May 7-8 Wraps Up

Just when we lost one of our most beloved tracks in the NASA-AZ region, another one popped up on our radar. This particular event brought us to Inde Motorsports Ranch, located in Willcox—about a 1.5hr drive (if you follow the posted speed limit) outside of Tucson.

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Despite the bit of travel this event required, there was a fantastic turnout in all run groups making for a plethora of fun for everyone who participated. After all that driving on track (not to mention to/from it), let’s recap on why this event was definitely one to remember.

As you all noticed, Tage is back in action! As impressed as I was that he made it to the track, I did not expect him to drive it! His recovery has been slow yet steady, and despite the circumstances of his accident, I am pleased to see that he has maintained the inner-racer that we all have come to know and appreciate. While not in Race Group for this event, Tage jumped into his infamous Accord and put down some laps during Time Trials. Welcome back Tage!

Did someone say fire?! Did someone say snake?! Yea, a little of both. Another quick response by Tage helped bring a small fire in the paddock to a halt. Not only does he do the job of regional director and back-up fireman, but he also takes on the role of pest control when a 3-foot king snake was discovered at track exit trying to get into impound.

226819_2099013235263_1243354167_3695802_309963_nAside from the hint of race gas, love was in the air. A very special couple got engaged at Inde late on Sunday.  Many of you know Joshua Ray, or have seen him working for NASA-AZ doing everything from tech, to clean up, to gate-worker. When the event was over, Josh gave his girlfriend Megan Parent a very special ring and proposed to her. Needless to say she accepted! Congratulations to the both of you!

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The first day at Inde you might have noticed a plane sitting on the runway. Fellow NASA-AZ racer Chad Nelson “flew-in” to meet and greet with friends. While he did not drive the course itself this weekend, he did get to use the long straightaway at Inde that doubles as a runway and got (quite literally) a bird’s eye view of the facility.

While it goes without saying, kudos to everyone who made this event possible—the Inde staff, NASA-AZ workers and officials, and of course all the participants who drove all the way to the track…to drive some more!

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Race Group

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Saturday’s big bore race began with Mark Alger, Bob Gottlieb, and Bryan McCormick as our top three starters, each qualifying fairly close with only a few tenths difference between McCormick and Gottlieb. As the green flag crept into sight, the first official NASA-AZ Big Bore race at IMR was officially on. Alger took the first turn and lead the field as the rest began to sort out their position on track.  This sport naturally comes with a set of challenges; some are mechanical and others are more tactical. With several racers falling behind or out of the race completely, our top finishers were eventually determined. Alger maintained the first position and was our top overall finisher, followed by Gottlieb in second. CV Wells placed third overall and also won his class (ST-2) in the process. Second in ST-2 was secured by Adam Bode, followed by Michael Papworth in third.

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PT-A was made up of a trio of racers, led by Brian Turner in his #524 Porsche. John Dowling–also a PT-A Porsche driver–came in second, with Sean Southland taking third. Our lone PT-C car wasn’t alone…far from it. The #19 BMW E30 driven by Leroy Moore was mixing it up with all sorts of cars outside of his class, definitely making for some fun racing, not only for him, but the spectators who gathered in the Inde tower. Last but not least were our PT-B cars driven by Matt McIntyre and Jeremy Renshaw. While McIntyre secured the first position with a blazing qualifying time of 1:59.567, technical issues forced him to drop the race leaving Renshaw to take the win.

Small Bore’s race on Saturday not only had a great turnout but also had some great racing across the field. Qualifying in the front of the pack was an all 944 Spec lineup beginning with Norm Hamden, Doug Nelson and Jeff Wojnar with the rest of the pack following closely behind.

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Amongst the crowd of 944s were our PT-E cars driven by Shane Kneisel and Geri Amani, who found themselves starting in the third and fourth positions respectively. Even though PT-E and 944 Spec diced it up together, our top three 944 Spec drivers finished in their starting order. Geri Amani took the class win for PT-E, followed closely by Shane Kneisel in second.

