Friday, May 6, 2022

Let's Go To The Video!

Slowest Driver From the Bunch of Idiots Team

Here's a few lessons learned from the recent 24 Hours of Lemons Race at Carolina Motorsports Park. My goal is to keep gaining experience at this, share those lessons, and hopefully become a quicker and safer driver. Remember, these lessons are worth EXACTLY what you paid for them! (HINT: it rhymes with "ZERO")

Lesson 1: The Yellow Flag

In the first video, I'm some ways back behind a red car. Up ahead I spot a bit of dirt kicked up, meaning the red car dipped maybe one wheel off track. He slows a bit, and manages to stay in the center of the track. Now we're into the Carousel, a long couple of right hand turns that make one big sweeper. I keep looking up ahead and see I'm gaining, as well as spot another slow car just ahead of the red car. Coming out of the Carousel turn there's room to pass both cars on the right as we get onto the next straight, so away I go.  

A few laps later I get blacked flag for doing something wrong, so I go into the pits and admit I have no idea what I did wrong. They inform me I passed a car under yellow, so I believe them, and later review the film to see, and sure enough, that's what I did. Even though the one car was a little slow and kept control of their car, and the 2nd car I passed was slow anyway, it's still my job to spot those yellow flags and obey them. 

Lesson: Look at EVERY CORNER STATION for flags ALL THE TIME! 

Lesson 2: The Blend Line

At least in this lesson, I didn't do anything wrong (for educational purposes of course!) This is video of my first time out on track in the race on Saturday morning. At this point, Brian has done a solid first stint of the day, we swapped drivers and refueled the car, so now I'm hitting the track. 

As I start from a stop after having a track marshal check that everything is OK (standard procedure in Lemons racing to keep things safe) I head out on track. As I approach turn one (a left hander) you'll see 3 cars already on track flying past. They're in the braking zone here, but going WAY faster than me. So, to prevent incidents, the track has a line painted on the track that I have to stay on the LEFT side of, since the pit-out is on the left of the track. The line is called the blend line to help traffic blend together safely. This line requires me to stay fully left until the 1st corner, so that the higher speed cars can safely get around me as I get up to speed. 

This is the same blend line you'll see on every track, even Formula 1, and it's a big deal. It's a big deal if you mess it up and cross that line, because all of a sudden a slow car coming out would be right smack in the way of a much faster car. 

After the blend line lesson, my first few laps on the video were a blast. Somehow the team put me out in a great spot where I was able to pass multiple cars in those first laps, without having any faster cars pass me until later. Just luck of the draw, but it felt like a great way to start the weekend. Here's the link to the video:

                                                    BLEND LINE LINK       

Lesson 3: White Flag, Black Flag

At the start of this video, I'm approaching the left hander turn 4. You can see the corner worker is waving the white flag, which means that there is a slow vehicle ahead. I start looking for a tow truck, but there is no tow truck. Continuing around the long right hander and on to the straight, I see three cars ahead, the one in the middle is the slow car. By the end of this straight I'm close to it, but there is a faster car behind me, so I play it safe and follow the slow car thru the right hander turn 8. As I then get on the gas to pass the slow car, a bunch of faster cars are moving up on me, so I just stay where I am and let them go (being safe, maybe too safe?) Finally 4 more cars go past us, then I go right to pass, and then at about 54 seconds of the video I see the white and black flags at the station on the right. 

For a moment I was worried the black flag was for me, because they were also holding up the car number 28, and my car was number 287, but then I realized that the slow car I'd passed was number 28, so the white and black flags were still for him. I'm not sure if the black flag was for being in our way, but I did what I thought was the safest thing at the time. 

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