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People you should know: Matt Dennison

On thing I’ve been meaning to do for a long time is feature people from the motorsports world who I arbitrarily decide deserve extra attention. Matt Dennison, who I’ve known for a couple years now, is one such person. Matt has a pretty cool evo that he uses to drive the kids to school and race with sometimes:


Matt’s racing career started in Hawaii, where he was stationed with the air force, when he took his modified VW to the drag strip. After a fun experience in a friend’s EVO, he bought one upon returning to the mainland. From there he started with the go-fast mods, left the airforce after 8 years, started a family, and became a firefighter at Edwards Air Force base.

After moving to Socal, he was looking for a new place to race his car and ended up at a track day at Cal Speedway. That pretty much hooked him on road racing and the race car modifications began. In 2009, he completed a full season of Redline Time Attack, competing in the stock/enthusiast AWD class, which limits the allowed modifications and power output and requires the car to be driven by the registered owner. This keeps shops from building a car and sticking in a pro driver and makes it a great motorsports starting point because you don’t need a huge budget or a purpose built race car to compete. In the 2009 season, Matt won three events and the class championship, and has been a familiar figure on Time Attack podiums ever since.

With the demise of RTA, Matt will now have to step up his game and make the car faster to stay competitive in the Street classes of Global Time Attack and Superlap Battle. These classes are filled with very fast purpose built cars from teams such as Professional Awesome, Cobb, AMS, and Apollo Performance. Hopefully Matt’s newest sponsor, Garrett Turbo, can help in this department. Matt’s a firefighter and a family man, so sponsorship is pretty important. I provided him with some stickers, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t pay the bills, pay for parts, or pay for track days. As much as I like to’d say I’m a sponsor of Matt, splitting a hotel room and helping him bleed the brakes is nothing compared to the support that he gets from Road Race Engineering, Robispec, Garrett, Federal tire, Mishimoto, Mil.Spec, Prosport, ACT, GTSpec, Odyssey, and Spy.

In addition to a steady supply of cool sunglasses, Matt’s sponsors provide him with parts, labor, and trackside support, which are pretty much necessary for the average individual who wants to go to the track and do some racing without spending a fortune (not that sponsors make it a cheap hobby). Between Robi and Road Race, Matt always has a place to work on the car, an extra hand at the track, and a truck and trailer to get home with if something breaks.

Although having a ton of power is a really important aspect of Time Attack, this isn’t a drag race and good suspension and chassis setup is usually what makes the difference between the podium and the back of the pack. It’s much easier to bolt on a big turbo than it is to properly setup a chassis, and I very frequently see people throw a bunch of suspension parts at a car only to have it perform worse. This is not the case for Matt, however, who has a set of Robispec custom KW 2-way race coilovers along with a nice assortment of suspension parts picked out by Robi to make this one of the best handling time attack cars out there.

The rest of Matt’s modifications are well chosen and have the distinct purpose of making the car faster, with a lack of superfluous show-car parts. Here’s the whole list and a nice gallery of Matt in action:

Engine/Drivetrain
-ROAD RACE ENGINEERING dyno tune
-ROAD RACE ENGINEERING gt3076 turbo kit (with a Garrett GTX series turbo on the way)
-ACT Extreme clutch
-ACT Prolite flywheel
-MIL.SPEC 65mm Throttle Body
-MIL.SPEC R2 version Intake Manifold
-MIL.SPEC 100 cell catalyic conveter
-MISHIMOTO radiator
-MISHIMOTO air diversion plate
-MISHIMOTO silicone radiator hoses
-MISHIMOTO slim fan
-MISHIMOTO thermostat
-PROSPORT oil filter adaptor plate
-AMSOIL fluids
-Cosworth 280in/272ex M3 camshafts
-ETS 3inch front mount intercooler
-Dejon dual stage MBC’s
-Dual map switch for 91/100
-BC springs and titanium retainers
-Walbro 255lph fuel pump
-Precision Turbo Engine 780cc fuel injectors
-ARP head studs
-Avid billet motor mounts
-42 draftdesigns water temp housing
-ODYSSEY trunk mounted battery

Suspension/Chassis
-ROBISPEC aligned and corner balanced
-ROBISPEC KW Race 2-way adj. coilovers
-Whiteline roll center kit
-K-Mac front camber/caster plates
-Cusco pillowball rear top mounts
-GT SPEC front strut tower brace
-ROBISPEC 26mm 4-way adj. rear swaybar
-ROBISPEC endlinks
-Whiteline rear bump steer bushings
-Whiteline trailing arm bushings
-GT SPEC trunk cage

Wheels/Tires/Brakes
-RAYS Gram Light 57 maximum 17×9 +22 (track)
-FEDERAL 595RS-R 255/40/17 (track)
-OEM Brembo 4-pot calipers
-Centric blank rotors
-Raybestos ST-43 brake pads
-Road Race Engineering stainless brake lines
-MOTUL RBF600 brake fluid

Interior/Exterior bling
-Sparco Evo seats
-G-Force FIA 6-pt hanesses
-PROSPORT 60mm Premium boost gauge
-PROSPORT 60mm Premium oil temp gauge
-PROSPORT 60mm Premium water temp gauge
-PROSPORT 60mm Premium oil pressure gauge
-WorksBell Rapfix II quick release
-WorksBell short hub
-MOMO mod-8 350mm steering wheel
-Autopower 4pt roll bar
-Gruppe-S gauge panel
-HKS turbo timer
-OEM radio relocation kit
-APR GTC-200 spoiler
-APR front air dam
-OEM vortex generator
-baller yellow tow hook

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