Team Invader

Invader-RX7-opt.jpg (69288 bytes)


Rotary Response and Racing

Open Road Racing Reports:

NEWS From Team Invader

(invited to the 2012 Optima Ultimate Street Car Challange)

145mph Bug killer

Invader1.jpg (167485 bytes) Invader2.jpg (132062 bytes) Invader3.jpg (198919 bytes)

Powered by Rotary Response and Racing modified 13B Mazda Rotary

Flow bench intake ported, Bonez downpipe, Racing Beat silencer, PFS engine management

Engine compartment fender vent modification 

Super Blu vacuum line upgrade 

Flat bottom modifications on going

Goes fast and is reliable with Factory Mazda injection, ignition, clutch, bars

Tokico shocks

Future upgrades, Tein suspension

Possible E85 conversion

Big Bend Open Road Race   open road racing and rally Nevada Pony Express Bonneville 100 Gamblers Run   

Latest news Sorry this is the yearly report for 2010

Silver State Classic Challenge 2010

Sorry it took so long to get a summary out for the Silver State Classic Challenge that ran a couple of Sundays ago.  I was just super busy right after the race and then on a plane to Singapore for work (okay....and some fun at the Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 race!)

Objective: Cover 90 miles in exactly 36 minutes for an average speed of exactly 150 mph.
Results: 00:36:00.296 (.296 seconds off ) at 149.9794 mph for 3rd Place.  1st and 2nd were off by .106 & .166, respectively.  Once again, we were right there in that infamous .2 seconds range, but at least this time we made the podium and brought home a trophy.


I wish I could say the event went off without incident, but unfortunately, there was one crash.  Driver and navigator are both OK but I think the car might be done.  Speculation is a tire failure since the accident occurred in a straight.  Also had a couple of cars breakdown, but that's to be expected.
As for yours truly, the RX for Your 7, MazdaSpeed, RX-7 had no issues race day and tore through the wind like an eel through seaweed!  After Deana commented about me driving through "The Narrows" somewhat slow during the May race, I was on a mission to not leave her wondering if I'd lost my touch.  We blasted through "The Narrows" with tires squealing and turbos howling and came out about 15 seconds fast!  I calmly dropped down to the 130mph for a couple of points to scrub  off the 15 seconds and then settled back in at the 150 target.  I was experimenting with a new speedometer setup for this race that had a 4 digit display.  While it was darn tough trying to hold a perfect 150.0 mph, it was nice being able to constantly see how much I was varying by tenths.  The jury is still out on whether we'll use it again.
The big news of this event was the 10th Anniversary of Team Invaders!  Since we won the Team Challenge in May, we got to lead the parade. We also had a massive presence at the car show (29 cars) and used the big screen at the Driver's Meeting to view a video from the founder of Team Invaders, Mark Ford.  Mark lives in New Zealand, hence the video.  We had an outstanding turnout for our team dinner of around 45 people at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  But the topper to all the anniversary festivities was... we won the Team Challenge again!!!  That's right baby, Team Invaders is indeed a force to be reckoned with!!  We'll be leading the parade again in May 2010!
I'm afraid this is the last race summary for this year, since the Marfa/Presidio Open Road Race in Texas was cancelled.  We were really looking forward to it as it was a brand new race on a very difficult road.  Maybe the promoter can overcome the politics and opposition next year.
Thank you all for your support.
Life Member #261
1993 Mazda RX-7, R1
Captain, Team Invaders!

 Bonneville 100 2010

Participants in this year’s Bonneville 100 were hopeful for a large (100+) turnout to improve the prospects of the event being run again next year.  Well, 84 cars registered and 78 actually raced.  Considering the race promoter abbreviated the schedule, cut out the big award banquet and welcome party and bumped up the entry fees, they may have made enough profit to run this event next year.  All the racers are hopeful.

Objective: Cover 101.7 miles in exactly 42 minutes and 2.473 seconds for an average speed of exactly 145 mph.

Results: 00:42:01.413 (1.06 seconds fast ) at 145.18 mph for 4th Place and no trophy.  

Although my tachometer flaked out a ¼ mile before the finish on the first leg, that’s really no excuse for full second off:  I just wasn’t on my game.  Car ran great and Deana rocked the navigation part but your's truly didn't dial it in.

Team Invaders had a good run and would have taken 1st Place but we had one driver DQ and the 2 second penalty bumped us to 2nd Place.  Nonetheless, 8 out of 17 Invaders took home trophies.

Quite often I get requests asking for video of the race, so I went out on eBay and bought a couple of $14 spy cams to try out.  I mounted one in the car and one in the air intake at the front of the car.  Apparently in my pre-race excitement, I didn’t start the one in the car correctly.  However, the one in the air intake worked just fine.  I started it way too early so it didn’t record the entire first leg, but what it did record came out pretty good!  I’ve edited 35 minutes of footage down to 10 minutes and placed it on YouTube.  You can check it out at:

It’s my first time recording an event, so cut me some slack on the quality. ;^)

We won’t be running at the Nebraska Sandhills Open Road Challenge in August so our next event isn’t until September.  I’ll try to keep the speed withdrawal symptoms in check….

Thank you for your support.

Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team

The Nevada Open Road Challenge 2010-

 had a low turnout of only 103 cars but the event was nonetheless a major success.  Perfect weather, no accidents and for the first time in my ORR career, an event started exactly on time!  There was a lot of anxiety about the condition of a 29 mile stretch of road that was under construction right up to the day before the race.  Fortunately, the work was completed as promised, the road was swept clean and it turned out to not be an issue. 

