The Kwisatz Haderach

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Well, this is it. I am officially obsolete. Clearance bin. Last year’s model. Overstock.com.

Thursday night, John drove on a real racetrack for forty-five minutes. His lines weren’t perfect, but we didn’t discuss line theory or anything like it prior to him setting off. I just asked him to be careful, and not to go too quickly. Here’s the thing: Every first-day trackday student, every male first-day trackday student anyway, secretly thinks they are going to be awesome. I know, because my students have admitted as such to me, and because I secretly felt the same way on my first trackday. We all think we’re going to immediately be respectably fast, that we’re going to have no trouble driving at the limit. None of us is ever prepared for the cold reality of being thirty seconds a lap off pace.

Well, I have no idea what expectations my son had for himself. He didn’t share them with me. But he was absolutely brilliant.

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Autocross Recap: OVR Points #2 And Some Illegal Street Autocross Yo

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I don’t think the Ohio Valley Region has updated their site design in a long time. Know how I know? That photo in the header above is from 2005. I think. 2006 at the latest.

Not that much has changed. I’m still autocrossing Ye Olde 2004 Boxster S. And still not autocrossing it particularly well. With that said, I did get a trophy for something besides participation.

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The Longest Year

For the past fifteen years, whenever anybody asked me what my “home track” was, I always replied with “Nelson Ledges Road Course.” True, Mid-Ohio is closer to my house — but Ledges was where I spent dozens of evenings and weekends learning to drive, shaking down race cars, and performing the occasional Camry e-brake turn.

There’s been no end to the speculation surrounding Ledges since the facility closed last year, but the new owners have a Facebook page up and have shared the above video. “2016 will be a rebuilding year,” they say. Let’s all hope the rebuilding happens on schedule. Ledges is most famous for “The Longest Day”, an SCCA enduro that’s been held there for the past fifty years or longer. I’m sure it will return, right after this longest year.

Turns Out There Are “Racers” Who Don’t Just Ram Stopped Cars From 500 Feet Out

About half a year ago, the mouth-breathers of Class C LeMons racing were calling for my head on a platter because I suggested that there’s no reason to ram stopped cars that you can see from hundreds of feet away. Many electrons were spilled in the cause of arguing that YOU JUST CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO AVOID A CRASH ON A RACETRACK.

If I had my way, each and every person who thought that the Ferkel crash was unavoidable would be banned from motor racing for life. And then they would be keelhauled, which is a great old practice pour encourager les autres. I’ve decided to significantly reduce or eliminate my participation in entry-level series because I don’t want to be on the track with people who can’t drive for shit. Ideally, I’d be the worst driver on track at any given point. It would be safest for me.

As a counter-example to the Ferkel crew, I present the man who got me started in club racing, Brian Makse, adroitly avoiding a fucking catastrophic multiple-car incident this afternoon. Some of it was luck; you have to be lucky in racing and Brian always is. (For an example of a driver who is never lucky… well, there’s me.) But Brian also keeps his eyes up and steers through the incident without really even lifting very much. To some degree, he’s a wolf among sheep, as a former pro racer in an entry-level series. But tell me this: who do you want racing next to you… the Nein-11 guy and his buddies, or Brian Makse?

Welcome To The SCCA, John Baruth

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“I like to play a game called ‘people ball’,” John told me. “It’s when you pick up people and throw them. And they make a noise like ‘waaaaaah! I’m telling!’ I don’t know why you would even need a regular ball when you can play people ball at recess.” When I heard this on the drive home from school yesterday evening, I was a little conflicted. On one hand, if John likes initiating aggressive contact for no reason I think he’ll make a great club racer. But on the other hand, the entire Spec Miata class, and much of the SCCA in general, is built on the idea of people snitching on each other, so if John finds that to be annoying, he’s gonna hate having his Viper torn down after each regional.

Regardless of the above, he’s now an SCCA member in good standing. But he’s remarkably annoyed about the membership card.

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Paging “DeadWeight” To The White Courtesy Telephone

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Let’s talk about how our Mondays went, shall we? I spent a lot of the day on the phone with my former healthcare provider from 2014. As some of you will recall, back in January of that year I spent four days in the hospital before checking myself out and limping off back to work. Well, during each of those four days, some doctor I’d never met before walked in and said, “How are you feeling?” Every one of those four days, I said,

“Okay, I guess.” Then the doctor left. No examination, no discussion. It was a different doctor every day. At the time, I didn’t think much of the visits. Until, that is, I was billed a total of $672 plus $138 collections fee by those four doctors, about six months later. It turns out that these trauma doctors have a nice little scam going. Not only do the insurance companies not pay for these stop-and-chats, they also restrict the total amount that can be paid by one of their insured victims to $70 per stop-and-chat. So the doctors wait until the deadline to submit the bill is past, then they submit the bill. The insurer rejects the bill. It wasn’t going to be paid anyway — but if the bill is submitted on time then it can be “adjusted” by the insurer from $168 to 70.

So with the rejected bill as “evidence of debt”, the doctors then take the patient to court for the money, because of course I’m gonna pay what amounts to less than a single car payment to keep my credit rating from diving into the Marianas Trench, right? It’s a completely brilliant way to make a few thousand bucks every hour.

Except this time they picked the wrong fellow with whom to fuck. I’m gonna have my day in court about it and if I lose I’m going to put these folks “on blast”, as they say, with as much publicity as I can obtain from all sources. This is precisely the type of windmill at which I was born to tilt.

So that was my Monday. Bark’s Monday? It was different from mine.

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People Really Win On Riverside Green

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About a year and a half ago, I gave you, the valued reader of this blog, a chance to buy a driveshaft-through-the-skull (DTTS) shirt. The response was quite a bit more than I’d expected.

As you can see above, this shirt is the choice of winners. This fellow bought himself an E46 M3 and promptly picked up a first-of-twelve in F Street Stock. Do you want to join the few, the proud, the elite? Leave a comment below and I’ll reach out. I think there are four shirts left, from people who didn’t pay after putting in their order with me. Sizes TBD.