NASA Inde October 2014

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.   admin-ajax

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.

Inde is another favorite

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

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.

No Cheating

Let’s give a big NASA-AZ welcome to our newest class of Comp School Graduates:

  • David Stark
  • Marissa HansonThree Students
  • 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 BridgesNasa has Class
  • 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.

Race Group Meeting NASA Command Staff HQ

 Time Trial

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:

Time Trial Arizona Standings:

Time Attack

Arizona’s own UMS Tuning is the sponsor for NASA’s Time Attack series (  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:

TA-AImportant people

  • 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:

Race Group

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.

Yes, I will post grid sheets!!

Wheres the grid sheets?

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:

Season Race Group Results:

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 and 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

and instructing.

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:

Same rules apply: Since most of the above text is fabrication please send changes to Tom Johnson (

Visit the Nasa-AZ Facebook page:




So, what else happened?    A really great time with a really great bunch of folks.

lol  this coach is safe

No going in there…

Fights that happen in the middle of the night

I won…

Fancy trailer

Cool track cars.

AE86 race car to be

Toyota with a different motor.



Race Group Meeting Nice ass People doing what they love Istalling new springs How we roll Fb111 interesting feathre DE1 teams




DSC07518 DSC07522 DSC07536 DSC07541 DSC07545

NASA Willow Springs California Crossover July, 2014

NASA Arizona teamed up with NASA Socal again this past July 12 and 13, 2014 for a crossover points event at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA (  This track has been around since the 1950s and comprises a total of 600 acres with several different racing surfaces.  We ran the high-speed 2.5mile 9 turn road course.  It is an intoxicating combination of fast banked turns, steep hills and long straights.   The track takes some getting used to for new drivers as the speeds are just faster than many of us usually see with most of the course topping out 4th and 5th gear.    Here is a great tutorial video by Jack Olsen to get acquainted with the surface:


Only about 9 of Arizona’s toughest NASA drivers braved the summer heat and the 8+ hour drive from Phoenix to this remarkable and historic track.

  • Team Snail Performance – (Taylor Wilson and Markos Mylonas) purple Civic unfortunately broke on 1st lap on Saturday and was unable to be restored for the remaining weekend.
  • Team LBR – (Gabe Ortega & Mervin Tan) 1st place both days!!
  • Thomas Johnson – Battled 4 other ST3 cars for his first podium finishes of 3rd on Saturday and 2nd in class on Sunday.
  • Jonathan Greenfeld – Another ST3 competitor in his blue 12A powered Rx7 taking 2nd place on Saturday and 3rd place on Sunday.
  • John Bianchi – ran his yellow Corvette in TT1 both days landing 5th in TT1 Saturday and 6th overall on Sunday.
  • Jeff Abrams – blue & orange Miata ran TTD with a fast Sunday morning lap time of 1:36.942
  • Harold Dunn – white Scion FRS making consistent lap time gains all weekend.
  • John Atkinson – picked up 5 spots from Saturday for a 6th overall finish on Sunday in the red TT1 Corvette #64
  • Jeff Wojnar – 944 Spec raced both points sessions in a tight field of 944 spec cars.


The drive to Willow Springs is about 7-8 hours from Phoenix on excellent roads for the most part.  By the time you are almost there the highway narrows and becomes a bit of a roller coaster ride requiring concentration and a steady course.  It was also just plain hot.  The track resides  at roughly 4000 elevation and it was still 100 degrees, dry and very sunny.  Despite continuous warnings from all the officials I believe just about everyone was dehydrated by mid-day on Sunday.  NASA Socal ran the show and I found them to be friendly, efficient and very helpful throughout the weekend.  It was a well run event and a great track.

So, more importantly, whats next!!  NasaAZ’s return to Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, AZ ( on October 11 & 12 featuring an optional Saturday enduro!   photo3

Additionally this weekend marks the return of NASA Competition School for those that have the required experience prerequisites and want to move their racing or Time Trial experience to the next level.  I would consider this course almost mandatory for any driver that wants to get more serious about their racecraft even if you plan to just stay in DE4.  The course focuses not only on rules and technique but general etiquette and operating in close confines with other cars.  Speak to your Group Leader or the Regional Director to discuss your participation.  Having personally completed the course in 2013 I promise it is a LOT more fun than it might sound.  Full details of the upcoming Inde event:

Please keep an eye on the forum and Facebook pages for more details on this upcoming event and get registered early for the enduro or Comp school:

Author:  Tom Johnson ( / 602-628-2701)

What a blast!!




