Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2,466 Miles of Adventure!

Camry = 114,000 miles and counting

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, ate some great food, and spent some time with family and friends! To accomplish all of those things I probably could have stayed home, BUT, what kind of boring NMS blog would that be? So, the NMS-North team loaded up the trusty 2011 Toyota Camry, and headed out on a multi-state 11-day trip. We covered a lot of Interstate and non-Interstate, and saw some unusual things along the way, but honestly, mostly had a great time with family and friends! That's my way of saying that family and friends come first, and doing all the fun car stuff in the world comes second.

Driving for hours every day is fun if you're into it, and staying safe is what it's all about. I really enjoyed the drive from Virginia into the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky. After that it was a bit flatter going through Cincinnati, but thank goodness for a well timed lunch stop at my favorite restaurant in the world, Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. From there we drove a lot of cornfields through Indiana to get to Chicago, so the main highlight there was the huge number of windmills in a wind energy farm in northwestern Indiana along I-65. You can read more about the Meadow Lake Wind Farm on their website: Meadowlake Wind Farm

First off, the things we DIDN'T stop and see but drove right past included the Chicago Bears game last Sunday as we cruised by Soldier Field in Chicago. Then on the way back to Virginia, on the Ohio Turnpike I-80, we cruised right by the Lordstown Ohio Chevrolet Cruze factory. This place has built over 16 MILLION vehicles since opening in 1966! Since they weren't giving away any free samples we just kept going, and you can read about Lordstown GM plant at Lordstown.

Cruze plant from the Ohio Turnpike

Believe it or not, the same thing happened on the Indiana Turnpike when we went right by the home of Tire Rack: no free samples! They also didn't ask me to test some tires on their track, NOTHING! That's OK, we still like Tire Rack for getting the tires you need delivered right to your door! If you find yourself up there in the northeast part of Indiana, you might also detour down I-69 and check out the Auburn, Cord, and Duisenberg Museum in Auburn Indiana of all places!

We also didn't stop in South Bend Indiana for the Studebaker Museum, but you can check out their website: Studebaker Museum  I hear they play a game called football in South Bend too, maybe you've heard of Notre Dame University?

Unfortunately, we saw the end result of some very bad looking accidents, so let me just remind you that it's never worth driving in unsafe conditions, and it's worth being late once in a while when the roads just aren't safe. Just off the Interstate near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border we saw a pick up truck that had somehow gone off the road and went straight on in to a tree. Even with air bags and seat belts, I don't know how it turned out since we were just driving past the accident scene that had a lot of emergency crews on site. Drive safe!

Later, on the stretch of I-70 south of Breezewood on the PA Turnpike, we hit some very thick fog. I mean it was super thick! We slowed down when the visibility dropped to only a few car lengths, so I'm glad to report that we soon dropped in elevation and the fog lifted. I've been driving a few decades, but the thickness level of that fog was off the charts, and I think next time I see anything like it I'll get off the road. Drive safe!

Along I-81 in the little bit of it that goes into West Virginia, we were cruising at speed when the traffic ahead slowed a bit, which at first I thought was due to an oversize load ahead. Well, that was part of it, but just then we saw fire trucks on the other side of the divided highway, and they were shooting water on to a burning semi-truck that pretty much had the cab already totally burned up. Needless to say the traffic north bound was totally stopped. We got by the oversize swimming pool load, which believe it or not we would then pass two more times later in Virginia! Drive safe!

On one stretch of road off of the Interstate in Virginia, we saw a guy that had parked his pickup in the median, and he was on the side of the road pulling something heavy with a rope. Not sure what that was until we got close and drove by, but it sure looked like he was dragging a big old black bear that probably had been hit by a vehicle. Believe it or not, just a few days before this we had dinner in Grayling Michigan at a restaurant named "Dead Bear Brewing." True story, and if you're up there in the middle of the upper lower peninsula of Michigan, I can recommend their food and their Hefeweizen beer!  Dead Bear Brewing

One related safety tip I've gathered over the years is that if you are about to hit a large wild animal, that you should probably just go ahead and hit it, since you'll have more control over your vehicle than the many people that try to steer around an animal and end up losing control as they over-correct and then crash. Nothing against the animals out there on the roads, but we kind of favor the safety of the human drivers a bit more if that's our only choice. Drive safe!

