Tag Archives: Formula Atlantic

NER SCCA Club Racing at Lime Rock on Father’s Day Weekend

Thanks to¬†Jamie Dzencelowcz the chief starter for inviting me to work on the start stand for this NER Club Racing event at Lime Rock over Father’s Day weekend.

For some odd reason everyone I met was very surprised to see me there, which was odd… my guess the rumor mill is churning based on something I said at some point or something someone else said about me. But frankly I don’t give a shit. I paid my dues this year, I’m perfectly allowed to be at any SCCA event. That said it was a very much welcoming atmosphere at the track. I wanted to get more experience working start, and I got precisely that. I was glad to find out that the Driver’s will put on a paddock crawl again. And they did a fantastic job. And the quality of racing was good too. We had a mixed bag of weather. It rained one day and was fine the next. We had plenty of incidents of bodywork flying off various cars on the front straight. So that was good to see too, some action.

Most importantly though I had a blast doing what I like. I especially enjoyed doing lap charts for the bigger groups. It’s basically recording the position of every car as they crossed the start finish line every lap. As a blue flagger it’s something that I’ve always done in my head anyway, keeping track of the leaders and the backmarkers so that I could blue flag them on the appropriate laps. But now there’s an official record on the Start stand. That was amazing. And I was somewhat impressed with myself that I managed to memorize the look of a lot of cars from a distance. Something I struggled with during PWC weekend where I made a few mistakes pointing out the wrong cars even though I always thought I had knew those cars very well already.

As always it’s super neat to see cars from bird’s eye view, especially the winners when they come in to pick up little checkered flags to do their victory laps.

Love the Brasil colors on this E46 M3

Fathers Day Weekend SCCA Club Racing at Lime Rock

To be honest I’ve given up on Club Racing this season… But since I still hold a valid SCCA license and my friend Jamie offered to let me work on the Starter stand with him, I jumped on the opportunity!

Boy am I glad I did.

I came for the Miata’s, but stayed for all the variety that was there.

The various Spec Miata fields were huge… I liked the battles going on from my vantage point. And since there were four of us on the Start stand I got to rotate into every position available for a few sessions at a time… so I got to Start and Chequer races. I got to work as a backup. I got to do lap charts. And finally, got to do comms. It was neat to say the least and much needed practice I wanted to have as I did make mistakes a few weeks ago at Lime Rock working the PWC race as a backup starter.

But anyway. For the NA and NB Miata fans there was a lot to love. I only spotted one NC there. Briefly thinking a few Honda S2000’s were Miata’s as they were under car covers… Ooops! They sure do have similar dimensions and it’s especially hard to tell when you can only see wheels, and both Mazda and Honda tend to use the same Enkei wheels.

Anyway, here’s some pix of my favorite cars this weekend:

This fella raced one of the SAC NC Miata Cup Cars during PWC.

Love the paint job on this Formula Vee…

Surprised how flashy some cars looked wearing sponsors on their liveries…

Woo Hoo… NC Miata!

Not a Miata!

But it’s wearing a +5HP sticker…

This thing kicked ass in the rain, winning one race.

Stock vs. Non-Stock S2000’s… probably my favorite looking race car at the track… wonder why they created a class that eliminates the windshield of a car…?

This thing too had a very dramatic last lap, front straight, chequered flag finish… dash to the win!

Several young female racers, which is awesome to see on such grassroots level of Motorsport.

I’ll be back for more tomorrow… Saturday = Race Day!

Post Card from the Nissan Grand Prix PWC at VIR

I didn’t think things could get much better after an awesome Alabama Grand Prix but the Nissan Grand Prix of VIR blew things out of the water for me. What a fantastic weekend I had there!

Here’s some pix:

You know you’re in Virginia when your local supermarket is called: Piggly Wiggly ūüôā

Love all this GT3 machinery of the SRO/PWC partnership…

The best part of arriving on promoter’s test day is the ability to take some pix of cars on track and all the stuff being unloaded in the paddock:

Back in the garages:

One thing I don’t really get… NISSAN dropped the factory GT3 GT-R NISMO program but they still sponsor this Grand Prix (and VIR)

I think I was the only marshal camping there… same spot as last year.

NER @ LRP presented by Thompson Speedway

My 7th weekend in a row spent at a race track, unlike the previous 6 which were each at a different track (Palmer, Watkins Glen, Mosport, Lime Rock, Detroit, NJMP) I’ve started repeating tracks… much like the previous visit to Lime Rock where I worked as a backup starter for the Pirelli World Challenge, this time I got to wave all the flags in the Starter rotation for NER SCCA club racing.

The weekend went by perfectly. Excellent weather. Excellent company. I was very happy to work with Jamie again. And I’m really happy to be trained by Peter Watson the chief starter of the Northern New Jersey Region who has been awesome in showing me how things should be done. I truly enjoy learning from him because things are done naturally, everything makes perfect sense, and when I make a mistake Peter corrects me right away, which helps tremendously, I really do appreciate immediate feedback. My weekend was truly enjoyable and I’m actually really happy doing these Club Races, something I didn’t like so much in the past.

