NASA Eastern States Championships presented by Toyo Tires
Qualifying races in the books
ALTON, Va. (Sept.
6, 2015) - The second annual NASA Eastern States Championships presented
by Toyo Tires crowned it class winners today at VIRginia International
80-degree and sunny conditions the 300+ NASA competitors took to the 3.27
mile, 17-turn VIR circuit to settle who would be 2015 NASA Eastern States
The opening event
of NASA Championship Sunday at VIR was the 42 car Spec Miata race. Double
qualifying race winner and pole sitter Blake Clements, No. 6 Miata, led
the field to the green. A first turn, first lap melee cost top runner
Danny Steyn, No. 39 Miata, as he retired with car damage. The race went
immediately yellow. On the restart on lap three, Clements continued to
lead until another caution flew on lap five. On lap seven the race went
green with No. 0 Marc Cefalo driving his Miata to the front. On lap nine
Clements went back to the point with Hernan Palermo, No. 13 Miata, taking
the lead one lap later. On lap 11, NASA Western States Spec Miata
Champion, Mark Drennan took the lead in his No. 10 Miata. One lap later
it was Clements, Palermo and Drennan. On the last a final lap, Clements
got pushed wide in the last turn as a three Miata racers came to the
checker side-by-side for the win. It was Hernan Palermo taking the
Championship, followed by Mark Drennan and Jonathan Davis squeaking into
third in his No. 161 Miata. Brian Henderson, No. 97 Miata, was awarded
Hard Charger going from 36 starting position to finish fifth. Upon
post-race review, Palermo was disqualified for contact. The final results
are Mark Drennan first, Jonathan Davis second and Blake Clements third.
With the win, Mark
Drennan does the double, winning both the Eastern States and Western
States Spec Miata NASA Championships for 2015. The win also makes Drennan
eligible for the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout and the $100,000 prize toward
driving in the 2016 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich
"The start was crazy, we were three or four wide going
into Turn 3," Drennan said. "Things were really bunched up,
there was a lot of contact throughout the race. On the first restart I
made up a spot. We tried going three wide through five, which is too
many, I went up on the curb. On the second restart I was able to get by a
few more cars. I had a good run for the lead and I out broke myself and
went back to fifth. It was a drafting battle between Blake, Hernan and
myself we swapped the lead a number of times. I ended up with a good run
on Hernan off the last turn and I ended up second."
"I was able
to get good restarts and kept up with the front runners," Davis
said. "On the last lap, Blake got knocked off the track and I saw
him come back on, so I moved over in case he was coming over. I had a run
on Mark and Hernan as they were banging wheels down the front stretch. I
was drafting them and I popped at the last minute and ended up third. I
will take third today."
Pole sitter Neal
Agran, No. 76 Porsche 944, lead the field to the green. On lap two Agran and No. 119 John Torgeson went off in Turn 1 handing
the overall lead to Dan Pina in his blue and white No. 149 Porsche 944
who went on to win.
from third," Pina said. "I was really just hoping to be on the
podium. The guys in front of me were racing hard. I was able to get to
the front when they went off. I had some contact which affected my
alignment, so I was just holding on. We had a few passes for the lead. I
wanted to keep control, stay strong and be assertive. This was a last
minute deal for me. My friends talked me into coming, I wasn't even registered.
I loaded up, drove 18 hours and I am glad I did."
Larry Fraser, No.
112 BMW, brought the 30 car Spec E30 field to the green. Fraser, Sean Curran, No. 77 BMW and Sandro Espinosa, No. 32
BMW, were starting to pull away from the rest of the pack. The trio were
joined on lap four by No. 40 Ryan Whitinger.
"It was a
hard battle," Espinosa said. "I was careful with Larry Fraser.
I wanted to try and force him into a mistake. He missed a shift on the
back straight and I went by him. I really didn't want him behind me. I
tried to stay in front of him as best as I could. Unfortunately in Turn 1
we went through there side-by-side, like so many times before. There is
plenty of room on the left and he went off. It is not the way I wanted it
to go, but that is racing. Ryan did a good job to make a run at me at the
line and finish second. Thank you to Toyo Tires."
In Spec 3 it was
the No. 07 BMW driven by Jon McAvoy taking the win. By lap 10 McAvoy had established a 10 second lead over second place
finisher Justin Taylor, No. 36 BMW.
"It was a
hell of a race," McAvoy said. "I got a bad start. I got passed
by three cars at the start. It took about three laps to catch back up and
take the lead. It was a great day at VIR. No yellow flags, everyone was
really running clean. A huge thanks to Toyo, my tires were under me the
entire time. Also Hawk brakes. Most importantly my wife, bless her heart
for letting me do this on Labor Day weekend."
