Wednesday, March 31, 2021

April Fool's Day Tips For Terrific Driving!

Happy April Fool's Day! Be on the lookout (BOLO) for funny jokes, fake news, bad advice, and whatever this following blog ends up saying. TRUST ME!

Don't Ever Trust Anyone That Says "TRUST ME"


10: Make your car lighter by filling the tires with Nitrogen instead of Air. Lighter cars go faster. Just this tip alone 
will cut your commute or lap time in HALF! And we're only on the first tip!

9: Then, remove the nitrogen from your tires and create a vacuum inside the rubber tires. This reduces as much 
interior tire weight as possible and will make your car VERY FAST! Just think about vacuums for a second, like 
in outer space. Since there is no wind resistance, things move quickly, so just imagine how fast your car will go 
with no air in the tires!

7: Similar to steps 10 and 9, you should always race with as little gas as possible, which 
makes the car lighter! Since fluids are around 5 pounds per gallon, if you take, say, 10 
gallons of gas out of your car, it's the same as making your car 50 pounds lighter. Of course 
you could work out and stop eating Snickers bars to lose the same amount of weight, but 
what fun would that be?
6: For REALLY awesome performance, remove ALL the fluids from your car, gas, oil, 
radiator, brake lines, etc. With this much fluid removed, your car should be REALLY fast! 
Your car should really be flying now, and we have 5 more tips to go!

5: Similar to steps 7 and 6 go for the ULTIMATE in performance, and remove fluids from 
the driver. Again, less weight with the same horsepower equals faster speeds. We used to 
advise driving naked here, but then we weighed our clothes and figured that your body 
fluid weighs more.

4: Donate blood, sell your plasma, check eBay to see if anyone is buying kidneys, maybe 
sell your appendix and other unneeded organs. Just remember these two words: Gall Bladder. 

3: Don't look in your rear view mirrors. Seriously, there is nothing behind you that will 
make you faster, so just focus on the road about 1 foot in front of your bumper to avoid 
these needless distractions like seeing other cars, safety flags, approaching thunderstorms, 
or hazards and potholes on the road. That stuff just takes away from pushing on the gas 

2: Ideally, by this time you're really fast, so why not just get rid of the brake pedal, since 
all the brakes do is slow you down.

1: Shoot, just remove the brake calipers, rotors, and brake pads, that's not only extra weight 
you don't need, but if you're fast and don't need brakes, it's just getting in your way. 

Drive safe!

Monday, March 29, 2021

NMS-North Moves Up A Notch

Driving on track? THUMBS UP!

After last weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Lightning course, we're happy to announce that NMS-North has moved up from HPDE group 1 to HPDE group 2. What's that mean in English? Mostly that in group 1 you drive with an instructor giving you tons of great advice on track, and when they say you're ready to drive by yourself SAFELY, then they can allow you to move up to group 2. So, in the grand scheme of things it's not the biggest deal in the world, but it's a small step in the never-ending battle to improve as a driver. This is how it works with the NASA organization across the country, and in my case, the NASA Northeast group. This was the 4th event and 4th different track I've run with them, and I feel like every weekend has been a big learning experience. There are 4 HPDE groups, so you can tell I have a long way to go. In addition to HPDE, (with an emphasis on EDUCATION) the NASA folks hold races, time trials, racer licensing school, and other great driver programs at tracks all over the country. I highly recommend driving YOUR car on track. What are you waiting for?

Here's the link to NASA Northeast: NASA NE

New helmet now NASA "OK!"

What did I learn this weekend? A lot! Specifically I learned my way around the Lightning track without getting lost, learned where the corners and the flag workers are (which is very important,) and improved my approach to a few corners in particular that made the laps just a bit smoother. Similar to autocross, the driver should make as smooth a line of a big curving path to maximize their speed, instead of short little straight lines from point to point. There are plenty of great resources for learning the basics of corner entry-apex-track out, so I won't try to write a new encyclopedia on it, but I will say that I need improvement on ALL the aspects of getting a car around a track quickly. 

Like they say in the Army: "If it ain't rainin', we ain't trainin'!

