Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Moss Motorfest: June 3rd

June 3, 2017, Petersburg Virginia

Here at the NMS blog, we appreciate just about every kind of car there is in the world. Since we're normally writing about the Japanese Miata, Italian FIAT, or our newest cars the American Coronet and Chevy Silverado, let's change gears and think about British cars.


That didn't hurt did it? Seriously, the history of British cars goes way back to the last century, and today still features famous brands such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lotus, Jaguar, and McLaren. Of course they still drive on the wrong side of the road over there, but remember that this was because they lost a bet with America in 1776, and the loser had to drive on the other side of the road. Yeah, that was a good one ol' George Washington pulled with his victory at Yorktown, or we'd be the ones on the left side of the road! Sure, we had some help from the French navy, so you'd think there would be at least one French car brand selling in the US, but you'd be wrong.


In the news this week I read that British icon Lotus was sold to the Chinese firm Geely, Geely-Lotus
so while that makes as much sense as Dodge trucks being owned by FIAT, I guess they're both true. The way business is run around the world these days, not much should be too surprising anymore. In case you aren't familiar with Geely, they make about a million cars a year in China, and already own Volvo, so it's likely they'll pump a lot of money into Lotus. More chances to own a Lotus sounds like a good deal to me! Shoot, after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA last year and rookie Alexander Rossi won the Indy 500, pretty much anything can happen now!


Closer to home up here in NMS-North, next Saturday June 3rd brings us the local Virginia Beach Cars and Coffee gathering. Usually there might be a British car or two there, but for June I'm planning to go a bit west and visit Moss Motors in Petersburg Virginia. Moss is hosting their annual Moss Motorfest Moss, and it should make for a fine day of viewing several  hundred British cars of all makes. Moss specializes in stocking parts for a lot of Brit brands, and they have their main HQ in California, plus this east coast site in Virginia. In recent years they've branched out to include Miata parts too, so give them a chance next time you need a little help with your car.

Brian Recommends the Jaguar F-type

Friday, May 26, 2017

So I Kicked a Teenager Out of My House

You know how teenagers are right? Well this one, had literally just sat in my house for almost an entire year. Never went anywhere. Never did anything. Just slept in one spot. What a waste. And after all the time and effort I put into giving him a home and a roof over his  head. Dang teenagers, whaddaya gonna do?

17 Year Old

Before we brought him home I was dreaming of the days we would spend together, but it just never worked out. Maybe we'd be racing together, or spend many years together. I hope he's happy in his new home. Maybe he'll amount to something some day, and heck, we might even see each other. But it won't be the same, he won't be mine. I signed the title over to a new owner. Good-bye Abandoned Auction Mustang.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May Autocross Report

Expert Camera Crew Filming a Course Walk

Without any fanfare, (because it's not professional racing and we don't really have any fans), here's the highlight of the day from my last run, in which I was trying to go faster, which was OK for a while, but then you'll see the FIAT up on 2 wheels! Not the fastest run of the 6 on the day! 
(video has been deleted)

Cars Lined up for Tech

After a great day teaching at the Novice School on Saturday, Sunday was good-old regular autocross day at the Pungo Autocross Center of Excellence (PACE, it's still funny). We had a good bunch of drivers with a lot of new folks experiencing autocross for the first time, so that made it fun. In the little old slowest-class-in-the-world of H Street, we had 2 entries including the FIAT. There was also a Mazda 3, so with Japan and Italy represented, it was a regular United Nations out there!  Besides trying to win the HS class, I was shooting for another top 10 overall in the PAX time too. The official results say the FIAT won HS, so in addition to that I'm also sticking with FASTEST ITALIAN OF THE DAY! Which as usual means ONLY ITALIAN CAR OF THE DAY! Just to review, here's the list of all the other Italian cars besides mine:


I happily kept dropping time from runs 1-5, so let's cut to the chase and show you the video of my fastest, run #5. WARNING: May contain driver whooping when he sees his fastest time of the day at the end of this film! Also, the results reveal that while this won the HS class, it was only good enough for 11th overall PAX time out of 61 total drivers, and 24th fastest actual RAW time. For the FIAT, I'm really happy to be in the top HALF of the entire field on actual time, so 24 out of 61 was pretty good.

