Friday, March 31, 2017

NMS North Readies for Round 2

This coming weekend will be competition number 2 for this year in the NMS FIAT 500 Abarth, so we're pretty sure it will NOT be rain-snow-sleeting like last time! Sunday will be the first event of the year for the Old Dominion Region of the Sports Car Club of America, so we're looking forward to another day of driving all-out at Pungo. The ODR folks have their own season long championship, so from April thru November the eight events all add up to determine who's the fastest.

NMS has only competed in a small number of events with ODR the last two seasons, so we're not making any promises, but should be able to improve on last year's 1 event and 2015's 3 events.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Take the 2017 Formula 1 Fan Survey!

World Champion Drivers: Senna, Prost, Mansel, Piquet

You know that life's not fair, and we don't always get a vote on everything we'd like to vote on, but right now you can take a survey about Formula 1 racing. Like any other business, the owners of F1 are probably interested in hearing from their customers so that they can make more money and make their "product" better, so why not tell them what you think?

When was the last time that McDonald's asked you what you thought? Probably never, and hey, while I'm thinking about it, I've been playing that darn McDonald's Monopoly game for a lot of years and I'm still not a millionaire! How about if next time that game comes around we all chip in our little Monopoly properties together, and we can split the big prize!

F1 has new owners this year, Liberty Media of the US, so they are likely to take any results from the survey seriously. I personally think they should hold all races at a more convenient time for those of us in the US, since getting up at 1AM to see a race in Australia is kind of rough, but then again, when your sport is watched around the world, I guess you can't please everybody!

So, seriously, check out the F1 fan survey at this link: F1 Survey

Sunday, March 26, 2017


(Congrats to Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for winning the first Formula 1 race of the year a few  hours ago in Australia! We now take you back to the heartland of the USA, somewhere in Indianapolis Indiana...)

We'll Take Two!

We're talking about "Get Yer Indy Cars" as in "buy an Indy race car at auction!" The KV Racing IndyCar team has gone out of business, BUT that means that on Monday March 27th that you can bid on their cars, trucks, tools, helmets, office furniture, etc. There are 3 different sets of listings, with tons of gently used and new gear too. Here's the link to Key Auctions of Indianapolis: Key Auctioneers

The average person probably dreams of winning the lottery and buying a house, taking a trip, or paying down the US national debt (I said DREAM), but for some of us, those millions of dollars would be better put to use with a bit of land, some race track paving, maybe a port-o-let, and a bunch of race cars and stuff!

So, what would be on the old NMS wish list? Let's just start with some basics!

How about some cars:

And something to haul them in:

Hey, maybe an extra tow rig too:

And then some cool tool boxes and stuff:

Friday, March 24, 2017

South Carolina Region Announces RallyCross Season 2017

"Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads"

Ok Rally-Crossers, get your calendars out and grab a big red marker! The official 2017 season calendar is ready to go. Thanks to the hard work by Melanie Epps Murray and the folks up at Midway Motorsports Park we have a final schedule that consists of 6 events for 2017.
The dates are as follows:
Date Location
Sunday, April 9 Midway Motorsports Park
Sunday, May 7 Midway Motorsports Park
Sunday, June 25 Midway Motorsports Park
Sunday, August 6 Midway Motorsports Park
Sunday, September 24 Midway Motorsports Park
Sunday, November 12 Midway Motorsports Park

We will have class points championships, and there will be class trophies/plaques given out at the annual SCR banquet following the 2017 season. The actual points format has yet to be determined but will probably resemble the SOLO points style.

--You have until April 9 to get your RallyX car ready! It will be here sooner than you think!

--Events will be added to the calendar on shortly. 

