October 3-4 Wraps Up

NASA Arizona Wraps Up, 10/3-10/4, Phoenix Intl. Raceway


October 3-4 weekend marked the second event of the fall season, and what many who went to NASA Nationals call, “The Return to PIR”.  Typically this weekend is reserved for the BMW Car Club of America—more specifically, fielding their large race groups of BMWs and MINIs—with NASA Arizona piggybacking onto their event.  Due to circumstances which are no doubt unfortunate and used far too often these days, the BMWCCA club race group cancelled for the weekend.  (Ok, I’ll just say it:  Economic circumstances)  Remaining after that were the usual NASA HPDE, Time Trial and Race groups, along with sessions of drivers coming over from the BMWCCA group:  A beginner’s school, and driving groups using a similar structure to NASA’s HPDE program.  All said, everyone was glad to welcome the nice weather, finally, after a long streak of hot events.  Perhaps October 3-4, 2009 had come full circle, with the last cool-weather Phoenix Intl. Raceway event being the last BMWCCA weekend on March 6-7.

Nationals Competitors Return

GTS5 National Champion Chad Nelson returned to PIR in October

GTS5 National Champion Chad Nelson returned to PIR in October

With the NASA Championships being held on the same weekend as the previous NASA Arizona event, many of the regular drivers in TT and Race group were reappearing at PIR for the first time since May.  Perhaps the excitement of Nationals was still in everyone’s system, or the sight of such fierce competition caused everyone to raise their game just a little more on the local level for the remainder of the 2009 season.  If you were to have a conversation with many people who attended the NASA Championships, perhaps the word “perspective” would be mentioned a few times, or even a mention of the word “humbling”.  One of the common thoughts among the racers and TT drivers was that given the massive amount of meetings, run sessions, schedule changes and sheer mass of the paddock and entrants at Nationals, being back in Phoenix among the local crowd, if anything, seemed a little easier to navigate after the circus up at Miller Motorsports Park.  Less effort spent on logistics simply meant more concentration put into driving.  In many cases, the results on October 3-4 weekend were reflective of that.

Time Trial

One of the more anticipated run sessions from the weekend was the Big Bore time trial group.  Chris Rado—driving the World Racing Scion tC—made the trip from California to participate on Saturday in the TTR run group.  “It’s tough to find a setup for PIR.  In the infield, we’re making just over 400hp.  On the straights, up to 750hp.  Despite the huge front tires and a delicate right foot on the gas pedal, it’s hard to put power down here”, said Chris.  Despite virtually zero setup time beforehand, the World Racing Scion tC crossed the line turning a 1:03.62—the fastest lap time ever for a FWD car at Phoenix International Raceway.  Tage Evanson, the previous overall FWD record holder at PIR stepped up his game and bested his previous record, turning a 1:04.87 in TTU trim with the Honda Civic.

Chris Rado's World Racing Scion tC

Chris Rado's Scion tC uses a massive front wing to keep the front tires from spinning at high speeds.

Hot from the TTC race at Nationals, where the lead changed virtually every session, Doug Evans brought his best stuff and beat the TTC track record, turning a 1:09.02 in his Lotus Elise.  Rick Johnson couldn’t take the thought of having his Mini bested by Doug’s Elise, so he signed up in TTC as well and chased Doug throughout the weekend.  All said and done, Doug’s record from Saturday stood as the top time, with Rick following in shortly behind at a 1:09.26, 0.5sec better than his previous best at PIR.  Simon Pavlick (TTE Acura Integra), Brett Lengel (TTD 300ZX) and Mark Algers (TTR Dodge Viper) all turned personal best lap times during the weekend.

All time trial results are located here.

BMWCCA Groups at PIR for Second Time in 2009

The BMWCCA run sessions were full to capacity all weekend.

The BMWCCA run sessions were full to capacity all weekend.

As mentioned above, the race groups for the BMWCCA group were put on hold for the month of October.  Without any hesitation, however, the HPDE groups and the BMWCCA driver’s school went to full capacity as BMW owners and enthusiasts from the southwest came to PIR for a weekend of driving.  Many of the familiar faces from the NASA driver’s school and HPDE program, put on their true colors and volunteered for BMWCCA and put forth hard effort to making their program a success.  BMWCCA fielded three levels of HPDE throughout the weekend and ran incident-free both days.  All BMWCCA drivers and friends hung out afterwards for the NASA Saturday Night BBQ and left with smiles on their faces Sunday afternoon.