Having already gone through the beginning of the season shake-down at BBORR, the RX for Your 7, Mazda Motorsports “Black Car” sucked in the cool air and blasted down the road like nobody’s business.
Objective: Cover 90 miles in exactly 36 minutes for an average speed of exactly 150 mph.
Results: 00:35:59.784 (.216 seconds off ) at 150.015 mph for 5th Place and no trophy.  1st thru 3rd were .081, .136 and .195, respectively.  Once again, not the result we were shooting for, but we’re quite happy with being in the .2 second range for our last 5 races.  We’re doing something right, we just need to do dial it in a tad more.
On the bright side, our score was good enough to help Team Invaders win the Team Challenge Championship!  Our top 5 scores added up to a .9652 seconds thus unseating Team Legal2Speed.
As stated above, the event was a major success so there’s really no dramatic animal sacrifices or off road adventures to report. There were 4 cars that broke down, but breakdowns are expected.  Yours truly, for reasons still not known, drove through “The Narrows” too slow.  Not sure what I was thinking, but for Deana to say, “That’s odd, you didn’t toss me around in my harness through The Narrows…”, I must have really been off!  I can only guess that subconsciously I wanted to drive fast after The Narrows because we came out so far behind I had to run at 163 mph for several miles.  Rest assured though, come September, I’ll be on my A Game and we’ll zip through like we have in the past!
We did have one Invader experience the shock and horror of  his convertible roof exploding at speed.  Interestingly enough, all the other convertibles ran with their top down.  I’m quite sure he’ll run with his top down in the future.  
Our next event is the Bonneville 100 towards the end of June.  It’s been 2 years since we’ve been on that road, but it is the scene of our best score ever at .07 seconds off.  Maybe it’s time for a repeat…
Thank you for your support.
Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team

The Big Bend Open Road race kicked off the 2010 ORR- 

season with a sold-out field of 160 vehicles.  My apologies for the delayed summary but there was a delay in getting results to the public due to several delays in the race.  That delay had a domino effect for me as I normally write summaries before I get back to work.

The weather was great temperature wise, but quite windy.  What worked as a great tail wind on the first leg was a brick wall of a head wind on the return run.  But that didn’t keep “The Black Car” (still sponsored by RX for Your 7 and MazdaMotorsports) from running 160+ mph when needed!

Objective: Cover 118 miles (two 59 mile legs) in exactly 52 minutes and 26.6 seconds (00:52:26.2) for an average speed of exactly 135mph

Results: 00:52:26.808 (.208 seconds off ) at 134.991 mph for 3rd Place and thus ending our run of first place finishes going back thru ’07, ’08 & ’09.  Oddly enough, .208 seconds was our smallest margin of error yet at Big Bend, but alas, the competitors brought their A Games for 1st and 2nd at .077 and .137, respectively.

Team Invaders dominance came to an end also, falling to 3rd Place in the Team Challenge.  It was a hard defeat to take because we had two DQ’s on the team.  Each DQ cost us 2 seconds.  Without the DQs we would have had a record breaking score of .476!!  Yes, we had 5 cars whose total time variance added up to .476 seconds.  Our previous record was .731 seconds.  We’ll be back….

There were a couple of breakdowns and one off-road incident, but no injuries:  just a busted fence and an unscheduled rodeo on the course.  The unscheduled rodeo resulted in only half of the second leg being ran.  Fortunately, we got our full second leg in before the cow fun started.

No one hit any turkey buzzards at this event, however it is Texas, so someone had to sacrifice an animal to keep the road gods appeased.  Early in our first leg, while cruising at 145+ mph, a prairie dog runs out to the middle of the road, sticks his tail straight up and proceeds to attempt to stare me down.  I’m thinking, well, if you don’t move, you’re small enough to go under the car and possibly live.  He moved; animal sacrifice complete.

Our next event is the Nevada Open Road Race, May 13 through May 16.  We will once again be attempting to take the coveted 150mph 1st Place trophy.

Thank you for your support.

Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team

22nd  Silver State Classic Challenge  2009


Well, the 2009 Open Road Race season came to a close with the 22nd running of the Silver State Classic Challenge.  Although 5 cars broke down on course, there were no off-road adventures or other catastrophic events.  Turnout was good at 130 cars.  Of course that made for tough completion in the 150mph Class which had 23 cars entered.

Objective:  Cover 90 miles in 36 minutes on the dot for an average speed of 150mph

Result: 35:59.748 (.252 seconds off) for an average of 150.0175mph and 6th Place.  1st, 2nd and 3rd were off by .113 seconds, .149 seconds, and .150 seconds, respectively.

Yep, it was tough competition, but we were very happy with The Black Car’s performance.  The weather was cool and thus perfect for running fast.  We climbed to 160mph with great ease and was averaging 150 mph in less than 20 miles.  We were also pleased that we had estimated our variance correctly (we figured we were between .2 & .3 off).  Having been off by about .2 seconds for two races in a row, we’re already strategizing our timing adjustments for next year.

There was no animal drama this race, although we did take out a large bird with our support vehicle on the course while driving to the event.   There was however, a little excitement in various stretches of the course where NDOT had cut new rumble strips into the center lane.  The first time we crossed them while apexing a turn was very attention grabbing.  I quickly discovered just how many turns I could take at 150mph while straddling the center line.

We had a great turnout for Team Invaders again but were still unable to unseat Team Legal2Speed.  We had 3 teams total: Team Invaders, The Porsche Coalition and Team Invading Newbies.  Porsche Coalition made the podium with a tight 2nd Place finish only .101 seconds behind Team Legal2Speed.  Team Invaders missed 3rd Place by .066 seconds behind Old Farts Racing.  I foresee a sweep coming next year!

Unless something surprising happens, the next race isn’t until April 2010.  Until then, we may actually do a couple of track events to keep the car active and me from having withdrawals.

Thank you for your support this season!

Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team

Nevada Open Road Race 2009

Happy Wednesday Team Invaders,

With the exception of one off-road incident and a somewhat low turnout (118 cars), the Nevada Open Road Race on Highway 318 last Sunday was overall a pretty good event. Rather than me attempt to write up the incident, here's the link to Mike Border's first hand account of his incident:;f=1;t=001609

We had a great turnout for Team Invaders but were unable to unseat Team Legal2Speed.  We had 3 teams total: Team Invaders, Team Invaders International and Team Invading Rookies.  With the help of a couple of veterans thrown in for guidance, Team Invading Rookies took 3rd Place.

