LEXINGTON, OH, (Sept. 10, 2011) – The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) crowned 11 National Champions Saturday at the 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 was changing throughout the day, going from sunny and 72-degrees to pouring rain. Group A kicked-off the Championship races which included racers in the CMC2 and FFR classes.
In the FFR Class No. 8 Paul Kaiser, from Virginia, pulled away from the field on lap nine and never looked back, winning in his Factory Five Racing Cobra, posting a fast lap of 1:38.407. In second was the pole sitter No. 64 Scott McKay, Florida, and third was No. 5 Paul Arnold, from Tennesee.
“I couldn’t be happier. This has been a long time coming,” Kaiser said. “We’ve worked hard the past few years, and we really worked on our car preparation. I want to thank the guy who works on my car, Jeff Coles.He’s the best. Seven is my lucky number, this my seventh time here, and I was born on the seventh. McKay is a three-time champion, in any sporting event that is hard to do. I am happy to beat him today. I want to thank my family for helping me do this and for all of their support.”
“We had a good race today,” McKay said. “Paul Kaiser has been a strong runner all of these years, and he had a fantastic drive. There is only so much you can do when a guy is going to string it together like that in a race. I planned for some lap traffic, by the time we got through the cars, Paul had a really good lead. We were running our Toyo Tires as hard as we could and using our CarboTech brakes hard as well. I will be back next year to try and get it back. NASA puts on a fantastic show. Everyone does a great job. I want to thank Toyo Tires, NASA, and CarboTech Brakes. My brother Mark McKay did a fantastic job putting the car together.”
“I am so pleased. It is hard to put into words,” Arnold said. “We have a great group of guys in this class. I am a rookie, and the help that I got from fellow competitors this weekend was great. I had the heads off of my car two nights ago and there was a whole crowd there helping me to put it back together. I would have loved to have had some rain. I had seven cylinders and was on the pole in practice. I had to change my driving style halfway through the race and was able to end up third. I want to thank my wife, son and brother for their help.”
In CMC2 Anders Sjoblom, from Michigan, in his No. 65 Ford Mustang won a very close race from the pole. Sjoblom was locked in a great two-car battle for the win with Chris Ferraro, South Carolina, in his No. 14 Ford Mustang early. Later in the race traffic separated the two and Ferraro began to run out of gas on the white flag lap. He was able to limp home in third. Ferraro ran the fastest race lap of 1:39.207. Taking second was Bob Denton, Illinois, in the No. 67, Pontiac Firebird.
“It has been a fantastic weekend,” Sjoblom said. “The first day I was able to win my heat race and then in the second I was more conservative and just wanted to finish. I tried to take advantage of the yellow flag in that corner and put some distance between me and second. The key moment was when I got the gap in traffic. I was able to relax a little and run to the finish. I want to thank my wife and kids for supporting me. I also want to thank CarboTech, Steeda, Ford Racing, and Reehagan Racing for their parts and support.”
“I started at the front and was contending for the win,” Ferraro said. “It was our race to win, unfortunately I had some brake issues halfway through the race. It was just getting time to go. I knew where I could pass Anders and then traffic came into play. Then on the white flag lap I started to run out of gas and was able to creep over the finish line just in time to stay in front of the hungry dogs behind me. It is a little disappointing, but I am happy to be here. I want to thank Pro Motorsports and my family.”
In PTA Scott Perkins, from Georgia, took the win in his No. 27/Chevrolet Corvette. Mark Nunnally, Georgia, came second in his No. 71/Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Jason Ireland, from Tennessee, in the No. 7/Chevrolet Corvette Z06 took third.
“I am stunned and amazed,” Perkins said. “This is my first year in racing. We are all from the southeast, and we love racing together. The track conditions were unreal, dry and wet. You come around one lap, and it is dry, the next it is wet. I want to thank Hoosier tires, they have great contingency sponsorship. I also want to thank Pfadt Engineering.”
“It was pretty crazy,” Nunnally said. “It was dry on part of the track and wet on the other. Where it was dry I could run hard. In the wet I just kept it on the track. I want to thank my wife for letting me come up here and play.”
“I managed to spin twice in the rain,” Ireland said. “I was able to recover and make my way back up the field to third without spinning a third time. It was slick in the Keyhole. I want to thank my wife, parents and friends for helping me get the car on track.”
Derek Whitis, from Florida, took the top step of the podium in PTB in his No. 125/Mazda MX5. Luke Wilwert, Ohio, drove his No. 35/Acura TL to second with Matt McIntyre, Arizona, finishing third in his No. 311/BMW M3.
“It is pretty exciting, NASA puts on a great event,” Whitis said. “We are racing on one of the best tracks with some great people driving some great cars. I want to thank our troops around the world with the tenth anniversary of 9-11 that allow us to do what we want to do in this country.”
“It was an unbelieveable race,” McIntyre said. “Unfortunately I started at the back, and I was able to catch up to the front in the rain. I want to thank my family.”
“It was very wet in parts of the track and dry in others,” Wilwert said. “I had the fastest car in the dry all weekend, and it rained today. It was one of the hardest races I’ve run. Thanks to Alpinestars and BF Goodrich.”
