Thursday, March 4, 2021

So, I Sold My Aston Martin

A real Aston Martin


Some time ago, way back in 2020, I bought some shares of Aston Martin stock. I'm not a millionaire, and I can't afford to buy an Aston Martin car like James Bond, but on the other hand, I have a feeling he gets his for free! Anyway, I was looking at Aston Martin stock and saw that at the time the price was something like 75 cents per share. Shoot, even I can afford 75 cents for a share of a cool car company. So long story short, I bought some shares at 75 or so cents, figuring that the worst thing that would happen is that my money would be worth less, but at least I could always say "I used to own an Aston Martin."

Over the decades, from what I can read, the Aston Martin company has had more bad times than good as far as making money goes, so in the long run it's probably no the greatest investment in the world. However, in the past year, there have been some big names investing in the company trying to turn it around. F1 racer Lance Stroll's dad Lawrence Stroll being a big investor, and so much so that he's going to also bring Aston Martin back into Formula 1 this year, having bought out the Racing Point team, also formerly known as Force India. 

Then the Mercedes folks wanted to own a part of Aston Martin, or more than they used to, so they've invested a bunch of dollars and pounds and Euros into Aston Martin. With all this interest in the brand, plus the return to F1, I was thinking just maybe the stock price will go up! I also buy 70 million to 1 lottery tickets, so you can already tell I'm not the most gifted math person on the planet. 

As I was happily following along "my" company's stock price, it would go down, then up, mostly down, but kept hovering around the price I'd paid for it, so it was fun to keep track of along the way. Then one day I looked at the price of the stock, and it wasn't in pennies, it was in dollars, like 15 dollars per share. This made no sense to me, but of course if anyone ever wanted to give me 20 times what it had been worth before, that would be OK with me! 

It turned out to be a "reverse stock split," where they took every 20 shares you used to have, and gave you 1 in return, at the same value. This meant that I didn't make any money, and didn't lose any money. I guess companies will do this to make the company stock price more appealing, since who would invest in a 10 cent or 75 cent stock? That kind of price makes it sound like the company isn't doing very well. But, a 15 dollar stock...well, maybe that sounds more like a real company that's selling stuff and making money. Who knows? 

Anyway, somehow this must have worked, or maybe Mr. Stroll's involvement worked, or maybe the Mercedes involvement worked, or maybe even having a Formula 1 team again worked, because the stock price soon doubled to about 30 bucks a share! Of course my 75 cents didn't go up to 30 dollars, but it did go up to a whopping $1.50 once you do the math. 

So, after a few months of ownership, and no miles per gallon, I sold my Aston Martin. Maybe there is a Chinese car company I can buy next. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Wash Day


The rain and the snow finally stopped for part of the weekend, so it was time to get at least the first layer of dirt off of the cars. I've been happy with a new power washer from Ryobi, and I know there are really great car detailers out there, but I'm more of a basic "wash the big chunks off" kind of guy. A bucket of warm water with car washing soap, one big old sponge, and a power washer works OK. 

My theory is that with less dirt, leaves, bugs, etc on the car, that it will weigh less and go faster at the driving events coming up in March. For me that means 2 autocross events, and a track weekend all in March. Can't wait!





The old Toyota Camry is still going strong. Plenty of little dings and a few scratches on the outside. 



Ruby. Ruby Red Metallic. 




Saturday, February 27, 2021

Track Time Countdown


ONE MONTH TO TRACK WEEKEND

NMS-North will return to the track with the NASA NE folks on March 27-28 at New Jersey
Motorsports Park on the Lightning Course. NJMP is big enough to have 2 tracks, so maybe 
we'll go back some other time and run on the THUNDER side too. My track driving is not 
racing against other cars, so I'm working on improving my driving skills in what is called 
High Performance Driver Education, or HPDE. 

Down South, Brian has been getting fully prepped for some serious Time Trialing this year, 
now that he has a TT license. This week he's brought in some new G-Loc brake pads, and a
transponder for that official timing. More to come from him this year in the NMS track Miata 
too. 