A big welcome to newest Invaders that ran on Team Invading Rookies:

Erik Samoil & Doug Beattie in a BMW M3
Jeff & Jane Warner in a BMW 335i
Roger Hendrix & Nic Marples also in a BMW M3
David Norris & Bryan Stone in a Lamborghini Diablo
Mark Curry in a Lotus Elise
Derek Gagnon & Douglas Cragin in a Subaru WRX STi
Bob Cunningham & Barry Elswick in a Porsche Carrera Cabriolet

As for Invaders making a trip to the podium, we had 9 taking home some hardware:

Simon Gibbons & Hermina Astalis        1st Place 105 mph!! (nice engagement gift!)
Erik Samoil & Doug Beattie                  2nd Place 110 mph & Rookie of the Event at a blistering .095 seconds off (1st was .092)
Jeff & Jane Warner                              3rd Place 110 mph
Steve Mott & Eric Petterson                 1st Place 130 mph
Jim Webster & Calvin Locke, aka #28   2nd Place 140 mph
Bob Bowser & his daughter Kathy        3rd Place 145 mph
Phil Bowser running solo                      1st Place 150 mph & Most Accurate Time of the event at .050 seconds off
Blue & Deana                                      3rd Place 150 mph
Tim & Cheryl Dey                                 1st Place 160mph
Tom King running solo                          2nd Place 160 mph (Tom thinks he might have taken the Dey's but their race was cut short by the Red Flag )

Yours truly was caught off guard at the Awards Banquet when Steve Waldman presented me with the 2009 Sportsman Award.  It’s an autographed and noted poster from famed motorsports painter Hector Cademartori.  It was a special moment that led several racers to comment about how they didn't know I could blush.

The "Space Invader" shirts were once again a hit and are still available at:

We had a great time at La Fiesta restaurant.  They had the food out in the blink of an eye!  Alas, Invader Jim Peruto missed dinner as he was trying find a clutch to replace the one that literally grenaded during the 1 Mile Shoot Out.  He didn't find a clutch, but did get a really fast ride as navigator with Invader George Kroeger in his highly modified BMW M5 in the 170 class.

With MKM having suspended operations, we've got a long lull until the Sandhills Opern Road Challenge in August and the Silver State Classicin September.  As I’m sure I will soon begin to suffer from ORR withdrawals, I may seek help at one of the local race tracks in Phoenix.

Thanks for the opportunity to be captain.



wpe1.jpg (29630 bytes) wpe3.jpg (19047 bytes)

Big Bend  2009

Greetings Team Invaders!

What a turnout at the Big Bend Open Road race this year!  160 vehicles!  The weather was great for the first leg and just hot for the second.  Several breakdowns but no off-road incidents.

Team Invaders laid down some great times and took 1st Place in Team Challenge for the 3rd consecutive year!!! 

A great big thanks to Tracy and Jill for coming out to run and also hosting “The Blender Party”!  Also a big thanks for our teammates that came all the way from Alberta, Calgary:  Jim Thornton, Jim Webster and Bob Holman.

We had several new cars run with Invaders this year:

Roland & Judy Gladden in the sharp 09 Nissan GTR
Bill Hayes & Suzan Roper in the 06 VW GTI
Mike Poynor & Frank Albin in a 03 Honda S2000
Don & Paula Neumeyer also in a 09 Nissan GTR

7 out of 19 Invaders made “the walk”.  And as if that wasn’t enough, JC Collier’s Lamborghini and Mitch Clark’s Audi R8 nabbed the “People’s Choice” & “Most Exotic” Awards, respectively.

Top 5 Scores that brought home the Team win:

1st Place 140 Roland and Judy Gladden, 09 Nissan GTR     00:00.190
1st Place 145 Mitch Clark & Dave Sowa, 08 Audi R8                        00:00.202
1st Place 95 Bill Hayes & Suzan Roper, 06 VW GTI              00:00.230
1st Place 135 Blue & Deana Offutt, 93 Mazda RX-7             00:00.436
1st Place 85 Tracy Castro & Jill Jergler, 08 Avenger rental!  00:00.480

Other Invaders taking down some trophies:

2nd Place 140 Mat & Dan Rybicki, 06 BMW M5                    00:00.734
3rd Place 140 Phil & Amy Bowser, 97 Porsche 911               00:00.737

To use a poker term, AJ Ranft and Shell Storer suffered a “bad beat” in the 110 class with a great time of .535.  They didn’t place but they had that new 09 Porsche dialed in!

Some of you may have heard through the grapevine about the adventure Deana and I had on the first leg.  We topped a hill and about a half mile down I spot a large turkey buzzard feasting on some fresh road kill.  I immediately tell Deana, “Heads-up, bird in the road”.  I’m in the middle of the road and he’s dining in the middle of the right lane.  While I’m sure he’s quite used to dodging vehicles at 70mph, I suspect he’s not dodged many at 135mph.  My suspicion was right

Instinctively, I start to ease the Black Car into the left lane (still at 135mph, mind you) thinking he’s going to take off any moment now.  Well, he does take off, TO MY LEFT!!  He catches the front right corner of the Black Car head first, slams in to the fender, leaves a dent the size of a softball, careens off the A-pillar (embedding feathers as he does), whacks the passenger mirror off the car and comes to rest in a gory heap on the edge of the road.

Well, as if hitting this huge bird wasn't bad enough, the passenger mirror tries to hang on by its electric wires and proceeds to beat the passenger window and door mercilessly!  I’m thinking, “Great, Rodan misses the windshield, but now the mirror is going to break out Deana’s window”.  Well the window holds up and the mirror finally tears loose from the wire and falls away.  Deana says she’s alright and calmly proceeds to tell me we have a waypoint in less than a mile.  We hit that waypoint within .3 seconds of our target.  I love that woman.

We get to the turnaround and everyone’s asking about the buzzard strike but we’re more concerned about the cars behind us: Did they hit our mirror and have trouble?  Well the first three cars behind us never even saw the mirror but the fourth car smacks it dead center.  Oh, but wait, that fourth car couldn’t be a generic Camaro, Mustang or Corvette.  Oh no, no, no. Of 160 cars in the event, one of the most expensive cars there, a Porsche GT2 ($190K+) finds my mirror and decides to knock it out of everyone else’s way.  He’ll need a new chin spoiler, but that’s racing.  (after the fact, his wife informed me there was one already on order from some previous damage)

I’m so  looking forward to seeing many of you next month at the Nevada Open Road Race!  This email has gotten way too long, so I’ll send a new one regarding the Invader roster.  By the way, the shirts from turned out nice.  I’ve attached pictures and if anyone wants to order, the website is:

wpe1.jpg (29630 bytes) wpe3.jpg (19047 bytes) 

Thanks again for allowing me to captain and I’ll see you soon!


Pony Express 130   2008

Greetings Friends & Family,

Although attendance was low (75 cars), the Pony Express 130 was still a fun time for all who made it.  We did our best to bring the "A" game with the Collier MotorSports/eXtreme Conversions RX-7...

