NASA Arizona Chuckwalla February 2014

NASA Arizona Chuckwalla Event- February 2014
National Auto Sports Association, Arizona Region ( held its second event of 2014 at the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway ( in Desert Center, CA on February 8 & 9 of 2014. Located an easy 200-mile drive from Phoenix, just west of lovely Blythe, CA, the CVR racetrack features a large and clean paddock area with excellent grandstands, restroom and private shower facilities. There is a large open tent area for meetings and shenanigans along with a food vendor providing great sandwiches and drinks.

For any members that have never traveled to an “away game” you really need to try to make the next one at Spring Mountain, NV. If you are having fun at the local events, you will be amazed at how much fun can be had when you have a full weekend to devote to your “race craft”, making new friends and watching some fast cars rip around the track.

CVR is located on an airport-like Inde Motorsports Ranch, but at CVR the runway is not part of the track (although I wasn’t sure a few times). Flight operations can (and did) resume while the track was hot. The event was run in a counterclockwise direction which was new for me – it felt like a totally new course and the learning had to start all over. CVR features a brilliant, high-banked 180 degree “bowl” turn followed shortly thereafter by an off-camber slider at the top of a hill (which everyone can see from the grandstand) requiring patience and timing to get a fast shot out of.

Micky Grana, one of the Principals of the track has big plans to expand the facility with additional courses, an airshow and potentially air-racing in the future. We hope for even more greatness at CVR and look forward to returning soon.

This event was a crossover with Southern California and so we had many new faces for our Arizona crowd. There were also lots of great new cars, including some really classy “American Iron” cars with tons of innovative parts that gave me some great ideas for future mods on my own cars. By the time I arrived around noon on Friday, the track was already hot with CVR’s Test and Tune sessions and the paddock was starting to fill up. Arriving early is a great way to ensure you get Rock Star Parking and plenty of time to set up camp and enjoy an evening BBQ and refreshments.


The schedule was similar to most NASA events with HPDE 1 through 4, Time Trial, Race Group, UMS Tuning Time Attack and, once again, the inclusion of a Drift Group and an “evening enduro” at the BBQ tent. There was also a bonus race group practice session mid-morning on Sunday and an on-site dyno was set up for tuning and compliance testing.

As always, Tage Evanson’s voice starts up early on Saturday morning with the mandatory “All Drivers” meeting for a briefing on the general schedule, changes and any issues or special requests. Moments later… the fun begins!

Saturday Small Bore Race Group
Saturday’s Small Bore Race Group was packed with 24 cars in 5 classes including 8 Honda Challenge cars, 6 BMW Spec e30 series, 6 Porsche 944, 3 Spec Miatas and Tim Carmen’s Spec3.

Andy Hope won the checkered flag in 34 minutes+change followed by Team LBR and Team Kit, all from the Honda Challenge series. Allen Hauser took first followed by Ken Pearson in the Spec30 class. The 944 victor was Jim Hicks followed by Rob Giorgio, and in the 3rd spot was Austin Newmark (wishing he had another 500hp). Matt Million (A first time NASA driver and winner at age 13!) won the Spec Miata sprint followed by Wilson Steele and Chris Margaritas.

13 year old winner Matt Million.

Honorable mention for: Team Kit consisting of NASA veteran Robert Rose and Kevin Gay, completing his second NASA race; Team Snail Performance in the freshly painted Crown Royal Honda, with its first race in the new Livery; And Steve Williams also running his first NASA race with great success! Well done all my fellow Fall 2013 Comp School Grads!!

Doug Evans made a guest appearance in his Acura – now representing NASA from California – but always nice to have our regulars back.

A number of track records to highlight:
• New Track Record (2:10.949) for Spec Miata by Wilson Steele.
• New Track Record (2:10.356) for Spec3 by Timothy Carman.
• New Track Record (2:07.054) for 944 Spec by Jim Hicks.
• New Track Record (2:03.712) for Honda Challenge 2 by Andy Hope.
• New Track Record (2:09.772) for Spec3 by Michael Mihld.