(Also on YouTube at this link: FASTEST RUN)

For the statistically minded, right now I'm sitting in 2nd for the HS title behind my friend Chris Parsons and his VW TDI.  PAX wise against all 114 people that have driven in either 1, 2, or all 3 events so far, my unofficial math puts me in 18th, which is a few places ahead of where I finished last year. From what I can tell I'm doing a bit better than the last two years, but of course every event has different cars, different drivers, a new layout to drive, varying weather, etc. Remember that the more variables you can mention, the more possible excuses you have handy! On the positive side, the more variables there are, the more places there is room for improvement too!

Beyond being in 18th place, and again using my really bad math skills, if we look at Average Points per event to balance it out between the folks with 3 events and those of us with 2 events, (and the drivers with only 1 event), my Average points puts me in 13th overall. If I can maintain that thru the end of the year, that would be a good jump in performance over last year's 20th or so. Looking at the average is a good judge of where you stand because at the end of the year, only your top 7 events count out of all 9. There's still plenty of driving to do, with one event per month into November, so stay tuned for more math, autocross results, Italian car bragging, and hopefully no more 2 wheeling!

Here's some photos from the day:

Course Walk

Driver Meeting
Driver Meeting

Driver Meeting

Still Lined up for Tech

Objects in Mirror Are Losing

Adam's Nice MR2

Course Walk

User Friendly Course Assistance!

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 28th: Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco/IndyCar Indianapolis 500/Monster Energy NASCAR Charlotte Coca-Cola 600

Subtitled: "Why do races have such long names?"

Three of the biggest races in motorsport this coming Sunday, Monaco Formula 1 in the morning, Indianapolis 500 after that, and then the NASCAR Charlotte race in the evening. From the listings on TVRacer.com, here's the main coverage of the biggest day in racing, with all times Eastern US. I'm sure there are other apps and TV coverage of the practices and qualifying, but Sunday is the big day! Note that since Monaco is such a big event, the race is actually live on regular network NBC! L=Live

Formula 1 Monaco
7:00am-7:30am (L) - Pre-Race - NBCSN
7:30am-8:00am (L) - Pre-Race - NBC 
8:00am-10:00am (L) - Race - NBC
10:00am-10:30am (L) - Post-Race - NBCSN

IndyCar Indianapolis 500
11:00am-12:00pm (L) - Pre-Race - ABC
12:00pm-3:30pm (L) - Race - ABC

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Charlotte - Coca-Cola 600
5:30pm-6:00pm (L) - Pre-Race - FOX
6:00pm-10:30pm (L) - Race - FOX

Formula 1 wise, the Monaco race is always a classic, probably the oldest circuit still used today, and not really meant for today's high speed cars. While it's epic and chock full of history, the racing tends to be a parade with very little on track passing due to the tight and winding nature of the city circuit. The pole winner should win this thing as long as they get to the 1st corner ahead, and have a smooth pit stop, but it's no guarantee either. Connecting this race with the Indy 500 this year is McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso passing up Monaco, and racing at Indy for Andretti. He qualified 5th yesterday, so his driving ability certainly brings a lot of interest in the Indy race around the world. With last year's rookie driver winner Alexander Rossi (who also drove some F1 races!) also qualifying highly, I think we've got great proof that a great driver can adapt to the big oval at Indy and compete with the other 32 drivers. 

Back at Monaco, former World Champion Jenson Button returns to McLaren to fill in for Alonso, so how he does is also going to be interesting. He just retired at the end of last year, so this will be his first time back in the cockpit. With his experience, and the lower speed overall at Monaco, Jenson right now has a great shot at scoring McLaren's 1st points of the year.

If you're really into it, remember that Monaco is unlike every other race week, so the first two practices will be on THURSDAY, and then Friday is an off day so that the citizens of the city can actually get around. Either they do it for that reason or so that everyone can party more during race week! Big fat prediction number one: One of the Ferrari drivers will snag the pole, and win the race! Other than that, it's a big crap-shoot at Monaco (get it, crap-shoot, they race right by the world famous Casino at Monaco!), so I'll not wimp out and wait for qualifying to predict the winner. Shoot, let's go for the gusto, and say the Ferrari guys pull some Italian magic out of their helmets and finish 1-2!

