Mervin Tan

merv

Full Name: Chezurn Mervin Tan
Hometown:
Singapore, Singapore
Mervin’s 9-5:
Software Engineer at General Dynamics
NASA Position:
HPDE 3 Group Leader
Favorite Food(s):
Anything Fried
Favorite Music:
80s rock (Guns & Roses, Metallica, etc) & 90s Hip Hop/Rap (Dr Dre, Tupac, Ice Cube)

We’ve all seen him on the track, in the downloads, and helping his fellow drivers in the paddock. He’s a long-term NASA worker, has history in the local Honda community, and is a friend to many. Yep you guessed it, I’m talking about Mervin Tan. For a lot of new drivers, Mervin might have been introduced to you as you began driving in HPDE.  In my case specifically, I met Mervin several years ago at PIR when I was curious enough to “check out the track” and see what NASA was all about. Upbeat, extremely personable and enthusiastic about the sport, Mervin made it easy for me to want to join NASA.  We all know Mervin as one of our driving instructors and HPDE group leaders, but lets take a closer look and find out what makes Mervin tick.

Originally from the metropolis of Singapore, Mervin came to the US for higher education in the small town of Flagstaff, Arizona. Attending Northern Arizona University was Mervin’s first venture leaving his home country (not even on vacation), so needless to say it took a little bit of adjusting to the dramatic differences in American culture. He has since remained in the US and has been a long term resident of Arizona for over 17 years.

Believe it or not, Mervin wasn’t always into cars. As a child he was a huge fan of Top Gun and wanted to be a fighter pilot. I think it’s safe to say his career ended up far from what he originally wanted to do, but the speed-aspect of racing on track is a close alternative. Safely performing engineering duties in his career, it wasn’t until he overheard a co-worker talking about driving his NSX at the race track that Mervin had any interest in driving fast on 4-wheels.

Mervin had just started reading an internet blog called NSXFiles.com; a website that contains stories of one driver’s exploits with his ’91 NSX on the track. In disbelief that anyone would beat up an $80K supercar, he was encouraged to ask his co-worker if he knew the author of the blog. In this big-small world of motorsports, his co-worker did. Mervin was soon invited out to the track the following weekend and was given a ride in that same NSX. Mervin was hooked and dove right in, learning all he could about performance upgrades that made for better handling and more speed. By this point it was too late… the racing-drug had long been injected into his system and there was no going back!

In 2001 Mervin became a NASA member, running his first HPDE1 event at Firebird West. He drove his 1994 Acura Integra LS with each wheel rolling a different tire brand. Come on, don’t laugh, we’ve all done it! Needless to say the car suffered from much understeer and squealed like something awful. Mervin didn’t care. He was having fun…and lots of it!  He continued to sign up for every event he could, meeting a great network of friends, becoming more and more integrated into the NASA-AZ community. It wasn’t long before he was invited to instruct new participants, and has been helping fellow drivers ever since.

It’s clear that Mervin truly enjoys helping students improve their driving, regardless of driver level. “I learn something new every time I hit the track,” says Mervin. “I try to impart my knowledge to everyone I instruct.” That he does, and he does it well. Many will agree that he can help the newest of drivers feel comfortable in their cars, while offering the right kind of feedback that both educates and motivates them.

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Mervin Tracking his S2K

As Mervin continued his work with NASA, he eventually upgraded to a 1998 Acura Integra Type-R, otherwise known as the much coveted “R” model in the Honda/Acura world. While he drove the wheels off the Type-R, Mervin set his sights on a Honda S2000 and drove that car for 4-years. He found himself involved with the close network of “Honda guys” who often pitted together as FWD friends; driving together and racing together.

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First Race - Firebird International Raceway

Like a lot of drivers who run with NASA long enough, they eventually get the itch to race. For Mervin, this was satisfied by running the infamous night-time enduro with fellow drivers Jeff and Dan Sturla in 2007. The night race proved to be one of Mervin’s most favorite racing memories. After 10 practice laps in the daylight, he was set to take the race start…at night. “Talk about an adrenaline rush when the green flag dropped.” Mervin explained. ”Even though we blew the engine at the very last lap, it was the most fun I had in a race.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an example of why we race. It’s the challenge, excitement, and fun to be had with some of your best friends at the track. Even when there are mechanical troubles, our community of drivers help bring back a running car with a little shared effort in the garage.