Objective: Cover 129.9 miles in 55 minutes & 40.286 seconds for an average of 140 mph

Results: 55:38.761 (1.525 seconds variance) for an average of 140.064mph and 4th Place out of 12 cars.  No trophy :^(.  1st, 2nd and 3rd were .340, .347 and .399 seconds respectively.  Due to being within the margin of error, 1st & 2nd were considered a tie for 1st.

I wish I could blame the 4th Place finish on the technical troubles we had: flaky tachometer, which I use as a speedometer and two stopwatch malfunctions.  I can't though since we improvised and adjusted on the speedo issue and managed to re-sync stopwatches while traveling at 150mph. Yours truly just didn't "bring it home" when it counted.  Would have been real cool to at least get 3rd as the cars in 1st & 2nd (tied for 1st), were both on the team I captain.  Team Invaders would have swept a class. 
That's ok though because Team Invaders as a whole still took 1st Place in the Team Challenge!

7 out of 11 Invader cars made the podium in either 1st or 2nd Place.  What's really cool though, is one Invader literally "zeroed out" in the 170mph Class and took "Best Overall" for the event!  In the past, cars that were within the margin of error, say .003 or .002 seconds off, were given the honor of saying they "zeroed out".  Richard Hille though, genuinely zero'd out with a time variance of 0.000.  I'm told that's been done 3 times in the history of open road racing.

Only one race left this year, the Silver State Classic Challenge.  This is the same road the Nevada Open Road Challenge was run on in May.  You may recall, we ran way too fast and averaged 151mph in the 150mph class due to a mistake on our course notes.  Well, notes are correct this time and we're going to give it our best shot at closing out the season in good fashion.

Thanks again to everyone for your support!



Nevada Open Road Race  2008

Hello to friends and family,
Last weekend's Nevada Open Road Race was far from uneventful, but at least no one was injured.  The eXtreme Conversions/Collier Motorsports RX-7 proved it could compete at 150mph but the driver and navi had some difficulties...
Objective:  cover 90 miles in exactly 36 minutes for an average speed of 150 mph
Results:  35:36.21 @ 151.675 mph fo

r 18th out of 26 cars in class ( a whopping 23.79 seconds too fast)

We knew our streak of 10 podium appearances would eventually end, but to break it due to yours truly making a mistake on course notes wasn't what we expected.  Our plan was to bank some time by running 153 mph up to the Narrows, which is a 4 mile canyon I can drive through at about 110mph. We figured we'd come out of the Narrows close to an average of 150 mph, give or take 5 seconds.  
Well, during a momentary lapse of attention to detail, I mistakenly typed in 153mph information for the first point after the Narrows instead of 150mph.  So, according to the flawed notes, we were 20 seconds slow when we exited the Narrows.  20 seconds is forever in open road racing so I immediately ran the Black Car up to 163 mph to make up time.  By the time we figured out something was wrong, it was too late.  We crossed the finish line when I should have been crossing the next to last mile marker.
Afterwards, I reviewed the notes and figured out the mistake.  We were actually 14 seconds fast after the canyon, not 20 seconds slow.  Had we not been so close to the finish, we probably could have recovered from the error, but 14 miles goes by quick at 160+mph.
As bad as the above sounds, it could have been worse.  A driver rolled and wrecked his Viper and caused the race to be red flagged.  He walked away unharmed.  I was the last car across the finish line before the red flag.  6 cars were on course when the flag dropped and wound up sitting on course for over 5 hours.  The handling of the wreck went so bad that 40 cars out of 150 didn't even get to race.  That hurt my soul because most of them were rookies and I'm the official Rookie Liaison for this event.  The promoter is offering them 1/2 off their fees for another event, but I'm lobbying hard to get them a free entry.
All in all, it wasn't the greatest race weekend but we're putting it behind us and beginning preparations for the Bonneville 100 in mid-June. 
Thank you for your support and I hope to have a more positive summary for you next month.
Warm regards,

Big Bend  2008

Happy Tuesday Open Road Racing Fans!


It’s that time of year again: They’re shutting down highways and letting the boys and girls come out to play.  It was the season opening Big Bend Open Road Race and the Collier Motorsports/eXtreme Conversions RX-7 was indeed ready to play…


Objective:  cover 118 miles in 52 minutes 26.6 seconds for an average speed of 135 mph

Results:  52:27.323 @ 134.972 mph for 1st Place out of 7 cars in class (.656 seconds time variance)


The Big Bend Open Road Race had its highest turnout to date with 152 cars!  They normally cut off entries at 120 cars.  At registration, there were 12 cars in our class.  For whatever reason though, 5 cars chose to move to another class .  Oh well…    Although 19 cars either didn't finish, didn't start or was disqualified, no one went off road, so it was a good safe event.


Due to so many cars entered, they had not finished the team scores at the time of this email.  However, with 5 Invaders taking 1st Places and a total time variance of only 1.52 seconds for 5 cars, I have a strong feeling that we defended our title.


Deana and I quickly discovered that running this road at 135mph is extremely different than at 125 or even 130 mph.  This was without a doubt the hardest I’ve worked at driving a course.  I was literally tired at the end.  Our notes were originally written based on 125 mph.  Well, turns we marked as “green”, meaning I could take them at 125mph, were suddenly no longer “green”!  Sure, I could take them at 125 but we’re now trying to average 135!!!  Needless to say, I spent a lot of time between 145 and 155 mph in straights making up time lost in turns.  There’s nothing wrong with that if you’ve planned it that way but we hadn’t so it was one wild ride.  Fortunately, I had shed the crappy tires from last year and put on some Dunlop Sport Maxx’s that stuck to the road well. 


Our next event is the Nevada Open Road Race May 15th through May 18th.  This will be our fastest run yet with a target average of 150 mph.


Many thanks to my new sponsors Collier Motorsports and eXtreme Conversions!



Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Racing Team

Road Runner Open Road Race Summary  2007 Season Finale

Hey Friends,
You may recall from my last summary that Deana gave up her navigating spot to allow a friend, Mr. Tim Eull, to co-drive the final event with me.  I think we made her proud...
Objective: cover 80 miles in 38 minutes 12 seconds for an average speed of 125 mph (we were limited to a 125 avg because Tim was a rookie)
Results:  38 minutes 11.727 seconds @ 125.015 mph for 1st Place out of nine cars in class (.273 seconds variance). Two of the six corvettes in class took 2nd & 3rd.
Team Invaders took 4th Place, however 7 out of 12 Invaders placed with three 1st Places and four 2nd Places.  Our table at the awards banquet was pretty loaded down with hardware.
As was the case all season, the RX for Your 7, Mazda Motorsports, RX-7 ran and handled great.  Considering it was his first time, Tim drove quite well and had the most accurate time of all rookies.  Wish I could heap such praise on my first time navigating effort!  I gave Tim the wrong time on the very first waypoint!  Then proceeded to miss 3 waypoints along the way.  I pulled it together though by halfway through the race and dialed him in.  I certainly have a much greater appreciation for what Deana does now!!!
I finally got Tim down out of the clouds at the turn around.  He was one happy racer, grinning ear to ear.  I think he might be hooked.  On the return leg though, Tim quickly discovered he didn't have a brake pedal on his side.  He finally came to the conclusion it was better to simply look down at the notes as I flew into turns slightly faster than he did .  He maintained his composure though and did a great job of dialing me in.
Deana and I met our objective for the year of making the podium in all seven events we attended.  Tim pointed out that we can now say:  In 2007, our RX-7, completed 7 events and made 7 podium appearances.  We finished with two 3rd Places, two 2nd Places and three 1st Places. 
God willing and finances permitting, we hope to do 8 events next year.  We've never been to Nebraska for the Sandhills Open Road Rally.  Fellow ORR'ers have been trying to get us to come out since it started 4 or 5 years ago.  Next year may be the year we finally go.
Many, many thanks to all of you for the support and good luck wishes throughout the season.
God Bless,
Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team


Silver State Classic Challenge 2007

Happy Tuesday to all,
It was a great weekend for the 20th Anniversary of the Silver State Classic Challenge:  Weather was cooperative, no off-road excursions and only 3 breakdowns out of 134 cars.  Well, there was one off-road jaunt during the 1mile shootout the day before the race, but they didn’t rollover and the driver was ok.
Objective: cover 90 miles in 37 minutes 14.5 seconds for an average speed of 145 mph
Results: 37 minutes 14.2782 seconds @ 145.0144 mph for 1st Place out of 6 cars in class (time variance of -.2218 seconds) And yes, the 6 cars included two 2006 Corvette Z06’s that had to settle for 2nd & 3rd. .
Team Invaders took 2nd Place and Invaders International Racing took 3rd Place in the Team Challenge.  (My team had so many cars I had to split them into 3 teams)
With temperatures in the low 70’s at start, the RX for Your 7, Mazda Motorsports, RX-7 ran like a top.  We were well over 150 mph by 2 miles in.  We did have a very minor incident about 10 miles in.  One of my magnetic numbers flew off the car.  We tape the leading edge of the magnetics and had never lost one in 20+ events.  We think air must have come in through the bottom or something.  It made a heck of a noise when it let go.  My first thought was, “TIRE!”  I quickly realized though that I “heard” the noise but did not “feel” it.  A quick glance in the rear view and I saw number 261 flipping happily through the air.  Needless to say, it landed number side up so every driver and their brother could see it and tease me about it in the finish pits .
Since Deana is giving up her seat in the last race for a friend, she’s calling her season over and declaring Team Offutt 6 for 6 in podium appearances this year.  Two 1st’s, two 2nd’s and two 3rd’s.  I’m hopeful Tim and I can dial in another podium appearance at the Road Runner Open Road on October 6th to finish out 7 for 7 with the car.
Wish us luck!
Captain Team Invaders
Life # 261

Pony Express 130   2007

Happy Tuesday to All,
I wish I could start the summary with the same ole line about the Pony Express 130 going off without incident, but that just wasn’t the case this time.  It just was not a good day.  There were multiple incidents/issues  including a wreck in the 170 mph class.  The driver and navigator were in a1990 NASCAR T-Bird.  They were beat up pretty bad but are both expected to fully recover. The accident cancelled the second leg of the race.
Abbreviated objective:  Average a perfect 140 mph over 83.55 miles for a time of 35:48.4
Results: 139.961 mph in 35:49.025 (.596 seconds off) for 2nd Place . 1st was off .323 and 3rd was 2.135 off.
As for what happened to cause the accident, all I know is what was posted on the bulletin board:  (this is a 3rd hand quote) “Greg said they were not pushing it, running their plan. Somehow they were a bit wide into the corner and when the rear tire hit the damp white line the backend came around and they went airborne. Greg does not remember anything much after that. Their helmets came off early in the crash sequence and the Oil Tank for the Dry Sump tore loose and that is what caused Greg's burns.”
I did see what was left of the car.  It was just the roll cage.  Everything else was gone.  The cage did its job.
Unfortunately, the second leg was in jeopardy well before the accident though.  For the sake of brevity, I’ll try to list the other incidents in crude, estimated, chronological order:
Sometime early AM, key radio repeater link fails (I think it was hit by lightning)
~ 8 AM, Race Control is working to set up radio relay system (Race is supposed to start at 8am)
~ 9:30 Race starts
~ 9:47 Course worker decides to drive on the course AFTER the race has started (14 cars are now on the road doing between 150 & 140 mph, this is sooo not good)
~ 9:48 The car in grid position 15 is stopped 6 seconds before take off.  Yours truly is grid position 16.
~ 10:00 Lightning starts a fire.  Downpour of rain in “The Gap”. “The Gap” is a 10 mile section of twisty turns.  Several of the 14 cars that were launched experience water rushing across the road and limited visibility in “The Gap”.
~ 10:10 BLM fire crews are accidentally released onto the course at Start Line (fire was away from the course and under control, crew could have waited).
~ 12 Noon Race resumes.
~ 1:15 A driver passes out from heat exhaustion at the turnaround while his car is being fueled.  Advance Fire & Rescue attend to him and he recovers fully.
Sometime after 2pm, Don & Greg wreck.
3pm Second leg cancelled.
Without the second leg to wrap up and dial in times, my team, Team Invaders, didn’t fare too well.  Only 3 Invaders out of 15 made podium appearances. (2nd in 120mph, 2nd in 140 mph and 1st in 170mph).  Deana and I are now 5 for 5 in podium appearances for the year.  She’s only doing one more race with me, the Silver State Classic in two weeks.  We’re hoping we can go 6 for 6.  She has given up her seat in the 7th and final event to allow a friend to co-drive in the hopes he might get hooked and want to bring his car, and other friends, to future events.
Thanks again for all your support and well wishes.
God Bless,
Captain, Team Invaders
Open Road Race Team

