Feb18-20 – VIR – NASA – Part1

Mary writes …

The first event for 2011! Kyle was scheduled for comp school to start the new season and I was signed
up for time trials. The plan for me this year is to try to walk away as the 2011 Mid-Atlantic TTB champ!!

Kyle and Barry Battle headed down on Thursday night – he had comp school on Friday. I decided to work and get there in the evening, missing out on Friday’s open track day.

I was so excited for this event after what seemed to be a long wait during the winter (although
technically it was only about 9 or 10 weeks!). However, I was disappointed to learn that I was the only
one running in the TTB class- no one to compete with, and not able to win any tires!

I shook off the dust on Saturday; only doing 2:16 laps when my previous best was a 2:15 last year. I was
getting back up to speed and relearning the track. Kyle passed his comp school and had his 1st race on
Saturday taking 2nd place behind Josh Smith!! Way to go Kyle!! We head off to the awards banquet
after having our own BBQ at the trailer in the paddock along with some cold Coronas.

I push my way through the crowd being prepared to take photos of Kyle getting his 2nd place award
when much to my surprise, I hear MY name announced as taking 1st place in TTB! What?? I didn’t
realize they gave out awards when there is only 1 person competing! LOL. Oh well, I guess I still get to
chalk that up as a victory towards my year end goal! As a joke, I posted the plaque photo on facebook
and was mortified when the continuous congrats started rolling in over the next 24 hours! OMG- how
embarrassing but I had to just let it go….

Day 2- I manage to run a 2:15 during my 2nd session before lunch but I have my eye on doing a new
record of 2:14 before going home. The day seemed to drag a bit, having almost 5 hours to kill until I
return to the track. Kyle has a big 40 minute race in the afternoon. This was my opportunity to learn
the radios. Barry worked the start/finish line and I stood at the fence at T10 (remember this!). Here I
had a view of the ess’s, around oak tree, and most of the back straight. I would be able to give Kyle a
heads up should there be any incidents in those areas. I couldn’t imagine how exhausting it would be to
race for 40 minutes! Kyle does a fantastic job battling through this race, taking 3rd place as a rookie! I
am sure that he will share the details of his experiences.

I am now heading out for what will be my last session at 4:00, knowing that we plan to leave quickly
after I come off track and change my wheels.

Not so much… I was elated when I looked down after my 2nd lap and actually saw 2:14.3!! My best
time ever and goal for the weekend!! Hmmm…if I did that, then I must be able to find .4 seconds more
somewhere on the track to make it to 2:13. Eric Wong did a 2:13 in my car last fall so I know that it
is possible. I’m going for it!! I travel up the ess’s feeling like I am really pushing it as I feel the car get
light here and there. I had felt previously that I was over braking into T10 AND if you remember, I
watching the race from this point of view so I felt that I could carry much more speed through here. I
do a quick tap of the brake and get on the gas a quick as I can. Well, just as I am approaching the track
out, I realize that the rear got light again and I started to spin. The whole thing happened so fast that

I’m not really sure exactly how it went down but as soon as I hit the grass there was no stopping. I went
sliding sideways and right into the tire wall on the passenger side to left of the track. O-M-G! Did that
just happen?? Once I stopped and realized that I just crushed my car, I beat up the steering wheel and
yelled several choice words! The EMT/Tow arrived to drag me back. I was so embarrassed and feared
the shame of my car being paraded around the paddock for all to see my screw up! Ugh!

I felt much better when it was clear that everyone wanted to make sure that I was okay and assured me
that it has also happened to most of them as well!

Against all odds, Kyle and Barry randomly had spare parts (a much needed tie rod), and banged out the
wheel wells to make it possible for Kyle to drive it home 2 hours later. We all did get a good laugh at
how it appeared to other drivers on the highway; all smashed in down the right side.

So we did an evaluation last night to see what it will take to get my car put back together and ready for
the next March event—thankfully I am not experiencing a fear to get back in the seat but rather cannot
wait to go for that 2:13 again!!

Nov6-7 – Summit Point Main – NASA-MA

Hello everyone – welcome to another issue of “Fast Lap” – from your track addicted friend.

Fall means cool temps, extra horsepower, and patience to make sure you have adequate temp in your tires before you try to go “flatout”.

Fortunately patience was mostly on my side along with a set of quick hands. –you’ll see in the video I get a little too greedy with the throttle coming out of T5 – according to the data that “catch” and consequently poor entry into T6 cost me ~.2sec — oh how I would have liked to have come home with a 1:20.x lap…next time!

I hadn’t driven Summit Main since May – I was there for Hyperfest in August but only turned 1 lap before a broken brake pedal sensor put the car out of service for the weekend. Having driven so many nice, smooth tracks with plenty of run off, Summit Point felt a bit more intimidating (and a lot bumpier) than I remembered.

