Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Automobile Capital of the World?

Scout Motors South Carolina factory rendering
    Scout Motors future factory, Blythewood SC Image couresy of SCOUT motors


Let's play a little game! WHERE do YOU think is the automobile capital of the world? 

What's fun about this game is that EVERYONE IS A WINNER, there is no specific definition of "auto capital of the world", so any answer is OK. Let's go. 

How about Germany, the home of the first automobile by Mercedes? They've got Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and Porsche also. Maybe they're not all made in the same city, but hey, they've got lots of beer and schnitzel too!

One answer most of us in the USA might say is Detroit Michigan, long time home of our Big Three of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. But, Chrysler was bought out by FIAT, which was then merged with some French makers, and now falls under the Stellantis brand. I'm still waiting to see some Stellantis company Lancias, Vauxhalls, and Citroens here in the US, but I guess I'll have to wait. 

OK, how about another answer: China! Number of automobiles sold by country is lead by China, so pick a factory or two and narrow it down to a specific city, or just stick with China. In 2022, there were 10 MILLION MORE cars sold in China than the US. They have a lot more people too, so I think China is the winner in this race!

Also, India has a huge population, and their auto sales continue to grow, now the 4th biggest auto market in the world, following China, USA, and Japan. Tata Motors sold over 10 Million vehicles last year, not bad!

Looking to the future of electric cars, maybe Tesla is the big dog in the room, so let's name their home factory in Fremont California as the world's capital, out there by San Jose and San Francisco. 

I have a new entry for you, and to be honest this is what inspired this post, and that's the center of the automotive world is now...



The big news is that the VW funded brand Scout (like the old US brand International Scout pickups) will be built in a brand new gigantic factory in the original home of NMS-North,  Blythewood SC. Combine this with the enormous BMW factory in Greer SC (the largest BMW producer in the world), a Mercedes Sprinter Van factory near Charleston, PLUS the only Volvo factory in the USA (also in Charleston), then throw in the associated suppliers like parts/tires/robots industry, and you have a LOT of autos getting built in the Palmetto State. An electric line of SUVs and pickups with the SCOUT name could be a big seller, judging by the return of other names from the past, like the Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco, and heck even the new Ford Maverick pickup! Here's one article on the Scout facility: 


Tuesday, March 28, 2023




The NMS-South designed CONEAVORE t-shirt has returned and is now for sale TODAY ONLY at the following link: 

Friday, March 24, 2023

New Car Search


While every single day it's fun to think about cars, NMS is seriously thinking about buying a new car. Heck, maybe two! The bottom line is that it is usually cheaper to buy a good used car, but with the economy going the way it is, some recent model used cars are hardly any cheaper than their brand new versions. 

Anyway, the main point for me is to look at what do you need your vehicle to do? If you need to haul your tools and plywood or drywall, you likely need a full size pickup with an 8 food bed. If you need to haul your 10 kids, then you might be shopping for a 12 or 15 passenger van. At the heart of the matter, a car or truck is an appliance that helps you get something done. Despite that, well, it would be fun to buy a used NASCAR race car (RACECAR, the world's greatest palindrome forwards and backwards!)  too, but that wouldn't be the most practical way to go get groceries and grab lunch at Burger World. Or the Big Kahuna Burger if you are a Quentin Tarantino fan.

So one side of the NMS garage, we've been very happy with our 2011 Toyota Camry. Other than tires, one set of spark plugs, and new brakes/rotors, we've only had to replace some shocks and suspension parts, which is probably to be expected at 170,000 miles. We're looking at upgrading a bit, but sticking with the Toyota company, and maybe going hybrid to increase fuel economy. Lexus is their fancy brand, and the make several SUVs, so we're looking into the smallest/cheapest one, the Lexus UX. Or a Corolla hybrid, who knows?

The UX for 2023 only comes in hybrid, and gets a combined MPG of 42. Taking a test drive will help make the decision. Shoot, with a 12 years newer car it's probably got all kinds of fancy tech that we've never had, like Apple CarPlay, and all those warning/safety things. 

