Mike Pinholster

April, 2009

NASA Profiles:  Mike Pinholster

mikepinholsterVital Stats

Home: Las Cruces, New Mexico

Job: Dentist

Age: You don’t want to know

Run Group: Race Group, ST1 Class

Vehicle: Dodge Viper GTS, #4

Long before the gypsum particles blew southward off the San Andreas Mountains and formed White Sands National Park, and in a time when little happened in southern New Mexio other than Jim White’s rapid discoveries within the Carlsbad Caverns, one thing was constant:  Mike Pinholster and his reign over the old guard of New Mexican dentistry in Las Cruces.  Starting out as a Dodge Viper enthusiast and car nut in general, naturally, Mike came to the decision that most readers of this section eventually face:  To race, or not to race?  Mike chose to apply his skills, passion, and most importantly, the V10 Dodge Viper that’s sitting in his garage, and do something productive with the little free time he has.

Starting off with a recommendation from a friend living in Las Cruces, Mike made the trip to the legendary Arroyo Seco raceway–a venue that has a cult classic type following for people from New Mexico, Texas and Arizona–and you know how that goes.. “I’m just going to try this out and see if I like it.”  (Haha, good one, Mike).  After that first trip to Arroyo Seco, changes happened in the Pinholster household.  That “pretty red Viper that will never see a track”, was replaced with the iconic blue/white color-schemed Viper GTS that we have the pleasure of racing with at most events in Arizona.  Glass windows were replaced with lexan, as were his scrubs were traded in for a new firesuit.  And in the last five years, Mike has become a staple at Arizona and SoCal NASA events, running in the Race group and doing occasional stints in the Time Trial sessions.  In 2008, Mike even attended NASA Nationals at Mid-Ohio, adding to the impressive commutes Mike and his family endure to indulge in this hobby.

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As mentioned above, Mike and his family make the monthly haul from Las Cruces to Phoenix to attend NASA events, which is a mere six-hour tow;  when combined with multiple trips to The Thing (I-10 joke), the Akela Flats fireworks stand and of course, racing with all of us bums at PIR and Firebird, Mike claims the trip is entirely worth the effort!  He credits part of the reason to coming out to NASA Arizona to the camaraderie and social aspect with drivers off the track, almost as much as the good times spent behind the wheel.

Yearly trips to participate in the SoCal and Rocky Mountain region NASA events are on the schedule as well, which allow a stint at his favorite track, Willow Springs.  “I finally managed to learn how not to catch air at Willow coming down the hill”, said Mike during his interview.

Random Facts

Favorite Food: Italian

Best Teeth Whitening Product: Crest White Strips

What exactly is there to do in Las Cruces? Work

Jennifer Garner or Jennifer Lopez: Garner, definitely.

Embarassing Moment: Watching Sex and the City with my wife

Can I drive the Viper? No.

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Outside of racing and cleaning  teeth during the week, Mike and his family have an array of hobbies and live an active lifestyle, exploring and relaxing in southern New Mexico by boat, ATV and motorcycle.  Aside from desert hobbies, the Pinholster family indulges in occasional ski trips and Mike is currently trying to massage a “wine tasting trip” to Laguna Seca.. er uh, I mean, Napa Valley, in the near future.  Mike is married with one son, who we all look forward to seeing behind the wheel of a car at a NASA event soon (right, Mike?)!

If you have never met Mike Pinholster before, he’s not difficult to spot in the paddock.  Aside from his bright blue Viper, Mike flaunts his custom enclosed trailer, which he built himself to keep the Viper safe from the elements during the long tows across the desert.  And one thing remains true as well:  Mike Pinholster is someone everyone should get to know, as he is a true gentlemen both on and off the track.

