Thursday, July 28, 2022

NMS Driver to Aston Martin F1 Team?

Sebastian Vettel (left) and Brian Nixon (right)
Current and future Aston Martin F1 drivers?
Body doubles?

Four time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced his retirement at the end of the current season, so NMS-Racing can now report that our unconfirmed anonymous and totally made up sources claim off the record in fantasyland that NMS-South driver Brian Nixon will be filling the Aston Martin seat in 2023. We caught up to the NMS driver at an undisclosed location near Columbia SC, where these photos reveal that not only does Nixon drive like Vettel (upright, in the drivers seat, using the pedals and steering wheel to make the car go fast) but that he also resembles the German F1 star!

While we can only speculate that this resemblance might have possibly maybe kinda-sorta been an undercover plot from  Formula 1for Nixon to serve as a body-double in F1 and/or a stunt double of some kind, the formal announcement of Vettel retiring leaves us with the only possible conclusion that Brian Nixon will be driving for the Aston Martin squad next season!

The next Aston Martin F1 driver from NMS-South

While the NMS team will miss their star driver, it just might be possible that Brian will be able to use his private jet and fleet of battery powered X-Wing Star Wars aircraft to good use, and continue competing in both F1 and various other races series in the US like normal. 
Stay tuned to for further developments that will surely see  a new world champion in the Aston Martin as early as 2023! 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

July Autocross

Porsche 914

We had a blast today driving 8 times on a fun Autocross course with the Porsche Club of America at Nassau Coliseum. Here's a few highlights for NMS: 


1st place in S05 class out of 3 drivers. My first run was off course, so the time didn't count, and on my 2nd run I had to pay attention and figure out what I messed up on the first run. I'll blame this on driver error, caused by walking the course only 2 times, and then after working at the scoring system while the first half of the drivers were on course. By the time I made my first run it had been a while since walking the route, and I blew it, totally forgot one cone to drive around. Live and learn. 

Modified Porsche 914

My best run of the day was my first run in the afternoon. Each driver had 4 turns in the morning, then a break, and then 4 more drives in the afternoon. I was hoping to keep lowering my time in those last 3 runs, but it just didn't go that way. 

Driver sign in

UPDATE: Final results have me in 8th place PAX overall for the day, so this keeps me on track to meet my goal of top ten for the year! Not bad, but not as good as last month when I was 2nd. To be honest, I'll say that we had more fast drivers today, so no shame in being beaten by a bunch of fast people! Still 8th out of 52 competitors isn't the worst thing in the world. 

NMS-North, Nassau Coliseum add for upcoming Judas Priest concert

The weather was great for the summer, in the 80s and a mix of some clouds and some sun. Having driven at events in South Carolina, it could have been a LOT hotter! And it didn't rain. And it didn't snow. Those two situations do not make for great driving times, ask me how I know!

Cayman vs. Macan. You can autocross just about anything. 

In between driving I got to meet some more fellow drivers, chat with the folks I already know, and that is really a fun part of these events. While we talk about cars a lot, I realized that I was talking to people about their families, or their health, and what their plans are for the future. Hey, it's kind of like a family!

View from the timings and scoring table. 

My work assignment today was the timing/scoring system, so I was sitting under a canopy and entering car numbers into the automatic timing system. In addition to that, I had a radio and took in calls from the workers on course if there any cones hit (a two second penalty) or any drivers off course (no time is given.) It usually goes very smoothly, but with up to 4 cars on course at a time, and managing the numbers and fielding radio calls, it keeps you occupied!

Matching Porsche hats!

While I was doing the computer, another driver Joan was documenting cars and timings on paper, which is a great way to have an official record if there was to be a computer problem. Our Autocross boss Dan came over and pointed out that we were wearing the same model of Porsche hat, which was totally a coincidence, so figure the odds of that happening!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Why Johnny Can’t Drive

View from The Tail of the Dragon on the Tennessee end. 

This isn’t really aimed at anyone named Johnny, or John, or Juan, or Jhonny, or anyone in particular. But, like an old saying Why Johnny Can’t Read, I’d like to share a few thoughts on the state of driving in the USA in 2022.

With a full week off this summer, we headed out on the Interstates and backroads from NY to SC, by way of some fun driving on the Blueridge Parkway in Virginia, and the Tail of the Dragon way out on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Oh, things were great on the Blueridge and the Dragon; no issues, and the drivers there were very safe and well behaved. It’s out on the Interstate highways that makes you wonder what new drivers are being taught these days.

Here’s a few basic driving concepts  that make us all safer on the roads, but it just seems that a lot of drivers either don’t know these tips/rules/laws, or they're just what my Army Drill Sergeant would call "knuckleheads."

Blueridge Parkway view in Virginia

1: If it’s raining, turn on your headlights. 

As a matter of fact, in many states this is a law, so you’d think that maybe everyone would be happy to turn on those headlights in the rain. The reason for turning on your lights in the rain is that it makes YOU much more visible to the OTHER drivers. Your headlights just might help YOU see in the rain, but that's not the main safety idea. As an example, and I wish I had video of this, we hit a heavy downpour on I-77 in South Carolina. As I was driving along in the right-hand lane, back behind a semi-truck, we both had our lights on and slowed down since the water on the road was causing a bit of aquaplaning. Then, a pickup truck (with its headlights OFF) in the left-hand lane came by me, and just as he’s about equal with the rear of the semi, the semi changes lanes into the left lane to pass whoever is in front of him. So, the pickup hits his brakes really quickly to avoid going into the much larger semi-truck. I’ll guarantee you the semi driver would have seen him if his lights were on, but without those headlights, and given all the spray on the road, there’s no way the big 18-wheeler could see this dude. I'm glad no one got hurt, but it was just a real-life textbook example right in front of me on using those lights.

Fun Fact: Some states have signs reminding you to turn on your lights in the rain with the phrase “Burn Lights.” Whether or not you use that phrase for turning on a light, we all know you don’t literally BURN them on fire, but feel free to come up with a joke about burning your lights. 

Route 129, AKA The Tail of the Dragon

2: The left lane is for passing. 

Whether or not this is a law, it’s a great idea that makes everyone safer, more predictable, and keeps traffic flowing more smoothly. What you’re supposed to do is keep right on a multi-lane highway, unless you are passing another vehicle. Then, once you’ve passed the slower driver, get back over to the right with your turn signal in a safe and controlled manner. It’s really easy, and a very big deal in Germany on the Autobahn where some grandma in a station wagon will surely be on your bumper going over 100mph if you linger in the left lane too long. On one stretch of Interstate during our trip, there was a van from a laundry service just cruising along in the left lane for a good 20 miles for no reason. The end result of driving like this that then you get some hot head speed-racer wannabe come along, and they just start passing Mr. Left Lane Only on the right and weaving in and out of traffic. That just increases the risk factor for all of us. It’s not rocket science people.

The dam from the movie The Fugitive, not far from the NC end of The Tail of the Dragon. 

3: Speeding. 

OK, we’re all great drivers, and everyone loves driving as fast as humanly possible, but let me say this one more time for the people in the back, and in the words of musician Junior Brown in his song Highway Patrol: “If you wanna race then get on a race track.” With new cars having 300, 400, 500, and even more horsepower, you just aren’t going to use all that power on a public road. NMS encourages you to take that mechanical beastie out on a drag strip, local race track, or a friendly autocross course somewhere and drive your heart out in a safe manner. It’s really fun, and just a whole bunch safer!

Stay safe out there!