Team Tacoma was established in 1986 to support the professional auto racing career of Mel Kemper Jr., from Tacoma, Washington. Since then he has raced primarily Star Formula Mazda road race cars, intermixed with four years of asphalt Midgets, Enduro Sports Racers, Pro Formula Ford, and a dabble into Northwest Tour.
Mel has many wins at the Local, National and Pro levels, the last Pro win being a Star Formula Mazda Pro Series win on the 1 mile oval at Phoenix. Mel is a serious competitor with good experience and has raced on about 15 permanent road courses, 2 street courses and about 12 ovals - from 1/4 mile to 1 mile.
If you want to help or be part of a serious race effort, e-mail or call ! Plans call for a serious National effort, the Runoffs (televised on SPEED), the Aubeta Northwest Star series and select Pro races in Formula Mazda.
In 2001, Mel finished 5th in the Washington Midget Racing Assoc. (3rd in 1998).
In 2002 Mel won the Formula Mazda Class Championship in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National NorPac Division, the "Aubeta" Northwest Star Formula Mazda Championship, and finished a creditable 6th in his first time at the SCCA National Runoffs at Mid-Ohio Raceway (Mel qualified 5th, 0.069 second out of 4th, to the guy that finished 2nd...). Mel won 11 races and had 7 pole positions in 2002.
In 2003, Mel again won the Aubeta Northwest Star Formula Mazda Championship, and qualified 5th and finished a great 4th at the SCCA National Runoffs at Mid-Ohio, setting the second fastest race lap. "If only I hadn't missed a shift right at the start....." (I know, "coulda-woulda-shoulda...") Both years got great race coverage on the Speed Channel telecasts of the races.
2004 - Won some races, got "scheduled" out of the championship, and built a new house with an 80' x 96' race shop in Toledo, WA.
2005 - Won some races. Strong, competitive year in the Formula Mazda! Continued the string of four-in-a-row top 3 finishes in the Northern Pacific Divisional Championship of the SCCA, after winning it in 2002. Remember, the NorPac Division covers northern California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
2006 - 2nd in NorPac Division of the SCCA. Placed 6th at National RunOffs at Topeka, KS.
2007 - 1st in NorPac Division of the SCCA. Won National races in California, Oregon and Washington. Won the Aubeta Northwest Formula Mazda Championship. Season dedicated to Norm Hernandez. (Season cut short, financially, with a serious wreck in Portland that severely damaged the car, but will be back HARD in 2008 !!!)
2008 - ran with Eric Purcell and tied for 1st in NorPac Division of the SCCA.
2009 - finished 2nd in NorPac Division of the SCCA. Also bought and outfitted a 2008 Ford F-450 and a 40 foot TPD trailer, with new awnings, racks, C-Tech drawer systems and pit tool cart, and a new golf/pit cart to haul tires, fuel etc. (and Mark!!)
2010 - won the NorPac Division Championship of the SCCA. Won 6 of 7 Nationals and finished with the most points of any driver in any class. Went to the SCCA National RunOffs at Road America in Elkart Lake, Wisconsin. Got spun off into a gravel trap and lost a lap, but blended back in with the leaders and turned competitive lap times late in the race.
2011 - won the NorPac Division Championship of the SCCA. Won 5 of 7 Nationals and again finished with the most points of any driver in any class. Again went to the SCCA National RunOffs at Road America. Finished 7th after going 4-wheels-off off at the "kink", doing 130 mph.
Ran the GASS race at Portland International Raceway in a late model stock car, in conjunction with the K & N West NASCAR race. Started 12 out of 23 cars and finished a strong 3rd, in my first full race in a full-bodied stock car. Great Fun!!
2012 - plan to run my Winkelmann WDF-2 Formula Ford in some vintage races, and also my standard Formula Mazda. (Plus I NEED to finish on the podium at the RunOffs!!) I will try to fund the GASS race again also.
I need to recognize Mark Barney from Tacoma WA. He has helped me and been my crew chief since 1992. THANKS!!!
See you at Turn 1 !!!