Monday, September 25, 2017

NMS Locks Up HS Class Championship!

HS winner, (OK, only car competing all year)

After taking the Tidewater Sports Car Club GS class title for the last two years, this year the FIAT Abarth was moved to HS class by the Sports Car Club of America,  and following September's event, has now wrapped another class title! Sunday's TSCC autocross at PACE (the world famous Pungo Autocross Center of Excellence!) ended with the FIAT taking first in HS against no other competitors, (but that still counts as first as far as my math skills tell me) and finished 15th overall on PAX time vs. all 50 drivers.

The latest points and results are available on the Tidewater Sports Car Club website TSCC

Just ahead of the NMS car in 12th is a big dog pile of very close scores, with each place just one point behind the next, so there is sure to be some changing places over the final two events of the year in October and November.

Place Driver Points
1 Stephen Fehr 498.43
2 Jason Lisner 492.87
3 Jeff Schmidt 483.59
4 Melissa Fehr 478.52
5 Keith Kasmire 477.98
6 William Teller 477.46
7 55 Stillman 476.55
8 Albert Jeff Laferty 475.45
9 Travis Wall 474.25
10 Danny Herrera 473.68
11 Anthony Mester 472.91
12 Robert Nixon 471.45
13 Keith Maples 460.79
14 Ronald Buchsen 458.61
15 Brendan Long 457.71
16 Paul Knowles 455.22
17 Benjamin Moore 448.96
18 David Smallridge 442.49
19 Hailey Schmidt 437.25
20 William Barnes 437.05

As far as the overall club championship goes, now with only two more events to go, the good news is that NMS is on pace to finish in the top 15 and meet our pre-season goal. The bad news is that it is now time to move to New York for a new job, so missing the last event or two will drop our overall placing quite a bit. It's been a blast to compete with the Tidewater folks for these three years, and we've made a lot of friends and had  a great time competing at Pungo, Little Creek, NCCAR, and Academi at various events. Right now it looks like the FIAT will be able to compete in the October event on the 15th, right in between packing, shipping, and moving to New York, so we'll see if life gets in the way of autocross or not!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Behold, STARTER GUY! While other superheroes in the autocross galaxy of awesomeness hold unique powers that enable cone-calling-comprehension (CORNER WORKER GUY), or smooth-structured-supreme-scoring (SCORER GUY), it is STARTER GUY that truly controls the universe of moving vehicles as they jockey for position and proper launching into the complicated confusion of electronically determined placings and awarding of points.

Without STARTER GUY, the hapless machine drivers would surely collide with each other and render the race results futile and useless. STARTER GUY brings order to this confusing chaos and enables eager motor heads to magnificently mount their horse powered patrols and fight for freedom and victory on the hallowed grounds of PUNGO!

While brandishing his FLAG OF GREEN and RADIO OF POWER, STARTER GUY is the final authority on when competitors may unleash the Kraken, and most importantly refuses to allow them to launch until his eagle eyed vision has detected no cone lackeys lollygagging on course, and that safety of all peoples is secure.

It is rumored that STARTER GUY was born in the back seat of a 54 Corvette, and currently lives in the supercharger from a moonshine runner's Superbird, but little is truly known of STARTER GUY. Some say he never sleeps, and only eats hot dogs from the Martinsville infield concession stand, which requires him to have his sustenance mailed to him on a weekly basis.

Never-the-less, we can all rest easy at night knowing that the superheroes of autocross are out there doing their jobs, and that they will return at the next competition to preserve our racing rights!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LEMONS Weekend!

Brian Ready to Get on Track
Last weekend we were back at Carolina Motorsports Park for the 24 Hours of Lemons, and I'll just sum it up by saying that watching crap cars race on track for a weekend is a LOT of fun! There are Lemons (and Chumpcar) races all over the place, so if you have any interest in getting on track, working on cars, or having FUN, this is a sport for you! I was just attending to watch, and even I had FUN! Brian was one of the team members and drove on track, and I know that he had FUN too!
Pit Stop for Driver Change and Fuel

Team Coronautski had been born about 2 years ago with a 72 Dodge Coronet that had about 50% rust and 50% metal, so the short version is that the team of drivers have been working on this thing/car for a long time, mostly over the past 9 months. After testing the car at CMP in May, they continued to refine their repair strategy, fuel consumption, and basically lots of other surprise repairs as part after part kept breaking on the car!
The Awesome Super KGB Dodge Coronet

The result of all their work was that for day 1, Saturday's 8.5 hours of racing, the car stayed out on track, despite a bit of over heating of the starter (just push start it!), and one off-track excursion caused by a competitor's car that got a little loose, forcing the Dodge off track and causing some suspension damage. Despite those few setbacks and an extra couple of pit stops for a bad tire and to ice up the cool-shirt system, the team was running solidly around 14th-18th place all day long. Brian had driven in the middle of the afternoon, and held on to a steady 17th place during his hour and a half of driving.
Make your Corvette Race Car into a Golf Cart? Sure!

