Here’s Eric’s first on-the-spot installment, from their arrival & preparations to compete in the 2010 Texas SCCA Solo National Tour in Mineral Wells, Texas:
6:00 a.m. came up way too fast, and it was still dark when Jay swung by my house. It felt odd going to a major event and leaving my own car behind, but I felt that Vader03 was more than up to the task! A quick stop for breakfast at McD’s allowed me the opportunity to take a better picture of Jay, his ride, and his poor tow rig. The hard working V6 in the Pathfinder only averaged about 11.9mpg on the trip up, but didn’t complain about the load, and we made it to Mineral Wells a couple hours later.
The pits were already filling up as we unloaded everything. As you can see, some people take their autocrossing VERY seriously!
We met up with Chris and Tia on site, and prepared our cars, including the application of the SCCA required decals. After going through tech and working a long hour grabbing cones on the practice course, we finally made it to grid.
Our first runs on cold tires were less than exceptional, as the car was extremely loose. Each run I felt like I had a tiger by the tail, and I was lucky just to keep from spinning out. There was a 270 degree turn that was giving me some trouble, as it was a low grip part of the surface that would initially bite before transitioning to a bad washout push, but once the tires came around the amount of grip we had, especially compared to our regular asphalt surface, was unbelievable. And even though my GoPro’s tiny memory card soon filled up, I was able to get videos of Jay, Tia and Chris during their runs.
After the conclusion of practice, I discovered something distressing: apparently, my tire pressure gauge was reading about EIGHT POUNDS over! With pressures in the low 20s, no wonder why I was having such a hard time finding grip, especially when they were cold. Oops. I guess we’ll see how much of an improvement having the correct pressures makes tomorrow.
Regardless, we are all excited to be here. As you can see from the pit area, there are a wide variety of cars on site. I was able to catch up with Mark, who I haven’t seen since last year’s event, and the ever effervescent John even managed to pose for a pic.
With 205 cars registered, they split us into four run groups, and Super Stock is slated to run last, after all the other groups have seasoned the course. It’s long and consists of a bunch of slaloms connected together by several hairpins, and should be entertaining and fast.
This is a great start to what should be in interesting Racing Ready series from the pen (and camera) of Eric, my guest blogger! Stay tuned to see how Eric’s (et al) first day of competition goes tomorrow…