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NASA Texas TWS AI and CMC Season Finale Race Recap

Adam Ginsberg

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It's late, it's long, but it's good.




Written by Adam Ginsberg



28 December 2004


The NASA TEXAS AI/CMC Season finale @ TWS is a smoker!


American Iron, and CMC cars converged at Texas World Speedway for the second time this season. As the seasons last remaining event, and weather looking less than cooperative, the CMC championship came down to this last event – making for an exciting race weekend!



+ 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!

+ 15 American Iron cars – the largest AI grid yet!

+ 4 CMC cars

+ 4 Competition Licensing students working towards CMC competition for the 2005 season!

+ 12 Mustangs

+ 3 Camaros – 2 in AI, and one working on his CMC comp license.

+ 2 Pole Position qualifiers – John George (AI) Sat Race #1…Wayne Manor (AI) Sun Race #1

+ 2 winners for the weekend - John George 2X (AI)...Wayne Manor 2X (AI)

+ New AI track record set!

+ Breakage was minimal – Chris Lyons lost an axle seal, Mike Bell lost his ABS, and Robert Carr ran into electrical trouble.

+ Weather was the big question this weekend, as Hurrican Ivan looked to give the racers a shower.

+ Consistent top lap times were in the mid- 1:55’s for AI, and 2:03’s for CMC.

+ Safe, fun weekend with good food, good racing, and 2004’s NASA Texas AI and CMC champs!




Marshall Mosty’s #67 Mustang hatchback and Todd Covini’s #2 Mustang convertible. Image by Todd Covini.


SATURDAY MORNING'S PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING SESSIONS brought questions in everyones mind….would the weather turn wet and ugly, or provide plenty of Texas sunshine? The answer came just before practice – it began to rain! Most of the AI racers decided to stay with their dry tires to see what track conditions were like. In CMC, Adam Ginsberg was the only person with rain tires – potential 2004 season champ Eric Varner, and Todd Covini both only had dry tires! Upon getting out on track, the racers quickly discovered how valuable full treads can be – there was lots of slipping and sliding! AI racer Mike Bell lost his ABS during the practice session, turning a set of Toyo’s into square blocks.




Mike Bell lost his ABS on Saturday, producing a spectacular off road excursion. Image by Steve Kent.


Within an hour, the rain let up, and the track dried, changing conditions considerably. As the racers were heading out to qualify, NASA officials discovered a timing equipment problem – no qual times would be recorded!




The AI racers get ready to take the track. From left to right – David Armstrong ( AI #20 ), Richard Pedersen ( AI #91 ), Kevin Mixon ( AI #54 ), Mike Bell ( AI #16 ), Robert Carr ( AI #27 ) and Marshall Mosty ( AI #67 ). Image by Micheal Mosty.


SATURDAY’S LUNCH - continued the Texas AI/CMC racing tradition, with our group BBQ/luncheon being held in the AI/CMC garage area, with plenty of food shared with all the racers. Smack talk was at an all-time high, as several racers were still wishing for a rainy day of racing.




Saturday chow-down in the garage area. Image by Todd Covini.


Continued on next post.....

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SATURDAY’S RACE #1 - gridding was based on season points status, with John George on pole, Richard Pedersen second, Mike Bell, David Donovan, Wayne Manor, David Armstrong, Chris Lyons, Robert Carr, Mike Patterson and Joe Johnson rounding out the AI field. Marshall Mosty ( AI #67 ), continuing his goal of a competition license, was gridded for his first ever AI race with his freshly painted #67 Mustang! CMC points leader Adam Ginsberg was on pole, Eric Varner, then Todd Covini.


From the rolling start on the TWS banking, all the racers roared towards T1!




Heading towards T1. Image by Hart Photography.


All the cars safely made it thru and into T2, with the AI cars out in front and CMC racers close behind. The battle quickly turned hot, with all the AI racers chasing points leader John George! CMC was equally fast – Adam Ginsberg was trying to hold off Eric Varner and Todd Covini. Richard Pedersen had an uncharacteristic off in T8, giving the position to Mike Bell. In CMC, mistakes by the #t5 Mustang would end a chance at a 1st place finish. The battle continued throughtout the AI and CMC field, each competitor not wanting to give up the position very easily. Robert Carr in his Camaro and Joe Johnson in his genuine 2000 Cobra R, both returning to AI competition, raced hard against Donovan, Armstrong and Mosty.