Overnight, the team managed multiple repairs and were back on track. It was a blast watching all 66 or so cars on track, and overall the racing was safe with only a few cars spinning or going off track, plus break downs that you have to expect with cars that cost less than 500 bucks! Going into the final 2  hours on Sunday, the team was on pace to finish in the top 15 overall.
Starter Issues on Saturday = Push Start!

However, the clutch that had been sourced from a mysterious source in the Far East at midnight near Shanghai finally failed. The original Dodge motor? No Problems! The transmission that had been transplanted from a Chevy Colorado to convert the Dodge from auto to manual? No Problems! The team of drivers, repairs, fuel stops? No problems! Even with losing the final 90 minutes on track, Team Coronautski still finished a very respectable 22nd overall, with 297 laps covered in approximately 13 hours of driving on track.
Friday Night Block Party. Even the Judges Want Photos of This Thing!

Great job to the team, friends, and family supporters! We anticipate that the purple powered Dodge will return to another Lemons race in February at Barber Motor Sports in Alabama, so stay tuned until then to follow along with more endurance racing crap-car goodness!

Dodge Uses Genuine "Mopoor" Parts

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Forget BMW: Try an EMW!

EMW foreground, red and white instead of BMW blue and white
Today's topic: German cars, what do you know? I imagine you know Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, and if you're really into cars you might have heard of DKW, Auto Union, Messerschmidt, or other uncommon German cars too. Specifically, have you heard of EMW? Pretty much BMW but with an E and not a B.

Long story short, at the end of WWII the country was split into four different zones controlled by the US, Russia, England, and France. The famous BMW company basically had two facilities that suddenly were in different zones, and eventually in two different countries when East Germany and West Germany were formed. The BMW folks in Munich weren't allowed to build cars right away, but that BMW plant over in Eisenach eventually got back to making cars. To avoid confusion with the BMW folks, and because the Munich BMW folks were suing them, they changed their logo and went with the name EMW. You can read more about EMW and it's various incarnations such as Wartburg and Dixi at this Wikipedia page: Eisenach

The folks in Eisenach had been building cars since before 1900, and operated under other names before being bought by BMW in the 1920s. Overall, the EMW brand only lasted from 1952-1955, and produced around 30,000 cars. The factory was still building BMWs after WWII, but it was in 1952 that BMW regained exclusive rights, so the EMW brand was born, along with ownership by the East German government. After the reunification of Germany, the Eisenach factory went out of business, with an Opel factory opening near by. One of the buildings from the EMW days still exists as a car museum, so if you're in the area let us know if you check it out! My German isn't so hot, but I can tell that the museum only costs 6 Euros to visit: Eisenach Auto Museum

That's the basic story I learned while watching a 100 year history of BMW, 1916-2016, and since it was news to me I just thought you'd need to know about EMW! One final tidbit about EMW is that for one German Grand Prix race they entered one of their EMW cars, but sadly it didn't even finish it's only race.

If I'd ever seen an EMW I'd be  happy to share a photo of one, but since that has never happened, here's a website that has a few for sale! Classic Trader UK
To narrow down my Christmas wish list, if you're shopping for me already, here's a 1952 EMW up for sale in Wurzburg Germany that would be great! EMW 327-2

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can You Name the Top Five Tire Makers?

Well let's see, there's the tires on the little Hot Wheels cars, so those Mattel guys probably make more tires than anyone! Then the stone masons that make cars for the Flintstone car are probably in the top five, even though those tires last a LONG time. Someone is making tires for the next generation of moon car Lunar Rover that I read about, so maybe that's the Moon Tire Company?

Seriously, our friends at Rubber and Plastic News have informed us that the top tire makers, as judged by tire sales figures are as follows: Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli, Sumitomo.

Congrats to Bridgestone, and we're happy to also let you know that both NMS autocross cars are riding on Bridgestone's Potenza RE71-R tires.

This article from Rubber and Plastic News goes into more depth on tire sales, how the market is performing, and compares tire sales to previous years. Rubber and Plastic News

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Wow, it's been 9 solid months of work on the Coronet but we're finally ready to race!

All stickered up and ready to race.

This was the big final weekend to prep the car and ourselves before the team's first wheel-to-wheel road race.  I kicked things off this weekend by playing on my strengths and pulling together all of our vinyl graphics for the car.  The layered colors of the Super KGB logo were particularly challenging but I think it turned out pretty good.
Stage 1: three separate colors of vinyl cut and ready to layer for the final look. 

All three layers combine to form: Super KGB!

We loaded up that new panel sealing the trunk with a bunch of the stickers from the car's heritage. We've got one of the official Lemons stickers from each of the three races it's previously competed in as well as a few others that represent previous teams.
Rear panel with lots of cool stickers.

We were still struggling with the car pulling to the left when test driving it so we decided it was time to cash in on that street-legal status and take it to our local Firestone store for an alignment with a computer. The local guys did a killer job and now the car is handling better than ever!
Showing off the car to a few people while waiting for an alignment.

