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Old 09-12-2005, 06:04 PM   #1
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NASA Texas AI/CMC May MSR Writeup! ( DUW )

Ummm...yeah, it's late. Better late than never.

NASA TEXAS, 2005 ROUND 2 - Motorsport Ranch

Weekend Racing Recap - May 21-22, 2005

Written by Adam Ginsberg and Todd Covini

06 August 2005

Texas American Iron and Camaro Mustang Challenge racecars converged for the second time this season at Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, Texas. The GM camp came out in full force, with the rookies showing the veterans how it’s done. The weather was hot and the racing was even hotter!

+ 4 AI/CMC sprint races toward championship points (20 minutes each)
+ 1 practice session and 2 qualifying sessions (15-20 minutes each)
+ 7 total race group sessions and well over 2 hours of track time!
+ 6 American Iron cars
+ 2 new American Iron Xtreme cars
+ 9 CMC cars
+ 3 new Competition Licensing students – Chris McComb, Jeff Burch and Robert King!
+ 12 Mustangs
+ 5 Camaros – 1 in AIX, 1 in AI, and 3 in CMC!
+ 1 new Firebird in CMC!
+ Not one, but 2 former Bondurant Mustangs – Skip Smith ( AI #69 ) and Chris McComb ( CMC #24 )
+ 2 AI pole positions winners for the weekend – Mike Patterson (Sat) and John George (Sun)!
+ 2 CMC pole position winners for the weekend – Eric Varner (Sat), and Team Ginsberg/Tanner (Sun).
+ 2 AI winners for the weekend - John George 3X (Sat and Sun), Mike Patterson 1X (Sun)
+ 3 CMC winners for the weekend - Eric Varner 1x (Sat), Glenn Landrum 2x (Sat and Sun) and Team Covini/Breitenbach 1x (Sun)
+ Many new series cars debut for their first event whether racing or earning their competition license. (Warren, Burch, Alexander, King, McComb, Dawdy, The Smiths, Tomblin and others.)
+ Mechanical Failures were almost as significant as attrition – one bent valve, one bent pushrod, one serpentine belt, one wheel hub, 2 blown tires, 2 fuel pumps, O2 sensors and one transmission.
+ Weather was unseasonablely HOT! Ambient temps were 104^ on Saturday, and 102^ for Sunday forcing everyone under shade, or into air conditioned vehicles.
+ With the higher temps, routine laptimes were off from the usual pace – 1:27-1:28’s for CMC, and 1:23-1:24’s for AI.

FRIDAY – The Texas AI, AIX and CMC racers arrived at the track, and checked in with NASA. The usual Friday “Happy-Hour” was unavailable, so the racers unpacked, and got ready to do battle for the weekend!

SATURDAY – dawned warm, with little breeze to help keep the racers cool. Following the driver’s meeting, Series Director’s Todd Covini and Adam Ginsberg held the AI/CMC racers over and gave some important reminders on the “rules of engagement” on track and a short overview of the CCR Appendix. Using 1:18 scale racecars, a visual “evolution of a pass” was demonstrated with a “who has the right of way” discussion.

Several of our regular AI/CMC racers returned to MSR from damage that occurred during Round #1 - Mike Bell (AI #16) replaced (and upgraded) his blown AI engine with a stroker motor, Jeff Brooks took the time to repair his engine compartment from a minor fire which damaged wiring in Round #1. Rob Liebbe ( CMC #1 ) and Glenn Landrum ( CMC #70 ) both repaired significant body damage to their respective cars and were now ready to go.

Others took advantage of the long break to upgrade their cars. Richard Pedersen quietly added “game” to his former CMC-powered/AI Griggs suspended #91 Mustang for an ~80hp gain with a few choice engine upgrades. Texas AI Champion John George returned for Round 2 after the fierce shootout competition with Mike Patterson’s Camaro in Round 1. This time, John brought “bigger guns” to the tune of the new Griggs Racing GR-40 SLA front suspension and a new cambered rear-end from Griggs for the GR-23 car. David Armstong arrived with what appeared to be a whole new #20 car for an “American Iron Extreme Make Over” – fresh paint (changed color inside & out), new Griggs Racing suspension, and a new engine with plenty more HP which put him up into the AIX Championship points race from his last year’s rookie AI season.

David Armstrong’s “American Iron eXtreme Makeover”. Image by David Armstrong.

