Tag Archives: Flyin’ Miata

Day 3: Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Driving the Circuit

The final day of Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was perhaps my best day in California yet because I got a chance (second year in a row) to drive a NC Miata around the circuit! WOO HOO! My buddy Peter with a beautiful NC2 Silver Soft Top allowed me the opportunity to drive his car after we lined everyone else up for the lunch time parade laps. We were the last car on track in the tail as the head of the parade lead by Moss Miata people caught up behind us. Apparently it takes 350 cars going somewhat swiftly to safely populate Laguna Seca two-wide.

I love this track… I really do love Laguna Seca, what a fantastic place!

I stand corrected on my previous claim of where Miata owners came from… turns out there were MX-5’s from as far as¬†ALASKA!

this is another gorgeous NC in dark green… emerald?

Oh look… my Miata!

Great view of the gorgeous AMG GT’s from the track experience…

My beautiful ride for the drive around the Circuit… this NC2 Sport

Shortly before our parade laps… all lined up!

Let’s go… oh wait more cars on the way!

A Playboy MX-5 Cup car, much like this inspired me to buy mine…

Fewer cars for the parade laps on Sunday compared to Saturday, which was great for going around the track a little quicker…

A gorgeous day for a drive around Laguna Seca!

Fin! The end to a wonderful experience…

Some more photos from the day in the paddock

Sad to see this beautiful NC from north of the border crash on Saturday… apparently the owner would have some explaining to do at immigration before crossing back into Canada

We adjusted the office set up to deal with the strong sun…

Maybe one of these days in the future I’ll get a ride around the track at speed in this official Pace Car (that was actually used next weekend for the Pirelli World Challenge/California 8 hour race)

More shots of the crashie:

Ouch!

…even the glass cracked ūüôĀ

Safety first!

And that’s a wrap. What a fantastic event. So proud to be a part of it. Thanks again to Rick Weldon and the whole crew for welcoming into the volunteer fold. I am super thankful! I highly recommend this event to everyone that would listen. And would love an opportunity to come back and participate again in the future… if I can.

Day 2: Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – The Ride Along

This year’s event was considerably smaller than last year’s… but the quality in my opinion was outstanding. It was cozier. I think people got their money’s worth for those that paid for track time. I got to work the merchandise area again like last year… showing up bright and early around 7:30am but the highlight of my day was around noon when I helped with aligning the cars for a big group parade lap around the famous Laguna Seca circuit. And best of all I caught a ride around the track with my buddy Daniel from Atlanta, Georgia

Cobra eh?

My office for the weekend… sold a ton of poster sets, most of the previous year’s t-shirts and we absolutely ran out of all of the current year t-shirts. Great sales day I would say!

I think my favorite car of the weekend…

The Playboy MX-5 Cup cars were literally the reason why I started my interest in Miata’s… and after one crashed into my station at Road Atlanta during Petit Le Mans I knew I wanted to buy one.

Checking out the vendor’s wears on display in the paddock

A Miata celebrity autograph session…

My buddy Daniel’s car sprung a leak after the first session on track, pissing coolant all over the place… I’m amazed he was able to drive it 2,500 miles back to Georgia after racing on track. Craziness!!!

Daniel is running meaty 245 size tires all around… wow! And I thought going to 215 was going wide, lol

Moving off the paddock to the staging area… first customer was from Las Vegas, Nevada

And while I waited for cars to show up to populate our “pre-grid” there was a parking lot of AMG Track Experience cars for me to oogle at… they were parked 11 across and 10 deep… over 100 cars!

That’s a lot of Miata’s… about 350 to be exact

My chariot for the parade laps… a 2008 MX-5 track car I first met in Duluth, Georgia on my trip to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and VIR in Virginia.

Here we goooo…

We were supposed to do maybe 2 or 3 laps, but that was turned into a full 30 minute session with many more laps than just a few.

The Corkscrew!

Thanks Daniel!

The famous starter stand…

One of my favorite flag points at Laguna Seca, Flag Point #8

Love the way Daniel has his car set up. Great noise from the exhaust. Comfortable racing seats and a good roll cage which I hope he’ll never have to use at his track days.

Love seeing a Miata with diplomatic plates… I’m guessing a child of a Consul to the USA?

Doing some quick shopping at the Laguna Seca Souvenir shop

Wonder why no Fiata’s showed up for this event…

And the day ended with a delicious dinner with a bunch of Miata owners… HUGE thanks to Rick Weldon for letting me be part of this event… I am forever grateful!