On the Cayman side of the garage, we're holding onto this car, but thinking about another vehicle for everyday driving. Again, I'm leaning to the hybrid side, and believe it or not, the Ford Maverick hybrid small truck looks like the pending winner in this horse race. It's got a small bed, but room for 4-5 people, and is one of the cheapest hybrids available. Speaking of prices, it still amazes me how expensive all cars have gotten, with the average retail price of new vehicles in the US now hitting $49,388 according to the folks at Kelly Blue Book. Dude, that's 50 G's!!!! The NMS budget is under that, and the hybrid mileage especially around town should fit us just nicely thank you very much. The cheapest XL model Maverick is around $24,000.

OK, the Lexus UX and Ford Maverick don't have huge back seats, and won't tow 7,000 pounds, but for the two of us we don't need those features, so we're looking forward to a little car shopping later this year after the HQ moves to SC.

Monday, March 6, 2023

March 2023 Autocross Report

2023 Autocross!


NMS-North got things rolling in 2023 for Autocross down at Tobay Beach, once again with the Porsche Club of America. On a chilly spring-ish day, there were 50 some car and drivers competing at the first event of the season, and as always it was a blast! Out of XX Porsche cars, I managed to finish in XX place on PAX time, and in my clas of 3 drivers I finished 2nd, so definitely middle-of-the-pack! I've noticed they only write songs about the "Leader" of the pack, and I've never heard a tune about the "Middle" of the pack, so what can you do? Guess I should write a song about the middle-of-the-pack driver!

Overall, I did not have a fast day, and I'll say my decision to stick with the winter tires on my car was a bad choice! I was thinking the colder weather might work better on those tires than the summer high performance tires, and what do you know, I was wrong. On a positive note, regarding consistency, 4 of my 8 runs were the same down to the tenth of a second. That just means I was consistently SLOW!

RUN 1: 47.533

RUN 2: 45.771

RUN 3: 46.075

RUN 4: 45.746

RUN 5: 47.202+1 CONE

RUN 6: 46.386

RUN 7: 45.784

RUN 8: 45.748

Here's some more cool cars that competed!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Here's $100M, Join Our NMS Formula 1 Fantasy League

The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off March 5th in Bahrain, and you can join the action by playing the FREE F1 Fantasy game on the official F1 website. Like other fantasy league sports, you get a couple million pretend dollars to buy the teams and drivers based on the game's pricing of how valuable the teams and drivers are, and then you earn points from each race based on their performance. Every race during the season lets you tweak your team, so right up until qualifying starts on race weekend Saturdays you can make changes based on previous races or on the first couple of practice sessions for that week. 

The online game lets you have up to 3 teams at a time, so that makes it fun to try various strategies. For instance, if you're a Ferrari fan, go ahead and pick Ferrari as your team, and then pick both Ferrari drivers to be on your team of 5 drivers. Oh, you're a Lewis Hamilton Mercedes fan? Then feel free to go with them, Lewis, and Mercedes driver George Russell for starters. If you just want to pick some USA power, go with the Haas F1 team, their Danish and German drivers, and then throw in US driver Logan Sargeant on the Williams team!

So, check out the F1 Fantasy game at this link: 

             F1 FANTASY LEAGUE 

to spend your $100,000,000 on your team. Then, once you have a team, (or two, or even better three,) go to THIS LINK: 


to enter your teams in our NMS-Racing.Net League! You can also use our DOUBLE PROBATION SECRET CODE to join the NMS League: P1LHYO87H01   and feel free to share that code with everyone you know!

Oh, and you don't even have to declare the 100M we gave you on your income taxes. Good luck!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Welcome to Autocross 2023!

Carvana Long Island Update:
Nothing new, no cars. 