April 11th Wraps Up

NASA Arizona Wraps Up – 4/11 – Firebird Intl. Raceway

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When asked about the highlights of the April 11th NASA event at Firebird Intl. Raceway, many people will say it was the appearance of the Bugatti Veyron, or perhaps the scattered rain showers that constantly tinkered with the run groups, or maybe even, the GoGo Girl dance competition (a first ever at a NASA event—most likely not the last, either!  Tryouts for next year are at my place).  Which ever event you may have chosen as your favorite for the night, or perhaps if you missed the spectacle all together, in summary it’s fair to say that there will be no shortage of stories to last NASA enthusiasts and carry momentum into the next decade.  In no particular order, I’m going to try my best to cover every detail!

Modified Tuner Shootout Headlines Weekend

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Tuner Shootout entrants line up on grid before the rainy autocross.

Starting early in the morning, so naturally deserving of the first bit of press, was Modified Magazine’s Tuner Shootout.  Taking place over the course of 30 hours, UMS Tuning’s dyno and around the facility at Firebird’s complex, 12 of the fastest import car tuner shops were invited to Arizona by Modified Magazine to battle it out over four events:  Dyno competition, autocross on FIR’s skidpad, drag race battle on the strip at high-noon, and the finale, a time attack under the lights on the FIR Main course.  Points were awarded based on finishing position at the end of each individual event with the overall winner (and cumulative points leader) taking the crown, and a year’s bragging rights for being the best tuner shop car in the United States.  Considering all the speed shops in the United States, it’s not a bad title to have!

Tuner Shooout entrants lined up before the 1pm drag race competition.

Tuner Shooout entrants lined up before the 1pm drag race competition.

With variables as mixed up as they could possibly get—mechanical failures, a rainy autocross, broken glass on the dragstrip (yes, a rear window popped out of a car!) and a variety of ringer drivers—a familiar shop took the top sport overall.  Due to press embargo agreements, the actual winner cannot be named until the August issue of Modified Magazine is released.  The following local and national teams were invited to the Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout:

Local hotshoe, and NASA King Tage Evanson gave everyone a lesson in the autocross portion in the morning, despite inches of standing water flooding the course!  They say road race cars can’t drag race.. until now at least, when the top car from The Shootout crossed the finish line, running the ¼ mile in just a hair over 11 seconds!  They say drag cars can’t road race.. until now, as the same car managed to lap FIR’s course in just a hair over the 1:02 mark!  With dyno numbers for the 12 competitors ranging in the 500hp range, it’s clear that some of the best machinery from around the country was present and managed to put on quite a show for the local NASA drivers and spectators.  Full coverage, photos, vehicle descriptions and technical details are slated to be released in Modified Magazine in early July, printed as the August 2009 issue.  Special thanks go out to Modified Magazine for organizing such a spectacular event, and huge thanks to all the local NASA Arizona people that were able to support Modified and make this event happen every year in Arizona!

Peter Tarach, editor for Modified Magazine.

Peter Tarach, editor for Modified Magazine.

April 11th is about Fan Interation

The unique events that aren’t typically part of the normal NASA schedule are what made April 11th a special day (or, night!) to remember.  Fans are what make professional motorsports the successful venues for sponsors and advertising; taking an amateur program such as the NASA’s April 11th event and adapting it to cater to fans and make it fully interactive, is a major step between bridging the gap between the large organizations like NASCAR, and NASA.

Over 2,000 people attended the April 11th event.  Entrants who brought a canned food donation saved on admission; over 1,000lbs of canned food was donated for the St. Mary's Food Bank!

Over 2,000 people attended the April 11th event. Entrants who brought a canned food donation saved on admission; over 1,000lbs of canned food was donated for the St. Mary's Food Bank!

Fans lined up throughout the night to get their photo taken with Japanese driving superstar Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada.

Fans lined up throughout the night to get their photo taken with Japanese driving superstar Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada.

