Race Report, NASA Mid-Ohio Oct 3-4, 2015: Vindication

We led the race.

We led the race. For the first two laps of Sunday’s 45-minute NASA sprint, before the Miatas that made up the other seven entries in my eight-car class got their legs under them and ran me down. Still, at the green flag I was flawless and the 2.4L Neon was strong from low revs and we got the job done.

In a car that has completed exactly one race since October of 2008.

We didn’t hold the lead, finishing 4th of 8 on the wet Saturday 25-minute event and 5th of 8 today.

But we were 3.2 seconds faster than we were in June.

And we got hit a couple of times, too.

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It’s Been a Long Time, I Shouldn’t Have Left You


I know some of you haven’t missed me that much (Hi, Volando!), but I’ve been super busy and stuff as of late and, as a result, haven’t been doing much writing at all. I’m incredibly fortunate that I don’t have to write for a living. That sounds like a strange statement to make—after all, who wouldn’t want to do his or her passion for a living?—but, in many ways, it’s a blessing to be able to keep one’s avocation exactly that.

Allow me to explain.

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The Critics Respond, Special Ross Rapaport Edition


My regular Avoidable Contact column this week at R&T was entitled Why Diesel Needs To Die. It was primarily a discussion about how the European focus on CO2-as-a-pollutant led them to deliberately overlook the well-known health risks of diesel emissions.

The Internet being what it is, I’m not surprised that at least a couple of people took this as an opportunity to post the usual LOL BARUTH AND HIS KID ALMOST DIED IN A TOWN CAR LOL. I was mildly surprised to see that one of the loudest voices was someone who is, at least nominally speaking, a colleague of mine.

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Tales Of Rodney


Today, over at TTAC, I’m writing yet another story about my time as a Ford salesman in the halcyon days of the mid-Nineties. Over the weekend, I’ll be featuring the first contribution on this site from “Rodney”, the central character of my dealership stories and a good friend of mine from 1995 to the present day.

To bring all of you up to speed, therefore, here’s a master list of the “Rodney” stories previously published on TTAC.

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My First Car Review, Circa 2001


It seems like yesterday, but it was long ago. The year was 2001. I was the owner and operator of bmxbasics.org, a site that regularly got slightly over half a million article reads per month. It was, in real-world terms, bigger than TTAC is today, and far bigger than this site is — but I sold no ads and accepted no endorsements. Only today do I understand what a goldmine I threw away when I closed the site a few years later.

Such is life. I’ve been going through a backup of “BMX Basics” and I found this — an article I wrote for my readers some time in 2001. As I’ll explain below, I had sold two of my family’s three vehicles in the space of one day. A couple of months later, I would also sell my YZF600R to the same fellow who bought my Golf.

So I went test-driving and recorded my impressions for posterity, as you can read below. Try not to laugh too hard at me. I was twenty-nine years old, had a bit of money in my pocket, and thought I knew more than I probably did. What did I end up getting? Three cars: a 2001 BMW 330i Sport for my wife of the time, a 2002 Land Rover Freelander for me, and a Superformance S1, as seen in the picture above.

A brief note: At the time, my pen name for my website was “Jim Boswell”, which is why the “Boswell family” and “Mrs. Boswell” keep getting mentioned. Without further ado, then:

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When Ferrari Says “ESC OFF”, They Mean It

The new Ferrari 488GTB has 661 horsepower. To call it “quick” is to engage in ostentatious understatement. And if you hold the “manettino” switch to “ESC OFF” for a few seconds, it will completely remove the electronic safety controls, allowing you to slide a $275,000 car around like a Late Model stock car. Just keep in mind that it has more power than a Late Model, and much less grip.

So here’s a video from PCOTY testing last week. Note that I am wearing the unforgivable combination of Arai Oriental Gloss helmet and Great Monster T-shirt. With all this Kanagawa junk on, it’s almost like I’m going to Japan in the near future or something…

Also, note the completely unworried demeanor of my passenger. That’s because he’s a professional stunt driver, and a very cool dude, who just wanted to hear the Ferrari’s engine rev to 8000rpm at 120-plus mph. Well, he got that!

Look Into The Face Of The Man Who Seduced Fifty Women In Two Years — And Despair


Look at that guy.

Look at him.

While you were doing whatever you’ve been doing these past few years — I, myself, have been recovering from an automobile accident and doing my best to simultaneously earn a living and help parent my son, with the occasional detour to a racetrack or restaurant — this guy slept with fifty women. Fifty. He’s not a movie star or a well-known musician or even, ahem, a great writer. He owns a coffee shop in Asheville, NC.

He frequently “dominated” or “humiliated” the women he met, and he claims to have introduced a few of them to anal sex, but every single experience he had with them was entirely and thoroughly consensual. (His business partner, in one of their “Holistic Game” podcasts aimed at the pick-up-artist community, admits to an experience with a woman in a hospital where she might have been too impaired to give consent.) He wasn’t a rapist and he wasn’t a pimp. He was just remarkably good at sleeping with random women. They were not prostitutes, many of them were not terribly experienced. They were just normal, average-to-better-than-average, women in their twenties and early thirties. He had non-monogamous, non-exclusive sex with them on his terms.

And now that his actions have been revealed, he has been shamed, attacked, and protested. His business has come to a crashing halt. There are suggestions of criminal charges afoot. In short, he’s in big trouble.

All of that is ridiculous. He’s not guilty of anything. But after reading his blog, the now-deleted and relevant portion of which I’ll provide to you here, I can’t say I’m all that excited for my dating future, or my son’s dating future, or anyone’s dating future.

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Weekly Roundup: Tell Me More About The Area Code Rule Edition


The curious combination of rural road trip, open-lapping weekend, time trial, vo-tech auto shop class, drunken bender, hotel-room makeout session, and forced march known as “PCOTY” has finally shambled to its conclusion. I can confirm that the winner has at least two seats, 384 horsepower, and six forward gears. I can also confirm that the event was in no way free of mechanical and technical difficulties.

If you’re fascinated by the PCOTY process — and why wouldn’t you be, I asked innocently? — then you’ll be able to read about the individual cars, and some interesting sidebar features, on the Road&Track site in the weeks to come. Not just from me, mind you; brother Bark and his Boss 302 also stopped by to help out with the testing.

For obvious reasons, I haven’t published much this week… but let’s roll tape on what’s out there, shall we?

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