BMWCCA instructors mingling in the pit lane between run sessions.

BMWCCA instructors mingling in the pit lane between run sessions.

Passengers for HPDE Groups

One of the easiest ways to lure friends into coming out to NASA events, or perhaps enticing them to drive themselves through the ranks of the HPDE program, is to throw them in the passenger seat for some high-G loading laps around the track.

Melissa Tellez gives a racing fan a spin around PIR on October 3rd.

Melissa Tellez gives a racing fan a spin around PIR on October 3rd.

Of course, the number one priority at all NASA events is safety, while having fun comes in at a close second.  Since the question, “How can I take a passenger?” comes up quite often, here’s a quick recap of the details covered at the driver’s meeting on the October 3-4 weekend:

  • Passengers are only allowed in the following groups: HPDE3, HPDE4, Time Trial
  • All passengers must sign the “passenger waiver” at registration and receive a wrist band (different from the main gate waiver).
  • All drivers wishing to carry a passenger, must get approval from the HPDE or TT group leader, in advance.
  • Similar to download cards, a passenger must get a Passenger Card from the respective group leader, to submit before entering grid.
  • In the case of the Time Trial group, lap times will not be counted during the session in which a passenger is in the car.

NASA Barbeque

All sorts of fun activities happen after hours at PIR!  Tage does his best Cru Jones impression.

All sorts of fun activities happen after hours at PIR! Tage does his best Cru Jones impression.

Sure, while this isn’t an actual driving event, the NASA social continues to be a favorite part of the weekend for most of the NASA participants.  Gordon Levy and his crew spent the evening working behind the grills, while NASA competitors, drivers, friends and family all came out for free food, music, drinks and of course, the antics that follow.  With the track going cold around 5pm, the BBQ was fired up almost instantly and people were “happy” within the hour.  NASA Arizona looks forward to keeping this event a regular part of the event weekends.

UMS Time Attack Series

The UMS Time Attack series was out in force on both days of the October 3-4 weekend.  Seven competitors signed up for Saturday, with eleven on Sunday.  Phil Robles continued his chase for the AMB transponder as he turned the fastest overall lap on both days in his Honda Civic and took a commanding 85 point lead in the series standings.  Gabe Ortega competed in TA-A on Saturday, then changed his setup and ran TA-B on Sunday, and took the class win.  Complete UMS Time Attack series results and standings can be found here.

Race Group News

I see a pattern developing here..

I see a pattern developing here..

CCR Review – Of course everyone has read the NASA CCRs (Club Codes and Regulations).  Right?  RIGHT?  Just kidding.  Given the sure enormity of the NASA CCRs, a quick recap and review of the codes and regulations is something that should be done on a yearly basis.  With the month and a half before the final event of the 2009 season, take an evening to skim through the CCRs which are free to download and read and refresh your memory.  CCRs can be located here.

Incident Review Board – From time to time there are incidents in the race group that’s the nature of the game.  However, resolving such incidents in a timely manner is imperative as the outcome can often affect the results (DQs, etc).  Going forward, NASA Arizona will be assembling an Incident Review Board (IRB) to examine any incidents within the NASA race groups.

Led by Gary Felton, along with a small staff of NASA members, the IRB will identify any and all racing incidents as soon as they happen on track, or as soon as they possibly can afterwards.  Following the conclusion of a race, all incidents and the involved parties will be addressed in impound with a conclusion being reached before cars/drivers leave impound.  The purpose of this of course is to add in any changes to results in terms of DQs, loss of position and so on, so the correct, official results can be issued and finalized as soon as possible.

Kelly Olohan came out for both days to race at PIR and support BMWCCA.

Kelly Olohan came out for both days to race at PIR and support BMWCCA.