Here is the FastLap video for the week –

I wanted to continue my tech discussion this email with a note about “time dilation” and toss in a bit of projective imagery.

(I’ll keep this short – I’m not actually trying to teach a class here!)

Paraphrased and tweaked slightly from the dictionary definition to line up with what we experience on the track. Time Dilation is the point of view that the clock is ticking at a slower rate than the local clock. When we all first started driving we were “overwhelmed” with everything that was going on at the track and by how fast everything was happening. As we gained experience on the track, things started to slow down — now we had time to look at every flag stand, check our mirrors more often and look further ahead (eyes up, eyes up!)

I’ve read about levels of time dilation beyond time slowing down enough to “become comfortable” driving “at speed”, but never experienced anything near the levels I’ve read about until the past few events. Driving, watching flag stands & watching your mirrors becomes second nature and now you have extra brain cycles — with those brain cycles I’ve been working to intentionality slow time even further providing the ability to look further and further ahead.

Heading down a straight into a corner – you look through the corner to the track out, you envision your car entering the turn, hitting the apex and tracking out all before you’ve even reached the braking zone. Now you have laid out a “ghost trace” trajectory of where you want your car to be, the attitude you want the car to have during each segment of the turn – and time is moving as if you are watching a movie in slow motion – you feel the car sliding beneath you but since it is all happening in slow motion you stay relaxed because it is easy to compensate for a mistake or the unexpected “at this slow ticking of the clock rate”.

I had a car spin off the track in front of me at the apex of T3 this weekend – what I’m sure unfolded in a couple tenths of a second seemed a life time – I casually watched the rear end of this WRX get light, come around, and slide backwards into the gravel trap – to me it felt as if I had all the time in the world to react – analyzing the trajectory of the WRX and being able to determine with good certainty that it wasn’t going to come back onto the track, requiring an evasive maneuver. I simply slowed a bit extra for the turn, watched the WRX slide off the track, drove by the incident and never tensed up.

You can practice time dilation and forward projecting imagery while on the street – it will make it that much easier to implement on the track.

Mary participated in her first TimeTrial Event this weekend. She was very nervous (as I was before my first TT) – I kept reassuring her she would do great and would soon be looking forward to her next TT weekend. 🙂

After a close battle with a Pontiac GTO – Mary took 3rd place in the TTB class both Saturday and Sunday with a fast lap of the weekend of 1:26.49! Way to go!

An on the topic of practicing on the street, then applying to the track. This coming weekend we are headed to VIR with Audi Club. Since this is a non-competitive HPDE event I plan to take the left foot braking I’ve been practicing on the street and begin applying it on the track. Wish me luck! I’ll report back next week how the experience went.

And here are a couple pictures courtesy of Scott Cain – http://kart53.smugmug.com/Racing


For those of you who were at Summit Point this past weekend, hope you had a safe drive home – to those of you who weren’t, hope I see you at the track soon!

Sept3-5 – VIR – PCA

Mary writes:
VIR……I couldn’t wait for this event!

I have only run this track 2 other times- 1st time in Nov when I was still quite “green” and the 2nd time was Zone 2 over my Bday weekend in June when we jumped in after Watkins was cancelled.

Kyle reminds me that my best time on this track is only 2:25- that is with all stock. Interior/Exterior-street tires included. The weather in June was dreadfully hot- forecast is cooler now and I have upgraded to Kyle’s old AST5100 suspension and new H&R front sway bar (noticed a big difference). I just want to go fast and do better than the last time!

1st day out- easily drop to 2:23 my 1st session out….I’m thinking-no problem- I think I can drop lots of seconds. 2nd and 3rd session- nope- doesn’t happen. Now I am very frustrated. I realize that if I can do a passenger ride, this will clearly help me see what the best line is that I should drive. I confirm that John Sullivan is going to drive my car to show me what it can do on Sat morning.

John driving #67 as we watch Kyle disappear after he wizzed by us!

John drives- he says he likes everything- the transmission is great, the brakes are awesome, but wtf with the tires-he is sliding like I was around each turn and suggests that’s the problem.

Kyle takes my car out for a few laps and agrees-too much sliding- he only made it to 2:22.

Then I switch to Kyle’s used Conti Scrubs…oh my…now I drop to 2:19! And the car looks so good with the black wheels! I think I need to get a set!

Now I am feeling like I can compete in my group. By the last day, last session- I manage to hit 2:18. A very successful FUN weekend!

As pix will show- Sally Herod and I had great fun chasing up the Ess’s. She kicked my butt- but look forward to the next time.

