Project 200SX: Time Trial Bound - Part 1

by Wes Dumalski 

Track Photos by Tom Hitzeman

Let's pretend you spend years of your life, thousands of your hard earned dollars, a pint of blood, a gallon of sweat, and countless four letter words building a car. It goes through various stages in its life, and the end result of the project is a car destined for the track.... Two possible outcomes for this somewhat common scenario.... You either become a hard parking car show stunta with a track worthy car or you actually take it to the track. Obviously we chose the latter. The next question was if our last name isn't Johnson, Coleman, or Kojima.... How do we enter the competitive world of motor sport?

The answer..... Time Trials. 

We are well to remember that  Project 200SX is located in the midwest and is pretty much a one man effort in terms of car preparation. So for all of you "Average Joe's" out there, this is the story about how we went through the National Autosport Association's H.P.D.E. ranks to earn our time trial license.  

Nothing fancy here, just a tow vehicle loaded to its max towing capacity, a rusty trailer, and a front wheel drive shitbox. The makings for some great track time.


For those of you not familiar the National Auto Sport Association they are a fast growing business whose primary focus is to both promote and coordinate racing events around the country. That's right folks, N.A.S.A. is a for profit business! This allows them the freedom and flexibility to pioneer different race classes that cater to everyone from the full blown professional racer to the average enthusiast who simply wants a little track time. Regardless of your skill level N.A.S.A. has a place for you to get your car on the track in a fun and safe manner! Nearly anyone can become a N.A.S.A. member which is the first step to getting your car on track. 



While N.A.S.A. offers many different classes of wheel to wheel racing, they also have competitive racing in the form of Time Trials. If you are familiar with Time Attack then you are familiar with Time Trials. Essentially car's are classified according to a base class and then points are added for modifications, ensuring a relatively level playing field. Once classed, racer's take to the track to compete for the fastest lap time. While all cars are on the track at speed simultaneously, it is not a wheel to wheel race, however due to the open passing rules, TT driver's are required to obtain a TT license by successfully completing 4 High Performance Driving Event run groups.


When entering your first HPDE event you will be provided with a passport. This is used to document your progression through the HPDE ranks.

H.P.D.E. 1- This is the track newb group. If you have NEVER been on the track or only have one or two track events under your belt this is the place for you! Each participant is paired with an instructor that rides along with them every session. In this group you can expect to learn the very fundamental's of track driving. Things like finding the correct driving line, the 4 points of a corner, braking points, flags, and track etiquette. The Chief Instructor defines the allowed passing zones and you can only overtake someone with their permission (in the form of a point by) in the designated passing zones. Each session on track is followed by a classroom discussion that allows driver's to share their experiences and download after being on track. Once you have mastered the basics your instructor will give you a check ride to make sure you have the skill set to advance to the next group.

HPDE 1 milestones. Learn it, know it, love it.



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Thursday, August 11, 2011 1:12 AM
great read, especially since i want to be where you are. id like to know whether or not i have the skills to go fast on a track. ill be following this
Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:38 AM
Articles like this are why I joined this site! I've heard it is possible to volunteer at NASA events if you don't have a car, but just want to gain knowledge of the events,etc. Is that true? I figure I have to get started somewhere if I'm ever going to build that killer AIX mustang I've been dreaming about...lol! Great read and glad to see your Sentra is straight outta Wiscompton!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, August 11, 2011 3:33 PM
Fun write up Wes! The only problem I've run into is location. The closest NASA HPDE to me is Northern California, 8 hours away :( I'm looking forward to your progress and am hoping the rumor comes true of an HPDE course at PIR soon!
Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:38 PM
Bruce, I don't know how much if any closer to you it is, but NASA runs some HPDE events up in the Seattle area too.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:59 PM
Romulan - Really? I've been checking NASAproracing's official website for about 7 months irregularly but the closest stuff they listed was Thunderhill.
Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:17 PM
Great write up Wes!! But......you knew this was coming. NOT A SER license plate?? WHO SAYS THAT??? I think it's time to retire that Ghey16. If you could just tow that Ghey16 down here to Las Vegas, I will personally rip that motor out and put a SR in it's place. (free labor-you pay parts) Because with that GHEY16, you will always see my taillights on MY SR20XLT B-14 s-box buddie. HAHAHAHA Hope all is well in the land of chesse my brotha!! I think you and Kojima need to organize a annual MotoIQ.com convention complete with a track day/ HPDE event! I really miss our SE-R convention parties !!
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:54 PM
^ haha thanks George.... I wish we could have made the grudge match happen at some point.... Hope to see you and the wife soon!
Friday, August 12, 2011 8:52 AM
Great article, Wes. It is really too bad that distance keeps so many of us from getting together in person. Maybe George's idea of a MotoIQ.com track day would work! I haven't made it to one of the SER conventions, though.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, August 12, 2011 11:13 AM
I really need to get out to Summit Point one of these days for an HPDE.
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Saturday, August 13, 2011 9:45 AM
That's the point of these article's... To get those of us who do not live in popular track areas or who have not been to the track much to see just how easy it can be! On average I travel between 2 and 3 hours for track weekends around here. Not SUPER far but a time commitment to be sure.

Thanks for reading guys and be sure and post here or in the forums when you get to the track.
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:13 AM
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:13 AM
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