In SU, Ray
Cocoziello took the lead at the green in his No. 72 Crawford Daytona Prototype over Jeff Hinkle's No. 9 Dodge Challenger. On lap
two the race was black flagged to due to two cars blocking the track
between turns three and four. Following the black flag, Cocoziello
couldn't restart his car. Dan Raver in the No. 7 Superlite assumed the
lead. A few laps later after Raver had an issue, Robert Iversen took the
lead in his No. 1 Radical and the SU win.
and the black flag did not help my effort at all," Iversen said.
"We knew we had to take the long view of the race and manage our
tires. We needed to be there at the end. We knew we could run within a
couple of seconds of these 800 and 900 horsepower cars, we only have 440.
I think as it showed at the end that no one can out brake us. Thanks to
everyone at Wisco and NASA Southeast."
In ST1 Joe Moholland navigated the caution and race stoppage
to post the win in his No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette.
"It wasn't as
crazy at the beginning as they often are," Moholland said. "I
had a tough day yesterday. I tore half of my splitter off on the first
lap. So today I was going to be a little more conservative and little
more patient on the start. I didn't want to get mixed up with the SU cars
too early. My patience paid off today."
The ST2 winner was Kevin Harvey in his No. 01 Chevrolet
and black was interesting," Harvey said. "Cars were going
everywhere at the start. When the Mustangs got together over there
between three and four it was nice that they reset the order so we could
go back to racing fairly. Later when the Lotus went into the wall in the
esses, the race went yellow and went green really fast. I had my wife and
friend calling flags for me that really helped."
Terry Mathis drove his No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro to the AI
"I had a
great run," Mathis said. "Yesterday the car was good, but I was
a little loose today. Every second we had red in front of us. I didn't
want to be cautious and give up the lead. Maybe I was a little too
cautious I was being pushed the whole time. One more check off my bucket
list, winning a NASA Championship. I really enjoyed it."
In CMC, Russ
Carter drove his No. 720 Ford Mustang the class win.
"I got a lousy
start," Carter said. "I think I won the burnout contest. We do
standing starts, so when the green flew I did a big burnout. I was able
to stay with the pack. The yellow and black bunched us up. I slowly
picked through our small field to the front. It is tough to run in the
back of the thunder group, a lot happens in front of us. We are used to
dealing with adverse track conditions. It was an absolute blast. All of
the competitors know each other and that makes it really fun."
Robert Miller was
the SI Class winner in his No. 20 Ford Mustang.
great," Miller said. Once we got in front after the caution I was
able to stay in front and bring it home. I didn't want to see the yellow
or the black. That let everyone get up to me again. I had a good restart
and was able to bring it home for the win."
In HPD Honda
Challenge 1 it was an early race battle between Kevin Helms in his No. 05
Civic, Brian Shanfeld in the No. 17 Acura and the No. 75 Honda S2000 of
John Oldt. The trio circulated most of the race together with Helms and
Shanfeld exchanging the lead early. Oldt fell back with an engine issue
at three quarter distance just about the same time that Helms began to
open up a two second gap to Shanfeld. Helms went onto win his first NASA Eastern
States Championship. He was followed to the line by Shanfeld and Matthew
Briddell in the No. 108 Honda S2000.
"At the end I
was able to get a little gap," Helms said. "I knew it would be
dicey at the beginning, that Acura TLX has a lot of horsepower. I tried
to get a good gap in the small parts so he couldn't catch me. He passed
me once and he started to make a few mistakes, I think his tires were
going off. I saw that and I said it was time to get going."
No. 32 Acura, and the No. 36 of Robert Casella were locked in a two-way
battle up to mid race when Baker fell back. Spencer Anderson in the No. 516 Civic took up the challenge in second place, keeping
Casella honest. Soon after Baker fell back, Casella had issues as well.
That left the No. 516 of Spencer Anderson in his Civic as the HPD Honda
Challenge 2 winner. Eric Olson in his No. 10 Civic was second and the No.
31 Accord of Karl Kondor was third.
expect to win," Anderson said. "I came to this weekend with the
wrong engine, hoping for maybe a top five. I didn't expect to win. I got
a good start and was moving up through the field. I hung out in fourth
for a while and then the race started to come to me. A couple of guys had
engine issues, one blew up on the last lap. It kind of fell in my
Randy Mueller made
it a qualifying and championship race win hat-trick today sweeping the GTS4 Class in his No. 0 BMW M3. Mueller won by
20-seconds. The win makes Mueller a five-time NASA Champion.