OK, now that I've had this Cayman for a while, I know how to start the car and put gas in it, 
so those aren't the kind of things I'll learn in driver education. It's a little more advanced 
than that! Groups like NASA have a structured series of steps for drivers to go through as they
gain skills. What do you get for your "education?"  Eventually this can lead to getting a 
competition license if you want to do actual racing against other cars on track. If you don't want 
to go full on racing, fine, you can just improve your car handling skills and have fun!

 

You can check out the NASA FAQ on these type of events at this link: 

NASA starts drivers in the HPDE 1 group, and as they improve their skills and basically 
show that they can play well with others, progress up to HPDE 4. I'm hoping to move from 
group 1 to group 2 in March, so that's my next goal. You can do this in just about any car, 
although with most convertibles you need a roll bar, in addition to the helmets that are 
mandatory in all groups. Here's a look at the various cars signed up for my HPDE 1 driving 
sessions starting on Saturday:

BRAND  MODEL
Lexus     GS300
Honda    S2000
BMW      330ci
Toyota    Supra
Toyota    Supra
Acura      Integra
VW         GTI
Toyota    Supra
Porsche  Cayman
Porsche  Panamera
Subaru    Legacy GT Spec B
Infinity     Q50
CHEVY   CORVETTE
Mini         Cooper
Toyota     Supra
Scion       FRS
Nissan     GT-R
Toyota     Supra
Toyota     86
Mazda     Miata
VW          Alltrack
Chevy     Corvette
Honda     Civic
BMW       M3
Toyota     Supra
Honda     Civic Type R
BMW       M3
Cadillac   ATS-V
Ford        Focus

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Autocross Countdown

 


TWO WEEKS TO AUTOCROSS


Here in the frozen north, we're in between snowstorms for the moment, so we've started counting the days to the first autocross of 2021. The NMS-North team (me) will focus on the Metro NY Region Porsche Club of America events, and they'll average about one per month from March to November. Like everything else in life, your mileage may vary, and your  mileage will also be based on COVID conditions. 

Last year we were happy to compete just two times on the autocross trail, so getting to drive a full season in 2021 would be just about the greatest thing since sliced bread. I really don't know why sliced  bread is so great, but I'll guess it's because without sliced bread, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be HUGE on two loaves of bread!

Prep wise, we'll need to get the 18 inch OZ wheels back on the car, adjust those tire pressures like Goldilocks (til they're "just right") and then torque the bolts, check the brakes and gas, and get ready to ride. On autocross days, there's a bit more to do, but that's just mostly remembering to bring all the essentials. Sometimes it's the "remembering" part that doesn't go perfectly, and sometimes it's the "essentials" part that needs improvement, so I'm planning to stick with my handy NMS Autocross Packing Checklist, so that I don't forget my helmet, or the head it attaches to. 

Speaking of helmets, my new Zamp helmet is mighty white and plain looking, so it will be good to start getting it dirty and covered with obnoxious stickers. Covering things with obnoxious stickers is kind of what auto sports are all about. The only difference for the professionals is that they are getting paid to put obnoxious stickers on their cars, and the rest of us do it for fun, or to pretend we're professionals. Regardless, each sticker on your car is equal to a gain of 5 horsepower!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Who Sold the Most Cars in 2020?

 


According to this article from CNN CNN Auto Sales  Toyota sold the most vehicles world wide in 2020. For the previous few years, it was Volkswagen, and before that, Toyota. And way back in 2012 or so, it used to be General Motors. 

Up here at NMS-North we've done our part, at least in years past, since we own a Toyota (Camry) and a VW product (Porsche Cayman.) In the past we had a grand total of three VWs (2 Rabbits and a Fox, something about the animal names maybe?) but the Camry is our first Toyota. 

We tried to help Chrysler by buying a couple of Plymouths back in the day (Plymouth Neon, Plymouth Voyager mini-van) but heck, you can't buy ANY new Plymouths anymore. We had a few Fords (Mustang, Aerostar mini-van, Fiesta, Focus, etc) as well. Down at NMS-South they are supporting the Mazda/BMW/Chevrolet folks, but no VWs or Toyotas right now. 

Auto sales overall were down in 2020, I'll give you three reasons: Covid, covid, and COVID!



