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Posts tagged “Race and Rally

Meadesports – Pikes Peak – Day 3 of Practice and Qualifying!


Hey Mike;
Here’s the result from today! We were fastest in class in Qualifying and set a new AWD Time Attack Qualifying record!!!  Which means we beat ACP in his full house AMS NOS energy drink Evo. ACP is a good friend of mine, and it makes it sweeter.

Here are some nice pics of the car at speed. Thanks Mike, we are very happy, we just have to get through the big day on Sunday.


I asked Jeff about his suspension:

My suspension is Ohlins coilovers with my spec springs by Swift. We spent two days at a test center dialing the suspension in Australia, and then ran that at the Mt Buller Hillclimb event in Australia, which is the setting we are using now, so you could say we spent 4 days and many $1000s dialing the suspension and geometry in, and all focused on Pikes.Even sweeter of course is we are tormenting the AMS guys! All for RRE, of course, in the line of duty… ha ha.


I think the ACP car (AMS) is running on a stock motor right now after all the motor problems this week. Tomorrow is a day off I think and they might have time to get some of their power back.

Mike W

Meadesports – Pikes Peak – 2nd Practice is done!

Today we were at the very top of the hills, practicing on the last 3- 3.5 miles. Mostly very loose gravel, but very very fast! This is where we have to compromise with our lines, and hope there will be a good dusting on the race line on race day. The Kumhos are holding up, even on the gravel sections, at times, with the right dusting some of the gravel road has as much grip as tarmac. We shall see.

The yellow Mini is an all girl team that are fun to be around. They’re giving it a shot, and a good one as well. Rhys stopped half way through the practice stage with a problem, on the previous run his guys were trying to source a ‘glitch’ via data log, but I guess they didnt find it.

We also had a casualty today, the white ex-prodrive Sti (GC8) rolled on one of the fast down hill sections into a hairpin. Car looks worse than it is, but will be an easy fix! We’ve offered to go around and assist with hammers, which I think we will have to do. He is in our class, but we need the competition, if for nothing else, to justify us being here.

The speeds on the gravel were very fast! I never look at my speedo, EVER! But Merlin (Dave Hinde our Ecu guy) asked what speed we were pulling, now I hate speed so I never look at what the speedo is saying, but this time I decided to sneak a peak at speed, and it confirmed why I never want to look. Going around a left hander, sliding, setting the car up for the exit, I run down the next hill full throttle upshifting, the car is squirrily and moving around a fair bit on the Kumho V710s, I take a peak as I reach the very point I need to brake it the speedo is past 120mph (200kph+) I then have to slow the car down for a fast but treacherous right hander which I swing the car through with a small flick.

Then on the way back I found we were all going quite rapid back to the start to do another (of 4 total) timed run, 3 of us travelling together hitting 100mph switching between the tarmac and gravel.

Oh, almost forgot, I was standing there after the drivers meeting, which took place at 5am, keeping Cath warm, and chatting to the BMW boys, when this hooded figure walks up and walks into me, I knew someone was playing games and pulled the hood off to reveal my old buddy Andrew Comrie-Picard (ACP to the world), it was a great surprise seeing him again, and tonite we shall catch up on lots of missed drinks. Tomorrow’s Blog entry will n doubt be all about how I should stop drinking and how Im having trouble focusing because I’ll be hung over and that I promise to never drink again.

Andrew runs and evo 8 as well, but highly modded with carbon, well, everything. He’s a great competitor too, although he’s not in our class. It’s going to be fun having him around.

I love Pikes Peak, I can see now why it is such a drug for a lot of people!


Meadesports – Pikes Peak – Day two in the bag!

One thing I can tell you is the Media is very thick on the ground at all Practice points. So much so they actually stand on the road with their video camera, even on the apexes, but it’s a little hard to say ‘apex off camera man’, it wont be good if he isnt there the next run.

As you can imagine being up the top of this huge mountain before sunrise gives an awesome view of the sun arriving for the day! The air is fresh and chilly, the head spins come and go when you get out of the car for a walk.

Videos will be loaded later today, all of which were taken by Cat’s mom, Michelle, who has been terrific to have around. Check out the cute navigator in the bottom pic!

The shot third from the bottom is Rhys Millen’s animal! This car will be taking the record! My fav shot is the first one (what, not the one with my car in it??) with the sunrise over the eastern US seaboard, and the trucks and guys standing on the edge of the road. ‘Majestic’ comes to mind.

Till next time

Meadesports – Pikes Peak – Day 1 Done and dusted!


Well we got up at 2;30 am to be at the mountain by 3:30 am to be in position for our first practice. We had the middle section today, tomorrow we are on the very gravelly top, and Friday we will be running/practicing on the bottom. This works out very well for us as they use the bottom section for qualifying, so those that had it today, ie; all the bikes, quads etc, were in fact qualifying. We wont have to worry about that for another couple of days.

We did 6 test runs and learnt a lot, we saw no need to do anymore as it just wears on the clutch and tyres.

We also were given a test set of Elig competition brake pads, and I have to say, these were good, flying up to the first hairpin, flat in 4th gear, my notes say brake at the sign, but flying up to it foot down in 4th, 3000 foot drop off the side I thought ‘am I crazy, that’s too close to the turn’, but I gave it a shot and whammo’d the brake pedal and the car stopped 20 feet short of the corner. Great pads!!

The evo got its new tyres mounted yesterday, so we were bedding the tyres in and heat cycling them, but they came through on their first run.

Right now we really need a nap, not just because of the early start, but because we both didnt sleep last night, and we get to do it all again tomorrow. Umm, I mean tonite, well, you know what I mean.

On a sad note, Dave Kern blew his engine in his evo, it was an AMS special stroker, and it wouldve been a true powerhouse, but it seems the timing belt broke, so Dave has taken it back to his house and we’ve offered to help in any way. We hope it gets back together real quick.

Meadepsorts – Pikes Peak – Tech and Scrutineering


Well, the time had come to prove we are capable of reading, and we went into drivers’ registration, handed over all the docs, and copies of everything, and got signed off! Next it was over to scrutineering and tech inspection, which also went very smoothly. Right behind us was Monster Tajima’s car. What a machine that is! No photos give it justice.

Scrutineering done, Drivers briefing done, Rookie briefing done. Fuel canisters filled, evo filled, alignment (basic) done, Kumho tyres mounted and balanced and done.

Tomorrow we get up at 2:30 am and head off for first practice. Let me show you some of the cars that ran through tech today. Enjoy these pictures, and check out these evos that are running.

Meadesports – Pikes Peak – On the Road


Well, we got out of bed, just, had waffles and coffee and headed out on the ‘road trip’ to our destination: Pikes Peak.

What a drive. Sometimes boring, sometimes incredibly spectacular! Check the shots in these photos, although these were done with a camera phone, they have come out quite good. From boring open deserts and fields to some beautifully rugged terrain.

The climb to our final altitude was a long and slow one, but all good, and at times we climbed to over 11,500 feet and finally, Colorado, which is actually on a very high plateau that sits about 6500-7000 feet. We did find ourselves gasping at times for deeper breaths of air.

We are now in Colorado springs which will be our home for the next 10 days. Tomorrow we clean the evo, confirm our order for our E85 race fuel, check out Pikes Peak for a pre-recce, and start to get things in order for the event.

More importantly, we are here, and time to finally relax, maybe sleep in, and get into the time zone and altitude. One thing that came to mind driving along looking up at the huge rock monoliths that skirt the highway that runs along parts of what seems to be the Grand Canyon are these beautiful and huge and majestic and imposing rock formations was ‘it’s bigger than you’, if you get that at all.




Well, we’ve been to the top a few times now, writing our notes and then checking them. The bottom starts twisty and fast, with bumpy tarmac, then it goes to fast hard ‘dirt’ that will seem like tarmac when driving on it, then back to proper tarmac, then onto full gravel dirt, which may well have a line with most of the gravel brushed off by the time we run on it.

Our first recce when we got to the top of the hill, we got out and walked around and went inside the shop they have there, and Cath immediatley almost fainted from lack of oxygen. We ended up seeing the EMT’s service quite a few people, and even saw one rushed back down to the bottom, thrown into an ambulance and whisked away.

The road is forever changing, it was changing just between recces. Getting to the apexes is the #1 key for us, accuracy is tantamount. Speed will come.

Will add more images and details later. Keep safe.


We got our new Kumho tyres delivered, and put them in the room, once we put them in the corner I stood back, and suddenly I felt right at home, tools, helmets, tyres, all next to the bed – ahhhh, really is just like home.

And then the sticker guy showed up to install the numbers on the doors of the evo. We need these on to go through tech inspection tomorrow, and better if a pro installs them.

Meadesports – Pikes Peak 2010 – Hitting the Road

Their rental truck/buy a beater truck plan fell through and Jeff was getting ready to drive the car to Pikes Peak and rough the weekend without a truck and trailer. I cant imagine running the event like that so we offered up the Dodge shop truck for towing duty.

The next day, Wednesday, it was off to GT Fabrications (ebay name evo05) for our new Hans helmets and hans devices, collected the truck, dropped the rental car off, picked up the rented trailer and headed back to Road Race Engineering to collect and load the evo.

Loaded up we headed up to northern Los Angeles to meet up with good friend Brendan, another good steak, quite a few laughs and then we crashed at his house for the night, but not before we dragged poor Cath through some photo albums at Brendans’ showing some of my old race cars I used to run. Brendan is the drivetrain engineer at Honda US race team HQ, running the Acura’s in ALMS series and at Le Mans. So when you watch the ALMS series and see the Acuras’ kicking butt, know that that is Brendan’s work, along with a team of course. Brendan is an early Datsun afficiando, having an early 510 wagon and 240Z at his house.

We are now somewhere in Utah, a small town called Richfield, and with 550 miles down, and 510 to go to get to Colorado Springs we will be on the road again tomorrow. Right now, we are off to have dinner and a cold tall beer…

On the road again….

Meadesports – Dyno Tuning

Got up and had wonderful waffles this morning, and then called my close friend Jay Jones (aka Jaybird) and arranged to have lunch in the middle of his hectic schedule. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed being in his company again. Both Cath and I had a great 4.5 hour lunch.

Then it was onto Road Race engineering, these guys are pure pro’s and like MEEK in Sydney, there isnt much they dont know about evos. Once the workshop was cleared, we moved in to grab a lift and work on installing the new K&N intake system from i-autosport (iautosport.com.au for all your aftermarket needs, both European and Japanese brands).

When we finished this, Scot Gray the ECU guy showed and we set about getting a reading as a baseline on 98 octane (91 in the US). Once it was confirmed all the perimeters were set, we had a run, and with Meek hot side piping, Meek ECU flash, 272 Cams, turbo outlet, and the intake, it made 229kw at the hubs. Pretty impressive!

Then we drained the fuel and refilled the tank with E85, and RRE started to dial up some pretty impressive and continually growing numbers. Final result was 285kw, (380hp) and we could’ve stayed with 300+ but kept it down to keep it under control, with the older clutch and all best work within a cautious range for now.

Meadesports – RRE Pikes Peak EVO

At the port

We are helping out the Australian team from Meade Sports at Pikes Peak this year. Jeff Denmeade is driving, if his name is familiar to you, he has one of the first EVO Coupes down in Australia and has been rallying all over the world for quite some time. He contacted us for dyno tuning on US spec E-85 and we went from there. Great guys to hang out with (even though they talk funny ;-) )

I love Pikes Peak and everything about it. The first time I went I was helping out Rod Millen’s team when he ran the 3 rotor tube frame RX-7. RRE ran customer cars in 94, 95 and 96. In ’95 we beat Rhys’s new Supra with his old Celica All-Trac. In ’96 we beat Rhys’s Supra with a FWD Eclipse GS-T. In 2004 we won the Rally class with Stephan Verdier’s WRX.

