Day 1 News show coverage from the 2011 NASA Championships coverage brought to you by Honda Racing HPD.
NASA National Championships presented by Toyo Tires Ready for Finals at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, OH, – The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) is ready to start deciding who the champions will be as qualifying races are in the books for its sixth annual National Championships presented by Toyo Tires running at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The weather at the 2.2-mile,13-turn Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course has been a factor all week. Today is the only day that the track did not see any precipitation. With rain in the forcast all weekend, weather will play a role in the outcomes.
Following opening ceremonies and the singing of the National Anthem by Bravada, Lexington’s own Barber Shop Quartet, the races to decide 33 NASA National Champions will begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET. The over 400 NASA competitors have been testing and running qualifying races to set the grids and it all comes down to two-days of racing to decide who will be NASA National Champions for 2011.
Highlights from today’s running included Chris Griswold, from Wisconsin, in his No. 71/GMV Machine/Paul’s Automotive Engineering/Maximum Motorsports/Hoosier/Ford Mustang who made easy work of the American Iron Xtreme Class.
“The car is running really smooth,” Griswold said. “I put on an old set of Hoosiers, I wanted to save the set I scrubbed this morning for the big race tomorrow. Everything ran really well. This thing is a bit of handful. In the rain, I can get about 400 horsepower down and in the dry I can get about double that number. I focus on corner exits onto the main straights, that is where passes come easy for me.”
In the Honda Challenge 2 Class, one of the bigger classes on the weekend with 32 competitors, Jeremy Croiset, California, won his second straight qualifying race in his Honda CRX.
“It was a fun race,” Croiset said. “Pretty uneventful, but Manny Coates got the jump on me at the start. I was able to get inside of him into Turn One and was able to maintain the gap. My car, for this year, has been a balancing act. We focused on making as much power as we could, within the rules, and then maximize the tire on the ground with the shocks. I like a car that is fairly loose, so it works well in the twisty stuff, but not too loose where you throw it off in the high-speed corners. I want to definitly run a dry race tomorrow.”
In Super Unlimited, Ryan Ellis, Virginia, drove his No. 01/Driveshaft Shop/Isis/Race Car Replicas/Superlite Coupe to the front and won the class.
“It was a lot of fun,” Ellis said. “The Superlite Coupe is fun to drive. I was able to drive to the front, although I spun out in front of the field on cold tires, but I kept in gear and running. I had fun racing with Norm Goodrich. I am preferring some rain for the race this weekend. The car is perfect in the rain. We have the field cover in the wet. If it is dry we will have a good race with Norm.”
In GTS5, Chris O’Donnell, California, drove his No. 23/Yokohama/Porsche to the win in today’s qualifying race.
“Gil (Galle) has a lot more power than me,” O’Donnell said. “I wanted to stay real close to him in case anything happened. He would pull me on the straigths and then in the twisty stuff I would be right on his back bumper. There was a car in front of me, and I moved to the left, and he saw me coming, being the gentleman that he is, he saw I had a run on him and he let me pass and I held him off for the last lap. I want to run in the dry tomorrow. It is all the same. I run a really high spring rate with a lot of negative camber and the car really responds in the twisty stuff. Just before the center of the apex I am back on the power, so I am getting a good bite off of the corners.”
John Graber, Ohio, raced his No.643/Hoosier/Moton/Porsche 944 to the win in GTS1.
“It was another exciting one,” Graber said. “It is always tough to be in the slowest race group, starting at the back and dealing with the back markers of the faster groups. I was able to get a good start and got through them and worked to keep improving my position and prayed for the white flag. I set my car up for Turn 1 and Turn 13, and how I can make it go faster through those turns. I am terrified of the rain, but I have some new Hoosier H2Os and I qualified on the pole in the rain yesterday, so I hope I can do it again.”
Friday’s NASA Nationals presented by Toyo Tires Qualifying Race Winners:
FFR Paul Kaiser/No. 8/Factory Five Racing Cobra
CMC2 Chris Ferraro/No. 14/Ford Mustang
Honda Challenge 1 Kevin Helms/No. 05/Honda Civic
Honda Challenge 2 Jeremy Croiset/Honda CRX
American Iron Xtreme Chris Griswold/No. 71/Ford Mustang
American Iron Ryan Winchester/No. 56/Ford Mustang
STR1 Terry Free/No. 548/Chevrolet Corvette Z06
STR2 Scott Hermann/No. 03/Chevrolet Super Truck
PTA Jason Ireland/No. 7/Chevrolet Corvette Z06
PTB Matt McIntyre/No. 311/BMW M3
Super Touring 1 David Pintaric/No. 40/Dodge Viper
Super Touring 2 Dean Martin/No. 88 Ford Mustang
Super Unlimited Ryan Ellis/No. 01/Superlite Coupe
Spec 944 Tyler Palmer/No. 4/Porsche 944
Spec E30 Robert Gagliardo/No. 609/BMW 325
Spec Miata Alex Bolanos/No.02/Mazda Miata
TTB Matt McIntyre/No. 311/BMW M3
TTC DJ Fitzpatrick/No. 186/BMW M3
TTD Dave Buschur/No. 159/Mitsubishi Eclipse
TTE Dave Kutney/No. 42/Pontiac Solstice
TTF Michael Weber/No. 777/Infinit G20
GTS1 John Graber/No. 643/Porsche 944
GTS2 Scott Good/No. 333/Porsche 944
GTS3 Joshua Smith/No.148/BMW M3
GTS4 Sarah Catteneo/No. 143/BMW M3
GTS5 Chris O’Donnell/No. 23/Porsche 911
GTSU Chad Nelson/No. 1
TTR Tage Evenson/No. 777/Radical
TTU Jarrod Hoops/No. 178/Mitsubishi Evo
TTS Aaron Byram/No. 927/Honda Civic
TTA Rory Alsberg/No. 53/Chevrolet Corvette Z06
PTC Sarah Cattaneo/No. 111/Mini Cooper S
PTD Patrick Smith/No. 14/Mazda Miata
PTE Brian Makse/No. 786/Mazda Protégé
PTF Walter Carlos/No. 881/Mazda RX7
Formula Mazda Douglas Peterson/No. 87/Formula Mazda
To qualify for the NASA National Championships presented by Toyo Tires, NASA competitors must compete in and score points in five regional races around the country. The 2011 National Championship presented by Toyo Tires weekend will feature over 400 competitors racing for the NASA National Champion trophy in 33 racing classes and nine Time Trial divisions around the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
NASA racers are competing for over $1,000,000 in prize packages that are offered by major automotive and motorsport companies this weekend.
For additional information, please contact NASA Championships Media Director, Kyle Chura at email@example.com or (248) 821-0468. More detail can be found at www.nasaproracing.com or www.nasachampionships.com.