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Miata Maintenance

Believe it or not, it gets a little chilly in South Carolina. Well, in an unheated garage on a rainy day it gets chilly. But, that wasn't going to stop NMS-South in getting some basic maintenance done on the Miata. The team completed 3 basic bits of work that can keep your car running like a champ. On a safety note, the car was safely jacked up and supported with 4 jack stands. Let's get started.  

#1 OIL CHANGE

Not really hard to do, but important to keep on top of regular oil changes to keep the inside of your engine happy. Also, in extreme cases, to keep the inside of your engine ON THE INSIDE! As in, keep it lubricated so it doesn't BLOW UP! Here's a look at the engine bay of the Miata. If you're used to driving mid engine or rear engine cars, don't be confused, the Mazda folks put the engine in the FRONT of the car! 


#2 SPARK PLUGS

On the Miata, spark plugs are fairly straight forward to do, with the job made easier with the engine in front, and the spark plugs on top of the engine, and with out a million intakes and other engine bits in your way. Just pull the ignition wires, and you're ready to get in there with your spark plug socket. Miatas are 4 cylinder, so only 4 spark plugs to do. Here's an "after" picture if you're in the market for some used spark plugs. We'll sell these CHEAP! 



#3 STARTER

The old starter wasn't exactly firing right up all the time, and we knew it was probably older than any item in the local grocery store (whatever that means), so taking out the old one and putting in a new starter was just the thing to help spend a rainy cold day in the garage. Besides, with only 3 bolts and the electrical connection, how hard could this be? 

OK, like just about any car repair you watch on a YouTube video, it's super easy to unbolt the old thing and bolt in the new thing. The FUN part comes in when the starter bolts are WAY down there behind the engine and just a little bit hard to reach. Now, if you're a professional mechanic and have those three feet long ratcheting wrenches (I'm sure someone makes them, if not, I'll go invent one) to make this really easy. But, in our case, it was reaching way down behind the block with a little non-ratcheting wrench and start taking the bolts off one itty bitty turn at a time. There just wasn't enough room to get the ratchet in there. Did we mention the starter bolts are pretty long too? So anyway, it took a while, but finally Brian took off the old starter and put the new one in. 

Here's a new and shiny Starter!


Here are two starters. Maybe you can tell which is the old dirty one? 


#4 FINAL TEST     

Now comes the moment of truth, with our oil change, spark plug change, and new starter installed, will the car actually start? Please, no wagering!








Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The NMS Interview: Walter Chrysler

Walter Chrysler's Long Island home

Reporting to you from Kings Point NY, I'm sitting here talking to the ghost of Walter Chrysler on the grounds of what was his lovely home on the north shore of Long Island. Walter hasn't exactly been keeping up with the auto industry since he left us in the 1940s, but with his experience as one of the founders of the modern automotive industry, we thought we'd have a little chat on the state of the business today. 

NMS: Walter, how's it going
WC: Well, I don't know, you tell me, it's 2021 you say?

NMS: Yes, and we'd like to ask your thoughts on the FCA merger with PSA. 
WC: FCA?  PSA? What is that? A disease I died from?

NMS: No Walter, PSA, now that's the French firm Peugeot, that includes Citroen. 
WC: Oh, French cars, they're nice enough I suppose. 

NMS: Well specifically, they just merged with FCA. 
WC: You're going to have to throw me a bone here, what exactly is FCA again? Did you run out of real names and words in the future and have to call everything by it's initials?

NMS: Oh, sorry. FCA is the FIAT-Chrysler-Automobile company formed when FIAT bought your old business during a world wide economic problem.
WC: (coughs, shakes his head) Some Italians bought MY company? They used to have a FIAT factory just north of New York City, but I thought they closed?  An American company bought by Europeans. Did the owner lose a bet, or lose it in a poker game or something?

NMS: Well Walter, it's a long story, but car companies around the world have combined, merged, and combined again. Don't ask about Mercedes-Chrysler, it's a long story. 
WC: What? Wait? Mercedes? The Germans? I knew it, we lost a bet with someone for sure! Darn it, one day you've just built the world's tallest building, my Chrysler building, and then a month or two later, BAM! Someone comes along with an Empire State Building! Well, anyway, you say the Germans merged with my company too? What other crazy things have been going on? I suppose they make cars in Japan now too! 

