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NASA Utah 2024 Update

| March 21, 2024

By: Rick Bairett

The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Utah season has finally arrived, starting this weekend. So what can drivers, observers and other participants expect for 2024?

Of course the big news is that the NASA Championships race will be at the Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) this year. Some schedule and pricing changes are also worth noting.

Getting on Track in 2024

One schedule change is that rather than getting to drive UMC’s fast Outer Course in March, drivers will wait until May. Instead, the West Track is on tap for March 22nd – 24th.  

The NASA Utah weekend in April (19th – 21st) will be on the East Track, with May (17th – 19th) on the Outer Track. June (21st – 23rd) events will be run on the West Track, and July (26th – 28th) on the Outer Track again. 

The Sunchaser 6-hour Enduro will again be in July—Saturday the 27th—from 6:00 PM to Midnight. The Enduro is a NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship series event that will attract race teams from all over.

There will be a long break in August—there’s no track availability that works for NASA Utah—and in September for the NASA Championships. The final 2024 NASA Utah weekend, the October Quad Duro (11th – 13th), will feature all four track track configurations, including the Full Track. 

So the only chance to drive the East Track, before the Quad Duro, is April 19th – 21st. 

NASA Utah track-day pricing is just slightly higher than 2023, reflecting an increase of about 3 – 3.5%. That’s not bad considering the general level of inflation. 

18th NASA Championships at UMC

NASA Championships give drivers the chance to compete against many of the best amateurs in the country. Thus, it is one of the premier NASA events. 

For 2023, this national event was held in Pennsylvania. The time and distance demands to attend sidelined most potential Utah competitors. That will not be a problem for the 18th running of the NASA Championships in 2024, since it will be right in our own backyard at UMC.

Austin Kent, who won the 2022 NASA Championships TT3 time trial competition at California’s Laguna Seca, was emphatic that this event is not one to miss. With a full paddock area—possibly 300-400 cars—and top teams who are there to win, the buzz and energy is on a whole different level. Perhaps along the lines of attending the Super Bowl or the World Series. 

Austin wasn’t planning to drive in the 2022 event. However, Riot Motorsport owner Michael Shumway knew how talented he was and kept pushing. Austin finally emailed NASA late in the season about being waitlisted…and wound up driving in, and winning, his first NASA Championship.

A Utah Championship

Laguna Seca is an iconic and challenging track. While Austin was excited to be there, he was seeing it for the first time and didn’t have high expectations. At best, he hoped to squeeze onto the podium. 

He was also running into challenges. His BMW M3 had a punctured tire during a Thursday practice. Then the camber arm got bent during a Friday test. At that point, Austin thought he was out for the weekend. However, he started talking to other BMW teams—mostly people he’d never met—and finally scrounged up a spare camber arm to buy. 

Saturday was the first day of competition. When Michael experienced a major crash during a qualifying round, in which he was doing well, the day turned pretty somber for the Riot team. Still, Austin gave it his best during a morning TT round and finished with the 2nd fastest lap time. 

At that level, officials really scrutinize the top cars to make sure nobody has an unfair advantage. That includes visiting the scales and the dyno. Apparently the fastest car was eight horsepower over its TT3 class limit, so was disqualified for the day. That moved Austin into 1st place. 

Overnight rain and a wet track ensured that nobody would beat Austin’s time during the first Sunday TT session. Accordingly, Austin skipped that round since going out would be all risk with no way to improve his standing. When it started raining again during the second and final TT segment, cars were slowed enough to cement Austin’s Saturday performance as the TT3 winning time. 

Although Michael’s crash made the victory somewhat bittersweet, Austin described the unexpected chain of events that culminated in a national championship as “awesome,” to say the least.

He’s excited about driving in the NASA championship again this year, and Michael is looking forward to a chance at redemption. Other 2022 podium winners and top drivers, from Utah and elsewhere, are already planning to be at UMC for this race. So it should be amazing. 

Another Promising Season

Aside from Formula Drift, the NASA Championships will be one of the biggest events at UMC in terms of the sheer number of cars and competitors. Again, it is not an event you want to miss.

2024 is shaping up to be another great year for NASA Utah competitors and fans.

© 2024, R Bairett

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  1. Crista Bairett



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