So in total, about 2,466 miles on the ol' Camry, no issues at all, and thanks to having tires that are in good shape, the miles of hilly roads, snow in MI, the PA Turnpike, several days of rain, and all the rest were a piece of cake. Drive safe!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Congrats to Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg!

In a dramatic season ending race in Abu Dhabi, Nico Rosberg was crowned world champion for 2016 in Formula 1. Rosberg only finished second in today's race, but that was enough to maintain his points lead ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Considering that Hamilton is a three time champion himself, Rosberg had to overcome some stiff competition to take his first title today. Also interesting to know, Nico Rosberg's father Keke Rosberg also won the F1 title back in 1984. This makes the Rosberg family only the second father-son combo to take the title, joining Graham Hill (father) and his son Damon Hill.

This makes the third year in a row that a Mercedes driver has taken the title, with Rosberg adding on to the two in a row by Hamilton. In 2017 we will have a new set of regulations on car and engine construction, so it's likely that one of the other teams might come up with the best design and dominate just like Mercedes has done for three years in a row.

Behind Mercedes, the only teams that were almost close have been Red Bull and Ferrari. Finishing behind them in their best place ever is the Force India team in 4th this year. After that we have the Williams team, McLaren, and Toro Rosso. Back in 8th place is the new team this year, the USA's own Haas F1 team, so congrats to them on a great rookie season! At the back end of the grid were the Sauber, Renault, and Manor teams.

The 2017 season should be kicking off in Australia soon enough in March at the first race of the year.

Below are the final standings for drivers this year, and you can find out lots more about F1 at the official F1 website: F1

1 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 385
2 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 380
3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 256
4 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 212
5 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 204
6 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 186
8 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 85
9 Nico Hulkenberg FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 72
10 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 54
11 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 53
12 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 46
13 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 29
14 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 25
15 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 21
16 Kevin Magnussen RENAULT 7
17 Felipe Nasr SAUBER FERRARI 2
18 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1
19 Pascal Wehrlein MRT MERCEDES 1
20 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN HONDA 1
21 Esteban Gutierrez HAAS FERRARI 0
22 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 0
23 Esteban Ocon MRT MERCEDES 0
24 Rio Haryanto MRT MERCEDES 0

Saturday, November 26, 2016

NMS-North 2016 Season Wrap Up

In the wet!
With the final event in the books for 2016, let's take a quick look at the autocross year driving the NMS FIAT Abarth. This year I focused on the monthly events with the Tidewater Sports Car Club, and just like in 2015 had a blast at every event. For the first time in my short experience I had to drive in wet conditions in the rain a few times, and to tell the truth, that was a lot of fun too! Probably no one really wants to go out and be in the rain all day, but on the other hand, once you're soaking wet, well, you just can't get any wetter so it isn't so bad. At two of our TSCC events I was co-driving the FIAT with my friend Michael Moore, so he had a great first time experience in the driver's seat and showed some good speed out on the course. In addition to the events below I managed to drive some events with other clubs in Virginia (the Old Dominion Region SCCA, North Carolina Region SCCA), and down in Charleston South Carolina with Brian and the South Carolina Region SCCA. Speaking of Brian, while he and Jason Rucker had a great year, competed at several major regional events and the big SCCA Nationals in Nebraska, along with some 1st places at their events, I was mostly shooting for improvement in the TSCC points over last year.

Thanks Tony Mester and the #267 Mazda 2

Our season ran from March to November, and included one autocross event per month. Several events were held on the small Pungo course, one was at the gigantic North Carolina Center for Automotive Research, and most were at the Naval Base on Little Creek. Before the season started my goal was to win the G Street class, and to place in the top 20 for the entire club. In 2015 I had won GS and finished 29th overall, so moving up 10 spots or more would require a bit of improving on my driving skill. The GS title wasn't quite such a big deal, and I always point out that usually there aren't many other entries in this class, but it still is fun to say 1st place even if it's out of just one car! To compete for the club or class title, drivers had to compete in a minimum number of 5 events this year. In 2015 I won 8 events in GS, and in 2016 it turned out to be 7 events.

In the dry!

March brought a wet start to the season at Pungo, and in the first event of the season the NMS FIAT placed 12th out of 64 drivers. It was very early in the nine event season, but that 12th place would be a big help in cracking the top 20 overall at  the end of the year. Hey why not, I dream of winning the lottery every week too! 12 divided by 64 put me in the top 18% of drivers, so tracking that percentage is another way I'll talk about my performance relative to everyone else.

