The third annual NASA Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires is ready to go green this weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway October 14-16.
The Buttonwillow track is proving to be a great draw for competitors from across the country, with the added intrigue of running two different layouts on the weekend.
Charles Buzzetti is competing in one of the largest fields of the three-day weekend, the 30 car Spec E30 Class in his No. 7 BMW.
“I’ve been racing at Buttonwillow for almost 20 years and have thousands of laps there,” Buzzetti said. “I think the two configuration format helps some and hurts others, but I like it. There are a lot of potential winners for this event in the Spec E30 Class. I certainly consider myself in that group. In no certain order I am looking for Steve Stepanian, Andrew Clark, Larry Fraser, Michael Shahawn and Ray Zanotto to all be tough. I am racing in two classes PTD and E30. I always plan to win.”
David Schotz is coming off of his 12th NASA Championship win at Watkins Glen and looking to add to his trophy case this weekend at Buttonwillow. He is bringing his familiar yellow Pontiac Firebird as well as his black Corvette.
“I’ll be running both of my cars this coming weekend. However, it just looks as though for PT, I’m only able to race one or the other, since PTB and PTC are in the same run group,” Schotz said. “So at this time, I’ll be running the Firebird in PTB and TTB. And I’ll be running the Corvette in TTC only. Running the two configurations is a nice twist, but really Saturday and Sunday are what matter and will be the same track layout. I’ve been racing there on and off since the mid-2000’s, great track, lots of fun and challenging corners. My original goals were to win all four registered classes. However, it looks like I’ll now go for winning the three classes that I’m able to run.”
Tristan Littlehale is coming into the NASA Western States Championships with no knowledge of the two configurations that will be run, but is still one of the favorites in the Spec Miata Class.
“I have done one race with my ST3 BMW M3 at Buttonwillow, but not on any of the configurations we’ll be racing this weekend,” Littlehale said. “I like that NASA is limiting the advantage of people who have run Buttonwillow with lots of seat time because it’s usually run in CW No. 13. Adding to that, switching layouts in the middle of the weekend may be confusing to some, but will bring out the true racers that have the talent to make it happen in both configs. I’m racing in two classes this weekend, ST3 and Spec Miata. This will be my second race weekend in Spec Miata.
With what is a new car, class and competitors for me. My competition could be myself. I have only raced with the Spec Miata guys one other weekend and it was good tight racing. If I had to say, my one race at Sonoma Raceway was a preview of what champs has to bring. I foresee Matt Cresci, Nick Sommers, Justin Casey and myself will all be duking it out for the top step on Sunday. I may have a disadvantage because of seat time with the new car/class and my primary focus is ST3, but I’m going to be bringing it all for two class wins.”
NASA Western States Championships schedule: https://nasachampionships.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WestChampsSched2016.pdf
Buttonwillow Raceway track configurations: https://nasachampionships.com/west-event/
To qualify for the NASA National Championships presented by Toyo Tires, NASA competitors must compete in and score points in five regional races around the country.