Having A Financial Racing Plan

This will be a more personal entry than most…some introspection and a big shoutout to my friends from Ann Arbor Party Bus Rental

In these last few weeks a number of my entries have been about financial issues in racing. Bottom line – even with a strong desire to become a racer, it takes money above and beyond that which you already spend on your monthly household & family obligations.  Also, you need negotiation skills.  These come in handy and are very essential when you are married.  Sharing is important & this is where informed consent comes in.  Some say it is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.  I tend to err on the permission side.

My racing plans this year are to continue in blogger mode at most autocross events & others.  My ‘Big White Whale‘ (2000 Nissan Maxima SE) is not an appropriate autocrossing vehicle.  So, putting more money into it for autocross optimization would not make sense.  I need to get it in sellable condition and get something more appropriate.  In the meantime, I’m thinking it would be good to get a couple of chances to co-drive in somebody elses Mazda Miata (like I did with Jerry, last year).

I’d also like to get further involved in amateur road racing events.  Getting to know Ryan (of Cutting Edge Racing) has been a good start.  With this there is an important commitment to a few relatively long weekend roadtrip(s), to assist & crew as needed & learn what it’s all about through osmosis.

In my personal life there are going to be some employment and weekly schedule changes & challenges.  In mid-February I will be starting a better paying, new position in the IT (Information Technology) industry, at another company.  After a few months I will be on some sort of rotating schedule, as the service provided by my new employer is 24/7/365.  This has allowed & necessitated me to quit & no longer need my part-time limousine driving job on Saturdays (hooray!).

So, as you can see, much will be happening in the next 3+ months that will be better for my family & eventually be better for me & my goal:
Go from wannabe racer to successful racing competitor!

Racing Ready supports positive change in the attainment of your life’s goals, whether they be racing related, or otherwise.

Dan

P.S. – Tomorrow, I’ll be at the autocross before the Super Bowl

SPOKES Tech Check Event

Many of you may be wondering what the folks “up the road” at SPOKES, the autocross club out of Austin, TX, are doing.  Me, too!

Tomorrow, they are having their first official function of 2009, their annual Tech Day Party & Membership Drive event.  This is to allow all the serious autocrossers in Central Texas to have their car properly checked for the upcoming autocross season.

Here’s their information, directly from the SPOKES website:

*** SPOKES IS READY FOR 2009, ARE YOU?! ***

A couple of important events are coming up to kick off the 2009 Spokes Season with style.  First up is the Annual Tech Day and Membership Drive at Automotive Specialist in Georgetown on January 31st!  We’ll open the doors at 10am on Saturday the 31st to start doing our yearly tech thing and we’ll have the Spokes PC fired up to handle all of your membership needs.  This is always a fun event, see some old friends and meet some new ones, all are welcome!  Big thanks once again to Automotive Specialist for having us out there!

Second, but equally important, is the first Spokes autocross of the season on February 15th at San Antonio Raceway!  C’mon out, bring your buddies, and help us get this season kicked off the right way with a huge event at SAR!

So, those of you that are closer to Austin or curious as to what is done differently than at SASCA, Racing Ready says to check SPOKES out.

Dan

Mazda Strongly Supports Racing Hopes

When your economic situation is about to improve for the better, the filter of how you see your life & its expectations changes.  Hopes ignite & dreams start to flourish.  The same is true for the amateur & professional racing community.

The economics of racing is about proving yourself, and consistency in excellence.  It seems to be a delicate balance of raw & learned talent, supported with always sought after funds.  Even if one has all the best talent to showcase, without a good base of funds, you won’t go very far.  That’s sad, that’s not fair, but that’s life – damn it!

But hope DOES spring eternal.  MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development supports the Mazda grassroots racer with a fantastic parts discount program.

Here’s a quote from their website:

Parts Support Program

Mazda is unique among manufacturers with it’s parts support program. We’re here to support the grassroots racer. Racers that are members of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development program can purchase stock and competition parts for their vehicles at a substantial discount.

And I haven’t even started to discuss their Contingency Awards Program…  I also found out about the Mazda “S” Program.  It’s sort of a “secret” that Mazda doesn’t openly advertise, but I will!

Here’s a simplified description:

  • Participate (no need to win!) in some sort of amateur motorsport competition
  • Do this 2 times within a 12 month time frame
  • Provide suitable proof of your participation with your official results
  • You qualify for a steep discount at your Mazda dealer – from parts to actual new car purchases!
  • This is much less than employee pricing
  • Any other discounts and rebates are included
  • Great stuff!
  • See their FAQ page

The Mazda website seems to explain that one qualifies as a Mazda employee or relative of one.  My Mazda Miata autocross buddies tell me otherwise (see the bulleted list above).  I still have to research this further…

As always, Racing Ready will reveal to you any other great offers that are to be found out there – good luck!