And as always, Rob Talastas ALWAYS makes every event a great time with along with friends

Thanks to Paul Z for arriving early enough to grab our awesome spot, and cool to hang again with Tomasz, and of course meeting Dejan. Lastly, hanging out for happing hour with the entire Miata crew.

The only thing that I missed was taking Alan Herod out with me as being one of his “star students” as he describes- hopefully I can make him proud!

Here I am winning my DE session and getting the checkered flag at the famous Oak Tree turn!

Kyle’s car is wicked fast and looked so awesome out there! It was cool to see him doing so well!

April 3 – FATT – Summit Point Shenandoah

Mary writes:

It’s my 2nd event of the 2010 season!

We’re heading out to the Shenandoah track at Summit Point for the FATT “Saturday” event. It’s my first time out in the silver car with the new vinyl and my first event with Kyle’s new “giant” trailer!

I drive out separately- he needs to get a hitch that is safe to tow both cars- this means a few extra zzzz’s for me! 🙂

The weather this time is so much better than our time at Main a few weeks ago- the paddock is active-we have friends sectioned off in our area- we are looking forward to a great day of sunshine and driving. I am very excited that my old boss, Greg and his wife Linda, are here for their very first event. I am also participating in my 1st “passing anywhere” event. Sure- I admit that I am nervous about it- will I be good enough? Kyle assures me that I will be fine!

Brian, my instructor for the 2nd time, wants me to try some new lines from what I was used to last year. It’s always interesting to get new perspectives. I suppose that depending on the car each person drives truly dictates what is best for them. I like to absorb as much information from everyone that I can.

Session 2- Brian approaches with a new instructor- he wants to get me signed off solo for the rest of the day. Mark (I think) has some different- some the same- suggestions- he comments that he drives a different type of car. Ultimately- I am signed off.

I am so excited to take this next step onto the anywhere passing on my own but still a bit timid-I think it only took about 30 seconds for me to realize- “Right on”- this is exactly where I belong! I am now picking up speed and confidence as I am trying to catch and pass everyone wherever I can! It’s amazing how comfortable I feel in this setting! No fear!

It’s true that I did let a few passes happen- of course, Kyle (I saw him quickly approach my rear view mirror 2x- bummer!) But all in all- I think that I did a great job at holding my own and doing a lot of passing too.

I noticed that when I lined up behind Kyle for our last session there were people pointing and noticing the “NocabRacing” on our cars- I would like to think that we looked cool up there! Ha! I was very proud to think of us starting this whole adventure just last July and how far we have come- how many new friends we have made- how much more we look forward to for the new season- and how much I wish that everyone could experience the feeling I get when I drive!

We hung out with David-Will-Paulie-Lev-Greg and Linda- and a visit from Ron. Being Greg’s 1st event, the best part was his email 2 days later talking about how he woke up thinking about driving the line and trying to get better. Who hasn’t driven the track at night in replace of counting sheep to fall asleep? I have!!

Oh yeah, this is my first time with a camera! Fun for me that Kyle put part of my last session on Utube! NASA on Main….stay tuned….Season 2010!! Look forward to seeing you there!

March 13 – FATT – Summit Main

It’s the first event for season 2010!! Summit Main!

The forecast is rain, rain, and more rain- oh no! I battled with the emotions of being so excited to getting back on the track and at the same time a bit nervous knowing that it was basically 100% chance of rain all day. I have been out in “partial” rain but this sounded challenging.

I had signed up for the FATT event to be in group 2i- my 1st time for passing anywhere. I was worried that this might be too soon although Kyle encouraged me that I was ready. Well, as it turned out, they had placed me into group 1- then of course I was offended- Ha!

The paddock is very empty today. It’s almost hard to believe that there is an event. Little did I know at the time that this was more of blessing to have an empty track.
The 1st session out- a new instructor- I’ve been spoiled with having someone who knows how I drive and what I am capable of (Uncle Al). My instructor tells me before we go that this is the time to become reacquainted with the track.

At the end I feel like it was “ok” but wondered if this day would be wasted due to the rain. Everyone was being overly cautious, including me. He claps at the end and tells me that I clearing remembered- my line was right on.

Session 2- I am still cautious but starting to quickly feel that I can push more. I’m frustrated that I am still feeling timid. I am very comfortable when I am sliding around the turns on dry road (actually- I love when that happens!) but realize that on this wet road- it is very unpredictable. Yellow flag- someone is off the track and at the fence- bummer for him. Black flag is out- he is cleared, and we are off again- speed is increasing in the rain. Instructor tells me he is working the skid pad in the afternoon and I will have someone new. Ugh- another new instructor. I should welcome this prefer someone who knows my strengths and weaknesses.

Back in the paddock- girlfriend of the guy parked next to me approaches. She asks if I was driving the silver M3- she comments that I was going fast and inquires about how long I’ve been doing this. Another female interested in getting involved. I encourage her to go for it!