I’ll be posting pics and notes from their blog here from now till the race on Sunday the 27th.

The car is fairly stock. They are running in the AWD Time Attack class. It is a US spec 2003 EVO 8. They have a 10.5 hotside, HKS 272 cams, cam gears and a LICP. For the E-85 tune they added 1000cc injectors.

Mike W


We arrive in LA at 6;15 in the morning on the 14th of June, which is the same time and date we left Sydney. Cool huh! We clear US Border & Immigration and grab the rental car (after what seemed like a very long ride to the rental company we used), then we rounded up the paperwork for the evo and head out to Long Beach to US Customs and Importations, once we found their office we walked in and were met by a young Customs Agent, and proceeded to do the evo clearance. Handing over tons of paperwork: title, rego papers, export docs, etc etc, we take a seat as they start the process of clearing it for us. After a short while we realise what we need is a big shot of red bull and some food, so I go in search and find some fried rice from down the road, bring it back and we shove some carbs down our throats, and suck on some Red Bull caffeine.

After a short while we are waved to the counter, we go there and we hand over the last bit of paperwork, and are met by an older well dressed gentlemen behind the counter who says “so about this car, it’s a rally car?”, “yes sir!” I reply, his immediate response was ” you have a log book?”, our answer, “yes sir, two of them!” and hand them over with our Cams and AASA licenses. He looks at us and says, thank heavens someone does it right, and proceeds to tell us horror stories about people trying to import cars, ie; rally cars, and they have no Logbooks, or even race licenses, etc, he then spends the next 1/2 hour thanking us and congratulating us on being legit racers, and welcomes us as the car is quickly cleared, hand shakes and huge thanks on their behalf for making their job easy and uncomplicated. He then brings out his photo album of the cars he used to rally in the 70’s, and it was a old Mitsubishi. This older gent also turned out to had been a master artiste and painted cars for a living on canvass etc, he showed us some of his work and we are in awe of his talents.

With clearance in hand, we then head off to Collect the evo from the dock yards, and despite a bit of running around (to be expected) we are taken to it sitting out on the docks, but then we are slightly delayed when we realise they have locked the keys in the car out in the middle of the dockyard and we wait for the mechanic to show with the slim jim and a few other items to unlock the car. Once these guys find out we are headed to Pikes Peak they can’t seem to help us enough, wishing us well with huge smiles. We pull the evo pull it out of the docks, and drive it up to Santa Fe Springs to the great guys at Road race Engineering.

Now, we are fortunate to have been in racing and rallying for going on 30 years now, we’ve raced on three continents and we’ve met and gotten to know many a great person, as time goes by you realise we are all connected by the passion of motorsports and hard facts. Whether we are dealing with the great guys at MEEK automotive, or Road Race Engineering. And between these two groups, there is nothing that is not achievable, or doable with evos.

We deliver the evo up to Mike Welch at Road Race Engineering and he is pure pro. He builds some of the fastest race evos in the US, and tunes 2-3 a week to E85. His yard is full of evos with stories. Such is Mike’s work schedule he works on and tunes evos well into the early morning hours most of the week, a car showing up for a tune at 11pm at night is an often occurrence. ‘Dedicated’ comes to mind. As MEEK and RRE work closer to bring the best of development to Australian evos, your going to see some great stuff in Australian Motorsports with evos. The top few images are from RRE’s activities with evos.

After dropping the evo at RRE, we set off for what had to be one of life simplest nicest pleasures, a HOT SHOWER, which after 45 hours in the same clothes, and a 15 hour flight, and running around half of California, was simply the best thing in the world at that point. Then it was off to the second best thing, a nice juicy incredibly well cooked steak and a bottle of Red Wine, which we got at the Outback Steakhouse near our hotel, and oh man it was juicy and nice.

Visit RRE at www.roadraceengineering.com and check out their site.

Tomorrow we share the latest updates with the tune from RRE. – JD

Ed Nazarian @ ACS Roval 3/13-14/10: Super Touring race results

Write Up by Ed Nazarian (driver/author of stories in boldface)

Snippy comments and edits by James Singer (slow driver/book reader)

We were racing at ACS last weekend, March 13-14.  Last time I raced at ACS was this same event in 2009, so it’s been a year since the last time I raced there.  Since I used our Super Touring season opener in February at Big Willow mainly as a shakedown event, I was ready to start pushing it progressively at ACS.  Despite all my efforts, it turned out to be another weekend of struggles.  However, it ended on a completely unexpected result.  I will get into the details accordingly, but for starters I want to say a quick thanks to Mike Welch from RRE for showing up and helping out, and also to Robert Fuller from ROBISPEC for providing me trackside suspension tuning for both races.

[all the crazy cars Ed has to race with lined up in a row.  The first time I attended a NASA event, I was blown away with how much diversity there is in his field.]

Thus far I have tried to be as patient as possible with mods for my racecar.  I have been patient long enough, so I decided it was time I upgraded something.  One of the mods I’ve been considering is the TRE rear-diff.  I contacted Jon at TRE and we set everything up through RRE.  Being the cool guy that Mike is, he gave me an extra rear-diff and then shipped it to TRE.  This way we can keep mine as backup.  Thanks Mike!  TRE Jon shipped it back to RRE and the guys at RRE installed it for me.  Thanks guys!  Since [forum-restricted] does my suspension tuning, we will be setting up the car from track to track as things progress throughout the season.  I’ll post a separate thread regarding my initial impressions of the TRE rear-diff coupled with [forum-restricted]s suspension tuning as the season unfolds.  But for now I’ll say that driving my car with the TRE rear-diff feels like I’m driving an entirely new car.  And I’m looking forward to seeing how we can develop my car with it.  Beyond upgrading to the TRE rear-diff, Martin from Girodisc sent me a new set of front 2-pc rotors.  My second set had run its course, so it was time for another set.

[note that in the group Ed runs in, they trade paint.  This isn’t for pretty boys.  Every single time I have been to the track, this group gets rough and tumble with each other.  Look at ST2 cars and you will see battle scars]

(Saturday Qualifying)
I noticed right away that the track was setup a bit tighter than last year, especially the last set of turns leading onto the Roval, T16-21.  Since that section leads us onto the Roval, it decreases our exit speed, thereby decreasing our speeds onto the Roval.  I gradually pushed it more and more from our Practice session, to our Qualifying session.

Before I proceed with anything else, I want to give a little welcome to an Evo newcomer, John Hsu.  I think John approached me on Friday while I was getting situated.  He recently purchased an Evo 9, and decided to race with us that weekend in Super Touring 2.  He’s a Honda Challenge driver, so he’s not new to racing, just new to Evos.  He was racing his Integra in H2, and his recently purchased Evo 9 in ST2.  I hope he continues to race his Evo 9 with us in ST2 because it will be really cool to see another Evo out there.  Other than us 2 Evo 9s, there was Scott Howard with his white Rx7, Ryan Cashin with his white Vette, and a guy named John Gordon in his blue 996 Porsche.  The Mazda GT guys skipped this event.

[See Ed’s eyes in this picture?  Dude is intense.  What is going on up there?  I have been trying to figure it out by having him ride with me and riding with him in my car because when he gets this look on his face, he is about to destroy the earth in his EVO.  Super intense focus!!]

(Saturday Race)

We were part of race group B, which consisted of SU, ST, ASC, GTS, AIX, AI, CMC, and FFR racecars.  Most of the classes didn’t have enough cars, so our rolling start was combined including SU, ST, ASC, AIX, and AI.  And they set our grid according to the overall lap times with respect to each rolling start, not lap times within each class.  So despite qualifying in P2 for my class, I was in P10 for our rolling start.  That meant we had out of class cars in between us which made things a bit difficult.  For whatever reason, there is always one or more out of class drivers that end up racing other drivers.  They hold you up by drag racing you down the straights.  There were plenty of those guys at this event.

Some guys botched the start so a bunch of cars passed me through T1 and T2.  After watching my in-car, 8 cars passed me, 3 of which were my competitors (Vette, Rx7, Evo9), and 5 out of class cars (2 AI cars, 2 AIX cars, and 1 ASC car).  I was held up quite a bit and had to overtake several of those cars.  But my biggest challenge occurred early in the race on lap 3.  On the first lap someone knocked the cone that’s in between T10-11 into the middle of the infield straight.  In lap 3 I was nose to tail with Scott exiting that chicane.  I stepped out to pass him and that cone ended up eating my lip, my entire undertray, and some of my IC.  I didn’t know any of that until the race was done.  After hitting the cone I could hear something dragging around my RF, and I thought it was part of that cone.  After the race I found out it was my undertray.  The entire undertray was hanging by (1) zip-tie the whole time!  I somehow finished the race in 3rd place.  A pretty good result considering my struggles in that race.  Unfortunately, my camera shut off about 8min into the race.  Therefore, you won’t be able to see the out of class cars that were drag racing me the whole time, who btw had none of their competitors around them.  Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of that from my Sundays in-car race footage.

As for the cone that ate my lip, undertray, and some of my IC, my friend Mark was able to help out.  Mark drives an Evo 9, so he loaned me his lip and undertray.  Thanks a bunch Mark!  On Sunday morning Mike brought me an extra undertray, lip, and a whole bunch of plastic clips.  Mike helped me finish up the rest with some zip-ties.  Thanks Mike!

[wing envy.]

(Sunday Qualifying)
Mike and my friend, Scott Pennock, helped out by checking my tire temps and pressures.  The undertray and lip felt fine so I pushed it more and more, and it felt like things were progressing.  Unfortunately, I found out afterwards that I forgot to mount my transponder so the officials had to somehow time me manually.  I didn’t get a good qualifying time because of that.

[I am secretly scared to run on this track as a n00b.  I know Ed has the skills but ACS is FAST! Look at Ed Go!  Blurry fast is faster than just background blur!!]
(Sunday Race)
For some strange reason, this event had a whole bunch of drivers who were flat out horrible.  Drivers drag racing out of class cars, incorrect/late grid formation, start jumping, and who knows what else.  It has never been this bad, so I’m a little confused as to what happened.  One in particular was an Orange AIX Mustang.  We were all over him in the braking zones, and the corners, but within a few seconds he would become a dot down every straight.  Then we’re all over him again in the next corner.  Not sure why he wouldn’t just let us by.  There was only 1 other AIX Mustang in that race and that driver was days behind the Orange one.  He was all by himself, and wouldn’t let us by.

As for the completely unexpected result, I won on Sunday.  That race on Sunday is by far my biggest come from behind win, while trying to get around more out of class cars that were drag racing me when they didn’t have any of their competitors around them.  As if that wasn’t challenging enough, the car that took 2nd place, Blue 996 Porsche, hit me on the last lap.  Fortunately, I was able to save a potential spin/off and maintained the lead for a completely unexpected win.  The Porsche was on my tail at the finish line trailing me by .152 seconds.  Meanwhile, the Orange AIX Mustang almost ruined my lead again.

I don’t know how I caught the Porsche in the first place.  I felt like I was so far behind that catching the leader never even crossed my mind, let alone having a chance at winning.  You have to watch the entire race to understand why.  As for getting hit by him, it happened at the apex of T4.  He went in too hot into T3 and nearly drove off track.  I passed him on the inside of T3 and was in front of him shortly.  I was then already turned in and committed to T4 and he came crashing into my right-rear.  Sounds like he went for a last minute out of control pass because you can hear his car slide into mine as his tires lock up.  I’m not sure what actually happened to him, but my best guess is that he went in too hot into T3 and lost control.  And then maybe he was a bit over-zealous and thought he could save it while nearly off-track, and also regain the lead with a last minute pass.

[look at this pic.  Getting on this track IS NOT intimidating to you?  Are your scared?  You will be!]