--Registration is open for the first event at motorsportreg

--Here's the Facebook page for the first event: Rallycross #1

Rally Cross is just like regular autocross, except that the concrete or asphalt pavement has turned into grass, dirt, maybe gravel, and perhaps mud. This adds another element to the driving skills needed, and you just might see the drivers sliding around the cone course a bit differently. From the driver's seat, it's probably even more fun in the grin-as-you-drive department too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Formula 1 Predictions 2017

"You Can't Read My Mind" Magneto Helmet

As an introduction to making predictions for this season, let me first say, TOLD YOU SO! about my CORRECT prediction of Nico Rosberg winning it all last year! 16 Blog Prediction
Before digging into predictions, I'll just be honest up front and let you know that I'm cheering for the Ferrari team (drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen), the American based Haas team (drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen), and all drivers with car number 77 (like my Abarth), which is Valtteri Bottas, now with Mercedes Benz.

So, 2017, what do we know so far? We know that last year's champ (did I mention that I correctly predicted his win?) Nico Rosberg has retired, so he won't be defending the title. However, his Mercedes Benz F1 team has now won 3 in a row, with Lewis Hamilton holding two titles from 2014-2015. IF this year we just had the same cars, engines, and tires from the last 3 years of Mercedes domination, the no-brainer guess would be Hamilton wins again.


We DON'T have the same cars, we don't have the same tires, and the engines are new for this year too, so you can throw the last three years out the window. Let's look at some longer term results and see if any patterns emerge.

Before Mercedes won 3 in a row, well, Red Bull Racing won FOUR in a row. Previous to that, we had 3 different winners in 3 years (Brawn, McLaren, Ferrari), and prior to that 2 in a row for Renault, and just before that, Ferrari won 5 in a row! Hmm, so there is a precedent for winning 4-5 in a row. Maybe Mercedes will win again after all.

The only other information we have this year is the results from two 4 day tests in Barcelona earlier in March. The overall fastest lap time was set by Ferrari, while the most laps (and probably most reliable engines) were Mercedes. Hmmm, make that a tie. For what it's worth, we don't know all the other variables from testing, such as how much fuel they had on board (less fuel equals less weight, which equals faster times), so the testing isn't the final answer either.

I could be sneaky and wait for the practice sessions this weekend, or even wait for qualifying for Sunday's race before making a prediction, but I'm pretty fearless in using the Internet to open my big mouth and be wrong, so let's DO THIS!

The 2017 driver champion will be Lewis Hamilton, with his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas in 2nd, and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in 3rd. For what it's worth, I'll vote the Constructors Title to Mercedes, and further predict that unlike the last 3 seasons with few people winning that were NOT named Mercedes, we should have at least 4 different teams winning races in 2017!

Plus, what the heck, the more predictions I make, the better the odds that I'll get just one thing right, which will really come in  handy on the ol' NMS blog in 2018! With that in mind, I'll predict that tomorrow the sun will come up too!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


7th out of 43 drivers, we'll take it!

Following the first autoX of the year, NMS is proud to report that the official results have the NMS Abarth in 7th place overall on PAX time, which would be the best place ever for driver Bob Nixon. While he was only 3rd in the H Street class, the HS guys took 3 of the top 7 overall, so that makes 3rd in class sound a little bit better!

Once the drivers have their actual driving time, (down to the thousandth of a second), then each time is multiplied by a factor that attempts to level the playing field. This results in what is called the PAX time. Then, with everyone's PAX time, the Tidewater Sports Car Club uses a 100 point scale to award year-long championship points. 

The fastest PAX driver always gets 100 points. After that, just divide the other driver's times into the winners PAX time, and there you have some number less than 100. Add up the best points results from 7 of the 9 events all year, and there you have the club champion. 

After finishing 20th last year, the NMS FIAT driver is shooting for 15th or better, so this first event of the year will help meet that goal. Sure, it was cold and slippery out there, and some very fast drivers stayed  home on Sunday, but you've got to play the game if you want to win!

Here are our UNOFFICIAL points calculations, so we'll just say that we'll once again claim FASTEST ITALIAN CAR OF THE DAY!