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Mervin's PTC Honda Challenge Race Car

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Mervin Running Time Trials in his BMW E36 M3 at Phoenix International Raceway

As it is for a lot of drivers, their tastes and preferences change as they continue to compete. It wasn’t long before Mervin sold his S2000 to purchase a tow vehicle and a Honda Challenge race car, otherwise known as the #27 Honda Challenge PTC Civic. While he had some great races in this PTC car, he decided to move back into Time Trials, and drive something a little different; a BMW E36 M3. Okay, this was a lot different. But for Mervin, going from FWD to this RWD car seemed to be a logical choice. The car adds diversity to his driving portfolio, yet is neutral and manageable to drive at the limit.

When you sit down with Mervin and “talk cars” you quickly notice that he truly appreciates technical innovations that are born from racing and then introduced into vehicles otherwise considered as “race cars for the street”.  Among some of his favourites include the E30 M3, Ariel Atom, McLaren F1, Porsche GT3 RS, and the Nissan GTR. Organizations like NASA make it fun to follow what manufacturers come out with by watching the cars perform on the track.  One weekend in particular was memorable for many, especially Mervin, where a rare exotic was spotted running with NASA. “I remember seeing a McLaren F1 at a NASA event.” he explains. ” It was at PIR several years ago…I never forgot that track event!”

Speaking of memories, for those of you who remember Mervin ran the license place “THECHEZ” on his PTC Honda Challenge car. To explain some of the history behind this name, there is something many of you may not know about Mervin…his nickname. I’m not talking about Merv, The Merv, Mr. Merv, Mervin McMervster, or any other variation of “Mervin” you can come up with. He was called, “The Chez”. With a unique nickname like this, lets take a look at what brought this to be.


Back in Mervin’s S2000 days he would participate in an annual caravan up to Pahrump, Nevada for a private NSX track event. On this particular trip he arrived at the hotel earlier than the rest of the group, so he proceeded to check-in under his full name, Chezurn Mervin Tan. Planning to share rooms, when the remainder of the caravan arrived and asked if Mervin had checked-in for them. The receptionist paused and shook his head with a rather puzzled look on his face. “No I don’t think so.” he noted, obviously not recognizing the name nor finding it in his records.  After moments of chatter and wondering where Mervin had gone, the group came back in front of the desk and asked “Hey, did a Asian guy check in?” The receptionist quickly came back with… ”Oh yes! The Chez!”

From then on the name stuck. He has since kept the essence of his unique name on his license plate (THECHEZ), even after he and the Civic parted ways. So there it sits, bolted on his truck today.

On and off track, Mervin has been a devoted friend to many and demonstrates the same honorable values from his closest role model…his father. “He instilled in me the values I follow today. Always treat others the way you would like to be treated. He was the one who pushed me to strive for the best, and gave me to the resources to do it. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be in Arizona today.” Mervin explained. “Sadly he also taught me that life is short when he passed away 6 years ago, before I was able to give him a ride on track. I think he would’ve liked it. I hope to involve my son in our sport early on, so we can spend that father-son time together as I would’ve liked to with my dad.”

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Mervin with his wife Koren and Son Aiden

Mervin is clearly a family guy. No, not like the TV show…so get that out of your heads! He has a lovely wife named Koren and 16-month old son named Aiden. Before the birth of his son, he and Koren would travel the world together to see the sights and experience various cultures. However, back home in Arizona, it is clear that Mervin’s family has been endlessly supportive of his racing, especially his wife. “I can’t thank her enough for letting me spend whole weekends at the track.” Mervin explained. “She stays home with the little one, and has been very supportive of the sport even before our son was born. She was my then girlfriend when I started my DE1 back in 2001, and has allowed me to do this for almost 10 years! I’d say she’s a keeper, wouldn’t you?”

With camaraderie from the track and support from his family, I expect to see Mervin racing with us for many years to come…maybe someday with his son Aiden. “Hopefully, my son will be just as into it as me…” Says Mervin. “I definitely think it would be a great father-son thing.” You better look out folks because we don’t know what Aiden has in store for us when he starts driving.  I’ve already witnessed Mervin teaching him heel-toe techniques in the stroller!