As you can see from the above photo, I also learned to drive in the rain a little bit more. Our instructors made it clear that the thing to do was to slow down, stay off the painted surfaces (curbs and lines, slippery when wet!) and they were right. Along with that advice they explained to stay a bit away from the edge of the track as a safety margin, if you braked into a corner and the car got a little slippery, you had that extra space to keep the tires on the pavement. They were right, too!

My instructor Taki in his sweet BMW!

Let's go to a quick video for a memorable part of the weekend. I was trailing a Honda Civic down the main straight, and one of his tires gave up the ghost, which sent some tire debris my way. Not a big deal since the Civic driver expertly kept it on the track, and I moved out of the way. I still thought this was a little bit of excitement I should share, so here it is with a bit of Slow-Motion to make it awesome! 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

NMS-North Autocross Report

On the south shore of Long Island, the PCA Metro NY Region held their 2nd autocross event of 2021, and it looked pretty much like the following! Great weather, 8 runs per driver, and a good number of competitors that came out. There were 18 total Porsche cars, and I could only manage 10th fastest on PAX vs. the Porsche gang, so I'm on track for my season goal of top 10. First in my class of 2 drivers also, so no complaints here!

The club has 2 autocross events coming up in April, so let's keep those tires warmed up!

Yours truly brought home 1st Place in the S02 class of only 2 cars, 
and Best Novice as a new member of the Porsche Club

Timing system waits for everyone to sign in

This Lotus Exige took fastest time of the day

This race car took 3rd fastest time of the day

This modified Porscche 914 had a whale tail, awesome!

FIAT 500 Abarth #666, with #777 Hellcat in the background

Inspection sticker gives my car an extra 5HP!

Cars wait on grid for their 8 runs

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Ready For 2021 Autocross

2009 Porsche Cayman Base Model with PDK 7 Speed Automatic Transmission

My last autocross event was forever ago, way back, way way back in November of 2020. Man, that seems like last year! Anyways, after missing the first cold event of this year, I'm ready for tomorrow's 2nd autocross of the Metro NY Porsche Club of America, so with my trusty steed Ruby shown above, we're ready to rock. 

Last year I managed to make it to 2 events, so in 2021 I'm looking for even more competition. Autocross keeps things interesting, since out of all the drivers there is more than one competition. On pure fastest time, or RAW time, it helps to either have more horsepower, or just flat out be a better driver. On the PAX adjusted time that takes into account how fast your car "should" be, I usually do much better. Beyond the overall RAW and PAX times, each car runs in a specific class of fairly even machinery, so there's another competition to shoot for the gold. There are typically a LOT of classes, so in my experience winning my class for one day might mean I was the only person in my class too! With the Porsche club, I've had 3 or 4 in my class last year, so at least it's not just one person!

Hey, I mentioned that I got a new helmet from the fine folks at Zamp, and here it is with a few stickers thrown on to spice it up a bit. 

Front View, That's The OHIO Flag!
The only state flag that is not a rectangle. 
Side View

Rear View

Friday, March 12, 2021

Formula 1 Has Started

The Formula 1 season has finally started, I've just watched some of the first pre-season test from Bahrain. Here's the schedule for the three days of testing: 
  • Friday, March 12
    1000 – 1400 and 1500 – 1900 (local time)
    0700 – 1100 and 1200 – 1600 (GMT)
    0200 – 0600 and 0700 – 1100 (EST).
  • Saturday, March 13
    1000 – 1400 and 1500 – 1900 (local time)
    0700 – 1100 and 1200 – 1600 (GMT)
    0200 – 0600 and 0700 – 1100 (EST)
  • Sunday, March 14
    1000 – 1400 and 1500 – 1900 (local time)
    0700 – 1100 and 1200 – 1600 (GMT)
    0200 – 0600 and 0700 – 1100 (EST).
Of course the first 4 hours of testing doesn't reveal who will win the season championship, but...McLaren led the way with the fastest time, with Alpine and Red Bull very close behind. Defending champs Mercedes had a gear box problem and did very little time on track, and ended with the slowest time, but I'm sure that will change. 

Ferrari looked better than last year, right up to the final 10 minutes when Leclerc had to stop the car due to a mechanical issue. Aston Martin is up there in the middle of the field too. 

Rookie Mick Schumacher was on track for Haas, and reserve driver Roy Nissany was piloting the Williams car. 

You can watch the testing on the F1 TV app, look for more info on the official Formula 1 website of

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.