Points Clarification from NASA Nationals

After some discussion and a few questions here and there, the details surrounding the points allotment from NASA Nationals are as follows:

  • Time Trial:  TT drivers at Nationals get the correct number of points that are reflective of their finishing position compared with other Arizona drivers in the same class. If an AZ driver finished 2nd in TTD, while the winner was from New York, and the 3rd place finished was from AZ, then the AZ finished are awarded 1st and 2nd place points.
  • TT drivers who stayed in Phoenix to compete, get standard points as they would in any other AZ region event.
  • Racers at Nationals get points based on their finishing position in class, compared to their other Arizona region competitors.  Local racers who stayed in Phoenix in September for the Test and Tune, get no points.
Race group lined up and ready to go for Sunday afternon's race.

Race group lined up and ready to go for Sunday afternon's race.

Next event:  November 28-89, Phoenix Intl. Raceway

Carrying on the 20+ year tradition of driving on Thanksgiving weekend, NASA Arizona will be driving at Phoenix Intl. Raceway, including a 3-hour daytime enduro on Sunday.  NASA will be back with a full schedule (i.e. NASA hosted HPDE1 & 2) as well as the usual Time Trial and Race Groups.   A rough schedule for the weekend has been posted on the NASA Arizona forum, and all questions/comments can be addressed here.

Details for the racers and time trialers are listed below:

This will be a double points event on Sunday only!  Here’s how it works:

  • Time Trial drivers will receive double points for their finishing position on Sunday.  Saturday will be a standard points day.
  • Racers participating in the enduro will get double points based on their finishing position within class.
  • All single drivers (as in, driving solo.  Not unmarried, divorced or casually-dating drivers!) will receive double points for the enduro.
  • How NASA will assess points for teams with more than one driver is still TBD, in effort to finalize a correct, fair and proper method for points allotment.

The enduro supplemental rules are posted here.  Updates on the points allotment for multi-driver teams will be posted soon.

Thank you for reading the NASA Arizona event wrap up.  See you all in November at Phoenix Intl. Raceway!<–>

Arizona Drivers at NASA Championships – Results

Below is a list of final results from all NASA Arizona drivers who participated at the NASA National Championships on September 10-13, 2009.  Over 40 drivers from Arizona attended the national championsips.  Congratulations to all participants from NASA Arizona!

Camaro/Mustang Challenge 2 (CMC2)

Dave Schotz – 1st


Mark Alger – 1st

Brent Crosser – 2nd

American Stock Car (ASC)

Dustin Dudley – 2nd

Manuel Gil De Real – 3rd

Performance Touring A  (PTA)

Dave Leyvas – 2nd

Performance Touring B (PTB)

Randy Smalley – 2nd

Greg Greenbaum – 6th

Performance Touring C (PTC)

Rick Johnson – 2nd

Sarah Cattaneo – 5th

Performance Touring D (PTD)

Jeremy Renshaw – 2nd

Super Touring 1 (ST1)

Mark Alger – 1st

Chad Nelson – 2nd

Brent Crosser – 3rd

944 Spec

James Foxx – 2nd

Norm Hamden – 3rd

Joe Paluch – 4th

Darren Griffith – 8th

Dave Hauck – 17th

Vince Vaccaro – 23rd

Jim Richard – 26th

Jeff Wojnar – 27th

Dean Schaefer – 31st

Spec Miata (SM)

Curtis Gong – 15th

Time Trial R (TTR)

Wayne McKeen – 3rd

Time Trial U (TTU)

Thomas Glenn – 2nd

John Bianchi – 7th

Ken Gerhart – 10th

Time Trial S (TTS)

Tage Evanson – 3rd

Peter Van Camp – 8th

Gary Felton – 11th

Dan Maloney – 12th

Time Trial A (TTA)

Brian Turner – 3rd

Time Trial B (TTB)

Greg Greenbaum – 1st

Time Trial C (TTC)

Brady Dohrmann – 2nd

Doug Evans – 3rd

Time Trial D (TTD)

Derek Selman – 1st

Time Trial E (TTE)

Eric Jacobsen – 2nd


Austin Newmark – 3rd


Rick Johnson – 3rd

Gary St. Amour – 4th

Randall Smalley – 7th


Sarah Cattaneo – 3rd

Dave Leyvas – 6th


Chad Nelson – 1st

Geri Amani

September, 2009

NASA Profiles:  Geri Amani


Vital Stats

Hometown: Gilbert, AZ

9-5: Multimedia for a  publishing company

Run Group: HPDE4/Time Trial

Vehicle: The Paseo, Mazda Miata

Best NASA Region: Arizona, naturally!