With the entry fee paid by spectators at the gate, came the ability to fully integrate themselves into the activities in the paddock, vendor showcase and even drive on the track.  Perhaps the most interactive spectator event of the night was the HyperDrive event held on the Firebird West course.  With dedication and expertise from Gary Felton and nearly 25 NASA instructors, spectators were able to drive their cars on the Firebird West course with the aid (and presence!) of an instructor.  All HyperDrive laps were turned at relatively low speeds to ensure safety.  Nearly 50 cars, divided into two run groups, lined up for the run sessions which were over 20 minutes long!  The HyperDrive event started in daylight and went until the sun was well settled in the West, thus causing an interesting experience of driving at night for newcomers, but also displaying the enthusiasm and interest for the HyperDrive format.

People surrounded UMS Tuning's dyno booth all day!

People surrounded UMS Tuning's dyno booth all day!

Spectators and competitors alike were able to put their cars on the dyno for horsepower and torque measurements.

Spectators and competitors alike were able to put their cars on the dyno for horsepower and torque measurements.

NASA Race Groups

Bouncing back to more “Normal NASA” activities, the NASA race group had a night to remember!  As if racing at night wasn’t enough, or two sprint races in a single day didn’t mix things up, the rain started dumping three laps into the first sprint race, making for a memorable, amazingly well synchronized sequence of 360-degree spins down Firebird’s front straight.  For anyone that hasn’t attempted to drive in the rain down Firebird’s rubber-coated dragstrip, it’s not much different than the wet grass inside of PIR’s turn 9, or even a wintery, ice-covered freeway in Michigan.  There were several close calls, a couple kisses with the wall here and there, but all things considered, no major damage in the aftermath.

Everyone rememered to attend the driver's meeting!

Everyone remembered to attend the driver's meeting!

Clay Koevary was on fire in his ST1 Porsche 911, taking the overall pole position for the two sprint races.  The first race was cancelled due to the rain and slick conditions—an excellent decision on behalf of Ramin in control and Race Director Jeff Sussman.  Generally speaking, racing in the rain can be quite entertaining and challenging; when racing in the rain at Firebird Main, the safety risks far outweigh the fun factors, so the race was cut short and rescheduled for May 2nd at PIR.  With another sprint race just a few hours later in the night, and in near darkness, the drivers in the race group didn’t have much time to prepare or make major setup changes, adding to the excitement of the night.  In addition, the cancelled race earlier in the day meant there was extra pressure for all drivers to finish well in order to claim contingency from the various manufacturers.  Starting under the lights at 10:20pm, the second sprint race was green from start to finish on a dry track.  Local favorite and night-driving, distance master Chad Nelson (Re:  2007 2-hour night-enduro where Chad when green to checkered, without stopping) took the ST1 and overall win, finishing 20 seconds ahead of a pair of Dodge Vipers piloted by Mark Alger and Mike Pinholster.  Class results for the night race were as follows:

  • ST1:  Chad Nelson – BMW M3
  • ST2:  Greg Dalgarn – BMW M3
  • PTA:  Jeff Doss – BMW M3

(See a trend developing here?)

  • PTC:  Randy Smalley
  • PTD:  Jeremy Renshaw – Nissan 240SX
  • 944 Spec:  Joe Paluch

Congratulations to all race winners and finishers for enduring the rainy day, wet track and adverse conditions throughout the event!

Exotic Night at Firebird!

If you’ve ever been to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show, one thing you’ll understand is the correlation between darkness, and the appearance of exotic cars.  Whether it’s a car show, the track, or cruising through an exclusive strip of town, one thing remains true over the years:  Not much beats cruising your Ferrari, Lambo or Porsche around on a Saturday night; especially if it means keeping your exotic’s paint job out of the harsh Arizona sun.  As if the three aforementioned marques weren’t enough to raise the hair on most car enthusiasts’ backs, perhaps a silver Bugatti Veyron will change your mind?  Let’s take a look and see:

Bugatti Veyron--all it takes to make a Nissan GTR go by unnoticed!

Bugatti Veyron--all it takes to make a Nissan GTR go by unnoticed!

