With more than 40 drivers in attendance, NASA Southeast Time Trial made a concerted and coordinated showing for the first NASA Southeast event of the 2024 season at the refurbished and always-fast Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., February 17-18. The track has become a competitor favorite since the track was repaved in 2020, with the layout consisting of three short straightaways and multiple sharp-angled turns acting as an equalizer among the mix of different car manufacturers and engine displacements within each class. These factors equal close competition among the power-to-weight restricted classes that focus more on driver skill and chassis setup than peak top speeds found at tracks with longer straights.

Saturday’s competition got off to a fast start as expected. TT6 class brought 11 drivers on Saturday where P1 went to the No. 23 Mazda Miata of Will Benson, pacing the field with a fast lap of 1:48.556. The P2 spot went to Nishant “Nish” Patel in the No. 6 Mazda Miata, putting down a respectable 1:49.691, with the podium rounding out with the No. 10 Mazda Miata of Tim Wilson in P3, recording a fast lap of 1:49.94.

Sunday’s TT6 results saw no changes in the P1-P3 positions, but with only 10 drivers taking the checker due to mechanical troubles forcing Saturday’s P4 finisher, the No. 500 Mazda Miata of Ed De Oliveira, to remain in the paddock for the day. Though, this was good news for Saturday’s P5 slot held by the No. 188 Mazda Miata of Fred Kumpel, who finishing in the same position on Sunday, picked up the P4 spot.

Fielding 11 competitors, TTU consisted of a mix of true TTU cars with a power-to-weight ratio that did not fit into one of the restricted classes and drivers who opted to forgo dyno testing for their vehicles and drive it how they brought it for the weekend. Pacing the whole TT field on Saturday in P1 was the No. 88 Radical SR3XX of Danny Dyszelski with a blistering lap of 1:28.886, but with the No. 67 Stohr WF1 driven by Ghais Khaleghi nipping at his heels all day on Saturday and finishing in P2 with a lap time of 1:29.911 for the day. Grabbing the final spot on the podium in P3 was the No. 111 Radical SR3 of Kade Lewis, with a fast lap of 1:35.257. Sunday’s TTU competition saw the P1 and P2 spots go to No. 67 Khaleghi and No. 111 Lewis respectively, with the No. 181 KTM X-Bow of Patrick Altier picking up the P3 spot with a fast time of 1:41.951.

The TT5 class started Saturday’s competition with seven drivers and at the end of the day’s competition, the P1 spot went to the No. 108 BMW M3 of Ryan Delvaux with a quick lap of 1:44.782 in his first weekend of competition in that vehicle after an unfortunate fire in January’s TT event took his usual Honda S2000 out of contention for CMP. Finishing in P2 just a few short weeks after parking his car in the trees just beyond Turn 5 at Roebling Road Raceway was the No. 333 BMW Spec-E9X of Nicholas Fuller, with a quick lap of 1:45.814. In the final podium spot was the No. 025 Honda S2000 of Jacob Cushing, recording a respectable 1:45.991 for his quick lap of the day. Sunday’s competition in TT5 saw a repeat from Saturday of all three podium spots, though with one less competitor in the field after the motor on the No. 92 K-swapped Mazda Miata of Marcus Luttrell went wherever motors go when they die.

The five drivers who began the weekend in TT3 saw some close competition on Saturday between the top two drivers, with the P1 spot going to the No. 55 Chevrolet Camaro of Christian Aranha, with a fast lap time of 1:38.659, followed very closely by the No. 765 of Jens Polte in P2 with a quick time of 1:38.806, and less than two-tenths of a second separating these talented drivers. In a distant P3 was the No. 507 Chevrolet Corvette of Wes Harper, turning a fast lap of 1:42.915 before being forced to retire for the weekend later in the day following a close encounter with the Turn 5 tire wall. As a side note, Wes Harper was uninjured likely due in some part to his heeding the repeated, and often pestering warnings of his TT Directors, and upgrading his personal and vehicle safety gear just a few months prior to this unfortunate mishap.

Sunday’s TT3 results, less the No. 507 Corvette of the uninjured Wes Harper, saw P1 and P2 remain unchanged from Saturday, but with the No. 83 BMW M2 of Luie Zendejas sliding into the P3 spot with a quick time of 1:43.505 to round out the weekend’s TT3 competition.

The TT4 class came to CMP with a total of four drivers entered to compete, which at the end of Saturday’s competition, saw the top two spots putting down lap times .4 seconds apart. The P1 spot went to the No. 55X Honda S2000 of rookie driver, Ray Drake, who managed a fast lap of 1:44.046, with the No. 8 USLCI Ford Legends car of veteran driver and former Spec Miata racer, Brad Miller, nabbing the P2 slot with a fast time of 1:44.456. Pulling into the last podium spot in P3 was the No. 113 Nissan 350Z of Neil Kohler with a fast lap of 1:51.000. All four TT4 drivers were able to make competition laps during Sunday’s TT sessions, where all four drivers retained their finishing positions from Saturday, which included the No. 95 Ford Mustang of Jonathan Baker in the P4 slot.

TT2 had just enough drivers to fill the podium spots entering Saturday’s competition, but their low entry numbers showed no loss of speed and talent as the No. 707 Toyota Supra driven by rookie driver, Allen Patten, set the TT2 track record at Carolina Motorsports Park with a quick lap on Sunday of 1:34.120, dethroning the prior lap record holder, Ben Grambau, set in May 2021. Both days of competition in TT2 saw the same podium results, with the No. 707 Patten taking P1 both days, the No. 57 Porsche GT3 of Frank Pinon taking the P2 spot both days, and P3 being occupied both days by the No. 269 Chevrolet Camaro of veteran driver and former 944 Spec driver, John Taylor, in his first season in Time Trial.

Rounding out the field with the sole entry in the TT1 class was TT veteran, Fred Evans, in the No. 1X Chevrolet Corvette, with a quick lap time of 1:51.778 to show for the weekend.

In the new for 2024 Time Trial Target class competition, where lap time consistency calculated by the delta between a driver’s four fastest laps of the day determines the podium order, Saturdays’ TTT podium consisted of P1 going to the No. 8 TT4 USLCI Legends car of Brad Miller, with a combined delta of just 1.302 seconds, P2 going to the No. 3 TT6 Mazda Miata of Ernie Johnson at a combined delta of 1.318 seconds, and P3 falling to the No. 269 TT2 Chevrolet Camaro of John Taylor with a combined delta of 1.369 seconds.

Sunday’s TTT competition proved to be even more impressive than that of Saturday, with all three podium spots going to drivers with combined 4 lap deltas of less than 1 second. The P1 spot went to the No. 23 TT6 Mazda Miata of Will Benson, with an amazing 4 lap combined delta of just 0.534 seconds. The P2 podium spot went to the No. 41 TT6 Mazda Miata of Jason Glow with a combined delta of only 0.845 seconds, and rounding out the podium, P3 went to the No. 83 TT3 BMW M2 of Luie Zendejas with a combined delta of a mere 0.859 seconds.



Image courtesy of James Voss

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