The January 31st event was the first of two single-day points events in 2009. As usual, single-day events have their share of fans, and a few skeptics. That aside, given the fast track conditions of the January 10-11 weekend, which resulted in many new track records, I think it would be safe to say that everyone was anxious to get back on the track to settle their unfinished business. By 5pm on Saturday, people were packing up and beginning to talk about the events that transpired earlier that day. Let’s take a look at that, as well as new developments within NASA-Arizona.
NASA Arizona is proud to announce Dan Zollo as the new Sponsorship and Marketing Director! With our previous director moving onto new adventures, Dan was ready and willing to take up the task for NASA Arizona. Dan as spent the last six years of his life participating at NASA events in the Time Trial program on the weekends, while his weekdays consist of logging hours as a Marketing executive for a large Scottsdale resort. Dan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Arizona State University. Next time you see Dan driving his white Acura Integra, dubbed “The Turtle” give him a congrats on his new role within NASA Arizona!
Who said that two-day events were favored over single-day events? HPDE groups 1 through 3 were full of drivers, including a record number of first-time entrants in the HPDE 1 school. HPDE3 experienced a blown motor dumping oil down the main straight which caused a bunch of excitement for the drivers behind but no contact with each other or the walls. Whew! The rest of the day remained clean and free from incidents, which is always a good thing! HPDE leaders Mervin Tan and Jeff Sturla led the way in their respective groups, while Dave Riddle (classroom) and John Dowling focused their efforts on the HPDE 1 school.
In addition to the on-track activities, the effects of Mervin and Jeff’s driver training activities in HPDE showed once again as three drivers moved from HPDE 3 and into the Time Trial program. Brett Lengel moved into TTD with his 300ZX, Simon Pavlick joined the TTE class in his Acura Integra, and Phil Robles took the highly anticipated leap from HPDE 3 into TTB, driving his Honda Civic. All three drivers had a clean day and qualified for their National Time Trial licenses as well. Congratulations to all three drivers for making the jump into Time Trial!
32 drivers filled the Time Trial groups on Saturday. Jeremy Renshaw’s track records in TTE and TTD, which were long thought to be unbeatable, were in serious jeopardy when Eric Jacobsen rolled into the track on Friday night with this new TTE Ford Taurus SHO, and Brady Dohrmann parked next to him in the garage with an all-new BMW M3. By the third lap of the second session, both records were re-written, as Eric managed to pull off a 1:12.9 and Brady punched out a 1:12.0, almost at the same time. Rather displeased with that turn of events, Jeremy answered the call with a 1:11.968 later in the day in his TTD 240SX, only to be answered back by Brady’s 1:11.927, which held as the current TTD record.
The big bore TT group also welcomed back Darrell Rayburn in a C6 Corvette after a stint in the race group and some general time off. Darrell as you may know is the current TTU record holder, sitting at a 1:03.2 – the fastest lap to ever be turned in the TT program since its beginning in 2004.
Who said racers don’t come out for single-day events? 37 racers apparently do, including out-of-towner Mike Pinholster, who sat on the overall pole position in his ST1 Dodge Viper, marking Mike’s first time leading the pack to the green flag. Mike has been commuting between Las Cruces, New Mexico and PIR for several years now, so congratulate Mike next time you see him for his accomplishment and hard work. The race, which consisted of split starts between the Performance Touring group and the 944 Spec drivers, took place late in the afternoon and was green from start to finish without incident. The winners were as follows: SU – Steve Lopez, ST1 – Mike Pinholster (Overall winner), ST2 – Brad Larsen, PTA – John Dowling, PTB – Phil Eglin, PTC – Rick Johnson, PTD – Jeremy Renshaw, 944 Spec – Rich Geisler. Congratulations to all finishers and race winners for a clean, safe event this past weekend.
The next event will be a 3-day weekend including the popular BMWCCA guest race groups. Friday will be a test and tune, with points races and time trial on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, HPDE will have a full schedule throughout the weekend, with the addition of the UMS Time Attack points event #3.
Thank you for reading this month’s edition of the NASA Arizona Newsletter!