View Full Version : Rocking Around the Track

06-19-2006, 04:21 PM
Father's day weekend - quality time with the family doing wholesome family activities. What can be better than hanging out with your track buddies? As with the last three years I went to a track. This year we loaded up the backup car (the ZO6 - it still likes to play) and headed out to Rockingham for a NASA-SE event.

The most excitement, thankfully, we had all weekend was enroute. A Neon - with a death wish - decided to dive in front of me and brake, in a construction zone on the Interstate, while I was braking. There is a reason there is space in front of my F-250 with a 7,000 pound trailer behind it - it is called braking distance! I locked it up and swapped lanes to keep from crushing the Neon. I am not sure how I missed the car with the truck or the trailer - Jake and I were both braced for impact. Somehow we did not hit the Neon and did not shift the loads in the trailer either. I really wish people understood distance in front of a heavily laden vehicle is not permission to dive in!

The Rockingham event was well run and had low drivers education attendance - great for track time and participants but not ideal for the event coordinators. It had two DE run groups and two race run groups with tons of track time for all. Though a lot of the track horde (Trac ho's for short) folks went up to VIR this last weekend, or wimped out at home, there were lots of familiar faces at this event and even a few new ones. We had three Electron Blue ZO6s running the track. Mine was the stock one - read that as the slowest of the bunch - but we sure looked good running around. Chris ran 1:04x in his ZO6 - much better than I can make myself do at this track! Jake's student was a no-show and my student was "Tara the Track Terror - aka TTT" in a very familiar black Cobra Mustang. I have spent three weekends in that car lately - makes me want to go buy another Mustang for the stable. TTT went from a very cautious and courteous driver to a 1:16x lapping and courteous driver in less than 24 hours. Her progression was among the fastest of any student I have seen. She was really enjoying slipping the car around the track and passing a few cars when the brakes and tires finally gasped their last. We even did a Mustang brake pad swap mid-day on Sunday to try to maximize track time and it did add back a few sessions. She has had a whiff of the track crack pipe and she will be back for more! You should have seen her grin as she started passing people and feeling out the cars boundaries - that is why I instruct to see the "clue bird" land. A little more confidence combined with a bit of seat time (new tires and track pads are probably a wise investment) and Todd could be mumbling about being the family back marker. Did I mention we even stayed at her house for the weekend?

Only one of the RX8 clan showed up at Rockingham so we decided to let him hang with our eclectic group of ZO6, Cobra, 911 and whoever else was willing to be seen with us. It was nice to see the RX8ers can survive when not part of a swarm. He was with me when we took a little grass cutting trip coming out of Turn 6. I did not even get any dust in the car. Not real sure what happened to initiate the event but I slipped outside and decided to run off in the direction of the grass instead of pulling back on track and risk hitting the concrete barriers. I did have to cross control the car to keep from rejoining on an immovable object even so. ABS action on grass is not ideal. I just put the car in a skid to kill the forward vector. The worst part was dealing with Jake pointing his finger at me and giving me grief for "going off". He really should cut his his father some slack on fathers day at least...

The track is like most Rovals I have run - no rumble strips, not a lot of markers or visual references and a killer transition on and off the oval. The banked turn is a lot of fun though, once you get over the fact the wall is really, really close and you are very, very fast close to it. The track is hard on tires, brakes and suspensions. The ZO6 was letting me know 35,000 mile shocks are not up to the high speed transitions required by the track. Jake and I had lots of track time even sharing the car. I must admit seeing him sideways at ~90 mph in my ZO6 in the rear view mirror was a bit unnerving coming out of the "fishhook" - but I survived it. He is accumulating a fan club of the kids at the track since there is not a lot of teenagers with his track time or varied experience. It was hoot watching 6 year olds coming up to shake his hand and congratulate him on his "run". Now if he could come up with a few sponsors I would be really tickled!

Cass showed up delivering my latest installment - radiator, hubs, rotors, shifter, block fitting for oil cooler, GS 17x11 rims and few other items. It was great to see him and get the latest updates. We need to find him another car so he can come in and out of the sport a few more times. We finished off the Kumho MXs. First track event was March 2006 and will be retired to light street duty in June 2006 - nice tires that stood up to 6 or 7 track days. The XP8s and rotors have been on the car since last October and need to be checked to see what is left. They have been to Barber, VIR, CMP (multiple), Roebling (multiple) and Rockingham - could not be happier with their performance. A little noisy on the street but no problems. I could smell, and see the smoke, of the front caliper piston boots melting off still. One day they should all be gone. Tires still seem to be my highest consumable - but as someone pointed out they are a easily renewable resource - simply apply a credit card.

Not sure which car will be together but our next event is VIR full 3-4 July 2006....Rock on....

Damn True
06-19-2006, 04:45 PM

06-19-2006, 05:09 PM

Need to get one of those cameras - been spending all my money on tires lately:nopity:

Damn True
06-20-2006, 07:23 AM

Probably the better choice.