Session 3- Comfort level increases and picking up more speed. The only real comment from my instructor is how much he likes my car. I must be doing well- not much direction that he needed to provide. He tells me at the end that I should be in Group 2 and that he wants me to have yet another instructor who can also sign me over to Group 2 for the next event that I do with FATT. Yay! Finally moving on up!

Session 4- On to instructor # 3 for the day! Geez! Why can’t I hang on one guy here- are they that intimidated with my skills?? Haha-(seems to be a common theme ) Again- he is not commenting much on my driving other than telling me that I seem to know what I’m doing, I should be in Group 2, and, oh yeah, he really likes my car (great breaks and tires in the rain)! Thanks Kyle!

So as the day ends- I turn in my “report card” and I am confirmed to finally be in Group 2 for my next FATT event! All in all- I was glad that I chose to drive in the rain; I was able to actually walk away with that driving rush that I had hoped for but will still look forward to the next event of sunny dry weather when I can challenge my track times from last year and continue to move up.

Kyle is out on track this year with his newly modified car- 8 point cage, racing seats, suspension, and tires. Clearly he has the advantage but let’s see how well my “skills” can compete as the underdog! We shall see… Go Team NocabRacing!!!

Aug21 – Summit Point Shenandoah – FATT

Mary & Kyle race together @ FATT!
Mary meets Uncle Al.
Kyle provokes female instructor to remind him not to let his “sense of self-preservation” get away!
Mary gives Kyle the point by.
Kyle gives Mary the point by.
….and Kyle never caught back up to Mary thanks to Uncle Al pushing Mary to the maximum limit of breaking techniques…yikes! but what a RUSH!  I want to go faster!!!
Mary decides Racing Gloves might not be a bad idea … wait, wait, wait, THRESHOLD BRAKE!!!!!
Yep- after that session- now I understand how sweaty your hands can get when you think you can’t possibly make a turn like that at maximum speed!  Again… Wow-what a RUSH!
Uncle Al tells me its okay to make the pass in a turn, which I did, then quickly realizes that he forgot which group I was in (Beginner)-oops- because of how well I was driving!  I rocked it!
End of day review- Uncle Al writes that I am ready to move up in status.  Only my 3rd track day- Looking forward to many more!  Also look forward to Uncle Al as my instructorMary & Kyle race together @ FATT!
Mary meets Uncle Al.
Kyle provokes female instructor to remind him not to let his “sense of self-preservation” get away!
Mary gives Kyle the point by.
Kyle gives Mary the point by.
….and Kyle never caught back up to Mary thanks to Uncle Al pushing Mary to the maximum limit of breaking techniques…yikes! but what a RUSH!  I want to go faster!!!
Mary decides Racing Gloves might not be a bad idea … wait, wait, wait, THRESHOLD BRAKE!!!!!
Yep- after that session- now I understand how sweaty your hands can get when you think you can’t possibly make a turn like that at maximum speed!  Again… Wow-what a RUSH!
Uncle Al tells me its okay to make the pass in a turn, which I did, then quickly realizes that he forgot which group I was in (Beginner)-oops- because of how well I was driving!  I rocked it!
End of day review- Uncle Al writes that I am ready to move up in status.  Only my 3rd track day- Looking forward to many more!  Also look forward to Uncle Al as my instructor again-awesome teacher! again-awesome teacher!

Mary & Kyle race together @ FATT!

Mary meets Uncle Al.

Kyle provokes female instructor to remind him not to let his “sense of self-preservation” get away!

Mary gives Kyle the point by.

Kyle gives Mary the point by.

….and Kyle never caught back up to Mary thanks to Uncle Al pushing Mary to the maximum limit of breaking techniques…yikes! but what a RUSH!  I want to go faster!!!

Mary decides Racing Gloves might not be a bad idea …  wait, wait, wait, THRESHOLD BRAKE!!!!!

Yep- after that session- now I understand how sweaty your hands can get when you think you can’t possibly make a turn like that at maximum speed!  Again… Wow-what a RUSH!

Uncle Al tells me its okay to make the pass in a turn, which I did, then quickly realizes that he forgot which group I was in (Beginner)-oops- because of how well I was driving!  I rocked it!

End of day review- Uncle Al writes that I am ready to move up in status.  Only my 3rd track day- Looking forward to many more!  Also look forward to Uncle Al as my instructor again-awesome teacher!
Mary on grid ready to start her next session
Mary on grid ready to start her next session!

July 25-26 – Summit Point Shenandoah – GWS

Mary’s first HPDE!  1 word … HOOKED! (I ended up buying a second M3 after this event so Mary and I didn’t have to share a car on driving weekends, hard on the car because it doesn’t get enough time to cool down.)