NASA drivers nationwide are now in the final stages of preparation for the NASA Championships Presented by Toyo Tires. Slated for Sept. 18-22, the NASA Championships will take place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
To qualify for the NASA National Championships Presented by Toyo Tires, drivers must compete in and score points in five regional races around the country. We caught up with several drivers to see what they’ve been doing to prepare for the 2019 NASA Championships Presented by Toyo Tires.
Thunder Roadster driver Brian Bohlander calls the Great Lakes Region home, so he has racked up many laps at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Since Mid-Ohio is one of his home tracks, he has pages of notes and video to help him prepare for the NASA Championships.
Several other top Thunder Roadster drivers also are from the Great Lakes Region, which means they also have lots of laps there — and pages of notes and hours of video.
“Mid-Ohio is a straightforward track to learn, but very hard to master, which may play into our favor,” Bohlander said. “But let’s not kid ourselves, there’s a half dozen guys in Thunder Roadster GTR that know this track just as well. We’ve spent the summer racing with most of the national competitors and have been in the mix for the win at these events. Just racing, particularly in a lot of traffic, is the best way to prepare for Mid-Ohio, since it’s a short track and there will be full run groups at NASA Championships. Traffic management is going to be the difference in standing on the top step of the podium in September, or being an also ran.”
Spec Miata is typically one of the most competitive races at a NASA Championships event, and this year should be no different. The entry list includes a number of drivers who can win: Matthew Dirks, Kyle Webb, Jim Drago and NASA Rocky Mountain Regional Director Dan Williams.
Kyle Webb is demonstrating considerable commitment to the 2019 NASA Championships, so much so that he is investing a significant amount of time and money in his effort. It’s clear he is serious.
“I have been spending as much time as possible on the Toyo Tires to get the braking and slip angle of that particular tire burned into my muscle memory,” Webb said. “I also have been building a brand-new, no-expenses-spared Spec Miata in preparation for this year’s NASA Championships, and hope to have it ready for testing in early to mid-August.”
One of three registered entries from the Great Lakes Region, Todd Davis knows Mid-Ohio well. He won American Iron at Mid-Ohio in April, took two wins at Gingerman and leads the points race in his home region. We think he’s going to be on point for the big win this year.
“I have mainly been trying to stay out of trouble and keep the car in good shape,” Davis said.
Davis’ car is a bit unusual in a field that primarily consists of Ford Mustangs. Davis drives a black Buick Grand National powered by a GM LS engine, the only such car in all of NASA’s racing classes. He’s added a large rear wing for downforce, which he likely will need in a field of sleeker Mustangs.
Without question, some of the best CMC racing in all of NASA happens in the Great Lakes Region, and the field at this year’s Championships at Mid-Ohio is comprised of all but one competitor from the Great Lakes.
Understand that the guys in NASA Great Lakes Camaro-Mustang Challenge all know one another pretty well. In fact, many of them have been racing together for more than 10 years, including Bob Denton, who has run into some trouble this year with his car.
“Since I blew up my engine at the Mid-Ohio race in May, I have been trying to get the new engine and setup straightened out,” Denton said. “The first race out was at Pittsburgh in July and I still have issues to sort out before the last event before the Championships at Mid-Ohio in August. Besides that, I am setting aside spares and making sure the car and I will be at peak performance for Championships weekend.”
NASA Championships Presented by Toyo Tires
Dates: Sept. 18-22, 2019
Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
NASA Championships event information page: https://nasachampionships.com/
NASA Classes and Rules: https://nasaproracing.com/rules/
NASA will be posting daily updates from the track at https://nasaspeed.news/, so be sure to check in regularly.