NASA Arizona Wraps Up, 8/8, Firebird West Raceway
Once again, over one-hundred brave drivers woke up just barely after Friday ended, and headed out to Firebird Raceway’s West course for the last summer round of the 2009 schedule. One fact that boggles the mind, is how NASA Arizona manages to dodge the dismal Phoenix weather, which has been remarkably predictable since well, the beginning of time (or as far as our oldest NASA AZ member can recall!). Case in point: May night event ’08 – rain and overcast conditions. June ’09 – cloudy. May night event ’07 – so many flying beetles that the sunlight was reflected back into outer space. And of course, August ’09 – “cold front” comes through, leaving drivers with temperatures beginning in the high 70’s, ending up in the low 90’s. In 15 years of living in Arizona, I can’t remember a day on August where I walked outside and remember thinking, “It’s actually cold out.” Never the less, drivers and spectators alike were willing to take whatever the cosmic forces threw at them in order to get on track for the first time since early June.
Last Chance Before NASA Nationals 2009!
944 Spec drivers gave it one last shot before the NASA Nationals.
That’s right–Time Trial and Race Group test and tune sessions were full to capacity as drivers gave it one last shot and made final adjustments before heading off for Miller Motorsports Park in early September. After two years of NASA Nationals being held on the east coast at the Mid-Ohio Sports Complex, the good people at NASA National headquarters decided it was time to give the west coasters an opportunity to compete at the highest level, so NASA Nationals for 2009-2010 were moved to Salt Lake City. Currently Arizona has over 20 drivers that are making the trip up to Utah in early September to attend the four-day national championship event.
Arizona Corvette Racers were out in strong force, taking a track record and filling up most of the Big Bore TT Group.
Back in Phoenix, 36 drivers, split into Big Bore and Small Bore groups, filled the tiny 1.1 mile track on Saturday. Apparently, with the thought of the national championships on everyone’s minds this past weekend, drivers stepped up and most of the TT track records were re-written. Here is a list of the Firebird West track records that were reset on August 8th:
- TTR – Wayne McKeen – Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – 1:02.409
- TTS – Tage Evanson – Honda Civic – 1:01.390
- TTA – Brian Turner – Porsche 911 – 1:05.338
- TTC – Brady Dohrmann – BMW M3 – 1:05.303
- TTD – Jeremy Renshaw – Nissan 240SX – 1:06.578
- TTE – Kent Durkee – Honda CRX – 1:07.952
- TTF – Tage Evanson – Honda Accord – 1:11.239
Full Time Trial results, rules and season standings can be found on the NASA Time Trial website.
HPDE 1 Fills Up Again
Drivers stand and contemplate.. tire pressures, shock settings.. who was the second gunman on the grassy knoll, etc.
One advantage to being an HPDE1 driver in the summer months, is the usage of Firebird’s air conditioned portable classroom that’s dragged out to the skidpad and shared with registration. As usual, HPDE1 was full to capacity with first-time drivers, interested in getting their feet wet with the world of motorsports. While it doesn’t always get the coverage it deserves, the HPDE 1 group is responsible for the regeneration and seemingly endless supply of new drivers, racers and time trialers which help NASA Arizona grow every year. In addition, if you can recall 3-4 years ago, NASA has historically taken the summer months off from racing all together. Due to demands and strong growing of the HPDE1 program, racers, HPDE2-4 and TT drivers alike benefit with the added events required to keep them occupied on track year-round.
An economy car with a stack of tires changed at the track--the true grassroots way!
NASA Arizona Members Sample the Southwest
With the majority of June and all of July free from events here in Arizona, many NASA Arizona members made the trip to other regions to drive, hang out, watch and keep the racing adrenaline flowing. HPDE4 driver Geri Amani, spent the August 1-2 weekend with the NASA Texas Region, driving a Spec Miata, covering the event for their website, taking photos and enjoying the track at Texas World Speedway. Might I add in the shameless plug for Geri and all her hard work on the NASA Texas Website as well.
NASA Arizona Time Trialer Brett Lengel rips through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca in July.
Former NASA Who’s Who member of the month Corey Starr, fresh into his pit crew gig with local racer Thomas Glenn, spent a cool weekend with the Northern California region at Infineon Raceway on June 27-28. Thomas won SU on both days, as well as TTR. CV Wells (TTR), Dave Hauck (944 Spec) and Derek Selman (TTD), all Arizona drivers, made the long trek to NorCal for this event.
Finally, just last weekend, several Arizona racers and TT drivers made the short trip to California Speedway for a weekend of competition with the Southern California region. Clay Koevary and his dad Richard, drove in the ST1 and ST2 classes with Clay taking the win on Saturday. John Greenfeld drove his Corvette in PTA, his brother Eric, who is a part-time AZ regular, drove his BMW in PTB, and Brady Dohrmann spent the weekend time trialing in the TTC class.
Longtime autocrossers Dave McCombs has become a regular in the NASA HPDE program.
UMS Time Attack, Round #7
Former TTS and Time Attack champ Shawn Sheble came out in his new BMW M3.