Winning ST1 was David Pinitaric, from Ohio, in his No. 40/Corvette Z06. In second place was Alan Sweers, Michigan, driving the No. 38/Dodge Viper, with Quentin Boatright, North Carolina, coming third in his No. 957/Porsche 944.
“I am proud of the effort our crew put together,” Pinitaric said. “Any successful endeavor is a team effort. I was able to keep it on the track and run a good race. I want to thank Hoosier Tire and CarboTech Brakes.”
“It was a very exciting race,” Sweers said. “Sitting on the pregrid I am thinking we should have put rain tires on. We were all with the same tires. This place is big enough where some sections are dry and then it changed from lap to lap. You really had to look for traction. It was mentally taxing out there, but a lot of fun. A lot of guys don’t like to run in the rain, but it teaches you car control skills. I want to thank Ray Sweers and Mike Howard, who repaired my car after this morning’s practice. We had the front tore off by a tow truck.”
“I was a little under horse powered this weekend, but the rain made it even out,” Boatright said. “It was a mental challenge with the rain. It was an intense 45-minutes. I want to thank Hoosier Tire and the NASA guys from the southeast I run with.”
In ST2 Dean Martin, from Michigan, driving the No. 88/Ford Mustang took the class win. Martin was followed by David Fazzino, Connecticutt, in his No. 101/Mitsubishi Evo and taking third was Thorpe Logemann, California, in his No. 3/Mazda RX7.
“It was a great day,” Martin said. “The Ford Mustang was fantastic, especially in the rain. I had the overall for a while, and then one fo the Super Unlimited cars got back by me. We talked about changing the setup before the race, but we just put the wets on and went out and won it. I want to thank Ford Racing and Reehagan Racing and all of my crew guys for their help.”
“Fantastic, it was a driver’s race,” Fazzino said. “I prayed for rain. When the skies opened up, I knew it was going to be a driver’s race, and the best driver would win. I started sixth and did the best I could, stayed out of trouble and didn’t hit anybody. It was incredible. I had the most close calls of any race I have ever run. We had no major accidents. Everyone did a great job. Charlie North did a great job building the car, thank you Charlie.”
“I started back in 15th and worked my way up to third,” Loggeman said. “The weather helped me out. All week long I couldn’t get the car to stick in the dry or the wet. I got lucky and made it work today. The wet running helped me a lot, especially on Wednesday, because it started dry and rained then as well.”
In Super Unlimited Ryan Ellis, from Virginia, driving his No. 01/Superlite Coupe used his traction control to conquer the rain and win the class. Robert Gewirtz, Ohio, came in second in his No. 2/Diasio, third was Troy Lindstrom, California, in his No. 66/Chevrolet Super Truck.
“It was a great run for the Superlite Coupe,” Ellis said. “This is our first National Championship and in only our third month of having the race car. It was a tough race. I had crew guys around the track letting me know what the weather was like. The traction control was really working. I want to thank the Driveshaft Shop, Isis and Racecar Replicas for their help.”
“The car handled pretty well as long as I slowed down a little for the rain,” Gewirtz said. “The track was dry for a lot of the race. It was a great race. I want to thank NASA for putting on a great event.”
“We had a great race,” Lindstrom said. “We are driving a stock truck, the Jagermeister Truck, and we had an incredible race. I passed the second-place car six times in the rain. I passed him on the dry sections, and he passed me back on the wet parts. It came down to the last lap and last turn and we both went for second. Second place beat me by 100-feet.”
In Spec Miata, the race started under a light sprinkle of rain. David Spencer, No. 87/Mazda Miata, from Kentucky, got into the lead early with Nathanial Sparks, Alabama, No. 12/Miata, second. Two laps into the race, rain began to fall heavier on the Mid-Ohio circuit, forcing drivers to run the rain line on dry tires. On lap five, four of the top five cars spun off in Turn One with Sparks assuming the lead. A great battle for second between Sammy Valafar, No. 77/Miata, Nevada, and Kevin Gleason, Pennsylvania, No. 81/Miata ensued. On lap nine exiting Turn Four, Sparks spun into the tire wall, handing the lead to Gleason briefly, who started the race 18th. Valafar was able to come back and retake the lead into Turn Four on lap 11 and battled with Sparks. As Valafar and Sparks battled that allowed Greg Stasiowski, No. 32/Miata, West Virginia, to become a factor on lap 13. At the checker, it was Sparks, Valafar and Stasiowski in a race that witnessed more than six lead changes.
“On the initial warm-up lap it was sprinkling,” Sparks said. “The first green lap was relatively clean from my perspective. It was very slick, but we made it. For the entire race only half the track was wet, on the wet half, we ran the rain line and the dry, the dry line. I spun across the little creek between Six and Seven and bounced off the wall. It was the perfect bounce off. I came back, and it was pointed straight, so I put it in gear and went.”
