The first two events of this racing season kicked off NASA’s new Time Trial Target, or TTT. NASA Southeast held its first event of 2024 at Roebling Road, and NASA Arizona kicked off the season at Arizona Motorsports Park.
If you don’t already know, Time Trial Target is calculated among all eight classes of Time Trial competitors on a given weekend, rewarding the most consistent drivers in all of Time Trial. The three drivers with the smallest delta among their three fastest lap times can qualify for an additional podium finish each day of a regular NASA event. For the NASA Championships, TTT will have one podium on the final day of competition, tallying the results from all Time Trial sessions.
This program is unique to NASA. There is no other program like it in U.S. motorsports. Look for copycats coming soon.
When it was announced, some folks on social media scoffed at the idea, saying a driver could in theory set cruise control and nab the TTT prize fairly easily, but in practice, that’s not what happened. Drivers still pushed their hardest to get the TT win in their class.
Determining the TTT winners is done by the people in Timing and Scoring. It only takes a few minutes and a few more calculations within the existing timing and scoring software to determine the TTT winners. As a driver, you don’t have to do anything except turn enough laps in enough sessions to qualify.
In Arizona, four TTT podium finishers, who don’t regularly podium in TT, were able to set laps with the narrowest delta in TTT that weekend. Saturday’s winning TTT driver, Kevin Antrosiglio put down three laps within .324 seconds of one another, and his car isn’t yet maximized to the rules in TT5. Saturday’s TTT podium in Arizona had drivers from TT5, TT6 and TT3.
“He was three tenths off for his total four laps and the next closest was seven tenths, and everyone else it was a second plus,” said NASA Arizona Regional Director Tage Evanson. “So, I think people quickly saw the power of it. This is one more outlet or one more reason to fill up the grid. Don’t just set your one lap and go home. Maybe stick around and try to get that — I don’t want to call it the coveted TTT award — but there’s something for everyone.”
Because TTT is treated like an additional Time Trial class, albeit one comprised of all TT classes from TT1 through TT6, TTU and TTEV, there is one additional podium opportunity per day. Because it’s comprised of all those classes, the fields are much larger, which creates opportunity for larger contingency payouts for things like Toyo and Maxxis tires, Hawk brakes, VP Racing lubricants, among others depending on your car and class.
For example, at the NASA Southeast event at Roebling Road Raceway, the TTT field was 31. The largest individual class was TTU, with nine cars participating. Adding 22 cars to a field is a great way to increase the contingency payouts and expand the possibilities for the people competing for them. TTT does exactly that.
At Arizona Motorsports Park, TT3 hot shoe Cameron Lane took the class win on Saturday and scored a third in TTT. Lane took the TT3 win again on Sunday and finished third again in TTT. So, the TTT podium was a mix of drivers who can run at the front of the pack and those from further back, but there was no sandbagging from anyone.
“Cameron’s got all the track records, so it’s no surprise there. It kind of showed that hey, not only is he a fast driver, but he can consistently hit those same fast lap times,” Evanson said. “But at the same time, a less competitive driver also hit the same benchmark. So I think hopefully that should raise awareness. If people know they’ve got to run at least two sessions to be eligible, and then do more than one lap, or at least you’ve got to get four laps across at least two different sessions, it at least encourages there to be a few more cars out there. So keeping those fields full each session I think will help. It may not help the last session on Sunday or last session on Saturday, but those first two or maybe three sessions, I think it’ll bring up the car counts, which makes it a little more exciting for folks to see.”
Time Trial competitors can start adding up their contingency possibilities on the NASA Contingencies page. See you on grid!