Gamblers Run 2007

Happy Tuesday All,
In spite of the Gamblers Run Twin 50 being held on a "Friday the 13th weekend", there were no off-road incidents or on course breakdowns.  We did have plenty of delays, random weirdness (we had 13 rookies and coincidently, 13 instructors for qualifying sessions on Friday the 13th), a near miss of cow at 120+(not us, but another driver), slick spots from Mormon Cricket crossings, etc.
Objective: Average a perfect 135 mph over 93.956 miles for a time of 41:45.493
Results:  134.936 mph in 41:46.675 (1.182 seconds off) for 3rd Place.  1st & 2nd were .799 & .872 secs off.
Team Invaders took 4th Place, however, that's being contested.  Seems there were some errors in timing & scoring that disqualified a team member that shouldn't have been.  We may have taken 3rd.
For whatever reason, Deana and I just didn't bring our "A Game" to the road.  We were in the largest group (9 cars) and knew we'd have to "bring it" in order to get 1st or 2nd.  All things considered, we feel we were lucky to get 3rd!  On the first leg, yours truly forgot to reset 2 out of 3 stopwatches.  That meant re-syncing on the fly at 150+ mph.  As if that wasn't enough, for the first time in over 20 events, we weren't ready when it came our time to stage.  On the second leg they had to actually give us a secondary start.  In our defense though, they were launching cars exceptionally fast (every 30 seconds) on the second leg trying to make up for time lost due to multiple delays.  On the positive side, the RX For Your 7, MazdaMotorsports RX-7 ran exceptionally well.  On the second leg it pulled to 150+ mph going uphill into a strong headwind without problem.
Had a small scare literally a mile from the finish of the 1st leg.  We top a hill at 135 mph and there's a course worker standing on the edge of the road!  Fortunately, I maintained my composure and didn't lift off the gas.  (lifting in the last mile really screws things up)  Found out later he was standing there to keep cows off the road.  One of the cars in the 150mph class topped that same hill and a cow was standing on the yellow line with his butt to the car.  The car was an identical replica of the famous Ford GT40 (not the current Ford GT).  This car is so low that when I stand next to it, the top is below my beltline.  The point is, it handles fabulously.  The driver saw the cow, lifted, braked, and swerved to the right to miss the cow by about 2 feet.  He said he was able to get down to 125 by the time he went around the cow.   That screwed up his time but he was able to make it up on the 2nd leg and still took 1st Place in the 150 mph class.
On a sad note, one of the many delays to the race was to allow a course radio operator to return to town.  He received word that his son-in-law had just died in a car accident totally unrelated to the race.  In a typical show of support from the Open Road Racing community, over $3000 was donated at the awards banquet for his daughter and grandaughter (that's approximately $40 per car entered in the event).
We've now completed and trophied at 4 out of 7 events this year.  We're hopeful we can finish out the last 3 with 1st & 2nds.  The next event is the Pony Express 130, the longest race of the year.  We'll be running it at 140 mph.  This event usually has a large turnout and tough competition.  Last year we were off by .6 seconds which got 6th Place out of 15 cars.  This year we plan to bring the mojo, a can of whoop a#@, as well as the A Game!
As always, thank you for your support,
Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team


Bonneville 2007

Happy Tuesday to all,
In spite of minor illness and annoying mechanical issues encountered getting to Wendover, NV for the Bonneville 100, it was a great event.
Objective:  Average a perfect 135 mph over 101.6 miles for a time of  45:09.333
Results: 135.083 mph in 45:07.658 (1.672 seconds off) for 2nd Place. (1st was off by .763 seconds)
Team Invaders took 3rd Place in the Team Challenge.
The event itself was one of the smoothest in quite some time:
  • Perfect weather, mid 70's, no bug swarms, no fires, clear sky, etc
  • Extra, yes, extra, course workers! No midnight scrambles through bars and casinos looking for course workers
  • First car was off the line at 7:59 AM! No, not an hour late, but 1 minute early!!
  • Quick turn-around and best of all...
  • No off-road excursions.
    Not so smooth though for the Offutt family getting to the event.  The night before leaving, we discover a crack in the RX-7 windshield that's about 2 hand spans long.  Knowing the crack will get me bumped down to a lower class or worse yet, fail tech, I call the insurance company to arrange replacement as we go through Las Vegas the following morning.  They are super helpful and find a shop right off the interstate and confirm they can get it done the following morning at 9am and have me on the road by 10:30 am.
    We're there bright and early at 8am.  By 8:15 I've got the car off the trailer and just waiting for the windshield guy.  At 9:30 he shows up with the wrong windshield.  For some strange reason (maybe inadequate sleep from a darn dry cough keeping me up at night) I'm not surprised at this development.  As he sits in his van making calls to locate the correct windshield, I notice a wire hanging under our trailer.  Hmm?  That's not good.  Let's get down on the hot asphalt and crawl under and take a look.  Broken brake wire right at the hub.  No prob, just lay on the hot asphalt and fix it.  Oh yeah, that was big fun.
    To make this long story short, after a trip across town to the actual warehouse and another wrong windshield, we finally pulled out of Las Vegas at 12:45 pm.
    Nonetheless, the Mazda MotorSports RX-7 ran flawlessly.  Deana's navigating was right on target with her smallest variance yet between her time and official time (she had us off by 1.7 seconds vs. the official time of 1.672 seconds).  Yours truly actually drove a good race until the finish of each leg where for whatever reason, my concentration was off.  Deana attributes it to not sleeping well due to the dry cough.  She's so diplomatic.
    Our next event is the Gambler's Run Twin 50 on July 14th out of Elko, NV.  Having now placed in 3 out of 3 events so far (individually as well as
    Team Invaders), we hope to keep the streak going with another 1st Place.
    Thank you for your support,
    Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team
    #261 Mazda RX-7 R1

