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Sep 04, 2012 - 04:40 PM
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NASA Championships Presented By Toyo Tires Ready For Mid-Ohio
Posted by: newsla on Sep 04, 2012 - 04:34 PM
Sports Cars
NASA Championships Presented By Toyo Tires Ready For Mid-Ohio


The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Championships presented by Toyo Tires at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is this weekend. Competitors are starting to arrive in Lexington, Ohio ready to hit the track on September 7-9.

 

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With over 330 confirmed entries, strong classes of competition are coming together with several competitors racing in multiple classes going for more than one National Championship trophy.

GTS holds the distinction as the largest class with 51 drivers entered in its division. Spec Miata will feature 49 entries and is the largest single formula class. Other notable fields are Performance Touring with 39 entries, American Iron with 27 cars, Spec E30 with 25, and Honda Challenge presented by Honda Performance Development (HPD) with 21 on the grid. There are also nearly 40 cars in the Time Trial classes looking to beat the clock in order to win a National Champion title.

"There is going to be some awesome racing next week at Mid-Ohio," Will Faules, NASA Championship Event Director said. "The Spec Miata race is always a crowd favorite. It is especially meaningful to the competitors as there is over $8,000 in Mazda contingency money on the line as well as over $10,000 in Toyo Tire dollars. The Spec Miata winner will also get a shot at winning a full ride in the MX-5 Cup Pro Series. The Honda Challenge Class will also see some of the closest fender-to-fender racing we will see all weekend. The three days of racing will also feature more than 40 racers competing in multiple classes, hoping to take home more than one National Championship title."

New to the National Championships is the Spec Z Class featuring the Nissan 350Z. Jeremy Croiset, who is also the NASA Sponsorship Director, is crossing over to try his luck in this new class. However, he is still running his Honda CRX in Honda Challenge 2. He is just one of those drivers going for a multi-championship weekend.

"I worked on the Spec Z class from its inception creating the rules, and I truly believed that the class has potential to become a fantastic, fun, lower-cost-racing class," Croiset said. "The cars are amazing, fun right out of the box with little modification. The rule set is really built around that philosophy. An opportunity arose that allowed me to assemble a 350Z for this new class while featuring the car in our NASA Speed News Magazine as a build story. This helped to give readers a good road map to follow on their own 350Z builds. I honestly believe the car will be a great addition to the Croiset Racing team."

The Nissan 350Z is rear-wheel drive, and the Honda CRX is front-wheel drive. Croiset likes the challenge. "Is it raining or dry? Ha! Seriously, though, each has its own pros and cons. I honestly enjoy the challenges that each platform represents. Front-wheel drive cars compared with rear-wheel drive cars require quite different set-ups and driving styles to hustle around Mid-Ohio trying to extract those last few precious tenths. Sliding sideways while on the throttle getting out of the corner in a well set-up rear-wheel drive car sure is fun, but so is the ability to perform heroic saves with copious amounts of throttle steering into the corner in a front-wheel drive car that's working very well. Both are equally fun!"

Croiset further elaborated on running two cars in two very different classes. "Running two cars at the NASA Championships with a very limited team is VERY difficult because the Championships really focuses on providing competitors with a fantastic bang for the buck racing weekend. That means lots of track time with the warm-up, qualifying, and the qualifying race format for Thursday and Friday. Ensuring both cars are in top shape and ready to go for each of their own races, having the cars already staged in pre-grid so I can hop out of one car and into the other for the very next session on track will be a very challenging part of the weekend. We will have only my trusty Crew Chief Felix Jimenez and myself to prep and get the cars on track, and that's not even mentioning the many other duties I have throughout the event working for NASA. The folks that work for NASA really are racers that share a deep passion for motorsports and it certainly shows taking on challenges like this. We are looking forward to a challenging, but very fun weekend of NASA Championship racing!"

The NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires will begin with open practice on Thursday, September 7 with competition running Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

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