"It was a
good race weekend for us," Mueller said. "This is a total
package, not just a driver. The equipment that you are in and the people
who put it together are all important. We have MCS Suspension, Hoosier
tires, Bimmerworld, Red Line Oil and Epic Motorsports. It is great to
have that group behind me. We had an anxious moment right when we were
rolling to the grid the ABS stopped working. One of my crew was able to
get it fixed in two minutes. It may have been a different race if he
In GTS3 Hugh
Stewart took the win his No. 122 BMW.
absolute insanity," Stewart said. "I got tangled up at the
start, I was third on the grid and went back to fifth. I was able to
catch back up to the front. I was over heating a little bit going off
track to pass, I had some grass in the radiator. But a good run and a
Zach Hillman took home the GTS2 trophy in his No. 158
"We got the
start that we wanted," Hillman said. "We just maintained from
there. A lot of guys switched up their tires and tunes. We knew the first
lap would be important and we were able to control the pace. My crew put
in a lot of prep work for this race. All the work paid off and we finally
won it! I want to thank all my guys back at home."
The GTS1 winner
was Jason Stanley in his No. 60 Porsche 944.
"It was pretty hot out there," Stanley said.
"I had already done the Spec 944 race this morning and my cool suit
wasn't working. At the start I got swamped. I stayed patient and just
picked them off one-by-one. I got into the lead and just made sure that I
was letting the faster cars by in the right place for them and for me. My
Hoosier tires got a little tight at the end. The Hoosier engineer gave me
some good tips on how run the tires. I would like to thank my sponsor
Fantasy Garage for providing me with an awesome rolling tool cart and
Bluetooth speaker. It kept my tools organized and gave us tunes as we
worked all weekend. I am very pleased with the result."
In PTD Eric Powell took off to a ten-second lead on the
first lap in his No. 74 Mazda Miata only to drop out on lap seven handing
the overall group lead to Jason Fitzpatrick in the No. 75 VW Passat who
went on to win the class.
"On the first
lap I went through the gas coming up onto the front straight,"
Fitzpatrick said. "It was a shame to win it with Eric going out
early. Once I saw Eric behind the tow truck, I just focused on being
smooth and maintaining the car. It would have been fun to race him, but I
will take it."
In PTE Jason
Kohler drove his No. 848 Mazda Miata to the class win.
"I was able
to get to the front on the second lap," Kohler said. "The Miata
matches up to the Nissan Sentra pretty well. At most tracks we are within
about a second. The longer tracks seem to favor the Miata on overall
set-up and speed.
Anthony Zwain drove the Team Edge Motorworks Mini to the PTE
pretty spectacular," Zwain said. "The race was a lot of fun for
me. I was pressured pretty hard. I was racing with some out of class
guys. I think I busted my oil pan, but I was able to get it to the
checker. The car is running as good as it has ever run."
Championship presented by Toyo Tires Winners (provisional):
Mueller, No. 0 BMW M3
Stewart, No. 122 BMW M3
Hillman, No. 158 Porsche 944
Stanley, No. 60 Porsche 944
Spec Miata, Mark
Drennan, No. 10 Mazda Miata
944 Spec, Dan
Pina, No. 149 Porsche 944
Spec E30, Sandro
Espinosa, No. 32 BMW
Spec 3, Jon
McAvoy, No. 07 BMW
Iversen, No. 1 Radical
Moholland, No. 3 Corvette
ST2, Kevin Harvey,
No. 01 Corvette
AI, Terry Mathis,
No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro
SI, Robert Miller,
No. 20 Ford Mustang
CMC, Russ Carter,
No. 720 Ford Mustang
Challenge 1, Kevin Helms, No. 17 Honda Civic
Challenge 2, Spencer Anderson, No. 516 Honda Civic
Fitzpatrick, No. 75 VW Passat
PTE, Jason Kohler,
No. 848 Mazda Miata
Zwain, No. 1 Mini
Time Trial top VIR
Barclay, No. 107 Honda S2000
TTD, Marc Cantor,
No. 26 BMW M3
TTE, Jason Kohler,
No. 848 Mazda Miata
TT1, Gil Smith,
No. 70 Chevrolet Corvette
Hylton, No. 626 Chevrolet Corvette
TT3, Eric Wong,
No.121, BMW M3
Macpherson, No. 38 Nissan GTR
will be posted at: http://bit.ly/1LS7Anu
International Raceway's 3.27 miles encompasses nearly every kind of turn.
The fast uphill esses that lead into the signature Oak Tree Turn are
known throughout the racing community. The long laps will reward a good
race car set-up and require the competitors to display their driving
skills as well as race craft.
information, please contact NASA Championships Media Director, Kyle Chura
at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248)
821-0468. More detail can be found at nasaproracing.com