***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
August 6, 2003
NASA Texas Rapidly Growing the American Iron & Camaro-Mustang Challenge Series
The weekend of August 2nd & 3rd proved to be the American Iron & Camaro-Mustang Challege series debut event of the 2003 NASA Texas region. AI & CMC cars converged on the 1.7 mile road course called Motorsport Ranch (www.motorsportranch.com
) just outside the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. In addition to our the racing action, many AI/CMC followers and future racers also dropped by to see what the AI/CMC action was all about. This NASA Texas region is growing rapidly in anticipation of the 2004 racing season!
MOTORSPORT RANCH RACE SUMMARY:
+ 3 AI/CMC sprint races (20-30 minutes each)
+ 6 American Iron cars.
+ 4 CMC cars.
+ 2 Rookies in AI and 2 Rookies in CMC.
+ 2 Camaros
+ 8 Mustangs
+ 3 winners for the weekend (John George 2x (AI)...Richard Pedersen (AI)...Todd Covini 3x (CMC))
+ Consistent lap times were in the mid- 1:25s for AI and mid 1:28s for CMC with John George and Todd Covini being the cars to beat in their respective classes.
+ Heat & mechanical problems were the primary issues of the weekend.
FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE brought half the AI/CMC field to Real Performance Motorsports in Lewisville, TX for some midday dyno time. This gave a lot of the racers a good time to formally meet each other and see what their competition's HP/TQ numbers were going to be. The caravan of racers and opentrackers then headed over to Motorsport Ranch to take advantage of "Happy Hour & a Half" testing at sunset. A handful of AI/CMC racers took this opportunity to unload their cars, learn the track and make sure their cars were well sorted out. Unfortunately, Eric Varner's CMC car (which many of us followed progress on for the past 2 months in his CMC buildup website http://www.bns-racing.com/89CMC.htm
) lost oil pressure after testing. The AI/CMC pit spirit was alive when everyone pitched in to come up with a solution to get him back on track for Saturday morning. Duties were divied up so as to be able to get the necessary parts, drop the oil pan and install the new oil pump assembly. (Ever see an oil pump "Twizzler" shaft?) By 3AM, Eric was ready for Saturday's track event.
SATURDAY MORNING'S PRACTICE showed that the mechanical mayhem was far from over when Todd Covini's #2 CMC hood flew open just as the green flag dropped for the session. Many thanks to future AI racers Mark Rodriguez, David Fincik and Monroe Roden for politely assisting (and saving the ribbing for later) with the "adjustment" using a 10 lb mallet to get it lined up and pinned closed again. Eric Varner's #17 CMC oil pump seemed to be working fine in the opening laps of the session until the gauge dropped to zero oil pressure ending his racing weekend hopes of a CMC win. The American Iron racers posted practice times all within 4/10ths of a second, and the competition was heating up (as were the daytime temperatures in this August Texas Summer!).
SATURDAY'S QUALIFICATION efforts brought out the entire AI & CMC field to compete for the best starting grid position within the 18 cars in Group 5 (Closed Wheel Race) later that day. Rich Dickey's AI Camaro posted the fastest qualifying time of the session with a 1:25:59 on Hoosier tires awarding him with a 3rd place overall on the grid. Todd Covini's CMC Mustang qualified with a 1:29:08 and was gridded 9th overall for the start of the race. Tim Laplante's #7 CMC Mustang (despite overheating & mechanical issues) was able to qualify 10th only .7 seconds off of Covini's time. Richard Pederson's #91 AI Mustang could very well have been the fastest qualifyer in that session, however, due to a dead AMB transponder did not receive a qualifying time and was forced to grid at the back of the pack.