Saturday Qualifying times:

1.  1:48.848 – John Gordon #30 Porsche 996
2.  1:50.331 – Ed Nazarian #415 Mitsubishi Evo 9
3.  1:51.720 – Team Cashin In #32 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
4.  1:52.079 – Team Howard Racing #70 Mazda Rx7
5.  1:52.567 – John Hsu #2 Mitsubishi Evo 9

Saturday Race results:

1.  1:49.222 (in lap 3) – John Gordon #30 Porsche 996
2.  1:49.358 (in lap 8 ) – Team Cashin In #32 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
3.  1:50.144 (in lap 10) – Ed Nazarian #415 Mitsubishi Evo 9
4.  1:50.794 (in lap 6) – Team Howard Racing #70 Mazda Rx7
5.  1:55.052 (in lap 3) – John Hsu #2 Mitsubishi Evo 9


Sunday Qualifying times:

1.  1:50.799 – John Gordon #30 Porsche 996
2.  1:51.688 – Team Howard Racing #70 Mazda Rx7
3.  1:52.618 – John Hsu #2 Mitsubishi Evo 9
4.  1:53.986 – Ed Nazarian #415 Mitsubishi Evo 9

Sunday Race results:

1.  1:49.913 (in lap 11) – Ed Nazarian #415 Mitsubishi Evo 9
2.  1:50.558 (in lap 4) – John Gordon #30 Porsche 996
3.  1:52.660 (in lap 3) – John Hsu #2 Mitsubishi Evo 9
4.  1:50.652 (in lap 3) – Team Howard Racing #70 Mazda Rx7
5.  1:50.192 (in lap 3) – Team Cashin In #32 Chevrolet Corvette Z06


Watch out for Ed at the track.  If you are a n00b like me, you can learn a lot from a guy liek Ed.  If you are a sponsor, well, what are you waiting for?  Shout outs to John Gordon and Team Howard.  These guys also rule.  I have shared garages and parking spots with them and they are all really good at being supportive to me even when I went off and got a tidal wave of dirt in my car on my first weekend


Ed Nazarian: 2010 Super Touring season opener – Big Willow Feb 6-7 2010

By Ed Nazarian

Socal NASA’s 2010 season opener was this past weekend, February 6-7, at Big Willow.  The last time I raced at Big Willow was May of 2009, so it’s been a little over 8 months.  I have been dying to get back out to Big Willow.  And the last time I drove my racecar on track was at NASA’s National Championship in September of 2009 at Miller Motorsports Park.  So it has been a good 5 months since I have driven it.  Main reason why I haven’t driven my racecar since then is because I was hit during the National Championship race.  Details are here:

Results: 2009 NASA National Championship

Beyond that I had some setbacks that delayed the prep work we needed to fix the damage.  But with a few really late nights during the week leading up to the races and we were able to get the car ready for the season opener.  It wasn’t fun, but we got it done.

Before I proceed I want to thank RRE and Robert Fuller from Robispec for their respective work.  I’m not going to bother with the details of all the work RRE and Robi did.  Simply put, if it wasn’t for their support and hard work none of this would have been possible.  The guys at RRE put in a lot of their personal time to patch up the car.  My friend Sean Bradley came over for a day and also helped out, thanks Sean!  Quite a few parts needed to be replaced and RRE as usual pulled their strings and hooked things up.  Robi then did his work accordingly.  He also applied the necessary alignment/setting adjustments at the track both days.  More than anything because it rained on Saturday, and ended up clearing on Sunday.  Furthermore, I want to thank Mike, Honda Robert, and Robi for being there both days (Sat/Sun), to provide me the support I needed.  It is such a major relief to have them there with me in the trenches.

Before I proceed with the weekend, one thing I’d like to mention is my turbo.  In a few recent threads I had noted that before leaving to race at the National Championship, RRE set me up with their GT3076 turbo kit to test out.  Upon returning I decided to go back to my OEM Evo 9 turbo.  Given my setup I am looking to make around 340whp.  That power range coupled with my OEM engine cripples the 3076.  It’s really unfortunate that I can’t further test it in race conditions because despite my limited experience, it appears to be a solid turbo kit.

As for the results, last place both days!  I am not sure why, but I say that with pride.  On a serious note, the season opener was a shakedown weekend for me.  Considering everything that has led up to this point, coupled with the weather conditions, it was a successful weekend.  I got out there, did what I wanted to do, and brought the racecar back unscathed.

Regarding the weather, the forecast was indicating rain on Friday and Saturday, with the potential of rain on Sunday.  Given the weather forecast it was a low attendance weekend.  It ended up raining pretty hard on Friday, and continued to rain on Saturday.  I don’t really have any experience in wet conditions, let alone any experience racing in the rain.  It was strange driving on track with my wipers on.  It was a good experience.

As for lap times, that data is pretty much useless to me at this juncture.  Either way, here are the results.  But before I proceed with that, I am really excited to note that the Mazda GT racecars have stepped things up big time.  Only 2 of the Mazda GTs were racing, but they ran some really solid ST2 times on Sunday.  If the season progresses like this, there is going to be some serious ST2 competition this year in Socal.

Saturday Super Touring 2 Qualifying times:
1.  1:42.664 – 98 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT
2.  1:49.545 – 00 – Jon VanCaneghem – Mazda GT
3.  1:51.774 – 415 – Ed Nazarian – Evo 9

Saturday Super Touring 2 Race results:
1.  1:34.390 – 00 – Jon VanCaneghem – Mazda GT
2.  1:35.393 – 32 – Team Cashin In – Vette
3.  1:35.412 – 98 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT
4.  1:44.513 – 415 – Ed Nazarian – Evo 9

Sunday Super Touring 2 Qualifying times:
1.  1:27.118 – 00 – Jon VanCaneghem – Mazda GT
2.  1:28.049 – 98 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT
3.  1:33.551 – 415 – Ed Nazarian – Evo 9

Sunday Super Touring 2 Race results:
1.  1:28.319 – 00 – Jon VanCaneghem – Mazda GT
2.  1:28.591 – 98 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT
3.  1:31.512 – 32 – Team Cashin In – Vette
4.  1:33.099 – 415 – Ed Nazarian – Evo 9

Thanks again to my sponsors for their continued support:

– Robispec
– Girodisc
– South Coast Mitsubishi
– I’d also like to thank Honda Robert, Mike Welch, Robi, Sean Bradley, and Mark Homer for their help on Sat/Sun.

Ed Nazarian – Results: 2009 NASA National Championship

By Ed Nazarian

Results: 2009 NASA National Championship

The 2009 NASA National Championship was September 10-13 at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), in Utah. It was a week packed with challenges stacked with more challenges. We endured a great deal of hard work and perseverance. I realized for the first time how much my real sponsors care. They are the reason why we were able to get things done.

(Getting ready)

About a month or two before Nationals, we started preparing my car at RRE. My cars home away from home is at RRE, so we have spent tons of time there working on lots of different things. There are a few things we upgraded on my car before I went: brake duct kit, fuel surge tank, and a turbo kit. RRE reached out to AMS who set me up with their fuel surge tank. Thank you AMS! RRE then set me up with an AMS brake duct kit that they found locally for me. And the biggest one of all, RRE totally hooked me up with their GT3076 turbo kit.

RRE is a primary example of what a sponsor is all about. If it wasn’t for Mike, I don’t see how I would be able to race. Mike is not only a veteran, but he is a genuinely nice and caring guy. More than anything I consider Mike and everyone at RRE my friends. Everything I say about them I say from the bottom of my heart. And I say it not because I have to, but because I want to.

RRE is there to help me progress. Their support is tremendous. And most importantly, they help me out because they want to. I don’t have to beg and plea with them to get them to help out. They have families, and a personal life outside of all this, but they somehow make the time to help me out. You have no idea how many nights and days, including weekends, they have spent with me, and my car. There is no way I can articulate how amazing RRE has been for my racing program. On top of all that, Robert Ramirez (a.k.a. Honda Robert) made arrangements to come up to Miller for the entire week to crew for me. Honda worked extremely hard all week. He was the brains and muscle at Miller. I’m not sure how I would have been able to get through the challenges we encountered if he wasn’t there.

Before we left, there was a great deal of time spent on lots of little things. Beyond all that, since my wheel bearings hadn’t been replaced in about a year, I figured it would be best if we replaced all 4 to be safe. So I made a call to South Coast Mitsubishi, and they sponsored me with 4 new wheel bearings. SCM’s support doesn’t end there for my National Championship trip. All those details will be noted later in this thread accordingly. But to keep things relatively short for now, I want to say a big thank you to South Coast Mitsubishi for sponsoring me with some more vital parts. Those parts were the only reason why we were able to continue at Nationals. We encountered some braking issues, and SCM shipped me a master cylinder and 4 OEM calipers overnight. Something had malfunctioned and our only solution was to replace those parts. I don’t have a spare for every single part, so we had to find those parts somehow. I called South Coast Mitsubishi and within a few hours they shipped me those parts overnight. Thank you so much!

At this time I also want to say a thank you to my newest sponsor,Robispec. Robi has joined the team and is now doing my suspension tuning. Robi is one busy guy, but he sure is enthusiastic. Even though he had his hands full, and given the limited amount of time he had to help me prepare for Nationals, he stepped up to the plate with open arms. We are taking baby steps, but what we are doing is for the better. Robi did quite a bit of work on my car before Nationals. Even though we are starting from scratch and have a great deal of work ahead of us, I’m happy for the first time with that regard. Robi has a great deal to offer, and just like RRE, I don’t have to beg and plea with him to get him to help me out. He is forthcoming with ideas, and all he does is try to help me progress. Before we left for Nationals, he even made arrangements so that we can do a test day at Big Willow. Totally last minute, but he made it happen. All I had to do was show up and drive, that’s it.

( Tuesday, September 8 )

We arrived at the track late Monday night. Honda was already there and ready to go. MMP offered a separate test day on Tuesday, but it was a bit too expensive for me, so I opted to skip the Tuesday test day. Instead, I used Tuesday to unpack everything and get situated. Spent most of Tuesday just getting situated, learning the facility, and meeting some people. I must say that Miller has a really nice facility.

( Wednesday, September 9 )

The NASA test day was on Wednesday, so I couldn’t wait to get out on track and learn MMP. I realized for the first time on Wednesday that MMP is much harder on brakes than I had estimated. My brake pedal didn’t feel normal, and it gradually got worse as the day progressed. Something didn’t feel normal, but I wasn’t sure what to think. I also noticed right away that my peak boost was down a good 2psi due to the altitude. Prior to going, from what I had gathered I was supposed to lose around 2psi of boost, but either way it was interesting to actually see it happen.

As for the track, other than the front straight, it really doesn’t have any other sections that are extremely high speed. Coming off the front straight, T1-4 are the last set of corners that are relatively high speed. The rest of the track involves short straights that are coupled with low-mid speed corners. It’s a great deal more technical than I had anticipated. It’s a very deceptive track. Overall it’s a flat track, but it does have some elevation changes. And there really aren’t any major reference points, so it took me a few laps during the first session to remember where I was. I found myself braking a few times where I needed to be on the gas. Overall, I was captivated by its challenges, and couldn’t wait to get back out every session.

Before I get into the results, I want quickly explain how Nationals works. During Nationals we have 3 days of racing. Our group was group D, which comprised of Super Unlimited, Super Touring 1, Super Touring 2, American Stock Car, and Performance Touring A cars. Our races were scheduled on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. On Thursday and Friday we had a Practice session, followed with a Qualifying session, and then a Qualifying race on each day. When a race is finished, you get points according to how you finished, 100 for 1st, and so forth. NASA then adds your points from both races, which then determines what your grid position will be for the National Championship race on Sunday.

( Thursday, September 10 )

Practice Session:
Since my first race was scheduled on Thursday, Honda and I bled my brakes on Wednesday night. My brake pedal felt ok, but it never felt normal. I was confused, so I didn’t know what to think. I thought that maybe it was just me, but my gut feeling was that something was not right. We ran our Practice session and then our Qualifying session.

