Anvil heads stir in the distance as lightning zigzags across the sky. Thunderclaps rattle the garages as storm clouds drift lazily over the South Mountains toward the track. Teams scramble in the pits, unsure whether to mount grooved or slick tires. As the start ticks closer, pulses quicken, and the results of a race that ends in 45 minutes depend on decisions teams make right now.

It’s go time. It’s the 2013 NASA National Championships.

Of course, not all races that weekend were dependent on weather, but it was a factor in a few of them. High stakes, more than a $1 million in contingencies, and serious competition, however, were a factor in all of them.

NASA competitors from across the nation descended upon Miller Motorsports Park’s 3.06-mile Outer Loop course. A big push to hold the NASA National Championships at Miller Motorsports Park was due in large part to Roger Miller, son of the late Larry Miller, who built the facility in 2006. The tragic death of Roger Miller in August cast a pall over the event, and many competitors’ cars were adorned with tribute stickers in honor of Miller, who ran the facility and served as NASA Utah’s regional director until August.

But when the green flag dropped on this year’s championship event, it was on in a big way, and at the end of four days of qualifying and racing, NASA had crowned 25 new National Champions. Racers, start your engines.

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