Saturday Big Bore Race Group
Saturday morning Qualifying for the Big Bore group began with Bob Blizzard #1 at 1:50.667 to secure the pole. Drew Wadolny took lead in ST2 with Jeremy Renshaw tops in ST3. David Leyvas laid down a 1:57.496 for the top spot in GTS3. The guest group “American Iron” was led by Ryan Walton with 1:59.821.


The afternoon race of 35 minutes had a clean but exciting start, and as the Checkered flag drew down, the first 4 spots were filled with Super Unlimited cars of Bob Blizzard, Michael Pinholster, Keith Kuchler and Martin Daszkal. In classes, Bob Blizzard took Super Unlimited and the overall win. GTS3 class won by Phil Buffington, David Leyvas 2nd and Matt McIntyre 3rd, all in BMW M3. Super Touring 2 class winner was Adrian Little followed by Drew Wadolny carving up turns in his bright red Mustang. Corey Weber in the American Iron Ford beat Ryan Walton, Rob Capetz and Leo Overgaag as winner of the SOCAL contingent.

Hmmm…what else… oh ST3? Your humble author completed enough laps before the polyurethane motor-mount next to the headers caught on fire, earning me a Meatball but still getting me my first class WIN in NASA racing with the green 240Z. My speedy ST3 competitors were out for various reasons. Still, never seen a checkered flag in my 4 starts… 

FireBig thanks to the Safety crew for catching a small fire problem before it could ruin my whole day and lots of invested time and money.

Track records set:
• New Track Record (2:00.397) for American Iron by Corey Weber.
• New Track Record (1:58.278) for GTS3 by Matt McIntyre.



Sunday Small Bore Race Group
Sundays Small Bore Race Group had 22 starters with Andy Hope moving up through the pack, working back and forth on the lead and gathering the checkered flag followed by Eric Dayton and Team Kit in their HC2 cars.


Jim Hicks got his second Win of the weekend in Spec944, followed by Jim Richmond and Rob Giorgio. Allen Hauser also got his second win of the weekend in Spec30, 2nd place finisher was Ken Pearson then Mitch Pepper. Wilson Steele was uncontested in Spec Miata along with Tim Carman in Spec 3.

More track records…
• New Track Record (2:03.523) for Honda Challenge 2 by Andy Hope.
• New Track Record (2:09.906) for Spec Miata by Wilson Steele.

Sunday Big Bore Race Group
Sunday’s Big Bore race was full of excitement from the very beginning. The green flag was tossed and everyone successfully navigated the first turn, which was only part of the battle, as just seconds later heading into the “bowl” those of us in the back of the bus saw David Leyvas’ beautiful BMW come sideways onto the track in front of a stampede of cars. In a big cloud of smoke and dust it was hard to see who was going where, but I sensed that my fresh provisional license could be in jeopardy and I made a right turn into the weeds and slipped by the mess with a few hundred feet to spare. Luckily, everyone got through intact. After this, the field settled down and strung out for a 30 minute sprint.

The top 3 spots were dominated by the Super Unlimited field again with Bob Blizzard the overall winner, Michael Pinholster second in the Radical and Martin Daszkal #3. Taking 4th and the win for GTS3 was Matt McIntyre followed by Jeremy Renshaw who took 5th overall and 1st in ST3. Adrian Little and Drew Wadolny finished just seconds apart to lead the ST2 contingent. In the American Iron class, Ryan Walton took the top spot followed by Rob Capetz and Leo Overgaag.

Track Records:
• New Track Record (2:00.176) for Super Touring 2 by Drew Wadolny*.
* Thanks for the great videos Drew, more of that please!!
* Big NASA-AZ welcome to Drew Wadolny competing with NASA for the first time. Hope you stick around Drew, had a blast on track.
• New Track Record (1:59.293) for American Iron by Rob Capetz.

Authors recollection & new Driver perspective: my first checkered flag on a fresh Provisional License:

Biggest fear?: Screwing up the start!
Favorite part?: The sound of the rocks slinging off the Hoosier tires as you first depart the pit area, like a thousand little applauses.