Another AIX entry, Wiley Alexander, showed up with his fully restored 2nd Gen Camaro that really drew a crowd. Wiley had previously owned this car and sold it off many years ago only to buy it back from the owner and freshen it up to be a purpose built AIX car with an estimated 400HP/400 TQ…for now. This event would be the Royal Purple #6 AIX car’s maiden voyage and “shakedown cruise” as she was fired up for the first time within 24 hours of the event!

Wiley Alexander’s Royal Purple 2nd gen AIX Camaro. Image by Todd Covini.
continued on part II
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:06 PM   #2
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Another first in Texas AI and CMC racing history was the fact that the GM folks really came out in numbers to the track – 5 Camaros, and 1 Firebird were in attendance to prove their mettle. For the last two years, the series directors have been exclaiming from their Ford Horses “The General is Coming! The General is Coming!”…and at last, GM is making it’s mark in Texas AI/CMC! With the current trend, Texas could very well be General Motors AI/CMC Country by season end!

The Ford racers get ready for Saturday practice. Image by Adam Ginsberg.

In short order, the morning silence was broken by the roar of V8 engines getting ready to take the track. The Practice session provided an excellent time for provisional racers such as Chris McComb and others to do lead/follow laps with some of the veterans to learn the line and come up to speed with the group.

Qualifying began on schedule Saturday morning. In American Iron, Mike Patterson took the pole position with a 1:22.839. John George was close behind with a 1:23.178, followed by Richard Pedersen ( 1:24.166 ), David Donovan ( 1:26.906 ), Chris Lyons ( 1:28.701 ), and Jeff Brooks ( 1:32.000 ).

The CMC qualifying session put Eric Varner on the pole, showing a 1:27.596. Team Ginsberg/Tanner was very close behind with a 1:27.905, followed by Glenn Landrum ( 1:28.264 ), Team Covini/Breitenbach ( 1:28.365 ), Nicholas Runyon ( 1:28.576 ), Corey Rueth ( 1:30.433 ), Chris McComb ( 1:37.832 ) and Mitch Warren.

The GM contingent arrived to show what they can do on the track. Image by Adam Ginsberg.

SATURDAY’S RACE #1 – gridded AIX, AI and CMC together for a rolling start. With the high ambient, engine and driver temperatures, it could have been anyones race.

Mike Patterson, in his Alamo Autosports/Clutch Masters/Motul-sponsored AI Camaro was on the pole with the rest of the AI field gridded up by qualifying order. Wiley Alexander and David Armstrong gridded in AIX. In CMC, pole-position was filled by Eric Varner and the rest of the CMC field behind him in qualifying order. Rookies Mitch Warren and Chris McComb gridded from the back as they worked to complete their rookie requirements in this, their first CMC race.

The cars went out on the warm up lap, heading for the flag station. The green flag dropped for the rolling start, and the May Texas V8 racing weekend had officially begun!

The #8 Camaro of Mike Patterson roared off, with the newly suspended Griggs-sponsored #23 of John George in hot pursuit. Richard Pedersen, now with more motor, stayed close to the leaders, all while trying to keep Lyons, Donovan and Brooks in his rearview. The AI pilots took no prisoners, racing door to door in true Texas fashion. Within 8 laps, Patterson began seeing his engine temps climb as he fought the Blue Oval onslaught. The #23 eventually got alongside and made the pass. Jeff Brook’s AI Mustang had engine troubles, and retired early.

The GR23 Mustang of John George, and the #8 Camaro of Mike Patterson, locked in racing battle, braking for the entrance to Rattlesnake. They raced this way all weekend. Image by Hart Photography.

In AIX, the purple #6 Camaro lost it’s transmission, ending Alexander’s weekend. David Armstrong’s renewed #20 Mustang took AIX honors.

In CMC, Varner led, with Ginsberg, Landrum, Covini and the rest of the CMC field close behind. In lap 4, Ginsberg entered Big Bend at full speed in 4th gear only to have his left front tire go flat due to fender rubbing, taking him out of the race after a nice recovery at speed. The CMC racing was super close with ruthless rookies hunting with veteran vindictiveness – Landrum, in his #70 Camaro, Nicholas Runyon, in his Moonlite Printing and Graphics #79 Camaro, Mitch Warren’s #9 Firebird, Corey Rueth’s #13 Mustang, and Rob Liebbe’s #1 Mustang all raced hard, giving no ground.

At Saturday’s AI Race #1 checker, John George took first, with Mike Patterson 2nd, Richard Pedersen 3rd, Chris Lyons 4th, and David Donovan in 5th.