Now that we all know a little more about Mervin, be sure to give a shout out to our friend, instructor, and HPDE 3 group leader… The Chez!Article written by Geri Amani.

November 27-28 Wraps Up

Over the Thanksgiving holiday most of us spent the later part of the week stuffing ourselves to capacity similar to the turkey that sat on the dinner table. Likewise, NASA-AZ participants also gathered up their cars and packed their trailers, then headed to the track for an action-filled holiday weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

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The November 27-28 event brought us a full weekend of HPDE, Time Trial and Race Group. On Sunday, we ran a condensed schedule to accommodate the annual 3-hour enduro, plus the 1-hour sprint race which was new for this year. In addition to our normal participants many new drivers were in attendance. As a result we enjoyed the largest turnout in the whole of 2010, and consequently all HPDE was filled to capacity. Another reminder for drivers to register early!

What’s new for the 2011 season?

  • Based on the attendance we saw at this event, NASA-AZ will continue to host a chapel service through 2011, providing communion open to anyone at the track.
  • Race group cash pro-payout, details are coming soon!
  • Passenger cards will now be $5 each.
  • With the exception of HPDE1 and HPDE2, all cars running in events will require (CCR compliant) car numbers on both sides.
  • PIR road course WILL be preserved. We can all put rumors of it being demolished to rest! In fact, we will hold an event at PIR in December of 2011 AFTER the renovations are completed.

End of Season Points
Have you run consistently in your class all year round? Are you in line for a regional points championship? The November event was the finale for 2010. Points are currently being calculated to determine class champions. There will be jackets awarded to the champions and trophies awarded to the top three finishers of each class for those who qualified.

Get Online!
If you are reading this article chances are you are also registered on the NASA-AZ forum. But, for those of you who know drivers who aren’t registered, be sure to spread the word and encourage them to sign up. The forum is the best way to collaborate with drivers and officials, and likewise, it’s the best medium to share your thoughts and ideas to help NASA-AZ leadership run the club how the majority sees fit. Sign in and speak up!

Saturday’s Cookout

levyGordon work’n the grill!

Yep, even with the Thanksgiving holiday behind us we had yet another chance to stuff our faces with some amazing gastronomical delights. Our Regional Director Tage Evanson was gracious enough to provide all of  us rib-eye steaks, which were immensely popular with nearly everyone who got in the line to pile up their plate. As always there was a fantastic arrangement provided by Gordon Levy as he helped man the grill, plus an array of side-dishes. The food was hot and the beer was cold, thus completing Saturday’s awesomeness: on the track, in the garage, and on the grill.

A great assortment of food and beer made this a very popular evening.

A great assortment of food and beer made this a very popular evening.

Where's the line?

Where's the line?

paulgreen

HPDE2 driver Paul Green shows us how to keep warm in the Arizona winter.

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Race Group

This year’s 3-hour enduro was combined with a 1-hour sprint race, which made for a full grid and full track of cars. From PTE to Super Unlimited, all were on track together to compete within their class and also to maneuver through a plethora of differences in horsepower.

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Small Bore Race

Saturday’s Small Bore sprint race began with the PTB lineup in the front; Rick Johnson, Marty Saltzman, Jeremy Renshaw, Terry Denton and Lee Douglas. Johnson had some work to do in keeping Renshaw at bay with the rest of the pack not too far behind, including Jim Patrick in his Spec Boxster, who’s lap times mingled with some of those in PTB.

Terry Denton came to the track with a new BMW E36 build ready for the fun to be had in PTB. However, after holding his own in the subsequent laps, Renshaw ultimately took the win for PTB. Down the PT class line we have Tony Lisa in PTC, PTD won by Jim Fluckey followed by Jim Jordan, then Geri Amani in PTE. The bulk of the pack was filled with our regular turnout of 944 Spec racers with a field of 9 cars. Jim Foxx, Norm Hamden and Joe Paluch qualified only tenths apart, starting the 944 field close together.

Tables were turned during the battle for first in 944 Spec, requiring a bit of effort in traffic management to secure the win. Darren Griffith took the checkers climbing from his qual-position in 4th, followed by Foxx and Hamden taking second and third respectively.