Gridding is pretty easy and making it onto track isn’t so bad, it’s just figuring out who and where to form-up with is still a concern. I was lucky both days to have veterans like Justin Stevenson in front of me that left an obvious hole for me to put my car in and then I looked around… nobody was yelling or waiving at me, so I stayed put and now just need to wait for the noise to begin. From the back you don’t see the flag, or at least I haven’t, but it’s pretty obvious at some point from the sound and the fact that ALL the mirrors are simultaneously filled with cars.. and so ya floor it. For a few seconds it’s all pretty easy, then you realize the track isn’t straight and yet none of them seem to care. Nothing to prove except that I can stay out of trouble, so just tip-toe through the first turn and let the big dogs bark it out.

Made it through the start, and the majority of the field is right there in front of me (lol), so relax… Brakes warming up and feeling good, water temperature holding steady at about 205f, oil warning light dim.. I’m starting to wonder if today might be my day for a checkered flag? I was lucky to be a bit faster in the turns than one other car and stuck my nose in at the beginning of the bowl to test a pass, but couldn’t quite get my tire in his cheek. As he gently closed the door I backed off and resolved to start that push a little earlier on the next lap. When the time came I started my advances about 2 turns prior and got setup for a shot down the straight leading into the bowl, trying to look menacing in his mirrors. This time I got my whole car abeam his, we were both aware of each other, I felt I had good stiction on the inside, advanced the power a little to lock in the pass and held the spot-on turn exit. Now there are 2 important things to do… Keep the position, and not run off the track! I went gentle and big into the next turn and from there just concentrated on being smooth again.

The field strung out enough by mid-point that I could back off a bit and just not screw up. Justin Stevenson was about 3 seconds ahead and some blue BMW was behind me making ground, but slowly. Then I sensed it… motor cutting out, fuel starvation! Not now, please! I passed the white flag moments later and knew I just needed to keep my Weber DCOE float bowls filled for a bit longer, preserving the straights so the fuel pump could catch up, easy throttle in the turns… oh crap here comes David Leyvas! But I kept enough fuel in the bowls to buzz across the checkered flag as #2 in ST3 and 8th overall. I can’t even begin to describe how great that felt. First NASA checkered flag!! Definitely worth the wait.

Season Points:

Saturday Time Trials: Tony Szirka @ 1:49.561

In other news, Erik Davis topped the TT3 crowd at 1:54.617 for 2nd overall followed by Jeremy Renshaw (also TT3) at 1:55.281 in 3rd overall. Gary Felton edged Russ Whelan for the win in TT1. Team Schotz drove a 1:59.885 beating a pile of other competitors in TTC including such TTC celebrities as perennial super-coach and nice guy Jason Griepentrog and our very own Chef du Cuisine Gordon Levy wheeling a 2:06.361 best lap.

Russ Taylor led TT2 at 2:00.623.
Harold Dunn in TTD at 2:04.132
Team Hashtag Racing TTE #206201
Need Speed Orozco TTF at 2:16.019

Sunday Time Trials
Tony Szirka dominated the Sunday TT event a hair slower at 1:50.005 but the car injured itself and had to be carried home. Speedy recovery wished for the killer EVO. Jeremy Renshaw second overall and TT3 leader 1:54.831 followed by Matt McIntyre in his BMW at 1:56.418

Welcome John Atkinson driving his first TT event with NASA in his Ford Mustang. An experienced driver from Tucson making the long trip and improving his lap times consistently from Saturday through Sunday. Welcome.

Hunter Bennett led TT1 in 1:59.416
Team Schotz in TTC 1:59.520
David Stark in TT2 2:02.795
Harold Dunn again in TTD at 2:03.068
Team Hashtag wins TTE with 2:05.769
Need Speed Orozco in TTF at 2:13.232
Dean Danganan TTB: 2:14.235

UMS Tuning Time Attack
UMS Tuning in Tempe, Arizona is the sponsor of NASA-AZ’s Time Attack series ( Held on Sunday with 15 competitors in three different classes based on power and weight.

