716, followed by Brad Lundahl who ran a 1:15.888, and Geri Amani in third who ran a 1:16.657. The TTF “1985 Mazda POS” was piloted by Eric Jacobsen and ran a 1:25.181.

Top Drivers from FIR West (Big Bore)
– TTU  Tage Evanson #17 Honda Civic – 1:00.4 (Track Record)
– TTS  Pete Creek #727 Corvette GS – 1:03.1
– TTA  Brain Turner #524 Porsche 911 – 1:05.0 (Track Record)

Top Drivers from FIR West (Small Bore)
– TTB  Mervin Tan #45 BMW E36 M3 – 1:05.8
– TTC  Dave Shotz #175 Camaro – 1:06.3
– TTD  Joe Catteneo #101 Mini Cooper S – 1:06.8
– TTE  Marc McCombs #430 VW Jetta – 1:09.1
– TTF  Eric Jacobsen #98TTF 1:20.1

Top Drivers from FIR Main (Big Bore)
– TTU Mark Alger #4 Dodge Viper CC – 1:03.952 (Track Record)
– TTS  Pete Creek #727 BMW E46 M3 – 1:04.456 (Track Record)
– TTA  Justin Markiewicz #32 Subaru WRX STI – 1:09.396

Top Drivers from FIR Main (Small Bore)
– TTB  Matt McIntyre #31 BMW E36 M3 – 1:08.763
– TTC  Dave Shotz #175 Camaro – 1:09.273 (Track Record)
– TTD  Robert Rose #3 Mazda Miata – 1:12.233
– TTE  Marc McCombs #439 VW Jetta – 1:14.572
– TTF  Eric Jacobsen #97 Mazda POS 1:25.181



All HPDE groups were completely sold out this event, bringing a full grid and lots of smiles to drivers faces. Several drivers moved up the HPDE ladder as they continued to demonstrate driver ability. After the race at Main, I’ve had quite a few emails sent my direction asking about suggested safety gear. Not a bad idea. Even if you are in HPDE and not yet in Race Group, TT, or TA, misfortunes such as crashes and fire can happen at any speed and in any run group. Simply put; having some added safety equipment is better than none at all. Buy the best safety equipment that is within your budget (and consult the NASA CCR’s and our NASA Tech officials for guidelines to follow when preparing your car with added safety equipment).


HPDE has been a great environment to develop yourself as a driver and have a lot of fun in the process. With the excitement of this event and the diversity of two tracks, as well as day and night driving, good times were had by all who participated.


UMS Tuning Time Attack


A grid of 38 drivers lined up for their turn to run a fast time and compete with cars in their respective classes. At the top of the roster we have Travis Barnes, who turned our fastest overall TA lap with a 1:05.8, securing his win in TA-C, followed by JC Meynet with a 1:06.0 taking second. In third was Science of Speed (Mike Speck), who turned a respectable 1:06.9.

TA-B was led by Taylor Wilson, who ran a quick 1:09.3. Justin Markiewicz was not far behind taking second place with a lap time of 01:09.9. For third place we have Sean Southland, who turned a 1:11.0. Robert Rose continues to keep alive a winning steak for TA-A, taking first place with a 1:12.2. Next up was Leland Forbes who ran 1:14.2, and only a couple tenths away was Dave McCombs who ran 1:14.5, securing third place.

Top Drivers – TA-C
1 – Travis Barnes  – 1:05.8
2 – JC Meynet – 1:06.0
3 – Science of Speed – 1:06.9

Top Drivers – TA-B
1 – Taylor Wilson – 1:09.3
2 – Justin Markiewicz – 1:09.9
3 – Sean  Southland – 1:11.0

Top Drivers – TA-A
1 – Robert Rose – 1:12.2
2 – Leland Forbes – 1:14.2
3 – Dave McCombs – 1:14.5


Event Preview

As many of you know our next event will be held at Inde Motorsports Ranch located outside of Tucson in the small town of Willcox. This will certainly be an event to remember as NASA-AZ will hold a makeup race (in lieu of the Main cancellation) and sprint races, a full TT lineup, all HPDE groups, and Time Attack. This track is a sizable distance from Phoenix so plan on staying over the weekend. Be sure to reserve a hotel soon as spots will fill up fast.