Pax  Driver Car  Pax Time Points
1 Oliver Lucier 2010 Porsche Boxster S 36.404 100
2 Keith Kasmire TDI Wagon 36.439 99.9
3 George Sklyarevsky 2012 Mustang Boss302 36.603 99.45
4 Stephen Fehr 2010 Porsche Boxster S 37.521 97.02
5 Chris Parsons VW TDI  37.559 96.92
6 Travis Wall 2001 Pontiac Firebird 37.849 96.18
7 Robert Nixon 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth 37.862 96.14

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Gore-Tex by golly
Back in the Johnny Carson days on the Tonight Show, Johnny would often throw a line in his opening monologue like "boy it was cold today!" The audience would shout "HOW COLD WAS IT?" and then Johnny would deliver the punch line to a joke about it being cold. Back before the Internet, that was some funny, wacky stuff. This came to mind because it was 37 degrees today while we were kicking off 2017 autocross with the Tidewater Sports Car Club TSCC

The Italian meets a Swede

Despite the weather, we still had a good number of new drivers in the Novice class, so I hope they all come back when the weather is NICE too! The field was split into two run groups, and every driver had 4 shots at the fast course at Pungo (THE HOME OF AUTOCROSS IN THE FREE WORLD)! In the first run group, it rained/snowed the entire time, so the course was very slick. Just for the heck of it I started with slightly higher than normal tire pressures, and then reduced tire pressure on each run. Believe it or not, it made a huge difference, and sure enough, my last run was my fastest.

Rain, snow, sleet, whatever!

Of course, on 2 of the 4 runs I was going too fast for conditions and spun out, so the first run was VERY slow, as you can see below. But my 2nd run was about 9 seconds faster, then another spin on #3, and finally a faster time on run 4, putting me just 0.386 behind Chris in 2nd place.

1HS94Keith KasmireVW TDI WagonBlue47.86447.39648.28146.36146.361
2HS2Chris ParsonsVW TDI48.18647.78549.03248.23747.785
3HS77Robert Nixon2013 Fiat 500 AbarthRed58.35549.24151.78448.17148.171

Congrats to Keith Kasmire for taking the win in HS and Chris Parsons for taking 2nd. Apparently that leaves me as the bronze medalist on the day as the only guy in HS not with a VW Turbo Diesel.

Yes, it really was cold, 37 degrees cold and wet

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NMS-North Kicks Off This Sunday

77 GS in 2013, Darlington SC

I started autocrossing with the 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth in 2013 in South Carolina, which was kind of handy since I lived there then. For that season, the SCCA had placed the Abarth in G Stock class, so I splurged on some cool magnets from Panic Motorsports that read 77GS. The following year, the name of Stock classes shifted to Street, so I was still good with my 77GS magnets. Fast forward to 2017, and the FIAT Abarth has been moved to a very slightly slower class, H Street, so this meant that my old GS magnets were due for replacement or an upgrade.


Thanks to NMS-South, last weekend I was the proud owner of some brand new shiny heavy duty vinyl "HS" stickers that I just had to put on the old GS magnets. This was a very simple process, so I was able to peel off the old GS, clean up the white magnets with some Goo-Gone, and then place the HS where the GS had been. 




Thanks to Brian Nixon for the new vinyl! Looking forward to another season of autocross in 2017. We'll kick it off here in Virginia Beach on March 19th out at Pungo airfield (AKA: THE AUTOCROSS CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. or at least VIRGINIA!  ok, maybe VIRGINIA BEACH!)


Saturday, March 11, 2017

NMS Talks Tires

Way up here in NMS-North, we have one week before the first autocross of the season, so on Monday I ordered two new tires for the FIAT, and they were delivered 2 days later thanks to Tire Rack and their quick service. A few days after that, the tires were mounted thanks to Charles Ardolino and his amazing new tire machine! Thanks!