TA Pit

Phil Robles almost broke the 02:00 flat barrier with a 02:00.395, putting him one second behind Robert Buckingham’s Arial Atom from California. Jake Casto stepped up his game and added weight to fit into TA-A, giving Aaron Hiar a run for his money in TA-A for this year. Jason Griepentrog had a rough break with a cracked rotor on his warm up lap, causing him to withdraw from TA this event. Jon Via managed staying on track with a 02:19 while driving a Miata for the first time.

Several new drivers this event: Kevin McGuiness, J.C. Gomez, Tood Roetken, Ed Poss and Richard Buckingham in the killer Ariel Atom.

Season Points:

US Drift
Many thanks to the US Drift group for their impressive performances and some superb videos “in the bowl”. For those of us that went to bed at 9pm… word on the paddock is the Drift Group Lit Up the entire Saturday night BBQ. Great time, guys.

Drift Drivers: Bryan Young, Ryan Fahey, Patrick Reynolds, George Marstanovic, Jasmine Soto-Soehren, Chris Soehren, Damien Payne, John Hazelton, Joe Haven, Dan Zimmerman, John Landy, Joe DiNunzio, George Kiriakopoulos, Andrew Hateley, Eric Beaver and Danny George.

HPDE classes one through four were very well stocked with over 60 participants this event including drivers from Arizona, California and Texas.

We always like to thank the HPDE1 drivers for coming out to NASA events and getting into the mix. It’s a great way to learn from the ground up and we had 6 in DE1 this event: Mikhael Haddad, Carson Kolozsvari, Warren Wong, Sam Valenzuela, Matthew Weltzien, Si Nguyen

Three other first-time participants at NASA events, all from California this weekend: Welcome David Dipillo in his 997GT3 Porsche, Joseph Dipillo driving an e46 M3 and Pat Price in his Spec Rx7. Returning to NASA were 240SX driver Aaron Henry, back after being away a few years, and Neal Lowell of California, returing to his second NASA-AZ event to run DE2 with us. Welcome back, guys.

Nick Frunzi and Patty “Brownie Lady” McGray returned to NASA-AZ driving as they do for almost all our events. Tim Weber drove HPDE1 in his street Porsche in January and within 2 weeks bought a fully prepped go-fast BMW M3 racecar from a Colorado NASA driver. Tim quickly moved from DE2 to DE3 over the weekend as most everybody on the track “evaluated” his car on track for him, including Justin Stevenson bagging a 2:02 on a specially prepared session in corded R6’s at 20+ heat cycles. Nice!

We are headed back to Wild Horse Pass East track in a few weeks on March 15 and 16, so make sure you register early to get the best pricing. Bleed those brakes! East track is a hot spot for brake fade. The local events are great for first-timers, so if you know any potential drivers that have been sitting on the fence now is a great time to get them spun up for this March event. Even if they just come for one day that usually enough to get them hooked.

Finally, The Paddock
All the fun happens here. When you are 200 miles away from home, friends/competitors all lend a hand to fix and improve their times and cars. Erik Davis hunting for used brake rotors, Steve Williams looking for compliance stickers, Tim Weber scanning the track to relocate his new car… everyone helps. Below are some shots around the paddock among the NASAAZ family. See you at the next event!

Tony Szirka, always with a smile, on a rare moment Ulrik wasn’t using the road-quad.
Chris "The Help" Dowers and Adam Bruss enjoying the view from the grandstands.

Chris “The Help” Dowers and Adam Bruss enjoying the view from the grandstands.

Honda Racing FTW

Honda Racing FTW


944 Spec group after Saturday race: Ian McIntyre, Jim Richmond, Jim Hicks, Rob Giorgio, Austin Newmark

Angie Renshaw cruising the paddock with Lillie.


As the track cools Sunday night and the last folks pull out.  See you soon CVR!  And thanks to all the hard working NASA volunteers who make this possible.  Great times!!

As the track cools Sunday night and the last folks pull out. See you soon CVR! And thanks to all the hard working NASA volunteers who make this possible. Great times!!