Day 1: Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – The BBQ

Last year I weaseled my way into the Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event by offering to “volunteer” with the organizers. I really wanted to be a part of this event at the home of Mazda on the west coast of the US. They said “YES” and I had a blast… luckily for me they invited me back and I could hardly wait to participate. The Friday night BBQ leading up to the event has become quite an experience in it’s own right and in my opinion has grown bigger this year compared to last. I made sure to show up early and lend a hand with shopping for supplies and setting up the dining area out in the parking lot… boy am I glad I did because in the process I got an opportunity to pilot the brand new Mazda CX-9 SUV probably/most likely supplied by Mazda North American Operations for the event on a couple of supermarket runs.

It was a pretty early start to the day… arriving at the Embassy Suites where the BBQ was to be held around 7:30am

The CX-9 fits 36 cases of Shasta and 12 cases of spring water along with three occupants comfortably.

Several trips to the supermarket later we were ready to start prepping all the ingredients for a delicious BBQ

This part of the event was presented by Moss Miata and their crew did a fantastic job doing much of the prep work

and slowly but surely cars started filling in the empty spots in a busy hotel parking lot (which ironically had a conference going on in the morning so the parking lot was especially full when we started)

This fellow volunteer’s NC1 was especially meaningful to me because of the custom license plate… Sea to shining Sea!

Hey it’s a Suzuki Capuccino… err Brapuccino crashing the event!

During the course of the day being in Seaside, California some ten miles or so from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca which is located between the cities of Monterey and Salinoas, we found an excuse to head to the track to pick up some supplies there… to my surprise there was a track day already in progress there! Open to the Miata’s that showed up for our event but also some other cool machinery…

Love the paint job on this 911… and the ND Miata too:

Mazda had a display for the event, and the CX-9 we had at our disposal was clearly showroom condition like the display cars

I did enjoy driving it around very much!

Always wanted to see the off-road Miata in flesh… and voila!

Volunteers working hard cutting Tri Tip as the food line started forming with hungry Miata folk

…so hungry I had to run out and buy some more meat at the local supermarket clearing out their entire shelf of Tri Tip.

Such a great variety of cars some travelling as far as Vancouver, Canada… New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and my buddy from Atlanta, Georgia of course!

Huge thanks to the Moss Miata folks for sponsoring the feed!

Flying’ Miata a huge hit with all of their engine power adder options

One of the many Exocet’s in attendance… this one just arrived from a long trip out of Washington State probably didn’t enjoy the cold windy weather on the drive down… but glad he made it!

That’s a wrap for Day 1

Huge thanks to Rick Weldon first and foremost for organizing this event for so many years… and especially big thanks to my buddy Peter who thought it was worthwhile inviting me to help out with a few things here and there during the event as a volunteer. I loved it!

Mazda MX-5 Miata Maintenance Day

This father’s day my friend Bill and I decided to fix another issue both of our NC Miata’s were having… my rear stabilizer links were making a clicking sound ever since we installed the Bilstein shocks. His Miata seemed to have aftermarket end links where one of them was ripped out of it’s socket because of possible incorrect install to his massive Flyin’ Miata rear stabilizer bar. So Bill ordered the parts online, came over and as soon as we got the car up on the RhinoRamps it started raining… so we went to the Diner for breakfast. On the way we also stopped by at CarQuest to pick up some more new end link nuts because the old ones on my car were showing signs of wear and I didn’t want them to get stripped. He paid $3.30 apiece at the Mazda dealer… I paid $3.30 for a box of 4 Dorman aftermarket pieces. They looked the same.

Fast forward to some better weather and replacing the end links turned out to be a rather quick job. We did Bill’s car first. Taking them off was easy. But placing new ones on seemed to look weird because they went in on an angle when attached to the stabilizer bar… I was worried if we fastened them in this condition, it was possible that they might fail again.

Luckily we had my car nearby to see exactly what they were meant to look like in correct condition, as installed from factory.

So another idea was to take mine off. Replace them with new ones. And use my old ones as guinea pigs on Bills car to see if they would last. If no failure happens after a few weeks of driving we’ll go ahead and replace them with the new ones. So that’s what we did.

Ironically though, the clicking didn’t stop once we installed new end links on my car. Turns out they were not the problem I was experiencing. Instead it appears that the actual stabilizer bar was bending in such a manner that it was making noise when the chasis of the car twisted on various road conditions, particularly when going onto uneven surfaces, like up a driveway or into parking lots, or hitting pot holes.

I was disappointed that the problem didn’t get fixed, but as we were tinkering under my car I discovered that my differential was covered in fluid and grime. It turns out that the last time I did Castrol Syntrax flush to replace the Mobil 1 75W90, I did something wrong. It’s possible I didn’t tighten the bolts enough. Or that I overfilled the differential. Or that my car didn’t like the Castrol product. I was so concerned about it, I ordered another jug of Mobil 1 since it was proven to work well for a good 20k miles, and did the flush later on in the day. So far after the test drive the car feels smooth. There’s no whine at cruising speeds. And all is well. What I’m concerned about now looking at the old Castrol that I drained from the diff, is a bunch of small aluminum shavings. That doesn’t seem normal to me.

