3RD Generation Racing, Texas Dirt Grassroots

A few weeks ago I inadvertently locked my keys inside of Karlino.  What a pain!  But at least a I was able to call GEICO for Emergency Road Service.  After the flatbed truck driver, J.W., quickly released Karlino’s grip on my keys, we talked racing.

3RD Generation Racing logo

J.W. was already prepared, with materials at the ready, to promote himself & his Pure Stock racing car #80, & his family’s dirt track racing exploits.  He started by giving me a bumper sticker of where he races currently – the I-37 Raceway.

He also gave me a flyer that did a nice job of promoting this series of weekend family fun racing events.

I-37 Raceway - the Flyer

Also, J.W. showed me what sponsorship details are available.  In this piece J.W. gives a nice family racing history overview.  This good narrative appeals to those of us who want to continue this very Texas tradition of racing for his family.  Click to enlarge…

3RD Generation Racing - Sponsorship is Important!

And last, but not least, J.W. showed me some 3″ x 5″ photos of his current dirt race car, a striking blue, early ’80’s Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Circa 1980 Oldmobile Cutlass Dirt Racer - Texas style!

J.W. was all about how his family has been doing this since 1946.  He is the third generation of his family to continue this tradition.  That is why they call it 3rd Generation Racing.  In addition, he is working on building a race car for his 14 year old son, Junior.  Junior will compete in the Junior Series.  It sounds like he’ll have to change his racing team name to 4TH Generation Racing!

Racing Ready appreciates the strong grassroots efforts of rural, grassroots racing – this is how NASCAR started.  J.W., his family & his co-competitors are true to their racing origins.  I can really respect that!


P.S. – Please excuse the low-res pix – I only had my camera phone available…

Cars & Rides – April 2010 Edition & Pollen

Spring has been is in full force here is Texas.  Most of the floating green/yellow pollen that announced the arrival of this season has finally shown its mercy & departed.  That was evidenced by all the clean & shiny cars in attendance at this past  Saturday’s Cars & Rides – April 2010 (Fiesta) Edition.

SA Cars and Rides advertising banner

This is an informal, monthly car show event which takes place on the last Saturday of the month, here in San Antonio, TX.  See this beautiful Ford GT in GULF colors that was in attendance…!

Ford GT in GULF colors!

Attending this event is always a good excuse to wash Karlino (my 1999 Mazda Miata).  With all the above-mentioned pollen floating around, it wasn’t worth washing till nature ran its course.  About 3 weeks ago, at the start of this pollen season, I was out to drive Karlino somewhere & here’s what I saw on the convertible top – a pale greenish yellow dusting.

Yucky greenish-yellow pollen on Karlino's black convertible top

Yuck, that’s what we’ve been breathing in for the last 3+ weeks.  This was our worst pollen season in recent memory.  Previously I was never bothered by the stuff, but this year was a BIG exception – sneeze city!

More yucky greenish-yellow pollen on Karlino's black convertible top

Everybody’s car has had this pale greenish-yellow layer, so most people have simply passed on washing their cars.  It would be futile to wash it & then see your car recovered in pollen dust the very next day.

Racing Ready is glad the pollen season has passed.  Now I wonder, how it might have affected engine performance…?


P.S. – For keeping the appearance of your car always clean & shiny, Racing Ready offers Mothers® Car Care Appearance Products!

Buy these products at cost!
Contact me:  dan@acingready.com / #210-884-0244

For more info about the Car Key Locksmith in Chicago please follow the link.

Miata Tire Replacement – SO Many Choices!

If you’ve been following the woes of my Miata, Karlino, you’ll know I’m very much in the market for a new set of tires.  Yes, my friend, that’s all 4, of course!

Tier stacked worn tires - after their serviceable life

Karlino is currently running on a 14” x 5” wheel, the stock size.  The current (getting worn) tires are BFGoodrich TA Traction (NOT!) tires in the 185/60-14 size.

There are a limited amount of decent tires in this size range.  Some have suggested, within this same wheel/tire diameter, to go a little wider, say to the 195/60-14 size.  There is nothing wrong with a little more tire.  Better for safety reasons (rain & short stopping distances!), and autocross cornering (improved traction for reduced course times).  I wonder how much that would affect acceleration, odometer & gas mileage…?

BFGoodrich Traction T/A tires on stock alloy rims

Besides the advice of numerous buddies, both online & in person, I’ve reviewed the resources of Discount Tire.  Their website is helpful, but some of the user comments can be conflicting & confusing.  But since I live less than 1 mile from one of their stores, that is very convenient.  I have done business with them in the past & I’ve been very happy with their services.  In addition, I’ve been starting to look over the information and research at the Tire Rack.  Now they have a HUGE amount of data, much of it from their own testing.  One other obvious source is online forums…but then everybody has a variety of opinions.

Old Tires & Tubes sign

Some of you are asking yourselves, “Why doesn’t Dan do a +1 or +2 upgrade, to a 15” or 16” wheel & tire combination?”  Well, yes, that surely would be nice, but there are at least 2 reasons for not going that direction.