NMS: Moving on, we now have a newly named company Stellantis that is made up of your firm Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, FIAT, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Citroen, DS, and Lancia.
WC: OK, look, I get it, things change. Now that I look around my house here, just why are all these people in uniform here? Are they the groundskeepers?

NMS: No Mr. Chrysler, your house is now part of the US Merchant Marine Academy. 
WC: Really? Wow. Can I get on one of their ships and sail out of here now? 

NMS: Now Mr. Chrysler, we've barely gotten started, and we haven't even talked about Stellantis yet. 
WC: You're asking the questions mister, go ahead. 
NMS: So, what do you think about it? 
WC: About WHAT? Is this one of those "who's on first" things? Those Abbot and Costello fellows really make me laugh!

NMS: What we're trying to explain is that a group of French auto makers have just combined with the FIAT and Chrysler group of US and Italian car makers to form a very large company, and instead of picking the name Chrysler, or FIAT, or Peugeot, they used a new name, Stellantis. 
WC: That is amazing, so many brands combined together, it's kind of crazy when things you are so used to change. It's as if the Brooklyn Dodgers weren't in Brooklyn!  Just unimaginable. 

NMS: Look, we can update you on baseball later, what are your thoughts about this new giant car company?
WC: OK, look, if we're going to talk about something, you could at least come up with something new! I mean, for Pete's sake, I started my own company after running Buick for GM, and then turning around Willys-Overland, and all of that was just a warm-up act! I bought Maxwell-Chalmers and turned them into Chrysler, and then joined with the Dodge Brothers. Did you forget that I started Plymouth and DeSoto too? Look sonny-boy, if you think I'm going to be impressed with a couple of car companies working together, you've got another think coming! I said good-day sir!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

Tires. Kind of useless without wheels

If you've got a car, odds are that it has wheels. OK, Fred Flintstone, we see you with your hand in the air, but I'm going to call those rolling stones on your car "wheels" too. For most cars, they come with one standard size, and it's likely that for a few extra dollars you could get bigger, taller, sportier, or better wheels as an option. One of my favorite movies "My Cousin Vinnie" kind of centers around some Michelin tires, 14 inch sized, the most popular tire in America back in the day. These days, you're more likely driving around on much larger wheels than that!

19 inch wheel with snazzy color Porsche center cap

In the case of the Cayman, in 2009 they came with either 17, 18, or 19 inch wheels. The NMS version was bought used, and came with these 19 inch wheels, which look pretty cool, but because of the snazzy wheel design, they have unique lug nuts that also require a special adapter for the 19mm socket. Plus, they're a bit used and road-rashed, so I've been looking for some replacements for every day driving. 


Used tires from the Fiat Abarth, 17 inch
I gave these to a local guy that needed some tires


Every day driving is a relative term, since I don't drive it every day, so let's just tell it like it is and say "cheaper and smaller", as in some used 17 inch wheels. Since I already bought some awesome OZ wheels with Hankook tires in 18 inch size, I figured the 17 inch wheels will give me plenty of options for tires, and work just fine for non-competitive driving. 

17 inch Porsche wheel, plain black logo center cap

Above are the wheels I bought from another Porsche owner, he had listed them on the Rennlist forum, and with the used tires on here needing replacing, it's time to go tire shopping! Oh, and time to go 19 inch wheel/tire  selling too! I appreciate the 2nd stimulus payment that arrived recently, but it's not really enough for a new set of tires! Hey Washington DC, here's an idea, every American gets a new set of tires for free every year! That would boost the old economy, and the tire makers, tire shops, mechanics, and pretty much everybody wins!