Tip:  Invest 9 minutes and 43 seconds of your life to watch the infamous Top Gear show from England, reach 253mph (407km/h) in a Veyron!  This is truly an outstanding, and highly informative video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO0PgyPWE3o

In addition to that piece of art, Graber Cars brought out their famous La Bala kit car.  La Bala weighs in at a scant 1500lbs and uses Toyota’s famous 4AGE engine that makes around 160hp.

Graber Cars with their award winning "La Bala" kit car.

Graber Cars with their award winning "La Bala" kit car.

The new Hyundai Genesis--modifed and ready to go!

The new Hyundai Genesis--modifed and ready to go!

AZ AWD Has Strong Presence

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Arizona AWD (aka. AZAWD.org) brought out seventy cars from their club to take over the car show lot and win the award of “Biggest showing of AWD cars in Arizona, at one time, probably ever!”  Most of the cars consisted of the popular Subaru WRX, STi and various generations of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions.  There were a few AWD Subaru Foresters, Legacys and even the token Nissan 350Z, pretending to be part of the club.  A big thanks to the AZAWD guys and girls for coming out and supporting the night!

DJ Tranzit and the GoGo Girls!

What would a night-time motorsports event that has racing, time attack, drifting, magazine shootouts, a kid’s area and a Bugatti Veyron in attendance, be without a GoGo Girl contest?  I know what some of you “more conservative” folk are thinking:  A Go what?  A YoYo contest?  Yes, a GoGo Contest where girls, wearing some rather revealing clothing, dance it out with the valley’s own DJ Tranzit spinning tunes in the background, to determine a winner that will take home the cash prize.  Think:  Axis Radius with a Lambo parked out front, taken to an entirely new level.  (If this isn’t making any sense, skip to the Time Attack section further down the page!).

Such a large gathering of men could only mean one thing..

Such a large gathering of men could only mean one thing..

The GoGo Dance contest!

The GoGo Dance contest!

Several of the best GoGo Dancers from around the state came out to Firebird and danced it out, despite the unfavorable weather conditions, albeit much to the favor of many single men (and even a few women!) that were attending the April 11th night event.  After the GoGo Contest was finished, Tranzit and his company spent the remainder of the night spinning music much to the delight of the drifter crowd occupying the nearby parking lot.

Trial by Fire Drifting

Drifting has been a staple of night-time events since their inception many years ago.  Night time at Firebird means drifting even more than road racing, thanks to the many organizations that cater to the drifting crowd around Arizona.  This event was no exception, thanks to the sensational work put on by the people at TrialByFire.

Nearly a thousand people came out to watch and participate in the drifting portion of the night.

Nearly a thousand people came out to watch and participate in the drifting portion of the night.

A Nissan 240SX hits the course as the sun goes down.

A Nissan 240SX hits the course as the sun goes down.

With nearly seven hours of drifting available, everyone brought plenty of tires!

With nearly seven hours of drifting available, everyone brought plenty of tires!

Drifters line up for another lap around the course, held on the Firebird skidpad.

Drifters line up for another lap around the course, held on the Firebird skidpad.

The drifting started late in the afternoon and went until closing time, drawing in nearly a thousand spectators and a full-field of drivers.  The experience brought to the table courtesy of TrialByFire meant everyone had a very good and very safe night on Firebird’s skidpad.

Time Trial, Time Attack & The Super Lap Battle

Last but not least, April 11th held points events 6 & 7 for the NASA Time Trial series, points event #4 of the UMS Time Attack series, and the kickoff event for Super Street Magazine’s Super Lap Battle series, which spans nationwide.

The NASA Time Trial series had two points events in the same day; sessions one and two counted as event #6, while sessions three and four counted as event #7.  With rain coming and going throughout the evening, points event #6 saw a mixture of dry and wet track conditions.  Points event #7 started with a damp track, then dried out only to be run under the lights!  Phew!

