Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs

Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs

MotoIQ Staff Report

Edik Stepanyan who normally runs NASA’s H2 class won both rounds of the MPTCC Liberty Grand Prix on July 2-3.  Edik, driving the #78 Acura Integra, won the first round on Saturday after an exciting battle with another NASA star, Andy Hope in the #62 Honda CRX.

Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs 
The MPTCC race gets the green.  Unfortunately the more exotic TO class cars had a high attrition rate and only Joon Maeng in the Lucas Oil S13 was able to make it to the start.  A last minute failure of his motor on the dyno made it so Dai Yoshihara had to take over teamamte Mike Kojima'S B14 Sentra sister car. Dai has driven 3 different cars in the 3 different events he has run in.  Development troubles also kept the APD TSX and a few other cars from the event.

The dusk race had some interesting moments before the start.  TU class points leader Dai Yoshihara had electronic problems during qualifying preventing his Team MotoIQ Sentra from doing any better than third on the grid.  Dai was driving Mike Kojima’s car after his car had a pre race engine failure the night before on the dyno while Mike sat out this round taking one for the team.

 Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs
Joon Maeng leads Andy Hope, Edik Stepanyan, Dai Yoshihara and Rob Fuller.

During the warm up lap, Rob Fuller in the Robispec RX-8 got in the wrong grid position causing a wave off on the first start.  At the restart Pole sitter Andy Hope and #2 qualifier Edik Stepanyan quickly got around the sole TO class car to make the start, Joon Maeng.  For some reason the entire TO class except for Joon had mechanical issues before the race and did not make the grid.

 Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs
Overheating would soon cause Joon to slow.

Joon was suffering from heating issues and did not run at his maximum speed but was still fast enough to keep Dai Yoshihara at bay for several laps while the Hope Stepanyan duo took off putting a gap on the rest of the field.  Andy would lead most of the race.

 Stepanyan Stomps TU!  MPTCC Round 4 Willow Springs
Scott Vanderheide's turbo Sentra SE-R showed promise but overheating also caused it to slow.  Scott eventually retired with a blown turbine seal.


Scott Vanderheide of the powerful Fontana Nissan team shows a lot of promise.  His Turbo Sentra SE-R should be one of the fastest TU cars once its bugs get sorted.


Edik Stepanyan concentrates on pre grid.  Edik is another popular NASA driver who normally drives in H2.


Page 1 of 5 Next Page
Bookmark and Share
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 3:25 AM
"Andy Hope had actually qualified 3rd but a failed Mishimoto radiator kept him from starting."

No surprises there, Andy should buy something that isn't junk. He's a great driver, MotoIQ should get him to write, I enjoyed him in SCC. The GIF of Dai spinning is pretty cool, props to whoever made that. I was trying to watch the live feed on the site, but the camera coverage was not so good.
Boxed Fox
Boxed Foxlink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 3:54 AM
Mishimotos, despite the hilarious name, actually aren't too bad. If the Koyo R series weren't cheaper for my car, I might have one of those in the Prelude.

I have to say I love the MPTCC race reports. You guys really know how to publicize a series. It makes me want to drive out and run as a guest, even though I stand absolutely no chance against this competition.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 5:27 AM
What engine is the Integra running? Its rare to see one of those older DA Integras on the track.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 6:20 AM
Boxed Fox, you should come out and run!

The Saturday evening race was super exciting to watch! Andy and Edik put on a great show. I had people coming up to me all day Sunday who were there to watch the Saturday race, telling me how great a race it was. Andy said he had never raced in front of that many people before and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the MPTCC.

I hope that we see Edik back at future events, and maybe he'll convince a few other NASA drivers to give the MPTCC a shot!

LiveStream: Yeah.. I wish we could have done a better job. We did what we could with what we had.. which basically means volunteer labor and free use of older equipment. I even had to jump on the camera for a bit since we're not staffed for a live stream. Give me a $20,000 budget like Formula Drift has for Livestream and we'll put together a kick ass stream too! Until then, we'll just make do with what we have, make incremental improvements and hopefully do a better and better job of delivering the action to the fans! :-)

Great write-up guys an great photos Dave! Was good to see you again.. and was happy to help you get your $20 back from Willow! ;-)

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 6:27 AM
I would never run one of those radiators on any car I build. I have seen a few engine failures due to them.
Mike Shin
Mike Shinlink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 8:53 AM
So awesome, I'm so excited to see another grassroots style of series coming about that is actual wheel to wheel racing! Can't wait to see more!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 9:06 AM
This is Edo the guy with the DA. My engine is a B20 out of a CRV non-Vtec 162hp.
Im running the same Fluidyne Radiator for the last 8 years and its still good.
We had a Great time on saturday as well. The crowd was awesome cheering yelling and screaming. Good job Redline and MotoIQ.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 10:05 AM
If you look at my animated gif, you can see Dai trying to steer into the spin like a drift car haha. I swear, if he had the crazy angle steering parts that a drift car has, he wouldnt have spun backwards. Most drivers would have went to pit after that spin being so close to pit entry. Dai just goes through the dirt and keeps racing! Awesome.

