Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Introducing NMS Car #304

#304 B Street, at least you can read it.

  In preparing to return to South Carolina, I joined the Sports Car Club of America after taking a break for a few years, and just signed up for an autocross with the New York Region. Being a new member to the SCCA, I had to get a new number for Ruby, so NMS is proud to present our "new" car, the NMS #304! On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, normally I'd be tuning in to a ton of racing on TV like F1 in Monaco, the Indy 500, and the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte, but this year I'll be driving, so that will be even better! Remember, you can always watch something on TV another time, but you can only DRIVE at any one event once!

Memorial Day weekends for me have usually included some music events, like marching in parades, conducting bands, and my regular "day-job" stuff like that, and on Monday I'll be marching in two parades. However, looking ahead to 2024 and in the future, my Memorial Day weekends might be a bit different in retirement. Living close to Charlotte means possibly going to the race in Charlotte, or just heading up the road to Indianapolis for the 500. I've been to the Indy 500 before, but it was just to play in a band for Armed Forces weekends, and on race day to march around the track early in the morning. One year the race was rain delayed for a week (I think) and since the regular Purdue University band couldn't make it, our 74th Army Band stationed in Indianapolis got to play the National Anthem on race day, backing up David Hasselhof! True story, you can look it up. 

I've never driven at Indy, but have done a lap there when I ran the half or Mini Marathon with my brothers, and the 13.2 miles included a lap on the famous track. That was fun! Maybe not as fun as driving there, but yeah, a good 2.5 track comes in handy for running! Charlotte wise, Brian and I have driven the oval for some charity days, and he's run the Roval that includes the infield course, so that is another fun experience to get on the big track with the banking and cruise around there.   

So, Sunday I had a working assignment that was new to me, making sure our photographer was in a good spot and not surprised by any cars on course. That was fun too! 

Photographer Adam at work

Sunday was nice and sunny, and after 10 runs total I ended smack in the middle of the Street Class, 9th out of 18 drivers. Overall on actual (RAW) time, 21st out of 66, and on modified PAX time, also 21st out of 66 total drivers. The morning's 5 runs, looked like this

1st RUN: 35.166     Not a bad start, at the time it was the fastest PAX time of the day, but most people hadn't driven yet!

2nd RUN: 35.385     Slower, not good!

3rd RUN 35.319     Slower than the first run, also not good. For the next run I lowered the tire pressures. 

4th RUN 35.142 +1  OK, a bit faster than the last two, but consistently not faster! Plus I hit a cone (+1) on this run, so that adds a 2 second penalty, call this run a 37.142

5th RUN 34.524     Finally, faster than the first run, and a good 0.642 drop in time. Will have to go faster in the afternoon session. 

After those 5 drives, I had a chance to watch some other drivers on the course and think about how to go faster. Then for my non-driving work session, I was assigned to be a spotter for a photographer, which meant I basically stood by Adam as he took photos for the club, and made sure he was not in danger of getting run over! After that was a lunch break, and then it was time to drive again. 

Here's my afternoon 5 runs. Either the course was quicker, or I managed to drop some more time, but overall I think everyone was quicker in the afternoon. 

6th RUN:  33.942 +1  Wow, into the 33s, but that pesky +1 means I threw this run away. 

7th RUN:  34.031       OK, no cones, and almost 0.5 quicker than the morning. 

8th RUN:  34.255 +1  Still no help, but trying to get into the 33 seconds range. 

9th RUN:  34.395       Nope, a tenth of a second slower, booo!

10th RUN: 34.045       I thought I had a 33 second run, but as you can read, missed it by 0.045, less than half a tenth of a second. Hmm, to be positive, well, these 5 runs were all within 0.4 of each other, so being consistent is OK, but being consistently FASTER would be even BETTER!

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