Dan

SASCA Autocross on Super Bowl Sunday

On February 1st, 2009, a day on which many people will participating in the watching the Super Bowl XLIII, the San Antonio autocross motorheads will be out autocrossing.  The plan is to start on time and try to end early.  Here’s the planned schedule:

  • Setup starts at 7:00 AM
  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM ($20 Members, $25 Non-Members)
  • Late registration begins at 8:30 AM (additional $10)
  • Registration CLOSES at 9:00 AM
  • Novice Walkthrough at 9:00 AM
  • Driver’s meeting at 9:30 AM
  • First Car out at 10:00 AM

Earlier in the week I mentioned I would post the course map for next weekend’s SASCA autocross event.  Once again, Steve is the event master & he’s done a bang up course design!  Here’s the course layout (clicking enlarges):

Why autocross on Super Bowl Sunday?  Our autocross club has a symbiotic relationship with the AT&T Center (where the NBA San Antonio Spurs play).  We contract to use one of their back parking lots.  This was the only Sunday date in February that was available, as the upcoming San Antonio Rodeo events will take precedence there during the rest of February.

Racing Ready is all for cooperatively sharing event venues – like most anything in life, it takes some flexibility.

Dan

An Autocross Video Experiment

I met Will a few months ago at Alamo Cycle-Plex, a great motorcycle store where he works.  At the time I was looking to find a product that would freshen the interior of the used helmet I had just purchased.  He did a great job selling me on the benefits of Motorex Helmet Care Spray.

After the sale I suggested to Will, and his co-worker Dario, that they come by & check out the SASCA autocross events.  The 1/18/2009 SASCA autocross was their first event.  It was good to see them there & I was glad that I had recommend that they attend.  They made quite an impression with the 2 pop-up awnings – many people thought they were part of some corporate presence.

Will was competing with his stock, 1987 BMW 325i.  His odometer had stopped some years back – he knows it has at least 140K miles on it.

On of the fun new items Will was working with was the Go Pro Motorsports Hero Wide (an onboard video camera – many good demo videos at that link).  Alamo Cycle-Plex sells these, & they were checking out the new wide angle lens model.  Will noted it gives you a better sense of the where the cones are as you traverse the autocross course.

From the comments below, Will provided his Hero Wide autocross footage you can experience – coolness!

These are very popular – I have seen them on many competitors cars since last year, and not just on autocross competitors.  One of the things that everyone always comments on is the absolute rock solid stability of the camera mount.  There is NO vibration, whatsoever!

Racing Ready is working to be a rock solid resource of for things racing-related.

Dan

Purposeful (No More Porpoiseful) S-10 Progress

At the 1/18/2009 SASCA autocross, Jeremi (of Chevy S-10 truck autocross fame), started the season with further improvements.

This time round, he had done some more work on his truck’s front suspension.  Going into this event he knew he was going to do better in the control of his truck’s handling (no more porpoising!).  Jeremi had lowered the suspension and installed polyurethane bushings.   He felt the truck’s road manners to be much better at this event, as this vehicle is also his daily driver.

The next issue he’ going to have to deal with is anti-roll bar stiffness.  Now that the front end is lower & stiffer, the back inside tire wants to lift going around corners.  During his lunch break he worked on removing a number of shims from the front suspension.  This was to adjust the amount of camber, to lower the roll center & center of gravity.

Jeremi’s father Mark (who autocrossed his Chevy El Camino stock car last year) knows a lot about suspension geometry.  He’s garnered a lot of that knowledge at the stock car track, mostly at Thunderhill Raceway.  He mentioned he has learned very much from attending suspension sessions taught by Nick Holt of Texas Speed Zone.

Mark also mentioned he planted the racing bug early in Jeremi.  He had son already racing karts at 5 & 1/2 years old!

Racing Ready appreciates getting started early.  But even getting started late is better than not starting at all.  So, get out there!

Dan

10th Anniversary Miata Makes Good

Diane brought her 1999 Mazda Miata, 10th Anniversary Edition to last weekend’s SASCA autocross.  This car’s engine has been recently rebuilt, with 138K miles on it.

Most of this car is still stock.  This is what she & her husband have done to it & plan to do in the future:

She said this is her 5th autocross season after taking a couple of years off for kids…

Diane currently has the stock, polished chrome wheels on her Miata, but she does have an upgraded tire/wheel combination, ready to go.

I’m not shy to say that I lust after this edition of the Mazda Miata.

This is a limited edition model, with only 7500 built worldwide (3000 for the USA marketplace).  It was sold only in Sapphire Blue Mica, with the blue suede-like seat highlights.  You can see that Diane’s is model serial #1407.  How cool is that!

Racing Ready is all about showing notable cars & their owners, being enjoyed.

Dan