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Make-Up Race
This event accommodated our usual race lineup but also included the FIR Main makeup race.  This race in particular brought both Big Bore and Small Bore drivers together in a field of 16 cars. On a track that is spread out over 2 miles, competition was definitely going to be segregated into respective classes. For racers that made the journey out to IMR, each had the opportunity to participate in this race race that took place late Saturday afternoon. Grid positions were sorted based on previous results from FIR, mixing high-powered cars amongst their slower, low-powered counterparts right from the start.

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Within the first lap, Big Bore cars sorted themselves in their respective battles in the front, leaving small bore behind them—minus our SU class who did not finish the race. With an extended race such as this on a 2.31-mile track, much transpired between the green and checkered flags. CV Wells took first overall and first in ST-2. Wells happened to turn the fastest lap during the race (2-minutes flat), followed by Michael Papworth who took second in class. Sean Southland was our second fastest racer in the field who took second place overall and first in PT-A. Next up was John Dowling who would take second in PT-A. Third place overall was Leroy Moore who kept his pace with PT-A. As it was in the sprint race, Moore turned some very respectable times in PT-C ensuring he would have some regular company with cars outside of his class. Jeremy Renshaw was our lone PT-B car during this race, turning similar times to Moore and finished fourth overall.

In the back of the pack, several notable battles ensued throughout the race.  With a 5-car lineup in 944 Spec, Norm Hamden led his class and ultimately finished first, followed by Kim Unger and Dave Hauck. Our PT-E cars were able to mingle with the 944 Spec crowd, with an epic (and familiar) nose-to-tail battle between Shane Kneisel and Geri Amani.  With Kneisel taking full advantage of the green flag, he led his class throughout the race by passing Amani early after the start. Ultimately the two E cars turned nearly identical lap times and were within an arms reach of each others bumpers throughout. By the time the white flag was out, a minor contact set Amani behind, bringing Kneisel the class win.

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Time Trials

It's now confirmed. Civic's can fly.

It's now confirmed. Civic's can fly.

This would be the first official NASA-AZ Time Trials event at Inde Motorsports Ranch, and as a result, each class enjoyed establishing track records! On a course such as this—one long straight, blind crests, off-camber apexes, and 21-turns of fun—drivers had a great opportunity to bust out those car control skills that might not have been fully exercisable on our local tracks such as FIR. Let’s take a look at the results from this very memorable TT event.

On a track like IMR, anything below a two-minute lap is certainly cooking the pavement. In our “traditional” Big Bore group, we saw several drivers break that marker and in the process set fresh track records. Our top three begins with Mark Alger who turned the fastest lap on Saturday in his #4 Dodge Viper CC with a 1:53.313. TTR driver Lou Lupo ran a 2:01.703 in the #496 Z06. In TTS, Pete Creek busted out a 1:55.625 in the #727 BMW E46 M3. TTB driver Matt McIntyre brought some very fast laps, turning a very respectable time of 1:58.896.  In TTA, #524 Porsche driver Brian Turner delivered a class win, turning 2:03.217.

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Moving along the class lineup we have Dave Shotz in his #175 Camaro, who turned a hearty 2:02.146 in TTC. Robert Rose is continuously setting precedent in TTD leading the field by a sizable margin turning 2:04.112. In TTE, Marc McCombs continuously made improvements throughout the day and finished Saturday off with a 2:07.505. Eric Jacobsen brought out the notorious TTF “1985 Mazda POS” (aka – Zombie) and ran a 2:20.667!

Sunday brought times up a notch or two for several drivers with slightly different track conditions to contend with.  However, there were a few exceptions. Mark Alger in TTU turned times over a second faster than his best on Saturday finishing with a 1:52.564. Sean Southland broke the TTA track record with a 2:02.132, and Matt McIntyre who turned a great time for a TTB car with a 1:58.066 (also beat his own track record). In TTR, Lou Lupo turned a 2-minute flat and in TTS, a 1:55.650 lap was turned by Pete Creek.