Left to right: Mike Patterson ( AI #8, 2nd ), John George ( AI #23, 1st ), and Richard Pedersen ( AI #91, 3rd ). Image by Todd Covini.
continued on part III
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:07 PM   #3
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In CMC, Eric Varner took 1st, Todd Covini 2nd, Nicholas Runyon 3rd, followed by Glenn Landrum, Mitch Warren, Rob Liebbe, Corey Rueth, and Adam Ginsberg.

CMC Saturday trophy podium, from left to right: Nicholas Runyon ( 3rd ), Eric Varner ( 1st ), Todd Covini. Image by Darlene Breitenbach.

Saturday’s Lunch - was hosted by the GM side of the AI/CMC paddock. The generosity of the group really showed when the Camaro guys fired up their Texas barbeque and roasted brats, hot-dogs and assorted pot luck foods for all our AI/CMC racers. The Burch BBQ was “manned” by Nick Runyon’s wife, Ginny. Many thanks to everyone who contributed something for the group luncheon and most importantly to the Camaro Camp who had us all over!

SATURDAY RACE #2 – followed the NASA Texas AI and CMC racing tradition of an inverted grid based on the finishing order from the previous race. With the field inverted, it gave a chance for the rookies to show what they could do and the challenge of having the fast guys work their way up to the front.

American Iron pilots Mike Patterson, John George, Richard Pedersen, David Donovan, Chris Lyons, and Jeff Brooks took the green in earnest. In short order, Mike Patterson, in his#8 Camaro, and John George, racing his blue Griggs Racing/Janco Fabrication/Monkey Business #23 Mustang coupe began another classic GM vs. Blue Oval battle for supremacy. Patterson managed to keep George in his rearview mirror, but the entire AI field pushed hard to challenge the leaders.

By lap 10, the #8 Camaro was again seeing elevated temps, allowing the blue #23 to make a pass. With only 2 laps to go, the accessory belt on the #23 coupe began to disintegrate, and was tossed out from under the car! With no power steering, and no water pump to cool the car, John’s lead was diminishing fast. 3 turns before the checker, Patterson took advantage of George’s mechanical woes, and snatched first place!

In CMC, the battle for the lead was equally fierce. The GM drivers decided to show the crowd they weren’t scared to run hard against the veterans, nor run up front! – Landrum, Rueth, Runyon, Warren all battled hard. Landrum found all the right holes in traffic and drove a superb clean race to be the CMC Camaro to catch in Race #2. With Varner and Covini battling to chase Landrum, a Honda Challenge car got caught up in the mix causing Varner’s #17 CMC car to spin and Covini’s #2 Mobil 1 Mustang to go off track to avoid him. Both would end up at the back of the pack having to fight back to the front. In a photo finish by hundredths of a second, Covini nosed out Varner to take 2nd Place away. Rookie Glenn Landrum is congratulated on his well deserved first win in CMC.

Mitch Warren’s white #9 Firebird works to stay infront of the #5 Mustang driven by Lewis Tanner, with Corey Rueth ( CMC #13 ) close behind. Image by Mitch Warren.

The finishing order for AI race #2 showed Mike Patterson come out in 1st, John George 2nd, Richard Pedersen 3rd, David Donovan 4th, and Chris Lyons 5th and Jeff Brooks 6th.

Race #2 CMC finishing order had Glenn Landrum in 1st, Team Covini/Breitenbach 2nd, Eric Varner 3rd, Lewis Tanner 4th, Nicholas Runyon 5th, Corey Rueth in 6th, and Rob Liebbe in 7th, with fuel pump issues. Chris McComb was DNS due to O2 sensor issues which would later be corrected.

SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER – was more an issue of “recuperation” than eating. The heat was taking it’s toll on the racers after a very long day. Many opted to head for their respective hotel rooms to shower and get some much needed shuteye. 2004 CMC Champion Eric Varner seemed to be repeating his March MSR race weekend string of bad luck – after Saturday race #2, his temperature gauge was pegged, and he developed a huge engine miss. That turned out to be a bent valve, bent pushrod, and a blown head gasket. He would not return to action on Sunday. Rob Liebbe also had a repeat bad weekend and found a bad fuel pump which was replaced Saturday nite thanks to the Mosty Brother’s spare parts bin! They were later thanked for the contribution at the same time they were made aware of it…”Texas Coopetition”. Liebbe would also not return to action on Sunday for various reasons.

NASA Texas AI and CMC racers get ready for Sunday qualifying. Image by Mitch Warren.
continued on part IV
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:10 PM   #4
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As qualifying began, a new “award” was announced – The NASA Texas AI “Sunshine” award. Any AI driver outqualified by a CMC driver would be presented with a huge Texas sunflower. Many wondered who would be the first to earn this prestigious honor bestowed by a couple of rambunctious racers. (This was not an official NASA award.).