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Big Bore Race

The Big Bore race showed big fun, as a field of 20 cars took to the racing surface. The popular class of the day was ST-2, which was won by CV Wells with Ron Ballard not far behind. In SU we enjoyed a few more cars in this class than normal. Led by Ritch Marziale who ran some rather fast times early in the race, he separated himself by roughly 2 seconds from the rest on his best lap. Brent Crosser and Manuel Gil del Real maintained position from the earlier qualifying session taking second and third respectively.

The Panoz driven by Steve Lisa makes a comeback at PIR

The Panoz driven by Steve Lisa makes a comeback at PIR

Next in ST-1, Steve Lisa in the #19 Panoz took the win for the day followed by Mike Pinholster in second place. Last but not least, PT-A was an all Porsche shootout with David Layvas in his #997 997 taking the win. Second place was delivered by Brian Turner in his UPS Porsche followed by John Dowling in his “Purple Dinosaur” in third.

Top racers from Saturday:

SU
– #56 Ritch Marziale
– #206 Brent Crosser
– #27 Manuel Gil del Real

ST-2
– #24 CV Wells
– #93 Ron Ballard
– #631 Greg Dalgarn

ST-1
– #19 Steve Lisa
– #04 Mike Pinholster

PT-A
– #997 David Leyvas
– #524 Brian Turner
– #46 John Dowling

PT-B
– #11 Jeremy Renshaw
– #00 Rick Johnson
– #37 Marty Saltzman

PT-C
– #19 Tony Lisa

PT-D
– #69 Jim Fluckey
– #71 Jim Jordan

PT-E
– #34 Geri Amani

944 Spec
– #7 Darren Griffith
– #12 Jim Foxx
– #99 Norm Hamden

Spec Boxster
– #171 Jim Patrick

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3-Hour Endurance + 1-Hour Sprint Race

If that headline didn’t sound like a workout, this race recap certainly will. Sunday’s race was a race not to be missed with a line of up 35 cars total in a wide spectrum of classes. Where else in Arizona would you find such a great diversity in one race?! The 1-hour sprint race ran concurrently with the 3-hour enduro, utilizing one green flag to get it all started.

Mike & Mike (Halpin and Browning) take to the track in a E46 M3

Mike & Mike (Halpin and Browning) take to the track in an E46 M3

The races began with the long line of mixed classes swarming the straightaway, slowly sorting racers through turns two and three. Laps later groups naturally assimilated and class battles began.  In the front, Chad Nelson was 1st overall in SU at the 1 hour mark and 1st in his class, requiring him to do a lot of “negotiating” through varied traffic. Of those in the sprint race, 944 Spec racers held more or less the most presence with Norm Hamden taking the win followed by Steve Marlow. ST-2 had Greg Dalgarn and Mark Klenin placing first and second respectively, followed by Jim Patrick taking first as the lone car in the Spec Boxster class.

As the Sprint racers crossed the finish line and exited into the pits, the endurance race continued for another two hours. The game that is “endurance racing” plays by a different set of rules as it becomes a test of durability and stamina for both the car and driver. It is a fight for position and a battle against the human condition that stems from any kind of prolonged stress… naturally, this includes racing!

As attenuation settled the course and mechanical issues reared their ugly heads, a few racers were set back eliminating all possibility of a first place win. Fuel consumption and driver efficiency also became factors in the final outcome.

Denton's Team Up!

Father and Son Team Up: Terry and Ryan Denton

In PTB a lot of E36 action was found during the three hours. It was in this class where we had one of the father-son teams; Terry and Ryan Denton. Terry ran the first hour and 44 minutes maintaining their position in 3rd. Once a driver change took place Ryan drove into lead when Jeremy Renshaw dropped out on lap 89 with mechanical problems.

The Dentons were leading Marty Saltzman and Jim Fluckey by 45 seconds, with 10 laps to go until Ryan found himself with a badly corded right front tire combined with a fuel light with 8 laps to go. Ryan ran another 5 laps until it sputtered, leading Saltzman/Fluckey by 39 seconds. Forced to pit for a 2 gallon splash, the Dentons ultimately came up short and lost the win to Saltzman/Fluckey by 1.894 seconds. In third, Ricky “Boo-Boo” Johnson teamed up with out-of-town racer Mark Congleton, both driving the only front-wheel-drive car in class, also running the quickest PTB lap during the race.