IndyCar wise, the Indy 500 is the big one, and since we've already had qualifying and pole day yesterday, we know that Scott Dixon blitzed the field and took pole easily. Based on my experience of running at Indy....No really, I've run around the track in a half marathon, and marched around the track in a marching band. The running was easier and faster, because marching on banked oval does NOT make it any easier to play a trumpet for 2.5 miles....in the rain....(true story too!) I'll just make a big fat prediction here that he wins it after getting a good start, with lots of pit stops, 500 miles of racing, some safety cars, and the usual excitement of Indy.  On the other hand, last year's rookie winner Rossi won by managing his fuel stops, so there is always a chance for an underdog. I think both Rossi and Alonso will be among the front runners, so if I'm wrong about Dixon, I'd be more than happy to have one of these two guys drinking the milk at the end!

NASCAR, well, let me tell you, based on my experience of driving the track at Charlotte...
OK, I really have driven on the track at Charlotte, but it wasn't in a race car, or in a race or anything, but it is a fun place to go high speed on the big banking oval track! I'm not a big NASCAR fan, so I'll only go so far in big fat prediction number three that Richard Petty will come out of retirement and win it easily. Wouldn't that be a great story!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Novice School Report

Classic Car at School

A "School Report", you mean like a book review, or "how I spent my summer vacation?"


No way, Novice Autocross Driver school, which we just held today at PUNGO!
The Tidewater Sports Car Club TSCC hosted this event and I'd have to say that a great time was had by all! While no one would admit that they could be a better driver, driving a car is a skill like any other, so it pays off big time to take a lesson or two. People pay for piano or guitar, tennis, or golf lessons all the time. Driving is no different, since unless your name is Mario Andretti, it's likely that there are faster drivers than you, so it makes sense to learn what they know.

Driver Meeting

In our one day school, we split our 20 or so students into 2 groups, so each driver got to be driving half the time, and spent the other half of the time working to pick up any cones that were knocked down, learning how an autocross event works (with lots of volunteers), and getting to watch other people do the same driving techniques that they did. As Yogi Berra probably said, "You can observe a lot by watching."

The first step, like pretty much every step in today's activities, was focused on safety. Each driver had to prepare their car for the technical inspection, which involves two steps. First, they had to empty their car of loose items that could start flying around when the car was being driven hard (you don't want something getting wedged in your brake or gas pedal do you?) Also, taking out the spare tire reduces the weight of your car, so that instantly makes you faster if you believe in the laws of physics! Step two, was to take this fine automobile over to the team of TSCC volunteers and let them just check the key safety features: wheels attached, brakes and gas pedal work, battery not loose, and important stuff like that.

Then, after a driver meeting to go over the plan and again highlight the safety rules, it was time to drive! I was lucky to get two students today, so first I was riding with Mike in his first generation Miata. My second student was Dallas in his stock Focus, so that was fun to be in a rear wheel and a front wheel drive car.

Factory Five 818

Driving round 1 for Mike and Dallas was split between two stations that we could do as we pleased, so we tried both several times and each driver spent a good  hour behind the wheel. This is where I want to point out the term "seat time" which is used to talk about how much you drive. Getting more seat time is the best way to get faster, because it just means you are getting to practice more. A solid hour behind the wheel with an instructor SHOULD make you a faster-safer-better driver. If it doesn't, you need a different instructor!

So our choices were a straight, short slalom to practice car control and feeling the weight transfer, like a downhill skier going left-right-left around poles in a straight line. With cars we just use small traffic cones on the ground, but the idea is the same. You want to go as fast as possible without knocking over the cones. By practicing slowly at first, it's much easier to drill on the coordination of hands (steering) and feet (gas on, lifting, braking if needed). Getting to practice just a straight slalom like this, over and over in a row, is a great way to drill and get better. If you wanted to get better at shooting free throws in basketball, I'm pretty sure you'd do the same thing and just go park yourself on the foul line and shoot 100 or 200 shots a day.

After a good amount of slalom practice, we headed over the skid pad. Today we had two pads on course, with a smaller and a larger circle. Each driver could vary their practice by circling just the small one, just the large one, driving figure eights around both, or any other variation. We worked on doing a simple circle first, to feel the weight of the car and see how it reacted to increased throttle. By doing both, or the figure eight, we next added circling both clockwise and counter-clockwise. With this drill and in using both circles, it added a short straight for the drivers to start accelerating out of a turn, braking or lifting into the next turn, smoothing out their circle, and then getting back on the gas to do it all over again. Feeling the car react and trying to make it smooth (and eventually faster), plus feeling how much you can brake without blowing up your car are just some of the points of this exercise.

