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!

MasterDrive

This will have to be a short (& late) entry, but I got great news, today (yesterday)!

Yesterday I posted that I had e-mailed an influential driving school instructor that I have a great deal of respect for.  His name is Ronn Langford, of MasterDrive, based in Colorado.  He was happy hear from me after so many (15) years and to grant me permission to quote him from his booklet.  Please look over his website.

MasterDrive logo

He has a wonderful mission – to make us all better, safer & more responsible drivers, especially teens.  He also coaches actual race car drivers.  He is all about developing the psychomotor skills of driving (dynamic car control & crash avoidance), along with making better driving decisions – all through experiential learning.

Sorry to be so brief – gotta go.

Are you RacingReady ?
Dan

Back to Basics – a website “teaser”

I have already mentioned in a past post that I’ll be putting together a “sister” (or brother?) website to compliment this blog.  It will address the following three main, general categories:

  1. Driving Skills (racing schools & events), physical conditioning (proper exercise specific to the racing competitor) & mental “tuning” of the driver
  2. Personal protective equipment (things you will want to be wearing in the event the unplanned “racing incident” happens).  We’re talking helmets (the most basic necesity you will be required to use/own), and all other categories of race wear gear (gloves, shoes, race suit, Nomex undergarments, and so on…)
  3. Car/racing vehicle upgrades and modifications, starting from the simple but effective air filter, on up.  This is a huge area that can lead you astray & to the poorhouse if you’re not careful.

Dave Gran, author of “Go Ahead – Take the Wheel“, mentions many times in his book that the most cost effective improvements you can make to race more competatively is to invest in yourself.  That is, to attend proper training & schooling.  So I think that’s where I’ll start.

It’ll be a project that I’ve seen dealt with in a variety of ways on the Internet.  Hopefully I can provide a good guide that is both effective, fresh and has a user-friendliness to it.

I have some excellent copyrighted material that I would love to be able to quote from.  This is authored by a respected driving school owner who sponsored a comprehensive conference in 1993.  I met with him (& others) whose genuine concern for proper driving preparation and responsibility are paramount (especially for the teen driver!).  Today I sent him an e-mail requesting his permission to use parts of his copyrighted work on the blog & in the future website.  We shall see.  I feel the content is of excellent and unique value to all of all who participate in autosports.

A teaser carrot

Boy, if that isn’t holding out a carrot, I don’t know what is… 🙂

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Oxymoronic “Racer”

I came across this silly example of using race car themes to attract business – “racing limos”.  Visiting their website here is silly also.  I’ll save you the effort show two quick shots:

Here’s a sedan…

Racing Limo Sedan

Here’s a truck…

Racing Limo Pickup Truck

The only thing racing about these is the NASCAR-esque paint jobs.  Otherwise they’re just limos.  Inside they are fitted out in the traditional, but garish style of a limo.   But ya gotta admit, they do have drawing power.  I had seen 2 racing sedan limos outside of a nightclub in town, and there were more than the average amount of people flocking around these vehicles.

I can speak with some authority about this as I’ve been a part-time limo driver on weekends for some time.  This is what I was driving today: 

Stretch Excursion (14 foot)

Other weekends I drive this: 

Stretch Lincoln (10 foot)

These are both traditional limos.  This is not a job I really like, but it does help to pay the bills.  It is because of this weekend responsibility that I probably won’t normally post on Saturdays.  Today was an exception as I finished early.

Tomorrow I’ll be back onto more a appropriate Racing Ready theme.

Dan

Vehicle Options to Race

Regardless of what club or organization you eventually decide to choose, more importantly, you need a vehicle!  Recently, I’ve been reading a number of articles about the ride you will be enjoying and learning toward your goal – to be a successful racing competitor.

Here’s a variety of race vehicle options to choose from:

  • make use of your daily driver & modify as needed, while still keeping it street legal (good for starting out with autocrossing, HPDE’s & PDX’s)
  • buy a sound junker to invest and modify to a competative racing vehicle (reading Dave Gran’s “Go Ahead – Take the Wheel” is an excellent primer at following this path, and a good read)
    Get the book, just click on the Amazon.com link below my sign off!
  • buy a used, already modified race car of the class in which you would prefer to compete
  • make the decision to get into spec racing; this is usually a series where you purchase an equally prepared vehicle from the factory and race in that spec series – the most recent one here is the U.S.A. is the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup
  • arrive & drive (sometimes called a “rent a racer” series of racing), where you own (or rent for the weekend) the car but most everything is done for you – here’s an example
  • you can even learn the fundamental basics of race car handling control at a karting event or clinic – that’s how Michael Schumacher & many other F1 & Indy Car drivers started

There may be other variations, but these seem to be most of them.  There are a lot of choices and the possiblity of many funds spent.  I think the majority of prospective, starting race car drivers (“wannabe racer” sounds so negative, but it takes up less space) will start out at the top of this list.  You can move forward as you develop and grow in your autosports passion pursuit.

Are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Purchase Dave Gram’s book, “Go Ahead – Take the Wheel”… click below.

 

 
Within this Amazon link there are many other helpful racing books to consider.

Lots of good, helpful good stuff!

Autosports Country Clubs

I’ve noticed within the last year or two the growth in the concept and actual reality of what I call Autosports Country Clubs.  These are very nicely & professionally prepared race tracks, many times with multiple racing configurations.  They offer high dollar, I feel, exclusive access to the facilities with access to many weekends of track time (once you pay the membership fee and usual montlhy “dues”).  Many have lots to purchase for real estate development, for race tack homes with multicar garages.

I’m sure (my assumption, of course) that these are mostly catered to the wealthy who want to “play race car driver” on the weekends, with their European supercars that can’t be properly stretched withing the confines of our US highway Interstate system (no autobahns here!).

Here is a quote from a prospectus of one autosports country club that never was able to raise sufficient funding:

A sports-car country club is geared not to the professional racer, but to an owner of a sports car who wants a place to race it.

I have yet to visit any in reality.  Here on the Internet, via a website experience, pales to the real experience in person.  I have read some of these tracks are starting to offer some specific “outsider” access on weekends not already occupied by their owners.

What I’m trying to say, here, is that I don’t see the up & coming autosports competitor being part of this CC crowd.  But shoot, I certainly wouldn’t turn down any invitation to one.

Are you Racing Ready?
Dan

Graduation


My youngest daughter just graduated from high school this afternoon.
Congratulation, mija!  This has given me pause to think about graduation. 

 

Graduation cap 

 

Graduation is a recognized step of growth showing the world that you have achieved a certain level of accomplishment.  I feel, with my introductory forays into autocrossing about 15 years ago, that I am beyond kindergarten, but only firmly established in the racing equivalent of elementary school.

 

I can look at this situation two ways: 

  1. I’ve a long way to go & know so little.
  2. I’ve actually gotten started and have so much fun and accomplishment to look forward to in the world of motorsports, amateur or otherwise. 

I’m sure it is obvious that the second statement is the way to be thinking.  That’s what I’m feeling and I strongly suggest the same for you. 

 

Since I’m in the process of getting active, again, I’m looking to see which local organization to get involved in.  Yesterday, I mentioned my local autosports organization called SASCA.  I’m thinking of “getting my feet wet” with them.  They autocross monthly and do some other events, as well. 

 

You, too, can do the same.  I’d suggest Googling the word ‘autocross’ along with your city or region name.  Why autocross?  I feel it’s the easiest, the cheapest, the closest and most available entry into motorsports – it well let you know quickly if this is a hobby or passion you will want to pursue further. 

 

TTFN – are you Racing Ready ?
Dan

Where to start?

Yesterday I introduced  the SCCA & NASA, the two major sanctioning organizations for getting amateur racers into the sport.

It is within these two organizations you can find their corresponding local chapters, or at least within your region.

  • Within the SCCA website, you can click on “Find Your Region” to drill down and find the local specific region, go to their website, and see what events/meetings their region has to offer.  Then, go from there.
  • On the NASA site, at the top of the site, just above NASA News, there is a “JUMP TO:” box, with ‘Select Regional SIte’ already selected.  Choose your region and then navigate to your location.  Again, see what they have to offer.

Each part of the country will vary.  In fact, in San Antonio, the active autocross organization, SASCA (San Antonio Sports Car Association) is not affiliated with either of these two organizations.  What I did was simply do was a Google search (or use your favorite search engine) using ‘autocross’ and your city, and/or area of country name as the search terms.  That should help you to find out what’s available in your area of the country.

SASCA Logo

Good luck searching – let me know what you have found in the comments section…

Are your Racing Ready?
Dan

P.S. – Got the sweeping checker graphic in the header in place of the previous default sunset – you like?  I do… 🙂