Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Lift Garage, Minneapolis

Odds are that you drive a car, and maybe you have a job too. When you think about it, maybe you NEED that car to have that job. Plus, that job feeds your family, and pays for where you live. While your car might not be the most important part of the equation, for a lot of people, that car is what makes the rest of their life possible. Taking care of that car is where The Lift Garage, a non-profit in Minneapolis MN comes in to help low income people with their cars. 

The Lift was started by Cathy Heying, who was working as a social worker, when she realized how important it was to many people to have a working car like I briefly explained in the first paragraph. She took this need so seriously that she attended an auto mechanic school and earned a degree in auto technology, and then started what is now The Lift Garage charity that helps people maintain their cars, and therefore their jobs, their income, house, food, care for their families, etc. Here's how they explain what they do: 

    "The Lift Garage is an affordable, non-profit auto repair service for all Minnesotans that   meet the 150% Federal Poverty Guideline. We charge only $15 per hour plus the cost of parts at no mark-up. We serve all counties in Minnesota. Full payment is due at the time repairs are completed. We do not accept payment plans. We accept cash and credit cards for payment, no personal checks. Arrangements with third-party payers can be made."

You can read all about their story at their web page: The Lift Garage

Besides the inspirational background, the website has some great tips if you're thinking of starting a similar charity where you live. To tell you the truth, this is how I heard about The Lift Garage, one day when I was Googling how I might be able to some day help people with their cars I was wondering if there were charities that did auto work. I've helped a friend or two with changing a flat tire, changing their oil, and even done some brake pads and a bit more, although mostly I've just been interested in saving money or helping my friends Maybe I'll do more of that when I really retire, just as a way to maybe help some people. 

If you're interested, you can also donate to The Lift Garage, and I'm sure they'll really appreciate it. I sent them a small donation, and it just made me feel good. Here's the donation link below, thanks. 

The Lift Garage Donate

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cars and Coffee Manhasset

The weather is finally warming up, the people of Long Island are tired of being indoors, and on Sundays in Manhasset, that means it's time for Cars and Coffee before the Macy's store opens! Today I made a quick trip to shoot some cool cars before the F1 race started on TV, and I was not disappointed. Here's some highlights!

Ferrari 488 Spyder

Porsche 911 with carbon engine bits

Older Porsche 911

BMW, check the license plate!

Porsche 911 GT2RS. With the many versions of the 911, it helps
to know that every letter, word, or number after the 911 part adds more
horsepower and more money. 

Porsche 911 GT3

Purple. Purple Lamborghini. Wow!

A classic Lancia in Martini livery. 

Another Lancia in awesome yellow!


Another McLaren

A classic Mustang with a cool license plate

Here's something you don't see every day. According to the owner that 
I spoke with, this is not a 1960s Porsche 356, because it is a 1980s version of the 356 that was built in Brazil as a replica. Or at least 
the parts were built in Brazil, and then exported for assembly in other countries
that didn't include the USA. The owner told me he figures they only 
built 400 of these, with maybe 3 now in the USA. 

Porsche 911 Targa

Porsche Speedster. You can see the cool twin humps under the top. 

Spoiler alert (old joke)

Trans Am

Porsche 911, the "whale tale"

These center lock wheels are just cool

Porsche spoiler alert (still an old joke!)


Saturday, April 17, 2021

BMW Report

Kicking off the weekend, brought to you by the letters B, M, and W at Tobay Beach

Chilly? Wet? Bring it on!

After work on Friday I was thinking of going home, but then I remembered that the loyal readers of this NMS blog would probably like to hear something about driving a shiny brand new BMW for free, and really stomping on the gas a little bit. So...I headed to the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience, just for YOU!

The new look front end of BMW, are you a fan?