Qualifying Session:
Since something didn’t feel right with my brakes, I didn’t focus on laying down fast laps. I stuck to my routine and worked on different scenarios. During our Qualifying session I qualified 7th out of 9 cars with a 2:09.080. Here are the results from our Qualifying session:

1 – 2:06.164 – Jon Van Caneghem – Mazda GT
2 – 2:06.653 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT
3 – 2:06.770 – Ron Farmer – Corvette Z06
4 – 2:06.817 – Bobby Fischer – Cadillac CTS-V
5 – 2:07.293 – J.R. Smith – Corvette Z06
6 – 2:08.157 – Kenneth Smith – Corvette Z06
7 – 2:09.080 – Ed Nazarian – Mitsubishi Evo 9
8 – 2:12.839 – Tom Dragoun – Mazda GT
9 – –:–:–.— – Scott Howard – Mazda RX7

Qualifying Race:
Since something didn’t feel right with my brakes, my plan for the Qualifying Race was to just get out there and feel things out. However, the challenges were endless, and they began to unfold from the beginning of the race. While parked at the grid, some car in the front of the pack was having problems. Some cars were let out, then the rest of us were held up. A bunch were let out again, then when I approached I was held up. By the time they let me out of grid my group was gone. At the time I didn’t know how far ahead they were, but I never imagined what was about to happen.

I worked on getting my tires up to temp, but I knew I had to catch the field so I tried to drive around during that warm-up lap a little more quickly. By the time I hit T13 I realized it was too late. My group was in formation and was waiting to take the green flag. By the time I hit the front straight the green flag had already dropped and my group was entering T1. I couldn’t believe it. At that point I figured my 1st race was done. Fortunately, my group got a little bunched up and I was able to catch the back of the pack by the 2nd lap. I made a few moves the next few laps and I progressed from 7th to 4th place. My brakes were not feeling right and I could feel my brake pedal deteriorating. Two of my competitors were on my tail and I tried my best to hold my position. Unfortunately, my brakes did not hold up. With about 3 laps to go my brake pedal got extremely soft. I further extended my braking zones, and started pumping my brake pedal. Then my brake pedal dropped to the floor with 1 lap to go. I started pumping my brake pedal urgently but there wasn’t much of a response. There were only a few corners left before the race ended, but I had no other choice but to let my 2 competitors by. With a few corners left I lost my 4th place position, and fell back to 6th. During the cool-down lap I had to use my e-brake a few times, but it didn’t help. My brake pedal was on the floor. I coasted around the track and carefully exited. Honda had to physically slow me down as I rolled into impound. The last few laps were very nerve wrecking because all I could think about was my brake pedal. And when the race was done I had to keep my distance from everyone and everything because I was afraid of simply rolling into someone or something. Here are the Qualifying Race results:

1 – 2:05.889 – Kenneth Smith – Covette Z06
2 – 2:06.280 – Bobby Fischer – Cadillac CTS-V
3 – 2:04.803 – Ron Farmer – Covette Z06
4 – 2:08.246 – Scott Howard – Mazda RX7
5 – 2:09.283 – Jon Van Caneghem – Mazda GT
6 – 2:09.286 – Ed Nazarian – Mitsubishi Evo 9
7 – 2:14.261 – J.R. Smith – Covette Z06
8 – 2:05.930 – James Wagaman – Mazda GT

After the race I still didn’t know what to think. My gut feeling was that something was not right with my brakes, but I thought that maybe it was just me. Maybe I was too hard on my brakes. But I have been much harder on my brakes before, namely my Socal Regional races at Buttonwillow in May. I had (2) 35min races that weekend against the Mazda GT’s. Both races were intense from start to finish. And each one was much longer than this Qualifying race. My brake pedal got soft during those 2 races also, but my pedal didn’t fall to the floor. And like I said, each of those races were much longer. As you can see, I was confused, and didn’t know what to think. Honda helped me and we went through a few bottles of brake fluid that night in preparation for Friday.

( Friday, September 11 )

Practice Session:
I was optimistic with my brakes because we had gone through a few bottles of brake fluid on Thursday after my race. My brake pedal was firm, and we figured there was simply lots of air in my system. But since my pedal was firm we thought everything was good to go. Friday morning I got suited for my practice session and got ready to go. I turned on my car and applied my brakes. My pedal went down half way and my heart stopped. I was really confused because my brake pedal was firm the previous night. I pumped my brake pedal and my pedal got firm, but then a few seconds later it would get soft again. I was stressing out. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I kept thinking…what am I supposed to do? What is going on? Why is this happening now? I decided to still go out for the Practice Session, but I was going to take it easy and feel things out. I did a lap or two very carefully, but I didn’t feel that it was safe for me to continue. I exited and Honda and I started discussing our options.

We figured that we needed to replace my master cylinder and my calipers. Problem was that I didn’t have an extra master cylinder, let alone extra calipers. We got on the phone and started making some calls. I called South Coast Mitsubishi, Girodisc, and some local Utah racers that I had met. After a bunch of back and forth phone calls, and a whole bunch of waiting and stressing out, SCM found me a master cylinder and calipers. They assured me everything was good to go and they were going to overnight me everything so I could have it all on Saturday. They had to overnight everything because it was Friday. Packages don’t arrive on Sundays, and since my National Championship race was on Sunday we had to receive everything by Saturday to get it all installed and ready to go. One of my local contacts called me back and said he found me some parts also. He knew Vesko Kozarov and Lara Tallman, who were the people that had campaigned an Evo 9 in SPEED World Challenge. I kept them as my backup for the just in case factor.

( Saturday, September 12 )

First thing I did Saturday morning was I went to shipping and receiving. I checked to see if my package had arrived, but they said no. I went back several times and the anticipation was killing me. As the hours progressed the anticipation evolved into more of an overwhelmingly stressful situation. I had this bad feeling that was brewing because everyone told me the package would arrive in the morning. I checked again around noon, and I noticed a few packages had arrived. But the MMP worker told me none of them were mine. He then said that if it hadn’t have arrived by then, maybe something was wrong. My heart dropped and I was stressing out tremendously. If I couldn’t get those parts, my trip to Nationals was pretty much done. I couldn’t sit around and wait any longer. I got in touch with the local MMP racers I had met and they put me in touch with Vesko. I called Vesko, and I was surprised that he made the time to actually help me out. He was in the midst of preparing for a Grand-AM race, but he took the time to find the parts I needed. I told him the situation about how my package hadn’t arrived yet, and he said he had the parts I needed ready to go. If my package didn’t arrive all I needed to do was to give him a call. Even though I didn’t have his parts in my possession, it was a relief to know he had something for me as a backup. Shortly after that I went back to shipping and receiving and to my surprise my package had finally arrived. There is no way for me to describe how relieved I was. A big thank you goes out to South Coast Mitsubishi for sponsoring me with those parts, and getting them to me overnight. Its times like that when you realize who really has your back.

I rushed back with the package and Honda got started. It was around 1pm, and we only had about 3 hours. I had 1 practice session on Saturday at 5pm, so our plan was to get the car ready so I could test it then. Honda took everything apart and worked like a mad man. I helped him as much as I could, but we couldn’t get it done in time for me to make the 5pm practice session. It was a really long stressful day, and Honda attacked it like a freight train.

Before leaving for MMP, since I didn’t have any extra brake pads, I called Martin at Girodisc to get some as backup. Martin shipped them to the track for me, and they arrived on Friday. It’s a good thing Martin set that up for me, because my pads were starting to wear a little thin. When I had Martin set me up with those pads my plan was to keep them as my backup set. Instead, we ended up installing the entire set on all 4 corners. Thank you Martin! Honda left with his ride and I finished everything up that night. Since I missed the Saturday practice session, I went for a little test drive on Saturday night when I finished. I figured if my braking issue was not resolved by then, there was nothing else left that we could do. Right away I knew my brakes were back to normal. I tested them out on some backroads and everything felt solid. But given what I had been through, I was going to wait to see how things would be the next day.

( Sunday, September 13 )

Practice Session:
There was a great deal of anticipation brewing. I got suited and got ready for my only practice session on Sunday. If my brakes didn’t work then, my trip was over because our National Championship race was a few short hours later. I got out there and gradually got up to speed. My brakes felt solid, but I couldn’t help to feel a little skeptical. I gradually pushed it more and more, and everything felt fine. At that point I knew everything was finally working again.

The weather forecast indicated that it might rain on Sunday, and it did. It periodically rained. Honda helped me bleed my brakes one last time. Then at some point it started getting extremely windy. For a second I remembered the 2008 Nationals. Last year at Mid-O, during the last day at Nationals we got hit with remnants of Hurricane Ike which pretty much obliterated the entire Mid-O facility. So when it started getting extremely windy at MMP, all I remembered was 2008 Nationals. As if our challenges were not enough, this out of control wind came flying in, the irony. I was in the midst of changing my engine oil, and it was quite the challenge. We surrounded the front of my car with all sorts of contraptions to block the wind. Otherwise my engine oil was going to splatter all over the place as it drained. That ended up taking a lot longer than I had anticipated. A great deal of my time was lost accordingly. Next thing I knew I was about 45min away from my National Championship race. Honda unfortunately had to leave because of his ride, so I was rushing desperately. I had to finish that up, get my wheels/tires mounted, fueled up, and wrap up everything in between. By the time I got suited and strapped in I could see my group getting situated at the grid. I was in a mad rush. I drove over to the grid, and as I pulled into my spot they called 1min. I had a few seconds to compose myself and the next thing I knew they were signaling us out on track.

National Championship Race:
Our National Championship race is 45min long. All my races thus far have been 35min long, so my overall plan was to take my time. Since I had missed our Qualifying Race on Friday, I had the least amount of points in my class. Therefore, I was grid up in last place in our group, which was comprised of Super Unlimited, Super Touring 1 and Super Touring 2 cars. We were one of the groups that had a special internet broadcast deal with SpeedCastTV, so we had the 1st rolling start, and we were lined up as one entire group. I was in no hurry to challenge my competitors, so I was not going to make any aggressive passes yet. I kept telling myself that it was a long race, and that I was going to stay away from everyone. If someone was going to pass me I was going to let them by with ease. We did our warm-up lap and I couldn’t wait any longer. As we went through the last set of corners I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe we had made it through all those challenges. It had been one hell of a journey, and there is no way I can explain how significant of a trip it had been. We turned onto the front straight in formation and moments later the green flag dropped. However, like I said in the very beginning, “it was a week packed with challenges stacked with more challenges. A great deal of hard work and perseverance.” Little did I know then that my challenges were not over just yet.

After the green flag dropped everyone took off down the front straight. Some people were pretty settled while others were weaving around looking for holes. I stuck to my plan and passed a few cars down the front straight because they were low risk maneuvers. We were a long train of Super Unlimited and Super Touring cars all bunched together. I was towards the back, but had already moved up 2-3 spots in my class. I had 2 Mazda GT’s on my tail and was in no big hurry to maintain my position. We approached T5, and I noticed they took the inside line. I backed off, gave them plenty of room, allowed them to pass me, and tucked in right behind them.

During that 1st lap there was an incident, and as we turned onto the front straight a double-yellow was presented at start/finish. Everyone backed off, but one of the Mazda GT drivers didn’t see the double-yellow and went flying by the entire field. It was pretty funny. The pace car came out eventually and collected the field. We did that 1 lap under the pace car, then as we came around onto the front straight the pace car exited, and the green flag dropped restarting the race. I had another low risk pass on the Mazda GT down the front straight, so I took it. He trailed me through the next few corners and we approached T5. I maintained the outside line and as I turned in I noticed that he moved over and tried to tuck in on the inside of me again. Something inside me told me to give him more room this time. So instead of turning in even more, I moved over far right to give him all the room he needed. I remember glancing over and thinking there was enough room next to me to stick another car there. The next thing I know he comes crashing into me sending me off track. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that he came crashing into me. There was tons of room next to me. I just couldn’t believe it. I was a little dazed. I waited for some cars to pass, and when the coast was clear I got back on track. Right away I realized something was wrong. My car was limping around, and as soon as that happened I realized that my National Championship race was over. I was devastated. I just couldn’t believe what had happened. I knew of the driver who had hit me because he is a Socal racer. And I know he is a veteran racer, so on top of that I was shocked that out of all the people he was the one who hit me. I limped around the last few corners, pulled into impound, and that was that. We both filled out incident reports. NASA officials looked at our forms, checked out our cars, and asked some questions. They finally came over and told me that he was DQ’d and I was free to go.

I eventually made my way back to my spot and started packing up. He came over later on and I could tell he felt horrible about the situation. He apologized and admitted that it was his fault. He admitted that he came in too hot. He also acknowledged that he saw me move over far right to give him more room. I was thankful that he apologized and that he admitted that it was his fault. Either way I was devastated. I couldn’t believe that after all the hard work Honda and I had put in that week, it all came to a crashing end on the 1st lap of the restart. I’m a rookie racer, so my experience with such matters is just beginning. Either way, I have never endured as many challenges and hardships at any event. Honda and I worked really hard all week. I came back without any trophies/rewards, but the experience I gained in result of how we persevered is priceless. There really is no way I can explain how significant of a trip it was. And I owe that all to my sponsors, and my crew, Honda Robert.

The ironic part of that race was that I ended up getting 4th place. As the week progressed we lost 2-3 ST2 cars. In the final race 7 of us started the race, but only 3 finished. The driver who hit me was DQ’d, so he took last place. And the other 2 had issues and did less laps than me. Even though I was hit, which ended my race, I had done more laps than them so I ended up with 4th place.

On a side note, it seemed like quite a few people had issues also. Namely, some of the Socal guys I know. Terry Free was having issues all week also. He first went into the wall at the exit of T6. I was behind him when that happened. He almost had it, but his rear end stepped out way too much and into the wall he went. They repaired his damage and he was back out. Then he had clutch issues which apparently never got resolved. To top it all off his engine blew again. Terry has had quite a few engine issues, so it was sad to hear his trip ended in that fashion. Beyond Terry, my friend Scott Howard was battling issues also. Scott is a fellow Super Touring 2 racer who races a 1985 RX7. I don’t recall his issues in detail, but I think he was having electrical issues at the end. His troubles ended up preventing him from racing in the National Championship race. I’m confident that if he was able to race, he was in a position to win it. He was down on power, but regardless of his issues, he ran a pretty fast time in one of the practice sessions, a 2:04xxx. The really sad part is that he didn’t get to race during the 2008 Nationals either. He blew his engine last year on the first day. Its 2 years in a row now that he has gone to Nationals, but hasn’t been able to race. I know that once he gets his car sorted, he will be one of the fastest guys in Super Touring 2.

As you all can see, the only reason I am able to race is because of my sponsors. And the only reason we were in a position to persevere at Nationals was because of them. Without them I would not be able to do any of this. So a big thank you to all of them:

– Robispec
– Girodisc
– Island tire
– And all my friends

Beyond them I also want to thank my crew, RRE veteran, Robert Ramirez (a.k.a. Honda Robert). Honda was the brains and muscle at MMP. We had so many challenges thrown at us all week, and Honda literally attacked them all like a freight train. If he hadn’t have come, I don’t know how I would have been able to progress, let alone make it through the entire week. You are one of the people I trust and know that I can count on. Thank you for everything!

(In-car footage)

Here is my in-car footage from the 1st Qualifying race. I’ve adjusted the position of my camera, so you should notice that the footage is much better now:

My 1st Qualifying Race

Here is in-car footage of the National Championship race from another driver. For whatever reason, my camera malfunctioned so I don’t have any in-car footage from this race. This car is in Super Touring 1. You will see me in the picture from around the 40sec marker. I get hit a bit after the 7min marker in T5:

In-car footage of me getting hit (@7:10):


Greg Collier – 1G Eclipse GS-T – March 12-13, Race Report

By Greg Collier – Diary of first NASA race of the season at California Speedway.

NASA Pro-Racing Season Opener At California Speedway March 12-13

It was a sunny 80 degree southern California day when arrived at the track on Friday morning. We got situated in our garage space and got ready for our annual tech and then do some track testing. This being the beginning of the race season an annual safety inspection of the car is necessary. Technical inspectors check the roll cage configuration, tube thickness and approved padding, dates of fire extinguisher and or fire system, SFI approved drivers suit, shoes, socks, gloves, all in case you have a car fire, 6-point seat belts and window net which have to be replaced every 2 years since Dale Earnhardt’s accident. Then they start on the vehicle inspection checking wheels/tires, steering/suspension, and engine for fluid leaks, no anti freeze, overflow containers, battery secured, so-on and so-forth. You’ve got two or three guys checking every nut and bolt for about 15 minutes. You get your race log-book signed and you’re ready for the season. At any time in the following races of the season they can do a surprise inspection to make sure you didn’t change anything. If they find something you’ll get fined $ and until you pay the fine and fix the problem you can’t race.

With our tech complete we took the car to our garage space, gassed it up, checked the tire pressures, and waited for our track time. We were scheduled for (4) twenty-minute sessions starting from 1-PM that afternoon.
I took the first track session pretty easy. We had just installed new Stop Tech brakes the day before so we had to do a rotor and pad seating procedure. I ran a couple of medium warm up laps so I didn’t have to brake that hard in the turns. Then I ran 3 laps pushing harder each lap until I brought the brakes up to racing temperature. I ran a cool down lap and brought it back in the garage not touching the brakes at all. When your breaking in new rotors and pads if you keep your foot on the brakes after you heat them up you’ll embed the pad on the rotors. I don’t even want to go there…………
While in the garage RRE’s Scot Gray, the wizard of EMS tuning, plugged his lap top into my AEM and made some critical air/fuel and idle adjustments before our next session which was an hour from the first one.

California Speedway Grand AM road course configuration is a 2.8 mile, I’m going to call it 14 turn very high speed race track. Top speed for me on this track has been around 160 MPH. You pick up speed on the front straight and take turn 1 on the oval fairly high, as you approach turn 2 you want to shoot down towards the bottom of the track and sling shot out on the back straight setting up for turn 3 that puts you onto the infield road course. So basically you’re going from 160 MPH down to about 40 MPH to make a hard sharp left turn then hard sharp right turn. It’s so cool!
After going through turn 3 and 4 you have a small straight that approaches a left hand sweeper. I usually start wide on this turn then pull a tight apex on the other side and sling shot way wide right onto another little straight. Pedal to metal you come up to a little quick left and right then hard braking into a very tight right hander (35MPH). Full throttle through a cork screw down a very fast straight away under the Toyota bridge to a ball busting, flat spotting, spin out, sharp right hander which is the beginning of very slow S’s. Once you make it through the S’s it’s a balls out almost right handed power drift back onto the ovals front straight. You immediately feel the down force from the incline of the oval and your instinct is to floor the accelerator pedal. It’s like you knew if you had wings you’d be taking off over the grandstands. It’s frigging awesome!

I ran my 3 other practice sessions with about 30 other cars, flat spotted a brand new Hoosier tire at the ball busting turn just before the S’s, and got the car dialed in for Saturdays qualifying and race. All in all it was an excellent test day.

My Competition

Because my car has so many modifications I run in the Super Unlimited class. This class is usually made up of the biggest, badest, fastest cars in the field. Vision Racing brings their “Rolex” series 996 500 HP and 800HP twin turbo Porsches. There was another “Grand AM or Rolex” series Porsche, a yellow custom fiber glassed body full race 911 SC pushing about 350 HP, and a new twin turbo Nissan Z who won a past SCC time trial. Now we’ll get to the fast cars, next to me in the garage was 2300lb. 750 HP tube framed Corvette Z06, a “Trans Am” series 700 HP Mustang Salleen, and lets not forget about Johnny Pag’s fleet of Ferrari’s, but he only drives one at a time. So this puts my race group at a total 9 cars.

On the track at the same time for this particular race event are the NASA “AI” (American Iron) series and the “CMC” (Camaro-Mustang Challenge) see www.americanironracing.com . These are fully race prepped, slick tires, 350 to 400 HP good ol American racecars. These two race groups include about 28 additional racecars on the track at the same time. This put the total field of cars racing at 37.

Race Day

We woke up to a cold, foggy, and drizzling morning. We got to the track and prepared for a warm up session before qualifying later in the morning. Because the track was wet and foggy we took 6 laps behind a pace car. It was kind of a waste of time but you new your car running.


It was 11 AM and time for qualifying. Because there’s so many different race groups running the track the same day your entire race group qualifies on the track at the same time. You get 20 minutes of track time to do your fastest lap, and that includes passing slower cars in the process. I did crappy in the “Super Unlimited” class running a 2:01 which put me 9th and last in my starting position and I think 14th overall with all the other cars on the track.


After a drivers meeting where we discussed good sportsmanship (no dive bombing or spinning your competitors out), we prepared for our race. It was 3 PM and cloudy so track temperatures were ideal for our engines but less then perfect for our tires. I strapped in my car with my Hans devise, seatbelts drawn tight enough it’s hard to take a real deep breath, window net up, motor running and showing good oil pressure, EGTs, and solid boost pressure. I drove to pre-grid where we set up in our starting order for the race. This particular day we were having 2 rolling starts. The “Super Unlimited” group would go first then the “AI” and “CMC” would keep about a hundred feet behind us and start second with two separate green flags.

We pulled onto the track behind the pace car with its lights flashing blue, at about a fifty mile an hour pace. We scrubbed our tires to get built up tiny bits of melted rubbing off, then speeding up and braking hard to get some heat in the tires. We did a full lap behind the pace car through the road course coming up to the front straight on the oval. The pace car pulled off and we tightened up our nine-car group waiting for the green flag to be dropped.

A flash of green (I was in 3rd gear) and we were off. The field of cars began to spread out with the Rolex Porsches taking an instant lead. I passed the fiberglass bodied 911 (also yellow in color) and turn 3 onto the road course came up real quick. From that point it was a blur of concentration. The constant shifting, braking, turning, accelerating, checking your mirrors, checking your gauges, oh yeah, looking where you’re going all seems so mind-boggling. How cool is that?

The races are timed sprint racing. That means its balls out for 45 minutes straight. Your car screws up, you blow a tire, you spin out, you lose. The only way you become a descent driver is seat time. Practice, practice, and more practice. But what a great way to learn!

Back to the race: I got passed by two really loud 400HP Mustangs. I know the drivers in both cars are racing school instructors. I’m not making any excuses but the last time I drove my racecar was four months ago and my daily driver is a Dodge Ram V10 2500, 6600lb. truck. Anyway, it’s about the middle of the race and I’m learning how to use my new Stop Techs. I can now brake at 25 feet before a turn where it used to be 50 feet. I’ve got that yellow 911 Porsche on my ass the whole time. It was lap 10 and I doing about 110 MPH on the small back straight coming up to the S’s before the oval when I lock up my brakes and flat spot my front right tire. I kept it under control but now my front wheel is bumping like a sewing machine.

I get out on the front straight of the oval and accelerate to about 140 MPH and I fell the car lifting off the track so I begin to feather the pedal. I’m able to keep the Porsche behind me and I’m still on low boost. I got onto the road course and continued to push as hard as I could. There’s nothing better then a little adversity to make you want to go faster, even with a flat spotted tire. All of a sudden the two “Rolex” Porsches lapped me but I see I’m coming up on the Ferrari. I make it to the oval and pass the Ferrari with that dam yellow 911 still behind. It’s 140 MPH again and the car starts to lift and I feather keeping my ground. Another couple of laps go by and I’ve lapped at least a half dozen Mustangs and Camaros when I see the white flag come out.


I’m not ashamed to say I was tired and beat up but I kept that yellow 911 at bay. It’s the last lap and I’m on the back straight of the oval going from 140 MPH down to 40 MPH when a Mustangs spins out right in front of me. He doesn’t make the turn and goes off the track and I lock up my new brakes and do a half spin on the track. The yellow Porsche goes by with two Mustangs behind him. I put it in first and do my DSM drag car impersonation and end up passing the Mustangs and get that dam yellow Porsche in my sights. The 911 made it through the S’s before the oval and I’m probably 75 feet behind. I hit boost 2 (like turning on a super charger) and was only 10 feet behind him at the checkered flag.


Oh man!!! It was a great race and I was friggen exhausted. But it’s the best kind of tired I could ever feel. We all pulled into the paddock area and parked out cars behind each other, got out, shook hands, and recapped the whole race with each other. They gave out trophies, took pictures with drivers and trophy girls, and we put our cars in our garages to get ready to do the whole thing over the next day. I’m hoping that’s what it’ll be like in heaven.


Saturdays race I placed 6th in class ahead of the Ferrari, Corvette Z06, and the Salleen DNF’d. I took 10th overall with 37 cars running and was doing 1:56 laps. This will all be official when the AMB transponder results are posted on the NASA site.

Sunday race and results

Sundays race was cloudier and colder. With fresh Hoosiers on the front, the car ran great and I felt a bit more confident. I didn’t flat spot any tires and I beat that dam yellow 911 Porsche that hounded me the day before. The Salleen and Rolex series Porsches took one, two, and three. I placed 5th and I think 8th or 9th overall and I think my lap times dropped a second or two. Not bad for a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine against a bunch of V8’s and factory built European racecars.


I flat spotted 3 new 275/40-17 Hoosiers down to the cords. Cracked my front splitter in half and tore up my front valance a bit. All easily repairable for the next race at Button Willow Race Park near Bakersfield Ca. on April 9-10. Oh yeah, the tube framed $250,000.00, 2300lb., 750 HP, Corvette Z06, blew up his engine and is looking at $50K to $75K rebuild.
I love my DSM…


RRE- Rob Tallini – Las Vegas Motor Speedway 11/2001

Back to Vegas we went for another event. This time it was all on the short infield stadium track, no oval action. In attendance were the usual German cars we love to pick on so much. An interesting car that was in attendance was the Porsche Super Cup 996 that won the European Championship this year. Recently purchased for $150,000, this 996 was flawless, big slicks, air jacks, real racecar stuff.

After our “rally” race in Tecate, we went through the entire front end of the car. It looked more like it had been through a season of rallying that a street race. We replaced the engine cross member, the motor mounts, all the suspension and cross member bushings. We found several cracks in the main cross member that we welded up and we had to replace the steering rack. The wheel bearings were shot and we also replaced the axles and CV joints to be safe.

While the maintenance was all necessary, it ended up working against us to some degree. Our Eclipse was again  handling diabolically. Just when we had went softer with the springs on one hand, overall we were now stiffer with all the other improvements. We kept chasing the set up and again decided our set up was too stiff for this track. It was better suited for a fast track like the oval or the big track at Willow Springs.

We qualified 3rd, a real disappointment for Tallini and the crew. Ty, Eric, Bobby and Jose our crew had changed everything possible to correct matters but we were limited by the springs we chose.

Nonetheless, the race went well for us. On the start, Tallini again punked the Porsches and we jumped from 3rd to 1st into the first turn. Tallini led the 2 faster Porsches and a BMW, the class of the field. Holding them at bay for a third of the race, we started to blister a left front tire. Tallini could feel it and could no longer hold back the Porsches. They slipped by in a tight right hander. The three of us appeared chained together, that was when the 996 choked under the pressure. He was leading the pack he ran a little wide in a left hand sweeper. Instead of riding it out, he got greedy trying to get back on the track. Oops! He caught a little traction on the front wheels and with the weight of the rear motor influencing things he shot across Tallini’s bow backwards at about 80 mph backed the beautiful car into the barrier. Now we started getting some game from the BMW. He passed us and we passed him. Both of us were ringing out our cars like a dishrag!! This went for a few laps until we could pull out a little. While all this was going on, the other Porsche slipped away. We easily finished second.

We inspected the car after the race and found that left front tire with about 10 holes the size of a silver dollar in it. Remember the dishrag? All and all we were pleased. We had competition, learned more about our racecar and brought home another trophy. Testing is in order now. We need to soften up the springs some on the tighter tracks in order to get the car back to it’s old self.

RRE – Rob Rallini -Tecate Grand Prix 2001



After our triumph in Vegas, we headed south of the border to Tecate. This event is entirely different from races we do in the U.S. The track is a temporary street course approximately 1.9 miles in length. It is rough, dusty, and unforgiving. We again brought our 1G Eclipse. Many other gringos from the Porsche Owner’s Club, Touring Car Club, and NASA joined us. Having previously dominating our Group A class in the Border series, we were nicely “invited” to run our car in Open Class from now on. Open Class is just that, anything goes.

The primary change we made to the car was all new JIC shocks and springs. Our old suspension had a lot of mileage and it was time to upgrade to something more current. The weather was mild by comparison to Vegas so we felt confident with the engine as it was set up. Suspension tuning was our primary concern.

Tallini went out for practice and returned shaking his head. The track was so rough and the springs we were given so stiff, it made the car undrivable on what was effectively a paved rally course. “The car is always off the ground!” Tallini said. Literally, as there were two “yumps” on the front straight away. We worked frantically to soften up sway bars and tire pressures in order to minimize this problem before qualifying. Since we weren’t the only ones dealing with the rough track, all the teams were busy dealing with suspension set up.

Qualifying was uneventful. We did our usual routine of hiding from the competition, laying down a few fast laps, and then sneaking up behind them in order to size them up.  Tallini came back with second overall fastest time. One of the POC Porsches, Dino Casamasima, had put down a time a whole second faster than us.  We felt like we had a little more car left but we were afraid we might break something in the driveline. We thought it was prudent to save the car for the race on Sunday.


Warm ups in the morning should have been uneventful, but after 3 laps Tallini pitted with smoke pouring out from under the hood. We broke the turbo oil return line (rally style) and fortunately had a spare in one of the rally boxes. No problem.

Before the race we discussed how to handle our pole sitting Porsche.  We decided, go for the win or break trying. Standing starts usually work to our advantage. On the outside of a staggered front row, Tallini launched hard on the Porsche and beat him into the first turn. Nose to tail for laps, the Porsche kept taking stabs at us and even got past in the braking zone at the end of the front straight. Tallini immediately worked him over and retook the lead. The race was turning into a gladiator match. Unfortunately for Porsche, we hired a meaner Italian and the gladiator match was over. After squeezing each other in the braking zone, Dino ran wide, clipped a curb and developed a leaking right rear tire and he slowed. SET, MATCH, GAME!

We smoothly sailed home to victory. With thousands of spectators lining the track. Tallini took Welch for a victory lap and saw first hand just how rough it really was. They love us in Mexico!!  Fan clubs, Tecate girls, appreciative people, Mexico has it all. We can’t wait to go back.

Our friends from Open Track Ryan Flagharty and Gus Heredia also ran their 4AG Corollas in the Group B class. Gus won Group B.

RRE- Rob Tallini – Las Vegas Motor Speedway 8/2001


We couldn’t resist the opportunity to run with NASA and the PRO Racing Series on the American Le Mans Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, August in Las Vegas means triple digit temperatures. We went for it anyway in our 1G FWD Mitsubishi Eclipse.

There were quite a few Porsches and BMWs in attendance as well as a variety of American muscle cars. Cars ranged from Porsche 996 and 993 ALMS cars to Southwest Tour Cars. We ran in the under 3.0 liter anything goes class.

Practice and Qualifying were quite the challenge due to the heat. Our driver Robert Tallini had never driven this track so he paid close attention to finding the fast way around the oval. We played with sway bars and tire pressures in order to optimize the temperature in our Toyo tires. We slowly dialed in suspension while at the same time, data logging engine vitals.

The 110+ temps in Vegas made dialing the engine in even more important than suspension. Qualifying went well and we had the pole in under 3.0 liter class (7th overall). Closest were a pair of BMW M3s. We were happy with that but Tallini knew there was more left in the car. We made a few more adjustments and prepped the car for the race.

Inside the 4th row the start proved to be a revelation. When the green flagged dropped, Tallini passed 3 cars into the first chicane. Typically we get good starts but we were amazed at the couple hundred thousand dollars worth of German hardware we passed. All race, three Porsches (a 996, 993 and a RS2) chomped at our heels.

Tallini said he spent more time looking backwards than forward. Every lap we thought we would get out powered down the straight. Not the case. Every lap we thought we would get out braked at the end of the straight. Never happened. For a half hour all eyes were on us. People couldn¹t believe a Mitsubishi could beat up all these purpose built race cars with double the horsepower and big slicks!

As the race wore on, Tallini kept us leading our class by 12-15 seconds and battled for the overall podium. Near the end of the race, tire temps soared and the car got harder and harder to drive. After a series of tight turns in the infield section our new German friends got within striking range and one struck. In the entry to the hairpin he got in under us and pushed Tallini out to the grass. With 2 wheels in the grass we lost the drive out of the corner and the Porsches slipped by.

Fortunately, a couple of DNFs in front of us allowed us to finish 4th overall and of course we won our class by 14 seconds. Tire wheel temps were so hot that the valve stem caps were melted to the valve stems. We were pretty stoked afterwards and more than a couple of German car owners actually came up to shake hands. They were impressed with our Mitsubishi Eclipse and perhaps a bit embarrassed by us.

The Crew

Left to right: new mechanics @ RRE Christian and Bobby, Driver Rob Tallini and honda Robert


Rob Tallini – RRE Eclipse GST – Tecate, Mexico 2000

The track was pretty cool for a street course. It was in a hilly area based on a divided highway through a slight valley right by the Tecate Brewery. One side of the road went up and curved back down the side of a hill, then to a short straight with a long dip, 90 right, hair pin right, sweeping left back on to the wide road through the valley that curved slightly. Since it took you at a pretty high speed (110-120) down to another hair pin right back onto the front straight, they built a chicane out of tires to slow things down before the hairpin. This tire barrier would get regularly rearranged from cars blasting through them.



Rob Tallini was driving our 1G FWD this weekend. On Saturday Morning, the car started running a little hot. We found one of the flat fans had died, melted solid inside the fan motor. Scot Gray went on a tour of down town Tecate looking for some kind of universal flat fan. Not in Mexico. Lucky for us, our number one race fan in Mexico Pedro Kim volunteered to drive to Pep Boys in San Diego to get one for us. He lives in Tijuana and had driven all the way to Tecate to see us. He has been to every Mexican race we have run and even drove up to watch the LA Street Race. Pure devotion. We just turned the boost down to 1.0 bar and it ran cool enough till we got the fan installed.


We qualified fastest in Group A on Saturday but were a little slower than the faster open class cars. Power seemed a little off even for 1.0 bar and there was a little dark smoke when the car came on full boost. We went looking for a boost leak and found one, one of the Allen bolts to the compressor outlet flange was a millimeter too long and wasn’t tightening the flange down enough. Fixed that up Saturday after the sessions and were ready for the Sunday morning warm up.

We turned the boost up to 1.2 with the overtake boost set at 1.3 for 6 seconds (one of the few working PRofec A’s in captivity) and with new Porterfield R4-E’s the car was pretty much dialed in. We played a little with tire pressures and were ready to race. This time they combined the three fastest groups so we got to play with the faster open class cars. The two fastest were VW Rabbits running 2.2 liter 16 valve motors (one turbo and one supercharged) and weighing 1800 lbs. Power to weight we were about the same and they had a lot less weight for their brakes to slow down.