PS, it was hot.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 10:48 AM
Didn't know about the Livestream until late Saturday, but left it running all day Sunday. That spin and recovery by Dai was amazing, to say the least! Any ideas why there were so many traction problems for the Circuit Battles guys?

Nik - I thought you did great with the play-by-play on Sunday. Nice quick updates with drivers times, positions, etc. Although, I'm 99.9% sure you said Martin was driving the G20 on Sunday, rather than Steve which totally confused me when I read the recap this morning :) As far as the camera, you guys caught Dai's spin and recovery and his battles with the RSX on the straights, the must see moments of Sunday's MPTCC!
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 11:06 AM
"Any ideas why there were so many traction problems for the Circuit Battles guys?"

The track is repaved. Its dark dark black and surface temps were 150.
Mike Shin
Mike Shinlink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 11:15 AM
^^ agree, that and since the surface is new, there probably isn't as much rubber grip built up yet as before.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 11:58 AM
The red 911 in Circuit Battles looped it twice in a spin coming out of turn 9 and was able to save it. I haven't been in that kind of heat in a while with air temps at least 106F.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 12:45 PM
We are coming out with a Dai in car camera video soon.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 1:11 PM
The Saturday night race was awesome! I loved watching you race Edik/Edo with the battle of you and Andy. It was so worth the trip from Las Vegas to watch all the MPTCC guys race! Love the redline events Nikolas. Reminds me of the old school events like Battle of the Imports with Frank Choi ! (think that was his name.) I bought both my kids hats and t-shirts! I hope this series grows to bigger levels of media attention.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 1:38 PM
So wait, you guys can rag on people for using knock of parts, but some how the talented(serious not sarcasm) Mike Kojima doesn't notice his car has blown rear shocks?

What was the real problem?
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 2:29 PM
@Garret, I was hanging out with Mike on Saturday night so I think I can answer. Mike thinks he blew them out bouncing off all the curbing at Autoclub in the previous round. If you remember, the car was involved in a first lap accident that damaged the car causing other more severe driveability issues which probably masked the rear shock issue.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 6:36 PM
I liked the aspect of the night race this round. It was definitely worth the ride up to omega from the ASB paddock on the quad.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 7:16 PM
That was a good race between the CRX and Integra, going head to head!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 8:43 PM
My car has Advanced Design race shock and they are awsome but they blew out. Probably because I pounded on them driving them repeatedly over curbs at Cal Speedway avoding a RSX.

We fixed the bent tie rod before the event and the car was ok going in. We knew the shocks were starting to fail Saturday night but didnt have any spares. The shocks was the reason why Dai could not hold the pace after he set fastest race lap.
Thursday, July 07, 2011 6:09 AM
If i had a dollar for every failed Mishi radiator/thermostat story i've heard...
Thursday, July 07, 2011 7:22 AM
I hope we see a feature on Hope's CRX. That is one of the cleanest Honda Challenge cars I've seen. Most Honda Challenge cars are beat to hell.

Maybe give Hope's car some time and it'll start looking beat to hell but lets get that feature in first while it's still looking good!
Thursday, July 07, 2011 8:27 AM
This was the first race Hope ran with the CRX with the stickers on. I promised to give him a donut but couldent mess up his stickers.

Friday, July 08, 2011 4:37 PM
Thank you SOOOO much Mike Kojima and MotoIQ for putting on this race series. I have been a Time Attack driver for the last six years and can't tell you how much more fun it is to race in this new setup. Even though I didn't finish either of the two races I entered (Auto Club and Big Willlow) I still had an awesome time being out there with all you guys! What an opportunity to be able to race wheel to wheel with the likes of y'all! The SHART is a new platform for us and the two races are the only track time this car has EVER seen since we started building it. Once we get all the bugs out, and I know we will, we look forward to finishing a race and giving you guys some more friendly competition! I will finish a race this year....i will i will i will!!!! Now...time to find a new turbo and check the motor for damage. We will be back and plan on leaving our "mark". Beware the SHART!
Post Comment Login or register to post a comment.

MotoIQ Proudly Presents Our Partners:

© 2018 MotoIQ.com