BMW kicked off their 2021 season on Long Island yesterday, and with some rain falling on Tobay Beach, we jumped into a brand new M440i xDrive Coupe anyway! After several autocross runs, we can say that this automobile from our friends at BMW would make the PERFECT birthday, Christmas, Anniversary, Father's Day, or any other day present! For more info on the UDE, future locations, and all things BMW, check out the link: BMW UDE

The BMW folks were very serious about COVID precautions, here we check in
and get our temperature taken. Everyone wore a mask. The instructors coached 
the drivers by radio, not getting in the car like in the past. 

Oh, by the way, the car that we drove is at this link: M440i xDrive Coupe
With 382 horsepower, and a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds, it was a hoot to drive! Starting at $58,500 you can pick one up today!

How about that front end in BLUE? 
This is right before the rain hit. 

One of the other driving events that I watched when I arrived was a short drag race pretty much, but by the time I was done with my autocross driving, the rain was a bit too heavy and the drag race was closed. Oh well, the autocross was a blast!

I thought this green color was pretty nice!

One small hazard of autocrossing around cones is that once in a while, 
you hit a cone and it sticks under the car! One of the instructors drove this 
car a bit more and finally got it out!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Sign Up For Our Fantasy Team Now!

The NMS squad is sponsoring a Formula 1 Fantasy League again this year, and we've got 13 teams signed up so far, and there's room for anyone else that wants to join. For each REAL race, like the one this Sunday, you have to join and select your drivers and team before Qualifying starts on Saturday. For this week, that means before 8AM Saturday Eastern time. 

1: Go to the website and join for free.

2: Then use this League Code to find the NMS-Racing.Net 2021 league, and join. 

3: You can enter up to 3 teams!

4: Then you can switch up your drivers or constructor team each week. The season ends in November. 

For each race you score points all kinds of ways, like for qualifying position, for place in the race, for number of cars passed in the race, and other ways that I should probably pay attention to more!

After the first race, we had only a few competitors complete their teams and score points, so things are pretty wide open, with 9 teams that will score for the first time this weekend. For now, here's the standings below. Good luck!

1: Robert Team 2        187 points

2: John D. Team 1        176 points

3: Robert Team 1            97 points

4: Robert Team 3                90 points

5: Andrew C. Team 1

6: Michael P. Team 3

7: Michael P. Team 2

8: Michael P. Team 1

9: Jackson S. "Don't Look Over Here" Team

10: Jackson S. "Carvid" Team

11: Andrew S. "Budget" Team

12: Andrew S. "Youngins" Team

13. Andrew S. "Powerhouse" Team

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NMS-North Autocross Standings

Last weekend our autocross event was cancelled due to rain and a chance of thunderstorms, so with 3 events done so far, the standings have me in 9th place on Porsche Pax Points so far. Points Standings

Here's a quick cut and paste, sorry it's hard to read. I'm barely in the top 10 with 105 points, that's with missing the first event of the year, so we'll see how it plays out the rest of the season. Next event coming up on May 2nd. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Porsche Project 9

It figures. We had an autocross scheduled for today, but a rain storm wiped it out, oh well. The next event will be in just a few weeks in May!

One thing about the Porsche is  that it's a little more expensive than the average car, so, therefore, any repairs or maintenance is also going to cost more. The other day I had one of those warning messages on the dash, and this is one I'd never seen before too! The message told me that one of the side marker lights was not on! Shocking! That was pretty cool that the warning was specific enough to tell me one of the lights was out. I looked at the front right side marker light, and sure enough it was not lit up. Dang. 

Oddly enough, the next time I drove the car, there was no error message, and sure enough the light was working. Long story short, after one trip to the auto parts store, I found the right size "lamps" and replaced both of them. They pop right out with your hands, and then it's not too hard to figure out how to get to the "lamps." 

I try to call these items "lamps" thanks to my friend Tom. After working in the entertainment backstage area, he informed me that "bulbs" are what you plant in the ground, and that a "lamp" is what lights up! Good to know!

The first time you do something it can be harder than the 2nd time you do it, like the photo above. The wire part under the index finger just pushes down to open up the slot for the lamp. It's doesn't rotate, come off, turn green, or anything else, you just push it down like the next photo: 

Above, the old index finger is pushin down on the wire, so now we can push the new lamp in there. 