Thanks for the photo from Monica Moore
April was a total change of pace and venue (and weather, dry) as we competed at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research. While most autocross events take place on a square or rectangular parking lot, NCCAR added about half a race course to the usual set up! This meant a higher overall speed, and I admit that I was mashing on the loud pedal and going for broke, which means I slid all four wheels off the track and into the grass on my final run! That ruined my time, but it was so much fun I'm willing to do it again! That left me in 34th on the day out of 72 drivers, so not as great as March, but still in the top 47%, and ahead of half the field. The other reason this was a blast was having a co-driver in the FIAT, when Michael Moore made this his first ever autocross event. It was a treat to have another driver with NMS, and always worth a lot of smiles from someone experiencing autocross the first time.

Brian and Robert Nixon
May was our first event on the Navy base at Little Creek in 2016, so this made it three locations in three events.  Without the high speed of the track, I took 40th out of 111 drivers (36%). Not to make excuses, but just maybe the drivers that got to drive on dry pavement had a bit of an advantage over those of us that drove in the wet. These things happen, and who knows, maybe later in the year I'll get to drive in the dry and then others will get wet! Michael also drove the FIAT and was making big improvements on every run. 

In the helmet!

June was another event at Little Creek, and after placing 33rd out of 92 entries (35%) it looked like I was placed around 20th overall for the year. That put me right on track for my season goal, but there was still a lot of driving to do! So far I was enjoying the new Bridgestone tires that I had for this year, so who says money doesn't buy happiness?
Michael Moore driving the FIAT
July brought us some hotter weather, (no surprise there!) and my driving was 31st out of 99 drivers, so in the top 31%. Finishing in the 30s for two months in a row was getting kind of frustrating, and wouldn't help get me in the top 20, but the driving was still very fun!


August turned out to be a big day behind the wheel, and maybe it was the heat or maybe the rain that slowed down some other drivers, but I managed to end up 18th out of 83 drivers. That felt pretty good, and in the overall standings I was now up to 9th place overall. That made me happy, but after looking at the standings I realized that some of the faster drivers had missed an event or two. Translated, that means that at the end of the season I'd be dropping down a few places.  Even though there are nine events, only the top seven count for points. Oh well, it still looked like I had a good shot at the top 20, so the only thing I could do is keep driving and trying to make the car go faster.

Every sticker makes you faster!

September was another good month, with a 20th place out of 87 drivers, which at top 21% was my  2nd best event of the year so far. Like the month before, the total points were looking good, and I was in 6th place! That was the good news, but the bad news was that starting in October the "drops" would start for those of us that had driven in all eight events as we would have to drop our lowest score while drivers that missed an event earlier in the year would suddenly start catching up. Buckle up for the last two months, hang on, and keep driving faster! Oh yeah, and watch out for rain!

Autocross at ACU-4, Little Creek
October: Back at Pungo, my day took a bit of an unexpected turn, but it ended up being awesome! I arrived in plenty of time to set up the FIAT with air pressures where I wanted them. After that I walked the course a few times and got the road map in my head, and headed back to the car to double check that everything was ready. Right about then my friend Tony Mester asked me if I wanted to co-drive his Mazda 2. To tell the truth, I had already locked up the GS points race, so driving with someone else in their car sounded like fun! It also helps to know that Tony has really prepped his car and done some custom spring and suspension work on it, so I knew that he was a fast driver in a quick car. Riding and driving with a better driver is a great way to learn how to go faster, so we had a great day co-driving his Mazda. Thanks to Tony and the "SLO-DOS" (his license plate for the 2), I managed my best ever PAX finish in 10th on the day out of 74 drivers! Percentage wise this was almost as good as March, and in the top 13% on the day. Of course Tony was even faster with 8th on the day, but man it was a blast driving his car, and finishing only 0.088 seconds slower than him. Thanks Tony!

Indoor karting

November's event was also held at Pungo, and looking at the points standings, I knew that about 5 other drivers were right on my tail, and they were mostly likely to move up some points due to the points dropping. At the end of the day, well, I was out of town and didn't drive in November! With the changes caused by dropping two low scoring events and only counting the top 7 of 9 events, I  ended the season in 19th place, just ahead of my target of 20th for the year! This was also 10 spots better than last year, so I'll take it, and try to do even better in 2017! Points wise, finishing with 644.71 is ahead of last year's 632.53 to the tune of 1.74 more points per event. Average points per event = 92.10. 