SATURDAY"S RACE #1 proved to be NASA Texas' first standing start race (a tradition that East/West Coast AI/CMC racers, as well as FIA racers historically enjoy!) AI/CMC was the dominate class in this group which had a few straggler cars from other classes (faster & slower) running with us. AI/CMC grid order was Dickey, Roden, George, Bell, Covini, Laplante, Pedersen, Patterson. The cars were gridded on the start line in staggered order (3 wide like Formula 1) , which worked excellent as it gave each row of 2 a space in front of them to launch into. A premature green flag caught everyone by surprise, and the V8's roared toward Turn 1 (rattlesnake) with tires sqealing & smoking (a real crowd pleaser we all learned later!) two wide for almost a half lap with zero body contact or incidents was quite impressive racing! Pederson & Patterson sliced thru the field from the back like a surgeon's knife as the AI cars battled fiercely lap after lap. Local racer Rich Dickey and his AI Camaro took a large lead and eventually the checkered flag, however, because of his Hoosier tire equipped car, this was a Fun-Run for Rich in anticipation of next year's AI competition. Monroe Roden nursed a failing clutch in his "AIXX" (ex-Lou Giglotti WC Mustang) and took home 2nd, however, because of his modified firewall/engine setback, this too was a Fun-Run. Michael Patterson's T2 Camaro battled with the AI drivers nose to tail until a failed torque arm forced him to pit on Lap 9. Tim Laplante's #7 CMC Mustang ran into mechanical troubles forcing him to pit after Lap 10. The AI Mustangs of Mike Bell, John George & Richard Pedersen swapped postions a number of times until Bell's #16 Mustang ran out of gas on Lap 12. In the end it was John George who was able to hold off Richard Pedersen for the Race #1 AI win...Todd Covini took the CMC win by attrition finishing 7th overall.
SUNDAY MORNING QUALIFYING brought out a number of the competition license students and newcomers onto the grid which now comprised of ~20 cars. Adam Ginsberg debuted his former A-Sedan racer into CMC competition in his quest to obtain his competion license. Before taking the green flag on the warmup lap, Monroe Roden's AIXX Mustang veered into the weeds as his clutch engaged for the very last time before heading onto the trailer for the weekend. Cooler temps, a day's experience and car tuning brought the qualifying times down 1-2 seconds across the board with John George taking the AI pole position (and fastest time of the day) with a 1:25:26 (only 3/10ths of a second faster than Pedersen) and Todd Covini with the fastest CMC time with a 1:28:24 (only 6/10ths of a second faster than Laplante's CMC SN95). All qualifying times were extremely close and all within 1 second of the leader. This was tough competition!
SUNDAY'S RACE (#2) gridded George, Dickey, Pedersen, Bell, Covini, Laplante and Ginsberg in that order. Due to the high number of competition license candidates on the grid for Sunday, rolling starts were decided to be the green flag convention. John George & Rich Dickey's AI cars got a good jump off the start. Pedersen, Bell & Covini closely followed until Covini's CMC limited horsepower wasn't enough to keep up. The AI freight train of George, Dickey, Pedersen and Bell battled into every turn until finishing in that order for the AI finish. Tim Lapl nte's #7 CMC Mustang mechanical issues were fixed as he and Covini's Mobil 1 CMC Mustang raced hard the entire 14 laps. Adam Ginsberg drove a safe race for his first time out. However, putting 4 wheels off near the end of the race put him a lap down as Covini/Laplante drove by.
SUNDAY'S RACE (#3) was gridded for a rolling start based upon finishing order of the previous Race #2. This would give those that were battling for a pass in Race #2 another chance. Some confusion on the warm-up lap brought the first 3 cars across the start line in single file with everyone else going 3 wide into Big Bend. Before the first lap was completed Rich Dickey's intermittent ZZ4 engine troubles got the best of him causing him to pull off. On Lap 4, Rookie Adam Ginsberg tried to outbrake another Rookie in a Miata at the end of the front straight and ended up putting 4 wheels off causing a tire to go flat ending his race. On Lap 8, John George's oil pressure light came on to show no oil pressure, and it was "Game Over" according to John. This handed the lead to Richard Pedersen with his CMC-like horsepower and AIX-like suspension. Mike Bell's 300 HP AI Mustang put Richard in his sights and started bearing down on him. After 22 laps and a few pass attempts (which must have seemed like an eternity) Richard was able to hold off Mike for the win in AI and set the MSR AI track record. Covini was able to use traffic between himself and fellow CMC racer Tim Laplante for the CMC class win and also set the CMC track record (see below).