Dave Shotz took a two-day win for TTC running a 2-minute lap, with Robert Rose chopping nearly a second off his Saturday’s best with a 2:03.323 in TTD.  TTE was led yet again by Marc McCombs with a 2:06.415, breaking his previous track record. TTF should stand for TT-Flatout as Eric Jacobsen stepped it up with the #98 Mazda POS running a 2:18.693.

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Top Time Trial Drivers from Saturday
TTR  Lou Lupo #496 Corvette Z06 – 2:01.703
TTU  Mark Alger #4 Viper CC – 1:53.313
TTS  Pete Creek #727 BMW E46 M3 – 1:55.625 (Track Record)
TTA  Brian Turner #524 Porsche 911 – 2:03.217
TTB  Matt McIntyre #31 BMW E36 M3 – 1:58.896
TTC  Dave Schotz #175 Camaro – 2:02.146
TTD  Robert Rose #3 Mazda Miata – 2:04.112
TTE  Marc McCombs #439 VW Jetta – 2:07.505
TTF  Eric Jacobsen #98 Mazda POS – 2:20.66

Top Time Trial Drivers from Sunday
TTR  Lou Lupo #496 Corvette Z06 – 2:00.038 (Track Record)
TTU  Mark Alger #4 Viper CC – 1:52.564 (Track Record)
TTS   Pete Creek #727 BMW E46 M3 – 1:55.650
TTA  Sean Southland #777 CTS-V – 2:02.132 (Track Record)
TTB  Matt McIntyre #31 BMW E36 M3 – 1:58.066 (Track Record)
TTC  Dave Schotz #175 Camaro – 2:00.541 (Track Record)
TTD  Robert Rose #3 Mazda Miata – 2:03.323 (Track Record)
TTE  Marc McCombs #439 VW Jetta – 2:06.415 (Track Record)
TTF  Eric Jacobsen #98 Mazda POS – 2:18.693 (Track Record)

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HPDE

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NASA-AZ was host to a great lineup of HPDE run groups. Many drivers came back into the pits after the first session out raving about the track. While the track itself is long and technical, it can be a great place to learn the essentials of car control and the tricks of the trade to move up the HPDE ladder.

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HPDE 3 group leader Robert Rose never is in short supply of positivity!

With the dedication and support exhibited from our HPDE group leaders, drivers enjoyed a brand new track to run on with the encouragement and positive learning environment that made for two very successful days.
It just goes to show that despite the commute that everyone had to drive to get to IMR, the track and camaraderie was worth every mile!

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UMS Turning Time Attack

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For this event, NASA-AZ was able to accommodate not just one but TWO UMS Tuning Time Attack sessions.  Saturday (a no points event) brought out approximately 22 drivers to the test of who could turn the fastest lap in their class. Starting with TA-A Robert Rose has consistently been leading his class with no signs of him loosing any momentum. 2:04.865 was his fastest lap, separating himself nearly 5 seconds from the rest. In second was Markos Mylonas who turned a respectable and consistent 2:10.311, followed by Dave McCombs who ran 2:13.941 to secure third.

TA-B was and has been one of our largest TA classes. At the top of the roster is Sean Southland who ran a quick 2:01.926, followed by Justin Bowie, a half-second off Southland, with a 2:02.490 and only another half-second away was Mervin Tan with a 2:02.988.

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Our smallest yet FASTEST class is TA-C. It was led yet again by the UMS Tuning Evo 8, which ran our only sub 2-minute lap of a 1:58.875, followed by Tim Schoeppner with 2:02.133, and Paul Lynch with 2:02.487.

On Sunday, numbers diversified slightly per class and TA season points were up for grabs. Starting with TA-A, Robert Rose took the win turning an even quicker lap of 2:03.797, followed by Dave McCombs who stepped it up a bit running 2:09.975 to secure second. A 2:10.075 secured third for Markos Mylonas. TA-B was led by Taylor Wilson this time around running a 2-minute flat, followed by Phil Robles who also ran a 2-minute lap and only 3-tenths away from the win! Chris Wilson took third place running 2:02.374.