18 inch OZ wheels ready to rumble on track


In review, we've covered my 19 and 17 inch wheels. What's missing? My 18 inch wheels! I bought them shortly after getting the car, and with the thought that 18 inch tires are cheaper than 19 inch tires. Overall that's a pretty good rule, smaller tires are cheaper tires. I also went all out with the OZ wheels, so these are my wheels/tires I use just for autocross and track driving. If you've never heard of OZ wheels, well, they make all the wheels for Formula 1, so that's good enough for me. This model is the Allegerita, which means they are lighter, so in a perfect world, they help make the car go faster. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Also The World's Easiest Maintenance DIY (Porsche Project 8)

Something arrived in the mail from Rock Auto today!

"DIY" of course being "do it yourself." Being able to do ANYTHING yourself can be fun, cheaper, more expensive, frustrating, or really any emotion depending on how the job goes. In this case, windshield wiper replacement. Sure, you can pull into your local auto parts store and they'll do it for you, and in fact once I did this very thing since the friendly counter guy offered. But most of the time it's more fun to do it yourself. Also every time, I forget how to do it, because no matter how easy it is, or how "idiot-proof" it is, well, the world keeps making better idiots too, like me, when I have to look up a video or manual on how to do the blades again. 

Old Wiper Blades

Step One: Out With the Old

I can claim that if I did this job every day, the odds are much better that I'd remember how to do it, but wiper blades seem to be one of the replacement items that is just infrequent enough to make me forget how to do it. Maybe some really gung-ho types out there have a special calendar to track this info, or a phone app that goes DING-CHANGE YOUR BLADES!, or they change their wiper blades on a regular schedule. For the rest of us, and I'm willing to bet it's MOST of us, I'll guess that new wiper blade day comes around maybe every 3.8 years. This is totally scientific, based on analysis of millions of motorists around the world, taking into account the varied weather patterns, driving habits, and annual mileage of those millions of drivers, density of 88% chocolate, and the price of tea in China. 

Rotate the blade till you can see how it detaches

Squeeze these little tabs and away we go

Oh, sorry, I just made up that 3.8 year thing, let's every 3-4 years just for the heck of it. 

In the interests of research, I priced some wiper blades for my car, and at one local store found a single blade, 22 inches, for about 20 bucks. As part of this research, I actually bought that blade, for some reason thinking it was a package of TWO blades, and a short hour later at home, opened the package and learned a valuable lesson. Blades tend to come in packages of ONE. See how long it's been since I'd bought any? I don't even know how many eggs come in a dozen anymore, because I never buy those things either. Oh well. 

When all else fails, look at the instructions on the package
Pro Tip: This actually helps!

So, also doing more research, to make up for the previous expensive research of buying one blade and then finding out it was the wrong one anyway, I went back to RockAuto.com and ordered what should be the RIGHT blades (with an S) this time, for about 2 bucks each. As in "way cheaper" and "way more convenient" and "another great true-to-life story you can only find (thank goodness) on this blog. Life isn't always pretty, but it sure makes me laugh!

Old on top, new on bottom. The old ones have a bigger structure, probably deflects the wind and bugs or something, who knows?

New blades installed. Waiting for rain to test performance!


Monday, January 18, 2021

Porsche Project 7: Simple, Easy, Piece of Cake!

Just added the McLaren flag, love the papaya orange!

Here's a totally optional bit of work on the car that doesn't make the car go faster, but some people love this way of making their car look cooler or cleaner. The Cayman doesn't have an easy way to attach a front license plate, and some owners (so I've heard) are so picky about putting some holes in the plastic bumper to mount a license plate that they just might not even bother, and just drive around illegally with only one plate. If you live in one of the states where you don't need a front license plate, no problem! 


When I got this car, it already had the plate mounted on the front, so that's how I kept it until now. Thanks to a friendly Porsche owner on Long Island who didn't need this license plate mount, here's my latest bit of car part for mounting the license plate to the tow bar. What's a tow bar? Glad you asked!

Four screws to mount the license plate on this frame, a big black screw in holder that 
goes into the tow hook receptacle, and an Allen wrench


Before using the new mount, the top is attached by two screws with chrome covers 




Screw covers removed (easy!)




Plate, frame, black plastic Porsche backing all removed, bring on the new thing!
Only had to use a screwdriver so far. Easy!



This round cover pops out pretty easily, although you can see the bumper has been scratched from previous removal. 
 

