Spec Miata Racing Means Close Racing

Here is a double update for the SoCal SM series for 2009 season.

Round 3: April 25/26- Buttonwillow Raceway
There was an eighteen-car field for the event and the weather was perfect for racing.  At the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifying session, Grant Westmoreland (2:04.737), Tim Weaver and Jonathan Christian were at the top of the time sheets.  A great race followed, and in typical fashion top four were swapping positions back & forth until Westmoreland and J. Christian pulled a small lead to settle the winner between them.  When the checker flew J. Christian won by a mere 0.066 of a second ahead of Westmoreland, followed by Clement Lee & Jeremy Barnes.

Here is a double update for the SoCal SM series for 2009 season.

Round 3: April 25/26- Buttonwillow Raceway
There was an eighteen-car field for the event and the weather was perfect for racing.  At the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifying session, Grant Westmoreland (2:04.737), Tim Weaver and Jonathan Christian were at the top of the time sheets.  A great race followed, and in typical fashion top four were swapping positions back & forth until Westmoreland and J. Christian pulled a small lead to settle the winner between them.  When the checker flew J. Christian won by a mere 0.066 of a second ahead of Westmoreland, followed by Clement Lee & Jeremy Barnes.

Sunday saw more of the same with Jonathan Christian winning the qualifying race and thus the honors of starting in lead position for the afternoon race. Grant Westmoreland started 2nd and Austin Christian 3rd.  Within such close quarters, all hell broke loose when the green flew…  At the front, a few cars came together sending the ensuing pack every direction possible. Things quickly calmed down to a normal Spec Miata fervor, with close tight racing throughout the field.  At the finish Jonathan captured a 2nd win while Grant Westmoreland and Austin Christian filled the final two podium positions.

It has to be mentioned that Rob “Iron Man” Burgoon raced his SM in three classes during the event.  Rob raced in Performance Touring E (PTE); Spec Miata (won the Weekend-Racer.com Hard Charger Award on Sat) and also the 3hr WERC Enduro on Saturday night (finished 4th in class).  Many people were impressed by this accomplishment.

Round 4: May 23/24- Willow Springs
A solid sixteen-car field turned out for all the fun…  Saturday qualifying saw the top three spots going to the Christian boys with Jonathan (1:37.721) 1st, William II 2nd and Austin starting 3rd.  The afternoon race was epic, with the top 5 positions switching places lap-after-lap until the second to the last lap when Austin & Grant sailed off the track leaving first to third up for grabs.  At the finish stripe, Clement Lee edged Jeremy Barnes with a true photo finish whereby only the timing system could determine a 5-thousands of a second gap, followed by Jonathan Christian in 3rd.

Sunday was a convergence of two NASA’s (the race guys and the space guys)…  While there was action on the track, sonic booms from the nearby landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis surpassed the roar of engines.  The SM qualifying heat-race on Sunday was amazing with the top six cars all crossing the stripe within 1 second of each other. They were:
1.    Jonathan Christian
2.    Austin Christian (-0.001)
3.    Jeremy Barnes (-0.301)
4.    Clement Lee (-0.411)
5.    Grant Westmoreland (-0.898)
6.    William Christian II (-0.904)

With racing this close, competitors should re-examine the placement of their timing transponder.   The final points race of the weekend was just as close with tight-for-position racing allover the track…  At the checker, Austin Christian took his first win of the season by 0.183 over his brother Jonathan, pursued by Jeremy Barnes in 3rd.

Next round of incredible Spec Miata racing will take place at Buttonwillow Raceway on June 27th and 28th, where you can be assured that more close quarters battles will ensue.

CMC Round 2 at Buttonwillow

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** 30 April 2009

Dust off the helmet and warm up the motors, the SoCal CMC racing season is on!

Spring time racing fever takes hold!

The Southern California CMC drivers brought their racing prowess, and their CMC cars to Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow CA for round 2 of the first ever Southern California CMC and CMC2 racing championship.  Cool, sunny California weather was on order, making for a great weekend of V8 racing action!

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** 30 April 2009

Dust off the helmet and warm up the motors, the SoCal CMC racing season is on!

Spring time racing fever takes hold!

The Southern California CMC drivers brought their racing prowess, and their CMC cars to Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Buttonwillow CA for round 2 of the first ever Southern California CMC and CMC2 racing championship.  Cool, sunny California weather was on order, making for a great weekend of V8 racing action!

