Busted Plans

I had high hopes of doing some new things to the blog today… well, it didn’t work out that way.

You may have noticed that the blog address has dropped the “/blog”  – I wanted people to be able to find the blog as a site, based on just the domain name.  In the process of doing this, I deleted the blog!  Thanks to the patient tech guru (Zach) at BlueHost.com (my awesome hosting company), I was able to point the files back to the database.  In this process I was able to drop the “/blog” from the URL and get back into the WordPress admin panel.

I did get all my posts’ text & formatting, but had to re-post ALL the images.  Unfortunately, that took the rest of the afternoon into this evening.  No other plans were completed.

I did learn my lesson, though.  I ran a back up of my files on the cPanel so this will be less of an issue, if there is a next time.

Sorry I can’t contribute any good content today – I look forward to moving forward tomorrow!

Back to gettin’ Racing Ready !
Dan

Winding Road

I read a couple of pieces of analog media, that is magazines, to keep up to date with the automotive world, and all that it entails. 

I’ve been a faithful reader of AutoWeek for at least 15 years.  It gives me a weekly shot of what is going on in automobile-dom.

Last year I started a subscription to WIRED.  This is a very avant-garde monthly that talks about Web 2.0, societal changes in regards to technology, cultural/global awareness issues and cool gadgets as related to current events.  The June edition even had a detailed writeup about the McLaren/Mercedes debacle in Formula 1.  It was a very good read.

Winding Road

Winding Road is a LUSCIOUS automoble e-zine, awesome pictures, forthright review articles, very slick & interactive (and easy to skip across the advertising pages).  I would strongly reccomend your subscribing to this e-zine – its free!  One warning, make sure you have some time to kill when you start reading, because you’ll be drawn in…

So, what do you read to inspire you…to get you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Twisted Securely Into Place

I haven’t participated as an autocross passenger in years.  In talking with some competitors at recent autocross events, as a driver even with a seatbealt and a steering wheel to hold onto,  you still get whipped around.  You can’t as effectively guide the car.  I even saw a dash mounted “Oh Sh_t!” grab handle installed in one of the cars last weekend! 😉 Also, the steering wheel is to be used to guide your car around the course with finesse, not meant to hang to for dear life.

One of the competitors (his name is being withheld to protect the innocent) wears a red knee pad twisted askew on his right leg, below the knee.  He does this to prevent getting banged and bruised (from the transmission tunnel edge), what with all the rapid movement within the car.

I remember, in my one short season of autocrossing about 15 years ago, the guys suggested putting a twist in the belt, right where the lap belt turns into the shoulder belt at the buckle.  It seemed to work, although it was awkward and it sure felt strange being “locked in” like that.

There is more up to date technology out there that I’ll write about in a future entry – I’m still researching some details and a special offer for blog visitors!  What a tease I am…

Till then – are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Gaining Critical Mass

I’m happy to state that this blog is beginning to gain some momentum.  I know I have a few faithful readers.  And, if word of mouth is working, I’ll have some more.  Please feel free to continue leaving comments!

It is an interesting feeling to have a written forum to share my thoughts and events leading to becoming Racing Ready, myself.  I DO feel a responsibility to keep this going not only for myself, but for others out there, who like me want to fulfill that racing urge they’ve always had.

So, my turn to pose a question to you, dear reader: How goes your path?

I have suggested to start looking using your favorite search engine.  Find a local autosports event, whether it be autocross, motorkhana or other such event.  Look for forums regarding these social events and clubs.  Go ahead, just “lurk” on those forums or even register and participate online.  You can ask questions and find out if the event you plan on visiting is right for you.  Then, go to these events as a spectator.  The participants will be helpful and glad to answer your questions, and more.

In a comment posted on yesterday’s entry, Jerry (my new autocross mentor/friend) had this to say:

Come find me at the SAR event and I’ll be happy to give you a ride and introduce you to a few other people who wouldn’t mind either.  That should make sure the bug has bitten hard. 😉

Field of Cones

Well, you know I’ll be there.  SAR is the local San Antonio Raceway, a relatively new, modern drag racing facility, that also hosts autocross events.  This event will be on Sunday, July 13th.  Till then I’m going to have to mentally practice learning to be an autocross passenger.  Re-watching those videos Jerry sent me will help (they are posted on yesterday’s entry).  Also, I will need to be prepared to stay all day.  It would be a good thing to assist as a volunteer worker, to help picking up stray cones as they get hit, etc.  I’m sure I’d hear some good shop talk & also some interesting “bench racing”.