Apparently people have been anxiously awaiting an event at Firebird Main, as four track records were broken in Time Trial on Saturday!   The new records are listed below:

  • TTR:  Shirl Dickey – Corvette – 1:05.02
  • TTS:  Tage Evanson – Honda Civic – 1:05.67
  • TTD:  Gordon Levy – Ford Mustang – 1:13.39
  • TTE:  Eric Jacobsen – Taurus SHO – 1:13.38

Congratulations to all TT drivers that broke track records!

Results for the TT events are located at:

http://www.nasa-tt.com//Arizona_Regional_Results/p2040_articleid/51

Seventeen drivers appeared on grid for the fourth round of the UMS Time Attack series—all fighting for the #1 spot in effort to take home the grand prize AMB Transponder!  TA-C favorite JC Meynet suffered from a mechanical failure, thus opening the door and allowing Tony Szirka the class and overall win in his EVO.  TA-B was won by Erin Morely in his Subaru WRX, while TA-A was won for the third time in a row by Brady Dohrmann in a BMW M3.

To round off the timed competitions, Super Street magazine editors made an appearance to promote and organize their Super Lap Battle qualifying round #1.  Each year, Super Street Magazine holds the Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow Raceway, which consists of competitors from around the world competing for the crown of “Fastest Time Attack Machine on Earth!”.  In order to attend the Super Lap Battle, one has to qualify at any of the various qualifying rounds held around the country.  The nine fastest drivers from the TT series earned spots in the 2009 Super Lap Battle.

Super Street’s recap of the Super Lap Battle qualifier, as well as results can be found here:

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May 2-3 Event Preview

Looking relatively tame after the April 11th event, the next round on the NASA yearly schedule will be held at Phoenix Intl Raceway on the May 2-3 weekend.  HPDE will have a slightly different structure, as it will contain HPDE 1-4, in addition to the TT series.  All details of the new format are outlined here:

http://forums.www.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=3077

Get on the forums! If you are a regular, new driver, or just have an interest in NASA Arizona, be sure to sign up on the forums and engage in the meaningful conversation the occurs all day, everyday (thus driving the economy further into recession—it’s that addicting!).

Following the Saturday event on May 2nd will be a NASA sponsored BBQ in the paddock!  When you’re done driving for the day, hang out afterwards and be social!  As displayed best by the 944 Spec group, camaraderie in the pits and off track make this hobby much more enjoyable and really turn it into a lifestyle, rather than four 20-minute sessions once a month.  NASA Arizona hopes to see all of you there!

Racers:  Points event #6 that was cancelled due to rain at FIR will be held on Saturday, May 2nd.  Bring your tires, driving gloves and a bottle of determination with you to the track on Saturday!

Thanks for reading this month’s installment of the NASA Arizona event wrap-up!  See you at the track!

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Because you can never get enough pictures, here are a few more, as well as galleries from various spectators and drivers.

http://www.rpm-photo.com/g/saturday_april_11th_2009_firebird

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i289/silentimages1/Modified%202009/

http://s45.photobucket.com/albums/f100/chewbaccaASU/APRIL%2011%20NASA%20FIR/

http://gallery.rolex24pics.com/gallery/7880936_JZ8QM#510959669_Cg5wA

Videos:

http://www.vimeo.com/4128567

http://www.vimeo.com/4132463

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8009923692018852442

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NASA Director Tage Evanson and Dave Pratte from Modified Magazine, organizing the Tuner Shootout autocross portion

Driving legend Mike Speck blessed us with his presence.

Driving legend Mike Speck blessed us with his presence.

Factor X Racing works on their 750hp NSX before the drag race event.

Factor X Racing works on their 750hp NSX before the drag race event.

Crawford Performance's Subaru WRX STi, just before turning a blistering 1:02 lap with Tarzan Yamada behind the wheel.

Crawford Performance's Subaru WRX STi, just before turning a blistering 1:02 lap with Tarzan Yamada behind the wheel.