For the tiny G Street class you can see not many drivers competed, but that's still 1st place in GS too:
gs - 'G Street'Total PointsPoints W/DropsE-1E-2E-3E-4E-5E-6E-7E-8E-9
1Robert Nixon677.85677.8590.0090.00100.00100.0097.85100.00100.00
John Skiba90.0090.0090.00

Here's the final club PAX points standings for members with at least 5 events:
Pos.DriverPax PointsPax W/DropsEx-1Ex-2Ex-3Ex-4Ex-5Ex-6Ex-7Ex-8Ex-9
1Thomas Bleh694.74694.74100.00100.0096.67100.00100.0099.9098.17
2Doug Keiler776.58689.7786.8195.7798.2997.99100.0098.8298.90100.00
3Jeff Schmidt865.15683.2388.2295.3299.1599.5797.4699.2796.3096.1693.70
4Stephen Fehr679.53679.5396.5198.5691.50100.0097.0598.2797.64
5Anthony Mester759.92675.3295.4094.6197.5697.9595.5997.8696.3584.60
6Keith Kasmire859.23672.7392.7993.7195.8897.2794.1795.9797.1195.2797.06
7Chris Parsons666.66666.6692.8694.4296.3494.8895.1596.4296.59
8Peter Florance748.76664.2984.4794.0488.4194.5198.2995.6595.8997.50
9Melissa Fehr841.92662.1194.5294.6387.9493.8491.8793.7993.9395.7595.65
10Logan Stillman743.50660.4083.1084.6099.1596.4493.5797.3393.5995.72
11Neal Davis751.66659.7193.1391.9595.4993.2794.6696.0394.1992.94
12Jim Ewing657.11657.1181.3893.6194.8899.1096.8498.2593.05
13Brian Wells656.00656.0094.1794.0296.2093.0393.1093.4392.05
14Keith Maples831.12652.2693.8889.2692.2795.6392.0496.5190.9690.9789.60
15Charlie Ardolino647.09647.0991.3896.9592.8292.7391.7583.3498.12
16Scott Brubaker646.29646.2990.0290.3793.5492.7094.7891.6093.28
17Mike Thorpe816.40645.9090.4087.0283.4895.2091.0193.3791.7992.1292.01
18Brendan Long730.40645.7086.1094.0593.6698.5688.5594.5284.7090.26
19Robert Nixon733.02644.7191.3288.3188.9590.3290.5195.8391.6596.13

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy "Thanks for Racing Day!"

If you've checked our driving schedule on this blog, and even if you haven't, you might have noticed that today is "Thanks for Racing Day!" Here in the US it's really Thanksgiving where we give thanks for what we have, so we're just putting a new spin on it by being thankful to all our friends and family that support/enable/allow us to do car stuff.

It's been another fun year with NMS, so thanks for following along on the blog. Odds are that we'll be back at it in 2017, and writing about it here, sharing photos and videos, and generally carrying on with more of this nonsense. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays that you observe, give thanks to your  family and friends, and most of all, drive safe!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tires Retired

At the end of the 2016 autocross season, I can say that one set of tires lasted every event, and two of them look good for next year too. Tires are my biggest expense for autocross, and it's still cheaper than doing serious track racing or buying a NASCAR team for $100,000,000! On the other hand, a full year of autocross and etc. for the price of 4 good tires = AWESOME!

Tire #1 was mostly used on the back of the FIAT, and there is plenty of tread left in the middle. No major wear on the edges, good to go for next year!
Plenty of tread, this tire will do for next year
Tire number two is the other rear tires, and in the photo below you can clearly see the triangle molded into the tire that is a wear indicator. Plenty of wear left on this one!

No wear down to the triangle, so this one should be good!

Number three below is from the front of the car, and that band in the middle is showing uneven wear. The outer grooves are also way more worn on the right than the left, so this tire may or may not be good for next year. Ideally I'd flip it on the rim, so that the left/right wear would even out in the future.
A lot more wear on this one, more wear on the right than the left

Below is an example of what I found on both front tires, the top layer of tread has a hole worn through. For safety reasons I'm going to replace these two next year. Getting a full year out of half these Bridgestone RE71R tires was reasonable. Overall I drove in about 12 different autocross events, and they ranged from 4 runs per day to as many as probably 12 in the few events where I had a co-driver also driving them. Add on to that tire torture a couple of driving on a track events, and a couple thousand miles driving to and from events with these wheels on, and there you have it. 

