AI: John George - NASA intreview

The Texas Road-Warrior.... An interview with John George National Auto Sports Association, American Iron Champion Interview by Skip Smith Q. Tell us a little about yourself, what do you do for work and your life outside of racing? A. I...

The Texas Road-Warrior.... An interview with John George National Auto Sports Association, American Iron Champion
Interview by Skip Smith

Q. Tell us a little about yourself, what do you do for work and your life outside of racing?

A. I work at F5 Networks (the global leader in Application Delivery Networking) as an Application Security Engineer. My wife and I have been married for 13 years and I'm a very proud father of two very energetic boys that keep me busy.

Q. You have had 2 two American Iron championships, how did that happen?

A. I think everything just seemed to work out. I had the car setup just right from the different open track events I've been to previously and just didn't have any problems with the car. It handled great and ran like a champ. All I had to do is hang on and push the go pedal.

Q. How do you like racing in the NASA American Iron series?

A. It's a lot f fun. A couple of us in the Texas region have been running together for years and it's just like the old days except there is only one winner. I like the fact that we can run just about any suspension we choose and run what ever power plant we want as long as we are compliant to the power-to-weight rule. For a Mustang, there are many directions you can go with regards to suspension, brake, and engine combinations and it has taken a few years to find the best that works for me and my car.

Q. What is key in preparing your car before events? Do you get any sponsor support?

A. The first weekend following a race I put the car up on jack stands and pull the wheels and start a very thorough check of everything from fluids to torque spec on the wheel bearings. The goal is to get ready and prepped ASAP so I don't have to work on the car at the last minute. F5 Networks provides me great support as I travel to each race. Motul helps me out with world class lubricants for the car to endure the Texas heat. Griggs Racing provides me with great suspension components and good set up specs for the different tracks. McLeod provides us with a great clutch package for the car. Wade's Rod and Custom makes sure the car looks great for each event and Toyo Tires has a great tire rebate for American Iron as well.

Q. What is your favorite track in the American Iron Texas region and about some of your favorite races you have had in the last couple of years?

A. My favorite track would have to be Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. I like the elevation changes going into the "Bitch". The track has a few blind corners that make it a real blast.

My favorite race was last year at TWS against Mike Patterson in the Motul Z28. Mike was the lead instructor for NASA Texas and a heck of a driver. On the Saturday qualifying, I out qualified him by just a few tenths of a second. Mike was changing springs in the rear and repairing a shock. The last race on Sunday we had an inverted grid. Mike and I had to start at the back of the field and work our way to the front. Mike went high on the TWS banking and I went down low to the apron and got stuck very quickly behind the complete CMC field. I just watched Mike take the high side and take the lead before turn 1. I tried to work my way to second as fast as I could and Mike was just walking away from the field. By the time I made it around everyone to try and catch Mike he was over a second ahead of me. I tried to drive that perfect line and be as smooth as possible to try and catch him. On the last lap, I caught Mike and tried a pass which failed and Mike took the checkered and I had the new TWS track record for AI. During the weekend's 4 races Mike won 2 and I won 2. That was some great racing. Mike is now in California racing in AI battling the west coast for the championship.

Q. Tell us a little about your car, how you got into championship AI racing?

A. My AI Mustang started out as open track car that I bought from a friend in Okla. I had been teaching at the different driving schools and doing the open track events for years and wanted to try my luck at wheel to wheel racing. It all started after spending a weekend at Infineon Raceway with Adam Ginsberg at an NASA event. We had spoken to Griggs and others and that started the bug for me. I then started to prep the car for NASA AI. The 1989 Mustang Coupe is a full Griggs Racing GR40 World Challenge suspension car, weighing in at 2840 lbs.

Q. How does your family feel about your racing?

A. My wife is my biggest fan. Since having our sons, she's not able to come to all the race weekends but enjoys hearing about the races and seeing the pictures from the race weekends. When she can, my wife really enjoys coming out to the local race tracks to cheer me on and visit with the other wives and my boys love to watch Daddy race. My family makes it even that much more fun for me with their support and enthusiasm for my hobby. My sons are car crazy and love to hop in the driver's seat for a little pretend racing while I'm prepping the car for the next race weekend.

Q. What other car racing series do you enjoy? How do you think NASA AI series compares to some of the other series?

A. I'm not a huge TV watcher so if I had my choice to watch racing it would be World Challenge or Grand-Am Cup. I like the two series for what they are and having the huge automaker backing. I really like how Ford has stepped up and started to get involved in the series.

Q. What is your routine to prepare for American Iron Racing?

A. I try to hit the gym 3-4 times a week, but just to relieve a bit of stress and try to stay in shape for normal life.

Q. What is in store for your NASA racing future?

A. I'm currently in the final stages of completing a brand new 2004 Body in White (BIW). This car has the best of the best. This is the first time I have started working on a car with the intent for it to be a full-on race car. Every other car, I had started life as a street car with a bunch of compromises made. This is the third season for me and I want it to be the best possible and I want to win my third championship in AI.

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers John George