Photo-journalist whiz Mike Maez came out to cover the night.

Photo-journalist whiz Mike Maez came out to cover the night.

Saving the best for last!  Tony, when asked what he's doing with his Time Attack winnings, said "I'm going to Disney!"

Saving the best for last! Tony, when asked what he's doing with his Time Attack winnings, said "I'm going to Disney!"

March 6-8 Event Wraps Up

NASA Arizona Wrap Up – 3/6-3/8 – Phoenix Intl. Raceway

Perhaps the most difficult part of doing the recap for the March 6-8 event, was figuring out where to start!  With so much happening over three days in all of the various NASA run groups, as well as the BMWCCA racers and drivers, it’s tough to pin down the best moments, which are usually what leads off an article such as this.  That being said, it’s time to jot some notes down on paper (or on your computer screen) so we can mark this event and remember it!

BMWCCA Headlines Weekend

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Of course, the headlining event for the weekend was the arrival of the BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCA) club racers and DE drivers that participated all three days and brought big numbers to the various classes and groups.  Perhaps the most memorable moment for everyone took place on Sunday, as D-Modified driver Mario Rigoli started in the back of the pack for the 12:00pm BMWCCA Club Race.  It seems like whenever Chad Nelson (SM Class BMW) takes the green flag in the lead, it’s a rare occasion that he gives it up.  While that didn’t happen in this race, Mario put on quite a show going from 23rd place to 2nd, ending up just over five seconds behind Chad Nelson in the overall results.  Quite a few people walked away afterwards, shaking their heads and wondering if they truly witnessed that remarkable drive or not!

Aside from Mario’s hero run during the Sunday race, Chad Nelson took pole (out of 23 drivers) on Saturday and managed to win that race overall by a similar margin over Bill Bentzen in his C-Modified BMW E36.  The HPDE1 school, which was put on by BMWCCA this month, drew a large crowd and filled the cold pits with student cars, mostly of the BMW marque.  Many thanks go out to BMWCCA for making it a very seamless union between the two organizations for this long and diverse weekend!

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2008 Awards Ceremony

As typical for early March, the affluence of iced Budweiser (although, literally a drop in the bucket compared to NASCAR at PIR) and record-setting sales night for Little Caeser’s Pizza in Tolleson could only mean one thing:  It’s time for some year-end trophies!  Nearly everyone who participated in Saturday’s event, and even a few regulars who weren’t racing that day, came out to take part in the awards celebration.  Former NASA Regional Directors Jason Boles and Marty Saltzman had the honor of handing out trophies to all winners and top finishers in the Performance Touring, Super Touring and Time Trial classes.  Along with a few dozen slices of pizza and some fresh Bud to wash it down, Jason entertained the masses with his personal experiences and tales of the glory days about each person, adding some perspective and charity to the evening.

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Congratulations to all of the NASA year-long series winners and participants!  Often a season with as many events as we face in Arizona can be riddled with obstacles both on track and in personal life, not to mention the situations we all face today aren’t necessarily conducive to spending budgets that are required for many months of racing.  The year-end awards ceremonies are about commending the finishers who came out month after month to not only race hard all day, but make NASA solid as an organization.  We thank you for your time, effort and everything else that is put into your season efforts!

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Time Trial Mania

Speaking of trials and tribulations off and on the track, an uncountable measure of nonsense has been brewing on the NASA forum for many weeks; more importantly, in regards to whether or not the TT track records were “solid enough” to hold up against some of the racer’s efforts.  With the smack talk (albeit, friendly smack talk) came an entirely new level of competition that has really never been witnessed in TT in Arizona.  It would be fair to say that what made this weekend different from the rest was the level of driving that was exhibited throughout the various classes.  The true test of a dedicated Time Trialer is how they make the best of a situation.  With our economic situation being as it may, seeing several TT drivers step up and make significant driving improvements with literally no major vehicle changes, defined the true spirit of pushing the driver versus the clock in order to pull a fast lap time.  March 7-8th saw a change in the level of competition, and some amazingly quick lap times.  Here goes:

