Why Do I Do This? - 03/29/14
People think I'm crazy. And probably more ways than one. But when you tell a person that you like to go out on a hot 90 degree day and stand around on hot asphalt for hours just to get three or four 1 minute (if your lucky) runs, they look at you a little strange. And the National Championships are even worse. Those are held in Lincoln Nebraska, which is about 1200 miles one way from here in Atlanta. So you figure you drive 2400 miles round trip, which takes about 30 hours (or 1800 minutes) total pulling a trailer, just to make 6 runs at less than a minute a run. I'll finish when you quit laughing...
Have you ever wanted to just get in your car and just drive it as hard as you can, and see what it will do? Have you ever wondered why they build cars with so much power that you can't practically use it on the street? .
My love for cars started with my first car that was a high school graduation present from my parents, a brand new 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. 455, 4 speed... really fun car to drive. But it wasn't until I got to the University of Tennessee and saw the UT Sports Car Club autocrossing on one of their large lots before I even knew something like that existed. But I knew immediately that I had to try that out, and sure enough, I was addicted from the very first time.
There is something about pushing a car to the absolute limit, but there is more to it than that. It's as much about pushing yourself to the limit that makes it so exciting for me. Combine taking yourself and the car to the limit, while doing it at a place where you aren't going to crash, where you aren't going to hit anything, and where you won't get a ticket, and all of your inhibitions (well... driving inhibitions) disappear. And you are doing this in a controlled environment where you can actually get a time to see how well you are doing, not only comparing your own times, but also with others with similar cars a setups. The freedom of not worrying about the safety factor, allows you to take it to 10/10's without fear, and makes it that much more exciting. Keep in mind, an autocross is an extremely fast paced activity, it's not like driving on a race track where you have time to relax on straights. In an autocross you are working from the moment you start until the moment you cross the finish timers. You hardly have any time to actually think, so much of what you do is just react. You'll come back from a fast run out of breathe and your hands shaking.
Just to give you an idea... we occasionally autocross down at Turner Field (we have one this Sunday the 30th there), so here is one of my runs on that lot from last year.
So if you have a few extra hours to spare tomorrow, come down to Turner Field and watch. We actually start running around 10am and will run through the late afternoon. I should be driving around 1pm? Our group is the first group after the lunch break (whenever that may occur!). It's free to come and watch, and if you like sports cars of all types, you'll love this. We usually have 150-200 entries with half running the morning session and the other half running afternoon. If you come down, look me up and say hello, I'll probably be somewhere around this Jeep looking thing! The owner is Jim Murphy so if you see a guy wearing red suspenders, it's not me.:-)
What is Autocross? - 03/23/14
First, just a little overview about what we do and how it works. I could type a lot text about the sport called autocross, but this video by Stephen Chiang describes it best of all.
Our National Championships are held every year in Lincoln Nebraska, and Speedway Motors (one of the event sponsors) does a summary video of the event, and this is the 2012, 2013, and 2014 National Championship videos. We're in the 2014 a LOT. :-)
Just some thoughts about driving the "Jeep", a SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) E Modified car that remotely looks like a Jeep. The Jeep is owned by Jim Murphy, so I just show up and drive it!