Tag Archives: West Virginia

Want to buy a Fiata? There’s a Few Abarth 124 Spiders in Winchester, VA

A couple brand spanking new Abarth Fiata’s caught my eye today on the drive home from Florida. Bright and early in the morning I visited my usual pit stop at Sheetz the last stop I need to make on the drive (back in my Summit Point days I’d refill here too, and with the Miata it’s almost exactly 300 miles to Northern New Jersey so a good place to top off for the last time). Next door is a Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealer that a few months ago had a nice Gray NC PRHT in the lot… it made me wonder, who the hell would trade-in a Miata for a Dodge?

Well, duh! In places where Alfa Romeo Fiat dealers aren’t available, Fiats are sold through other FCA dealerships. Seeing the two Fiata’s parked up front made that point really obvious!

So I pulled in and took a few shots…

Both cars seemed to have Virginia inspection stickers in the center of the windshield, but also the window stickers in the passenger door, so I’m not quite sure if they’re brand new or lease returns. but either way they looked spotless! I have no affiliation with this dealership so I can’t recommend or otherwise, but the least I could do is give heads up if any enthusiast is in the market… keep in mind Summit Point Raceway is just a few minutes away on the Virginia/West Virginia border.

Mazda MX-5: 1,000+ mile Road Trip to Virginia (Southern Part accessible from North Carolina)

I’ve been looking for an excuse to take a longer road trip and the opportunity presented itself with a marshaling stint at VIR in Alton  Southern Virginia (so far south it’s mainly accessible from Milton, North Carolina… yep!)

The fastest route per Google Maps was down the I95 corridor through all the major cities until Richmond, VA and then across with just over 485 miles each way. But I elected to avoid the tolls (which are absurd pushing $100 bux) and the unpredictable rush hour traffic patters to take the more leisurely drive through I81 in Pennsylvania increasing the distance to 530 miles and about another hour to tack onto the drive.

The goal for my trip was also to test the performance of the new Timken RX-8 wheel bearing hubs and see if they would increase my fuel mileage which has recently dropped down to 31mpg average, based on my last two trips to Watkins Glen. I discovered that indeed the hubs did make a difference. My gas mileage increased to 34mpg on the open highway, while in town it dropped to 28mpg, which is normal. So all was good. I was hoping to match my all time best of 36mpg’s but the roads were too hilly to accomplish that, and I had the A/C on blast which didn’t help either.

Overall i was really happy with the car and how it handled the road. The 8 hour journey took a little bit more on the way down, and a lot more on the way back up. But I did make several stops along the way to use the restroom and buy some food. Generally I tried to stop every two to three hours to let the car cool down for a few minutes. It worked very well, but it did slow me down. The ride home took almost 12 hours but that included two 1 hour stops for food.

And a few pics from the trip:

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Good morning Maryland!

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Howdy West Virginia!

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The new Virginia welcome sign… I kind of liked the old one better with the Bird on it instead of this Lovers campaign… why is Virginia for Lovers anyway?

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Well, at least you know you’re in the south when you see more Confederate flags flying than American stars and stripes… hmm

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Hello VIR… what a beautiful facility!

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Yep, I’m in the right place!

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So you gotta drive down into North Carolina for a few miles, just to turn around and head right back into the track…

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Prior to coming to the track I figured I’d stay put and have everything I need at VIR… but it turned out that the best place to get food was back in town, which is a good 15 miles away. So I went out for dinner every night in Danville, VA and during the half an hour journey used the opportunity to charge up my phone for the night. This added another 120+ miles to the overall journey.

Looking forward to the next Road Trip soon…

SCCA Majors at Summit Point

I was a bit on the fence about going to Summit Point for the SCCA Majors this weekend, not so much because I didn’t want to go, but more so because of my limited transportation options at the moment (too many broken cars in the driveway). But I bit the bullet and said screw it, jumped in the Jeep and went… thanks to a little encouragement from my buddy Tim and a timely reminder from another friend Richard.

The drive down was quite excellent actually, since I was babying the Jeep I stuck to the speed limit, well… actually 60mph which was well below the speed limit south of the Mason Dixon line. Got great gas mileage and arrived at the track just in time for registration. Another beautiful part about using the Jeep, with the rear seats folded down, it was my camping spot for the weekend, and with a bunch of blankets and pillows – a comfortable one at that. But enough about the car and the road trip. The racing was COOL!

This being a National event, some of the best regional drivers came out to put the pedal to the metal. They didn’t disappoint. The racing was remarkably clean, but you’d expect it to be considering pretty much all the competitors own their own vehicles and causing a spectacular crash is a big hit on the wallet. Though we did have several good crashes at my station. Everyone walked away but tempers flared. Had to whistle and yell at one driver at the top of my lungs because he kept on coming close to the track’s edge after he was crashed out signalling profanities at the driver that caused the incident.

summit point

My station for the weekend was a bird cage between turns 3 and 5. A fantastic blue flagging spot that was advertised as a great black flag station, though we only used the meatball once. I’m glad I got to switch my station assignments with my buddy Tim, because the original station I was assigned to was quite crowded and relied on a busy rotation focusing a lot on working safety rather than flagging. Instead I had a great conversation with an experienced corner worker from the Nelson’s Ledges track region, that had a lot of funny stories to share.

Camping at the track also meant hanging out with all the corner workers after the racing, and having CouchSurfed before every time I visited Summit Point, its an experienced I got for the first time. Tim was sporting his cool new Sponsor A Flagger t-shirt from Jessie, and we got to walk around the paddock chatting up various competitors which was all very down to earth. All in all, a great weekend!