Sunday, April 30, 2023

NMS: 10 Years of Autocross!

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Dirty Rotten Bloggers

Today we're taking a moment to celebrate the 10th anniversary since Brian Nixon and I started competing in Autocross events. You can send any gifts at any time, might we suggest tickets to the F1 race in Austin Texas this October, where part of the weekend at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track will be a concert from the band Queen! Hey, it just happens to be on my birthday, so, no pressure!

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24 Hours of Lemons Class C WINNERS!

But seriously, somehow we both were interested in trying this driving thing and signed up and just went out and did it. At that first event at Darlington Raceway, we both entered in the Novice class. Was it fun? Well, after that first event we decided to forget about being Novices and just jump into the next event in the regular competition classes. We haven't regretted that for a second. 

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Brian (2nd from right) and Team Coronautski with Randy Pobst (3rd from right)

For that first autocross event we had a Miata and a FIAT 500 Abarth, and while the Miata has been replaced with a series of other Miatas and other cars (check out the page on this blog about our cars), the FIAT was replaced with my current Cayman. Along the way we have also driven at track day events, Time Trials, 24 Hours of Lemons races, Lucky Dog, the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience, Lexus demo day, Jaguar demo day, Evolution Autocross School, instructed at the Tire Rack Street Survival school for teen drivers, the BMW performance center in Greer SC, and other fun filled events. 

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Kimi Raikkonen stopped by for Christmas one year!

Track wise, we call Carolina Motorsports Park in SC our home track. Between the two of us we've also driven at Darlington Raceway, Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Atlanta Motorsports Park, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Roebling Road, Barber Motorsports Park, the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research, Virginia International Raceway, Pocono Raceway, Autobahn Country Club, Watkins Glen International, New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Palmer Motorsports Park. Throw in a few go-kart tracks and lots of autocross events in at least 7 states, and that's about it.

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Tough Day at Work With Skip Barber at Lime Rock Park

While we'd like to list all the world championships and how many millions of dollars we've won, well, we haven't! But, some pretty reasonable achievements include Brian and Kyle and Luke (as the Bunch of Idiots racing team) WINNING last year's Lucky Dog race series, Team Coronautski winning their class in a 24 Hours of Lemons race, 2nd overall in another Lemons race, Brian competed at the Sports Car Club of America national Autocross Championship in Nebraska and other regional events one year, Robert winning 5 class championships and finishing Top Ten overall for the season in a couple of clubs, and I think we've both taken a top 2 or top 3 PAX in an individual autocross event or two. 

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The 3 guys on the right (Brian, Luke, Kyle) are the Bunch of Idiots racing team.

The key thing is that we've had  a TON, yes, exactly 2,000 pounds of FUN! We've met a lot of great people, learned a lot about driving and taking care of automobiles, and likely boosted the economy so much that we should be totally broke. There are cheaper hobbies out there, so I guess we're just not smart enough to do those instead!

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One minute you might get a trophy, the next minute you might have a heart attack. Take care of yourself!

Thanks for following along on our FIRST ten years. Don't worry, we'll keep driving!

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Brian's NMS Tip of the Day: Make the Car Go Faster!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


MoneyGram Haas F1 drivers Nico and Kevin: RAWE CEEK

Formula 1 race fans are very happy, because it's RAWE CEEK! What is RAWE CEEK? Can I be a RAWE CEEKER too? How much does RAWE CEEK cost? Where do I get RAWE CEEK? And mostly, what IS RAWE CEEK? Today we'll find out!

RAWE CEEK means that it is RACE WEEK! It just so happens that somewhere out there in social media fantasy-Matrix world, several promotions or photos trying to hype up the latest Race Week have gotten the message a bit jumbled if you read it a certain way, and now all the cool kids are doing RAWE CEEK on purpose.

Probably the best RAWE CEEK post I've seen is the photo above. It started with the MoneygGram Haas F1 Team announcing Chipotle as a sponsor, so of course their drivers Nico and Kevin are holding bags of Chipotle's delicious Mexican food. At first glance you might just read the letters on the bags as RACE WEEK, but of course reading it differently gives us RAWE CEEK! Mystery solved!