We have one week to go for the first autocross event of the year here in New York, so things are heating up out in the garage at NMS-North. OK, it's about 30 degrees, so maybe "heating up" is not the right term. The weather forecast for the first event on March 5th is a high of 47 degrees in the afternoon, so with the first driving of the day happening more like 10AM, it's going to be chillier than that. Based on what I think I learned at last year's chilly events, my best tires don't really like the cold weather much, so this year I'm leaning towards just going out there with my old winter tires and having fun anyway!

This will be the 3rd season full season for the Cayman to compete with the Metro NY Region of the Porsche Club of America in autocross, so it will be a fun time with the car folks again down at Tobay Beach close to the ocean for the first few events. After that, the action shifts a little more inland to the parking lots of the Nassau Coliseum, so I'll enjoy that too. Recently there has been an announcement that the Sands casino folks want to develop the Coliseum and area into a big entertainment complex, so if that comes true, we might not be autocrossing there in future years. 

This brings up just about the only tough restriction on groups that want to run driving events in big parking lots all across the county, and that is to find space to hold the event in the first place. Your average large parking lot tends to have a lot of "furniture" that is not autocrossing friendly, like light poles, parking blocks, curbs, little landscaped tree areas, etc. Some locations have restrictions on noise, and yes, I've seen car groups follow the rules and operate decimeters during events and stop cars that are too loud. Even some racetracks more in the country may have these noise limits too. See, car drivers are all mature, responsible people!  

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Cars. Coffee. Cowabunga!

NMS on the scene, reporting live!

Cars. That's that this blog is all about.

Coffee. That's what makes pretty much everything on Earth possible! Don't believe me? Did the dinosaurs have coffee? No, I think we can conclude they did not. Are they still around? No, I'm going out on a limb and saying there are NO dinosaurs around. So, therefore, Coffee IS what makes everything on Earth possible. QED. CSN. BLT on RYE, whatever those initials mean. 

Today was another in a series of every Sunday Cars and Coffee events close to NMS-North, in a parking lot at the Manhasset NY Macys store. To be honest, I usually take my own coffee, but today I splurged big and purchased a coffee at the Starbucks inside the Macys. Not a big deal, since billions of people probably do that every day, but being a cheapskate, I'm usually happy making my own coffee for a lot less CASH. The other odd thing is that the cars event started at 9AM, but the Starbucks doesn't open on Sundays until 10AM. Oh well, on to the cars. 


Ha, I fooled you! I said CARS and then showed you the COFFEE! Or as I hear it pronounced around here, CAWFEE. This is a special home brew in a very special Max Verstappen mug from my wonderful daughter Katie. She bought it in Amsterdam, so let's drink to Max possibly winning a 3rd consecutive world championship in F1 this year. NOW THE CARS. Let's just look at the super-duper-awesome (SDA) cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Porsche that I spotted today. 

No, I did not SPOT them like paint them with polka dots, I SPOTTED them as in I saw them. Geeze, you need a dictionary to figure this out. 

McLaren, I believe this is a GT model. 

This front end means BUSINESS. 

Yeah, McLaren does Papaya Orange all day long!

Porsche GT3 RS

The center-lock wheels always look awesome to me. Not everyone can rock 
a purple car with yellow brake calipers, but a GT3RS pulls it off. 

This wing is so big, I'm not even going to say SPOILER ALERT

Ferrari 458, NOT IN RED!

Sure, everyone is looking at these 2 Ferraris and the Lambo on the left, no one
pays attention to a lowly Cayman on the right. 

I like the Prancing Horse of Ferrari, but this shot with the shadowy reflection caught my eye. 

This Ferrari F8 Tributo is not red either. Puple after-market wheels. 

The clear engine cover and Italian flag graphics are nice.


Lamborghini STO. The central strake above must be for aerodynamics, but I liked 
the reflection of the Lamborghini badge in the paint too.

Just WOW!
The exhaust seems higher than most cars, maybe that helps performance?

Lots of openings for the air to aid performance. 

Lamborghini again! Huracan Evo.

Huracan in blue

Looks nice without the huge spoiler too!

