Friday, September 15, 2023

NMS Preps for Track Night in America

Well, yeah, we might have altered this photo. 

A few years ago, the Sports Car Club of America started a program called Track Night in America, in an effort to get more first timers out on a racetrack. This program has grown in popularity and runs events all summer long at locations across the country. Somehow, I've always been too busy working, or didn't live close enough to attend a TNiA, but on September 20th that will change. I'll be at Carolina Motorsports Park CMP LINK from about 1pm to 6:30pm and get 3 sessions (20 minutes each) of lapping the track. Score 1 for being retired!  TNiA at CMP LINK 

CMP = 14 Corners
The high speed "Kink" marked turn 10 may or may not be flat-out.

One concern with doing regular track days on a weekend is the cost. You will likely pay $200-$300 per day and up, sometimes WAY UP above that. Add in the gas, tire wear, brake wear, food and maybe lodging, and to enjoy a hobby of driving two days on a track and the cost really adds up. The attraction of TNiA, if you can take a day off of work, or maybe even half a day, is that you head out to a track on a weeknight, still get 3 sessions in, and the SCCA does a good job to hold the costs down. From what I know about renting a track, they generally charge more on the weekend, so with TNiA being during the week it's a bit cheaper. 

Fresh brake fluid, yes please. 

Safety is important, so all drivers must attend a driver meeting, wear a helmet on track, and obey other rules like how/when you can pass other cars, so I feel good about driving at this event. I've driven at CMP before for a track day and two 24 Hours of Lemons races, so getting lost on track should NOT be a problem. It isn't racing, there's no prize money, it's just a FUN event. Huh, imagine that! Every driver takes the checkered flag and WINS at TNiA!

The Motive Power Brake Bleeder makes this job easier.

To get ready for driving on track, today I took off my 18-inch wheels and put on the 19s, torqued the ol' lug nuts, looked at other fluid levels, put on the track brake pads, and changed my brake fluid. A lot of drivers focus on making their car faster, which is good, but I know I also need to be able to STOP! Other than that, I just need to show up, pay attention, only pass when allowed by the driver in front, drive safely, have gas in the car, take a helmet and water, maybe some food, and throw the canopy in the car since it will likely still be warm. 

Swapping wheels, bleeding brakes, checking brake pads.

This will be my first time in the Cayman at CMP, so while it's not competitive, I have to figure I can go a bit faster than the other cars I've driven there, like the NMS Miata, NMS FIAT 500 Abarth, and the "Altimate" Driving Machine Nissan Altima. Here's the schedule for the day, with 3 different driving groups taking turns on track. I'm doing the BLUE Intermediate Group schedule:

1:00PM- Gates Open

2:15PM- Worker Meeting (includes Run/Work participants)



3:20PM - Advanced Group: Session 1

3:25PM - HAWK Novice Group: Briefing 1 

3:40PM - Intermediate Group: Session 1

4:00PM - HAWK Novice Group: Session 1

4:20PM - Advanced Group: Session 2

4:25PM - HAWK Novice Group: Briefing 2

4:40PM - Intermediate Group: Session 2

5:00PM - Track Tour Laps (Open to All)

5:20PM - HAWK Novice Group: Session 2

5:40PM - Advanced Group: Session 3

5:45PM - HAWK Novice Group: Briefing 3

6:00PM - Intermediate Group: Session 3

6:20PM - HAWK Novice Group: Session 3

6:40PM - Track Close

8:00PM - Gates Close

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