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Mark and Jason Alger take the checkered flag for an overall enduro win.

In the SU class we had another father-son team, Mark and Jason Alger, a pair who would become our overall top finishers. While the car held up with only a few minor set-backs they ultimately were the first to cross the finish line with the checkered flag waving above them. It was a close match for the Alger’s and Brent Crosser who bravely ran the entire race by himself.

ST-2 had a great field, with five cars duking it out for the best finishing position possible. A two-man team, both well-seasoned in BMW racing, Mike Halpin and Mike Browning ran the #114 M3 which took first in class. Consistency, strategy, and conservation kept them in the front. Brian McCormick was not far behind, a notably great finish for one of our newest racers. In third was CV Wells who crossed the finish line only 7-laps behind McCormick.

A small field of three cars made up the ST-1 class; Steve Lisa, Tage Evanson, and Mike Pinholster. While each driver finished in this order, Steve Lisa accumulated the most laps. Tage Evanson joined in on the fun between what might be called “extended pit-stops”. He was also spotted having a bit of fun out of class with ST-2 driver McCormick in his BMW M3.

150849_10150113889251217_503641216_8020493_1212531_nThe fast guys dice it up!

PT-A was an all Porsche rematch from Saturday’s race with David Layvas, John Dowling and Brian Turner out for the win. By the time three hours settled the field, Layvas was the last car running finishing in first with a 25 lap lead on Dowling, while Turner finished third due to mechanical issues.

While the majority of 944 Spec racers ran the sprint race, Austin Newmark and Dave Huck took the 3-hour win. For Newmark, this checkered finish also secured him the 944 Championship. In addition, Austin managed to run his best time ever at PIR in a 944 with a 1:12.842!

Geri Amani Making a Feul Stop

PTE Driver Geri Amani makes a fuel stop, the one and only needed to finish the last stretch.

Finally, the smallest numbers per class were lone cars in PTC and Spec Boxter with drivers Tony Lisa and Jim Patrick. Our momentum cars (who everyone passed at least a dozen times) were found in PTE, with Matthew Kayne and Mario Rigoli in a BMW 325, and Geri Amani who ran solo in her Mazda Miata. Early in the race Amani had to pit less than a handful of laps after the start to repair a broken exhaust component, costing her any chance of gaining position. However, despite the fact that the winning spot was taken, this new racer was determined to finish her third race, and completed three hours on her own with one fuel stop. In the end, the cow-themed 325 was really mooooo-ving along, taking the win for PTE.

Mooooooving along!

Cow-themed 325 was really mooooo-ving along, taking the win for PTE!

Great racing everybody!!

Top racers from Sunday:

SU
– #4 Mark Alger / Jason Alger
– #206 Brent Crosser
– #27 Manuel Gil del Real

ST-2
– #114 Mike Halpin / Mike Browning
– #727 Bryan McCormick
– #24 CV Wells

ST-1
– #19 Steve Lisa
– #17 Tage Evanson
– #04 Mike Pinholster

PT-A
– #997 David Leyvas
– #46 John Dowling
– #524 Brian Turner

PT-B
– #30 Marty Saltzman
– #67 Terry Denton / Ryan Denton
– #00 Rick Johnson

PT-C
– #19 Tony Lisa

PT-E
– #69 Matthew Kayne / Mario Rigoli
– #34 Geri Amani

944 Spec
– #08 Dave Hauck / Austin Newmark
– #123 Jeff Wojnar
– #99 Norm Hamden

Spec Boxter
– #171 Jim Patrick

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Time Trial

Saturday’s Time Trial sessions brought out some fast lap fun across the diversity of classes that ran both days this weekend. It does appear that in general the colder weather chilled lap times earlier in the morning for some drivers, but conditions improved as the later part of the day endured. It should be also noted that a few HPDE drivers “moved up” making this event their first run in Time Trial.

Phil Robles on Grid

Phil Robles on Grid, ready to tear it up!