Author: Tom “Tjyak50” Johnson with help from Tage Evanson, Tony Szirka, John Via, Gabe Ortega, Justin Stevenson and Jason Kiningham for attempting to edit my BS..  (Please send additional corrections to me directly:

Photo Credits:
• Chris “the help” Dowers
• Tage and Adina Evanson
• Caliphotography

Join us at Wild Horse Pass in March:
Details of Wild Horse Pass event:

NASA Arizona Season Opener – January 2014

National Auto Sports Association, Arizona Region ( kicked off its 2014 season under the hard-charging leadership of Tage and Adina Evanson. The Wildhorse Pass MotorSports Park (WHP), in Chandler Arizona was the venue for this first NASA-AZ event of the year.

Formerly Firebird Raceway, the WHP Casino assumed control of the venue in August 2013. A wise move for the Casino to leverage the existing facility to bring new events to Phoenix with the promise of new jobs and tourism. The WHP management has significant plans to expand and improve the facility in coming years – Great News! (

Competitors ranging from first-time recruits to experienced racers began setting up Friday afternoon under perfect Arizona Skies. Cold, dry and dense air gave a welcome boost to the naturally aspirated drivers. The mornings come early for all participants with drivers meetings, tech inspections, sorting out the schedule and figuring out just where to stand! But shortly, the roar of engines overwhelms the paddock area and – It’s On! IMG_20140112_092738_440

There was a very full schedule for this season opening track day, beginning with the High Performance Driving Event which starts as level 1 (HPDE-1) with one-on-one guidance from experienced instructors and progresses through solo in level 2 and the ability for more advanced passing, carrying passengers in HPDE-3 and the most advanced level HPDE-4. As usual, the Time Trials and Time Attack were well-populated with both seasoned and new participants, and the same with Race Group. Sunday added a few special guest appearances including several impressive performances by the Drift Group, and a Bugatti Veyron making jet-like laps on the track.

Racing is not only about racing, but the friends and family in the paddock spending time fixing cars, planning and visiting with old friends. There was no shortage of crowds at this event which is great to see. Spectators who just love to watch racing, racers who were standing-down this event and friends and families of the NASA group were treated to a full weekend schedule. There aren’t that many racing events where visitors can just come to spectate for free, but with NASA… all are welcome.

As always, these events can literally not happen without the tremendous dedication of the NASA staff, manning the corner stations, the waiver booth, the Fire and Medical crews. These are the hardest workers of the weekend, standing out on track for hours at a time watching from their vantage points to make sure things are safe and sane on the track. Corner workers are the backbone of a driver’s view into track conditions, while at the same time, they are our biggest fans. As a new driver to NASA last year, my absolute favorite thing was getting a big thumbs-up from the corner workers.. (or were they telling me to “beat it”!) In all seriousness – Thanks Guys!!


Now some results..
Saturday Small Bore Race Group
Saturday Small Bore Sprint Race mixes cars of many different types and configurations, from front-wheel drive Honda, Acura and Mini Cooper to rear-wheel drive BMW, Porsche 944 “Spec” and rotary powered Mazdas. Ricky Johnson in his Mini Cooper (PTB) smoked out a 1:02.637 for the pole, even besting many of the larger more powerful Big Bore qual times. It was no surprise to see him pull through the checkered flag during the race followed by Team Kit, Team LBR, Justin Markiewicz in the BMW E30 and special congrats to Sephen Busler in 11th in the #500 HC car, his first NASA race, well done. Dave Hauck, Jeff Wojnar and Kent Buckley took the podium in the 944 Spec cars with Kent fighting to stay in 2nd place the majority of the race, but buckled under the relentless pressure of Jeff on the last turn of the last lap for a photo finish! 944 Spec is always one of the closest battles in the NASA ranks.
Ooops, almost forgot. Congrats Ricky Johnson: 1:02.367 New Track Record: PTB!!

Saturday Big Bore Race Group
Saturday morning Big Bore Race Group started the day with a feisty practice session on a relatively cold and dusty track, but the long winter’s break brought the competitors back out with a roar as we all struggled to find tire temperature and clean pavement. Qualifying went off without a hitch as the track warmed up, allowing the top competitors to place their times. Mark Alger (SU), Erik Davis (ST), Timothy Bidwill (GTS3) and Michael Papworth (ST2) were the top Pole times for their respective classes.