AI qualification showed Mike Bell out for the first time with his new motor. John George posted a pole-position time of 1:22.992. Mike Patterson ran a 1:23.524 – showing the heat was having an effect. Bell posted a 1:23.590 – excellent time with a new engine and just .066 off Patterson’s time. Mike was on fire for this qualifying lap….literally. A breather cap had popped off the newly installed engine dripping hot oil onto the headers leaving a trail of fire as Mike blistered the track before coming in. The rest of the AI field was close behing – Richard Pedersen with a 1:23.624, followed by David Donovan (1:26.421), Chris Lyons (1:27.292), Jeff Brooks (1:30.545) and new AI racer Robert King in his #42 Mustang GT, posting a 1:33.509.

CMC qualifying was hotly contested in the heat. Lewis Tanner, driving the #5 Maximum Motorsports/CSD Custom Auto/Kwik Kar Mustang, posted a scorching 1:26.347 to take the pole – a 1.2 second lead over the entire CMC field, as well as 4 of the American Iron drivers! Glenn Landrum qualified 2nd (1:27.562), followed by Nick Runyon (1.27.884), Mitch Warren (1:28.742), Neil Breitenbach (1:28.901), Rob Liebbe (1:29.484), Corey Rueth (1:29.499) and rookie Chris McComb in his former Bob Bondurant #24 Mustang (1:35.108).

The AI racers outqualified by a CMC driver were handed the first ever NASA Texas AI “Sunshine Award”, presented by the Seth Ginsberg, the son of AI/CMC Director Adam Ginsberg. The entire grid got a huge laugh out of the gigantic Texas sunflowers being handed out and the recipients were great sports about the ribbing they received.

SUNDAY'S RACE #3 – start was the mainstay of Texas AI and CMC racing format – a World Challenge-style standing start based on qualifying times. The rookies in AI and CMC were gridded in the back, but this proved not to make a difference later on the race!

The NASA Texas AI and CMC racers, gridded for the Sunday standing start. Image by Todd Miliken.

Pedersen made a huge pass on Bell going into T3, but that did stick for long as Bell came right back within a lap to regain 3rd. Try as he might, the #16 couldn’t seem to gain on the 2nd place car. In lap 7, a hose blew off and began spewing water directly onto the #16’s windshield! That was enough to force Bell into the pits.

AIX-racer David Armstong was unable to make qualifying, gridded with the field to race, however, dropped out after 4 laps due to heat.

In CMC, Glenn Landrum raced hard, keeping the pole-position #5 Mustang in his sights. Warren, Rueth, Runyon, Breitenbach, and McComb worked hard, and kept the front runners in sight. The race heated up when Ginsberg spun in T3, handing the lead to Landrum.

Glenn Landrum ( CMC #70 ) hounds the red #5 Mustang of Adam Ginsberg. Image by Todd Miliken.

The AI race #3 podium showed John George ( #23 ) on the top step, followed by Mike Patterson in 2nd ( #8 ), Richard Pedersen 3rd ( #91 ), David Donovan 4th ( #7 ) and Chris Lyons 8th ( #12 ).

CMC proved what the directors had been saying for 2 years….The General was coming!! The first NASA Texas CMC full GM podium sweep! Glenn Landrum, driving his #70 Moon Lite Printing and Graphics/Natwell Welding Supply Camaro took top honors, followed in 2nd by Mitch Warren, piloting his #9 Firebird, with Nicholas Runyon in 3rd, Corey Rueth 4th ( #13 ), Adam Ginsberg 5th ( #5 ), and Chris McComb 6th ( #24 ).
continued on part V
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:11 PM   #5
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Part V


The entrance to “Rattlesnake”. Background, L to R: Neil Breitenbach ( CMC #2 ), Nich Runyon ( CMC #79 ). Foreground, L to R: Chris Lyons ( AI #12 ), Adam Ginsberg ( CMC #5 ) and Glenn Landrum ( CMC #70 ). Image by Hart Photography.

SUNDAY’S RACE #4 – could have been called “The race of attrition”. With air temps at 102^, and little time for the racers and cars to cool between races, this key would be in keeping both cool. AIX racer David Armstrong and AI racer Richard Pedersen didn’t make the call to grid due to various heat related issues.

A rolling start at the green flag, and the final race of the weekend was underway! The AI racers made their moves, working their way to the front of the entire pack. In what seems to be a Texas AI tradition, the #23 and #8 cars pounded the pavement in the quest for a race win.