Small Bore was led by Rick Johnson in TTB running a rather quick 1:09.284. Jeremy Renshaw was only a few tenths behind, followed by Dave Schotz who had a great time in TTC running a 1:09.508. Joe Catteneo ran the quickest lap for TTD with 1:11.913, and Eric Jacobsen in TTF ran a rather fast 1:16.850 showing that he is really focusing on that Focus!

Likewise, Big Bore had their own set of challenges to overcome but with a lot more power added to the mix. Don’t blink or you’ll miss TTR driver Ritch Marziale who ran away with blazing 1:00.580, three seconds faster than anyone in his class and our only track record for the weekend.

Next up is Mark Alger in TTU with a quick 1:03.294 followed by Tage Evanson who ran 1:04.830. CV Wells in TTS ran a 1:06.307 leading his class for the weekend with Gary Felton the next fastest at 1:07.849. TTA was won with a 1:09.030 lap time by David Leyvas with Brian Turner on his tail finishing with a 1:09.864.

Sunday’s game was on with double points throughout the day. Time Trialers were on their mark, set, and ready to go for a regional championship win in their class. Small bore sessions before the race included PT cars making for a mixed leader board of results. TTA was dominated by David Leyvas running 1:09.255, followed by TTB leader Rick Johnson with his quick 1:08.544. TTC was won by Dave Schotz, who ran one session and finished in first with a 1:09.251. Joe Catteneo topped TTD with a 1:12.402, and Eric Jacobsen took TTF (and ran rather consistent 16’s all weekend) on Sunday with a 1:16.586.

Big Bore on Sunday was no less competitive with possible points championships up for grabs. Yet again, Mark Alger took the lead in TTU running a 1:04.814. TTS was owned by CV Wells running a brisk 1:06.909 securing his win for the day. Taking TTR was driver Pete Creek, who led with a 1:06.900.

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Top drivers from Saturday:
TTR Ritch Marziale, #56 2003 Dodge Viper – 1:00.580 (New Track Record)
TTU Mark Alger, #4 2004 Viper CC – 1:03.294
TTS CV Wells, #24 2000 Corvette – 1:06.307
TTA David Leyvas, #997 Porsche – 1:09.030
TTB Rick Johnson, #00 2003 Mini Cooper S – 1:09.284
TTC Dave Schotz, #175 1989 Camaro – 1:09.508
TTD Joe Catteneo, #101 2005 Mini Cooper S – 1:11.913
TTF Eric Jacobsen, #97 2003 Ford Focus – 1.16.850

Top drivers from Sunday:
TTR Pete Creek, #18 2000 Corvette – 1:06.900
TTU Mark Alger, #4 2004 Viper CC – 1:04.814
TTS CV Wells, #24 2000 Corvette – 1:06.909
TTA David Leyvas, #997 Porsche – 1:09.255
TTB Rick Johnson, #00 2003 Mini Cooper S – 1:08.544
TTC Dave Schotz, #175 1989 Camaro – 1:09.251
TTD Joe Catteneo, #101 2005 Mini Cooper S – 1:12.402
TTF Eric Jacobsen, #97 2003 Ford Focus – 1:16.586

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HPDE

All of the HPDE groups had a strong showing of regular and new drivers, with the whole of HPDE selling out! Sometimes it can be tough determining which event will have a bigger crowd, but this weekend kept registration rather busy. Regardless of how cold it was in the mornings, per the schedule our HPDE drivers are out turning laps long before most of the competition run groups. So hats off to all the guys and girls who bundled up, kept warm coffee within reach, and turned the key as the sun just barely made its way over the Estrella mountains.

With HPDE combined on Sunday officials added drills to the routine for the first part of select sessions, helping to warm up our drivers to new on-track circumstances and furthering their experience, should any of them wish to move into competition groups. Case in point, the paddock was full and everyone had fun the whole weekend. For HPDE drivers that is really all that matters at the end of the day.

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UMS Tuning Time Attack

Tavis Barnes, UMS TA-C Winner on Sunday

Tavis Barnes took the win for the UMS Time Attack TA-C class

The UMS Time Attack series has grown in popularity in 2010, making for some of the best TA competition for drivers in HPDE 3 and 4, Time Trial, and Race Group. Another great turnout for the UMS Tuning Time Attack event, where 24 drivers took to the track in three classes. Dave McCombs took the win in TA-A, running a quick 1:14.962, two seconds faster than his fellow competitors in TA-A.