The Saturday Race started on time, and we had a good clean start while all dog-piling into turn 1 at about the same time and place. Quickly, the field spread out and racers set to work. This race was long-awaited for me, as it was my first race ever (Provisional #1).

I was honored to be among the best in Arizona and just tried to stay out of trouble! There were some good hard battles going on and plenty of passing with a couple of off-track events, but all bodies and body parts were safely accounted for. The race ended early under a Red Flag, which was great for me because I was “Pedal to the metal” (unfortunately, it was my brake pedal). As the pace car collected the field I began to think… Oh crap, I hope they don’t restart! No Brakes!~ But we exited track and I got my first notch. Thanks for letting me in, gang!
Sunday Small Bore Race Group
Tage Evanson stumbled on the Pole, qualifying the 944 Spec car with a 1:06.282 just ahead of Norm Hamden. Leland Forbes ran an impressive 1:05.845 and of course Ricky Johnson in the Mini coasting to an overall pole position with a 1:02.247
Not surprising again to see the Mini cruise to Victory on Sunday in PTB with Justin Markiewicz taking second place overall and 1st in PTC, followed by Team driven by Tage Evanson himself in this cameo appearance in the overall third place finish and the win in 944 spec. Leland Forbes smiled all the way to the Checkered Flag #1 in the Honda Challenge #510 car with David James in a vicious battle for the PTE leaderboard.

Sunday Big Bore Race Group
Sunday Big Bore Qualification was clean and fast with Austin Newmark edging out Mark Alger for the pole in SU and Erik Davis and Jeremy Renshaw not far behind in ST3. David Leyvas edged out Matt McIntyre in GTS3 and Michael Papworth uncontested in ST2 for the pole.
Another good clean start to this race, only my second Green Flag ever, and that big rush of “Ow-WOW” as we all careen into turn 1. Any one of these phrases works for the first turn:
• Grin and bear it
• Shut up and hold on
• Quit screaming, I’m scared too

Somehow I think all 45,000 pounds of us made it through a 40’ wide slot at about the same time without major drama, and the action heated up. From my position it seemed the general lineup from qualifying held pretty well during the race. I noticed a white flash in my mirror on the second lap, I think it was a Radical, but when I looked back he was gone and when I looked forward it was GONE! Austin Newmark finished first with Mark Alger 2nd and Michael Pinholster 3rd. Erik Davis (on 3 wheels and 225hp) and Jeremy Renshaw won first and second in ST3 with David Leyvas (Corrected 1-21-14 Tj) at 1:02.551 for 1st again this weekend in GTS3 followed by Phil Bluffington and Matt McIntyre. Michael Papworth #1 in ST2. Me? #793 the Green Z? I broke on Lap #9 due to un-describable buffoonery on my own part.

I learned a LOT these first 2 races and I encourage all the new HPDE drivers to consider Competition School and Race Group down the road. Even if you don’t race, taking NASA Competition School is one of the best things you can do to learn the rules and procedures of for any NASA driving.

Season Points  Race Group Season Points
Event results  January WHP Race Results

Saturday Time Trials
NASA Time Trials is another exciting post-HPDE event pitting drivers from across the country against each other in regional battles. It is available to any closed-wheel street-type car, with a huge variety of different classes to accommodate any performance level. A National Championship is held each Fall.
There were a total of 8 Time Trial sessions held on Saturday, with 4 being in the Small Bore and 4 in the Big Bore categories to divide up the field. Congratulations to Jim Cozzolino, Mark Alger, David Stark, Erik Davis, Ricky Johnson, Team Schotz Racing, Robert Rose, Team Beer30 (very classy) and Eric Jacobson for their wins throughout the day in their respective classes.

Sunday Time Trials
On Sunday, we had a virtual repeat of the Saturday schedule but with a final end-of-day combined session. First the victors: Dan Maloney, Hunter Bennett, Wes Hanson, Erik Davis, Ricky Johnson, Team Schotz, Team Beer30, Harold Dunn and Eric Jacobson each managed to pile up 100 points.

