Racing 101 Day 3 (personal view)

Woke up at 5 for day 2 of the Driver's School at Roebling Road. Breakfast at the Low Quality Inn again. Check out of the motel and stop to purchase more race gas for the Spec Racer Ford. We were in the track by 8. We decide to soften the...

Woke up at 5 for day 2 of the Driver's School at Roebling Road. Breakfast at the Low Quality Inn again. Check out of the motel and stop to purchase more race gas for the Spec Racer Ford.

We were in the track by 8. We decide to soften the rear anti-roll bar from full stiff to about mid-range. Reason: Just to see if I can detect the difference. (I did not)

The schedule today calls for 3 or 4 practice sessions followed by a 5 lap race and then a 7 lap race.

Session 1: Uneventful. All the Formula Ford guys are a little faster and the Vee is much faster than yesterday. Pampering the car and laps average 1:30.

Session 2: More of the same. Lapping at 1:30. Easy on the car and trying to get all 8 turns correct from the standpoint of turn-in and hitting the apex. Don't ever seem able to put a whole lap together.

Lunch: Had a great chili-dog from the pavilion. This track has much better than average "track-food".

Session 3: More 1:30's. Not learning much at this point. I keep telling myself to "save the car". I have another school next weekend and there is no time for major repairs during the week.

Combined practice for both groups: One last 20 Minute session is announced for both groups combined. James say "get out there. You will be one of the fastest." I reach for the helmet but think better. I've already seen some crinkled fenders on an Alfa and a couple of others and decide to not risk it. I'll wait and race with the Formula guys.

the instructors took those that wished around for another drive around in their street car. This was much more valuable after having some track time.

5 lap race:  The Group one race is indistinguishable from a real Regional
race.  A mixture of cars.  The front row is a quick GT-3 Mazda and an AS
Mustang.  Big field and lots of noise.  The Mazda wins, I think.

The Group 2 (Formula and Sports Racers) has 6 cars. The front two rows are the Formula Fords and the back row is myself and the Vee. The pace car/truck is Don Robertson's truck from Gainesville Dragway. Strange to see a truck in NHRA livery leading a group of SCCA Club Racers. :) First start is a wave off. Next start we get the green. The Vee is inside me. I can't do much but follow the Ford in front. I tuck the nose under his tailpipe and follow the Fords through Turns 1 and 2. The yellows are brought out for us to regroup for another re-start. Practice, practice, practice. :) Not being blocked by the Vee on the inside this time I have hopes of getting by one of the Fords. Can't pull it off, they have almost as much power as I and weigh about 600 lbs less, so no way to jump them. Same drill, race through two turns and then yellow for another practice start. Next start is the same except we continue racing for 5 laps this time. I finish behind the Fords and ahead of the Vee.

7 lap race - Same starting order so I am blocked by the Vee again from moving to the inside. We funnel into Turn 1 in our "normal" order; the Fords, the SRF, and the Vee. On lap 2 I get by the blue and white Crossle and finish ahead of two cars this time.

I pick up my "report card" from Kurt, the instructor. You are graded on Judgment, Technique, Attitude, Reactions, Courtesy, Lap Times, Rules Knowledge, and Flags Recognition on 1-5 system with 1 the lowest. I got all 5's except for on Lap Times and Technique where I received 3's. I guess this was Kurt's way of saying that considering my lousy technique resulted in slow lap times that I used good judgment with a correct attitude to read the flags and react in a legal and courteous manner to staying the hell out of the way of the fast guys. :)

Kurt signs the Novice Permit and I'm off to get the Chief Instructor and Chief Steward to do the same.

As we leave we notice that 2 Trans-Am teams and a F2000 team have arrived for testing this week. It seems that Roebling Road is an often used facility for testing, TV shows, etc.

We leave the track at 3:30 and stop quickly for burgers and are back on the road by 4:00. One stop on the way home in Atlanta to buy gas and switch drivers. Home by midnight. Had planned to unload the car but to stay on good terms with the neighbors we just back the trailer into the garage and hit the sack. We are off next weekend for Phase II of the SCCA Drivers School program at Road Atlanta. I'm hoping a few Spec Racer Fords show for this one.

Hope this has been helpful for anyone thinking of entry level SCCA racing or just curious of how this sort of thing works.

-rod ashcraft@hiwaay.net

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