But I guess time will tell if there’s a bigger issue.

Today was a very productive Sunday!

Miata Fiata Radio Meeting Daniel Cooper in Atlanta and Talking NC Miata’s, Track Builds, Experiences

Woo Hoo, we got our first real guest on the Miata Fiata Radio podcast: Daniel Cooper who moderates the NC Miata Group on facebook with over 1.3k members.

Daniel did a lot of work to his personal 2006 True Red Miata. The car looks absolutely amazing and very aggressive… it is primarily a track car at this point with plenty of laps around Road Atlanta and Atlanta Motor Speedway in this area of Georgia.


Miata Fiata Radio – Chat with Daniel Cooper in Duluth, Georgia… about NC Miata’s, Track Builds, Road Trips and Stuff

We recorded in Daniel’s garage looking out on our two cars parked outside… here’s some pix:

And the recording set up, a table we made with NC wheels:

And the best part of the podcast… dinner after at a local BBQ joint:

Miata’s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2016 is a GO!

Happy to report that I’ll be attending the Miata’s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this October (10/1 and 10/2). I won’t have my NC with me but the flights have been booked and hopefully my rental car is something cool… as much as I can’t afford this trip I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see this event first hand, check out the big MX-5 car show, and watch a bunch of owners take to the famous track with their Miata’s. I also missed the opportunity to sign the Millionth Miata when it was in Germany at TidM or closer to home at Wayne Mazda on their NYC stop of the tour or the Easton Mazda on the Philly stop. Hopefully I’ll get to autograph it myself.

MRLS_vert

I’ll also be staying for the week after until Pirelli World Challenge takes to the same race track for their season finale. I can’t wait to marshal at Laguna Seca again… I’ve done the Corkscrew corner before from several different stations and different points of view, hopefully this time I’ll get to experience another vantage point.

Either way it’ll be extremely exciting.

So far I’ve used some frequent flyer miles to fly JetBlue from JFK to Oakland and Virgin America from San Francisco to Newark. The flights weren’t as cheap as I would hope to find them, but about $129 going and $159 back if converted to cash. The car rental from Hertz was similar amount, though I’ll keep checking to get a lower rate. I’ll also try to rely on CouchSurfing to keep my accommodation costs down.

This is going to be a blast and a fine way to end my marshaling season… what an adventure it has been so far!

Cars & Croissants in Morris Plains, NJ Feb 2016

It’s a great time to be a kid growing up in America! As corny as it sounds when I was a kid, little die-cast model cars were the closest I had come to exotics, sports cars, muscle cars, classic cars, etc. Today, I went to a local Cars & Croissants event at the Dunkin Donuts in Morris Plains, New Jersey and the turnout was incredible. By my count up to two¬†hundred¬†maybe 100 cars were on display for all to see, many rotating in and out during the morning as fresh people came in to see what the fuss was all about.

This was like church for car enthusiasts. A Sunday morning get together in a little suburban strip mall parking lot with cars coming from as far away as Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York. There were even a few Lambo’s with Montana plates but i’m sure they live in a Jersey garage somewhere and only come out on sunny days.

My goal was to see other NC MX-5’s in the lot… and¬†I found a beauty with abig Flyin’ Miata sticker¬†just before I left the event:

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Mission accomplished! But there was so much more to see… Miatas:

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 11

There were NA’s with the standard round pop-up lights.

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 6

There were NA’s with custom rectangular pop-up lights.

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 3

There were NA’s with custom dual-round pop-up lights.

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 27

There was an NB Mazdaspeed version with the factory Turbo.

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 24

There was also a lot of snow still on the ground residue¬†of¬†“winter”

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There were Motorcycles all over the place.

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Plenty of classic and historic cars in attendance.

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Right hand drive JDM imports like two of these Skylines.

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American muscle, sports and touring cars.

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Italian sports, classic and touring cars.

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february

Lexus has an HQ nearby and brought plenty of “F” show specimens.

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The finest British cars…

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 26

Lots of fast German cars…

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even American electric sports cars…

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Race cars!

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 1

…and of course Coffee & Donuts… no ¬†croissants though ūüôĀ

But for a kid it was like being in a candy store… I absolutely love these type of mixed car events!

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 7

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Who says the Acura NSX is a rare car? Here’s about half a dozen…

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 20

cars and croissants morris plains nj 2016 february 19

So much similarity between these Italian’s from FIAT.

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I’m looking forward to attending more of these C&C events locally and when I travel to volunteer around the country. What a great way to see awesome cars new and old… variety galore!