A few Track Records this day as well: Wes Hanson in TT2 with 1:01.273; Erik Davis with another 3 wheeling low 59 second time (on 225hp!!); Team Schotz threw back a 1:03.193 second lap; and Harold Dunn in TTD at 1:04.761, just barely surpassing the seemingly impossible-to-beat record of Robert Rose. Congrats!!! But expect some payback competition on this record in the future if the ex-champ seeks to regain his dominance.

Event results  WHP January 2014 TT Results

UMS Tuning Time Attack
UMS Tuning sponsors the NASA-AZ Time Attack series. This class is another great stepping stone to get on a time-clock and still avoid the extra stress of wheel to wheel racing. Classing is divided purely by weight / power ratios and they even sponsor their own regular Dyno Days. Jump on quickly, as the next dyno event is the weekend of January 25 and 26,
details on the Facebook page:

In 3 sessions, about 16 cars competed in this series. In the first session, NASA-AZ’s newest father, Russell Whelan, took TA-C with a 1:04.009. We look forward to your newborn son, Lucas, pulling a few tenths off of that when you hand him the keys in a few years (after completing the Evanson Academy of Marketing, Driving and Hostage Negotiation, Dewey, AZ). Congrats to you and your Family!

In TA-B Philip Robles clocked a 1:03.841 followed by Jeff Abrams and Jesse Robles. Jason Griepentrog and Zach Spisak won the TA-B Synchronized Racing contest with identical 1:06.124 times.

In the TA-A Session Patty McGray took 100 points at 1:08.952 with Aaron Hiar winding the Crown Royal Miata to a 1:09.075. Aaron Hiar deserves the crown for the single greatest driving suit known to man.


Season Points 
Event results 

There was a record HPDE turnout for this first 2014 event, promising a great new group of drivers in the pipeline to join the racing ranks. Just one short year ago I showed up to my first HPDE event (in pouring rain!) and experienced the thrill of being on a track with other cars. The instructors in the classroom and driving sessions reviewed a lot of information, and I was happy that I had studied some in advance like many of this new group had obviously done.

The HPDE Classroom was held in the luxurious NASA equipment trailer, just adjacent to registration. Several periods of classroom work, videos, rules review and general discussion gave the HPDE1 drivers a good preparation for their first NASA track event.
NASA-AZ wants to congratulate the following first-time NASA drivers and we hope you will join us at the next event in Chuckwalla. The local events are a blast, but all the REAL fun happens out of town. Bring a Tent, an RV or get a hotel, but don’t miss it!
Jeff Love, Curtis Good, Jerome Stanton, Dennis Miller, Justin Cacho,
James Thompson, Greg Schwimer, Earle Smith, Jackson Tuton,
Justin Gourley, Alfredo Lozano, Devan Jackson, Tim Weber*, Brian Gates,
Shelly Papworth, Rene Mousseux, Sebastian Gozdziewski.

Note: Tim Weber, retired professional Airshow Pilot, got so hooked on track driving that he sold his street car and bought a NASA legal & prepped race car within 5 days of his very first HPDE event! Congrats Tim, will be a great addition to the NASA family and a quick study through HPDE and into the competitive ranks.

HPDE is the route to advancement in road racing, and a dedicated driver can study hard and move up quickly to wheel-wheel racing. From my first day in HPDE less than 1 year prior to this event, I have been watching the racers battle and I set my eyes on that goal. I completed Competition School at Inde in October and held a Provisional Racing License shortly thereafter. So you aspiring HPDE drivers… study the rules, work on your car, INVEST IN SAFETY EQUIPMENT FIRST and keep at it.

OK Gang, get your cars turned around and your brakes bled, refill the kitty because we are going back to Chuckwalla Valley Raceway for some counter clockwise racing and a weekend of shenanigans! If anyone has been on the fence about trying an away-race, this is a great one. Just a few short hours drive from Phoenix and a wide-open track and beautiful paddock area. They have an excellent large restroom facility with private showers and hot water.
Look forward to seeing everyone in California.