Phil Robles dominated TA-B with 1:11.456. Travis Barnes ran a 1:06.764, which was the overall fastest lap in the TA series. It should be noted that the Snail Performance drivers had a great weekend. Travis Barnes took 1st place in TA-C overall (3rd place in TA overall), and Markos Mylonas snagged 2nd place overall in TA-A. With Gabe Ortega officially out of the TA-A game after adding “boost” to his car, it will be interesting to see how the TA-C competition fairs next year.

With the 2010 season officially over, the cumulative UMS TA points will be announced on the NASA-AZ forum to declare official 2010 winners.

Top three drivers in their class:

TA-A
– Dave McCombs, 1:14.962
– Jon Via, 1:16.018
– Markos Mylonas, 1:16.327

TA-B
– Phil Robles, 1:11.456
– Jerome Silvers, 1:12.274
– Dan Lynch, 1:12.496

TA-C
– Travis Barnes, 1:06.764
– Jacob Treguboff, 1:13.048
– Gabe Ortega, 1:13.735

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2011 Preview

The upcoming 2011 season has a lineup of events at a diversity of tracks for every driver. If you need to get your PIR fix on, don’t miss the back-to-back events in January and February else you will be waiting till next December. Both January and February events happen to be the time of year that promises cool temperatures, and historically fast lap times with the occasional track record. In the spring and summer we are scheduled to revisit the Firebird tracks and the new road course outside the Tucson area that all of you may have heard about, Inde Motorsports Ranch.

If you are planning to head to NASA Championships, 2011 will see drivers from all over the country head to Mid-Ohio. Be sure to plan this season accordingly if you want to give yourself a chance to claim the much coveted title of National Champion.

The full 2011 Schedule can be found on the NASA-AZ website: http://www.nasaaz.com/schedule

Have a great Holiday season and see you in January!

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Article Written by Geri Amani.
Photography provided by Geri Amani, Christopher Wynne (www.rolex24pics.com), and Clayton Peck.

Jeremy Renshaw

jeremy_renshaw2Full Name: Jeremy Renshaw
Hometown: Boise, Id

Jeremy’s 9-5:
FedEx Ground dock manager
Run Group: Time Trial and Race Group
Favorite Food(s):
Bud Light, Tacos, and Pizza
Favorite Music:
60’s and 70’s rock & roll
NASA Position: Time Trial Director
Obligatory Hot Actress Question: Angelina Jolie

Looking back to our youth, a lot of us never thought that we would find ourselves driving a car on a NASCAR roval course, yet we do. Some of us never imagined gutting a beloved street car, but did. Others never thought they would configure their annual spending to accommodate tires, suspension parts, fuel, and track fees. Seeing a trend? I think there comes a time when we should all step back and look at what we do and have done in this sport, and take note how lucky we are to be involved. For this edition of Who’s Who I selected someone most of you may know already .The attention given here is well deserved with his longstanding involvement and support within the NASA community.

Lets’s introduce … Jeremy Renshaw.

Jeremy had spent much of his youth in Boise Idaho, later moving to Alaska during his teen years. Once graduated from High School he left the cold of the north and found himself living in an inverted climate of Arizona. Here he continues to reside with his wife Angie, a lab named Lily, three cats, and (I quote) “a big ass fish”. That’s no fish story! Okay, very bad joke…moving on.

Jeremy and his Lab Lily 'Gone Fish'n'

Jeremy and his Lab Lily ... 'Gone Fish'n'

Many drivers have climbed up the racing ladder by participating in one or multiple motorsports genres over their years of driving. Having lived in Arizona for nearly 10 years, Jeremy Renshaw did a little bit of it all. Starting with Autocross, he later discovered NASA and commenced his participation through HPDE track days. The action on the road course really appealed to Jeremy, and eventually became encouraged to purchase his first dedicated track car; a 1991 Nissan 240SX. From that point forward, he was hooked. The racing bug bit, and bit hard. There was no going back.

