Eric, my esteemed Contributing Blogger Extraordinaire, was challenged by this event. It took him awhile to wrap his head around the results. Let’s read what he experienced & his outcome at the 2011 SCCA Solo National Tour in Houston.
Yes, it took awhile, but I decided to write the blog about my experiences at the 2011 SCCA Solo National Tour in Houston/Baytown. Both mornings dawned misty and overcast, with an added tang in the air from the nearby refineries. While all of my first day photos were accidentally erased, this shot of day two was pretty much the same.
Super Stock ran second and worked first, and I was assigned to do radio and flag duties at corner one, which gave me the best seat in the house to witness a B-stock Battle Royale between twelve cars, with last year’s winner Jadrice repeating and SASCA president Ricky taking the last trophy spot in fourth. Spokesters Jerry and Sherman in their Genesis were also locked in an epic G-stock battle for first, with Jerry prevailing by less than three tenths. Other impressive performances were turned in by John and David who ran their FSP-classed 1986 Corolla in XP and finished third and fourth amongst much more powerful machinery, and SASCA Safety Chair Chris who improved to mid-pack in his STR S2000.
At last, it was time for us to attack the course. In addition to the usual Lotuses and Corvettes, Troy added a little extra variety of the rear-engined kind with his Porsche GT3. But as first runs concluded and second runs started, it was apparent who had “gotten” the line and who was struggling. Unfortunately for me, I was the worst of the worst, and in watching the videos taken with Jay’s iPhone it was pretty apparent that I was too slow on the fast parts and too fast on the slow parts, as you can see in the video below.
In the meantime, Mark and Matt in their red C5 Z06 and Karter in his green Lotus were all within a tenth of each other in the low-38s, and my co-driver Jay, as announcer Dan put it, was the “Fastest of the Others” with a 40.17. My best raw time was a painful 40.7 and what made it worse was that I coned it away, leaving me to stand on an even slower first run of 41.5.
Day two brought pretty much more of the same, only this time Mark knocked out a 38.7 to take the win by half a second over his co-driver Matt, with Karter and Michael in third and fourth with their Lotus. Jay would remain fastest of the others with a 40.50, edging the Porsche by about four-tenths. Again, I coned away my fastest run, a 41.2, and had to stand on my first run of 41.7, finishing eighth behind Robert in his C6 Z06 by half a second. You can see what the difference is in the next video of Mark’s first run, where he did as many things right as I did wrong.
The lesson I learned from this experience – don’t overdrive. Of course, my finishing position goes against the whole concept of Racing Ready, which is to go from “… wannabe to Real Racer”. Guess I’m stuck at the wannabe stage, or at least until I get some more lessons from Ricky and more practice on the visually challenging national-level courses.
The only solace I have is that many drivers more experienced than me were having trouble with it as well. Also, many thanks to Ricky’s co-driver Eric, who walked the day two course with me and provided lots of advice. Of course, it would’ve helped if I’d taken more of it! Oh well, at least we made it home safe and my car didn’t break, which is more than I can say about last year.
This year, I will hopefully make it to the SCCA Solo National Championships in Lincoln, where I hope to drive better. Or if not drive better, then maybe at least not finish last!
Eric, we feel your pain. Know that we are always learning. This is SO true at Racing Ready. Again, thanks for the public debut of those RacingReady.com cling logos. They really looked great on Sunshine. The increased blog readership is appreciated. Let’s continue this again in the future!