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 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!