Monday, January 31, 2022

NMS 2022 Schedule Update

The Purple Miata Races Again!

The NMS-South AND NMS-North drivers have announced that they will combine to be in the same race this year, at the 24 Hours of Lemons race in April at Carolina Motorsports Park. In addition to racing on Saturday and Sunday, one very unique thing about this race is the Friday night Block Party in Camden SC, where all the competitors will drive their cars into downtown to generally hang out and trash talk about the upcoming racing over the next two days. Oh it's a party, make no mistake about this! If you live anywhere near Camden SC, we recommend you check it out! More info at the official 24 Hours of Lemons website: LEMONS CMP

I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to drive in Lemons for only the 2nd time, this go round in the Bunch of Idiots Miata. Team manager Brian Nixon states that it is likely that the car will run, will having charged radio batteries, and unlike my first Lemons Race, just might NOT have a fuel leak and fumes that I still claim did NOT make me drive faster!

Our schedule for the weekend looks like this: 

FRIDAY: Cars get tech inspection, and then there will be some time to practice on track. That should be a good thing for me, since I haven't been in this particular car, while the rest of the team are very experienced in Miatas. In the evening, the cars head for Camden and parade into town, park downtown, and then enjoy the Block Party. 

SATURDAY: 9AM Drivers meeting, just a reminder to drive safe mostly. At 9:30AM the cars go to grid, and at some point get on track to warm up for the running start at 10AM. Racing this first day goes from 10AM-6PM. Each team will be planning their pit stops for fuel and driver changes, and hopefully keeping the car on track as much as possible. 

SUNDAY: At CMP there's usually a quiet hour on Sunday, so racing will run from 9AM-11AM, then a quiet hour, and racing again from noon to 4:30PM. That two hour stint on Sunday morning usually works great for a Miata that can run 2 hours on one tank of gas. 

As you might have noticed, this race is NOT 24 hours straight, but the Lemons folks keep the 24 Hours name just for the heck of it. That's only one small part of the wacky sense of humor that surrounds these events, right along with funny themed cars, hilarious driver penalties for any infringements on track, and that the prize money to the class winners is always paid in boxes of nickels. The Bunch of Idiots have experienced this first hand, when their Dodge Coronet took 1st Place in Class C at CMP a few years ago, and sure enough they walked away with $600 in nickels!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The 66th Annual Ted Ohland Snowflake Rally

Will we win or will we lose? Yes!

As they used to say on the Monty Python's Flying Circus show: "And now for something completely different!" Our local Porsche Club of America (NY Metro Region) is kicking off 2022 with a fun Rally, and NMS will be there on February 6th. I've never done a Rally event before, so why not? More info at: SNOWFLAKE RALLY

Road Rallies, from what I can tell, are fun events where drivers and their navigators drive the same route on public roads, at staggered intervals. The team attempts to work together and follow the specific time/distance directions given to them, and at various times on their journey on an unknown route, they will be checked for accurate time, ideally hitting checkpoints at the time appropriate for their depart time and driving instructions. 

What kind of cars are entered? Glad you asked! So far it's mostly Porsches, and a lot of various 911 models: 

According to the club website, this is the oldest Rally of it's kind in the Porsche USA world, so that sounds good to me! For some reason, there seem to be a lot of Porsches around New York City, and I'd have to guess that this is one of the biggest Regions in PCA. No wonder the first Porsche dealer in the US was a guy that lived on Long Island, and that events like this have been around longer than I've been alive. 

From what I can gather, the instructions might say "head east at 45mph for 9 minutes, then head southwest for 2 minutes at 30mph, and then..." type of guidance. My guess is that we won't win, but that well have more fun than anyone, and that sounds like a pretty good prize! Hey, what else do you do on the Sunday the week before the Super Bowl?

Monday, January 24, 2022

NMS Announces Professional Racing Team

F1, we're coming your way!

After I win the bazillion dollar lottery, NMS-Racing plans to announce their entry in the first step on the road to Formula 1. What brought this about? Glad you asked!

You see, the 2022 season of Formula 1 will be starting soon (AKA: first race in March) and AGAIN, none of the 10 teams have asked any drivers from NMS to step up and compete at the highest level. Well, since all those "pros" are obviously missing out on some great driving talent on the NMS squad, it looks like we're just going to have to get to F1 on our own. We could BUY a current F1 team, but yeah, that would be really expensive. How to do it more cheaply? Here's our plan:

Below the top rung of F1 is the cleverly named "F2". Below that? Yep, "F3." Below F3? Shoot, there's F4, so we'll just start there! Lucky for us, F4 has racing around the world, and even here in the good old USA! By doing a little research (that means GOOGLE) we've found a website and all kinds of basic info on how to get racing in F4! You can check it out yourself, just go to F4 USA CHAMPIONSHIP LINK 

How hard can this be?