Register here –> https://nasaproracing.com/event/1206

See you at the track!

Article Written by Geri Amani
Photography by Doug Hughes (http://www.waypast210.com) and Pure Street Photo (http://purestreetphoto.zenfolio.com)

March Events Wrap Up – FIR East & AMP


It’s been awhile since the last time NASA-AZ ventured to Firebird East, but that is what March 5-6 brought us. Temperatures were still good enough to keep both drivers and cars happy and, in the process, some impressive lap times were turned with a few new track records. Track conditions were considerably better than our event back in October, with enough rubber put down from other races having taken place before we made our arrival.

Drivers meeting ... Before it all gets started.

Drivers meeting ... Before it all gets started.


Race Group


Qualifying on Saturday
The weekend was host to some great racing with Big Bore and Small Bore in full effect and some fast lap times on the menu. Saturday’s Big Bore qualifying session grouped our fastest classes together, with our SU drivers in the front; Robert Foster, Chad Nelson, and Kyle Foster all turning sub-minute laps. Mark Alger in ST-1 qualified first with a sub-minute lap as well, followed by Ron Ballard who qualified first in ST-2.

Small Bore qualifiers were led by our PT-B drivers Jeremy Renshaw and Matt McIntyre, followed by PT-A driver John Dowling for our top three respectively. The next competitive group in the Small Bore field was our 944Spec class led by Norm Hamden, turning the fastest qualifying lap for 944 Spec.

Saturday’s Race – Big Bore
The race on Saturday gave Big Bore some big challenges, negotiating space on this smaller track. As laps were turned, drivers found their positions and kept to their respective class battles. As the checkered flag waved across start/finish, we found Robert Foster in SU zipping by as our SU class and overall 1st place winner, followed by Chad Nelson and Kyle Foster. Mark Alger took the win for ST-1, with a white Civic not far behind driven by Tage Evanson who placed second in his class. Our ST-2 top qualifier Ron Ballard lead his class to the finish. Second in line for ST-2 was Bryan McCormick with Adam Bode taking third.

Saturday’s Race – Small Bore
Small Bore had a fun turnout in a lot of classes, with Saturday’s race beginning with our PT-B cars out in front, lead by Jeremy Renshaw. While Matt McIntyre managed to turn the fastest PT-B lap during the race, he came in a close second, followed by Marty Saltzman. PT-A started with Porsche driver John Dowling  racing first across the finish line for a class win, with Paul Bloomberg finishing second. Next up is our lone PT-C car Erik Woods who mingled with the rest of the field. Our 944Spec class leader was Norm Hamden, who was followed by Dave Hauck and Steve Marlow.

Qualifying on Sunday
Sunday’s qualifying combined both small bore and big bore groups. SU driver Chad Nelson in his oh-so-sweet sounding Porsche was the top overall qualifier, followed by ST-2 drivers Bryan McCormick and Mark Klein as our top three. Matt McIntyre brought out a quick lap leading PT-B, while Bob Rittel qualified first in PT-A. Leroy Moore established his leading position in PT-C with a quick qualifying lap, followed by Rusty Dees and Dave Hauck who lead the start in PT-E and 944Spec respectively.