In TA-C, UMS and Snail Performance were our two front runners, each turning sub-2-minute laps. UMS would ultimately win TA-C and secure the fastest lap in the UMS TA series for the weekend with a 1:58.327. Snail Performance took a very respectable second running 1:59.986, followed by Russ Whelan in third who turned a 2:00.495.

Congrats to everyone who participated in this Time Attack event!

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Top Drivers from Saturday

TA-C
1 – UMS Tuning  – 1:58.875
2 – Tim Schoeppner  – 2:02.133
3 – Paul Lynch  – 2:02.487

TA-B
1 – Sean Southland  – 2:01.926
2 – Justin Bowie  – 2:02.490
3 – Mervin Tan  – 2:02.988

TA-A

1 – Robert Rose  – 2:04.865
2 – Markos Mylonas  – 2:10.311
3 – Dave McCombs  – 2:13.941

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Top Drivers from Sunday

TA-C
1 – UMS Tuning – 1:58.327
2 – Snail Performance – 1:59.986
3 – Russ Whelan – 2:00.495

TA-B

1 – Taylor Wilson  –  2:00.663
2 – Phil Robles  – 2:00.988
3 – Chris Wilson  – 2:02.599

TA-A

1 – Robert Rose  – 2:03.797
2 – Dave McCombs  – 2:09.975
3 – Markos Mylonas  – 2:10.075

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Next Event Preview

Did you get your cool suit yet? Well, you still have time before we hit the track again at FIR East. This event commences our summer sessions that start bright and early June 4th and 5th with a full HPDE lineup, Time Attack, Time Trials, racing, and of course seasonal Arizona temperatures.  Be sure to check out the links below to register for the event and see what we have planned.  See you at the track!

Draft Schedule: http://forums.www.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=4881
Register Online: https://nasaproracing.com/event/1190

Photography by Doug Hughes (http://www.waypast210.com) and Geri Amani.

Who’s Who in NASA: Matt McIntyre

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Full Name: Matt McIntyre
Hometown:
Salinas, California
Years in AZ:
8 Years
Favorite Food(s):
Fish… fish… and more FISH! Favorite fish-based meal was had in Australia called Barramundi. Matt also enjoys crab and lobster (he would have it every day if it wasn’t so expensive). Needless to say, he misses living next to the ocean and walking the wharf eating “crabby cakes”!
Favorite Music:
Everything except elevator music, but mostly Country and Rock. Favorite bands are Seether and Lady Antebellum.
Occupation:
Flight Instructor
NASA Class:
TTB, PTB / GTS-3

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Many of you have seen or heard about a certain blue BMW M3 zooming around the track. In this edition of Who’s Who I’d like to bring your attention to the guy behind the wheel, Matt McIntyre.

Matt grew up in beautiful Salinas, California, native to many local wineries, beaches, and cultural richness of the Bay Area. His father was a successful businessman in managing and consulting with the various vineyards in Monterey County, so needless to say he always had wine in his blood and viticulture on his brain. He spent many summers working for his dad in the fields, essentially saving up a “car” fund. No, he did not end up with a pristine hot rod and spend carefree nights in the neighborhood doing burnouts. Instead, his first car was a 1989 535i automatic…in beige. While not quite the car you see him driving today, it was a blast to flog around. Stock parts from this 5-series were slowly replaced with aftermarket ones, truly making the car all his own. In the process, he also learned which parts endure the test of time.

“I remember racing on the back roads and over the Laguna Seca grade passing cars in a four door sedan. That car was riddled with transmission problems. I had to replace it twice which is why to this day I will not buy an automatic!”

Thumbs up ace!

Thumbs up ace!

When Matt graduated from Robert Louis Stevenson High School, he went from Pebble Beach to Arizona for the wonderful opportunity to fly at a rather prestigious flight school known as Mesa Pilot Development. Matt worked tediously to earn his certificates and soon completed a Bachelors of Science degree in Aeronautical Management and Technology in 2008 from Arizona State University. From that point forward, Matt has been instructing flight students full-time and currently instructs foreign pilots at Falcon Field Airport. “I really enjoy my job,” explained Matt. “But it can be stressful with people trying to kill me everyday (students, weather, ATC, other pilots, the plane) but that’s my job to make sure everything and everyone is safe. Just like racing, if you do this job long enough you can anticipate others moves before they act so that you can prevent an accident or incident. I have many good stories of avoiding such things!”

