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Q&A with young hotshoe JT Coupal

  JT Coupal (on the right in this photo) finished on Spec Miata podiums before he got his driver’s license! Now he’s competing for wins every time he hits the track. We recently caught up with JT to learn more about his background and goals.    First, tell us a little about yourself. I’m 16 years old (going to be a Junior in high school) and am from Rochester, New York. I grew up – and continue to grow up – in the Finger Lakes Region, meaning I’ve been to Watkins Glen countless times as a spectator and finally this past spring as a driver. While racing is my passion, I also enjoy and am interested in creative writing/journalism and marine biology. When did you start racing – and in what? I started racing karts in 2011 at a local sprint course. I competed there for two years before branching out into WKA’s Gold Cup series, where I raced one season. I then happened across a WKA Road Racing event (where you race much faster karts on standard road courses such as VIR, Mid-Ohio, Daytona, Summit Point, etc.), which was intriguing enough to constitute a shift in focus to the series. I competed in the 2013 season, winning 13 races and two national championships across two classes. The following year was spent taking multiple Skip Barber schools. Then came the decision on what to do next; the eventual answer of course being racing with Flatout! What was the transition to cars like? Once I finished the Skip Barber classes I knew I wanted to go into car racing, but I didn’t know where or how. I decided my strengths lie in sports cars. After much searching, we found Flatout and in the fall of 2015, I competed in my first SCCA race at Palmer in the #90 rental car, landing on the podium in ITS/STL. After another race at Thompson, we as a family worked to make a decision for the next step. We considered all options and the advice given to us from multiple sources before settling on Spec […]

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Podium sweep at NJMP!

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Mid season madness!

It’s been a crazy-busy time around both the shop and the track. As often as not, it seems, Flatout is taking care of clients at two tracks on the same weekend – usually in 95-degree heat. So let’s start by thanking everybody you see in this photo, plus Adam Desrosiers, Nicky Beans, and Jody Leverone, for tireless crew work! May 27-29 found us at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for SCCA Regional racing. Our own Jody, who hadn’t raced in too long, got to drive Doug Fisher’s beautiful Flatout-built Miata. Tony Vaccaro, Kent Vaccaro, and Wendy Cappola all rented, while Stephen Pope, Dave Kuchrawy and JT Coupal wheeled their own cars. June 2-5 was a split weekend. Some of us trekked to Mid-Ohio Raceway  far an SCCA Majors event. Tim Estes (with a pair of top tens!), Doug Fisher (his first Majors in the new car), Peter Doane, Nick Leverone, Hugh McHaffie and Craig McHaffie all ran strong. Meanwhile, some clients headed south to New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning circuit. Eric Thompson drove our newest rental, a Honda S2000, in STU, STL and T1! Rick Miller wheeled our Number 00 rental Miata. Not long after, we embarked on a jam-packed week that began Tuesday, June 14, with a Lime Rock Park test day. We supported JT, Dave Kuchrawy and Stephen Pope, while Nick did a coaching session with old friend Joe Stadelmann. Some of us stayed at Lime Rock Wednesday for an SCDA event, after which a couple of the guys cannonballed down to NJMP, where they helped clients Amy Mills and Whit Gregg run a NASA weekend. Meanwhile, a few of us split off to Watkins Glen to support JT and Dave K in testing. The rest of the crew stayed at Lime Rock for a great weekend. Old chum Nai Nan Ko came out of retirement to run some excellent races. Erik Beck rented as well, and Eric Thompson again drove the S2000 in dominating fashion. Dave Kuchrawy, Stephen, and Wendy also enjoyed excellent race weekends. Next, we parked ourselves at the Glen for three weekends in a row. June […]

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Now rent an S2000 for STU, STL, T1!

Our customers have been clamoring for cars to race in SCCA’s STU and STL classes, and some of them even want to try something that’s not a Mazda (gasp!). Hey, we’re listening: We’re now renting out a gorgeous, in-house-built Honda S2000 (with the 2.0-liter engine) that can run STU, STL, and even T1. Is it fast? Hell yeah. His first time in the car, at Lime Rock, hotshoe client Eric Thompson won a bunch of races, finished second in all the rest, and flirted with track records all weekend. Contact us to talk about renting this beast!

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Leverone takes checkers at Pittsburgh Major

With the season in full swing, how about some race-weekend updates? The weekend of April 28-May 1, Flatout President Nick Leverone and client Peter Doane hit an SCCA Double Major at Summit Point. Both drivers did well and had a ball at the venerable track. Immediately afterward, we swung up to Watkins Glen for Joey G Track Days. Everybody was eager to sample the Glen’s new pavement, and there was no disappointment. Hotshoe Amy Mills was one of the fastest Spec Miatas on the new surface! Whit Gregg was quick as well. Old friend Stephen Pope rented a Miata. So did Corey Rueth and Nick Evancich (both gaining seat time for an MX-5 series race) as well as Abe Zimroth. Finally, it was great to see Jon Farbman back in his rotary-powered Miata! May 5-7 found us at Palmer Motorsports Park for a Double Regional. Father-and-son team Tony and Kent Vaccaro rented; they’re notable because Kent is 14 years old! And he wasn’t the only youngster tearing it up; 15-year-old JT Coupal ran his brand-new Flatout build, Number 77—and finished on the podium. Doug Fisher raced has Number 15 Miata and had a great weekend! Tom Paolino was there in his own fresh build. Tom Haronian and Dave Kurhrawy rented. And in a way, we’ve saved the best for last: longtime client and fast racecar driver Eric Thompson absolutely dominated the STL class, walking away from the field for a pair of wins! The next weekend, we headed west to Pittsburgh International Race Complex for another Double Major. Once again, Doane (running STL) and Leverone (SM) were the drivers—and Leverone won, taking his first Majors checker. Way to go, Prez! Big thank-yous go out to Adam Desrosiers and Dave Goulet, who did a lot of crewing this month. And hey, we’re just gearing up: this weekend, we’re off to New Hampshire Motor Speedway with six cars … and treks to Mid-Ohio, NJMP, and other venues aren’t far behind!

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