ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY – April 29, 2012
It's 8:00 AM Sunday morning and we just finished loading the Seneca Motorsports "Ghost Racer" Miata on the trailer. The van is packed with family and supplies as we head to Atlanta Motor Speed for my 2nd ever autocross event. I am both nervous and excited at the same time.
We get to the track, unload the car and setup our paddock area. We swap the tires over to a sweet set of last years Toyos from the 14 car. Wheels are torqued, pressures set and we go through the car one more time.
Seneca Motorsports "Ghost" Miata "Mimi" with John, Bean and Al
Since I am new to autocross, I am slotted in the Novice group. We are not scheduled to run until after lunch, so it gives me the opportunity to watch more experienced drivers negotiate the course. The warm sunlight also allows the tires to come up to temperature which is good - the tires get nice and sticky.
By the second run l was getting used to the course, steadily improving. From my 1st to 3rd run I knocked 2.5 seconds off my time. For my 4th run my wife Colleen jumped into the passenger seat and I ran my best time yet, taking another 2 seconds off my personal best time of 75.1.
At this point we were "Hot Lapping" so everyone could get in their final run of the day. As I finished my 4th run I was directed right back to the starting cue for my 5th and final run of the day. Colleen jumped out and Al Moilanen jumped in. We went right back out on hot tires. They were sticking real good, my confidence was high, so I let it all hangout. As we crossed the timing line at the last gate we heard over the loud speaker we made the fastest run of the day for the Novice group, a 72.2 second run. Overall I improved 7 seconds over the course of 5 runs.
It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.
The day started off beautiful enough. The weather was fine except for the tremendous amount of dew on everything from the cool temps the night before. John made sure our cars were serviced and Christopher and I headed out to the track. Our plan was to ease back into the grove of things on older Toyos while the new Hoosiers were being mounted up.
I love VIR. The car felt good, the Race Engineering engine was running strong and soon enough I was in the 2:22s working my way down. Right before the session ended, I was sailing through “Hogpen”, the double right, turn 16-17 combination leading on to the front straight when the rear of the car stepped out on me. Instinctively I decided to drive off the track under control instead of trying to “Save” a wreck from happening.
Remember the heavy dew that I earlier said blanketed everything from the night before? I didn’t.
Once the car hit the wet grass on slicks I was nothing more than a passenger; no brakes, no steering, no acceleration, nothing except a tire wall fast approaching at 70 MPH.
Crunch. Oh !@#$%^! Poppy’s words came back to haunt me: “Easy on the throttle blondie.”
Back to the pits and our #1 Crew Chief John Vacca had Christopher and I ready for the next session. The number 14 only suffered sheet metal damage to the car and a wounded ego to the driver. The balance of the day went by error free and both cars ran great!
Tire wall 1, number 14 Spec Miata 0
Blogging from the right seat. John Vacca our resident solo cone carver is wheelman while I play on the Android. Chris Hubbart is in hot pursuit behind us towing his former “RP Performance” enclosed trailer and NA Spec Miata. I haven’t raced since a P2 & P5 at Charlotte Motor Speedaway last August and I’m looking forward to running on the Hoosier SM tires. I hear nothing but good things about them.
Not counting a practice day at CMP last December, this will be Hubbart’s first race weekend since Gobblins Go in 2010.
Running open practice tomorrow, Q1 & R1 Saturday, Q2 & R2 Sunday. Driving back to Texas Monday AM.
We’ll be posting pics and updates throughout the weekend.
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