McLaren 720S, NOT in Papaya!

The spoiler is up, I believe it can retract down like some Porsches.

McLaren, looking down the driver's door towards the front. 
Various channels for the air flow out of the front wheel arches
and into the mid-mounted engine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


NMS at the Lemons Block Party 2022

Welcome to the NMS-Racing blog post number 1,000! To celebrate, we're not looking back, we're looking to the future! 

2023 will mark a big shift for the team, as NMS-North moves the NY Headquarters back down south to South Carolina! On the positive side, it will be warmer, there will be more car events, SC has less traffic than Long Island, and we'll be closer to the original home of NMS in Columbia! Oh, plus one little thing that I like to call "retiring" from my current job! After the start of NMS, I've lived in SC, VA, and NY, so this will kind of bring it all back home! Specifically, we will be based in Rock Hill SC, just south of the NC line and Charlotte NC. It would be fun to say it's to take a job driving for Haas F1 or one of the NASCAR teams, but it wouldn't be true!

OK, specifically, in 2023, let's split the year in half, and say that the first half will continue with auto-crossing with the Metro NY Region Porsche Club of America at their monthly events. The 2009 Cayman returns, although it's looking like one of the newest set of tires picked up a slow leak in one of the rear tires, so a replacement is in order. Other than that, we'll check the car over the winter, throw in an oil change, a brake fluid change, and keep monitoring other fluid levels and brake pad wear. If the March or April autocross events are still kind of chilly, we'll consider sticking with winter tires for the day. 

After June, the big move to Rock Hill will happen, and from there the team is considering several options for the year, and future years, so let's start with 2023. 

Most likely we'll pick up a few more autocross events and return to the South Carolina Region of the Sports Car Club of America with the Cayman instead of the FIAT 500 Abarth. After not competing with SCCA since 2018, I'll have to catch up with what class to enter. It will be fun to be back at some of their event locations like Darlington, the Michelin Proving Grounds, and up with the Central Carolina Region SCCA in Charlotte NC at the big lot where the NHRA folks run by Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Track wise, I'd love to take the Cayman to some new tracks, so I'm planning on some High-Performance Driver Education (HPDE) events with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Southeast region. The closest track will be Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) where I've already driven in the FIAT and a couple of Lemons events, so doing a Cayman at CMP should be a blast! NASA SE also visits tracks I have not visited in the region include Roebling Road near Savannah GA, Atlanta Motorsports Park (guess where!) Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (also located in guess where!) and even the old NASCAR track at Rockingham NC! 

More specifically, I'd like to move up from NASA HPDE 2 to at least HPDE 3 in 2023. Longer range wise, the team plan is to then qualify for a license to enter NASA Time Trials in the Cayman and see where that might lead to as far as just sticking with Time Trials or possibly some other track racing. 

Oh, one more future plan. If I get serious about a lot more track driving, well, it would sure be nice to not wear out those tires on the way to the track, so a car trailer would be just great! And then I'd need a tow vehicle that can easily handle say at least 5,000 pounds of trailer/car/gear/tools/etc. Well, I'd better start researching cool pickups and SUVs then! Maybe a lightweight open trailer with a shiny new Ford Ranger? They both come in my size if you're thinking ahead to my next birthday!

Back in 2016 Brian competed at the big national autocross championship in Lincoln Nebraska with Jason Rucker, so once we're both living in the same state again, we'd like to spend a season and give it a shot with the big guns in Lincoln too. 2023 might be too soon for this one, so maybe after that we'll focus on a big autocross season.

Besides those driving plans, my goal in 2023 is to enroll at York Technical College for their Automotive Maintenance program. By using my remaining GI Bill benefits, this just might enable me to learn more about what in the world I'm doing working on my cars! My experience tells me that like your body, car things wear out, need replacing, or just flat out break, and that doing what you can by yourself instead of paying someone else tends to be a lot cheaper! Sure, I could win the lottery and pay people, but so far that winning Mega Millions ticket hasn't come my way! Oh, and from what I've read about a lot of the big tool companies is that they offer a great discount to students enrolled in various mechanic schools! Geeze, then besides actually learning something, and coming up with all kinds of fun with cars, I could get some new tools. Woo-hoo!

