Tag Archives: International Motor Racing Research Center

Mazda MX-5: First 500+ Mile Road Trip

Since I bought the car in December I’ve only put 1,000 miles on the odometer… until my Road Trip to Watkins Glen, NY where I did 500+ miles in a just one weekend.

I was thoroughly impressed with the car. It was very comfortable at highway speeds and during a trip that lasted about five hours because I made a few stops along the way that I normally do, one of them to pick up some sliders for lunch at a Scranton Sheetz gas station (yep, gas station food!)

Before doing the thermostat replacement I was averaging about 23 mpg sometimes less, hardly ever more. But on this trip I got a solid 33 mpg with 95% highway driving, but a good 5% driving in first gear from the RSI campground to the WGI conference building along pit lane. Mainly because the road was really muddy, and I coated the whole bottom of the car with it. It was the first time I’ve been to a race track where I went to a car wash first before heading back home. And I’m glad I did, because on my way to the self-serve car wash I stopped by the International Motor Racing Research Center in downtown Watkins Glen, and took some pictures there. My favorite was the little red sports cars atop the street sign posts that act as the numeric street signs:

watkins glen new york
I didn’t realize how little my little red sports car was compared to the street sign post, which is topped with a little sports car and a 15 encircled on the door, signifying 15th Street
watkins glen international motor racing research center
maybe next time I will actually pay them a visit, the International Motor Racing Research Center in downtown Watkins Glen, NY about a mile from beautiful Seneca Lake


But back to the track. I’m happy the car didn’t get stuck in the mud anywhere or bottom out on any of the pot holes. I took it nice and slow and it served it’s purpose well.

miata watkins glen 1
I should have turned the nose into the other direction to light up the side of the car, but didn’t really think of it while taking this picture

watkins glen mazda miata mx-5 rsi

watkins glen mazda miata mx-5

The only complaint, if I should call it that, was the massive pot holes along the 250 mile stretch between my home in New Jersey and the track Upstate New York. Especially Upstate and most of Pennsylvania had these big craters where the asphalt meets the concrete of the overpass, or along the joints of two otherwise perfectly smooth lanes, there just had to be these stupid pot holes. I’m going to speculate because I’m not entirely sure this is the case, but I have a feeling that I got some new curb rash from hitting some pot holes I couldn’t avoid especially along the lip of the front rims. And let me tell you, this was the most attentive I have ever been driving this route going the speed limit and trying to dodge the bigger pot holes in my path at all costs. A few times I didn’t realize just how big the pot hole was until I was on top of it…. Ugh!

All in all I am very happy with this first big Road Trip in the Miata. I had a great time and will definitely do it again, especially going back to Watkins Glen to work one of their events, IMSA and/or NASCAR. The RSI hospitality was really warm and welcoming, as usual. I genuinely felt I was wanted there, which is a good feeling. Best of all the heater worked really well in Lynne & Tate’s guest camper… so even though the car outside was covered in frost, I was nice and toasty at night. Thank you Lynne & Tate, Patrick and the rest of the RSI for being awesome!

watkins glen rsi campground

PS. on the way home I stopped to refuel across the street from a peculiar site, a mobile BBQ truck… of course I had to have a sample:

upstate new york bbq pit