Adam Ginsberg works to gain a position on David Armstrong’s #20 Mustang. Image by Steve Kent.


For the Saturday Trophy race, the AI battle put John George 1st, Wayne Manor 2nd, and Mike Bell 3rd, followed by Robert Carr, Chris Lyons , Joe Johnson, David Donovan, David Armstrong, Marshall Mosty, Richard Pedersen, and Micheal Patterson. In CMC, Todd Covini finished 1st running the fastest CMC lap of the weekend with a 2:02.166, Eric Varner 2nd, and Adam Ginsberg in 3rd.


SATURDAY RACE #2 was an inverted grid, based on the finishing order from Race #1. It also got started very late, due to circumstances beyond NASA’s control – it looked like the racers might finish in the dark!


Right from the wave of the green flag, the battles begun. The #23 5.0 Resto Mustang of John George, and Wayne Manor’s #38 car managed a pass on Mike Bell in an effort to make up positions quickly as everyone funneled into T2. The blue #16 Mustang of Bell overcooked T3 as the field went by. Robert Carr, looking good so far this weekend, also went off in T3, giving up his spot. The #7 and #20 Mustangs ran well, each improving their times. In CMC, the trio of Mustangs were racing hard, and taking no prisoners!




Todd Covini tries an inside pass on Ginsberg’s #5 CSD Mustang, with Eric Varner hot in pursuit. Image by Hart Photography.


All 3 CMC cars ran close and tight, with only 2 tenths of a second separating them! Several racers started to turn on their headlights, as the sun began it’s descent into twilight. The NASA Texas folks really stepped up to the plate for the earlier delays, and made sure that ALL race classes got their track time!


The finishing order for AI was Wayne Manor, John George, Michael Bell, Richard Pedersen, Joe Johnson, David Donovan, and Chris Lyons. For CMC, Eric Varner took 1st, with Adam Ginsberg in 2nd, and Todd Covini 3rd.


SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER - was a ‘catch-all’ affair, with a few racers heading to a local Mexican restaurant for chow. Several racers decided sleeping at the track was the way to go – Holly Donovan ( David’s wife and crew chief ) gets the “hard-core†track award of the weekend for sleeping in the back of a pickup!


SUNDAY MORNING QUALIFYING - took place under sunny skies, with John George’s Griggs-suspended Mustang posting a smoking 1:54.928 compared to Wayne’s 1:56.141, putting him on pole for Sunday’s first race. The rest of the AI grid was Mike Bell, David Donovan, Richard Pedersen, Joe Johnson, David Armstrong, and Marshall Mosty. In CMC, Todd Covini out qualified Eric Varner with a 2:02.261 vs a 2:02.835 , with Ginsberg rounding out the grid.




David Donovan’s Maximum Motorsports suspended #7 Mustang next to Joe Johnson’s #466 genuine 2000 Cobra R Mustang racing in the AIX class. Image by Todd Covini.



Continued on next post.....

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SUNDAY'S RACE #3 gridded with a new CMC racer – Len Zazzarino, in his quest to earn his competition license. The CMC pack was now 4 cars strong! The green flag dropped, and it was a rush of V8’s towards T1. The AI racers pounced, all trying to gain a position on one another. Mike Bell worked to stay ahead of Richard Pedersen, with Donovan, Armstrong, Johnson, and Mosty bringing up the rear of the AI field. The CMC racers were so close, it was anyone’s guess who would take home 1st. Eric Varner and Todd Covini swapped positions multiple times, with Ginsberg waiting for one to make a mistake. As the they entered T3, Covini went 2 wheels off, giving room to Ginsberg. As Todd’s #2 Mustang came back on track, it suddenly jerked to the right, bumping into the #5 car. Fortunately, both racers maintained control, and continued to race hard.


Wayne Manor set a new AI lap record - a 1:54.714! However, it wasn’t enough to catch John George’s GR23 Griggs-sponsored AI coupe.




John George bests Wayne Manor at the finish line. Image by Steve Kent.


The AI finishing order was John George, Wayne Manor, Michael Bell, Richard Pedersen, Joe Johnson, David Donovan, David Armstrong, and Marshall Mosty. CMC finishing order was Varner, Covini, Ginsberg and Len Zazzarino. Len competed in his first ever CMC race!