After a lunch brake, (BRAKE, get it?), we tweaked the skid pad area and set up a very short autocross for the afternoon. This course was very short, but it used a long slalom, a big sweeper, and then some offset "lane-changes" in a long straight to the finish line. For this part of the day we had the electronic timing system hooked up, so it was time to get instant feedback on how fast each driving run was done. We started slow, and again each set of drivers got about an hour of repeating and practicing on the same timed course. After each run we discussed how it went, and I always like to ask "what one part of the course can you go faster?" With lots of runs, this system works for me, and lets the student and instructor talk it over, and decide a strategy for improving. All along the way, the driving time for both Mike and Dallas kept dropping, so I'm going to say it was a great day!


Just to see how they did, here's their times over each run, and just like magic you can see their times drop as they refined their technique, and found precious tenths of seconds here and there. Remember, this is on a very short course of hard driving, and we're just improving their driving skills and not adding power or adjusting the car at all. At some point during the session, Driver A and I were checking tire pressures, so that's why he got a few less runs than Driver B.

Run Driver A Driver B
1 23.3 22.48
2 21.3 20.8
3 20 20.9
4 19.9 20.5
5 20.1 19.7
6 19.8 19.4
7 xx 19
8 19.4 18.8
9 19 18.8
10 19.2 18.8
11 18.2 18.3
12 18.8
13 18.318
14 18.2

(The "xx" in run 7 was from a temporary glitch in the timing system, so we thought it was the best run so far but can't prove it.)
Both of these drivers showed great improvement, and made their fastest runs at the end of their session with me out of the car! By dropping 4-5 seconds of time, they showed a lot of skill in a short amount of time. Amazingly, they both ended in the 18.2 range, so good stuff all around. 


If you can find a novice autocross school or any other type of driver school, my vote is to sign up now!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mustang For Sale--SOLD!

Resting indoors in Virginia

Well, you know that 6 cylinder Mustang we bought at auction last year? It's time of taking up space in the NMS-North garage is over, so we're offering it for sale in this Hampton Roads area Craigslist ad:Mustang

Let's answer the FAQ for you!

1. Yes, we have the title
2. No, it doesn't run right now.
3. Yes, the body is in good shape, so are the tires and wheels, that's why we bought it!
4. No, the odometer doesn't work, but it's around 198,000 miles from looking at the information we could find from previous owners.
5. Yes, we're asking $400 in US cash, currency, coins, or Saturday's winning Powerball ticket!
6. No,  we don't know much more about it, bought it at an abandoned auction, and was kind of hoping it ran or would be fixable for less than the cost of a replacement motor.
7. Yes, it gets fuel and spark, just doesn't turn over due to low compression.
8. No, I don't want to buy your motor unless you're donating!
9. Yes, it has both a Chiltons and a Haynes repair manual, how about that!
10. Yes, it does have a "Salt Life" sticker on the rear window already!
11. No, it's not a convertible, but it has an after market moon roof!
12. Yes, it's red, the fastest of all colors!
13. Yes, I'm sure it's 6 cylinders, I counted them myself.
14. No, I didn't miss counting two more cylinders.
15 Yes, I've got the key!
16. Yes, 5 speed manual transmission.

Shoot us a note in the comments section, or contact a friendly NMS driver near you for more information!

Pretty nice looking, huh?

Comes with Motor!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What I Learned on Track

#77 Passing on Track: Photo courtesy of OG Racing

Over the weekend of May 6-7, I spent nine 20 minute sessions on track and several other sessions in the classroom at Carolina Motorsports Park, trying to learn how to make the car go faster. That's the easy explanation, which broke down into various components of finding the fastest way around the track. So, in a 14 turn lap, other than accelerating, braking, shifting (up AND down, kinda like the two kinds of music in the Blues Brothers movie "Country AND Western"), track position, looking out for other cars in front and to the rear, and checking car condition from fuel level to air pressures, it was a pretty busy time.

As part of the NASA High Performance Driver Education program, I received my own little green log book, which is used for instructors to write comments and let the driver know what they need to work on the most. Besides sharing some photos and mentioning how much fun it was, I thought you might want to hear what in the world this was all about, and take a look at some of the details that an instructor can teach you. Out of the 44 items to check on, the ones I need the most work on to improve are:

-proper gear
-clutch action
Zack on Track: Photo from OG Racing

You'd think that shifting would be easy after doing it for years, but in this case, down shifting means to do it smoothly while braking into a corner, ideally while also blipping the throttle (hit the gas a bit while braking, with the same foot), so that the car doesn't get unsettled by bad shifting technique. This is something I'm aware that racers do, but I've just never done it before, so at least I know what I need to work on here. Watching the other cars out on track, it was easy to hear when they would rev the engine while shifting and braking into turn 1 at the end of a straight, so besides improving performance, it sounds cool too!