BUTTONWILLOW WEEKEND RACE SUMMARY:
+  2 CMC/CMC2 35 minutes races toward championship points
+  2 practice sessions and 2 qualifying sessions (15-20 minutes each)
+  6 total race group sessions with 2 hours of track time!
+  2 CMC2 cars including one rookie
+  4 CMC cars including one rookie
+  Team Hollywood sweeps the CMC pole positions
+  2 CMC2 pole position winners for the weekend – Team Schotz (Sat), and Charles Weeks (Sun)
+  Team Schotz sweeps the CMC2 weekend with 2 race wins
+  2 CMC winners for the weekend – Team Hollywood (Adam Ginsberg – Sat), and, Derek Tisinger
+  Ignition and handling problems plagued part of the CMC field

Lariviere was racing his new CMC car for it’s second time after a successful outing at Sears Point a month earlier, taking a win on it’s first ever race weekend.

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SoCal CMC’er Don Lariviere’s #13 Ford Mustang.

SATURDAY – qualifying brought some ignition trouble for Kirk Theis in his #23 TE Camaro, and consequently wasn’t able to get past a 2:10.662.  Lariviere’s #13 shows some unusual handling issues with a 2:13.973, the #76 of Tisinger got caught up in traffic putting a 2:08.835 on the clock.  Ginsberg, trying to better his lap times, went off big in the Bus Stop, creating a huge dust cloud, but still managed to put the #5 Argent Labs/Team Hollywood Mustang on pole with a 2:05.742.

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In CMC2, Team Schotz laid down a flyer, posting a 2:02.246, followed by Weeks with a 2:04.564.

SATURDAY RACE #1 – Saw the CMC and CMC2 drivers grid for an early afternoon race.  At the green, Schotz and Weeks took off and begin their battle for the checker.  Tisinger got a slightly better start than Ginsberg, took a quick lead, but lost it by T2 in traffic.  Kirk Theis still had ignition troubles, but worked hard to catch the leaders.  Lariviere fell in behind Theis, but came in a lap early.  Ginsberg stretched his lead while Tisinger got hung up when 2 cars went off in front of him.  Team Hollywood took the checker first, followed by Tisinger, Theis, and Lariviere.  In CMC2, Schotz grabbed the top spot with Weeks close behind.  Impound brought all the cars in for weight, then the race winners reported directly to the dyno for a compliance check with the 2nd place cars close by as backup.  Everyone passed with flying colors, and the finishing order was retained.

SATURDAY NIGHT – NASA SoCal hosted an evening pizza and beer bash for all the racers.  Folks worked on their cars, relaxed, and then called it a night.

SUNDAY – morning practice brought a CMC train on track as Ginsberg, Lariviere, and Joel Schotz all headed out together.

Sunday qual had Weeks putting his car on pole with a .  Theis’ TE Camaro didn’t take the track as his ignition troubles force the car onto the trailer.  Lariviere picked up time with a 2:11.172, but Tisinger had some trouble on track, posting a 2:09.486.  Ginsberg stayed consistent with his qual times from the day before, laying down a 2:05.772, only a 3 thousands difference from the day before.

SUNDAY RACE #2 – With Weeks on pole, Schotz moved into position next to his right door.  The green flew, and the V8’s CMC’ers all dove for T1.  Schotz locked his brakes up and went off, giving Weeks a chance to move ahead.  Ginsberg got a good start, but Tisinger was hot on his back bumper.  By lap 2, Ginsberg realized he had virtually no brakes, and began working hard to keep Tisinger behind him.  While in traffic, Tisinger put a pass on the #5 in a section of the track called “Talledega”, and used the traffic to get ahead.  Schotz make a successful pass on Weeks in the same spot, and took over the CMC2 lead.  The #76 got his braking point wrong, and inadvertently hit Schotz from behind, damaging the nose of his purple Mustang.  Headlights got destroyed, and his hood buckled up, blocking his vision.  The #76 pulled into the pits to remove the damaged hood, went back out but was unable to make up the deficit.  Tisinger and an overzealous Mazda got tangled, putting both into a spin, but Tisinger was quick to recover.  This allows Ginsberg to make up some ground, but without any brakes, he couldn’t capitalize on the incident.

At the checker, it was Tisinger taking his first CMC win of the 2009 season, as well as putting down FL of the weekend (2:06.739), followed by Ginsberg and Lariviere with his second podium finish of his rookie season.  Schotz took his second win of the weekend.  Everyone passed tech at impound without issue.

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CONCLUSION –  V8 racing in SoCal is well underway with a fantastic start for returning veterans and rookies alike. CMC racing will return on June 27/28 for Round 3 of the season at Buttonwillow.

The 2009 Southern California CMC/CMC2 racing season gets underway!

The Southern California CMC drivers converged on Cal-Speedway in Fontana for the start of the first ever SoCal CMC season.  Although it was a small field of CMC cars, all the drivers had a great weekend of racing.

CMC2 was represented by Nick Steel, Charles Weeks, Jim Griffith (Sr), Team Schotz Racing (Dave & his dad, Joel)

CMC1 was represented by SOCAL CMC Director Adam Ginsberg.

Jim Griffith brought down a new CMC2 Late Model 2006 Mustang, and was getting it sorted through the weekend.

Nick Steel, at his 2nd event of the year, was poised and ready for the competition this weekend.

Chuck Weeks… stepping up into CMC2 from CMC last year… had his car dialed in.

The boys from Schotz Racing… Dave and his Dad Joel… had recently done the conversion from CMC to CMC2 by dropping in a ’91 TPI 350 into the car.

The Southern California CMC drivers converged on Cal-Speedway in Fontana for the start of the first ever SoCal CMC season.  Although it was a small field of CMC cars, all the drivers had a great weekend of racing.

CMC2 was represented by Nick Steel, Charles Weeks, Jim Griffith (Sr), Team Schotz Racing (Dave & his dad, Joel)

CMC1 was represented by SOCAL CMC Director Adam Ginsberg.

Jim Griffith brought down a new CMC2 Late Model 2006 Mustang, and was getting it sorted through the weekend.

Nick Steel, at his 2nd event of the year, was poised and ready for the competition this weekend.

Chuck Weeks… stepping up into CMC2 from CMC last year… had his car dialed in.

The boys from Schotz Racing… Dave and his Dad Joel… had recently done the conversion from CMC to CMC2 by dropping in a ’91 TPI 350 into the car.

We did have some carnage over the weekend – Charles Weeks damaged a steering shaft during Friday’s practice. While repairing it on Friday night, they inadvertently damaged the oil pan. This led to a longer Friday night while they repaired it. Fortunately, they were successful in their endeavors, and the car was ready to race on Saturday.

Over the weekend, the law of 2’s came into play…..Team Schotz lost 2 plug wires, and went back to their pits to repair. Ginsberg lost a plug wire on lap 2, and came in to repair. Nick Steel had the driver side upright separate from the balljoint on lap 2, destroying his wheel and a new R888 in the process. With the help of his wife, other CMC’ers, and a FFR mechanic, Nick was able to repair the damage and have the car ready for the Saturday race.

Day 1 Saw a fierce battle for Pole Position in Qualifying with just .2 of a second separating the top 3 drivers! Dave Schotz would eek out Pole Position, with Chuck Weeks just .1 back… and Nick Steel .1 back from Chuck. (Nick was forced to come in after just one lap of qualifying due to some brake issues, and a damaged Front Wheel).

For Saturday’s race… as the Green Flag Dropped… Schotz Racing quickly felt the pain of 227 RWHP in CMC2… and saw the field ‘Race Past him’… (including Adam… and a devilishly tainted grin!)

Nick Steel & Chuck weeks had a great battle… Jim Griffith quickly learned that when he told the shop to ‘gut everything’ out of his newly modified Mustang… that meant… also gutting ‘the Traction Control’ ON/OFF Switch!!! This made the car ‘quite the handful’ for Jim… and really forced him to just try to improve on other areas throughout the weekend. (Traction Control + Sticky Tires + Big Oval = Unstable… Throttle on Off… etc…)

Nick would go on to annihilate the field… running a 1:55.709 (Resetting the track record for CMC/2) and put over 12 Seconds on weeks. Who had about 20 Seconds on Schotz Racing. Weeks best time for the day was a 1:58.1 to Schotz’ 1:57.8. Weeks mentioned that had his ‘Shifter’ not came dislodged… it may not have been as much of a distraction! None the less he was able to hold onto 2nd Place for CMC2!

Adam Ginsberg in CMC finished just 7 seconds behind Schotz in CMC2… and Jim Griffith was a bit further back plagued with T/C issues.

On the 2nd Day Nick was still trying to sort out some braking issues with his monstrous Wilwood 4 Piston Aluminum Calipers… but it wasn’t going to stop him from Taking Pole Position.. Running another blistering 1:55.8, however… Chuck Weeks… was hot on his tail running his personal best for the weekend of a 1:56.1 ! (Great Job!) Adam Ginsberg in the CMC 1 car would qualify 3rd Overall… also running a best of 1:59 FLAT! Jim Griffith Somehow forged ahead with the T/C issues… to run a 2:00 flat… and Joel Schotz would get in today to Qualify for the race at 2:01.

For the Sunday Race… Weather was gorgeous, and the competition was great… Dave jumped back into the drivers seat for Schotz Racing… and had some work to do… starting at the back of the pack. The race in CMC & CMC2 got off cleanly… with Nick followed closely by Chuck, followed by Jim, Adam & Dave… until Turn 3.. where one of the SU cars got tangled up… and brought the course to full course caution.

The field would stay this way for the next 3 laps while they cleaned everything up, and restart in single file fashion on the Green again… This allowed all the fields (ST/SU/FFR/AI/CMC/CMC2) to all be bunched up… and traffic would play a much bigger part this day!

Nick Steel did a great job keeping a couple cars always between he & Chuck the first few laps… Schotz & Adam changed positions… and Griffith dealt w/ his Traction Control and kept the car clean and straight! After a couple of laps, Schotz was able to catch Chuck in Traffic, and Chuck got pinched behind a couple of Factory Fives coming out of turn 3, to give the momentum to Schotz. The positions stayed this way, with Nick Steel Setting fast time again, even with his Brake issues that plagued him throughout the weekend, running a 1:56.6, Schotz would be roughly 11 seconds back… running his best for the weekend of 1:56.7, and Weeks just less than 5 seconds back… running a 1:57.4.
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Looking forward to seeing more of the faces at Buttonwillow for the 2nd Round of the SOCAL NASA CMC Challenge!

Adam Ginsberg
SoCal CMC/CMC2 Director

Written by Dave Schotz
Images by Chuck Weeks
Assembly by Adam Ginsberg

Huge Field of Spec Miata’s Battle at Cal Speedway

NASA’s annual spring event at California Speedway played host for the second round of the Southern California Spec Miata Championship.  This event always brings out a larger number of cars and hot-shoe drivers…  The 2009 installment was no different with 32 Miata’s and 2008 NASA SM National Championship runner-up Sammy Valafar coming to town to run with the locals.

 This event was also the SoCal debut of the new Showroom Stock Miata class (SSM).  Only one car was in SSM trim but we’re hopeful that more 1.6 Miata’s switch over and make a run at the regional championship and the Mazda Contingency money.

NASA’s annual spring event at California Speedway played host for the second round of the Southern California Spec Miata Championship.  This event always brings out a larger number of cars and hot-shoe drivers…  The 2009 installment was no different with 32 Miata’s and 2008 NASA SM National Championship runner-up Sammy Valafar coming to town to run with the locals.

 This event was also the SoCal debut of the new Showroom Stock Miata class (SSM).  Only one car was in SSM trim but we’re hopeful that more 1.6 Miata’s switch over and make a run at the regional championship and the Mazda Contingency money.

Qualifying Saturday, under perfectly cool and sunny skies, found Jonathan Christian, William Christian II and Valafar starting up front.  The race was close with the lead changing hands often between several drivers, but in the end the top three spots were as they started, top spot to Jonathan Christian followed by William Christian II and Sammy Valafar.  Saturdays race saw some great performances; Kenneth Saward passed fifteen cars to finish 12th, and Weekend-Racer.com co-Hard Charger award winners Eric Richter & Rob Burgoon making-up eight & seven spots respectively.

On Sunday the group decided to switch-up the routine and use the morning practice times to set the field for a Qualifying Heat-Race, which would determine the starting line-up for the afternoons “main” race.  With the Heat-Race only being a 20 minutes the action was furious with five-wide in the braking zone before turning on to the infield road coarse.  In the end 2008 SoCal Region SM Champion Grant Westmoreland took the checked, with Valafar 2nd and William Christian II 3rd.  The main race was amazing.  The overall lead changed hands several time each lap until Sammy Valafar pulled out a lead to put the win away by 1.4 seconds.  William Christian II followed in 2nd and 3rd to Jeremy Barnes with his first podium of the year.

Just like last month there were a few first time Spec Miata racers at this event; Eric Coomer & Larswin Mendoza joined in all the fun.

Another outstanding weekend of close racing at California Speedway, next up is Buttonwillow on April 25th & 26th.

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