SUNDAY'S RACE #4 - held the AI and CMC tradition of an inverse grid based on finishing order of the previous race. Once the green flag dropped, it pure V8 thunder, as all the racers knew this was the last race of the 2004 season! The top AI cars of Manor, George, Pedersen, Bell, Donovan, Armstrong and Mosty charged the racing line hard, all clamboring for a spot. Ginsberg, on the CMC pole, worked to keep Todd Covini and Eric Varner in his rearview mirror. Bell slipped under Pedersen, and lead the top AI cars, until an Audi racing in another class flipped his car at the exit of T9! Fortunately, the Audi driver was ok - yellow flags flew to slow the field. Within a few minutes, the red flag was brought out so that emergency workers could clear the track of the rolled car. All the competitors came into the hot pits in their existing order, waiting to finish this exciting race!




American Iron racers waiting for the cleanup crew to secure the track. Image by Michael Mosty.


Once the safety crew secured the track, the racers we led back onto the track by the pace car. As it pulled off, the green flag flew on the last race of the 2004 season! The AI and CMC thunder roared down the front banking, with just a few laps to go. The now familiar AI freight train of George, Manor, Bell and Pedersen were so close, a blanket could have been thrown over all of them. Further back in the pack, Donovan, Johnson, Armstrong were dicing it up, with the CMC racers close behind. With just a lap and a half to go, Eric Varner made his move on Ginsberg at the entrance to T10, and held it. Covini tried, but was unsuccessful in passing Ginsberg.


At the checker, the final 2004 AI race finishing order was Manor, George, Bell, Pedersen, and Armstrong. For CMC, it was Varner, Ginsberg and Covini.


CONCLUSION - A huge congratulations goes out to the first ever NASA Texas American Iron and Camaro-Mustang Challenge season champions:


2004 NASA Texas Season AI Champion – John George, driving his #GR23 5.0 Resto/Griggs Racing blue Mustang coupe. 1st place.


2004 NASA Texas Season AI 2nd place – Mike Bell, driving his #16 Maximum Motorsports-suspended 1995 Mustang


2004 NASA Texas Season AI 3rd place – Richard Pedersen, driving his #91 Griggs Racing suspended 1991 Mustang hatchback.


2004 NASA Texas Season CMC Champion – Eric Varner, driving his #17 red Mustang coupe.


2004 NASA Texas Season 2nd place – Todd Covini, driving his #2 Mobil Oil Mustang convertible.


2004 NASA Texas Season 3rd Place – Adam Ginsberg, driving his #5 CSD Custom Auto/Kwik Kar 1985 Mustang hatchback.


Watch out for NASA Texas AI and CMC racing in 2005! The 2005 schedule is posted at http://www.nasatx.com.



MSR 1:23:704 John George (AI) 03/07/04

MSR 1:26:187 Todd Covini (CMC) 07/11/04


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 1516 George (AI)

2 1305 Bell (AI)

3 1290 Pedersen (AI)

4 1173 Manor (AI)

5 1058 Donovan (AI)

6 927 Armstrong (AI)

7 885 Dickey (AI)

8 589 Lyons (AI)

9 364 Carr (AI)

10 325 Covini (AI)

11 290 Johnson (AI)

12 272 Mosty (AI)

13 187 Patterson (AI)

14 70 Mixon (AI)

15 0 King (AI)

16 0 Kinman (AI)

17 0 Kuhn (AI)

18 0 Love (AI)

19 0 Costas (AI)

20 0 White (AI)

21 0 Brannen (AI)

22 0 Ivers (AI)




1 258 Cisar (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 1485 Varner (CMC)

2 1475 Covini (CMC)

3 1456 Ginsberg (CMC)

4 141 Zazzarino (CMC)

5 0 Kent/Liebbe (CMC)

6 0 Bishop (CMC)

7 0 Tanner (CMC)

8 0 Casas (CMC)

9 0 McComb (CMC)

10 0 Reach (CMC)

11 0 Turner (CMC)

12 0 Runyan (CMC)


***CMC points per CMC rule 9

100 for 1st...97 for 2nd...95 for 3rd, etc.

1 point for qualifying Pole position


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

713-758-5249 days

713-252-3465 cell


Adam Ginsberg

NASA Texas

AI & CMC Assistant Director

972-621-5702 days

214-505-2921 cell



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