So, even longer-range planning, there's all kinds of car projects floating around in my head, so I'll just jot a few down on paper here for fun. By the way, if you haven't tried jotting, I can highly recommend it! They say that your goals and plans become much more attainable if you write them down, and I'm just going to say that "jotting" is equivalent to "writing."

    With NMS-South and friends building Spec Nissan 350Z cars for racing in 2024, that would be a fun way to go in the future, so just maybe I'll jump on that bandwagon. Just a couple of simple steps needed here: 

1: Buy a 350 Z. 

2: Take all the non-racy bits off. 

3: Put more racy bits on (roll cage, fire suppression, racing seat, harness, transponder, etc.)

4: GO RACIN'! 

    Other than that, assuming I actually learn something about working on cars, it would be a blast in some future year to build a car, like a kit car from Factory Five, a Caterham 7, or other type of build you can do at home. Also, how about finding a basket case or wrecked car, fixing it up, and racing it in Lemons? I'm thinking that a model that my wife and I used to own would be hilarious, like a Chevy Chevette, VW Fox, or more likely, a modern FIAT 500 Abarth. I haven't seen any FIAT 500s in Lemons races, and my experience with the 160HP 1.4-liter engine was pretty good, so maybe it would make a good Lemons car if it was stripped down in weight. The front seat area seems pretty tall, so it may not be super-aerodynamic, but that would make it easier to build a cage inside. 

Hey, life is all about change, and you only live once, so get out there and make 2023 a great year yourself! Thanks for reading the blog, even if you haven't read all 1,000 posts!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Track Night in America

If you're looking for an easy way to drive your car on track, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) has what you need with their Track Night in America program. Lots of details are available at the website but the basic idea is that instead of paying hundreds of dollars on a weekend to get your car on track, you can come out in the afternoon, and pay way less to do a few sessions on track that is NOT a race. 

To keep things safe, they divide the drivers into Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced groups, with a mandatory meeting for the first timers to learn what they will be doing. For the Novices, their first time on track will be in a more controlled environment with a pace car, and no passing. That means they should be first off just getting familiar with the track (left, right, brake, straights, etc) before trying to go fast. 

Each driving group will get say three different sessions on track, about 20 minutes each. We can highly recommend TNiA as a great way to start out. Safety wise, you need a helmet, and most events should have rental helmets available. 

Here's the 2023 schedule: 

Atlanta Motorsports Park, Dawsonville, GA – March 22, April 19, June 7, July 12, August 16, September 13
Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA – January 28
Blackhawk Farms Raceway, South Beloit, IL – May 10, June 7, July 12, August 9, September 13 
Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, MN
– July 7
Carolina Motorsports Park
, Kershaw, SC – April 5, May 10, June 14, September 20, October 18
Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC – March 16, April 27, June 28, August 10
Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount, MN – May 5, June 9, June 30, July 27, August 18, September 15
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL – April 20, April 21, August 3, August 4, September 21, September 22
Dominion Raceway, Thornburg, VA – May 11, June 8, July 27, August 24, October 5
Eagles Canyon Raceway, Decatur, TX – March 21, May 16, September 12
GingerMan Raceway, South Haven, MI – May 18, June 15, August 17, September 21
Harris Hill Raceway, San Marcos, TX – March 15, April 12, May 10, June 7, September 13, October 4, November 1
Heartland Motorsports Park, Topeka, KS – April 27, May 18, June 15, July 6, August 17, September 19, October 19
High Plains Raceway, Deer Trail, CO – June 22, August 24
Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL – TBA
Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT – April 27, June 7, June 8, July 17, August 17
Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA – May 31, June 23, July 21
MotorSport Ranch, Cresson, TX – April 25, June 6, October 10
Nashville Superspeedway
, Lebanon, TN – May 3, July 25, August 23, October 18
Nelson Ledges Road Course, Garrettsville, OH – April 22, August 2, September 13
New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH – May 5, July 28
New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ – April 26, May 24, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20
NOLA Motorsports Park, Avondale, LA – March 9, May 11, October 19
Palmer Motorsports Park, Ware, MA – June 22, September 7
Pikes Peak International Raceway, Fountain, CO – May 25, July 27
Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Wampum, PA – April 27, May 25, June 21, July 19, August 25, September 20, October 18
Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA – April 20, May 16, June 13, July 6, August 9, September 12
Portland International Raceway, Portland, OR – April 21, May 26, June 30, July 18, August 15
Ridge Motorsports Park, Shelton, WA – April 27, May 24, June 29, July 26, September 19, October 18
Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, FL – May 18, June 11, August 24, October 6, November 2
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, CT – April 18, May 11, May 23, June 29, July 11, July 20, August 10, August 29, September 21, October 10
Thunderhill Raceway Park, Willows, CA – March 16, May 11, June 8, August 31, October 5
VIRginia International Raceway, Alton, VA – July 20