The governing body of motor racing on planet Earth is the FIA, and they started F4 in 2014 to provide a "low cost" entry to single seater race cars for kart racers ready to move up. With a minimum age of 15, the NMS drivers certainly meet that requirement (ok, we meet it chronologically, maybe not maturity wise.) The US F4 website says that annual running costs range approximately from $120,00-$200,000, so you can see why we need that winning lottery ticket just to get started! Now, if you win the entire season of F4 you will likely get a big incentive and prize money to continue your career, but realistically there's not going to be a lot of prize money in this level of racing. 

One handy part of that website is the information on the actual big cost of racing, which for starters includes the approved Ligier race chassis at $55,495 each; the built in the USA Honda engines you can lease at only $7,100 per year; and two sets of Tennessee based Hankook tires per weekend at a very affordable $1,200 a set. In addition to the basic racing car, of course we'll want to both be driving, so multiply all that by 2 for both of us. Oh, and since stuff happens, throw in two extra of the chassis and engines for spares. The good news here is that by purchasing the chassis, and then leasing the engines for 3 years, after 3 years you own the engines. In other words, the more you spend (and the longer you race) the cheaper it gets! That's some classic racecar logic right there! Check out the F4 Buyer's Guide for more info at F4 BUYERS GUIDE LINK   Total cost so far: $265,080

Now that we have a car, we'll also need to pay for memberships in the Sports Car Club of America, get a pro license for each driver, get credentials for our huge 2 person crew, throw in the $2,000 per weekend per car entry fee (times 6 weekends), chassis registration, and various other fees. OK, on top of the car, we'll need a bunch of other items such as brake fluid, brake pads, rotors, maybe 3 sets of each per weekend. Oh, and there are about 6 racing weekends per season. At least there were 6 weekends last year, the website says the 2022 season will be announced soon. Some of the other things on our shopping list would be race suits, Nomex fire-resistant underwear, helmets, shoes, gloves, tools, gas, Head and Neck safety device, and a transponder for each car. Total cost so far: $341,380

F4 car at the 2019 US Formula 1 weekend, COTA, Austin Texas

Next, we'll need to get TO the races, so let's estimate $200,000 for  a shiny big truck to haul the cars in a trailer, with another $30,000 for a 2 car enclosed trailer. Oh, and throw in some gas to haul it all to the 6 tracks and back home to NMS in SC. Based on mileage to the race tracks from NMS-South used in 2021, that comes up to 7,236 miles of towing. At maybe 10mpg, and say $4 a gallon of gas, we'll budget $2,895 in towing gas. Plan on some more hauler truck tires and trailer tires, but we'll worry about that when it happens! Hey, let's throw in some tools to work on the cars so that we can leave all our current tools at home. Just for fun we'll estimate this at $10,000 to include tools and storage, fuel jugs, pit carts, radios, and essentials like that. Add in some pro-level team and crew shirts and hats while you're at it. Total cost so far: $582,180

One more expense will be food and lodging. Sure, we could sleep in the trailer and save a bit here, but why not race in style and sleep in a real bed! Let's say $60 per person per day for food (that's a LOT of peanut butter,) maybe $150 per night for hotels, times 2 drivers and 2 crew members, times 56 person/nights and that is around $18,015.  GRAND TOTAL SO FAR: $600,195

While this is just an estimate, and I haven't won the lottery YET, well, it sure sounds like a lot of fun! Shoot, we could easily lower that cost by camping at the track, and then we'd be way under $600,000!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

NMS-North Goals for 2022

In 2022, the NMS-North Cayman will ride again!

Welcome to the new year!  More than being happy about making it to this new year, I'm sure we're all even happier to say good-bye to 2021! Here at NMS-North, we're planning another 12 months of autocross and track driving in the NMS Porsche Cayman. Yes- indeedy-do, this is by far the best mid-engine car we've ever owned...OK, it's the ONLY mid-engine car we've ever owned, so the bright ones out there will also figure out it's then also the WORST mid-engine car we've ever owned. Funny how things work that way!

Things are a bit cold in January-February, so the guys in the shop (AKA: "me") are planning on some basic maintenance like an oil change, new air/oil filters, and some new spark plugs. On top of that, the NMS chief mechanic (also "me") has scheduled an oil analysis of the old oil to get a snapshot view of how the engine is doing. While we're taking care of that business, we'll check the serpentine belt, and then do a full brake fluid flush before things get rolling in March. Tire-wise, we're starting the year on the same Hankook RS-4 tires, but checking on the amount of tread left to see how far they will last. After multiple track weekends and autocross events so far on these tires, they've got about 6/32nds left, so the finance/budget department (guess who? "me") is likely going to have to cough up some bucks for new tires eventually. 

Autocross wise, the team (OK, "my") plan is to stick with the Porsche Club NY Metro Region for their autocross events, and as luck would have it, they've already released their schedule. With about one event per month, that's a pretty good amount of gas-stomping, steering wheel-twisting, and brake pedal mashing, cone-dodging autocross excitement. Like last year, my goal is to finish in the club top ten on PAX adjusted time, and to try and finish each event in the top 10 for Porsche cars. Other goals like "having fun," driving safely," and "not having a heart attack at any events like in 2021" should be fairly easy to do. 