They started the race groups separately in their qualifying order. We were at the pole position of the second group, standing start. Rob got a good launch on El Coyote in the Mustang (pronounced “Moose-estang” in Mexico) and just squeezed in front of him heading up the hill. As soon as the open class cars disappear over the hill and as Rob is approaching the crest of the hill, we see a huge dust cloud rocketing along the side of the hill and down to the center of the little valley. Red flag all corners, everyone back to the start. One of the open class cars (a 1500 lb Pinto with a XR4Ti turbo motor) was the victim of a little too much enthusiasm on cold tires and cold brakes.


Re start is a replay of the first one. Rob worked his way through the remaining open cars and up to the back bumper of the lead bunny. They played with each other up to about the 1/2 way point, Rob was a little faster but since they weren’t racing for actual position tried to be nice. He got a little bored and started working on a pass but the Rabbit started blocking, on one drive out of the last turn Rob ended up giving a little “assist” for the Rabbit up the front straight. The car gets hot with no air flow when following close so he let the Rabbit have a little space.

Then bwaaa…pop. It just started misfiring and sputtering. No juice race over. The alternator kicked the bucket. Rob coasted in to the pits. Arturo in the red rabbit went on unchallenged to finish first.

After our strong showing in the last two races we were politely asked if we “wanted” to move our Group A car over to their Open Class. No problem.

RRE Busy This Next Month

We are off to the Gorman Ridge SCCA Pro Rally this weekend. Friday we
are closed unless you got an appointment. The spike strips will be in
the driveway ;-)




We are running Bruce Brown’s new Subaru GRC and Paul Timmerman’s 323
GTX. Tony Chavez just got Autronic with anti lag on his GVR-4 and will
be racing too.

Then Sunday we are over to Speed Trial USA at the Streets. We are going
to do a little playing with the road race car in preparation for the
Ensanada GP Sept 1-4 in Baja California.


We are going to the ITN rally on September 9th
The finish is in Pasadena so figure on some nice Angeles National
Forrest roads (Angeles Crest, Angeles Forrest)


End of September is the Prescott Forrest SCCA Pro Rally. Bringing all
the usual RRE rally cars plus we are helping to service for Tony Takaori
from Japan with his EVO-3


Don’t break anything until October :-P

Tijuana Gran Prix – March 1999 – Tijuana, Mexico

TIJUANA ,March 13-14- We brought the Black Road/Race Eclipse to Tijuana to race in the PRO BORDER SERIES. Competitors from NASA,PRO and CAS sports car racers attended.  The weekend was sunny and mild in TJ. We took to the track Saturday fro practice and qualifying. Both sessions went well. The Road/Race JEMFX Mitsubishi responded well the the modifications we made in the off season. The addition of an oil cooler and remote filter assembly drastically improved our engine cooling as well as two more fans on the radiator. We also added added a boost activated water spray system for the radiator.

Robert Tallini again drove the car for us. He qualified on the outside of the first row for Saturday’s Heat Race. Second in qualifying, the other five out of six cars were 6-cylinder Porsches. The green flag dropped and Tallini took the Road/Race Eclipse right to the front, leading from lap one to finish! The car performed well although brakes were still an issue with our car’s overall performance. Winning this race put us on the pole for Sunday’s main event.

Sunday’s schedule consisted of a warm up session and a main event. During our warm-up we took it easy. Tallini ran most of the session just to check gauges and feel the car out for the main event. One interesting development occurred during warm-up. Ty Tipton, driving a 1.8 Honda Civic set fastest time in warm-ups. He had mechanical problems on Saturday. His times were a bit faster than the last times we recorded and had us a little worried. In the main event, we shot out into the lead and pulled from the field. Tipton’s times were no fluke though. He cut his way through traffic and stormed up behind Tallini and started to ride our bumper.  We had a little more left though. After sizing up Tipton, he used the overtake boost button on the PRofec A, pushed harder everywhere, and pulled out to a comfortable margin. Tallini took the overall win in our car, beating three classes of cars varying from 4 cylinders to V-8s!

Mexican fans really appreciated the exciting race and our efforts. Tallini returned the favor laying down some smoking burnouts for the enthusiastic crowd. We also learned a lot from these races and look forward the the next round of development for our car. We plan on running the car at a variety of events this year in the U.S. and Mexico. We would like to thank everyone who helps us, JEM/FX, Ronal Wheels, GReddy, and Toyo Tires. We can always use a hand.


Laughlin Rally – Robert Garcia Gets his Eclipse in Autoweek!

We just got back from the Rally America Pro Rally. Robert Garcia from the shop here ran his Eclipse GS-T in Open 2WD class. Along with Tony Chavez, Paul Timmerman and Doug Robinson we froze out butts chasing and fixing rally cars from Laughlin to the the Grand Canyon and back over 3 days. Autoweek magazine came in the mail and along with a great article about the rally and rallying in general, we were treated to a pick of Robert’s GS-T throwing a sweet rooster tail up.

Autoweek Magazine – December 28, 1998

Rallying is a great sport. Is it about to rise out of infancy in America?


The snow was blowing horizontally now, howling past and sneaking around little folds of Gortex and onto exposed skin to torture             us.   We   could   still   operate   the shutter   on   the   camera   but   it   wouldn’t be long now until. . . uh, what was the first sign of hypothermia memory loss, or something, right? Regardless, the first rally car would be coming by any minute and we were going to get a nice photo of it spraying gravel and snow as it flew past, powersliding in all its four-wheeled glory; a photo that could demonstrate for all the world how much fun rallying really was, the excitement, the thrill, ‘the best drivers in the world speeding by, just like the promotional slogan: ~Real cars, real roads, real fast. . .”

Today they were simply real late and it was getting real cold. Such is the rally spectator’s life. But rallying in America is supposedly changing for the better. There are signs it might rise above its club origins, where it has lived in happy oblivion for decades. This rally, for instance, the Ramada Express Hotel Casino International Car Rally, held Dec. 3-6 in Laughlin, Nev., was different.  Traditionally, the Sports Car Club of America puts together events like this in the United States, catering to a small but earnest cadre of rally drivers, their significant others and a few crew members. That’s not likely to change a whole lot.

SCCA sent a letter to its rally members recently noting that the opportunity “to take the sport to the next level has never been better.” But it also wanted to retain “a level of family involvement.” So there was no mention of any big boost in prize money. Michelin is the sponsor for the series, providing money to run the program. Increasing TV coverage in recent years is expanding the SCCA’s rally audience, and the club is adding the name “ClubRally” to distinguish divisional championships from its ProRally national events, to “add marketplace polish and awareness.”

But for the 27 years SCCA has organized this sport, it has seen its role as a registration and sanctioning body, setting rules and parameters under which its nine pro events and its 45 to 50 amateur rallies take place every year. Providing prize money to the winners-the Pro in ProRally-is mostly left to the local race organizers.

The   Ramada   Express   Hotel   Casino International etc. etc. aimed high in its organization, and in so doing, hinted at a somewhat higher-profile future for the sport in America. For one thing, there was sponsorship, relatively big-time sponsorship for a single U.S. rally, from the aforementioned hotel, with plenty of ancillary sponsors, including seemingly half the town of Laughlin (the town has already become title sponsor of the off-road SCORE Desert Series).

There also were genuine international rally champions in FIA Group A cars: New Zealand champ Geof Argyle driving a Mitsubishi Evo IV and Canadian champion Frank Sprongl  in an Audi Quattro S2 (Sprongl and Argyle would be by here any minute). And this event was put together, not by the SCCA’s local branch, but by a new organization   called   the   American   Rally Sport Group, whose goal is to bring the

World Rally Championship-the Formula One of rallying-back to America, where it hasn’t been since the SCCA-sanctioned Olympus rallies in 1986,’87 and ’88.

So the event showed promise in many ways. (Other ARSG events are planned in 1999, including a 12.5-mile hillclimb up a 5800-foot peak just outside Laughlin scheduled for May 10; and a Motorsports Week, with vintage racing on an airport road course across the river from Laughlin, a concours and another rally all in the same weekend, in November or December.)

To get the FIA sanction for this first race, ARSG had to go through an FIA-sanctioned race organizer. SCCA would have been the logical choice.

“We were doing some things differently from what they do, like adding a vintage class and an SUV c1ass,” said Roger Allison, the main guy behind ARSG and this Laughlin rally. Plus, SCCA would want television rights and the photo rights. But it comes down to the fact that we’re a for-profit corporation, not a club. You can’t have people telling you what to do. We have to have our sponsors’ best interests at heart.”

So ARSG went to Professional Sports Car. “It’s not really our area of expertise,” admitted Michael Gue, president of PSR. “But we agreed to do the listing and I’ve come to observe.”

And observing he was, standing like a real trooper next to us atop that snow-covered hummock of land in the middle of the vast frozen wilderness of the Hualapai Nation in Northern Arizona. a 90-minute drive from the nearest place that could reasonably be called a town, contemplating frostbite, waiting for that first car.

“One can certainly see the traditional obstacles faced by rally organizers in assembling a spectator base,” said Gue, as snow accumulated on his new suede wingtips, an unfortunate footwear choice. Recruiting spectators is not a problem in Europe and the rest of the world (see page 1 1), where rally fans actually enjoy standing around for hours so Colin McRae can almost hit them with his Subaru.

“Back  home  it’s  our  biggest  sport,” Argyle said. “We’ll get 250,000 spectators at an event. We’ll get people who will go out in anything.”

Here in the desert, we were 249,994 short of that number, counting Gue and us. The other four guys were perched on a cactus-covered hillside a half-mile away, bundled against the cold waitino for the cars to come by. We walked over and asked them why they were here. They were part of a rally team from Seattle. We asked why they participated in rallying.

“The chicks, the money,” said navigator Nathaniel Tarrington-Stow. Yes, of course, but was there a deeper motivation?

“It’s basically the same fun you had as a kid taking your parents’ Buick out on a logging road,”  said Sean Tennis, whose parents better not read AutoWeek.  “If people knew they could put a roll cage in their car and have this much fun, everybody’d do it.” And there’s the key, getting everybody to know. Some steps are being taken to draw attention to rallying in 1999. For example, making it more accessible. The stages run on Saturday were all done in a side-by-side racing format, two cars at a time, on identical tracks carved from a huge flat lot, walking distance from the Ramada Express. Allison called it “The Super Stage,” a name he has copyrighted. Fans could sit in grandstands and watch all day as cars went head-to-head like two curving, dirt-flinging dragsters on courses that mirrored one another so there would be an obvious winner each time. It was a format that everyone seemed to like.

“It’s a good idea,” said Argyle. “I would recommend it for every organizer,” said Sprongl. “You can sit and drink beer like at a monster truck meet,” said Nate Tennis, part of the hillside rally fans we’d met earlier.

And there’s television, any racing series’ lifeblood. Channel-surfers who have stumbled across SCCA ProRally coverage on ESPN2 and Speedvision have been hooked. The ARSG rally we attended will be broadcast on Speedvision, as will all SCCA pro events in 1999. Then,   finally, we heard it: a buzzing sound somewhere in the distance through the snow. As it got closer we could distinguish the whoosh of air being drawn into the engine, the roar of acceleration and the Evo IV’s wastegate going “pop pop pop.” Then Argyle flew into view through the swirl of snow. We could see him at the wheel and see his co-driver, head down, reading the route book. We could hear the engine rising

and falling, the pong-pong-sproing of rocks crashing off the underside of his Mitsubishi, and see the perfect pendulum turn followed by a wondrously smooth powerslide he maintained all around the corner. Right on Argyle’s tail, apparently having a better day in the slippery conditions, was Sprongl.

Sprongl won the rally, Argyle was second and California rallyist Rui Brasil was third in another Quattro, but at this point Argyle and Sprongl were less than a mile from the stage’s finish, nose-to-tail, sliding one way then another, sideways then straight, always on the limits of adhesion, like. . . like a kid on a. logging road in his parents’ Buick.