Last year's set of autocross tires (Bridgestone RE71R, like just about everyone else) lasted all year, but the front two tires just weren't going to go any farther this year. I'm sticking with the rear tires from last year for now, they look to be OK for the start of the season. Having good tires makes a huge difference in autocross and probably every other type of motor sports. 

Farther south, NMS-South brought home some gently used Pirelli slicks to be used on the 70s Dodge Coronet at Carolina Motorsports Park in May. Things continue to look good for Brian and  the LeMons endurance team to do a full weekend of testing in May, and then compete in a race in the fall. 

Speaking of NMS-South, Happy Birthday Brian (March 12th)! To help him celebrate, the IndyCar season kicks off on the 12th also!

New tires getting mounted, thanks Charles Ardolino

Safety: Always use jack stands

A Mustang makes a great tire rack
Pirelli tire goodness!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Old Dominion Region SCCA Announces Autocross Schedule

NMS at Pungo!

Here in the Virginia Beach area (includes Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, etc.), our Sports Car Club of America Old Dominion Region has posted their autocross schedule for 2017. You will find their events are the first Sunday of every month, April thru November. All events take place in Pungo VA, just a bit south of the beachfront in Virginia Beach. To find the airfield, just go about 100 yards north of Pungo Pizza! At one time Pungo was a working airport, so autocross takes place on a bit of concrete area that was probably a parking pad for airplanes. The planes are gone, but the high speed thrills of autocross still continue! You can find the link to the ODR folks on our Links section, or just click on this link: ODR

Upcoming Events

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Auto Auction Results

Auction Time!

I'm Ready to Bid!
There was another big crowd at the latest auction, and all the vehicles available were sold. Some of them sold with multiple bidders fighting for a bargain, while others sold at low low prices! That's part of what makes auctions fun, even if you don't bid. I picked up a buyer number (127), but didn't bid, and didn't come home with any new cars. On the good news department, we have the coming weekend scheduled to work on the auction-bought 2000 Mustang, so maybe we'll have something positive to say about that car soon!

Let's see how our pre-auction estimates stack up with the actual selling price. Hopefully we'll end up batting better than .500! To set the rules, let's shoot for being within 200 dollars of the winning bid.

03 Ram truck
Estimate: 5,000
Sold: 1,800
Not a good way to start, but there are plenty more cars, trucks, and buses to go. An 0-1 losing record.

94 Chrysler LHS
Estimate: 125
Sold: 175
Pretty close, off by 50 bucks, so let's call that a victory, and now we're 1-1!

06 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Estimate: 1,600
Sold: 1,600
NAILED IT RIGHT ON THE NOSE! WOOT-WOOT! Winning record of 2-1!

03 Mitsubishi Galant
Estimate: 500
Sold: 600
Not perfect, but I'd say 100 dollars off is right in the ball park, up to 3-1. 

01 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Estimate: 400
Sold: 200
OK, off by either 200 dollars, or a whopping 200%. To be a fair grader, I'll call it a loss, now 3-2. 

GMC bus 1
Sold: 3,000

GMC bus 2
Sold: 1,400

GMC bus 3
Sold: 3,100
Total of the three buses sold for was $7,500, and I guessed 15K for all three. Off by exactly 200% again, so I stink at bus price estimates. That counts as one loss (since I make up the rules of this game), so I'm batting .500 at 3-3. 

07 Honda Accord
Estimate: 4,500
Sold: 2,900
Missed this one, other than correctly seeing it as one of the highest value cars on the lot. Still, a loser so we've slipped to 3-4.

96 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Estimate: 800
Sold: 350
Man, what was I thinking on this one? Way off, now at 3-5. Time for a winner.

99 Ford Escort
Estimate: 300
Sold: 650
Loser. Went the wrong way on these last two, one over and one under priced. Ugghhh. 3-6.

88 GMC Sierra
Estimate: 50
Sold: 350
See, this yellow truck with no wheels still went for 350, only 7 times my estimate. 3-7.