In the midst of a heavy “discussion” on the NASA forum about the merits of the TTC record—a record previously held by national champion Greg Greenbaum for many years, and was finally broken in January by Doug Evans—was questioned by TT drivers and racers alike.  After a few hours of worthless banter on the forum, rumors about a bet (something about a bucket of Cold Stone ice cream for the winner?) stirred between Brady Dohrmann and Rick Johnson.  Neither competitor had participated in TTC for a while, as Rick races and Brady drives in TTD.  Seeing the commotion, Doug Evans elevated his driving to new levels as well.  More on this later.

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TTR, the fastest of all TT classes, has long stood under command of Shirl Dickey and Peter Creek in their Corvettes, with a lap in the low 1:04 range.  Thomas Glenn, a new competitor to TT (but a long-time racer) stepped up raised the bar for all TT competitors, turning in a 1:03.12 lap – the fastest ever in TT competition at PIR.  Congratulations Thomas!  Eric Jacobsen, who is still standing in the spotlight from his Who’s Who feature last month, beat his own record in TTE, improving on his 1:12.9 lap with a record-setting 1:12.77 in the first session on Saturday.  Along the same lines, the record books and perhaps all theory about vehicle setup was rewritten when two laps after Eric’s feat, Brady Dohrmann, running in TTD on Saturday, broke his previous TTD record of 1:11.9, with a 1:09.936, on street tires!

Finally, the Royal Rumble in TTC came down to three drivers.  Rick Johnson, afraid of losing ice cream to Brady Dohrmann, ripped off a 1:09.80 lap in TTC on Saturday morning, which not only marked his personal TTC/PTC best at PIR ever, it clicked six-tenths off Doug Evans’s TTC record of 1:10.42 set in early January.  This time motivated Doug Evans to drive at a new level, which resulted in a 1:09.85 lap on Saturday afternoon, and eventually a 1:09.59 lap on Sunday!  Nearly an entire second off his previous best from January!  Hungry for more (ice cream), Brady Dohrmann mounted up some Hoosiers on his BMW M3 and moved up to TTC for Sunday.  Within three laps, Brady reset the record books with a 1:09.18 lap in TTC, marking the fasted ever lap in TTC or PTC at PIR.  Phew!

Safety

Now, note that first off, this isn’t a lecture.  Secondly, while the subject is often taboo, an interesting “change” happened that’s worth noting, mostly in effort to keep the momentum up and make NASA Arizona a better place for everyone.  No one will deny that there were a couple incidents throughout the weekend in a couple of the groups.  Luckily everyone walked away unharmed, there were no foul words tossed back and forth and despite the rather large mass quantity of cars, driving and track time, March 6-8 was a great weekend.

What changed however, was the reaction to the incidents; more specifically, the discussions about safety that spurred as a result.  Sure, there are always discussions about safety, but the mentality made a switch for the better, from “What happened”, to “What can I do to protect myself in an incident”.  The HANS device is relatively new to racing and discussions about the utilization of the HANS device, alternatives and creative methods such as sharing a single device among drivers, group discounts, how to use our NASA vendors better and more, were brought about during the driver’s meetings and in the paddock.  Those discussions have carried momentum onto the forums as well, which is a very good issue to be involved in.

NASA Arizona On the Web

NASA Arizona is on Myspace!  If you are on MySpace, be sure to add NASA Arizona as one of your friends!  URL is http://www.myspace.com/arizonanasa

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign  up for the NASA Arizona discussion forum!  Much of the news regarding NASA Arizona is communicated on the forum, so be sure to sign up and participate in order to stay current on what’s happening.  URL is http://forums.www.nasaaz.com

2009 Year End Awards Facts

Since this topic of awards came up earlier, it’s only fitting to outline some basic facts for the 2009 points series and awards eligibility.  If you are competing in the year-long points series in either Time Trial, Performance Touring or Super Touring (race group), here’s what you need to know:

  • The championship title winner (1st) for each class will receive a championship jacket.
  • In order to be eligible for a championship title position (ie. 1st), you must score points in at least 50% of the points events.
  • In order to score a trophy position (1st-3rd) in your class for the season points series, you must participate in at least six points events.