    Happy Hump Day,
    The Nevada Open Road Challenge came and went without incident.  A couple of cars broke, but no off-road excursions by anyone.  The RX for Your 7, Mazda MotorSports RX-7 ran and handled great.
    There were 5 other cars running in the 145 mph class.  Two were past Series Champions.  Counting a 3rd car that regularly finishes under a second off, we had our work cut out for us.  For a brief moment, we contemplated backing off to 140 mph, but decided, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best".
    Objective:  Average a perfect 145 mph over 90 miles for a time of  37:14.5
    Results: 145.0056 mph in 37:14.9848 (.4848 seconds off) for 3rd Place. (1st & 2nd were off by .0858 and .1262, respectively)
    Team Invaders took 2nd Place in the Team Challenge
    We ran a good solid race with no incidents, however, I can't say the same for a good friend that runs in the Unlimited Class.  He was cruising along at 205 mph when he began to set up for right hand turn.  In car video (which hopefully will be on YouTube shortly) shows him ease to the left and start into the right turn.  Just as he enters the turn, he loses an oil line and the car fills completely with smoke!  He remains calm and lets the car drift back and forth over the rumble strips at the edges of the road(you can hear them in the video).  After driving several moments by feeling the road, the smoke begins to clear and video shows him right in the middle of the road! 
    This gentleman has crashed at a very high speed in the past and in fact walks with a slight limp from it.  In spite of that though, he said this was the most scared he's been in 30 years of racing.  Hmm, let's see, Braille driving, in a turn, at 200+ mph, yeah, I think that would rank up near the top of the scary thing list.
    Our next event is the Bonneville 100 on June 9th.  It's the home of our best run ever: .07 seconds off which won the coveted Best Overall Trophy. 
    Thank you for your support,
    Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team
    #261 Mazda RX-7 R1

    April 28/29 2007          Big Bend Open Road Race

    Happy Monday to All,
    The 2007 ORR season got off to a great start in Ft. Stockton , TX with the 10th Anniversary of the Big Bend Open Road Race.  The Mazda Motorsports, RX for Your 7, (sponsors needed, your name could go here), RX-7 was finally ready to run after a rough ending to the 2006 season.
    Objective:  cover 118 miles in 54 minutes 27.6 seconds for an average speed of 130 mph
    Results:  54:26.9 @ 130.001 mph for 1st Place out of 12 cars in class (time variance of +.761 seconds)
    The team that I captain, Team Invaders, also took 1st Place in the Team Challenge by laying some butt whoop on 8 other teams, including 5 corvette teams.
    While there were no incidents, there were plenty of DQ’s.  Rain hit on parts of the course and caused some participants to go too fast trying to make up time lost in the wet spots.  As if wet spots weren’t enough, Deana and I also had other variables to deal with: Fastest speed we’ve ever run this course and new, unfamiliar tires.
    Of course, we couldn’t hit the wet spots on straight-aways early in the course.  Oh no, that’s no fun, let’s run into wet roads during the toughest turns on the course only 15 miles from the finish of the first leg.  These are turns I worked hard at when we ran 120 & 125 mph.  Now it’s wet and I need to average 130 mph.  Needless to say we were losing time faster than Ford losing money.  At one point Deana tells me I’m 4 seconds slow, so I’m accelerating as hard as I can between turns (for the first time in 20 races, I actually had to hit the brakes before some turns).  I’m totally focused on the roads and can’t watch my speed but I think I’m doing ok, only to hear I’m now 10 seconds slow!  Arrghh!  It’s not panic time but I know if I don’t get under 10 seconds before 5 miles out, this leg is going to be way off.  I tell Deana I’m going to drive as fast as I can safely until she’s tells me I’m close.  After some harrowing, butt puckering turns, I finally hit target speed with only 2.93 miles left and we close the first leg only .5 seconds fast.
    At this point I thought we had an interesting first leg.  Well, a good friend of mine runs an old Winston Cup NASCAR in the Unlimited Class.  He and his wife smacked a full grown buzzard at 170+ mph.  It caught the upper corner of the passenger A-pillar (that’s the column that holds the windshield).  It literally peeled the metal back on the car at that corner.  It didn’t break the windshield though, so they kept driving.  Well, with their full face helmets, neck braces, and head supports they couldn’t see what really happened.  When they crossed the finish line and slowed down, Marsha, the navigator, unfastened her window net and PLOP! Buzzard head in her lap!  When they got to the grid area the car was a mess: buzzard head in the floor board and buzzard body and guts in the back of the car. Yuck!!!  They got the car cleaned up, taped up the damaged metal, rinsed off their suits and finished the race though.  In fact they set a new course record by averaging 172.584 mph with a high trap speed of 213 mph.
    We were hopeful the second leg would be a little easier.  NOT!  It was raining at the start line!  About half way through the tough turns, which mercifully are near the beginning now, Deana informs me I’m not even on the page.  In fact I’m 40 seconds slow.  A big smile creeps across my face because I know when I get out of the last tough turn I’m going to need to drive very fast to make up 40 seconds. Oh darn.  I fly out of the last turn at 150 mph grinning ear to ear.  But wait; Is that a corvette I see up ahead?!?!  Yes, it is!  Well, if I need to drive fast to make up time, might as well drive faster and run down a corvette.  Deana gives me permission to run him down but not to pass unless he acknowledges me.  I punch the rotary up to 160 mph and set my sights on catching him before the next set of tricky turns.  It was not to be though.  I get to within 100 yards or so and Deana informs me that I’ve made up my time and tells me to back off to 130 mph.  Rats!!!  (we discovered at the awards banquet that he never saw us coming)
    Our next event is the Nevada Open Road Race on May 20th out of Ely Nevada .  We hope this 1st Place showing is the first of several this season.
    Thanks for your support!
    Captain, Team Invaders Open Road Race Team
    Lifetime #261, ’93 Mazda RX-7 (R1)



    September 17 2006   The Silver State Classic  Nevada


    Happy Monday to all;

    5 Open Road Races down and 1 to go. The Silver State Classic Challenge went off without incident, but not without multiple car failures. As this was the fastest we've ever run in an event, we're pleased to say we were not one of those that broke down.

    Objective: Average a perfect 145 mph over 90 miles for an arrival time of 37 minutes & 14.7 seconds

    Results: Average speed - 144.9566 mph Time 37 minutes 15.16 seconds (.6692 seconds variance) for 3rd Place (1st & 2nd Place were off by .4232 & .4462 seconds, respectively)

    The team that I captain, Team Invaders, took 2nd Place in the Team Challenge.