Man. it looked like fun.



Tree Line SCCA Pro Rally Azusa Canyon – Results

Hi Everyone,
We are back from the rally, Good news.

Tony Chavez in his GVR-4 Rally car won his first Pro
Rally over all. He has won his class before in his old
Golf and FWD Eclipse but this is his first overall win.

On the first leg (three stages) up the mountain to Mt
Wilson, Chavez  lost a little time with a loose I/C hose.
He was 30 seconds behind Lauchlin O’Sullivan in an
Audi Quattro. Ron Wood (Audi Quattro) broke
a rear axle and had to go on with 3WD. Rui Brasil’s
Audi Quattro hit something and lost a lot of time driving
with about 5″ of toe-in.

On the way back down the mountain Chavez won
every stage. There was a lot of hugging and kissing
going on when he got in and realized he had won.

Chavez is now running 2G 8.5 pistons, a 2G ported head
on a early 1G motor, a 1.6 Mirage Turbo intake manifold
(2G size w/1G coil mounting) and 1G automatic cams.
He has a VPC/AFC, 550cc injector combo with a
TDO-5 16G 8cm turbo. He uses a Starion I/C. We tried
to set it up as the ultimate all around bottom end-top
end motor.

Paul Timmerman’s 323 GTX broke the transmission on the
first stage. Possibly it was damaged 2 weeks ago when
he rolled the car testing.

Bruce Brown’s 323 GTX ran fine with no problems and
he finished 3rd in AWD Open class.

Bruce was really proud of his Rally Bag


Robert Garcia ran his FWD Laser with Tony Vu as his
Navigator. When he came into the service area, Tony
looked glad just to be alive. The front of Robert’s
bumper was smashed into the skid plate so I asked
Robert what he hit. “Everything” he said. I guess they
spent some time stuck on a berm almost hanging over
a big drop off. Some workers helped get them going
again. Robert finished 3rd in 2WD Open class even with
getting stuck.

Robert Tallini hurt his back at work and was not able to
drive his Corolla GTS. Lu Ryba (he does a lot of the
fabrication here at the shop) rented the car for his first
time rallying. He has a lot of experience in SCCA Pro
Racing and IMSA road racing, this was his first time
playing in the dirt. His wife navigated for him but got
car sick on the 3rd stage. He lost some time driving
solo and ended up with a respectable 2nd in 2WD open.




Robert Shibao got booted out of Stock class because
the guy that owned the car before him had installed an
adjustable rear brake bias control. That meant he had
to run his Mazda GLC against RX-7s, Robert’s FWD
Laser Turbo, 1.6 Corolla GTS’s, and a Saab Turbo.
Well Robert must turn into some kind of Incredible
Hulk when he drives because he ended up with 1st in
2WD open class. This is a 1.5 liter, carbureted, 8 valve
old POS ! The only mods he has is a head he ported him
self here at the shop, a Mutiny cam, and a straight
exhaust. His navigator Matt must have been pedaling too.

We ended up with 1st and 4th in 4wd Open Class
and a 1st, 2nd, 3rd sweep in 2WD.

Tree Line SCCA Pro Rally Azusa Canyon, California 11/14/98

Rally Info

The rally will start this Saturday at the Holiday Inn off
the 210 fwy at Huntington Drive in Monrovia. We will
be there from about 8:00 am until Noon for registration
and tech inspection.  At noon the first car leaves for
Azusa Cyn.. The racing stages go up Red Box Cyn. to
Angeles Crest Hwy right where it meets the turn off for
Mount Wilson. There is a parking lot there. It is 65 miles
of all dirt stages.

The RRE crew will be at the service area from about
1:00 until we are done servicing the cars (3:00-4:00 or so).
If you come to the service area, bring warm clothes.
You are welcome to come hang (and help) with us.

From there we go back to the hotel to wait for the cars to
finish. First car to finish is scheduled to be at 6:20pm if
all goes on schedule.

I am not sure where the spectator stage will be but if
you arrive early (before 10:00am) you should be able
to find out and have time to get there.

Running from our shop will be :

Robert Garcia / Tony Vu         92 Laser RS        2wd Open
Tony Chavez / John Elkin         91 GVR-4          4wd Open
Robert Shibao / Matt Gabler    85 Mazda GLC   Stock Class
Paul Timmerman / Suzy            88 323GTX        4wd Open
Bruce Brown / Mrs. Brown      88 323 GTX       4wd Open
Lu Ryba / Eke Ryba                84 Corolla GTS   2wd Open

Rally Headquarters
The Holiday Inn
924 W. Huntington Dr.
Monrovia Ca

Come by and check it out.

Mike W

Downtown LA Motors Street Race – September 5-7 1998

The  PRO Racing Series features late model production based sports cars specially modified for racing. Competitors race in one of five class structures based on the performance potential of the cars. Makes and models in the series are Porsche, Ferrari, Acura NSX. Ford Mustang, Corvette, Dodge Viper, BMW, and more. Tops speed of the cars can reach over 175mph on the faster tracks. PRO Racing Series accepts only established race drivers. There is no room for the novice here.

Qualifying sprints on Saturday. On Sunday the PRO Racing Series will see its diverse field of sports cars engage in a one-hour “mini” enduro. As a result of mandatory fuel stops for all drivers, pit action and lead changes will abound. You’ll never know who will win till the checkered flag drops and the Ford L.A. Street Race double s-turns on the way to the finish line.

The PRO Racing series includes race events in such diverse places as Tijuana Mexico, Las Vegas, Laguna Seca, Willow Springs, and of course, the LA Street Race.

We had the opportunity to race with PRO Racing Group on a road course laid out around the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. Our 1992 GST is classified in the P4 class. The 1.1 mile course runs through part of the parking lot and out onto Figueroa St. The main event for the weekend was a 125-mile NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour race

This was Rob’s  first race in the RRE GST. Saturday we had a lot of problems with overheating the brakes. We are running the AWD dual piston calipers. We had run the car mostly at Willow Springs on the big track and braking had never been an issue there. Our Porterfield R4 compound pads stopped well enough but they are crumbling from the excessive heat. The course is made up of short straights and sharp turns. There is nowhere for the brakes to cool off.

On race day they did a cool Le Mans style start. As you can imagine it was pretty much pandemonium. The drivers all have their cars lined backed up to the edge of the track at a 45 degree angle. Motor off. When the green flag drops you start the motor and get going as fast as you can. I dont know why it takes big burly Porsches so long to get up and going but Rob fired up and jumped out in front of a bunch of them. They eventually got back by but the photo of him leading all those cars on the first lap was priceless!

Sunday the race was nothing but disaster. Since the PRO Racing group we run with are second fiddle to the Nascar race, we just get the mushroom treatment. Out practice times get cut to start with. Then the NASCAR race turns into a demolition derby on the short tight course. It is pretty much run under a constant yellow flag. It runs late and we are starting our race almost in the dark.

We changed out the calipers and pads overnight, added some better fluid and rigged up some ducting. Sunday they change the start to where you have the motor already running. Green flag and go. Then they decide to call the race short since their fire permit times out. Some of the drivers are pitting, some are still out and they just call the race. We have no idea how we did,

The mandatory pit stop really did us in. We came to a stop in the pits and the calipers burst into flames. The seals pretty much melted right out and the fluid caught fire on the red hot rotors. There just wasn’t enough track to do any kind of cool down lap and stay competitive with the brake setup we had.

We learned a ton from this race. It was a totally different experience racing in front of real people instead of rabbits and coyotes in the desert.


How Not To Take A Fly-Over

By Mitch McCullough

Mike Welch, my crew chief, is a master fabricator. A real body man. A regular McGyver. Maybe that was in the back of my mind. Or maybe I was frustrated at dealing with the big D. Or maybe I just like to show off – that’s what rallying is all about, after all.

Whatever it was, I had decided to take the jump flat out.

The physics of the situation seemed to have eluded me: Glen Helen Off-Road Vehicle Park just north of San Bernardino had been designed for off-road buggies and trucks, race cars with suspension travel measured in feet. I was sitting in a Mazda 323 GTX, a cheap econobox. That it had a turbo, four-wheel drive and a fantastic factory rally suspension was of no consequence on the big hump I was about to attack.

While walking around the course, I foolishly came to the conclusion that the big hump could be taken without braking. I mean, that’s what Rod Millen would do, right? Or am I thinking about Rod Hall? Anyway, the closed circuit took only five minutes or so to complete and it was a hoot. We’d be topped out in third gear on a straightaway, brake hard for a 180-degree turn, slide sideways through a 70-mph sweeper, then brake hard for the big hump. The rest of the course went considerably farther, but I would not be exploring the rest of it that day.

I sat in line, peering through my helmet as each rally car took its turn. The suspension of the first car got light as it went over the hump. “Whoa” went the crowd in the stands. The next car caught a little air, maybe six inches. “Yes!” shouted the crowd. As I watched, I thought: “Why are they braking so hard for that jump?” Beside me was co-driver Scott Webb, who had some sort of misplaced, irrational, idiotic faith in my driving abilities.

We pulled up to the start line. On cue, the starter draped a green flag over the front of the windshield and shouted, “Five! Four! Three! Two! One!” Then he yanked the flag up and quickly stepped back from the car. “Go!”

I stood on it and all four knobby Michelins twisted in the dirt. I grinded it on the upshift to second, but otherwise it was a good launch. I braked for the 180-degree turn and slid around a giant earth-moving tire. We slid to the outside as I accelerated out of the turn, but I stayed with it opening up the steering wheel to keep the speed coming on. As we approached the sweeper, I lifted, turned in and got back on the throttle. The car pivoted and slid around the corner, all four wheels slinging dirt. “This is going to be a good run,” I thought.

As we approached the jump, I lifted off the throttle where most people had been braking. We were doing about 65 mph. A cry crackled in my intercom: “Oh shit!” I stepped on the throttle again as we crested the top of the jump, thinking that would keep the nose up.

The little GTX jumped toward the heavens. Observers said there was at least 12 feet between the bottoms of the tires and Mother Earth. From inside the car, it seemed like the sky darkened as we crested the upper edge of the atmosphere. Our poorly designed rocket hit its apogee, then began the long ascent back to earth. When the ground loomed directly ahead I began to realize I may have overdriven just a bit. “Oh!” the crowded shouted. “What was he THINKING?”

It was a tremendous impact. The car landed on the front bumper. The radiator ripped in half, the hood crumpled, the bell housing cracked, the front wheels bent and most of the front clip was destroyed. Instead of going end over end, the car came to an abrupt halt and bounced back onto its wheels.

I looked to the right as the dust settled. “Are you okay?” “Ooof” was the only sound that came from the other seat. “Ooof.” Scott felt like he suddenly had a mouthful of sand. It was later determined that that was the enamel from all of his teeth. The emergency crew loaded us up on stretchers and carted us to the hospital where we spent a long, boring, humiliating day getting X-rays. We had stiff necks, I had bruised pride and Scott spent a fortune on dental work that year. Mike filmed the whole incident and later had the audacity to put it on his Web site, but the view from inside the car felt far more dramatic than the video portrays.


Mike quickly rebuilt the car in the Road/Race facility, replacing or repairing everything ahead of the windshield. We went on to win the California Rally Series championship that year. It was 1993 and we each earned Rookie of the Year titles. The following season, I drove off a 500-foot cliff in Arizona, rolling five times and stopping against a bush 100 feet down. The car looked destroyed, but we winched it to the top of the mountain and Mike had it back in the rally the following morning. We went on to win the 1994 SCCA PRO Rally Southern Pacific Division Championship in Open Class.

But that’s another story.

McCullough is a contributing correspondent to Field & Stream, AutoWeek, Sport Compact Car and European Car. He edits a car-buyer’s guide that can be seen at www.newcartestdrive.com. He now brakes for fly-overs.

Coming soon, the Co-Driver’s Version:
“It wasn’t my fault”