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Comments From NASA's Ryan Flaherty Over Lunch
By John Kilroy on July 13, 2011

We greatly enjoyed a visit to the PRI offices yesterday by Ryan Flaherty, national chairman of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA), which has 13,000 participants nationwide. The series offers one of the easiest and most affordable entry points into racing, and we at PRI are very appreciative of a series like NASA that transforms so many fans into racers, because that’s the beginning of sales of racing products.
 
Here’s an exchange from the NASA website forum that may not seem too exciting at first, but it’s a magical moment when a racer is about to be born…and sales of a helmet, driver suit, specialty lubricants, chassis tuning equipment, suspension parts, engine services and more are about to happen.
 
Question: Hello everyone, I just recently acquired a 1996 bmw 328is as was wondering if this would be a race worthy car and what classes are available for this particular vehicle, and what should i do first to start me racing. I live in Denver and understand there might be some programs or classes i can get involved with to help me start racing. any advice would definitely be appreciated.
 
Answer: Join NASA via the main website at http://www.nasaproracing.com. Find your regions website and check out the event calendar. Get yourself to as many HPDE events as you can in your car. While you're doing that, skim over the rules for the various race classes to see where your car might fit. I'm sure other people will chime in on specific classes. The class-specific websites will also help a great deal with resources for modifying your car to comply with race rules.

The HPDE program will get you the experience you need to drive on track at high speed. When you become proficient and you're ready to move on to racing, you can attend the NASA competition license school. You'll need a fully prepped race car for that.

 All this is explained on the main website.

 Good luck.
 
As Ryan said yesterday at lunch regarding entry-level and grassroots racers, “We need guys that are buying Dart blocks and putting them in their American Iron race cars.”
 
Neither Ryan nor Jeff Swoboda and myself can imagine a racing industry without all these enthusiasts, hobbyists and passionate amateurs.
 
Ryan suggested we look at just the amount of parts used up in NASA’s famed 25 Hours of Thunderhill event. “I bet people blow through $1 million in parts!”

Yep. That sure caught our attention.

About the Author
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John Kilroy is the Publisher of Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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