    The Mazda Motor Sports/QuickBooks RX-7 was back to running like a top. In fact, for the first time ever, we left the start in a smoking burn-out. Not intentionally, just not completely used to the new engine yet and it got away from me a bit. The highlight or interesting part of the race came when we got to the canyon about 69 miles into the 90 miles. There's an off-camber curve right before you go in the canyon that we warn all rookies about. We tell them if there's a curve that can cause them to wreck, this is it. We advise them they can go below their minimum speed there and not get DQ'd. The same goes for going through the canyon, aka, The Narrows.

    Well, Deana and I go barreling through the off-camber curve at 130 mph and negotiate it just fine. Feeling somewhat self-confident after that, I shoot into The Narrows at 110 mph. I'm apexing the turns just right, accelerating at the right times, etc. etc., and really feeling the groove, so to speak. We get near the end of The Narrows and I'm feeling so good that at 115 mph I drop into 4th gear and accelerate hard through the last turn and hill and past the exit of The Narrows at 145 mph. 

    Yee Hah!! Yippee!! I've negotiated The Narrows faster than I've ever done before. I'm pumped up and riding high and then I hear those dreaded words, "Nice driving, but you're way hot. Slow down to 132 mph." NOOOO!!!! Adrenaline & common sense briefly fought in my head at the thought dropping from 145 mph down to 132 mph but of course I did it. I could swear though, jackrabbits and buzzards were laughing at me in the road as they waited until the last second to scurry out of the way thus avoiding the vaporization that would have surely been their fate at 145 mph.

    Seems our course timing notes didn't account for increased familiarity and skills in The Narrows. They were based on me going through at 100 mph and losing 25 to 30 seconds. Going through at what turned out to be 115+ lost only 5 seconds and put us 25 seconds ahead at the exit. We'll adjust accordingly next time.

    There's one event left in the 2006 Open Road Racing season, The Road Runner Open Road Race next month out of Ft. Stockton Texas. After a 2nd Place and two 3rd Places, we're going to go all out to try and dial in a 1st Place to end the season on a high note.

    Thank you again for your support and I'll see most of you tomorrow morning.


    ps Actor John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in the "Dukes of Hazzard" and Jonathan Kent (Superman's father) in "Smallville", was at the event and gave the racers a preview of his upcoming movie, Collier & Company. He also found time to autograph Duncan Fisher's die-cast metal replica of the General Lee. Sorry ladies, no pictures this time.

     Pony Express 130 Open Road Race Summary

    Subject:        Pony Express 130 Open Road Race Summary

    Happy Tuesday All,

    The Pony Express 130 Open Road Race went off without incident.  4 cars broke down (including a brand spanking new 505 horsepower Z06 Corvette) and 2 folks were DQ'd, but no wrecks.  Decent turn out of 84 cars total.

    Objective: Average 140 mph over 129.9 miles in 55 mins 40.286 seconds
    Result: 139.972 mph in 55 mins 40.96 seconds.
    Slow by .674 seconds which was only good for 6th place and no podium trip L.

    Unlike the last event where there were only 2 cars in our 135 mph class, this time there were 15, yes 15, cars in our class. No other class had more than 7 cars.  We thought moving up to 140 mph at this event would be challenge enough due this being the longest race of the season and the extended canyon run.  Little did we know that every road racing veteran and their daddy (the 3rd place team was a father/son combo) had decided to run 140 mph.

    We didn't back down though.  Several fellow racers and team members tried to talk us into going back to 135 mph which only had 5 cars.  We probably would have placed there since 2nd place was a whopping 3 seconds off, but we really wanted to run with a large, tough crowd to see how we'd do.

    How tough?  Well, the folks that took 3rd and 4th were tied last year for best overall times of the entire 2005 season.  The guys that took 1st Place were "statistically" perfect: 140.000 mph, .010 time variance.  Seven out of 15 cars were under 1 second off.  When Deana and I considered the competition, the road, and the speed we had to drive to actually average 140 mph (we spent an awful lot of time at 150 mph+), we were happy the Mazda Motor Sports/QuickBooks RX-7 finished under a second off.

    Next month we return to the scene where we blew an engine in May.  We plan to avenge ourselves.  At Deana's insistence, we're running it at 145mph (I so love that woman).  There's a fellow that always dominates that class and she wants to take him out.  She figures what better way to bounce back from such a close and tough loss than to take on one of the "ringers" at a higher speed in the next race.

    Really don't have a colorful story about the actual drive, but I did have an interesting experience as a qualifying instructor.  One of the rookies assigned to me was an elderly chap in a 1969 Ford LTD.  I wish I had my camera phone with me.  The car was white with red & orange flames from nose to tail.  NASCAR style tires and engine so big the hood literally would not close at the back.  I get in the car and there's a classic bench seat with deteriorating upholstery, a lap belt, ashtray full of cigarette butts, a pine tree air freshener hanging from the window and an old guy with a motorcross helmet and ski-goggles.  I'm thinking, "This is gonna be fun.."

    Well, during pre-run chitchat, I find out this rookie had his NASCAR racing license before I potty trained.  The monster under the hood is an $8000 beast that would probably propel most cars well past 200 mph, but they've geared the transmission to run in the 90 mph class.

    Our turn comes and he flips some switches and brings the engine to life.  It's so loud in the car we have to scream at each other.  He informs me that his speedometer doesn't work and that he'd be driving by tachometer.  He's done the math and concluded that 4000 rpm will be 95 mph.  We head down the road and by 1 mile in I know even my bad ear is going to be ringing for the rest of the day.  He sails through the speed trap and the display shows 97 mph.  Pretty close.  We turn around, run back and he decides to shake it out a bit and runs the whole leg at 105 mph (his can't exceed 110 or he'll be DQ'd).

    I signed his card and wished him and his co-driver good luck, provided they could get a transmission fluid leak fixed.  Well, they got the leak fixed and ran the event.  They used their wrist watches and kitchen egg timer set for 86:35.  No GPS, no speedometer, and no stop watches.  At 90 mph, they missed their time by only .195 seconds and won Best Overall in the Hand Timers class.  Yeah, it's a cool sport.

    Thank you for your support,


                                     Hit Counter