All posts by Dan

This site/blog inspires fulfillment of the desire & vision of the wannabe auto racer to become a successful racing competitor. That's me, too!

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…

I’m back!

Gee its HOT here in South Texas!

I just got back from a few hours of attending the local SASCA autocross event.  I was told there were over 74 cars registered!  Things have sure come a long way since I autocrossed 15 years ago.  I think we were lucky to get 25 to 30 cars.

I do apologize for being away for 2 days of no posting.  Was due to event events in my life:  my 2nd daughter’s graduation party (have to close up the computer cabinet tight when guests are over), and last night due to working very late “limo-ing”, my weekend job).  But I’m back!

So, this is just a short post – I’ll download, edit & tweak some of the pix I took and post them, and provide some observations and insights, hopefully later today.

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Change of Vehicle Excuse

With the skyrocketing price of gas lately, it is starting to make more sense to look for a more economical vehicle.  Its also a great excuse to seriously consider looking for a well-regarded vehicle to not only use as a daily driver, but to start autocrossing.  My current vehicle, a  2000 Nissan Maxima SE 5-speed, in its day the best mileage was about 24mpg.  I’m currently getting about 25% less than that now – due to a missfiring problem that could be an investment to fix.

There are a number of competative vehicles out there.  Here is some text lifted directly from the SCCA website Solo (aka Autocross) page to better guide you:

 Street Tire Category  This category is intended for the person “off the street” who had performed common hot-rodding bolt on improvements. The National Classes include STS, STS2, STX, and STU. Most of these cars are used on the street as daily drivers (thus the name for the category) and they must run on DOT legal Street tires. These are truly Street tires and not the DOT race tires you will find in the other categories. Most of the cars in this category are driven to the event on these tires.

Stock Category  This class is comprised of 9 classes, SS and from AS to HS, divided according to performance potential and car type, covering everything from Corvettes to Corollas. Cars are essentially as they rolled off the showroom floor with some generally, minor modifications allowed to expendable parts as defined in the Solo Rule Book and must run on a Street Legal DOT legal Race tires. These race tires, although DOT legal, are truly intended for racing purposes only and are generally hauled down to the event 

That gives you a surefire idea that you can “run what you brung”. 

Here’s a webpage listing, “SCCA Solo II Car Classes: Stock Category, Sorted by Make” : http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/Lists/2006/stockm.html  I won’t reproduce the list here as its very long & it works better to see the extensive variety of car choices online.

So, go ahead, start looking…I’m looking at something in the subcompact range of size.  You can also look at the car listing sorted by class: http://www.moutons.org/sccasolo/Lists/2006/stockc.html

This should be more than enough to keep you busy.

I’m starting to get excited about attending my frist local autocross event in years, this coming Sunday.  There is a possible forecast for rain (which we dearly need) that would make it even more interesting.

BTW, you can always send me e-mail (besides posting comments) at: dan@racingready.com

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

New Bookstore

Racing Ready Reading Resource Alert!

Its late, but I wanted to quickly post this news flash!  Click on the “Bookstore” link above.  Now you have a great source of books available to review and buy from this blog.  This is a very comprehensive collection of autosports related works I found, sourced through amazon.com.

Enjoy…
            …these books will influence you to become Racing Ready !
Dan

P.S. - Yes, I know I have some formatting issues to work on...

A Mentor

I am planning to hook up with my local autocross group, SASCA (San Antonio SportsCar Association), and start participating.  Although I don’t have a worthy vehicle (yet) to participate, I want to learn the ways of the road, so to speak.  So, what I’ll be doing is perusing their Forum (that’s basically what their web presence is).

So what’s this about a mentor?  Am I going into some sort of great scholarly pursuit?  Well, I’ll not be going in academic circles, but starting up the learning staircase of autosports.  I feel autocrossing is the best, easiest, least expensive, & usually the closest methods to get started is through autocrossing.  As a new participant, I’ll be making aquaintences, asking questions, going to autocross events (next one is this Sunday, 6/22) and also their monthly meetings.

Bottom line – I’m going to find a new friend (a mentor) who can nuture and guide me, as I learn (as a mentee), garnering advice as to what its all about.  After having participated in a couple of events, I’m sure get the hang of it, even though I’m not a complete virgin (having autocrossed about 15 years ago).

Some of you readers might be getting the impression that this is an autocrossing blog.  Well, as I start this, it sort of is.  But as I evolve, so will the content of this blog & the future associated website.  I am using autocrossing as a foundation to build my knowledge & skills – to start into autosports.  I do plan on going onto more serious events, and with a somewhat/somehow modified car – but ya gotta start somewhere!

Now, to pursuse that Forum some more…

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

P.S. – I was playing with some clip art and tweaked an image I found to make it my own – its simple but fun and appropriate for this site.

Racing Ready Checkered Flag

P.P.S. – I finally downloaded & started setting up some files to built the website.  I’ll have to reverse engineer a freebie template, and I’ll learn more about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)…