Back at the CEC Racing shop, Luke and I dug into John's electric scooter/moped/motorcycle that he couldn't get running and donated to the team to use as a pit bike to get around paddock at the racetrack.  Luke is a total pro at working with electrical systems and had it mostly figured out in minutes. We stripped it down to the bare minimum weight and I hand build a custom front panel.  Hopefully with a special borrowed power charger we'll be zipping through paddock on our new bike.
Pit Bike of DOOOM!

Back to real work, we had everyone go through safety drills to practice escaping from the car in the event of an emergency.  Disconnect the 5 point harness, turn off the master kill-switch, disconnect the radio and cool shirt connections, drop the window net or open the door, and hop out!  All under 15 seconds if possible.
Team Effort: Luke straps John into the car for escape drills.

Happily, everyone on the team easily escaped through doors and windows under 15 seconds. Safety First.
Like a flash: Kyle escapes the car in a hurry while wearing full race gear.

Continuing our safety theme, we have opted to exceed the minimum required safety equipment for the 24 Hours of Lemons. We've got our required five point harness, head and neck restraints, a solidly supported racing seat, window net and middle safety net along with an on board fire extinguisher right at the driver's finger tips. Everything has been tested and is up to date on certifications.
Looking cool, staying safe: Luke straps in with his full gear. You can see both the window net and the middle net in place to prevent us from getting flung from side to side in an incident. 

At the end of the day we loaded up Landon's trailer with all our gear. All that's left is to meet up at the track Friday and have fun next weekend!
All tucked in and dreaming of late apexes. 

Stay tuned for up to the minute race updates at:

Station Wagons


At various times in automotive history, the humble station wagon has been both very popular, and very unpopular. Way back when, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the minivan and SUV hadn't been invented yet, the family station wagon was the way to haul people and stuff. Of course plenty of children survived riding in the back of the family pickup truck too, but with the station wagon those kids could stay dry in the rain!


There aren't a LOT of station wagons being made today, but they really do exist. Personally I would prefer a Clark Griswold woody version like the car in the National Lampoon Vacation movie, just to score more geeky driver points, but there are some other worthy cars out there too. Not common in the US is the Jaguar estate, with "estate" being a fancy English word used for those who can't be bothered to spell "Station Wagon." Maybe there is some history to the Station Wagon term, but since I don't feel like Googling today, I'm just going to guess that it's a hand-me-down descendant from the Wild Wild West and stagecoaches. Or stage coaches that rode from station to station, and since they were wagons, well, there's got to be a station wagon in there somewhere. 


OK, I lied about looking it up! The station wagon term probably comes more from the train stations and the wagons or carts that were used to move luggage and other bits of stuff around. I kind of like the Wild Wild West version with stagecoaches, but who said life is fair? Regardless, you can read more on the term station wagon and "shooting break" from our funny friends over at at this link: why-is-it-called-a-station-wagon

Yesterday's Cars and Coffee offered these station wagons, ranging from a current Audi wagon that's been lowered or bagged, a Ford Taurus that was turned into a wagon (at least I think that's where it came from), and an awesome Saab wagon. The one cool thing about old station wagons like the one my friend Tom had in high school was that they generally came with giant motors, so you didn't have to worry about not much power back in the 70s.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September Cars and Coffee Virginia Beach Style

Cars and Coffee Virginia Beach
Bottom Line Up Front: The first Saturday of every month is the Virginia Beach Cars and Coffee informal car meet. No judging. No prizes. Just car people hanging out. Drinking Coffee.

SECOND Bottom Line Up Front: When it RAINS during the first Saturday of the month, VA Beach Cars and Coffee gets moved to the second Saturday of the month! Here's some highlights from early this morning:

Tesla Model X: gull wing 2nd doors


Audi wagon

Daytona replica, probably a Factory Five

Always good to see another FIAT

And ANOTHER FIAT, an old Jolly

Dodge Viper in pumpkin spice
Toyota modified with open air 2nd row seats!

Ford Focus RS Cosworth with HUGE spoiler, left hand drive

Classic Mustang in GOLD BABY!

Newer Mustang in, uh, two tone!

Rat Rod truck

Great RAT WHEELS "Hot Wheels" logo

Early 50s Ford with 2 passengers in the back seat

One of the passengers
Peugeot in the US I guess!

Pick your yellow, Pontiac Fiero or Toyota FJ Cruiser

Not a yellow fan, how about this Charger?


Special Saab version of the Ferrari prancing horse

More Saab goodness

Classic Triumph Spitfire

And then the sun came up
Drone coverage


Metropolitan, VERY small rear seat!


You just don't see these every day!

Mustang II

1936 Chevy

Tesla front trunk

Carroll Shelby signed Mustang

New Civic Type R driver's seat

Civic Type R: $34K, plus market adjustment = total $51,000

Civic Type R, just over 300 horsepower