Monday, June 28, 2010

Warm Up Laps

Sheri and I went to Harris Hill Road for a Driver's Edge track event this weekend. I went to practice, because more seat time is better. Sheri was breaking in her new black Vette and learning to shift a manual transmission under track conditions.

We also need to get used to the heat.

It was 97 on Saturday and Sunday was hotter. That sort of heat is quite something for a 40+ out of shape person. It erodes your timing, clouds your judgement. You drink water all day, and it's just enough to keep hydrated.

In short, if you want to drive in the heat, you need to warm up to do it. So we did.

We were joined by Phil Holland from AT&T. It was his first event in his new Lotus Elise, and he had a blast. Roger Wong came out and took pictures. Our nephew, Nic Graner, helped change tires, load and unload the truck and was a good assistant all day.

I spent most of the weekend chasing a black 997 GT3RS around. The driver was good, probably the third best 997 driver I've met. We traded leads in the red run group often; no one else was close. As I was loading up, the Porsche guy found me and let me know that he had turned a new personal best lap, chasing me around. I told him that we would race again, when the track was fixed.

Harris Hill has always suffered from roughness issues. It's critically bad now. There's a section of one straight coned off because of a dip, and the bumps through one of the big left sweepers are so bad that you need to take a non-optimal line to avoid getting shaken to pieces. The owners are supposed to fix it this summer, but I think it's time to start now!

Those bumps did in Sheri's new car. Both eccentric bolts on the rear of the Corvette were shifted after Saturday. I managed to eyeball align it enough to drive, but there was no way it was race worthy, so she had to sit out Sunday. Other than the alignment issues, the car did well.

I also got to take a record number of passengers. Three of my runs on Sunday were with a passenger. One guy remarked, as we were cooling the car off: "When I grow up, I want to be just like you!" At least nobody got sick in the car.

The blue car ran flawlessly. The Hoosiers, new tires at Hallett, are getting a little slower. Not bad, but I'll replace them before the next NASA event. If they have enough left, I'll swap them onto Sheri's wheels and she can finish them off. I've got two new ones waiting, and I'll buy two more, hoping for a win at TWS in July to get me four more. The car is still leaking oil, but it's not getting any worse. If it'll hold together for one more event, I'll have time to tear down the motor and get my power back.

I'm still getting faster. I'm wondering where it will stop. I expect that at some point, I'll get old enough that I'll start to slow down. I suppose that has to happen, but I'm not seeing it yet.

Overall, it was a good practice weekend. I was not worrying about times, just driving and thinking about driving. I ended up at home Sunday relaxed if a bit sore in the hands (much wrenching getting two cars track ready and fixing alignment issues on Sunday between sessions).


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