Round 7 of the UMS Time Attack series took place on August 8th. TA-B class leader Erin Morely opted out of Round 7 due to some summer project work on his Subaru, leaving the door open for Todd Parker to gain some points in the class series standings; Jeremy Ward took the opportunity to shoot for the class win in this S2000 as well. TA-A, which has been highly contested throughout the year, saw the return of Phil Robles who went on to win the class, and take a mere 5-point lead in the overall UMS Time Attack series standings over rival Brady Dohrmann. TA-C was the only single driver class, so Harry De Leon cruised easily to victory in his Dodge Viper. Class results are as follows:
Time Attack, Class A: Phil Robles – Honda Civic – 1:07.626
Time Attack, Class B: Jeremy Ward – Honda S2000 – 1:10.701
Time Attack, Class C: Harry De Leon – Dodge Viper – 1:15.451
Racers and Time Trialers FAQ for September
As has been said many times in this article already (hint hint.. go to nationals, racers and TT’ers!), NASA National Championships are being held at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah on September 10-13. That provides an interesting situation as the next NASA Arizona event is the same weekend as the region returns to Phoenix International Raceway for the first time since May. Determining how the points will shake out afterwards with some drivers in Utah, and some in Phoenix at the same time, was a question that came up often during the August 8th event. To put all of you to whom this concerns in the know, here’s the deal:
Phoenix Drivers: Sept. 12-13 will be NASA Arizona points events #12 and #13. This is a fully-timed, competition event as usual. All TT drivers in attendance will score points as normal and be eligible for all contingencies.
National Champ Drivers: Your overall finishing position within class at Nationals, will determine your points allotment. So if you are entered in TTD and finish 3rd in class, you will get 85 points. Your points are not based on how you finish compared to other Arizona drivers–it’s overall in your entire class at Nationals. Once points are assigned, you will get that score twice. If you finish third, you get 85 points two times to make up for the two missed days in the Arizona region.
This picture, subtly placed here, as a hint for Paul to sign up for Nationals..
Phoenix Drivers: Sept 12-13 will be a test and tune event only, no points will be given.
Nationals Champ Drivers: There is only one “main” race at Nationals, despite the event being 3-4 days long. You will be assigned points based on how you finish in your class at Nationals. ie. 6th place in PTA will get 70 points. Your points from Nationals will be added to your series points total in Arizona.
How is that fair for the racers not attending Nationals you might ask? Meaning, if you stay in Phoenix you get zero points, whereas if you attend Nationals you get X number of points. First off, Arizona region allows your five lowest scores to be dropped for the year, so you can use a drop score to cancel it out. Most NASA regions only have four drop scores for the entire year, so Arizona is being very considerate! Secondly, attend the 2009 NASA National Championships and you won’t have this problem! 🙂
Other 2009 NASA National Championships Information
- As with all years, NASA will have live timing and scoring! Log on to the NASA National Championship website and watch your favorite local or national drivers as they practice, qualify, compete and race up in Utah.
- Registration is still open! In addition to that, the typical price increases for registration have been waived for another month to make it easier on people who are on the fence. If you race or TT and have five points events scored throughout this year, sign up!
- Keep an eye on the NASA Arizona forum, as local drivers will be hanging out in the ChatBox throughout the week, discussing the various results. The trash talking misfits who normally flood the chatbox with worthless banter will be at Nationals, so no worries there!
- Info on the facility for the 2009 National Championships facility, Miller Motorsports Park, can be seen by clicking this link.
- Lastly, take a quick lap around Miller’s 3.0-mile outer circuit course, which is the layout being used for the 2009 NASA National Championships.
NASA Arizona is Socially Hip!
Don’t lie – half of you reading this spend the downtime between sessions updating your Facebook, hearing what your friends are doing via-Twitter, or stalking someone (in a good way, of course) on MySpace. Thanks to the hard work of Adina Evanson and Ramin, NASA Arizona is on all three of those networks, so add us, join us, send messages and spread the word! Click the previous links to join the club.
Next event, September 12-13
The Legend, Corey Starr, throws the flag for the beginning of a HPDE session.
All the details for the racers and TT drivers have been outlined above. For those of you who are tired of waking up at 3:45am (no pun intended), or afraid of any more sun-damaged skin for standing in an open parking lot all morning, fear no more as NASA Arizona is returning to Phoenix International Raceway for the beginning of the fall stretch.
HPDE1 will be having the usual drivers education school, and all other HPDE groups will be out in full force, with expected capacity attendance. Given that many of the TT drivers will be in Utah this weekend, if you are a HPDE4 driver interested in moving into the Time Trial program, Sept. 12-13 is an excellent weekend to get a taste for the group and earn your Time Trial license. All interested and curious parties need to contact TT group leader Jeremy Renshaw, right now, and make arrangements for a check ride and approval from your HPDE4 group leader.
The Saturday evening BBQ returns after a successful initial showing in May. After the track cools down in the evening, be sure to stick around, have a beer or two, eat some food and enjoy the night talking to and making friends at the track. Remember, knowing a person off the track, makes times on the track much more exciting, safer and worthwhile.
From those of us heading out to Miller next month, have a fun and safe weekend at PIR! If you’re staying in Phoenix, we’ll be seeing you at the driver’s meeting, bright and early at 7:40! 🙂