Eleven days before this past weekend’s NASA double regional race and driver-training weekend at NCM, Danger Girl decided she wanted to drive her street Miata, “Ava”, (as opposed to her racing Miata, “Marilyn”) at the event. What I probably should have done: agreed to just go down there with her, hang out, and support her effort. What I actually did was to register Spike in the race the following day.
What followed was a frenetic week of getting the car and myself NASA-legal. Have you ever tried to get a racing physical, complete with EKG, on a few hours’ notice? I didn’t get my tires delivered until 5:45PM on Friday night. While I was waiting for the tires, I had to install new belts because the old ones had “expired” a month ago. The only safety belts available in town? The Racequip children’s set. There was so little slack left over from the install, I had to beg the tech inspector not to fail me an hour before the race. Plus. I knew that if I hit anything I would probably, uh, regret it.
I shouldn’t have worried.
On Sunday, I started dead last in my 5-car Honda Challenge field and also dead last in the field of 28 cars overall. After a standing start, I was 2nd in class by Turn 2 and in the lead by Turn 12. I ended up making up ten spots in the overall on my way to a absolute massacre of a Honda Challenge win. It wasn’t without difficulty; my brakes called in sick after the fourth lap and I had a very unpleasant set of interactions with a BMW that went off track in front of me and then almost hit me from behind after the checkered flag. But in the end I was twenty seconds ahead of the field despite saving the brakes.
So that was Sunday. What about Saturday? Well, on Saturday it was 38 degrees and raining with just about monsoon force. It was one of those situations where the radar looks like the Soviet flag. Since I hadn’t had the time to find a set of rain tires that were legal for Honda Challenge, I was bumped into “Super Unlimited”, which is the top NASA class. Using the old Pirelli rain rubber that I inherited from Spike’s previous owner, I qualified second in Super Unlimited, ahead of everything from two Saker prototypes to an IMSA Cayman. They started our class behind the Super Touring 2 Corvettes and Mustangs for maximum lulz. At the start I grabbed a few positions and went on to finish 2nd in class and 4th overall. I lapped the winner of Honda Challenge as well, perhaps proving that the series director was right to bounce me up to the unlimited class.
I won’t say it was the best race of my life, but it was certainly the most frightening. Every time I hit the deep puddles on the long back straight, I was basically a passenger in a 110-mph unguided missile. It’s no wonder that a few cars went into the wall and a few more just gave up after the first couple of laps. It’s one of those things that felt like absolute misery at the moment but is very satisfying to recall. I went into the weekend thinking I was going to get lapped by a bunch of clued-in dudes driving max-tuned S2000s. In the end, they all had to yield to my 3,176-pound (with driver and full tank) Accord family car. I might not be winning any BMX races nowadays but I can still get it done behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, Danger Girl had a great two days with Ava, battling the front-wheel-drive econocars on the rainy day then hunting down Porsches on the dry day. I would say that not a dollar’s worth of damage was done to anything but that’s not true because my U-Haul trailer popped off the hitch and bonked my Silverado in the tailgate while I was loading Spike at Sunday’s end. Until further notice, I’ll consider that five-inch to-the-primer scrape to be a battle scar. But if you see a nice Silverado LTZ electric tailgate in work truck white out there, please feel free to steal it on my behalf!
Alright, let’s get to the contribution. For R&T, I wrote about why some cars will be better-suited to the roads of the future than others.
At TTAC, brother Bark was kicking Buick while they’re down.
As always, thank you for reading… I have a few things I will be putting on this site in the days to come, so check back!