NASA-AZ kicked the summer heat wave with its season finale event held at Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, AZ. This was the biggest crowd that NASA has ever brought to the private facility just a short drive from Phoenix and Tucson. One of the premier private tracks in the country, Inde features a superb track, awesome paddock with numerous racing configurations. It also has an outstanding clubhouse, control tower, paddock and associated facilities.
Until I started racing with NASA-AZ I didn’t even know that a facility like this existed in Arizona and now a few years later I have been to a handful of similar tracks and Inde remains one of my favorites. The facilities are first-rate, the staff is professional and friendly and the track is just plain fun! Did you miss this event?? You messed up! But luckily we will be coming back soon so don’t miss out again.
When NASA visits tracks like this we are invited guests of the track owner. Please be very respectful of their rules and facility limitations so that we may never run into a situation that might put our organization at risk of being uninvited back. Each and every one of us (and our guests which attend on our behalf) walk with a big NASA flag on our back and the goal is for the staff at these tracks to go home on Sunday thinking “Those NASA guys are the Best!!” At every opportunity it is important that we are courteous, respectful to the track staff.
Competition School was held this weekend and we have a new class of “Masters Degree” racers on the track. Comp School is about learning the rules, procedures and techniques directly from experienced racers and is required as drivers advance out of HPDE ranks. But honestly it can be such a great learning tool for virtually any driver and especially those in the ultra fast HPDE4 ranks.
Let’s give a big NASA-AZ welcome to our newest class of Comp School Graduates:
- David Stark
- Marissa Hanson
- Rudy Jolovich
- Brandon Welsh
- John Gill
- Andrew Bandura
- Jake Casto
- Jae Dale
- Robert Smithson
- Jeff Abrams
- Don Yeski.
- Mark Fisher (Sorry for missing your name!)
HPDE Inde 2014
NASA was also blessed with a record crowd off HPDE participants at this post summer grand finale. HPDE is the stepping stone to Time Attack, Time Trial and Race Group within NASA.
This late summer event brought a big class of 1st time NASA drivers, please welcome:
- Becky Bahr
- Beau Bridges
- George Chac
- Erin Grover
- Byron Joned
- Richard Lee
- Scott Lick
- Keith Miller
- Alexander Munguia
- Steve Nihiser
- Patrick Ohara
- Roman Pense
- Ryan Schneider
- Dylan Shorthouse
- Danielle Smith
- Ulrik Szirka
- Jeremy Wilson.
The remaining HPDE 2-4 classes were chocked full of nearly 60 drivers in a huge variety of cars from just about every major automotive manufacturer! As drivers progress from DE2 to DE3 and DE4 the speed and passing becomes very intense and fast. It’s important to remember that HPDE is not a competitive sport and sometimes we must remember to “pull the fangs in” and keep a good clean driving session. There is no better track to let some of these cars loose than Inde’s safe, fun and technical course.
Time Trial sessions were held as usual throughout the day on both Saturday and Sunday. With over 30 cars registered there were very full sessions in many classes and even a few Track Records including:
- Justin Stevenson in TT2 (driving an automatic trans Chrysler)… 1:40.924!