Therefore, look around & get involved.  You have to take that first step!

As for me, I’ll be looking ahead – I know the “bug” will bite me hard.  😉

Look Ahead cone/pylon

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Authoritative, Experienced People Essential

Today I received a pleasant surprise. Before leaving the SASCA autocross event, Jerry (the 1990 Miata 8 SE owner/driver) & I exchanged e-mail addresses and I gave him this blog address. Reading my e-mail today he said he was pleasantly surprised, even honored, to read about himself in the blog. It will be interesting to see what other comments he has as he reads the rest of these past 2 weeks of entries.

This confirms what I felt in my gut about Jerry, I’ve met my mentor!

Within Jerry’s e-mail, he provided some awesome links for me to review.  I share those with you here:

The Driveway, an Austin, TX based racing school. Here you will further your driving skills beyond driving in a timed event that lasts only about a minute across a parking lot with cones. In other words, it gets you to evolve beyond autocross competition, to HPDEs (high performance driving events).

A variety of autocross videos that Jerry has taken from his driving perspective.

Harris Hill Road, a San Marcos, TX based road track that is slowly building memberships and eventually will be like one of those “Motorsports Country Club” venues I wrote about.

A lot of good material to enjoy – I did, & I hope you do, too!

This goes to show you, authoritative, experienced people are essential. I have counted on the Internet as a great source of information, but meeting and talking with people puts it all in perspective. Now the Internet knowledge of becoming a perspective racer, instead of a wannabe, is becoming more real.

My final thought: Do this!  Get out there to some local events and just start talking with people. Everyone I’ve met at an autocross event is very helpful and wanting to share their knowledge & advice. It’ll get you closer to Racing Ready!!!

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

3M Blue Painters Tape

What do 3M blue painters tape and racing vehicles have to do with each other, you ask?  Well, it dawned on me this morning that nobody uses white shoe polish anymore.

Even more confused?!?

When I last autocrossed in the early 1990’s, autocross competitors used white shoe polish to mark their car’s number and competition class, most always on the left rear window.  Today’s budget answer is 3M bue painers tape, and cheap enough to do on both sides.  Its easy to apply, to see & easy to remove.

Here are some examples from yesterday’s SASCA autocross:

Others have gone upscale and use magnetic vinyl, easily removeable letters and numbers in a variety of shapes and contrasting colors.  Examples:

And some are more commited with adhesive vinyl that stays on after the event, and through your week, to show your true colors!

So, how do you want to be indentified?

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

SASCA Autocross Jun-08

Today was the June autocross event of SASCA (San Antonio Sportscar Association).  These events currently take place on one of the large parking lots of the AT&T Center complex (where the San Antono Spurs play).

SASCA pan 1

It was a clear hot day.  I was there from a little after 11am and stayed till almost 2pm.  I was told there were at least 74(!) cars signed up for this event.  That was a wonderful turnout.  Thank goodness for the ability to have up to 3 cars out on the course at the same time.

SASCA pan 2

Here is a a view of the course map – lots of chicanes!
~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~

Course map layout

I met an acquaintence who I first got to know 2 weeks ago at the Pearsall Solo II Divisional event.  His name is Jerry, and he drives a 1990 Mazda Miata competatively in the E Stock class.  This is his ride:

Jerry in position to start
Jerry\'s Miata, front
Jerry\'s Miata, rear

He is an active member of Texas SPOKES Sports Car Club, an influential Austin area autocross club.  They have many autocross events at the San Antonio Raceway & he suggested I go to one of their next ones (it’ll be July 13th, & July 20th will be the next SASCA event).  He also generously offered to let me ride along on a run later that afternoon.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick around till then – that would have been awesome & really lit my fire…  I’ll take a raincheck, Jerry!

Here’a shot of the equipment used for marking the cone locations – no bending over as much with the sheetrock (as opposed to using chalk!).

Sophisticated cone marking equipment

Someone brought this scary-serious looking cart.  Wow, only 1″ of ground clearance and no wasted space.  Everyting on this little beast had its own dedicated spot – even the LCD readout is mounted on the steering wheel.

Scary serious cart, front view
Scary serious cart, back view

This Lotus Exige was sweet!

Sweet Lotus Exige - just exuding fast!

And, last but not least, here’s a montage of sporty subcompacts making it through the last corner (and ignoring that stop sign 😉 ).

Last corner montage

That’s all for tonight – more tomorrow…

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

P. S. – Yes, I messed up my nice template, with the cool checked logo – back to the drawing board…