Jeremy's 240SX at PIR

Jeremy's 240SX at PIR

Nearly everyone in motorsports has heard the saying, if you want to make a million dollars in racing, you’ll need to start with two-million. It doesn’t take long for drivers to realize that funding is critical to survival on-track. From the cars themselves, to safety gear and regular consumables, it all costs quite a bit of money. Jeremy soon found himself running multiple track events per month, eventually taking on a second job to help cover track expenses. At this point it was evident that the racing bug bite became infectious.

For those of you who have been around the Arizona racing scene long enough, you might remember a time when Club Racing AZ was in existence. In addition to road course sessions, this organization formulated a Drift run group. With Jeremy regularly running drift events at Firebird International Raceway and Tucson Raceway Park, his dedication to the sport eventually led him to be in charge of the drift portion of the Club Racing AZ. While popularity of the group was certainly niche, it eventually became too small to warrant their own run group and was consequently canceled. Today however, Jeremy continues his leadership role as Time Trial Director for what is currently called NASA-AZ.

Jeremy had spent several years working his way up the HPDE ladder, eventually settling into Time Trials. It was only a few years in when Jeremy began to show interest in racing, which is often the progression for drivers in the TT program. While Jeremy currently focuses on Race Group, he continues his participation in Time Trials maintaining regional points and the opportunity to shake out a few quick laps without race traffic.

Jeremy driving the AFI Turbo S2000

Jeremy driving the AFI Turbo S2000

Jeremy running his PTB E36 BMW M3

Jeremy running his PTB E36 BMW M3

Last year Jeremy was asked by AFI Turbo to drive their Time Attack S2000 in the Redline Time Attack series and Super Lap Battle. Whenever possible he has continued to drive the S2000 a long with his newest racing build; a BMW M3 which was finished last winter. For Jeremy, switching from the 240SX to the M3 was a no brainer. The design, power and reliability of the E36 BMW are renown, not to mention the fact the chassis has been raced world wide for 20-years. It makes sense why this car is a popular platform to race in; the research has been done and performance parts are abundant. Jeremy continues to build his driving resume running with NASA-AZ, NASA-SoCal, Redline Time Attack, Super Lap Battle, and Porsche Club as often as possible.

Two Jeremys: Renshaw and Ward, part of the NASA-AZ Crew

Two Jeremy's: Renshaw and Ward, Members of NASA-AZ

Like many drivers, much of Jeremy’s life revolves around the track with little time for other hobbies. The thrill of driving at speed, preparing the car, pushing it to the limit and the social camaraderie are all reasons he finds himself intertwined in the NASA-AZ community. It is a lifestyle for many, Jeremy included, a choice that most drivers can relate to.

Many participants bring the family to the track to share the fun and excitement with those who are closest. Jeremy’s wife Angie is no exception. In fact, she can be found helping Jeremy at the track throughout the season. In the years Jeremy has developed as a driver, Angie has expressed moments of worry. Well, maybe a little more than a few moments.

“She worries a lot… then up’s my life insurance policy again.” Jeremy explained, when I asked how Angie feels when he races at the track. “It’s changed about 4 times in the last 6-years actually.”

Could these life insurance policy changes be caused by endless variations of on-track excitement? For example, the time Jeremy ran off track at Willow Springs in turn 8, going 140mph… sideways? While Jeremy’s joy on track is a source of Angie’s worry, her willingness to support her husband along the way is what makes these two a great pair.

“Without the support of my wife, I would not be where I am at today. She helps me in every way. In the garage helping with motor swaps, bleeding brakes, tire changes. She is at almost every event helping with refueling, air pressure checks, and parts runs for myself and others.”

I inquired what Jeremy wanted to do in the future with his racing, or other activities for that matter. His answers are loud and clear that this man is a true driver at heart who loves the sport. “My long term goals are to be doing what I am doing now, but with the winning Power Ball ticket,” explains Jeremy. In chuckle he later adds… “Okay, I want to be a business owner someday, but will always be a driver first.”

Power-ball or not, I think it is safe to say that Jeremy is here to stay in the NASA community. He proves that dedicated racers add greatly to what NASA has to offer by ways of leadership, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and good driving.

So next time you see Jeremy at the track give him a friendly shout, and be sure to
ask about his “Big Ass Fish”.

Article written by Geri A. Amani.

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