Author: Tom “Tjyak50” Johnson (DISCLAIMER: I had the Flu during much of the writing of this article and I’m new to boot, so just send me corrections to the most glaring lies and misprints:

Photo Credits:
• Chris “the help” Dowers
• Tage and Adina Evanson

Join us at Chuckwalla in February:
Details of Chuckwalla event:
Facebook for Chuckwalla:

HC 2014 Recap – January WHPE

The Arizona Honda Challenge 2014 season got kicked off with a bang last weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park!!  With a fresh crop of new drivers having recently completed competition school at the conclusion of last season, seasoned drivers and rookies alike were looking to stake their claim on the podium on the East track.


Saturday’s qualifying session was exciting to watch with Team LBR jumping out to early lead in the session with Mervin Tan laying down a blistering time in the mid 1:05’s.  This put Team LBR on the pole for the race later that day.  With the rest of the field within a second of that time, the race was sure to be a close one to watch.

Team LBR jumped out to an early lead and looked like it would cruise to victory, but a full course caution to remove a disabled vehicle brought the safety car out and bunched the field up around the halfway mark.  When the green flag dropped, Team KIT’s black Integra GSR roared to the front and beat the LBR Civic to first corner.  Team KIT never looked back and was able to secure a first place podium finish with hired gun Robert Rose at the helm.  Not bad for the car’s first outing in race group!  The rest of the podium was rounded out with Team LBR in 2nd, followed by the return of Leland Forbes in the “Green Machine” finishing a very respectable 3rd place.

02 1st Place – SaturdayTeam KIT
03 2nd Place – SaturdayTeam LBR
04 3rd Place – SaturdayLeland Forbes

* photoscourtesy of Justin Muir Photography –


Sunday’s qualifying sessions and race proved to be just as action packed as Saturday’s. With many of the Honda Challenge competitors teaming up with other drivers, it was time for the co-pilots to take the wheel. Leland Forbes edged out Eric Dayton in qualifying for the coveted inside position going into the Sunday race which would feature a standing start. Leland’s Green Machine launched out of the hole like a rocket for the first few corners, going through the carousel it looked like Leland’s car began to spin, but he corrected the slide and went on to lead for the first half of the race as they made their way through race traffic. That is until Eric Dayton’s 2 liter B20 flexed its muscle coming out of turn 10 to slingshot him into first place. It looked like Eric Dayton would cruise to victory, but a pass late in the race by Leland regained the lead position, one that he would hold onto until the checker flag dropped at the 30 minute mark. Sunday’s podium finishers: Leland Forbes in 1st place, Eric Dayton in 2nd place, and Team Ramrod with Ravi Tomerlin working the pedals late in the race to protect 3rd place.

Here’s a video with front and rear footage of the first lap of Sunday’s standing start race.

05 1st Place – SundayLeland Forbes
06 2nd Place – SundayEric Dayton
07 3rd Place – SundayTeam Ramrod

Overall, a great weekend to start out the 2014 season.  Toyo Tires doled out $800 in Toyo Bucks over the course of the weekend, which was spread out over all five cars that took the green both days.  Honda Performance Development awarded $450 good towards Honda OEM parts to the 1st, 3rd, and 5th place finishers on Saturday.

Rookie Racers
Congratulations to our rookie racers for taking the green flag for the first time: Stephen Busler who co-drove the silver Integra for Team Ramrod and Kevin Gay who co-drove the black Integra for Team KIT  We have three more new rookie racers (Steven W., Taylor W., and Markos M.) who barely missed finishing up their cars up for this event.  Get those wrenches turning so you can join the HC circus in February!

Next Event – Chuckwalla
Speaking of February….our next event will be here in just 3 short weeks.  This will be a crossover / points event for NASA SoCal’s Honda Challenge group as well, so expect to see a few new faces on grid.



This will be the last event where the RA1 tires will be allowed and will also be the debut event for the new spec tire, the Toyo RR.  The rumor mill is buzzing that these tires are about a second faster at most tracks, with similar wear characteristics as the RA1.  Track record holders beware….



/Arizona Honda Challenge10


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