Sunday’s Race – Big Bore


As the green flag waved overhead and racers stomped the floor, our Big Bore front runner Chad Nelson took the start and also successfully finished the race leading the entire field of cars. Ron Ballard did rather well, turning similar times to our SU leader while also having good battles throughout the track as well. Ballard ultimately took the ST-2 win, with Bryan McCormick and Mark Klein finishing second and third. Tage Evanson, our lone ST-1 driver, mixed it up a bit with the rest of the field while taking his class win. Similar circumstances were found within the PT-A class, with Bob Rittel leading both qualifying and the class race. Second to finish was Brian Turner, followed by Rick Touton. Matt McIntyre in PT-B certainly turned some quality lap times mixing it up with adjacent PT-A cars, and ultimately took the class win followed by Jeremy Renshaw and Marty Saltzman. To Saltzman’s credit, rumor has it he finished the race with some mechanical gearbox issues but still turned some decent times nonetheless!

Was that a Fiat? Indeed it was. Sunday had a special guest pace car who helped get all the excitement started!

Was that a Fiat? Indeed it was.


This little Fiat took centerstage as pace car--leading Sunday's Small Bore Race.


Sunday’s Race – Small Bore
Our front runner Small Bore cars began with PT-C drivers Leroy Moore and Erik Woods who battled it out for the PT-C win. Moore kept his lead after his front of the pack qualifying position, finishing the race in first as well. 944 Spec had a healthy turnout of racers with some close lap times in this spec-racing class. Finishing first was Norm Hamden, followed by Jeff Wojnar and Dave Hauck; all made for some great racing. Last but not least is our PT-E class led by Shane Kneisel with Rusty Dees finishing second.

Top Big Bore Racers from Saturday

1 – Robert Foster #017
2 – Chad Nelson #14
3 – Kyle Foster #23

1 – Ron Ballard #93
2 – Bryan McCormick #727
3 – Adam Bode #67

1 – Mark Alger #4
2 – Tage Evanson #17


Top Big Bore Racers from Sunday
1 – Chad Nelson

1 – Ron Ballard #93
2 – Bryan McCormick #727
3 – Mark Klein #062

1 – Bob Rittel #400
2 – Brian Turner #524
3 – Rick Touton #961

1 – Matt McIntyre #31
2 – Jeremy Renshaw #11
3 – Marty Saltzman #30

1 – Tage Evanson #17

Top Small Bore Racers from Saturday

1 – Jeremy Renshaw #11
2 – Matt McIntyre #31
3 – Marty Saltzman #30

1 – John Dowling #46
2 – Paul Bloomberg #51
3 – Sean Southland #777

1 – Erik Woods #5

1 – Norm Hamden #99
2 – Dave Hauck #08
3 – Steve Marlow #47x

1 – Rusty Dees #89

Top Small Bore Racers from Sunday

1 – Leroy Moore #19
2 – Erik Woods #5

1 – Norm Hamden #99
2 – Jeff Wojnar #28
3 – Dave Hauck #08

1 – Shane Kneisel #20
2 – Rusty Dees #89

Time Trial

It was great timing that NASA-AZ had a chance to run at this track before the Summer temperatures take over. Conditions were great, allowing some of our TT drivers to set some new track records.

Big Bore
At the top of Saturday’s roster in our Big Bore Time Trial group is our fastest overall driver in TTU. Mark Alger ran several sub-minute laps running a 59.269. Not far behind was Tage Evanson who seemed to battle for tenth-after-tenth running consistent 1-minute flat laps but settling for a 1:00.128. Tony Szirka was our third quickest TTU driver running competitive with Evanson and turning a 1:00.395.

In TTS CV Wells turned a quick 1:01.241, followed by Steve Eymann and Phil Buffington who ran 1:02.071 and 1:02.429 respectively. Brian Turner led TTA with a 1:03.568, Sean Southland ran a 1:04.495, followed by Justin Markiewicz who turned a 1:05.498.

Sunday the game was changed up a bit, resulting in some new track records. Tage Evanson was our fastest overall driver for the day running a stout 58.552, setting the latest TTU track record! Second in class and running a 1-minute flat was Mark Alger, followed by Travis Barnes who turned a 1:01.787. TTS was rather quick as well, starting with Pete Creek who took the win running a 1:00.411. CV Wells was not far off coming in second after a 1:01.239, with third quickest of the day by Dan Maloney turning a 1:02.29.