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

We Have Good News! We Have Bad News!

Box in the mail? CAR PARTS!

Nothing really dramatic going on, but this past week has been both good and bad out in the NMS-North garage. Let's go live to the scene:

1. On the both Good and Bad side, I checked the power steering fluid on the Cayman. It has gotten low a few times, so I was being MISTER PROACTIVE GUY and checking it before it got squeaky and low on fluid. This is not a big deal really, it just takes a bit more time than on a front engine car, but easy enough to pry off the carpeted cover, unscrew 5 Torx bolts, and then you have access to the dipstick. Hey, the fluid was good! While I've got the covers off, why not check out the rest of the engine bay, grab the various hoses and make sure they are OK! What could happen?

Old broken crankcase vent hose, time to order a new one. 

Well, grabbing a brittle plastic 14-year-old air hose from the crankcase and having it crack right in half in my bare hand is what could happen! A quick activation of the World Wide Internet Mechanics Earthbound Resources (WWIMER) on various Porsche and car forums confirmed what part I had broken, and it was easy to order a replacement. At this time, I'd like to remind you of the 5th LAW OF THE INTERNETS states that when you ask for opinions on stuff like brake pads, oil, what kind of car to buy, or any car repair, you will get at least 5 people to reply, and they will provide you with at least 10 different possible answers. This LAW never fails, and while it might contain the correct solution, it's right back in your lap to figure it out. 

New hose, just need to connect all three ends. Luckily, it's on top of the engine.

So, I ordered the new part and waited. Other possible repairs to make it drivable were to just tape it up and drive, but luckily, since I can walk to work, I just bit the bullet and spent the money to fix it with the right part. And let me tell you, biting a bullet is NOT the gastronomical delight you might think it is! 

2. The 160,000 mile Camry just developed a squeak. Another little bit of research on the WWIMER turned up a couple of videos that zeroed in on the steering shaft down at the floor by the gas pedal. Sure enough, that's exactly where the squeak was coming from! A little silicone lubricant and the noise went away! Oh, but then I had a car interior that had a strong odor of the lubricant, so we hit it with some Febreze and left the windows open. Things are not squeaking and starting to smell better. 

On a related note, some car forum I was reading today had some discussions on other interior car squeaks, and several real people suggested just turning up the radio or wearing ear buds to cover up the noise! Sounds good to me!

New hose installed, just the three ends clipped in, and two other spots also held by clips. 

3. Back on the good news side, the part for the Cayman came in, and I managed to remove the old hose and install the new one. The hardest part was squeezing and removing the connectors on the old part, but they eventually relented and made way for the new part. All three connections made a solid CLICK as they snapped into place, and my quick test drive to go buy the winning Powerball ticket confirmed that the car was running fine!