Ouch, just to the left of my thumb there is a hole in the outer tread. No sign of the triangle on these last two. 

No matter what kind of car or truck you drive, take the time to check your tire tread once in a while, and keep safe out there!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Last Autocross Sunday Preview

NMS Abarth visits the garages at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Here in Virginia the Tidewater Sports Car Club holds their final autocross event of the year this Sunday. I will not be able to compete, so here's how things look right now for the club championship. Over 200 drivers have competed in at least one event, so you can see where it's to your advantage to compete in as many events as possible so that you score more points.

However, there is a column of PAX points and then the next column of PAX With Drops. The championship is decided by not all 9 events, but only using a driver's best 7 events. The events that don't count are "dropped", so right now even a driver with 7  or 8 events is only getting their PAX with Drops score with two events subtracted. If that sounds a bit confusing, don't worry about it, because it will all be added up for good after November's event.

1Thomas Bleh596.57596.57100.00100.0096.67100.00100.0099.90
2Doug Keiler676.58589.7786.8195.7798.2997.99100.0098.8298.90
3Jeff Schmidt771.45587.9188.2295.3299.1599.5797.4699.2796.3096.16
4Stephen Fehr581.89581.8996.5198.5691.50100.0097.0598.27
5Anthony Mester675.32580.7195.4094.6197.5697.9595.5997.8696.35
6John Anderson580.58580.5894.4397.9394.5998.0498.4697.13
7Keith Kasmire762.17575.6792.7993.7195.8897.2794.1795.9797.1195.27
8Chris Parsons570.07570.0792.8694.4296.3494.8895.1596.42
9Peter Florance651.26566.7984.4794.0488.4194.5198.2995.6595.89
10Neal Davis658.72566.7793.1391.9595.4993.2794.6696.0394.19
11Melissa Fehr746.27566.4694.5294.6387.9493.8491.8793.7993.9395.75
12Logan Stillman647.78564.6883.1084.6099.1596.4493.5797.3393.59
13Jim Ewing564.06564.0681.3893.6194.8899.1096.8498.25
14Brian Wells563.95563.9594.1794.0296.2093.0393.1093.43
15Keith Maples741.52561.3093.8889.2692.2795.6392.0496.5190.9690.97
16Robert Nixon733.02555.7691.3288.3188.9590.3290.5195.8391.6596.13
17Brendan Long640.14555.4486.1094.0593.6698.5688.5594.5284.70
18Mike Thorpe724.39553.8990.4087.0283.4895.2091.0193.3791.7992.12
19Brad Anderson631.97553.2091.9088.4278.7790.2896.6491.5194.45
20Scott Brubaker553.01553.0190.0290.3793.5492.7094.7891.60
21Andrew Carr624.74552.4672.2891.4989.8294.5591.1394.0191.46

Sitting in 16th with one event to go means that some of those drivers right behind me will pass me up, and I'll likely end up in 20th or so. That's a pretty good improvement over last year's 29th place, and hits my target of 20th for this year. After Sunday's event, each driver's top 7 events will count, so even though I'll miss one event, I've already got 8 events completed, so I'll still be competitive in there somewhere. 

Dropping my last two events will mean not counting November (0 points anyway), and dropping my worst event, which will mean the 88.31 points from April's event. I'll end up with 644.71, which is a pretty good improvement of over 12 points better than last year's 632.53. Since those 12 points are over 7 events, to me that means I averaged 1.71 points more per event this year. That's not a huge improvement, but considering it was in the same car, I think it's not bad. Maybe another improvement next year will get me into the top 15!

Friday, November 18, 2016

SCCA Announces Pro Solo Schedule for 2017

One of the major leagues of autocross is the Sports Car Club of America's Pro Solo events. More than a regular autocross, the Pro Solo format has two competitors driving identical courses at the same time, with both starting like a drag race from a christmas tree set of lights. 