  1. I started out the 1st two SASCA autocross events of 2010 in C Stock – going to a larger wheel size would move me to a different class.
  2. Budget…the major issue!

So… although I’d like a tire that is fair in autocross mode, I need to be honest in that Karlino & I would be best served with a Ultra High Performance All Season tire.  Please realize this is my (aggressive) daily driver.  I think I’ve narrowed down my choice, but am curious to what those of you in the peanut gallery, my readers, think.

Racing Ready is really looking forward to some insightful comments, here…
…I know there’s a great knowledge base of competitive driving folks out there!


P.S. – Here’s some brand tire models that I’ve considered – what’s your opinion?

  • Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec
  • Falken Azenis RT-615
  • Kumho Ecsta MX
  • Hankook RS2
  • Or even a UHP AS Bridgestone Potenza tire…

P.P.S. – I do feel some competition withdrawal, not having participated in an autocross event since 21/FEB/2010…  I was just starting to learn how to improve my autocross course times (Thanks Wally!)…

Chrono-X Test & Tune Event

I must apologize…but at least there’s a LOT of content!
This is a VERY delayed posting of this Chrono-X event that occurred 21-FEB-2010.

Chrono-X, Basic Logo

This Test & Tune was the inaugural event of the time trial series known as Chrono-X.  There were 18 cars & their drivers participating.  There would have been more, but many prospective competitors were participating in the 24 Hours of LeMons that was taking place that same weekend at MSR Houston.

Test ‘n Tune

I’ll showcase some of the variety of cars & their drivers that I met at this event…

First there was Jason & Josh with a 1988 RX-7.  They describe their car to to be street legal, but “at the edge of inspection legality”.  This different front logo/insignia is from the Efini model RX-7 from Japan.  It’s different, like this car is…

The RX-7 Efini emblem!

I thought the over fender flares were of an interesting shape.  I asked if they were custom made.  I was told they are ready-made product that one can order.

The 1988 RX-7 Efini, front 3/4 view...

The 1988 RX-7 Efini, rear 3/4 view...

The RX-7 Efini racing cockpit interior...

Toyo tires racing rubber on orange rims...

And here’s that cool wing that actually does help in road holding…

The Tuning Service Factory wing

Next was Colin with his 1999 Mazda Miata.  He is actually from Lafayette, LA, but is currently working a long term project in the Houston area.   Initially, I was fooled into thinking his car was a 2001 model or newer.  He had swapped out the headlights & taillights from a newer car.

1999 Racing Mazda Miata with 2001 headlights...

1999 Racing Mazda Miata with 2001 taillights...

The coolness is under the hood, a Fast Forward Supercharger.  In addition, to reduce weight & mechanical drag on the motor, Colin has eliminated the air conditioning & the power steering.  He thinks his car puts out about 220WHP, & is in the process of sorting it out for the Miata Challenge Series.

1999 Racing Mazda Miata cockpit, SO clean & stock looking!

Hankook Ventus R-S3 tires mounted on 949 Racing wheels...

Colin was able to provide me with one of his on-track videos – thanks Colin!  BTW, that RaceRender.com video software is cool, all you need is elapsed time!

Colin on track @ speed !

Then there was Chris & his buddy Scott, both driving Honda NSX’s in different states of tune & modification.

A nice pair of NSX's, both street & track capable!

Chris' NSX is red, Scott's is gray/black - both nice cars for street & track!

I assisted them with being a third hand in replacing a just drained blow off canister from Scott’s car (the gray one).

The engine bay of Scott's NSX - some interesting mods there...

I did a multi-lap ride-along with Chris.  At the end of the straight entering up into the Santa Rita turn (clockwise direction) we saw at least 100MPH!  This was with a stock engine & street (performance) tires, upgraded exhaust & suspension…GOOD stuff!

Chris' Racing NSX cockpit - pretty stock

Chris said he was running it at about 8/10’s, but it sure felt closer to 9!

Chris on track @ speed !

The last person I briefly talked to was Jarrett, with his just recently purchased 2005 Honda S2000.

Jarrett's highly modified 2005 Honda S2000, front 3/4 view...

Jarrett's highly modified 2005 Honda S2000, rear 3/4 view...

He is an avid kart competitor, but had no inclination to drive a car competitively.  He had a chance to drive his friend Chris’ NSX (see above).  He never realized one could have so much fun in a well-prepared car at speed.

The well-prepared cockpit of Jarrett's highly modified 2005 Honda S2000...

This is "oh SO pretty" - lots of neat upgrade toys in there, underhood!

Nitto tires on nice Volk Racing rims - great for the track!

The S2000 he brought today was just recently purchased.  All the upgrades & modifications were already done, but it needed some proper tweaking to get everything to work right.  He is well on his way toward some blistering laps!

Jarrett @ speed !

There were others…but Racing Ready didn’t have time to visit with them, there will be more next time.  I plan to participate at upcoming Chrono-X events, as my schedule permits.   The next Chrono-X Time Trial event will take place on 1-May-2010.  Till then…we’ll see you out there!