Surely everyone has seen the legendary silver Toyota Paseo making brisk hot laps around PIR.  Well, brisk might be a little generous, but given the limits of the car and the overwhelming passion of the driver behind the wheel, the next candidate for the Who’s Who Showcase, naturally, is Geri Amani.  Surely most have seen Geri with her silver Toyota on track, or perhaps her camera in the pits.  While the readers have struggled through many months of terrible photography thanks to yours truly, this month is much different as all photos have been taken by Geri herself!  As the writer, I’ve enjoyed this feature the most simply because I had the pleasure of scrolling through thousands of art gallery quality photos for this article. We’ll get into the photography part in a bit, but for now, let’s get to know Geri Amani a little better.

The Paseo, like you've never seen it before!

The Paseo, like you've never seen it before!

One distinguishing factor that lets everyone know Geri is piloting the car in front of them, is the trademark British flag on the back of her various track cars.  While not a native of the UK, Geri has spent much of her life living and working in the UK, which is where her motorsports interest originated from.  The various stints in Europe weren’t without a trip to LeMans to stroll through the city and walk around the actual race course.  Combining an interest, or should we say, obsession with motorsports and her hobby/career of multimedia together, leaves Geri with an exciting cycle of motorsports involvement and us with a plethora of amazing output in the form of photos, videos and websites.  Currently Geri is developing the official USA website for the Gumper Apollo supercar–an opportunity that arose after working for Evolution Motorsports and Bondurant in Arizona.

Quick Facts

Favorite Movie: Dune

Spec 944 or Spec Miata: Spec Miata

Favorite Food: Chips  (we’re not talking about Doritos here either)

Sting v. Bono: Sting

Coffee or NOS: Coffee

Lift through NASCAR 3-4?: Never!

Geri driving a Spec Miata

Geri driving a Spec Miata

Of course when it comes to NASA Arizona related activities, one critical factor is what Geri does on track.  Sure, the silver Paseo spent many years as the obligatory learning car, in which Geri spent many late Sunday afternoon sessions doing lap after lap to learn the basics of car control, driving etiquitte and the in’s and out’s of NASA.  In recent developments, after much debate (which lead to some epic Spec Miata vs. 944 Spec debates on the NASA AZ forum!) Geri has taken posession of a first-generation Mazda Miata–a specific interest that was developed after some time spent behind the the wheel of a SM racer in the NASA Texas region (more on that, later).  After nearly a year of driving with NASA Arizona, NASA Texas and a trip to the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, Geri and her crew have began prep work on the Miata.  For now, Geri plans to stick with the Time Trial program fielding the car in either TTE or TTF, while doing modifications that align with Spec Miata rules in order to leave that door open.

Geri's newest project - a Mazda Miata for TT and eventually, Spec Miata

Geri's newest project - a Mazda Miata for TT and eventually, Spec Miata

Aside from her NASA Arizona endeavours, Geri is the Creative Director for the NASA Texas region, which partially involves attending all of their events,  (And you guys thought you were hardcore!) in addition to developing NASA TX’s internet and media presence.  NASATXRacing.com and TexasMile.com, as well as the photography from NASA Texas shown in the NASA SpeedNews section of Grassroot Motorsports were all a result of Geri’s wizardry.  “NASA Texas is a great group of people.  The race groups are the main focus in that region, with large fields of Spec Miata, American Iron and CMC, whereas NASA Arizona has large HPDE, Performance Touring and Time Trial fields.  Attending both regions really shows the diversity NASA has to offer for a driver/racer” said Geri.

Porsche Turbo at the NASA Texas Mile event

Porsche Turbo at the NASA Texas Mile event

Beyond the world of NASA (I know, hard to believe there is one, right?), Geri is passionate about advancing in the automotive, or hopefully the motorsports community.  Whether that future career involves PR for an automotive firm, interactive content, televsion/radio (ie.  when Tanner Foust gets bored and quits, Geri will be waiting at SPEED’s doorstep!) or perhaps in driving, the sky is the limit at this point.  Luckily for Geri, she has a large group of supporters from NASA Arizona willing to help and keep her on path for future events and perhaps even a future, exciting motorsports related career.  Next time you see Geri at the track, be sure to say hello!


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