NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires Sets the Grids for Finals
The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) eighth annual NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires is underway with qualifying races setting the grid for Saturday and Sunday's racing action at Miller Motorsports Park.
With three days of testing and tuning behind them, the NASA Championships competitors got a look at the competition by running in qualifying races today around the 3.048 miles long 15 corner Outer Course at Miller Motorsports Park.
Alex Udell Mustang The Group A class of American Iron (AI), American Iron Extreme (AIX) and Camaro Mustang Challenge (CMC) opened up the qualifying race schedule on the day. The AI and AIX classes take their green flag from a standing start. An early yellow due to a car stalled on course brought out a yellow flag with Alec Udell in his No. 16/Ford Mustang in the lead holding it until the checker.
"I had a little bit of trouble with the standing start," Udell said. "I was able to recover from the bad start by making some clean passes and get back up the front. I am happy with my run today and how the car performed. We are running a different tire than I am used to running and a skinnier wheel. It is fun. I really like how the car is running. I had some understeer in the race, so we may make a few adjustments for tomorrow, but we are not far off."
In the American Iron Extreme (AIX) class the battle at the front was between the Mustangs of Brian Faessler and five-time NASA Championships winner Chris Griswold. Faessler drove his No. 018 Ford Mustang to the AIX qualifying race win.
"It was a good run. I will be starting on pole for the race," Faessler said. "Chris Griswold will have his turbo Mustang for the race, so that will be something we will have to contend with tomorrow. We will have to step our performance up a little bit. We will make a couple of tweaks here and there and be ready for him."
94 Some of the day's closest racing action was in the Spec Miata class. The field was brought to the green by Bill Agha in his No. 18 Mazda Miata. A late race caution necessitated a green/white restart making the 25-minute race a one lap shootout with Will Schrader, No. 87 Miata, bringing the 30 car field to the line. Schrader was soon swarmed by a sea of Miata competitors. Unfortunately, he would have contact just before Turn Three and fell down the field. Ken Sutherland took the lead thanks to a big push from behind down the long front stretch to take the qualifying race win in his No. 94 Miata.
"It was a great race," Sutherland said. "These Toyo Tires paid off for me today. I got a real good push after the restart. I was in third and got pushed to the lead on the front stretch. Unfortunately, we lost a few cars in the race, which will happen in a one lap dash in these cars. But, I am happy to be involved and glad that I won today."
Group D (ST1, ST2, ST3, STR1, STR3 and SU) took the green with Jon Van Caneghem, No. 7 Eagle, and Randy Pobst, No. 17 Norma, on the front row. The duo swapped the lead in the early going, but Pobst retired on lap four handing the win to Van Caneghem.
Spec 944, one of the biggest fields on the weekend, was headed by Tyler Palmer, No. 4 Porsche, with Neal Agran, No. 84 Porsche, starting next to him. Palmer held the lead while Agran was battling with Charles Buzzetti, No. 908 Porsche for second. Palmer would take the win his green Porsche 944.
"My Blackforest/Mobile One/Discount Tire/Hawk/Porsche has been good all week," Palmer said. "I can't thank my Dad enough who gave me my start in karting and has helped me to get to where I am now. Blackforest has done a great job preparing and setting up this Porsche. Based on my two qualifying races I should start on the pole, so the plan is to get up front, lead and win."
NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires Grids for Saturday and Sunday:
American Iron, Alec Udell, No. 16 Ford Mustang
American Iron Xtreme, Brian Faessler, No. 018 Ford Mustang
CMC, Aaron McSpadden, No. 75 Ford Mustang
Spec Miata, Ken Sutherland, No. 87 Mazda Miata
Group C - Time Trials:
TTB, Ricky Johnson, Mini Cooper
TTC, Brad Kettler, No. 74 BMW M3
TTD, John Magnuson, No. 30 Mazda RX8
TTE, Zung Tran, No. 609 BMW 330
SU, Jon Van Caneghem, No. 7 DP02
ST1, Dan Worley, No. 81 Porsche 944
ST2, William Brinkop, No. 78 Chevrolet Corvette
ST3, Daniel Wnnerberg, No. 68 BMW 325
STR1, Bob Evans, No. 2 Penske Charger
944 Spec, Tyler Palmer, No. 4 Porsche 944
GTS2, Dick Hunter, No. No. 58 BMW 325
GTS3, Tony Colicchio, No. 331 BMW M3
GTS4, Scott Bove, No. 22 BMW M3
GTS5, Peter Spencer, No. 89 Porsche GT3 Cup
Spec Z, David Dirks, No. 76 Nissan 350Z
PTB, David Schotz, No. 34 Pontiac Formula
PTC, Dennis Holloway, No. 5 Mazda RX8
PTD, Sonny Watanasirisuk, No. 18 Mazda Miata
PTE, William Chen, No. 96 Mazda Miata
PTF, Walter Carlos, No. 81 Mazda RX7
Group H - Time Trials:
TTU, Kyle Schick, No. 23, Nissan GT-R
TT2, Greg Valdez, No. 12 Subaru Impreza
TT3, Christopher Mayfield, No 194 BMW 325
The NASA Championships will be broadcasted on SpeedcastTV.com, use the link http://www.speedcasttv.com/NASA to view all the racing action from Miller Motorsports Park this weekend. Live steaming will begin on Sat., Sept. 7 at 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. MT and Sun. Sept. 8, 10:20 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. MT.
Miller Motorsports Park (Tooele, Utah) is located just 35 minutes west of downtown Salt Lake City. Miller Motorsports Park is a state-of-the-art road racing facility and is widely considered to be one of the finest road racing parks in North America. NASA competitors will be using the track's Outer Course which measures 3.048 miles long with 15 corners that will sure to be a challenge for the 300+ Championships competitors.
Complete information on the NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires viewed at http://www.nasachampionships.com. The 2013 NASA Championships Media Guide can be viewed at http://www.nasachampionships.com/pdf/Nasa_Media%20Guide_2013.pdf.
For additional information, please contact NASA Championships Media Director, Kyle Chura at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 821-0468. More detail can be found at www.nasaproracing.com or www.nasachampionships.com.
To qualify for the NASA National Championships presented by Toyo Tires, NASA competitors must compete in and score points in five regional races around the country. The 2012 National Championship presented by Toyo Tires weekend will feature over 400 competitors racing for the NASA National Champion trophy in 36 racing classes and nine Time Trial divisions around the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.