NASA-AZ Bondurant West May 31, 2014 Early AM


NASA-AZ held its “Spring Finale” at Wild Horse Pass West Track early in the morning on May 31, 2014.  This was my first ever early morning event and it was totally worth getting up a *little* early.  The Bondurant West Track is a perennial local favorite here in Arizona.  It is local, available and convenient.  Yeah, it doesn’t have a lot of elevation change… but it has a superb paddock, grid and Track-on / Track-off setup.  For me, your humble author, it was the very first track I ever drove with NASA (in the pouring rain) and so will always have a place in my cold, damp heart.

Best of all we had the outstanding support of our local Arizona corner workers supporting the drivers at every turn.  I was at a recent event where I saw about 50% of the corner workers not even watching the race, backs turned to the oncoming cars.  I can tell you from personal experience that our corner workers are an outstanding resource preceding and during an “on-track event”.  They are our eyes and ears into the car and track conditions and our thanks go out for helping to make this all happen on the hot long days.

This morning event was a Time Trial and Time Attack points event and a great turnout for HPDE classes, but was not a Race Group points event.  So for many this was a rare occasion to mix it up with the TT / Race cars and it made for a great variety of speeds and track presence.  With the gates opening at 4am many were arriving in the morning darkness and getting things setup for the action. As usual our tasty Lulu’s Taco Truck was there to provide food and beverages.

Our next event is in July with SOCAL at Willow Springs, sign up early for discounted pricing:


HPDE had a great turnout this event with the regular cadre of instructors, drivers and cars.  The West track is always great location for new drivers since it affords a great viewing platform right on the paddock to see the entire track and visualize the corners and straights.    HPDE One is the place where our new drivers come for initial track experience and learn about flags, track etiquette, mirror and seating position of the cars and get an introduction into high performance driving.  Once HPDE One has been mastered the instructors coordinate advancement into HPDE 2, 3 and 4 with increasing levels of skills, speed and performance.

West DE1

Congrats to drivers that have advanced through the various levels.  Next begin to set your sights on points events such as Time Attack and Time Trials and even race group.  There is a real pleasure in watching your points accrue through the year as you participate in the various events.

Additionally, keep in mind that there is a “Competition School” coming up later this year, most likely to be held at Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox Arizona.  This is a superb training venue to drive much deeper into the rules, flags, techniques that come with high performance driving.  Even if you intend to spend another year in HPDE events, having completed Comp-School will give you far more knowledge and make you a better driver overall.  Speak with your Group Leader, mentor or Tage to discuss a plan to participate in this exceptional value in driving education.


UMS Tuning Time Attack

The Time Attack Series sponsored by UMS Tuning ( was treated to the most heat of the day, starting at 10:35am and running a 15 minute session.  By this time of day it was a solid 100 degrees at least and felt like a bit more.    Our cars struggle in every way with this type of condition due to high induction air temperatures leading to high “density altitude” which robs power and causes engine computers to reduce power in an attempt maintain engine health.  Brakes, tires, drivers and every other component suffer exponentially more in the hot summer weather.  But what else was there to do this Saturday morning??

We had 9 drivers compete in this Time Attack event and below are the highlights and links to Season Points.  These smaller events are a good chance to pick up some extra points which just may make a big difference come December!


  1. Aaron Hiar – 01:09.177
  2. Todd Hiar – 01:09.483
  3. Brendan Garvey – 01:11.424
  4. Jake Casto – 01:12.717
  5. Jeremy Nosko – 01:13.289
  6. Jon Via – OMG SO Fast~!


  1. Philip Robles – 01:05.235
  2. Jeff Abrams – 01:05.791
  3. Eric Kennel – 01:07.675 :: 85pts

Official Season Points Standings updated here:


Time Trials

Time Trial was mixed with Race Group (test / tune) for 3 relatively short 15 minute sessions starting at approximately 6am, 8am and 9am.  This format leaves very little room for adjusting and tuning between sessions with most drivers content to just find some shade and hydration.

West Morning TTBecause of the combined nature of this event all drivers participated in the briefing and debriefing (aka “download”) moderated by Jeremy Renshaw to review the rules and procedures specific to this unique competition.

At the moment of writing the Time Trials points and results have not been posted, please standby for the official announcement on our excellent forum:


What’s Next??  Socal Crossover in Rosamond, CA!  Join us at Willow Springs track in Rosamond, CA:

Please keep an eye on the forum for more details on this July event and make sure that cooling system (and beverage cooler..) is up to speed!

Author:  Tom Johnson ( / 602-628-2701)






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