Other items I need to work on that my instructor highlighted were:

-observe redline
-course layout
-ABS/threshold braking
-corner entry speed
-look ahead
-smooth turn-in and track-out
-throttle at exit
-apex execution (that's a cool phrase, sounds like you're killing it!)
-use all the track
-at ease on track

Photo courtesy of OG Racing

Well, that's a good list of stuff to work on too! Overall probably OK for a first timer, and besides those items, there were those other 26 things that I did slightly better too. Hopefully I'll get to do this again this summer. For now, I'm looking forward to the coming weekend with teaching at Saturday's novice autocross school, and then Sunday's autocross competition with the Tidewater Sports Car Club here in Virginia Beach.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Decal Update

More Decals = More POWER!

You know, a lot of people think that they have to upgrade their car or the engine components to make their car faster, but what REALLY makes your car faster is MORE DECALS!

Our team of expert research scientists in the NMS labs have concluded that each individual decal or sticker you put on your car will increase it's speed, and boost the horsepower by 10hp. While other folks are wasting their money on expensive engines, turbos, superchargers, exhaust systems, fancy engine tunes, and better suspension parts or sticky tires, the NMS North team was able to increase the power of the FIAT Abarth by an easy 120 hp by just adding these stickers today.

Thanks to the following for the decals:

Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP), great race track
EBC Brake Pads, great brake pads, Yellow Stuff on the Abarth
National Auto Sport Association (NASA), great track events and other driving events
OG Racing, great Racer supplies
Snap-on Tools, great tools
Winding Road Racing, great Racer supplies

EBC Brakes and Winding Road Racing = 20hp!
EBC Brakes and NASA = 20 more horses!
The Snap-on Tools one is new, BAM! 10hp added!
OG Racing in the lower right = 10hp!
Snap-on plus the CMP track decal bring 20 more hp!
Winding Road racing and EBC Brakes add 20hp!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 20th Novice Autocross School in Virginia

Autocross at Pungo VA

Coming up on Saturday May 20th, (which is Cher's birthday, which I only know because it is also Katie Nixon's birthday, which I know because I was there!), the Tidewater Sports Car Club TSCC will sponsor a day of instruction for new autocross drivers. This Novice School is now open for registration at this link: Autocross Novice School The event will be held at Pungo Virginia near Virginia Beach. I like to call this spot the PUNGO AUTOCROSS CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (PACE)!

That web page is Motor Sports Registration, which has lists of all kinds of motor sports events all over the country. If you are ever looking for some auto driving action, check it out and I bet you'll find something going on somewhere near you!

In the morning we will check out your car to make sure it is safe (does it have brakes that work? must have seatbelts! no dangerous stuff floating around inside).
After some basic instruction outside of the car, then we'll split the students into two groups, and they will start driving. By setting up a skidpad  where you just drive in a circle and feel when your car starts to lose grip and slide, the students will really get the feel of what their cars can do...and what the car WON'T do!

After the skidpad, drivers will practice car control by going in a slalom, and should be able to start slow and gradually build up speed with repetition. Weaving left and right  around cones that are in a straight line is harder than it looks, as the car shifts weight back and forth, so drivers have to get the feel for when to hit the gas, when to turn the wheel, when to NOT hit the gas, etc.  Most autocross courses will have some slalom sections, so this is a great way to practice this technique.

After the FREE LUNCH (OK, it's included with your registration payment), we'll have students driving a real autocross course, and normally we'll see them continue to get faster with each run for the rest of the afternoon. Compared to a normal autocross competition with only 4 or 5 runs per day, this school will give the student a LOT more seat time, and will enable them to gain confidence in their driving abilities, and make them better/safer drivers in everyday driving too.

Here is the official info on the school:

-Registration ends in 6 days on May 17, 2017 11:59 PM EDT/

The school is geared towards novices. For the first half of the day students will rotate between a skidpad and slalom. After lunch a course will be put together and students will work on the basics, on the course, with and without their instructor.

The event is currently limited to 20 students with additional entries added to a wait list. In the event of cancellations or additional instructors being available, people in the waiting list will be notified. We are committed to provide the best novice instruction we can and will limit each instructor to 2 students.