01 Lexus
Estimate: 450
Sold: 600
I'm going to give myself a pity point on this one, and say that within 200 bucks is OK for a win. 4-7.

98 Saturn
Estimate: 450
Sold: 450
NAILED IT AGAIN! That feels better! Record now at 5-7, and looking up!

00 Isuzu Trooper
Estimate: 300
Sold: 950
Ouch, not within 200, 300, or even 600! This loss moves things to 5-8. Time to bring in the left hander!

04 Nissan 350Z
Estimate: 500
Sold: 3,000
Everyone knows the Nissan Z car is awesome, but for some reason I thought the minor exterior damage and wet interior would keep people away from this one. Shows what I know! 5-9.

07 Ford Mustang
Estimate: 4,500
Sold: 3,900
The second highest price seller on the day. Everyone loves the Mustang, and this one looked pretty good, with no major damage on the outside. My guess is off by 600, but at these "higher" prices, I think that is worthy of a win, so make me 6-9.

95 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Estimate: 200
Sold: 225
Hey, only off by 25 bucks, so pretty good! Winner winner, chicken dinner! 7-9. Headed for .500 territory!

06 Ford F150
Estimate: 1,000
Sold: 2,400
This shiny red truck looked nice, and it went for more than I thought. Probably a good buy for someone, but a bad estimate from me. 7-10.

92 Jeep Cherokee
Estimate: 400
Sold: 950
Not my day so far, but plenty of time to get back up to .500. Let's call the score Convenience Food Store Time, also known as 7-11. 

01 Mitsubishi Galant
Estimate: 100
Sold: 90
COME BACK BABY! WHEW! ONE IN A ROW! Only off by 10 dollars, a solid win to 8-11.

94 Ford Ranger
Estimate: 500
Sold: 950
Everyone still loves the Ford Ranger, but this one costs me a loss: 8-12.

89 Ford Ranger
Estimate: 125
Sold: 250
Now invoking the "within 200 rule" to claim a narrow victory on this one, so 9-12. Three wins from breaking even!

94 Honda Civic
Estimate: 500
Sold: 600
ANOTHER WINNER! Hey, it's still my rules! 10-12!

96 Toyota Camry
Estimate: 500
Sold: 600
Another 100 dollar difference, I'll take it! Building momentum for the big finish, up to 11-12!

04 Ford Focus
Estimate: 600
Sold: 900
So close, but I can't stretch the 200 rule to 300, so a loser! 11-13.

95 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Estimate: 400
Sold: 350
THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, only 50 bucks off. 12-13, just one win away from hitting the target, let's go!

89 Honda Civic
Estimate: 100
Sold: 625
Dang, so much for that one. Another loser adds up to 12-14. Turn this around baby!

96 Acura TL
Estimate: 700
Sold: 700
BINGO! RIGHT ON IT FOR THE THIRD TIME! Now at 13-14, we've got 5 more to go!

01 Honda Civic
Estimate: 100
Sold: 2,000
Way, way, way, off. Blah. Forget this one, move on. 13-15 with 4 to go. 

05 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Estimate: 100
Sold: 900
13-16 with 3 to go, I'm going to need Superman or Spiderman to help me out on these last ones.

04 Jeep Liberty
Estimate: 1,000
Sold: 950
THANKS SPIDEY! Pretty good guess on this one, now at 14-16 with two to go, and I need them both.

98 Chevy S10
Estimate: 200
Sold: 450
OK, you remember that "within 200" rule? Yeah, I was afraid you did remember it, so this is a loss, so the score is now 14-17 and I'll end up under .500. On the  other hand, if I get the next one right, I could come back and change this ruling on the replay officials call, and end up on target!

Toyota Tacoma:
Sold: 4,700
OUCH! Kinda close, but no cigar. This one was clearly going to be the top seller, so glad I called that, but my price was not good enough this time. Thanks for playing our game, this one had its ups and downs. The next auction on the Naval Base will be June 7th.