Tag Archives: porsche 911

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

Post Card from the Sebring 12 Hour Grid for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Series

One of my favorite things to do at a race event is to browse through the pre-race grid and take some photos (legally since we as marshals are not allowed to otherwise most of the time). It’s a great opportunity to see the cars assembled fully ready to race. It’s also a chance to mingle with the crowds of spectators doing the same thing you are and trying not to get their shadows into your shots (which is almost impossible in a sunny place like Sebring).

But here they are, and it was an exhilarating experience to be a part of. I’m so glad the crowds were huge, and that the weather cooperated fully. It was much warmer on race day, very sunny and very good for some close racing (in GTLM and GTD fields anyway).

The beauty of working in Pit Lane was the close proximity I had to walk to start my shift during the race. Super convenient and truly enjoyable experience once the race started. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and hope there will be more to come in the future.

Second Post Card from the Roar before the 24 at Daytona Int’l Speedway

What an amazing opportunity!

Weather was freezing cold… literally! 37F for the final day of practice on Sunday. It was sunny but windy. But the day went by fairly quickly, we finished pretty early for a day at the track and before returning our equipment to Central Florida SCCA compound we made a dash for the paddock to take some more pix.

I’m so glad we did because the pix came out great, and there weren’t too many spectators in the way of the cars to take good shots. Enjoy:

I’m really happy with this whole trip so far, everything I wanted to do I managed to accomplish and it’s a great feeling. Can’t wait to come back for the 24 hour race at the end of the month!

Mazda MX-5 & RX-8 Bear Mountain and Seven Lakes Drive Winter Tires Cruise

Thanks to Chris for organizing another excellent Bear Mountain cruise this time featuring Mazda’s almost exclusively (there was a Toyobaru BRZ that infiltrated the group of all the RX-8’s and MX-5’s)

This day had all the ingredients of making a fantastic weekend! There were cool cars, cool roads, a little spirited driving and good food with friends. What more could one ask for?

Sleep… perhaps!

After the midnight finish of all the fluid flushes at Chris’s house out in western countryside of New Jersey I didn’t get home until 3am. Since the engine and transmission sounded different than before the flush I spend another hour or so researching what the proper technique is of checking the level on a sealed transmission. Went to sleep at 4:30am woke up at 6:30am to meet up with the group in Sloatsburg New York to go on a cruise organized by Chris.

I knew there would be some spirited driving involved so I was shitting bricks worried sick that I may damage the transmission. But all went well. I had to go because I had agreed to make my first Facebook facilitated purchase: a set of Bilstein shocks off of a 2012 NC2 Miata that would also be attending the event. And I really wanted to hang out with Chris in his MX-5, his brother Eric in his RX-8, Sakshik in his Miata and whomever else would show up. Luckily we had a good crowd in attendance reaching 10 cars at one point.

Enough talk, here’s the pix:

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I’m now the proud owner of a set of Bilsteins for my Miata!

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And this is the car they came out of at only 14,800 miles apparently!

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That’s a sweet looking ride!

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The last time I’ve seen so many RX-8’s was when they were racing with the Grand Am series.

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First stop at the top of Bear Mountain to add two more cars to the group. Another RX-8 and a Toyobaru BRZ.

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Lots and lots of bikes out today, was a really beautiful day for a ride!

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(apparently not part of our group… hmm!)

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Since there were a lot of hikers and bikers on the roads, many of our cruises were at a snail’s pace, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Some poor biker flew off the road, luckily it wasn’t a steep cliff down

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Optimized parking at the Barnstormer BBQ joint…

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Pretty convenient maps showing all the interesting twisties especially geared at the bikers visiting the restaurant

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Last but not least the excellent food… finger lickin’ good!

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Cars & Coffee Paramus New Jersey November 2016

Autumn is winding down. Fall foliage has been reduced to leaves waiting in piles on the side of suburban streets, to be sucked up by the DPW trucks… things are about to get pretty gray for a couple of months over the winter. Let a little color cheer you up this weekend. I went to a local Cars & Coffee in Paramus to see some awesome cars on display for everyone’s enjoyment!

I spent a whole of five minutes running around taking pictures, but I’m quite happy I got out of bed early this Sunday morning for this amazing opportunity, enjoy:

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Surprised my car looks so good even when it definitely needs a wash.

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The one thing that stood out at me was the amount of Lotus Espirit’s that showed up for this event.

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Lots of SRT-8 Challengers and colorful Hellcats in attendance too…

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That’s all folks… I think there’s one more of these next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it!

Sunday Cruise along Seven Lakes Drive to the Top of Bear Mountain

It’s been a long while since I helped organize a Seven Lakes Drive cruise up to Bear Mountain State Park. I’ve been wanting to put something together but it seems like nobody was ever interested on  Miata.net forums or the New Jersey Miatas facebook group. Turns out that people were always interested and enjoying the ride, they just didn’t care to do it with me….   Today however I joined a super secret, private facebook group on a cruise along the twisties of Bear Mountain, and it was a fantastic experience!

I’m so glad Chris, the owner of a beautiful 2008 NC1 GT PRHT that I’ve been sharing pictures of on this blog for a few times now, most recently from our cruise down the Jersey Shore a week ago, invited me to join him and his friends on a leisurely Sunday drive.

Unlike last week’s Miata meet, this was quite a diverse group of friends sporting everything from E30 BMW’s to Toyobaru BRZ’s. There were several Mitsubishi Evo’s and a bunch of Subbie WRX STi’s, even a Mini Cooper GP that decided to join when he saw us zoom zooming around.

It was such a beautiful day for a drive we were by no means the only group cruising Seven Lakes Drive, 9W and Palisades Interstate Parkway around Bear Mountain. We saw large groups of Porsche owners, BMW’s, Lotus, Honda S2000 (which was probably the biggest), etc. all cruising the same roads. As well as hundreds of tourists with rental cars (many sporting out of state plates, like California for example… which you know were definitely rentals because who would drive cross country just to take in the scenic views from the top of Bear Mountain?) It was awesome.

I had a blast. The group was very mature. Very organized. Nobody crashed. People behaved well. It was a pleasure. And the BBQ lunch we went to near West Point was simply outstanding.

Would love to do this again sometime…

some pix:

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Following Chris on our 7am pre-run recon lap on Seven Lakes Dr.

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The official 8am meet-up in Sloatsburg, NY

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Perfect day for a leisurely cruise in the mountain twisties.

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Lots of regrouping along the way, and doing some stretches twice.

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Lots of leaves collected behind grills, against the radiators.

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Yep, a ton of leaves… Gotta love fall foliage…

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Stage…

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Regroup…

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Line up for group photos…

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Some tourists did in fact come a long way… doubt a rental car company would have a vanity plate so specific…

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It was so congested that Police closed some of the roads we wanted to take for the scenic drive.

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Of course closed roads typically result in standstill traffic.

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Food at last!

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Delicious 3-Meat Platter…. Yumm!

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Final Group Photo Shoot…

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I am a huge fan of Chris’s Miata, it’s very tastefully done!

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Notice the difference in height, mine = stock, Chris’s = lowered.

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Back on the road to the top of Bear Mountain for sunset views.

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The End!

Post Card from Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway

I’m not sure if there’s an event in the US I wanted to do more than the IMSA race at VIR… now I’ve gone and done it!

And I’m really proud of the opportunity I had to participate in this amazing event at a really fantastic facility. I went from being treated like a reject to feeling like a VIP with the snap of the fingers. And I loved every minute of my experience there, including the full paddock access upon my arrival on Thursday, where I took a million pix of the various spec racers as well as the feature event machines.

Enjoy!

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And of course lots of Miata stuff!

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This was a weekend full of spec racers, from the Global MX-5 Cup to the Porsche GT3 Cup USA to Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

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more to follow…

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:

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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 the Weekend of Thunder, Trans Am at NJMP

Last Saturday morning during the Detroit Grand Prix morning meeting the Trans Am official giving us some encouraging words mentions their next round in New Jersey and a lightbulb goes over my head… hey, I live in New Jersey! why don’t I sign up?

Before I even made it to my station assignment in Belle Isle I was firing off an e-mail to NJMP to see if I could join their ranks to volunteer Trans Am at Thunderbolt… within minutes I had a response: Welcome to join! Sweet….

NJMP doesn’t rely on volunteers though. They hire workers to flag events and pay them about $8/hr to do so. The response email I got said that they had the event fully staffed but if I wanted to volunteer I was welcome to come. I wanted to push my luck and ride a wave of recent events I’ve got to work on the Start stand but for this event my request was denied. Still, I got to work some of the most awesome stations Thunderbolt has to offer. Day 1 I was solo on Turn 2. Day 2 I was the blue flagger on Turn 1 which was sweet! Day 3 I was blue flagger on Turn 11 which is in the “Octopus” or “Tail of the Devil” turn where the cars drive all the way around the station, which is almost on an island surrounded by ARMCO and a Tire-wall. That was amazing! More about the event later, for now some pix…

Day 1, paddock walk:

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Day 2, scrutineering line:

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I now use Pennzoil Platinum in the Miata, and like it very much!

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Day 3, Flagging Turn 11

Checking out the Starter Stand:

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New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission jacking my registration prices up so they could sponsor NASCAR…  and then there’s a marketing fail, “Just Drive 125???”

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Was happy to spot another NC1 Miata in the paddock:

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This time around when I drove past some cool race cars I stopped and jumped out to take a few shots… should have done this with the Pirelli World Challenge Miata’s though, kicking myself for not doing it at Mosport and Lime Rock.

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What an awesome trip!

Post Card from the Grand Prix of Lime Rock, Pirelli World Challenge Weekend Minus Formula 4

Today went by in a flash… I was fortunate enough to work my first Pro-weekend as a backup starter at Lime Rock Park for the Pirelli World Challenge event dubbed the Grand Prix of Lime Rock.

I didn’t even think it’d be possible, but sure enough Andy Smith the flag chief for this weekend granted my wishes to work closer to the paddock so I could sneak out for lunch to take some pictures of the cars without having to choose between doing that and eating lunch. It doesn’t get better than working start. From my previous experience at the Glen I figured there would be a team of Starters and I would have a very small role to play monitoring the radio while the “pro’s” do the work. I was wrong. It was me and only one other person: the official PWC Starter… a guy from California that does many of the official starts for PWC travelling around the country with the series. That was pretty cool… I didn’t expect it at all. Besides working comms on the backup net, the official starter had me put out the white flag for any vehicle leaving pit lane during the practice sessions. The reasoning being that cars flying at speed would know about a slower car entering Turn 1. For the races the starter handed me the while flag to wave on the final lap just before he threw the checker. That was really neat too. I got to call every Green flag that was thrown as well, first and last cars to take the checkered, and a variety of incidents along the front straight… so for someone who was going to just monitor the flagger net and relay messages to the official starter, I sure did have a lot of exciting work… I loved it!

Being on start also gave me the opportunity to wander the paddock before the event and during lunch… below I will share some photos:

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At the end of the day we got a good worker feed… nice warm food:

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A nice Lime Rock Park sweatshirt, although not suitable for today’s 90F weather, but very nice nonetheless:

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And I got to check out a whole lot of Mazda’s everywhere:

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It was such a brilliant experience I cannot wait to get back to the track tomorrow and do this all over again! So much Fun!

PS. This weekend was supposed to feature the US debut of FIA Formula 4 sanctioned by the SCCA Pro and to be raced around the US. Unfortunately that race series got bumped to another weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park and in their place we got all the amazing TC and TCA class Miata’s…. I felt really happy with that!