Thumbs up for driving...WAY UP!

Track wise, I'd like to say I'm retired from work, and will be driving at tracks all across the country, on almost every weekend, or even about 300 days a year...BUT...that won't happen, so let's aim for at least a couple of track weekends. I've driven at Watkins Glen the most, but dang it, it's still the most fun, so I'll shoot for some time there, and at least one more weekend nearby like Pocono, New Jersey Motorsports Park, or perhaps a first time at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. To be specific, I'm looking for a first time DRIVING at Lime Rock Park, since I have visited there, and even met former track owner and all around automotive legend Skip Barber! The good news is that pretty much every track is a boat load of fun, and you always meet some old and new driver friends, rain or shine. 

Other than that, I'd like to get into a Lemons race again, but nothing definite is on the books so far. NMS-South and other South Carolina drivers will likely be doing a fair share of Lemons or Lucky Dog racing, so you just never know what might happen. As Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker once said, "Just about anything can happen (in Formula 1) and it usually does!"

First Rule of Autocross: Get CLOSE, but DO NOT HIT the cones!

Oh, and speaking of Formula 1, I'd like to attend another race this year if the dumb pandemic slows down, so maybe Austin Texas or Montreal Quebec will work out. On top of all that, I'll still be working, going to other car shows and events (I'm looking at YOU, New York International Auto Show, Kings Point Auto Club Show, etc). Oh, and also in 2022 we'll be attending NMS-South driver Brian's wedding. Enough with the chit-chat, let's get this 2022 thing on the road!! Like our school motto at the United States Merchant Marine Academy says: ACTA NON VERBA! DEEDS NOT WORDS!

Monday, January 10, 2022

AACA Museum, Part Two


In addition to the special exhibits on Packard, Tucker, and Survivor cars, the AACA museum is just chock full of all kinds of cars, mostly made in the USA, and plenty of cars you don't see every day. Here's just a few more highlights, starting with a Packard. 

1970 Plymouth GTX, with extra cool "Air Grabber" intake in the hood! My 1995 Plymouth Neon was nice when it was new, but not as cool as this Plymouth!

How about a 1917 Packard RV or camper bus? They've got one!

Check out the wood on this 1927 Dodge Brothers. The body was built by J. D. Cantrell in Huntington NY, so not too far from NMS-North! The Cantrell business completed bodies like this for various makers such as Chevrolet, Ford, Packard, Franklin, Buick, Cadillac, and Pierce-Arrow. 

How about an electric scooter! This is from 1916 and the American Ever Ready Works on Long Island!

The 1934 Buick caught my eye as just an iconic shape, certainly not common today to say the least. 

Let's look at two white fiberglass bodied cars; like a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette, and a 1964 Studebaker Avanti. Either one of these would look great in the garage!

Studebaker Avanti

Friday, January 7, 2022

AACA Museum Hershey PA, SWEET!


Over the holidays we were travelling in PA, and after seeing some of Gettysburg, well, we modernized things a bit and headed to the AACA Museum in Hershey. AACA is the Antique Automobile Club of America, and you can find the museum website at: AACA MUSEUM

I really enjoyed the museum, so if you're near Hershey, there's more to do than eat chocolate and go to the amusement park! Here's some cool cars you may not see every day!

First up, a display of three Packards and some related items you might find at a Packard dealership. Their hood ornament is a classic!

Believe it or not I saw a DeLorean on a trailer the day before, cruising through South Carolina, but it was still cool to spot these two DeLoreans in the museum. The one on the left was a 1981 production model, and the one on the right with the gull wing doors open is a 1976 prototype. From reading about these two cars I was reminded that they are rear-engine cars, although John DeLorean had planned on them being mid engine. 

Even I'm not as old as this next car, a huge finned monster of a 1957 Chrysler New Yorker. The size of these older cars is still amazing, and I promise that coming up will be some late 50s Cadillacs, just in case these fins aren't big enough for you! Julie pointed out that the CHRYSLER lettering on the front of the car is also concave sculpted, if you can tell in the photo. 

As a car fan, one of my goals is to some day own a car that was built the year I was born. Without giving anything away, well, this 58 Buick is now one my options. Before there were SUVs, there were mini-vans, and of course before that, there was the station wagon! And naturally a late 50s wagon also had tail fins! The two-tone color just shows you how the more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same, since there are several cars you can get with a contrasting hood color like this today. 

Here is an ebony and a Kensington Green pair of 1959 Cadillacs. Even with the enormous tail fins, the front grill of the green one and the rear of the black one both have so much chrome you could almost get the front and rear confused! If planet Earth ever runs out of chrome or tail fins, just hop in your time machine and go back to 1959!

Finally, here's two all-American muscle cars, a 1969 Camaro and a 1974 Plymouth Road Runner. The orange Chevy and blue Plymouth help make these cars stick out, right along with the graphics and just how cool these cars were back when they were new. As part of the museums "Survivors" exhibit, keep in mind that these cars have not been restored, they are still in their original condition.