“We were warming up our tires. Everything was good, and I am feeling confident,” Valafar said. “Then we are going into Turn Eight, and I almost lose control of my car. It is raining. I radio to my crew that it is raining, and they yelled back, shut-up and drive. I tested the waters with grip and got sideways. I was thinking we were going to demolish 25 Spec Miata racers into the First Turn. Towards the end of the race Nathanial got up beside me going into Seven. He kind of used me to finish the Turn and took the position. After that the steering wheel was to the left, and the toe was out. It was a crazy race. I want to thank Mazda, Toyo Tires, Hawk Brakes and all the competitors for putting on a good show.”
“I think I had a good drive,” Stasiowski said. “I started on the pole, but went back a few positions. Considering the weather it was a good run. It was a crazy race, but I was able to survive and to finish on the podium is great. I want to thank Custom Tool & Grinding and Jim Locke Automotive for their help.”
“It was wet in some turns and dry in others,” Spencer said. “You never knew what was going to happen. I started second and moved up to first for awhile. Cars were everywhere. It was an amazing race. The lap traffic was staying out of the way so that wasn’t really a problem, dealing with the weather was the problem.”
In Spec E30 (BMW) Robert Grace, Alabama, started from pole in his No. 74/BMW 325 and led the first three-quarter lap until he spun, going to the back of the field. He was able to gather it back up and drive by the field for the win. Eric Palacio, Georgia, took second in his No. 191/BMW 325, with Jonathan Allen, Pennsylvania, No. 87/BMW 325 coming in third.
“I had a good start in the wet, which is a first for me,” Grace said. “I had a pretty good first lap and I was gapping the field. I went off coming out of the last turn. I fell to the back of the field. It was a long race. I drove as hard as I could and drove back up to the front – first, to last, to first.”
“I am super excited,” Palacio said. “It has been a crazy week. My car broke. My Dad gave me his car for the weekend. To drive through the wet, my first time, here is great. I have to thank my father for everything. Awesome weekend.”
Tyler Palmer, from California, took the win in Spec 944 (Porsche) in his No. 4/Porsche 944. Eric Kuhns, Illinois, in his No. 80/Porsche 944 finished second with Neal Agran, Illinois, coming third in his No. 84/Porsche 944.
“It rained as soon as the race started,” Palmer said. “We decided to put on rain tires, and we had mixed conditions. We had a caution on the track and that brought the field back together, and I was able to keep the lead and take the win. I want to thank Mobile 1, Snap-On Tools, Graphics Plus, NASA and my mom and dad.”
“The race started crazy,” Kuhns said. “I got lightly tapped and spun in the First Turn. I managed to recover and pass a lot of great competitors. At the end, everything bunched up,we had a pass and a repass for second on the last lap – that is racing! I want to thank my wife most of all. I also want to thank Bennington Motorsports.”
“Unbelievable,” Agran said.. “I have had the worst week imaginable. I broke an axle on the first lap of the first qualifying race after starting from pole and finished last. I had some axle problems this week. I started today dead last, didn’t make it to the warm-up this morning and still made my way up to third. Unbelievable. I want to thank Bennington Motorsports. They prep my car. It is consistently the best prepped and fastest 944 out here.”
In Formula Mazda front row starters DouglasPeterson, Florida, and Darryl Wills, Texas, raced to the first corner, neither would give and both ended up spinning off. Wills drove his No. 24/Formula Mazda back through the field for the win, while Peterson, in the 87/Formula Mazda, gave chase and finished third. Zach Silver ran a strong race and finished his No. 93/Formula Mazda in second.
“I was on the outside of Doug for the start,” Wills said. “It was a game of who was going to let off the gas first. I knew we were both in too hot. As soon as I got off of the throttle it was damage control the whole way. We both got in there. I got around Doug clean and got way-laid. I recovered and pedaled it hard to run back up and take the lead. Then it was tire management as we were on rains with a drying track. I was searching for water. I want to thank my sponsor Distinguido Tequila, 100% agave tequila out of Mexico.”
“It was a great race,” Silver said. “We had to start out on rains. The track started to dry in the middle of the race. It turned technical as you had to know where to drive the car. We had to make the tires last. Daryl came back from his spin, a great drive. I want to thank Goodyear, Mazda, Epic Motorsports and everyone who helps us.”
“That was a pretty good race,” Peterson said. “I started out on the pole and had a little issue in Turn One, got spun around went to the back and had to work my way back up. To do that I had to cook my tires. I just didn’t have the right set-up on the car. I am happy with that, I am 61 with four grandchildren. These are a bunch of young guys. I want to thank 3Dimesional.com for sponsoring me.”
Saturday’s NASA Nationals presented by Toyo Tires 2011 Champions:
FFR Paul Kaiser/No. 8/Factory Five Racing Cobra
CMC2 Anders Sjoblom/No. 65/Ford Mustang
PTA Scott Perkins/No. 127/Chevrolet Corvette Z06
PTB Derek Whitis/No. 125/Mazda MX5
Super Touring 1 David Pinitaric/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 Grace/No. 74/BMW 325
Spec Miata Nathanial Sparks/No. 12/Mazda Miata
Formula Mazda Darryl Wills/No. 24/Formula Mazda