National Auto Sport Association

Returning Champs Looking to Repeat Wins at 2017 NASA Championships

NAPA, Calif., Sept. 29, 2017 — The fourth annual NASA Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires is attracting past champions looking to add to their trophy shelves. This year’s event takes place October 6-8 at Thunderhill Raceway. 

In 944 Spec, last year’s champion John Pentelei Molnar is hoping to repeat the Championship he earned last year at Buttonwillow Raceway. He has been dialing in his Porsche 944 and staying on top of maintenance and repairs. To prepare himself, Pentelei Molnar flew up to Thunderhill, a track he had never turned a wheel on, to drive the track in a borrowed car.  

“I spent the day orienting myself to the track, certainly not at racing speed, but to get the technical side of things, understand where things are,” Pentelei Molnar said. “You can only learn so much from watching a video. You’ve got to get out there and actually drive around.”

He said he’s looking forward to the competition, a group of racers he’s familiar with. He faced most of them last year in his Championship win. 

“There are a lot of good drivers, as we know,” he said. “Charlie Sharp is always real fast and certainly Thomas Atteberry can be really quick, and there’s a lot of good guys. On any given weekend, there’s a lot of guys who can really hook up at a track and find a way to go real fast. I’ve always found at a lot of these races that it’s whoever makes the least amount of mistakes. I’ve won and lost a lot of races based on that alone.”

In NASA’s signature NP01 class, Brian Lock is the returning Western States Champion in a NASA Prototype. Lock has logged a ton of time at Thunderhill Raceway, but has not driven the NP01 this season.

“Well, the NP01 has proven to be really reliable. We solved all the teething issues the car had initially, so we’re doing a whole lot of nothing as far as car preparation goes,” Lock said. “I’ve driven at Thunderhill in all but maybe four of the 25-hour races since its inception, so I don’t know how many thousands of laps I have at Thunderhill.” 

A resident of Northern California, Lock and his team are better prepared than they were last year. Their Championship-winning effort came together in the last couple of weeks leading up to the event. This year, he and the Valkyrie Autosport team will be ready.

“Everything just kind of fell into place last year. Our car setup was just dynamite, and fast in the places we needed to be fast,” Lock said. “Thunderhill races a lot better than Buttonwillow, so I look forward to a lot more lead changes, I hope.”
Details and Information

NASA Western States Championships event information page:

For additional information and photography, please contact Brett Becker at or 805-850-8310. More details can be found at or

To qualify for the NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires, NASA competitors must compete in and score points in five regional races around the country. 

About Toyo Tires

Established in 1966, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. represents the innovation, quality, performance, and excellent service that Toyo Tires has delivered worldwide for more than 70 years.Toyo offers a complete selection of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including light trucks, SUVs, high performance cars, and luxury vehicles, as well as commercial trucks. Many of these tires are built here in the United States at our state-of-the-art factory in Bartow County, Georgia.

About NASA

The National Auto Sport Association was formed in 1991 with the premise of delivering high-quality motorsports events to enthusiasts at major racing venues throughout the United States. NASA has created programs that allow owners of racecars and high-performance street-driven vehicles to enjoy the full performance capabilities of their cars in a controlled professionally managed environment. NASA offers many different programs that will allow you to enjoy motorsports on a number of different levels, including our High Performance Driving Events (HPDE), Rally Sport, Time Trial, NASA-X and Competition Racing programs.
NASA Membership

NASA members are entitled to enter and participate in any NASA event across the country, and membership includes an array of benefits, including vendor discounts and a subscription to NASA’s online magazine, Speed News. Members will also receive an official membership hard card that will identify them as part of the organization and a welcome packet that includes more information on the many benefits and programs available to NASA members. While participating at events, all NASA members are covered by a uniquely extensive insurance policy, which includes General Liability, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, and Excess Medical coverage. Best of all, membership is only $45. Refer to for member information.

NASA Thanks Our Partners

NASA would like to thank its National sponsors for their continued support: Toyo Tires, Mazda, Hawk Performance, and Winding Road Racing. We also want to thank MAZDASPEED, Honda Performance Development, Nissan, and Ford Motor Company for supporting our members. We greatly appreciate those companies that offer our racers contingency support, including Toyo Tires, AST Suspension, BFGoodrich, Ford Racing, Maxxis Tires, Hawk Performance, Honda Performance Development (HPD), Hoosier Racing Tire, MAZDASPEED, Nissan, Frozen Rotors, Spec Clutches, Sampson Racing Communications, Winding Road Racing, Power Rev Racing, Tilton, Whiteline, Supertech, Fuelab, AKG Motorsport, Maximum Motorsports, G-Loc Brakes, MPT Industries, Neo Motorsport, Racer Parts Wholesale, and Yokohama.  NASA competitors can also get discounts from Mazda, Honda Performance Development, FR.Sport, Jongbloed Racing Wheels, Promotive, Racing Fire Systems, Ford Performance Racing School, Fuel Safe, Avis, Konig, Metal Conditioner Squared,, GeoSky Alert, and Winding Road Racing.
NASA at a Glance
  • NASA was founded in 1991 on the premise of providing motorsport competition programs that allow owners of both racecars and high-performance street-driven vehicles to enjoy the full-performance capabilities of their cars in a safe and controlled environment. 
  • NASA has more than 14,000 members in 15 regions.
  • Key events include the NASA Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires at Thunderhill Raceway, Oct. 6-8, 2017; Eastern States Championships presented by Toyo Tires at Sebring International Raceway Oct. 20-22, 2017;  and the season culminating NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance, Dec. 1-3, 2017.
  • Each NASA Championship event will run 30 race classes and nine Time-Trial classes during the event.
  • NASA runs over 150 events each year encompassing over 250 races, including the association's Rally Sport and Time-Trial program.
  • Manufacturer partners include Mazda, Honda, Nissan, and Ford Motor Company.
  • NASA Management: Jerry Kunzman, Executive Director; Ryan Flaherty, National Chairman; Jeremy Croiset, Director of Business Development; Dave Ho, Business Operations Manager.

Back to all news