I never liked Volvos.
The older ones bring to mind either a plodding, smoky vehicle, or a hastily turbocharged vector for cute stickers, ponderously yawing into oversteer with some haircut behind the wheel. I’m aware there’s more to the spectrum of ownership than that, but besides the airborne wagons of BTCC and the odd rally car, none of it appealed to me.
Here, however, was quite an offer. Continue Reading →
“You know, they do some ice racing around here when it freezes up.”
“Oh yeah? Competitive?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
Within days of this conversation, I’m driving someone else’s Honda onto a fairly large oval plowed into a frozen pond by the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club, as an unknown quantity, to evaluate whether or not I’m a hazard.
I can’t say I understood the full extent of the commitment made when I passed, and agreed to come back and race the following year, but I’d learn.
“He must be in good shape…” well, that’s FAKE NEWS but the rest is true! Thanks to Bozi from the Boost Brothers for digging this up!
The Sports Car Club of America has been around since 1944, sponsoring amateur and professional racing in several diverse formats for thousands of racers during its existence. However, despite its long and storied history, the SCCA has another nickname—the Secret Car Club of America. The club hasn’t always done the best job of promoting itself and growing its membership over the years, resulting in an inevitable graying of the club’s membership.
As other motorsports organizations came into being in the last ten to fifteen years (24 Hours of Lemons, ChumpCar, American Endurance Racing, GoodGuys), the SCCA suddenly faced a significant amount of disruptive competition for new customers. In response, they hired Heyward Wagner (the man holding the Benjamin in the above photo with me and Friend of RG, Rebecca Turrell—sorry for that pic, Heyward) to be the Director of Experiential Programs—in other words, his job was to think up new events to attract and retain new members.
Among Wagner’s ideas is the wildly successful Track Night in America, now in its fourth season of existence, and Targa, a sort of mini One Lap that encompassed multiple motorsports disciplines (autocross, time trial, road rally, and trackcross) into one competition. And now, the SCCA is preparing to launch its latest venture, Time Trials Nationals, this September. Time Trials Nationals will take place at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, KY, and will consist of both a flag-to-flag timed session and a TrackCross, which is a point-to-point autocross-style time trial that involves only a certain section of the track.
I sat down with Wagner this week to talk about what it will look like.
Some of you mentioned that you’d like to hear about more track stuff—so here’s more track stuff! Please welcome our newest Guest Writer, Steve Ulfelder!—Bark
Hot diggity, I thought as the alarm rattled me from Fangio dreams, the day is finally here! All the heel-toe practice, all the years watching racing on TV and wondering if I had what it took to push my car and myself to the limit, all the research about venues and sanctioning groups—the payoff was finally here in the form of My First Track Day!
<needle-scratching-record sound effect>
Nah. This is not that My First Track Day story (for which, I assume, you are grateful). I came at my own first track day the same way I approach most things in life: ass-backwards.
I spent a decade autocrossing, then 12 years in SCCA Club Racing. Though mediocre in both disciplines, I eventually became a solid racer. I was the guy at the front of the middle of the pack, unlikely to win but less likely to do anything stupid.
Mediocrity be damned: I was out there, doing it. All told, I must have run nearly 150 SCCA races.
How’d I manage to do this without ever trying a track day?
A few months ago, I spent two days at the Nurburgring with a Lotus Evora Sport 410 and a group of absolutely fascinating students. One of them is the fellow you see in this Mosport formula-car race video from 1973 — Ron Cohn. Now seventy years old, he’s still working on improving his touch behind the wheel. Ron sent me this video last night and I thought some of you would be amused by it. Most likely it was created to attract potential sponsors — there’s something charming about the idea of some executive having this film threaded through his office projector so he can see the adventures of Ron and his teammate at Mosport. If you’re interested in the Cosworth engine that powered these cars, there’s an explanation in somewhat stilted English here.
Check out the Boost Brothers as they go over our various issues from the Road Atlanta race and talk about the changes to come! Needless to say, we are lucky to have these fellows in our corner as we try for an AER podium in 2017.
I want to temper my exuberance about this race weekend a bit, because there was a driver very seriously injured in one of the other race groups after mine. So instead of gloating for multiple paragraphs, I will say that I am very thankful to be sitting at home, safe, with a trophy, and I’ll provide the recap after the jump.