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I’ll never forget the time Matt was explaining to me how he likes to “eliminate risk” in his life. Naturally, I agreed with a raised brow. So! Matt likes to race cars and teach students to fly. I can see how that’s low risk…indirectly anyway.

Matt's office view is certainly a good one.

Matt's office has a pretty spectacular view.

Like many of us, the love of the race track and the excitement that goes along with it is like a drug to the vein. From a very early age, Matt has always been engulfed in the automotive world, influenced by the excitement and sounds that come along with it. His father always had a toy in the garage that needed to be tinkered with, polished, and driven. “He used to restore cars back in the day,” Matt explained. “I remember one time I asked my Dad if I could take the Porsche (1999 Porsche Carrera in a weird purple color, 6-speed manual) to school because my car was in the shop…and to my surprise he said yes! As long as I didn’t let it get rained on and only if I wash/wax it after. After driving it I couldn’t get enough of the feeling of speed.”

To be on the safe side, Matt’s parents sent him to the Skip Barber School to learn how to control his insatiable craving for speed. A drivers AA in a way! Before NASA, Matt had no prior racing experience, making Skip Barber the ultimate crash course (no pun intended) in learning how to race and control a car at speed.

Matt has been involved with NASA since it was known as Club Racing AZ, watching all the action from a flag station. With all the spectating that Matt was able to take in waving the various track flags, he gradually felt the bite from the racing “bug” and began his progression up the HPDE ladder. From the beginning, Matt has demonstrated a natural ability to drive and certainly couldn’t get enough of the rush of going 100mph with his hair on fire and inches from the walls.

For Matt, the choice for an E36 M3 was easy. Not only did he grow up with a quintessential BMW for his first car, but also owned an M3 prior to his current race car–same model but with a supercharger bringing power up to 450-ponies under the hood. “I was so comfortable in the car and was really in touch with how the car handled,” said Matt. “I figured it would make a great track car. I was able to slowly upgrade it over the years so as to not break my limited budget. Eventually, it turned into a great looking race car with the help of Precision Chassis Works and Ultimate Auto Works.”

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One of Matt’s most memorable moments took place at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah last September. Having been there myself and in the same pit area with Matt, I remember it well. His very healthy PTB/TTB E36 M3 was under utmost scrutiny; weighed multiple times, GPS tracking, dynoed, even the engine was fully inspected to check compression, bore and stroke. In the midst of the “tech” madness, all Matt could think about was going faster and leaving his mark in the TTB class. ‘I have to push harder to get this damn track record’ went on in his mind. He would not be satisfied until he had another track record under his belt and a first place win in TTB. Both of those goals were achieved that weekend.

An all NASA-AZ TTB podium!

An all NASA-AZ TTB podium!

“I remember getting off the track early because I knew I was light on fuel. The grid marshal waved me into the weigh station and pushed me up the ramps and on to the scales,” said Matt. “My dad was there and immediately I knew something was up because he was jumping up and down with a big smile on his face. He yelled “2:09.89″! I started yelling and bouncing up and down in my seat, so much that the grid marshal had to tell me to sit still so he could weigh me! I knew I set a very good lap but didn’t expect to beat the track record by over a second and a half! One of my best memories especially since my Dad was there to experience it with me.”

As most of our drivers have found, one of the greatest aspects of motorsports is the camaraderie that develops within the NASA community. Likewise, Matt enjoys helping other racers at the track, or simply spending quality time with them. It’s usually easy to do in such a tight community of people, as everyone shares a common passion. When times get tough, people are usually happy to help a driver in need. Matt discovered this first-hand when his car suffered a catastrophic engine failure at PIR during his first race with NASA-AZ. “I remember when I blew my engine at the first PIR event this year,” said Matt. “People really stepped up and helped me get my car onto a trailer and home to my garage without really asking for much in return (Thanks Paul Bloomberg!)”

