Cameron Dodson Completes Three-Day Course at Famed FinishLine Racing School Greenfield, In -- December 21, 2004 -- 2004 MASS Champion Cameron Dodson got his first taste of driving a stock car last week when he attended the famed Finishline...
Cameron Dodson Completes Three-Day Course at Famed FinishLine Racing School
Greenfield, In -- December 21, 2004 -- 2004 MASS Champion Cameron Dodson got his first taste of driving a stock car last week when he attended the famed Finishline Racing School based in Edgewater, Fl. The 16 Year-Old Central Greenfield High School student participated in the school's intensive three-day program at New Smyrna Raceway, New Smyrna Beach, Fl.
Mike Loescher heads up FinishLine School. Partnered with Kristal Loescher, the pair has been teaching youths to race since moving to the Daytona Beach area in 1978. Their clientele includes Jeff Gordon, at that time a 14-year-old driving sprint cars; Jamie McMurray, who emerged as a top rookie at the end of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup season; as well as NASCAR up-and-comers Blake Feese, Boston Reid, Tyler Walker and Reed Sorenson.
"Attending the FinishLine School is without a doubt one of the most beneficial things I have done as a driver," said Dodson. "Mike (Loescher) and his staff are excellent instructors. They are all business because they want you to succeed almost as badly as you want to succeed yourself!"
Day one started in the classroom with a full safety presentation including video and graphic illustrations of the latest advances in fire suits, helmets and in-car safety products. There was an illustration of the effectiveness of the NOMEX multi-layer fire suit and a demonstration on how seat belts and helmets are designed to absorb energy in collisions. The importance of safety is paramount in all the driving exercises at the school.
Discussion turned to the fundamentals necessary to be the best driver possible starting with FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS, concentrate, listen and communicate.
"The first day in the classroom was a great foundation to start the on-track portion of the school," Dodson continued. "To me it was about being willing to listen, concentrate and focus on the start of good habits and trust your team."
The afternoon of day one was the beginning of the on-track instruction, which continued through days two and three. First on the agenda for Dodson was a ride-along with the instructors to learn the characteristics of the cars and the track. Then he jumped in the driver's seat and went through a carefully planned series of exercises.
Run number one for Dodson put him in a car with a low RPM chip to give him the ability to concentrate on the techniques he had learned from the FinishLine staff. Each run, the chip was changed to increase the RPMs, thus changing the characteristics of the car. Dodson was then switched to another car that had increased compression that translated to increased power available to the driver. The third and final vehicle was a race truck with a lower gear heightening the importance of throttle finesse and driver cornering ability.
"What I learned from Mike, Kristal and BJ (McLeod) has made me a better driver in every type of race car," explained Dodson. "To be the best I can be in a racecar, I have to constantly challenge myself to improve every time I get in the cockpit. The information I gained from FinishLine jump-started my learning curve by a huge amount of time."
"Cameron is a natural," said Loescher. "He has got "IT". He is a thinker and a listener. That is invaluable when it comes to quickly figuring out new tracks. Any team would be proud to have him."
"I want to thank Mike and the whole staff for all they taught me," Dodson concluded. "I can hardly wait to go back for the chassis class and the tune-up session."