Sean Southland brought good stuff to the track and kept the wheels turning fast enough to set a new TTA track record with 1:03.350. Brian Turner was only a few ticks away but still running a fast lap of 1:03.834, followed by Gabe Ortega who used all that supercharged Honda power to turn a 1:04.887.

Top Drivers from Saturday
TTR – Brent Crosser #206, 1:04.297
TTU – Mark Alger #4, 59.269
TTS – CV Wells #24, 1:01.241
TTA – Brian Turner #524, 1:03.568

Top Drivers from Sunday
TTU – Tage Evanson #17, 58.552 (TRACK RECORD)
TTS – Pete Creek #727, 1:00.411
TTA – Sean Southland #777, 1:03.350 (TRACK RECORD)

Small Bore

Saturday’s TTB run group led the pack starting with Jeremy Renshaw who turned a 1:03.853, followed by fellow BMW E36 M3 driver Mervin Tan who came in second with a 1:04.240. Matt McIntyre came in third after running a 1:05.369.


Next up is Dave Shotz in TTC who, after a few “excursions”, ultimately took the class win running a 1:04.446, followed by Phil Robles with a 1:05.330, and third was a 1:08.397 run by Eric Dayton. TTD brought some quick laps to the table, with the fastest set by Robert Rose running a 1:06.665. Brett Lengel took second with a 1:07.871, and third was Jeff Wojnar who brought out a 1:10.022 by the end of the day. The TTE battle was on the table between Rusty Dees and Brad Lundahl, who had close times throughout the day. Dees manages to pull a few tenths off turning 1:10.157, with Lundahl in second place with a 1:10.440.

Conditions were most favorable on Sunday, with quick times being had till the end of the day. Jeremy Renshaw, Mervin Tan, and Matt McIntyre all ran close times turning respectable 1:03’s only tenths apart. Renshaw ultimately took first for the day with a 1:03.505, followed by Tan who ran a 1:03.685, and 1:03.756 driven by McIntyre. Small Bore also got in on the track record fun with a new TTC record being set by Dave Shotz who turned a very quick 1:03.901. Phil Robles took second in TTC with a 1:05.685.

Robert Rose, it should be noted, is the TTD Miata driver with consistent wins most weekends when the car runs solid. Once again Rose took first with his fastest on Sunday being a 1:06.438. Brett Lengel with a 1:07.290 and Dave McCombs turning a 1:07.843 took second and third. Last but not least are our TTE cars featuring a dual between a Datsun and a Miata. With Rusty Dees behind the wheel of an old-school-gone-fast Nissan, the win was secured by turning a 1:08.760, followed by Brad Lundahl who ran a respectable 1:09.613.

Top Drivers from Saturday
TTB – Jeremy Renshaw #11 BMW E35 M3, 1:08.337
TTC – Dave Schotz #175 Camaro, 1:04.446
TTD – Robert Rose #003 Mazda Miata, 1:06.665
TTE – Rusty Dees #89 Datsun 510, 1:10.157

Top Drivers from Sunday
TTB – Jeremy Renshaw #11 BMW E35 M3, 1:03.505
TTC – Dave Schotz #175 Camaro, 1:03.901 (TRACK RECORD)
TTD – Robert Rose #003 Mazda Miata, 1:06.438
TTE – Rusty Dees #89 Datsun 510, 1:08.760



HPDE looked good from a participation standpoint with a full field of cars–drivers overall had a great time learning the ins-and-outs of Firebird East. With each of the run groups staged for various driver levels, the NASA AZ HPDE ladder is a safe and efficient environment for drivers to expand upon their skills with quality instructors on hand to help overcome any challenges that might come up.  To aid with the differences in horsepower on a tight track like FIR East, occasionally HPDE groups are known to split into “Small Bore / Big Bore” to help with the distribution of traffic and, on the same note, make the learning environment less intimidating for slower cars negotiating space with faster ones.