Ah ha, there is the threaded tow hook mount hiding back there. 
The car comes with a tow hook, so the next time I'm on a track I'll take off the license
plate and put the tow hook in....and then drive safely so I don't need to be towed!


Attaching the license plate tow hook holder thingy with a 19mm wrench. Easy


Attaching the plate holder with an Allen wrench. Easy




Fastening the 4 bolts with the Allen wrench and a 10mm. This Snap-on wrench makes up 50% of my Snap-on tools, so as you can tell, I haven't won the lottery yet! 


Done, told you it was easy! 

So far I'm not sure I'll keep it this way because the license plate sticks out a bit from the bumper, and there are some small screw holes from the original mounting point. I've read that those holes can be filled with putty or whatever and painted to match the bumper color, but my gut feeling is I'm not worried about the appearance that much. Now if there is proof that 4 small screw holes in the bumper make the car more aerodynamic and FASTER, well, then I'm keeping it the way it is!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2020 Fantasy F1 Wrap Up

You're likely familiar with Fantasy Football, and Rotisserie Baseball, and I've done my share of losing in those areas too! I was hoping that F1 would be a little easier, since hey, there's only 20 drivers on 10 teams, so odds are even pure guessers might even do well! Here's one last review of 2020, as in "how'd that Formula 1 Fantasy League turn out?" 

It was fun, but out of 550,891 players from around the world, I finished in 109,006th place! Hey, that's something you can't say every day, that "I'm the 109,006th best in the world!" And I'll never say it again either! On a positive note, that puts me ahead of about 441,885 other folks. Oh well. It was fun, we'll try it again in 2021, so stay tuned for the NMS F1 Fantasy League!









Saturday, January 9, 2021

Radiator Grille Install: Porsche Project 6

Flying Car?


We've been loving the 2009 Cayman, and taking care of minor maintenance this winter too. Today's project is designed to help prevent problems with the two front radiators. This is something I've read about in the past, that the design of the car can result in road debris getting stuck up against the radiators, so you have to clean them out. The radiators are located low to the ground, with one on the driver side and one on the passenger side, hidden about 15 inches inside the front of the bumper. This design results in plenty of air flowing to the radiators, but also allows leaves, pinecones, and other foreign debris to get trapped in these little caverns, and just clump up in front of the cooling fins. The part of the bumper in front of the caves has some cool looking slats, but they are still just wide open, so that's where all the leaves get in. 


Orange circles show you the radiator grill ducts

Luckily, there are smart people out there who have developed screens to install near the bumper opening that will block the debris, but still let plenty of air get where it needs to go. After Googling around a few different designs and different price ranges, here's what we spent our money on for this: 

This screen will go on the passenger side. It comes with the 3 zip-ties already attached!
Another screen in the kit takes care of the driver side. 

From the cleverly titled Radiator Grille Store, we will install these beauties, one in each radiator duct, and hopefully help keep those radiators working like they should, and eliminate the risk of any damage from extra "stuff" getting in the way. 


You could do this by removing the entire bumper assembly, or 
just squeeze the new cover and your hand in between these slats in the opening like I did. 
Also in this photo you see the opening leading back to the radiator is plenty big enough
to let in leaves, trash, small rocks, etc. 

Bunch of leaves stuck in front of the radiator. Step 1 was to reach in, and pull it all out, 
with a little help from the shop-vac. If you've got really skinny arms no problem, otherwise
plan on scratching up your hand and arms a little bit. 

No more debris! Time to install the grills to prevent this from happening in the first place!



Here's the grill in place, now I just have to tighten up the zip ties around the original grill slats. Other than the shop-vac, and something to reach the leaves in there, no tools required!
Oh, and get a knife or something to trim the zip ties. 

This all might sound like over-kill to keep the radiators clear, so I just think of the NASCAR or F1 races I've seen where just a little bit of blockage in front of a radiator can ruin a race by slowing the car, causing it to overheat, or even knock the driver out of the race. Not that I'm being paid to drive or anything, but getting my money's worth out of the radiator makes sense to me!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Goals for 2021

Pre-Pandemic visit to the Ghostbusters, I mean, a Firehouse in Manhattan


Mostly in 2021 we're looking forward to the end of the COVID pandemic! A  return to normal life (like in the photo above) for all of us would be much appreciated, thank you vaccine makers and health care workers!  Hopefully, the new year will include these items on the NMS-North wish list: 

-Not driving related, but just staying healthy and returning to normal as we go through the year. If this comes true, everything else will just fall into place. 