Race Group

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As always, the racing action at Phoenix Intl. Raceway was intense.  42 cars took the green flag on Saturday and 37 did so on Sunday.  With the exception of a few minor dings and the infamous brake duct tube sitting in NASCAR 4, both races were green flag from start to finish.  Sarah Cattaneo had a weekend reminiscent of the best IndyCar and NASCAR drivers, where she finished 2nd in PTC on Saturday, flew to Las Vegas that night and back to Phoenix on Sunday morning only to win the class later that day.  Sarah:  Robby Gordon (the nutty guy who tries to win the Indy 500 and the Coke 600 on the same day every year, but fails) would be jealous of your accomplishment.

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In addition to Sarah’s win, Jeremy Renshaw swept the weekend in PTD, while Steve Powers won PTE on Saturday in a Spec Miata, then pulled of a win in PTA on Sunday in a 350Z using take-off Hoosiers.   For overall and class results, visit the MyLaps Page for NASA Arizona.

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Who’s Who in NASA – March, 2009

This month, NASA corner worker and HPDE driver Cory Starr is featured in the Who’s Who section of the website.  Be sure to stop by and read about Cory, his accomplishments and his contributions to NASA Arizona!

April 11th Event

This event is going to be so insanely huge, it’s deserving of its own section in the weekend wrap up.  The question shouldn’t be, “What is at the April 11th event?”, it’s more like, “What isn’t at the April 11th event?”  The basics will be there of course—racing, HPDE, Time Trial—but nearly everything has a twist.  Since the majority of the readers come from the racing, HPDE and TT programs, it’s worth noting the changes to those groups first.

HPDE will have the usual “night event” format, with sessions both in the daytime and at night.  Time Trial and race group will have double points.  While the exact details have yet to be fully ironed out, the rough format should be enough to give you an idea of what to expect.  Time Trial will have four sessions – two in the daytime (well, as close as possible without charting sunset times for April), and the later two being considered the night sessions.  The first two sessions will be “one event”, paying out points.  The last two night sessions will be the “second event”, counting for the remainder points. Essentially, there will be two points events for the price of one.  Race group, rather than having the typical long night-time enduro, will have two sprint races, paying out points and contingency for each race result.

In addition to the regular NASA curriculum, there will be a plethora of additional events:

Hyper Drive – On FIR West, new drivers will pay a very reduced rate to drive for one session on track; sort of a “get your feet wet” taste for NASA events.

Drifting – They’re back, on the skidpad.  This group is amazing to watch every year!  No more explanation needed.

The Kid’s Corner – From 4-9pm, kids will have an opportunity to jump around in the Bouncy House, meet the Easter Bunny (seriously!) and participate a bunch of games and activities for prizes.

DJ and GoGo Contest – The Valley’s great DJ Tranzit will be playing music, while GoGo girls dance it out for prize money.

Autocross – Autocrossing on the FIR Skidpad!

Time Attack – The UMS Time Attack series continues!

Exotics Showcase – The Scottsdale Exotic Car Club will be out showcasing their finest vehicles!

Dyno – UMS Tuning is bringing out their DynaPak dyno for testing.

Modified Tuner Shootout – The top import tuner shops from around the country are coming to Arizona to battle it out in a comprehensive contest consisting of time attack, autocross, drag racing and dyno testing.

If that’s not enough activities for a night of fun, then I don’t know what is!  There is guaranteed to be something for everyone at this event, so tell all of your friends and family!

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Thank you for reading this month’s edition of the NASA Arizona Newsletter!

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