A good number of people think that NASA was born as an alternative to other racing organizations. That’s not true. It all began in the 1980s when Ali Arsham and I were president and vice president of the California Capri Club. We started participating with marquee clubs, doing HPDE, because those clubs would let other kinds of cars in as long as you knew someone.
In August of 1987 Ali and I managed to finagle our way into the Mini Owners Club event at Sears Point Raceway. This was where I first met Nick Becker, the president of the Mini club. I saw the way he operated and I remembered it. A short time passed and we attended some Shelby Club events. We learned a little more at each event.
By early 1989 Ali and I decided that we could put on our own event, and we were still president and vice president of the CCC. Ali managed to get a date for an open-track event on November 26, 1989. It was a one-day event, and we knew we had our work cut out for us. I contacted Nick Becker and asked if he could help me understand how to run things. He met with me for about four hours and laid everything out, operationally speaking. But, we still had to market the event and fill it up to pay the bills.
We worked very hard to get people to sign up. Sometimes Ali would go to someone’s house late at night to have them fill out an entry form. There was no doubt it was very hard work. As the event drew near, we got very nervous. But, in the end, with 109 entries, we had enough to pay the bills.
Next, we were very lucky to be able to book March 17, 1990, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This event did even better. We managed to obtain five more dates later that same year, but on Fridays at tracks like Willow Springs. Those events didn’t go so well.
In 1991 we phased out the name CCC and phased in our new name, “National Auto Sport Association.” We also only had one date in 1991 in early December at Sears Point Raceway. We concentrated on filling the event and trying to clear some profit to have in the bank as a buffer. We were successful.
By the fall of 1992 I knew we really had something good, and we set out to draft a business plan. We started with a vision. So, we knew what we wanted to create and we figured it would take 20 years to create it, if we were good — and lucky. We mapped the plan out on paper, with the first 10 years shown in pretty good detail. We figured that it was unrealistic to detail the last 10 years at that point. Well, we passed year 10 in 1998!
We’ve come a long way, with Ryan Flaherty and John Lindsey replacing Ali Arsham in 2001. How good are we doing now? Well, just one indicator is the addition of the National Championships in 2006. To compare, the Sports Car Club of America was formed in 1944 and their first national championships Runoffs were held in 1964. This was 20 years after they first started. While we are living in a different time, we feel that NASA is still right on track and rocketing into a prosperous future. I wish our members all the best, and hope they continue to enjoy what we’ve created.