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!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Bond. James Bond In Motion Exhibit!

James Bond in Motion is the name of an exhibit at the Saratoga Automobile Museum. We checked it out and had a great time seeing various cars and even some other vehicles used in the James Bond Films. If you've seen any Bond films, you might be familiar with the story of the British MI6 agent 007 who is licensed to kill, based on the books by Ian Fleming. As a fan of both cars and James Bond, it was cool to see these cars in person. The exhibit will be open until November 2023, so there's plenty of time for you to head up by Albany NY and see it for yourself! Stay tuned for Part II, because this is only about half of the exhibit. 

The museum building used to be a bottling facility for the Saratoga Springs water. 

The items on display were mostly from the James Bond film production company, Eon Productions, and the Ian Fleming Foundation, and are being shown for the first time on the East Coast. You can find a TON of info and a list of inventory of vehicles at the Ian Fleming Foundation website: The Ian Fleming® Foundation – Welcome (

This was the only vehicle you could get on, but they wouldn't let me take it outside and drive in the snow! This was used in the movie Die Another Day, in 2002. We'll get to that green Jaguar in the photo later too!

The exhibit starts with some lesser-known cars, like this Mercury Cougar, from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Out in the desert, James Bond (Sean Connery) escapes the bad guys on this Honda 3-wheeler. 

Honda 3-wheeler, and judging by the initials WW, obviously from the rich Willard White (Jimmy Dean)

Mercury Cougar

This AMC Hornet was from the 1974 film The Man With The Golden Gun. It is not the specially modified car that made the jump in the background photo, but it is one of 2 that was shipped to the filming location, and was later returned to the head of AMC. The Fleming Foundation later purchased it.

This 1977 Lotus Esprit turned into a submarine for Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977. This is one of six or seven Lotus cars made for the ocean-going car. 

This is a prototype for the first water bike, again for 1977 and The Spy Who Loved Me (Roger Moore)

Fiberglass shell 1985 Aston Martin for Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights of 1987. 

Here's one of the bad guy cars! This Jaguar XKR chased Pierce Brosnan in the 2002 Bond film Die Another Day. Comes complete with gatling gun, missiles, Iceland license plate, etc.

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) had a few tricks up his sleeve against the Jaguar, mostly, this Aston Martin Vanquish, which also had missiles. This V12 powered car from Q Branch also had the ability to vanish by using cameras to project images and appear to disappear. You can see Bond on the yellow snowmobile in the background.

Normally just an Aston Martin badge on the front of a car gets my attention, so I must say that 4 missiles also does the trick. 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

NMS Bids For New World HQ!

Artist's Rendering of New NMS HQ. 

Today we learned from very anonymous sources, unnamed, unknown, and possibly imaginary, that NMS is in negotiations to acquire a brand- new state-of-the-art facility for their world headquarters. While the exact details are not known, several articles in the press have revealed that a certain national chain of used cars has fallen on hard times and is currently sitting on several shiny and just built facilities that may never open. Our source would not name the business due to on-going operations and not wanting to get sued, but we've been told that it rhymes with "Carvana." 

Unknown building, future home of NMS?

Each Carvana facility consists of a unique glass tower storage elevator for automobiles, so it seems to be the perfect design for just about any automotive business. Most of the buildings are located next to major highways, so while the locations are not secret, they also serve a dual purpose as huge billboards that promote whatever business they house. With room for a garage and other facilities, it appears that NMS is on to a great idea if they can obtain the lease or purchase at a reasonable price. As we looked into this story, we found previously unknown financial statements that indicate the NMS team could likely, maybe, possibly, don't quote us on this, afford a new building in the six figure range. We define "six figure range" as up to approximately 1,000.00 Uzbekistani Som. In case you were not aware, the current exchange rate would value 1,000.00 Uzbekistani Som as nearly 9 US cents. NMS Chief of Financial Operations Julie Nixon would only state "Sure, we can afford 9 cents."

More to follow as this fable story unfolds. 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year 2023!

Heading into the new year the right way!

Happy 2023, and thanks for following along on the NMS blog. I hope your 2022 was the best so far, and that this year will be even better!

After ringing in the New Year at midnight, this morning I headed out to a local Cars and Coffee to start the new year off right. It warmed up into the 50s, so it was very nice for January, and the small group of cars included some awesome sights to behold, so let's go!

Porsche Boxster Spyder in a not so common green.

Maserati MC20, with 621 horsepower

Maserati top speed 202mph, starts at about $217,000

Looks like a Transformer, with a top speed of 207mph. 

This is the Mercedes SLR McLaren

They only built about 2157 of these from 04-09, so you don't see them every day!

SLR badge, with the red McLaren logo

Doors up!

Spoiler Alert! Porsche 911 GT3 with 4.0-liter engine

Spoiler Alert! Porsche 911 GT3 with 3.8-liter engine. 

Spoiler Alert! Porsche 911 GT3 with 4.0-liter engine and swan neck attachment. 

Detail of the GT3 swan neck attachment.

Lamborghini Huracan "It's Hers"

Carbon ceramic brakes. 

Huracan Evo Rear Wheel Drive

Lambo cockpit

Rivian electric R1S SUV

Rivian starts at $78,000

Rivian headlight detail.

R1S seats 7.