In summary, everyone involved had a blast at this NASA Texas event. Each and every AI/CMC racer experienced hardship in one way or another during the weekend, but that's racing! For every AI/CMC racecar that participated in this event, there is an equal # of cars being built for the 2004 season. Many of those folks were on hand this weekend for a preview. Competition in 2004 will be fierce.
MSR TRACK RECORDS*
1:25:50 Richard Pedersen (AI)
1:28:07 Todd Covini (CMC)
* Track records only recorded from races in race trim.
LONG DISTANCE AWARD goes to Tim Laplante for trailering down from Indiana to attend this event.
HARD LUCK AWARD goes to Eric Varner who had not one, but two oil pumps fail on his CMC mustang only to get in an accident on his way home trailering. His third roadside fix was replacing a busted radiator on the tow vehicle!!! It can only get better from here!!
PROFESSIONAL RACE PHOTOS were taken by Hart Photography throughout the weekend. As a participant of the event, if you would like to view your car photos on line, send an email to "[email protected]
" with your car make, #, run group and the event date. Blair Hart will only post the cars that are requested of him. To view yours and the other race photos, go to www.hart-photography.com/mtrsport.html.
During lunch on Sunday, most (darn attrition!) of the AI/CMC cars did an on-track photoshoot around the track 3 wide. Should be interesting to see...and should be posted by week's end!!!
2003 FINAL TEXAS AI CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON POINTS*
1) 479 Bell
2) 290 Pedersen
3) 208 George
4) 0 Patterson
5) 0 Dickey
6) 0 White
*** AI points per NASA GCR rule 22.1 and AI rule 10
100 for 1st...95 for 2nd...90 for 3rd, etc.
4 points for qualifying Pole position
Mike Bell took two 1sts in the 3/23 MSR races.
2003 FINAL TEXAS CMC CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON POINTS*
1) 300 Covini
2) 291 Laplante
3) 95 Ginsberg
4) 0 Varner
***CMC points per CMC rule 9
100 for 1st...97 for 2nd...95 for 3rd, etc.
No points for qualifying Pole position
+THE 1ST ANNUAL TEXAS AI/CMC DINNER plans are underway for November. This is an opportunity for racers, would-be-racers and followers to meet/greet and discuss plans for the 2004 season. A couple minor rules changes are being considered for both classes at the current time. Agenda items are being collected for topics of discussion for the 2004 season. This can be formal or casual. Dining or Karting. Please forward any comments, suggestions, proposed rules changes, etc. to me as you think of them. We will try to select a location centrally located between Houston & Dallas to get the most folks to attend. Date is TBA. At the completion of the meeting, the decisions/minutes from the meeting will be communicated to all in anticipation of the 2004 Competion Season.
2004 NASA TEXAS AI/CMC SEASON track dates have not been finalized to date. Unofficially, we anticipate 6 events, 3 races each weekend for a total of 18 AI/CMC races at Motorsport Ranch, Texas World Speedway and Hallett. If 18 races are scheduled, we will allow folks to drop their 3 lowest race results. This will alleviate the need to attend all 6 events if there are work/family conflicts. We hope to have the 2004 Texas region track dates finalized/announced by the end of September before the AI/CMC Dinner in November.
For more information, the following websites should be able to answer any of your licensing/rules/racing questions: www.nasaproracing.com www.nasatx.com www.americanironwest.com www.americanironeast.com www.camaromustangchallenge.com
That's all the news that's fit to print!!
If you still have questions, feel free to contact Todd Covini or Adam Ginsberg at any time!
AI & CMC Director
AI & CMC Asst. Director