- Team Schotz driving TTC with a time of 1:45.028
- Harold Dunn in the TTD Scion 1:46.733
- Eric Jacobson’s TTF BMW set the record in 1:59.855
Other times of note include Michael Pinholster back in the Radical on Saturday taking first in TTU at 1:37.768
For updated NASA-AZ TT Track records: http://www.nasa-tt.com/Arizona_Track_Records
Time Trial Arizona Standings: http://www.nasa-tt.com/Arizona_Standings/p2040_articleid/110
Arizona’s own UMS Tuning is the sponsor for NASA’s Time Attack series (www.umstuning.com). Led by fellow competitor Tony Szirka UMSTuning specializes in upgrading and modifying all types of high performance cars. Many thanks for Tony for always jumping in to lend a hand when another driver needs help or advice or just can’t seem to get their car started…
The Time Attack sessions were held on Sunday and the results are summarized below:
- Aaron Hiar: 1:53.095
- Jake Casto: 1:54.594
- Tyler Rose: 1:55.217
- Todd Hiar: 1:55.802
- Jon Via: 1:56.270
- Sean Moro: 2:01.487
- Robert Smithson: 1:43.983
- Ravi Tomerlin: 1:49.251
- Harold Dunn: 1:49.334
- Jeff Abrams: 1:50.061
- Eric Kennel: 1:50.609
- Adam Kennel: 1:55.147
- Jon Rook: 1:57.740
- Russell Whelan: 1:43.384
- Daniel Waters: 1:48.339
- Michael Kasdorf: 1:49.361
- Todd Roetken: 1:56.260
We work all season long to gather points and as the year closes the final points are starting to shape up! For official results: https://nasaaz.com/results/results-ta/2014-time-attack-season-points/
On Saturday the storm clouds built on the hills north of Inde as drivers prepared for a 90minute enduro race in the mid-afternoon. The Enduro has 2 portions, a Sprint section with its own checkered flag and an Enduro portion running another hour. 25 cars finished the combined Big Bore / Small Bore race and Enduro with 5 participants in the Enduro section. Tyler Thompson was the overall enduro winner followed by Eric Dayton (and a grand champagne celebration…) in HC2. The Sprint section winner was Austin Newmark in Big Bore and Team Kit representing Honda Challenge.
Sundays race was a 35 minute Sprint with combined Small Bore / Big Bore classes beginning at 2:35pm and running for 35 minutes. The overall Small Bore section was won by Team LBR in HC2 with Austin Newmark’s ultra ripped Chevrolet winning the overall checkered flag. The Super Touring 3 contingent of Jeremy Renshaw and Thomas Johnson finished #2 and #3 overall. Pete Dimuzio, Norm Hamden and Darren Griffeth finished 1,2, & 3 with their 944s just fractions of a second apart (an eternity in 944 years).
The first ever West Coast Nationals are coming up fast and a brave group from our fine State will be making the track to Sonoma for this final points event of the year. Expect lots of pictures, and a mini recap of this event in the coming weeks.
Results from this weekend: http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/1092088
Season Race Group Results: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pJlfJvnWBwNPpDe2-0M6UCQ&output=html
Spotlight on NASA
NASA is blessed with having a superb cadre of Instructors to help coach competitors of all classes. Rich Andrade is one such instructor. Rich not only instructs at various levels within NASA but also competes in his own white Porsche 928.
Rich worked with 2 new students at this event: Alexander Munguia and Steve Nihiser in a BMW M3 and Mustang Cobra who both are believed to be “hooked” onto racing and intend to return to our next event in January. Like all our hard working volunteers with NASA Rich spent his spare time helping other drivers get their cars fixed and helped shuttle drivers around to the auto parts store.
A few questions for Mr. Andrade:
Q: How long have you been with NASA:
A: I’ve been driving with NASA since 2000.
Q: How long you been in competitive motorsports?
A: I took the Bondurant Gran Prix driving course in 1990, the second class
they held following their relocation to Arizona. What a great introduction
to the sport. I’ve done everything from track photography, working corners
Q: Biggest gripes about new students?
A: No gripes, just ask they come with an open mind.
Q: What is one thing every driver needs to do better on?
A: Slow down a bit, get the feel of the track and learn the subtleties
before cranking up the speed.
Q: What are your goals with new students?
A: My goal as a NASA a instructor is for our new members to enjoy the track
experience while learning how to be safe and drive as fast as they are
Well folks, that’s about all for now. In just a few short weeks we will have the NASA-AZ 2014 season fully wrapped up in Sonoma, CA at the first ever NASA West Coast National Championships. We all have choices where to race but a big draw to NASA is the large nationwide competition and opportunity to travel and compete with new drivers on equal footing.
If you can go.. see you there. If you WANT to go you should post a message on the forum or Facebook page and offer your abilities in case any local drivers could use a hand with all the logistics.
Also, get ready to start all over in January. The preliminary schedule is posted: https://nasaaz.com/schedule/
Same rules apply: Since most of the above text is fabrication please send changes to Tom Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Visit the Nasa-AZ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NASAAZ/
So, what else happened? A really great time with a really great bunch of folks.