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I was also very happy with the amount of cars we had racing. As usual the fields of Miata’s were very impressive. They kicked my ass while I was lap charting because any time a group of four or more would blow past the starter stand together, it would knock me off my rhythm doing charts, and I’d miss everything behind that group. But with more practice I was really getting the hang of it. When I was on point I did make the mistake of blue flagging the leaders… Oops! But that only encouraged the little Miata at the front to push harder, the much more racy-looking Honda S-2000 behind it looked like it would snatch the lead, but it didn’t. That same Honda was probably my favorite looking car of the weekend, sadly I didn’t get a shot of it. But it was basically Yellow #17 S2000 without a front windshield. I signed up to marshal at Watkins Glen next weekend for an SCCA event just because I looked on MotorsportReg.com and saw a similar Miata without a windshield that will be racing there. Good enough for me… can’t wait!

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While heading to the track I noticed a weird noise coming out from the front of my Miata, especially when making a right turn at speed like getting onto the highway or taking an exit ramp… we spoke with Jessie about it and she suggested it may be a bearing that’s going bad, which after the super crazy pot holes in Detroit I could totally believe… One of the mechanics on the RX-7 team in the paddock volunteered to have a look… jacked my car up, had a close inspection and said nothing looks out of place and he’d have full confidence driving the car as it is. But of course I’m being all paranoid about what it could possibly be. And with two trips to WGI (500 miles apiece in the next two weeks) I am a bit worried.

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I guess we’ll find out.

I had a lovely weekend, got enough TIPs from NER to convert them into a $25 Shell gift card so the weekend basically paid for itself. Which made me happy! I can’t wait to work with this club again.

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In honor of it being the Le Mans weekend, I had my fries with mayo:

honor le mans 24h french fries with mayo

Never thought I’d say this but even the camping was fun. My new Coleman 4 person tent worked perfectly.

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Wish I would have known I could set up closer to the paddock, though it worked out really well camping at the usual spot under the pines (top of the hill) because there was no moisture on the tent when it was time to break it down Saturday morning. Fun times!

Post Card from SCCA Club New England Region Racing at Lime Rock Park Presented by Thompson Speedway

Greetings from Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East.

I’m starting to really enjoy Club Racing… this weekend I had an opportunity to work Start again, which was fantastic. I specifically wanted to practice my Lap Charting, which I got an opportunity to do. There were a shit ton of Miata’s racing, which was awesome. We got great food over the weekend participating in a Paddock Crawl where each team cooked to show their appreciation to the volunteers, which was really neat. And I got some NER Tips which were quickly converted into a $25 Shell gas card, so the weekend paid for itself. What more could I possibly ask for?

Here are some pix from the event:

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NARRA, Trans Am, Global MX-5 Cup at Watkins Glen International Race Weekend Debrief

I’ve been riding a wave of really outstanding events… one better than the next, and so far the NARRA / Trans Am / MX-5 Cup weekend at Watkins Glen has topped them all… I just wanted to check out the Miata’s race but instead I got so much more out of it… got to drive the track on the newly repaved circuit and most importantly got to wave the Checkered flag on the Starter stand.

So to start at the beginning, Watkins Glen is 250 miles from where I live, which Google says should take about 4 hours with no traffic, but with all the construction along the way and pee stops at Sheetz in Pennsylvania (where I also pick up some delicious chicken wings or burger sliders with delicious Dr.Pepper BBQ sauce) it’s a 5 hour trip. My goal was to get good gas mileage on this trip… unfortunately the best I got was 29mpg which is well short of 36mpg’s I got on the trip to Florida… but arriving at the Glen got me excited for other reasons.

Cars!

Lots and lots of awesome looking cars. I was able to wander around the Mazda MX-5 Cup paddock and take a million pictures of the cars. From there I watched the Vipers roll into the NARRA padock, and the Trans Am cars getting assembled. It was freaking awesome.

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My buddy Pat Fuller hosted me for the weekend in his spare camper which was very convenient and comfortable because the temperature dropped from 70’s on Thursday to 30’s on Sunday. Plus it rained Friday and Saturday. I had my wet weather gear so the rain was bearable but a lot of cars suffered major smashups because of the track conditions, which was sad to see.

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I was impressed though how quick the MX-5 cup cars were able to handle the repaved track in wet conditions. On Saturday while working Turn 7 the cars were taking a sharp right hander at a pretty high rate of speed without much effort it seemed, and in the wet. Pretty cool! I was impressed with my BFGoodrich Sport Comps 2 in the rain while driving on track also, tires made me feel very comfortable even where I thought the conditions would be slippery.

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Because RSI, the club that provides marshals for events at WGI didn’t supply us with lunches for this event, I went to Jerlando’s Pizzeria in Montour Falls and stocked up on some pizza, which tasted pretty good for the next few days for lunch. What’s better than cold pizza? (well probably hot pizza, but that wasn’t feasible).