One of our regular HPDE drivers Paul Green registered in both HPDE3 and the UMS Time Attack on Sunday. Behind the wheel of the #245 white Integra, Paul has been climbing the HPDE ladder gradually. While on his days off from the track, he can be found helping friends at the track with their cars.

“Saturday I was there just as a spectator and to get some pictures. However, I helped out a fellow driver change one of his axles to get him back out on the track. The Saturday night BBQ was great and the weather could not have been better.” Paul explained.  “Despite some alignment and tire pressure issues, I managed to post a personal best lap time during the UMS Time Attack. Weather conditions throughout the day where amazing as were the track conditions!”

As with a lot of HPDE drivers, Paul is a classic example of someone who both loves the sport and his car. He purchased the Integra for the sole purpose of having a fun track car. He stripped the car down to it’s shell for a rebuild. “All in all, I think it’s a great combination of parts that make a crazy fun car to drive.” Says Paul. “The cars burns at least 2 quarts of oil per track day and still puts down some good power and always puts a smile on my face. A job well done I think… All this could not have been done without the help of some friends.”


UMS Tuning Time Attack


Each event NASA-AZ dedicates a time slot to the fabulous series known as the UMS Tuning Time Attack. Participant numbers continue to increase making for some added competition – and of course, added fun on track. With only a couple laps to make their mark in the standings, let’s take a look at the results from each of the respective classes.

From the fastest pack of TA-ers is our TA-C class, starting with Tony Szirka, who yet again took the overall lead by turning our quickest TA Lap of 1:01.425. Next up was Travis Barnes who was only a couple tenths behind with a 1:01.657, then in third was Jerome Silvers who ran 1:02.491. Given his history of dominating TA-A, will Gabe Ortega reap the same results in TA-B? It’s looking to be a positive start for him as he ran away with first in class running a 1:04.542, with Mervin Tan right there with him turning a close 1:04.756! Phil Robles took third with a quick 1:05.865.

The front of TA-A was all about the Mazda-speed (get it?) as Robert Rose took his Mazda Miata into first place running a  1:06.675, separating himself over 2-seconds from his competition. 1:08.039 was second fastest run by Brett Lengel, and Dave McCombs took third just behind Lengel with a 1:08.337.

Congrats to everyone who ran TA this event, some good competition out there!

1 – Tony Szirka, 1:01.425
2 – Travis Barnes, 1:01.657
3 – Jerome Silvers, 1:02.491

1 – Gabe Ortega, 1:02.491
2 – Mervin Tan, 1:04.756
3 – Phil Robles, 1:05.865

1 – Robert Rose, 1:06.675
2 – Brett Lengel, 1:08.039
3 – Dave McCombs, 1:08.337


NASA-AZ Returns to Arizona Motorsports Park

As FIR came and went then we suddenly found ourselves at Arizona Motorsports Park (AMP)!   After much effort spent in sound-metering participants, NASA-AZ was able to return to AMP on March 19th following track requirements limiting both dB levels and number of  participants in the facility. This time TT track-records were up for grabs with our TT and Race groups running combined sessions. HPDE was completely sold out as well, making for a full paddock of happy drivers excited to run on the track–for many of them it would be their first time at AMP.  The AMP line-up also included the UMS Tuning Time Attack, with a full grid of competition ready to go.


AMP is certainly a “drivers track” with a lot of fast, sweepy corners certain to test your resistance to pucker-factor!  This track compliments our existing lineup of places to drive and race within the NASA-AZ region, adding to the diversity of corners that test driver skills.

amp_gridWith any luck, AMP will be regularly added to our schedule of great places to drive in the Arizona region–perhaps replacing our once beloved PIR (to some degree at least).

Up Next!

Our next event on the calendar is a big one! The infamous Firebird Night Event, which is host to the Modified Tuner Shootout, a full lineup of HPDE, Time Trials, AND day/night races. Did I mention we will get to run on TWO tracks? Yep, FIR West and Main! This event will surely be a great turnout for participants and spectators alike. If you haven’t registered yet, I encourage you to do so now before time is out!