CMC proved to be equally tough – Breitenbach in the #2 Mobil 1 Mustang, and the #13 piloted by Corey Rueth had run their tires off, went wide in T10, and performed a dirt-track show trying to maintain ground, and position getting back on track. The #70 of Landrum nose-butted the #12 AI car of Lyons when he spun coming out of T2, causing minor damage and putting him down into 4th. Chris McComb stayed close to the pack, but was still experiencing exhaust troubles. Lewis Tanner, taking over driving duties in the #5, had his hands full just trying to keep the water temps below 260^.

In AI, the #23 of John George took the checker, followed closely by Mike Patterson, David Donovan, and Chris Lyons.

The CMC checker showed Team Covini/Breitenbach with top honors, followed by Corey Rueth in 2nd, Nicholas Runyon with another podium finish in 3rd, Landrum 4th, Warren 5th, McComb 6th, and Lewis Tanner in 6th.

POST RACE INSPECTIONS – Saturday, the field was examined for front suspension compliance. No violations were found. On Sunday, the AI field was inspected for frame & structural issues. No violations were found. All weekend long, Skip & Scott Smith hosted our tech impound in front of his trailer and provided valuable real estate (as always) for the series scales. No underweight cars were found. Many thanks to the Smiths for their assistance!

HARD LUCK AWARD – goes out to both Eric Varner and Rob Liebbe. As with the March MSR event, both racers struggled with mechanical issues. Varner blew another head gasket, as well as bent a valve and pushrod. Liebbe struggled with fuel issues. Kudos to both racers to continuing to work hard toward a problem free weekend!

CONCLUSION - the GM racers showed they were ready to go V8 racing in Texas, and proved they could take podium positions. The General has arrived in Texas!

NASA Texas AI and CMC racing is growing exponentially in 2005. The group will travel to No Problem Raceway in Louisiana for Round #3 on June 11/12. The 2005 schedule is posted at, and

MSR 1:22.179 Michael Bell (AI) 03/05/05
MSR 1:24.98X Marshall Mosty (AIX) 03/06/05
MSR 1:25.802 Todd Covini (CMC) 03/06/05

TWS 1:54:714 Wayne Manor (AI) 09/26/04
TWS 2:01:391 Todd Covini (CMC) 04/03/04

Hallett 1:26.478 Buddy Cisar (AIX) 08/14/04
Hallett 1:25.617 John George (AI) 08/14/04
Hallett 1:31.366 Adam Ginsberg (CMC) 08/14/04

* Track records only recorded from races in race trim.


1 782 Chicane 23 (AI)
2 744 Patterson (AI)
3 620 Donovan (AI)
4 610 Lyons (AI)
5 585 Pedersen (AI)
6 320 Bell (AI)
7 281 Brooks (AI)
8 68 King (AI)
9 0 Smith, Skip ( AI )


1 308 Mosty ( AIX )
2 304 Armstrong ( AIX )
3 90 Alexander ( AIX )

*** AI points per NASA CCR rule 22.1 and AI rule 10
100 for 1st...90 for 2nd...85 for 3rd, etc.
4 points for qualifying Pole position


1 779 Covini/Breitenbach (CMC)
2 754 Runyun (CMC)
3 751 Landrum (CMC)
4 746 Ginsberg/Tanner (CMC)
5 648 Rueth (CMC)
6 587 Varner (CMC)
7 368 Warren (CMC)
8 181 Liebbe (CMC)
9 181 McComb (CMC)
10 0 Bishop ( CMC )
11 0 Dawdy ( CMC )
12 0 Mosty ( CMC )
13 0 Penney ( CMC )
14 0 Smith, Scott ( CMC )
15 0 Tanner ( CMC )
16 0 Tomblin ( CMC )
17 0 Zazzarino ( CMC )

***CMC points per CMC rule 9:
100 for 1st...97 for 2nd...95 for 3rd, etc.
1 point for qualifying Pole position

Points from the lowest scoring 20% of the season’s total number of races shall be dropped from each driver’s total for purposes of calculating the season total.

For more information, the following websites should be able to answer any of your licensing/rules/racing questions:

If you still have questions, feel free to contact the following at any time!

Todd Covini
NASA Texas AI & CMC Director

Adam Ginsberg
NASA Texas AI & CMC Asst. Director
Adam G.
Team Shrack Racing
CMC #5
NASA Texas AI/CMC Asst. Director

"Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. I must be mistaken for Nelson in Trafalgar Square."
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:45 PM   #6
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Thanks Adam. That's a writeup!!!! Awesome.
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