NASA Great Lakes GTS News Upcoming event: Mid Ohio 8/25-8/27 Is everyone ready for Mid Ohio?! Talk about another event with large fields and some intense competition. Many drivers from near and far are showing up and it's not too late to join the fun. GTS5 - Leading the charge in the GTS field is [...]
It’s probably safe to say a lot of NASA racers check Craigslist regularly looking for what one day could become their next racecar. So, we go, we look and more often than not, all we find are cars no one wants anymore. But when NASA Rocky Mountain’s John Scheier looked on Craigslist, he kept seeing the same E36 BMW for sale.
“It was on Craigslist, and I’m known to surf Craigslist a lot,” Scheier said. “The 318 had been listed for probably two, maybe three years, and the price had come down several times. I finally decided to go out and look at it.
Andrew Morton Repaired His Car After a Collision With a Tire Wall on Friday, and Took the German Touring Series 3 Championship
When a reporter asked Eric Johnson how tight his race was with Andrew Morton in the GTS3 championship, Johnson offered a brief recap.
“It wasn’t close at all,” he said. “But I got to battle the GTS4 car for most of the race.”
Morton was dominant en route to the GTS3 crown at the Western States Championships. It started by winning Saturday’s qualifying race and continued through to Sunday’s final.
“I got lucky in traffic. I was able to stay out of trouble,” Morton said. “I stuck the car in the tire wall on Friday. I put it back together and made it today. It isn’t pretty, but it turns laps.”
Johnson, who finished second, knew early in the race that only a mechanical problem or an accident would keep Morton from claiming the top prize.
Oner Khera Overcame a Penalty and a Dyno Infraction to Take the German Touring Series Championship at Buttonwillow
Oner Khera, of the Arizona Region, and his 1995 BMW 325i managed to bounce back after failing a mandated dyno test following Friday’s qualifier, and being disqualified after Saturday’s qualifying race due to passing under yellow. All this led to Khera taking an early lead after a brilliant start to win by over 10 seconds after a dusty race at the 2016 NASA Western States Championships at Buttonwillow Raceway.
Khera looked to be the fastest all weekend and despite having his lead reset twice during the final race due to safety car periods, he was able to maintain his lead over Steve Stepanian and the rest of the GTS2 field.
“I just wanted to play it by ear,” said Khera after the race.
When you’re the only car in the class, what do you do to keep the competitive juices flowing? That was the predicament that Maury Gentile faced when his fellow GTS4 racer didn’t show up at Buttonwillow Raceway Park because of mechanical issues or conflicts.
“I talked to a few other guys that I thought were coming,” Gentile said. “Instead of four guys, it was me.”
Rather than doing 19 parade laps at Buttonwillow Raceway, Gentile looked to the other classes for some friendly competition.
“I have fun and I’m competitive with whoever is out there,” said Gentile, who races a red 1988 BMW M3. “I’m not going to get in the middle of any of the class races.
Ralf Lindackers Overcame a Low Starting Position, and He Was There at the End, When It Mattered Most, and Took the German Touring Series 3 Championship
Fourteen GTS3 cars took the green flag for the Eastern States Championships. Aaron Turek led the field from pole position, followed by Foad Razavi and Frank Ferrara in third.
By lap three, Turek had established a sizeable lead over Ferrara, who had overtaken Razavi for second place. Turek held the lead till the double-yellow came out on lap six and that kept the field in place for several laps while crews cleaned up the track.
When the race resumed, there wasn’t much time left on the clock and Turek still had the lead, followed by Ferrara in second and Dino Kouretas in third. Then, on the penultimate lap, Turek was no longer in the lead and had dropped out. That put Lindackers into P1, with Kouretas in second and Ferrara in third, which was the way it finished.
William Vanjonack Started From Pole, Survived a Long Caution Period and a Four-Lap Dash at the End to Win the German Touring Series 4 Championship
The pool of talent in GTS4 at the Eastern States Championships was deep. The field included past champions and podium finishers from previous Championships. William Vanjonack started from pole position, followed by Brain Ward and Edgar Cabrera, last year’s GTS3 Champion who finished eighth at the 2015 Mazda Race of NASA Champions.
At the start, which wasn’t waved green till late, Cabrera made a bold inside move passing the Vanjonack and Ward using the line through the Oil Dri and throwing a huge cloud of dust in the face of everyone behind him.
Vanjonack trailed Cabrera for a couple of laps, but eventually overtook him to take the lead, a position he would hold till the double-yellow on lap six.
Zach Hillman Scored His Second German Touring Series 2 Championship in as Many Years at Watkins Glen
NASA Great Lakes’ Zach Hillman had largely owned the GTS2 field all weekend, scoring 100 points on Friday and Saturday. The 2015 GTS2 Champion and third-place finisher in 2014, Hillman had his work cut out for him with NASA Northeast’s Michael Sousa starting from second and Zach Arnold from the Great Lakes Region on his heels in third.
At the green, Hillman took advantage of his starting position and led the field for the first six laps till a double-yellow came out and bunched up the field for several laps. Behind Hillman, Arnold had advanced to second place, with Matthew Wasilewski in third.
Once the mess was cleaned up, it was four laps of green-flag racing. By that point, the entire GTS field had bunched up, and traffic was intense.
Mike Mallais had scored pole position in GTS1 by scoring 100 points on Friday and 100 more on Saturday, so he was looking good for Sunday’s Championship bout. Jean-Pierre Verbunt started from second with 944 Spec racer Jason Stanley double-dipping and starting from third.
When the green dropped, Mallais took off and gapped the field, leading the way for several laps until a full-course caution slowed the field to a crawl. When the race resumed, Mallais had dropped out with a mechanical, leaving Verbunt in first place, with Stanley in second and NASA Southeast’s Larry Helm in third.
Like all the other classes in race group A, the yellow flags disappeared and left four laps of intense racing in heavy traffic.
As a reward for his performance in the United States Touring Car Championship last season, Gary Sheehan won a chance to test in one of the top touring car series in the world, the TCR International Series. TCR competes worldwide with some support races at Formula 1 events, and factory teams from Volkswagen, SEAT, Alfa Romeo, Subaru, Honda and Opel. Sheehan performed well in testing, representing NASA, USTCC and the United States. He must have done something right because a day later he was asked to drive for one of the biggest teams in TCR, Team Engstler Liqui Moly, which races three Volkswagen GTIs. Below is Sheehan’s account of the weekend he called a dream come true.