See you at the track!
Register here – https://www.nasaproracing.com/event/1189
Schedule here – http://forums.www.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=4677

Article Written by Geri Amani.
Photography by Doug Hughes, Matt Chander (www.MattChandlerPhoto.com), Carlos, and Clayton Peck.

Who’s Who in NASA – Tage and Adina Evanson


Full Names: Tage Jae Evanson & Adina Evanson (pronounced “page” but with a “T”, and “Even” + “Son”)
(Tage) Red Bluff, California; (Adina) Glendale, Arizona
Tage’s 9-5:
Project Manager
Adina’s 9-5:
Full-Time Mom (Zaylee age 5, and Brynlee aka “B” age 3) & Bookkeeping at Ace Hardware
Tage’s NASA Title:
Regional Director
Adina’s NASA Title:
Regional Co-Director aka “The Missus”
Tage’s Favorite Food (s):
Mexican/burritos, bacon egg /cheese burritos, anything from Filiberto’s
Adina’s Favorite Food(s): Anything Mexican
Husky named Koni (yes, as in Koni shocks)



The Evanson's!

Adina and Tage - Bride & Groom

Track weekends usually bring us busy schedules and limited free time. However, I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the busiest people I know within NASA-AZ, Tage and Adina Evanson. I was lucky enough to have spent time with them after the January event, learning a bit more about each of their backgrounds and coming to better understand just how instrumental this dynamic duo is in making NASA-AZ a success. In lieu of a new 2011 season, I think it is appropriate to introduce to everyone Tage and Adina for this edition of Who’s Who.

Tage Jae Evanson was Korean born but grew up in Red Bluff, California with his adoptive parents…and also one of the largest two-day rodeos in the world. Yes indeed, a small community of 10,000 people suddenly endured an increase of 10,000 more visitors in one weekend. Little did his family know that he would turn into the need-for-speed racer he is today.

His competitive nature appeared relatively early. In 7th grade Tage began his passion for “going fast” on two wheels with freestyle bikes; catching curbs, rails, and ledges whenever possible. Aspiring to be a professional freestyle rider, he continued riding throughout his years in high school but ended up putting his bikes away once he began a regular 9-5 career. It should be noted, however, that given the right opportunity (a bike within reach) and a few useful elements (a make-shift ramp) Tage has been spotted catching some air in the Paddock!


At the time when the Honda scene was growing in Arizona, it wasn’t uncommon to find Tage within close proximity. He developed an interest in car shows, specifically lowered Honda’s with loads of street modifications. He always explored things that few people, if anybody, has done before. During the “Spring Splash” car show in Parker, Arizona,Tage took 2nd place with his 92 Accord, the first street Honda to ever have a “functional” airbag suspension.


For those unfamiliar, airbags (as they are called) are more popular in the trucking scene and often use a remote air compression mechanism. Needless to say, the car had an usual stance at the show, attracting enough attention for the noted prize.

Tage’s love for competition became evident when he discovered drag racing, which naturally led to other venues of car-related fun (including autocross) driving an Acura Integra. It was in these solo events that Tage thrived. While he hated the lack of track time that comes with autocross competition, there was always someone to compete with.autoxmain

Given his broad range of involvement with cars and motorsports, it wasn’t long before he discovered an organization that happened to be running at PIR, and decided to give it a try. Back in 1999, Tage completed his first HPDE1 event (which was then called the “Red Group”).  In fact the Chief Driving Instructor was Gary Felton (currently the NASA-AZ Compliance Director). He quickly moved up the following day into the “Green Group.” Despite his lack of experience on a road course at the time,Tage did amazingly well. However, despite his lap times dropping each session out, he gradually lost interest because there was nothing else to do but go around the track with no formal competition. With only two run groups (aside from making his car prepped for wheel-to-wheel racing), Tage returned to his first interest; autocross.


