Racers are ready for action at Sebring International Raceway

The fourth annual NASA Eastern States Championships presented by Toyo Tires is receiving entries from across the country, which will ensure strong competition October 20-22 at Sebring International Raceway.

In American Iron, Mike Patterson is coming in from the NASA Texas Region to compete for the top spot in one of NASA’s signature racing classes. Patterson finished third at the Eastern States Championships in 2014 and sustained car damage last year the day before the Championships race, and didn’t make the starting grid.

Mike Patterson

Patterson has more than 100 NASA wins, multiple regional championships and 11 wins this year alone. American Iron is dominated by the Ford Mustang in regions all over the country, but Patterson is hoping to put his owned-since-new 1999 Chevrolet Camaro on the top step of the podium.

“The car took a while to transform from a glorified street car, so to speak, into a competitive American Iron car,” Patterson said. “I run the car on a pretty limited budget and it took a while to accumulate and acquire the right parts for the car to make it go fast.”

In 944 Spec, NASA Southeast’s Jason Stanley is hoping to follow up his 2016 Championship with another at Sebring International Raceway. Competition in 944 Spec will be hot this year, with more than 15 cars taking the grid.

Jason Stanley

Stanley has never driven at Sebring before, so he’s been watching video of pro races to pick up race craft and technique, and driving the track on a simulator.

“I have an iRacing setup with Sebring on it, which I’ve turned a bunch of laps on in other cars like the Mustang,” Stanley said. “Usually whenever I go to one of these National Championships events, I pick a momentum car like a Miata or a Solstice and I just turn a bunch of laps to try to get a good estimation of line and how I can carry apex speed through the corners.”

For competition in GTS3, NASA Florida’s Randy Mueller is busy prepping his car, tuning it and adjusting weights for the class. 2015 was the last year Mueller competed in a NASA Championships event. Mueller said he’s replacing worn parts and setting the car up as he would for every race weekend.

Randy Mueller

“There are some new names on the entry list with a variety of cars that I don’t recognize, so that makes it exciting!” Mueller said. “At an event of this caliber, it is always energizing to see what everyone brings to the table. I am also equally as excited to seeing how my teammate Michael Camus measures up as I am to race myself. He has been on a steep learning curve and has progressed amazingly fast. I believe the competitors in his class are going to have a tough competitor to deal with.”

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Image courtesy of Brett Becker