This week's F1 race is extra exciting because it's been weeks since the last F1 race, due to the Chinese Grand Prix having been cancelled, and giving us the past three weekends with NO racing!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

April Autocross Report


Sunday April 23 was the latest autocross for NMS-North, and while the day started out on the wet side, a good time was had by all regardless. We waited for the rain to stop, and then got cars rolling on course right about noon, and even with the delay (usually start driving at 10AM) every driver still had a shot at the course eight times. By the time we were driving, the pavement was just about 100% dry, so it was a fun day!

At the end of the day I managed to take 1st in my class of 4 drivers by just under 0.1 of a second, so that was close! On the overall PAX, I took 4th out of all 35 drivers, so that was pretty good for me. On my final drive of the day I lowered my time by another 0.3 seconds, BUT hit a cone (which is a 2 second penalty for that time) so that run didn't count. Oh well, if you don't hit a cone once in a while, maybe you need to go faster. Here's my final run of the day. Without hitting a cone it might have moved me up to 3rd on the day. 


We split the drivers into 2 groups, and I was driving in the 1st group. Apparently all the really fast drivers were in the later group, because at the end of our 1st group first time to drive, I was leading the PAX standings! That felt pretty good, even though I was sure the fast folks would beat my time. Here's how it looked there just for a short time while I was leading:

In first place at least temporarily!

Here's the secret to how I had such a good day:

50% savings in license plate weight!
With the car now registered in SC, I put the new plate on the rear, and removed the two NY plates! All that weight savings must have made the car faster!

The course was a good mix of high speed (my top speed was 55mph) and a few very slow tricky corners. Out of 8 runs I hit two cones on the day, so mostly kept it clean and was improving all day. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Cars and Coffee VIDEO!

Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing

Our local Cars and Coffee is a fun event, held just about every Sunday, with no admission, no judging, no trophies, just car folks and their cars. A recent event was EPIC TIMES THREE, because among the common everyday garden variety Corvettes, McLarens, Porsches, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis, there were 3 jaw-droppers. Probably the most impressive car (that you do NOT see every day) was a 1950s Mercedes 300 SL "Gullwing." Wow!

In addition, there were TWO Porsche Carrera GTs, in black and red parked side by side. I've seen maybe a few of them in museums, one driving down the street here in Great Neck, and now these 2. You might have seen one of these on Jay Leno's Garage, or some other TV show or Internet video. 

Speaking of video, here's a video of last Sunday's Cars and Coffee, and SPOILER ALERT, if you want to skip the part with the previously mentioned million dollar cars, you can see me getting interviewed with Ruby the 2009 Cayman at the 9:12 mark. Better yet, start just before that and see my friend Mitch with his Carmine Red Cayman too! Here's the link:


Friday, April 7, 2023

Simeone Foundation Auto Museum Highlights

Recently I was very happy that my wife went to a baby shower in Philadelphia, because it allowed me to drive south and visit the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Wow! You need to visit if you have any interest in historical vehicles, racing, and seeing cars that raced from Indy to LeMans in person. The collection was brought together by Dr. Simeone over many years, and I was also lucky enough to be at an event there in 2019 when Dr. Simeone was still living. Here's just the highlights!

Yep, 1 of only 6 Shelby Cobra Daytonas. Unbelievable to see one in person!

Cobra Daytona

What's it worth?
In 2009 one sold for $7,500,000

Famous flat "Kamm" tail for aerodynamics 
        Ferrari Testa Rossa weighs less than a Miata

This car is the same age as me!

Testa Rossa, with red seats too

Be careful of the hot exhaust pipes when you get out

This must have looked like it was from outer space in 1958

Back to more Ford vs. Ferrari, the 1966 GT

This specific car started but didn't finish at LeMans 66, but Ford had others that swept 1-2-3. 

How do you like them bumpers!

The rear of the car with so many air intakes really stands out. The 1967 version coming up looks really different than what you see here. 

One year later, the Ford GT was re-worked for more aerodynamic efficiency, 300 less pounds, the engine power was increased, and again, Ford finished top of the heap at LeMans. This car tied the lap record while another Ford won the race. 

Lots of differences with the previous year's yellow car

I noticed the intake built into the NACA duct on top of the door

   1967 Ford

Even rarer than the 1 of 6 Daytona above, this is 1 of only 5 Corvette Grand Sports!

I'm just going to say "here's something you don't see every day!"

As I said, those are just the highlights! More from the Simeone coming up in the future.