?Despite being severely underpowered for the class the JDM Fresh Mazda Miata held its own the entire weekend! Rumor has it this car will see boost for 2014.
For the second session all teams were on deck and ready to roll out to take advantage of what appeared to be the prime session. I had my gear in the HRG Porsche ready to catch the action and watched as Tony rolled out first followed by Eric in the Porsche. Right out of the gate they were both moving pretty good and Travis Barnes was pushing hard behind them.
Behind the front runners the class results were very similar to what they had been on Saturday. We saw the addition of Istvan Klag in the Night Motorsport STi in the street AWD class. Steve brought that car out to try and give Taylor Wilson hell in that class. We also saw Will Wattanwongkiri get his rear diff swapped to lay down some fast laps in his SR equipped 240SX. I can tell you one thing, 102 degrees feels like spring compared to 118. I always thought anything over 100 was just plain hot and I can assure you that my studies that weekend as well as the chafing I had going on proved otherwise! As I stood at the wall to watch the teams settle things I enjoyed watching the HRG Porsche counter steer its way through the course. Ahead of him on track Tony in the UMS Evo was submitting some very fast yet drama free laps. At one point I thought Tony was on a cool down lap based on how smooth he went by, then again he does have “gentle hands” on the wheel. As we observed the time sheets Tony would be the only car to dip sub 1:50's with a 1:49.204 besting the Porsche who ran a 1:50.971. In the Limited AWD class we would see Markos in the Snail WRX get things a bit too hot and pull into the pits. He was very concerned about blowing a head gasket and needing to drive the car back to Phoenix some 3 hours through the desert. As they day progressed it appeared that session Two would prove to be the fastest for most of the competitors and while we waited for the afternoon session we turned our attention to the UMS trailer. The night before Justin had pulled the pork shoulder and we were headed over there for some quality BBQ leftovers. He serves it dry and lets the end user determine sauce, I preferred mine the way the chef intended and the shit was on point! Thanks again to Justin for suffering heat stroke to tame the smoker and deliver quality grub! Someone give that guy a raise! Right around that time the Crown was flying and the awards were ready. We walked the 16.75' over to the GTA tent and listened as wood was handed out.
1st Place, #14, Tony Szirka, 1:49.204, UMS Tuning EVO XIII
2nd Place, #24, Travis Barnes, 1:54.459, Snail Performance WRX
3rd Place, #32, Kyle Schick, 1:59.072, RaceCo GTR
1st Place, #22, Eric Oviatt, 1:50.971, HRG Porsche Boxster
2nd Place, #242, Reid Yoken, 2:10.141, C6 Corvette
1st Place, #9, Alex Lewandowski, 2:03.521, JDM Factory EVO IX
2nd Place, #555, Markos Mylonas, 2:07.084, Snail Performance / FAT WRX
1st Place, #959, Nick Richards, 2:05.106, GSR Autosport E36 BMW M3
2nd Place #330, Jay Ronquillo / Paul, 2:07.250, JDM Fresh Mazda Miata
1st Place, #20, Ken Suen, 2:03.469, Sportcar Motion / Godspeed Project RSX
1st Place, #124, Taylor Wilson, 2:04.063, Snail Performance / FAT WRX
2nd Place, #214, Istvan Klag, 2:11.297, Night Motorsport STi
1st Place, #107, William Wattanawongkiri, 2:04.560, S13 240sx
2nd Place, #729, Kevin Courtney, 2:06.749, Bobby Lane Racing Honda S2000
3rd Place, #15, Andrew Nier, 2:08.200, Ford Mustang GT
4th Place, #69, Michael Essa, 2:10.774, GSR Autosport C63 AMG
1st Place, #88, Michael Jantz, 2:07.288, Subaru STi
1st Place, #18, Jason Lee, 2:07.486, Sportcar Motion/Godspeed Project Honda Civic
?Taylor Wilson provides our parting shot for another amazing weekend. He tips his red solo cup in celebration of two wins in the Street AWD Class. Look for an upcoming feature on the Snail Performance cars!
As we loaded up the trailer a sad feeling washed over me. I was so engrossed in the trackside antics that it just dawned on me that in 24 hours I would be back at home in the Midwest and the reality of a desk job would set in. It also sucked as Travis would have to load up his trailer to head to his new place in California while I would roll with the rest of the Snail Guys back to PHX for my Monday AM flight. I never look forward to this time of the event. As hot as it was and as tough as it is to cover what happens, every second is worth it. I live for it and the quality of the people that I am surrounded by every time I go to an event. This truly is a dream job and despite the fact that it poses serious drawbacks in other areas of life I cannot live without it. I ponder this as we roll back the 3 hours to Phoenix stopping only for some gas and an ice cold slushy, Taylor and I both exchange texts with Travis and clearly the family has been separated. Markos limps back the WRX without issue and we all spend a low key evening enjoying some of the local sushi. The next morning I roll to the airport with Taylor and hop on another stinky can back to Milwaukee where reality awaits me. I spend the flight back beginning this very article and downloading my pictures. Anything I can do to keep the fond memories made that weekend at the track at the forefront of my mind.