-If we get around to driving, then I'm hoping to compete in most or all of the Metro NY Region Porsche Club of America autocross events, and then if I'm fast enough, qualify for the end of season Top 10 Shoot-out.

    My work schedule sometimes gets in the way of other things (whaaaa) but I should be able to do the majority of the monthly events from say March-November. The club has the top 10 drivers on PAX scoring compete at an event at the end of the year, so my goal is to drive fast enough to qualify for that. The fun part of this shoot-out is that each driver takes turns in the same car, with the same set-up, so it's just driving talent...although now that I think about it, if I can manage to be the last driver, and that same car has now used up a gallon of gas, and therefore weighs about 5 pounds less and goes faster....

NASA Track Day, yeah, that's the ticket!


-Drive at some great tracks like Watkins Glen for some more High Performance Driver Education (HPDE), and move up from the NASA group 1 to group 2

    Besides my positive experiences with NASA at CMP, Pocono, Watkins Glen, and Palmer, the NASA Northeast region will be be hosting weekends at Lime Rock and New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Northeast, so experiencing more tracks sounds like a great idea! In addition to NASA, I have a half price coupon for a track day with the Porsche Club of America, so I'll be sure to cash that one in during 2021 too! This half off deal is just one of the membership benefits of PCA, so if you happen to own a P-car, I'd recommend you look into joining up. BMW, Corvettes, Mustangs, and other makes and models have clubs, so I'll bet there is someone near you into cars too.  

They call me Ruby, as in Ruby Red Metallic


-Keep the Cayman in great shape, oil change, brake fluid, belt, spark plugs, etc.

    With the winter time here, I've gotten a good start on some basic items like the oil change, so I should be able to get all this done over the holidays, and then keep everything maintained next year with a lot more driving along the way. As my only car, the Cayman isn't racking up a lot of mileage now that I can walk to work every day, although I suppose there is a slight increase on wear and tear of shoes and socks to balance out whatever few pennies I save not driving every day.  

Formula 1 tickets, yeah, that's the TICKET!


-Drive in another Lemons Race

    The only Lemons Race I've done was a lot of fun, even when I overdid it and went off track, and even when the gas tank developed a leak and the fumes got pretty bad...so naturally it would be even more fun to do it again. Hopefully, this time getting to drive more than one stint would be great. I remember seeing an interview with pro bicyclist Eric Vanderaerden right after he raced in the toughest bike race in the world, Paris-Roubaix. After listing all the horrible things that had happened in the long race (mud, crashes, broken bikes, cobblestones, crashes, rain, more mud, more cobblestones, etc) the interviewer asked if he'd ever do it again. "Yes, of course!"

-Attend the US Grand Prix Formula 1 race in Austin TX in October

    The race was cancelled in 2020, but we had way too much fun at the race in 2019, so going back to Texas for some more racing, more BBQ, and all the other fun things to do in Texas sounds like the Anti-COVID secret to happiness. Compared to 2020, we'll see some new drivers, all new cars, and even some new teams (sort of) in F1 during 2021. Team wise, the Renault team remains about the same, but changes names to Alpine, which is the Renault high performance brand. Over at the Racing Point team, they also remain the same but change main sponsor, resulting in the return of Aston Martin to F1. Driver wise, lots of big names switching teams, as 4 time champion Sebastian Vettel moves to Aston Martin, and 2 time champion Fernando Alonso returns to the sport with the Alpine team. At Haas, two new drivers move in, including Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Other moves include Carlos Sainz Jr. moving to Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo moving to McLaren, and Sergio Perez now at Red Bull. Whether you are a fan of a particular driver, or a certain team, 2021 should be another good year of racing.  

Whatever makes you happy, I wish you a whole bunch of it in 2021!