Here's the tentative schedule for next year, with the first event kicking off on Brian Nixon's birthday weekend in Greenville SC! 2017 Schedule

- March 10-12: Tire Rack Greenville ProSolo; Greenville, South Carolina (tentative)
Donaldson Airport

- April 7-9: Tire Rack El Toro ProSolo; Irvine, California
Orange County Great Park (formerly El Toro Air Station)
- April 28-30: Tire Rack Crows Landing ProSolo; Crows Landing, California
NASA Crows Landing Airport
- May 5-7: Tire Rack Blytheville ProSolo; Blytheville, Arkansas
Arkansas Aeroplex
- May 12-14: Tire Rack Northeast ProSolo; East Rutherford, New Jersey
MetLife Stadium
- May 26-27: Tire Rack Spring Nationals ProSolo; Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln Airpark
- June 2-4: Tire Rack Texas ProSolo; Mineral Wells, Texas
Mineral Wells Airport
- June 9-11: Tire Rack Ohio ProSolo; Swanton, Ohio
Toledo Express Airport
- July 14-16: Tire Rack Packwood ProSolo; Packwood, Washington
Former Hampton Lumber Mills Packwood
- August 4-6: Tire Rack Oscoda ProSolo; Oscoda Township, Michigan
Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport
- September 1-3: Tire Rack ProSolo Finale; Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln Airpark

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Has a New Car For You!

In case you forget what a lot of RAIN looks like!

Yes folks, step right up, Hurricane Matthew has brought us not only a bunch of flooding recently, but now THOUSANDS OF FLOODED CARS FOR SALE!

OK, it's not really a scam, it's a fact that a lot of flooded cars are now coming up for sale and auction in the areas affected by flooding. This week I got an email from my favorite website-for-scanning-for-car-bargains, Copart. Copart is a national chain of auto auction sites, typically they are selling cars damaged and disposed of by insurance companies. Make no mistake, these cars (like the NMS Mustang we bought at an abandoned auto auction) are SOLD AS IS, BUYER BEWARE.

Check out this link for a location near you. Copart-Northeast-Coast-Flood_Inventory

Note that every state has different laws about who can buy and sell these types of vehicles, so in some states anyone can purchase from Copart, but in other states you'd have to get a buyer to make the purchase for you. Even if you never buy one of these cars, it's fun (like in Ebay and Craigslist type of fun) to check out the listings once in while and see what you find.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Can Your Tires Handle the PRESSURE?

Guess What's Inside

Checking your tire pressure is an easy thing to do, and since it's important, why not check your tire pressures today? For everyday driving it's important to drive your car with the tire pressures "just right", not too low, and not too high. Doing so will give you better gas mileage (saves money), and make your tires last longer (which saves money). If you are doing any performance driving like auto-cross or driving on a track, getting your tire pressures dialed in is critical to maximizing performance.

It's BIG!
If you have a car that isn't too old, odds are that it has Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) built in that will warn you when your tire pressures are too low. This is good news, but it comes with a couple of other tidbits of info you should know. Being warned of too low tire pressure is good, but the TPMS will not typically warn you if your tires are inflated too much. That's a good reason to check your tire pressures yourself and not to just trust the little warning light on your dashboard. For a TON of info on TPMS, check out this page on: My Car Does What?

Since we started auto-crossing with NMS, we've used a couple of different tire gauges to check our tires, ranging from the little cheap ones found at any auto parts store, to the cool digital read out Sears Craftsman models. I liked the Sears ones until one of mine just died (yes, even with a new battery), and then a second one didn't work for some crazy reason after I shut the FIAT hatch door on it. Maybe I should take them back to Sears and check on that lifetime warranty!

It's Got a Cool Case!
So the big news today is the arrival of this little bad boy, which is one of the models of tire gauges from the fine folks at Longacre! Not only is this thing accurate and heavy duty, the dial face is (Trump voice) "HUGE". Not only is it HUGE, it comes in a cool BOX! Not only is it HUGE and comes in a BOX, the dial numbers all GLOW IN THE DARK! Of course this won't make me drive any faster, but any day that you get a new HUGE GLOW IN THE DARK TOOL, that makes it a very good day!

The Longacre gauge is easy to use, and one cool feature is that after you put it on your tire, it holds the reading until you press one of the little buttons which you can see below my thumb in the photo above. The bottom button releases air from the tire, which is great, and the gauge is marked in half pounds too! You can read more about tire inflation from our friends at Tire Rack: Tire Rack  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wednesday Alfa Romeo Unveils a New One

We’re counting down to the highly anticipated global debut of the newest Alfa Romeo vehicle, and you’re invited to witness it. The world will be watching and history will be made as the all-new Alfa Romeo is unveiled at the press preview of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Be sure to save the date for this exhilarating moment.
The live global reveal can be viewed at alfaromeousa.comon Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at 9:15 a.m. P.S.T. (12:15 p.m. E.S.T.)