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I think it’s safe to say that there are a fair number of spectators that have been converted into participants by watching drivers like Matt. Those of you that made the switch and gave track driving a try will likely agree that it’s fairly easy to get addicted to the sport. With his approachable personality and solid driver ability, Matt offers qualities that make him an example driver in our community. “I really love that feeling of having the fans in the grandstands watching me do my thing on track. Hopefully I may influence them as others did for me when I was sitting watching racing in the grandstands thinking that could be me on track.”

As fun as racing can be, there are inherent risks involved. We of course know Matt likes to reduce his “exposure to risk”, but he has bared witness to some fearful moments. Matt recalls two particular instances at FIR Main:

“I have been really lucky where I have not had any real scary moments on track but I have experienced two scary moments of others (both at the night event). I remember going into turn one and two at FIR main at the night event last year thinking the track was clear ahead only to see lots of dust and a car upside down in the tire wall! I immediately had that “holy shit” moment and hoped the person was ok. Oddly enough that was not was made it scary. Rather, it was his girlfriend in the car behind me screaming her head off thinking her boyfriend was in the car hurt badly or dead and she couldn’t get out of the car to help. Her screams gave me that sinking pit feeling in my stomach and goosebumps on my skin and still do to this day even thinking about it. I had that same feeling when I got word of what had happened at the last night event at FIR when Tage’s car caught fire. I hope he has a speedy recovery!”

Everyone in racing knows support is everything and safety is paramount. From family, friends, finances, and emotions; it is all a part of the large complex web of what makes or breaks a driver. Naturally, family members will have their worries when a loved one goes out and rolls the dice on the track. “My family and girlfriend really support me and my racing, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. My mom and my girlfriend get really nervous for my safety when they know I am going on track,” explained Matt.

While the circumstances that occurred at FIR Main were unfortunate, they are nonetheless reminders of what safety gear can do in the event of the unexpected. It is a critical reminder to us all that investing in safety equipment and being prepared can save your life.

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This doesn’t always make parents feel better about our “sport” even when you show them that it is reasonably safe. Matt recalled the one time he took his mother on track for a ride-along, thinking it would tame some of her worries. It would be her first time in the car with Matt, and she exhibited a lot of hesitation. “She was very reluctant to even get in the car with me,” Matt explained. “I said ‘…oh don’t worry about it. I will go slow and we will only do a couple laps.’ So we went out there in a Time Trial session and I kept increasing the speed till I was at 8/10ths of my normal pace. She then started screaming and trying to find something to hold on to and began stomping the imaginary brake pedal to the floor. Great memories!”

Matt and Tamara

Matt and his girlfriend Tamara

While I doubt Matt’s mother will be going for another ride-along, she certainly understands that his passion for racing isn’t going away any time soon. With such a close family, there is a natural level of acceptance and support from them all. While Matt continues his efforts in racing, and perhaps to take it to a professional level someday, he maintains a healthy life/racing balance with his girlfriend of over three years, Tamara. “I want to get married sometime soon and have a family of my own with the love of my life Tamara,” Matt explained. “She really makes me a better person and supports me though the good and the bad.”

So there you have it! The various sides of this young man’s life; pilot, flight instructor, racer, family-oriented and all-around good guy that we know as Matt McIntyre. If you see him at the track, be sure to take time to say hello. More than likely you’ll be greeted with a smile.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone at NASA for the love and support over the years as well as Geri for taking the time to write some great articles on some really great people. If anyone sees me at the track or out and about, please feel free to come talk and introduce yourself!” –Matt McIntyre

Article Written by Geri Amani

April 2nd Wraps Up

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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.

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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.

spectators

officials

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

pte_battle

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.

racegroup

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)

SU
1 – Chad Nelson #14
2- Mark Alger #4

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

ST-1
1 – Steve Lisa #19

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

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

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

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

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

mervintan

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

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HPDE

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).

pure_street_de

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.

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UMS Tuning Time Attack

timeattackwinner1

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

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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)

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