Schedule of events:
7:30                  Gates Open
7:30 - 8:00       Registration
7:45 - 8:15       Tech Car Inspection
8:30                 Drivers Meeting / Class/ Group instruction
9:20                 Break up into groups - Group 1 to Grid
9:30                 First Car Off

9:30 - 10:30      Course Driving Group 1
10:30 - 11:30    Course Driving Group 2
11:30 - 12:30    Working Lunch (Provided with entry fee)
12:30                Instruction resumes
12:30 - 1:30     Course Driving Group 1
1:30 - 2:30       Course Driving Group 2
2:30 - 3:30       Course Driving Both Groups                        

3:30                End of Day meeting all help clean up

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Manor Formula 1 Team Auction On Line

If you're looking for over 3,000 items up for auction that come from the now bankrupt Manor F1 Team, do we have a link for you!  MANOR AUCTION

You only have until May 16th to bid on any (or all) items, as in THOUSANDS of car parts, tools, clothing, wheels, vehicles, etc. Let's take a look at some of the cool stuff you can't buy every day.

Lot number 1, a rolling chassis from the 2015 season. It doesn't quite have everything, missing an engine, gearbox, and steering wheel, but how cool would this bad boy be?

F1 Steering Wheel

Hey, those look like leaf blowers! What in the world is this? Well, glad you asked! The F1 cars mostly keep cool by going at high speeds on track. When they come in to the pits, you'll see the mechanics sticking these leaf blowers into the air ducts to keep forcing air through the radiators and keep the engine and other systems cool. Racing leaf blowers...I need a pair of those!

Quick, back to car stuff! How about a wheel? They've got a LOT! One idea for these BBS brand racing wheels is to put a cool piece of glass on top, and BAM you've got a cool F1 table! Or hang this thing on your garage wall and use it to coil power cords on. Your choice!

Here's a handy item, two boxes of Brembo Brake Fluid. Everyone mostly tries to make their car fast, but they sometimes forget that a faster car needs more help stopping from higher speeds. Also in the auction you could find some brake pads, calipers, and probably make your car stop better than ever!

Now seriously, this racing suit with the name "Alex" and a US flag on it is probably a valuable collectible. Alexander Rossi drove a few F1 races for Manor, and then last year you might have noticed that as a ROOKIE he won the Indianapolis 500! Even if this doesn't fit me, I think I need it!

There are tons of things in this auction, racer shoes, socks, laptops, welding gear, helmets, suits, tools, etc. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FIAT Track Weekend Report

I don't know about you, but I had a GREAT weekend driving the Abarth on a track!

Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) in South Carolina is a great little 14 turn track, mostly flat, and we were able to camp out for the weekend (other than some rain during Saturday night and surprisingly chilly evenings for May.) The day time weather was great though, and over 9 driving sessions on track and 5 classrooms sessions, I learned a lot about driving! The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) folks put on a very professional and well-organized event, so if you're looking to get on track, I highly recommend you go with them.

Sunday schedule, Saturday was very similar
On Saturday we started with a meeting for all drivers, and then we all split our different ways depending on what group we were in. NASA has 4 levels of high performance driver education (HPDE) starting with beginners like me in HPDE 1, and then moving up (when an instructor says you are ready) thru HPDE 2, 3, and then 4. The good thing about this system is that you will be on track with drivers of similar abilities, so that keeps things on the safe side. They have specific rules for passing other cars, depending on which HPDE group is running, so again, this makes things safer.

Brian's Miata, Robert's FIAT keeping cool
In classroom sessions, Johnny C. from OG Racing covered a lot of information. We learned about track procedures, the flags used by the corner workers, and then after several other groups had driven on track, it was our turn. In HPDE 1, each driver must have an instructor with them, and my instructor Jeff Williams was great! He had headsets for us to use, so that made it easy to talk while driving (since it's kinda noisy!)

FIAT on track
During the last session on Sunday, we had our  HPDE group combined with HPDE 2, so I was on track with Zack and Brian at the same time! That was even more fun, since Brian shot a video which enabled me to see my driving from a different point of view also. Lots and lots of fun, you should check out getting on track.

Bottom line, I learned a lot by riding with a pro instructor, the FIAT 500 Abarth held up great, brand new higher performance EBC Yellowstuff brakes were great,  I managed to put some wear on the Bridgestone tires, we camped out and had a great time, and the NASA folks put on a great event. You can find a link to NASA on our NMS page.