If you are interested in reading about Tage’s first HPDE1 event, you can check it out here:

He continued his efforts in autocross, holding various positions within the SCCA Solo organization, including Worker Chief, Timing & Scoring, and eventually became the Arizona Solo Director from 2004-2005. Throughout Tage‘s solo career, he drove many… many different cars and met lots of interesting people including a fellow Solo competitor by the name of Jason Boles (more on that below).

Tage has always been competitive as proven at the SCCA Solo Nationals.  He took 5th in a C5 Z06 (owned by Darrell Covert!) out of nearly a 70 car field mostly C5 Corvettes, 2nd place in an Mitsubishi Evolution, and  2nd place in a Zink (formula car).  While he never won a Solo National title, many drivers will agree that trophying at the SCCA Nationals is difficult at best and nearly impossible to win unless you are a master, and have a little luck on your side.  His Solo driving resume doesn’t stop there. In the local Arizona auto-crossing scene Tage is known as what is called a “Car whore” and has seat time in Lotus Elise’s, BMW M3s, Mazda Miata’s, Mustangs, Vipers (one of them was owned by Mark Alger), various Porsche’s, Golf’s, and the list goes on and on.

One of the significant memories for Tage was a trip he and some friends made to Willow Springs. Intending only to run one day, Tage ventured to the track not really expecting much. To his surprise, he had a lot of fun and quickly learned that the following day had a competition planned called a “Time Attack”.  Tage fell in love with this type or racing but unfortunately “Time Attack” (similar to Solo but on a road course) competition was non-existent in AZ.  That was up until about 2006 when Jason Boles (who Tage met through auto-crossing) invited him to run the Time Attack group within NASA as the “Time Attack Director”.  Tage immediately took that opportunity and never looked back.  Fast forward to late 2008 and after some in depth discussions with Jason, Tage and Adina decided to buy the NASA-AZ organization, and formally took over NASA-AZ at the start of 2009.

Since the leadership change, Tage and Adina have worked extremely hard to revive certain aspects of the organization and offer up the best possible experience for all drivers. As with any change involving large numbers of people, leading NASA has had its own difficulties.

“Taking over was a challenge because many people didn’t know who either of us were, especially me.” said Adina. “They thought that we just got to take over and had no idea that it was a business transaction. It is hard enforcing the rules and introducing new rules, but we truly are trying to do things to make the entire experience better for all the drivers. It is completely a family affair now, since this isn’t a 9-5 gig so we have many discussions of it over dinner, late at night, first thing in the morning, etc. On top of that, we’ve had the involvement of many family members who help at the track and watch the kids!”

It is clear that it takes a lot to run NASA, more than a lot of people realize.  After all, most participants simply show up and drive, then go home, all waiting for the next event to happen again. In the mean time, the Evanson family and NASA officials get preparations started when the track goes cold and continue to work many hours along the way to ensure everything comes together as it should. As a participant within NASA, it’s clear to me that they both genuinely care about the drivers, and are endlessly committed to making the events as fun as possible. After all, Tage likes to drive out there too!

adina-megaphone1“Arizona has been through a lot of changes and transformations over the past few years. I aim to make the region a host to a series of great events.” Tage explained. “Not only do I want the best experience for our drivers, but I really do what I can to treat everyone with the same respect and give them the attention that I would want, whether a first time driver or veteran racer.”

NASA-AZ doesn’t do much marketing; in fact, nearly none at all. Attendance, reputation, and perseverance all come from happy drivers spreading the word, and in turn, inviting new and interested drivers to give it try on the race track. Because NASA-AZ embraces ideas and suggestions from its customers, officials stay well-informed and do what they can to make the best decisions possible, making future events even better than before.