Northside ISD Bus ROAD-EO, Region 13 & 20

Now here’s something of a slower, but very precise change of pace…

NISD Road-EO PanoramaNISD - Bus ID

On Saturday, April 10th, 2010, the CENTEX Chapter of the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation put on the Bus ROAD-EO for the School Districts of  Regions 13 (the Austin area) & Region 20 (the San Antonio area).  This is an annual event.  It was put on this year by the NISD (Northside Independent School District), of San Antonio, Texas.

NISD Buses lined up, ready for ROAD-EO action...

What’s a Bus ROAD-EO?  It’s a competition among school district bus drivers to test their ability to properly & accurately navigate a set course of traffic cones, PVC pipe defined areas to park within, following set rules and using their multiple mirrors to the utmost.

A bus mirror medley

I also noted that the entire set of back windows was papered over, further challenging judging distances to the rear.  That’s no easy feat with the large rear overhang of a school bus.

These buses swing wide!

Bottom line?  It’s a serious test of judgment!  This competition showcases the precision & care that good school bus drivers demonstrate.  This is all being done while being smooth & not jerky with bus control.  They had to back into a narrowly defined area within certain parameters.

Backing into a rope (on ground) defined area, within those double white lines!

They had the stop & verify at certain types of signage, like a railroad sign.

The drivers had to correctly make a 90 degree turn without climbing over cones representing curved curbing.

Cones serving as curbing...

A tricky maneuver was that of placing the right rear tires between a series of narrow tennis ball “gates, that got even narrower as one progressed slowly forward.

The rear wheels thru the decreasing width tennis balls!

They were a set of PVC-defined “walls”, so to speak, that got narrower as one progressed.  This took the clearance width down to 1″ on each side of the bus!

The decreasing width, PVC-defined 'walls'...

Of course you had your dreaded parallel parking challenge.  It was awesome to see when it was done precisely & quickly.  Whereas others were awkward & sometimes hit the curb.   There was a time limit of 3 minutes – they could pull forward again to retry within that time window.   The closer to the curb one parked (within 18″) the fewer demerits were taken away.  More than 18″, they lost all points for that sector.

A great parallel parking job!

Toward the end there were 2 offset “walled” (with PVC, again) gates.  It was easier said than done, check out the slow transition from one to the other…

A slow motion chicane with these big yellow boxes!

Not to be left out were the “special needs” buses & their drivers.

Special needs bus

They some of the same maneuvers, but they also had to prove they knew the methods to safely load & secure & unload their wheelchair-bound passengers.

Demostrating safe loading of the wheelchair bound...

I’m sure you’ve figured by now that this was not a speed event.  Everything was slow, controlled & deliberate.  Although it was not exciting to watch like an autocross or a gymkhana, it did hold a certain fascination to see these bright yellow behemoths gently transported across the pavement.  I was given these 2 pins as a memento of the event.  I share them with you here below.

NISD Bus ROAD-EO Event pins

Meanwhile, the abundant Texas Bluebonnets looked on…

Texas Bluebonnets at the NISD Bus ROAD-EO

Racing Ready now holds more respect for the school bus drivers out there.

'We Deliver The Future' - a great motto for school bus drivers

Keep up the great work, school bus drivers!  Even with the lack of respect they’re given on the roadways & by their passengers, our school children… they carry the future of our society!


P.S. – For those interested in the rules & regulations specifics of this event, see
the School Bus Safety ROAD-E-O Regulations.  They are quite detailed!

AMSOIL Miata Rally Racing In The BC Snow!

Here’s some more cold weather racing information & inspiring video.  I came across this while looking up AMSOIL racing data.  This is in cold, rugged British Columbia, Canada.

IrnieRacing AMSOIL Miata - Initial curve under power

It’s the highlights of the ThunderBird Rally on February 7-8, 2009.  The driver is Marcel Irnie, the car is his IrnieRacing AMSOIL Miata.

IrnieRacing AMSOIL Miata - Powersliding through a curve

The Event:

The Thunderbird Rally is a winter driving adventure through snow and ice covered back roads in the British Columbia interior.

Following the Thunderbird route is simple, but staying out of the snow banks is not.



Racing Ready has a number of years experience driving in the snow, but not like this!  This is crazy, he’s on the knife edge of car control.

IrnieRacing AMSOIL Miata - Nicely setup for this corner at speed

Marcel Irnie does a great job, but I am not at all impressed about his driving without a helmet, practice run, or not.  DUMB!


North East Ice Racing Association

Poor Man’s Racing – on the ice!

As the snow season melts away, here’s what some winter racing activity from the northeast this past winter.

NEIRA - Racing Excitement in the Harsh NH Winter

Auto racing enthusiasts don’t have to put their hobby in idle just because it’s winter.  They can head for frozen ponds and lakes.

Courtesy of the New York Times

NEIRA - Ice Racing in New Hampshire

Click on the image below to view this article & scroll down to see the video – it’s a HOOT!

Click Here to See: "On Thin Ice" Video - The frozen NEIRA Racing Experience

It’s interesting how some raced during this snowy season.

NEIRA - Ice Racing, on the backstretch

Racing Ready feels this is certainly a different take of dealing with what life puts out there…therapy through racing.  🙂