Above is the lamp all secured in place, which also shows the rubber cover or boot over the end of the lamp housing. Just more protection for the connection I guess. One of them popped off, so I had to look at the fixture on the other side of the car to make sure I was putting it back in place the right way. 

The last photo below shows the same piece without the rubber cover boot. Now you know!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Weekend Weather: 100% Chance of DRIVING!

This weekend the NMS drivers will be busy, with NMS-South Time Trialing with the NASA Southeast region at Roebling Road in Georgia, while NMS-North returns to Tobay Beach NY for autocross with the Porsche Club of America. Whatever you have planned for the weekend, we hope you have a great time too!

One important part of vehicle maintenance is takin care of your car's brakes. If you want to drive it on the track, it's a lot of fun to figure out how to go fast, but it's even more important to be able to slow down! Our recent brake fluid change on the Cayman involved using an 11mm wrench to open the brake caliper bleeders, and while a regular wrench will get the job done, we splurged at the local Pep Boys and brought home this 10 and 11mm flare nut wrench. You can find Robert in 9th place in the club autocross standings at this link: Autocross Points

Brian recently earned his full Time Trial license with NASA, and one of their contingency programs with Toyo Tires earned him some cash good for new tires! Let's just say the amount of money was slightly less than the 20 million or whatever the top Formula 1 drivers earn, but a free set of tires is a pretty good deal! More info on this event is at this link: NASA-SE

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience 2021!

Those pesky BMW people are still asking everyone to drive their cars! Just maybe they'd like you to actually BUY one, but in the meantime, NMS-North is signed up for the latest edition of the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience. If it's like the 2020 version I attended, they will give you a short classroom session on driving techniques...

BMW will likely give you a free water and some snacks and then send you out to drive one of their new cars for FREE, and FREE is my favorite flavor!

Besides the driving in a short autocross, you'll have a chance to see other new BMW models, and maybe even drive some of them also. 

Check out their website, because they have a LOT of locations scheduled for this year. Coming up April 16th they will be right here on Long Island, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to check it out. Since we've done this twice before (in NY and NJ,) we'll guarantee that you will have a blast driving BMWs for free!

The BMW UDE Website: BMW-cities

The list of cities: 

Long Island
Tampa Bay
Chicago North
New Jersey
Washington DC
San Francisco
San Diego
Los Angeles
Orange County
San Antonio
New York City Citi Field
Chicago South

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Autocross Report: 42 Degrees

First off, I had fun! Yesterday was a bit on the chilly side down on the south shore of Long Island, but the Porsche Club put on another Autocross and nearly 50 drivers braved the elements to wheel and deal for 10 runs on a VERY twisty cone course. Part of me felt like a pro race driver after the first run, typical stuff the drivers complain about on TV: "Man, I've got NO grip, the tires aren't warmed up, who set up this suspension? We've got to get some heat into these tires." 


What makes that funny of course is that I'm NOT a pro driver, and the person that picked out those tires and works on the car is ME, so it's tough to blame the 100 mechanics and engineers on my Formula 1 team on how the car performs. Apparently the NMS-North car's performance yesterday was entirely MY FAULT! Hey, did I mention I had fun though? 


Seriously, there are some talented drivers in the club, and they somehow were way faster than me, so while it would be fun to blame the 42-47 degree weather we were driving in yesterday, somehow it was 80 and sunny when everyone else did their driving! Here's the best I could do, good for 9th PAX out of the Porsche cars, 2nd out of 3 in my class, and still fun!

From the video above, you can tell it just felt slow, point to point, instead of fast and flowing. At the previous event, my app told me I hit 61mph, but on this tighter course, 42 seemed to be my top speed. That's not good or bad, and it's always fun to go as fast as possible, so that is what makes autocross so challenging. It's different every time, and there is always room for my case, there's always room for a LOT of improvement!

Here's a quick look at some more cool cars that were competing yesterday: