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Showing posts from 2010

It was wet! It was windy! But we adjusted ...

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We found out Thursday afternoon: Saturday’s event would be cancelled as the weather would not be cooperating with periods of heavy rain forecast. Not to be put off by the expected poor weather for Saturday we were keeping our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain on Sunday and that we would get at least one full day of driving. Margo had spent all day lapping Buttonwillow only two weeks ago, so even though Sunday was usually “her time on track” with Saturday now cancelled, she graciously forgo her planned outing to let me have one last track day for the year. The weekend was to be spent at Fontana, California, the venue being the Auto Club Speedway. As this was also to be the last event in the Corvette Challenge year-long program, there proved to be plenty of Corvettes on hand with the west-facing portion of the garage complex given over to housing just the ‘Vettes! I could have just as easily driven the ‘Vette to Fontana, as it’s less than a hundred miles away. However, loa

The "big off"

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Walking to the far end of the western loop of the Buttonwillow circuit, towards the sweeping Star Mazda corner, I turned in time to look back to turn 1, Sunset, only to see Margo straight-lining into the infield a huge cloud of dust rising all around her. I had walked past the Esses so as to get a better shot of her driving through them, but watching her kicking up a dust storm stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t even have time to snap a picture! Little drama eventuated as Margo slowed the car, brought it around to where she could rejoin the circuit, and looked for a favorable sign from the corner worker. After leaving Margo without a ride on three separate occasions this year, we registered for a Saturday’s outing with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Southern California (SoCal) region in their High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) program – and rejoined longtime friends for only the third event this year. Having done so, I felt it is only right that most of the seat t

Taking it up a level ...

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I’ve been enjoying a relaxing week back home in Boulder, Colorado, where I’m surrounded by the evidence of the changing seasons. Every now and then, the clouds pull back and I can see the continental divide covered in white: the snow is certainly falling in the high country. And later today, I will be starting on yet another trip to California to wrap up this year’s program – returning to NASA So Cal for their event at Buttonwillow, and then closing out with a full weekend with Speed Ventures at the Auto Club Speedway. Only a few weeks ago, I was in California, for a weekend with Speed Ventures at Willow Springs International Raceway (WSIR) a return to the circuit better known as Big Willow! The picture at the top of the pages was taken by our friend Mark, who had driven up first thing Saturday morning and had brought with him another friend, Kevin. All the pictures of Saturday’s action included here were taken by Mark. Saturday, we were sharing the track with the participants in

Respect the ‘Ring!

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For nearly two weeks Margo and I had been driving around Europe on business and yet we still found time for some much-anticipated downtime. As chance would have it, we were able to spend a day and a half at Germany’s Grüne Hölle, the world famous Nordschleife, or North Loop, of the Nürburgring! The name Grüne Hölle, or Green Hell, is a reference to how it was once described by former F1 driver, Sir Jackie Stewart. Located within the Eifel forest that separates Germany from Belgium, the Nürburgring winds its way through dense woodlands for 21 kilometers, or 13 miles and, with elevation changes of almost a thousand feet, it’s an absolute must for anyone with an interest in cars. The picture at the top of the page is of our first evening in the township of Nürburg. This adventure started at Frankfurt airport where we had landed ten days earlier. We rented a car, as I was to meet with business colleagues in Munich and Mainz, and wanted to visit Lake Garda and Lake Como in Northern Italy

It's all starting to slow down!

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It’s becoming quite a pattern, and one I am more than acutely aware of, as it’s an indication that progress is being made. Each Tuesday before a track weekend we are finding ourselves in the shop at A&A Corvette Performance, the big Vette up on the lift, and either Jessie or James busily working hard on last minute adjustments. We are now driving the Vette much harder than we ever have before, and components are beginning to wear out fast and the stress this is generating on some parts requires almost constant attention. This past Tuesday however, we were still trying to track down a gremlin that was kicking on the Check Engine Light and throwing up the message “Engine Hot / Air Conditioning Off” in the two line Driver Information Center (DIC). It had first appeared as we were driving to the track at Laguna Seca, but after saving the ECU program, installing a GM fix, and reloading the program, we thought we had it licked, yet barely a day later, up came the message again. Swap

Did someone say Bucket-List!

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Tucked into the rolling hills, only a few miles from Monterey Bay, is the Laguna Seca track – known worldwide as the venue for the United States round of the MotoGP World Championship. This is now the only true Grand Prix held on American shores. For car enthusiasts like myself however, this has always been among the elite road courses where I have wanted to drive. In the post of September 18th, 2009 “ Give me a “brake” – concentrate! ” I wrote of how we really enjoyed the opportunity to participate as spectators at a Speed Ventures event held at that track. We were at Laguna Seca “not as participants, but as observers to see how other clubs ran track days. But we still had a lot of fun,” I had explained in last year’s post before remarking on how “Margo and I certainly enjoyed the opportunity, as passengers, to familiarize ourselves with the circuit from the right hand seat, we still wanted to get more track time ourselves!” When Speed Ventures published their calendar for 2010 w

... finally succumbing to heat!

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Just two weeks after our outing at High Plains Raceway in Colorado we found ourselves trackside, once again. This time we were spending the weekend at a track we have grown to really like, the venue for our very first adventure onto a track anywhere in the world, Willow Springs International Raceway (WSIR). Also known simply as Big Willow, this track looks relatively simple on paper, with only nine turns, but the more familiar it becomes the more every driver comes to realize how difficult it is to master and how much punishment it hands out to the cars that tackle its pavement. It was Ernest Hemingway who said “auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.” While we are still participating in sessions established as High Performance Driving Education (HPDE), where our cars are not officially timed, it doesn’t stop others following us with their iPhones – yes, there’s an application for that! But strap yourself into a modern c