The highlight of the weekend for me was of course the total surprise of working the Starter Stand. I did not expect that in a million years and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. It was an amazing educational experience and a perfect viewing spot for the races. The MX-5 Cup race was impressive, the Trans Am races were sweet… the whole stand shook when the field of cars went by. The NARRA field was pretty small, but the support races made up for the boredom. I really¬†enjoyed the Formula Atlantic races, even though I couldn’t figure out whether they were SCCA PRO or SCCA CLUB event.

Oh well…

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The main take-away for me from this event was how well the event ran, even when faced with difficulties. The weather didn’t help… rain caused havoc with the cars, and freezing cold caused pain to the marshals. The redeeming feature of large fields was the fact that despite the big attrition there was still exciting racing to be had. Although at times it did feel like there were a few long stretches of full course caution interrupted by a few quick laps under green flag. The MX-5 field suffered the most losses, but I’m sure it’s good for business for Mazda Motorsports and Long Road Racing. Trans Am too had a few serious smash ups that will undoubtedly hit the pocket book of the private teams that run in that event. My favorite thing was to see cars from various series repurposed to run in this weekend. I mentioned earlier the former Grand-Am and Conti Tire Sports Car Series cars running in Trans Am as well as a current Pirelli World Challenge Miata running with NARRA. That was way cool!

I don’t know what my next event at Watkins Glen International will be but I’m certainly looking forward to that experience… I’ll be sure to request to work Start/Finish again, who knows maybe it’ll work!

Thanks to James Wilbur at RSI for the opportunity.

Postcard from SCCA Pro Trans Am, F1600, F2000 & Formula Atlantic at Watkins Glen Int’l

One of the most fun weekends I’ve had volunteering at Watkins Glen International was this weekend working the Trans Am race and all the support series that came along, including one I was most interested to see, the Global MX-5 Cup (I’ll write about it separately)

The HUUUUUGE fields of Trans Am cars was really surprising and very much impressive. I remember the last Trans Am race I did at Lime Rock a few years ago… we had maybe a dozen cars with most of them being TA2 Camaros and Mustangs and just a few TA1 Corvettes which couldn’t put any power down due to rain. This time around there was a huge field of TA1’s… and even a bigger TA2 field. So big that TA2 had a race of their own with about 20+ cars participating… there was a similar size field with the rest of Trans Am pairing TA cars with TA3 BMW’s, TA4 Porsches and even TA5 cars. How incredibly cool!!!

The support series were SCCA Pro or maybe Club Racing: Formula 1600, Formula 2000 and Formula Atlantics open wheelers. To me the Formula Atlantic cars is exactly what formula cars should look like, I wish IndyCar still resembled that look without all the silly bumpers and billboard size front wings.

But enough talk, here’s the pix:

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I was so impressed with the Trans Am cars I cannot rant and rave more about them… the whole Starter stand rumbled and shook when the big field of cars came full blast under us… What a feeling!

PS. the Trans Am field is as American as apple pie, with TA2 Mustang, Camaro and Challenger dominating the fields with a big battle between Ford, Chevy and Dodge… but I was also happy to see Trans Am BMW and Porsche kicking ass… the cars were former Grand Am and IMSA Continental Tire Series cars refurbished for this purpose and they fit in quite nicely.

Postcard from the North American Road Racing Association Weekend at Watkins Glen Int’l

What a trip… I was really looking forward to this visit to Watkins Glen International for a brand new-to-me series: NARRA – North American Road Racing Association: ¬†USGT racing which shared the weekend with some SCCA Pro big guns including Trans Am, Formula 1600, Formula 2000, Formula Atlantic, and Global MX-5 Cup (the one series I really wanted to see, and will post about separately).

I’ll try to write a little debrief later, but for now I’d like to share some pictures from my paddock walk on Thursday… what an amazing experience that was! Really happy I got a chance to see all those awesome cars, lots of Dodge Viper ACR’s (American Club Racers), Ford Mustangs, Aston Martin DB9, Chevy Corvette, and even a few MX-5 Miatas including a NB and a NC.

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The curious thing about the Mazda MX-5 Miata (NC) racing with this group it was labeled as “GT3” class. Which I thought was very optimistic… until I saw it passing the Chevy Corvette and a Dodge Viper during the race…. which made me say “DAAAAMMM!” The car itself still had the door number stickers form the series it normally runs in which is SCCA Pro: Pirelli World Challenge TCA class… and I always thought that TCA class were moderately stock 2.0 Liter Miata’s with some heavy-duty upgrades like race suspension, roll cage, exhaust, etc. To see it blow away a Vette and a Viper into Turn 7 was amazing!

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As hard as it tried it was unable to catch the Gulf livery Aston Martin

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The Viper ACR’s running in GT1 and GTX class were impressive too!