As an added bonus, Tage is known to be somewhat addicted to his Crackberry, or Blackberry rather. When sending a message to NASA, this usually means you’ll be given a response rather promptly!  “I’m always answering emails.” Tage explains, “Walking from the car, heading into work, heating up leftovers for dinner, or in the men’s room taking a break, that’s at least a few minutes I can reply to a customer.”

Need I say more? While Tage obviously puts a lot of effort into NASA, he does have a 9-5 job in addition to being the Arizona Regional Director. I think it’s safe to say that this helps illustrate just how busy Tage really is day to day.

We all know Tage because of his white Honda Civic, also known as “Casper”–but don’t let the name deceive you. It’s certainly not ‘the friendly Civic’ in a competitive environment,  and is capable of turning some very mean track times. “A Honda Civic should not be that fast. But it is!” says Tage. “I love that it’s not like every other Z06 or BMW out there.”


It’s unique edge is what makes this car not only fast, but attention-grabbing. Whether you have been racing for awhile or are new to the scene, you will more than likely notice it. Attention went in Tage’s direction again; this time at NASA National Championships at Mid-Ohio back in 2008 when Casper took flight. The picture below illustrates most of the story!


On a very rainy day, and shortly after some brake compound and tire changes, Tage quickly headed out for a session that could mean win or loss of a championship title — it was going to be the one dry spell for the day! In brief, he came in rather hot through swift turn, zooming at over 130mph. Trying to slow the car,Tage quickly got on the brakes. Unfortunately, the rear brakes got up to temp faster than the fronts and locked up, causing the car to step out rather rapidly. Reaching a and trap, then passing said sand trap, he found himself speeding over a grassy knoll, sending the car sailing several feet in the air. During his flight, he remembered specifically the warnings given to him from fellow driver Paul Bloomberg; that he should have a cage in his car–not exactly the kind of timing you want when remembering these things.

“I thought to myself… he was right, this is it! I’m gonna die!” Tage explained humorously, leaving it obvious that in retrospect it was a little bit of a crazy moment. Today, the car is equipped with a full cage and the latest safety gear…and surprisingly enough there are a few original body panels left!


While Tage has a long history with this white Civic, he would love to build a BMW E36 platform. However, he would have to make it equally usual to that of his current car.  As Tage says, “…It would be redunkulous!” But, that’s his style–a car that both follows the rules but absolutely pushes normalcy and the boundaries of aerodynamics.

With what little time Tage and Adina have to spare outside of NASA, the duo does spend time together, playing with the kids and their dog Koni (yes, as in Koni Shocks). Tage is also a renown, or shall I say, infamous chef!


A winch makes turkey fry'n a cinch!

Meanwhile, Adina stays incredibly busy with her family, especially with her two adorable little girls; Zaylee age 5, and Brynlee aka “B” age 3.


One moment, Adina has to prepare lunches for the girls. The next, she has to switch gears and come up with a beer selection for the NASA BBQ! While event preparation can be a lot to handle, there is much to enjoy when race weekend begins.

“I love watching the drivers battle it out and watching their season points so closely. It makes all the hours we put in so worthwhile when the guys (and gals) come off track with huge smiles on their faces.” explained Adina. “I also hope that maybe one day we’ll have some more tracks in our area or be able to expand a bit into other States to give the drivers more options.”

Outside of NASA, Adina can be found researching new culinary delights to make in the kitchen, playing Bunco with her “mom” friends, and indulging in a good bike ride or a hike on local trails. For those of you in the technology-loop, Adina can be spotted on Facebook on a semi-regular basis as well.

While Adina may not be a driver, she thoroughly understands what is most important to participants. After all, she has supported Tage’s racing for many years and has come to appreciate the amount of passion and energy that is invested into the sport.

In getting to know the Evanson’s, it becomes very clear that the dynamic this family has is unique. They are truly a special team that make many sacrifices for the benefit of our drivers and who invest as much time as they can into the people who support NASA. The result is a fantastic club that fosters an enjoyable and safe environment for everyone who participates.


Article written by Geri Amani.

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