Monday, July 02, 2007


It's gonna be a scorcher!

This weekend was awesome.

Drive down to the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds (GCF), get a few practice starts with the drag racing style timing lights, (sorry, I was talking with the energy co. to get the power off at our old place, not that you could sense the pause in the typing), get the car teched and ready to race, we also had to have several stickers on our cars since it was a national event, we got around actually sticking them on the cars by putting them on magnets so they're nice and removable.

After that we went over to Fish Lake to camp. The sun was down and it was nice and cool. We hung out, had some beers (Sweet Water Blue which is unavailable in SC) and then it started to rain. Crazy rain with flashes of purplish cracks of light. There were a couple that were definitely too close for comfort. At the start of the rain we huddled under a tree (there were 4 of us, Protege, Subaru, myself and Suby's co-driver) and then it soaked the tree and started really coming down so we ran to the safety of Focus, rolled down the windows and stuck an umbrella out the windows so we could have a breeze. My tent kept me dry for most of the night except for a small pool at the foot of the tent.

We would arrive the next day and get 6 qualifying runs, 3 from each side (remember it was a Doublecross so there were 2 cars on course with a mutual finish line and different starting lanes) and we wouldn't know how well we did until that evening. I qualified 120 out of 137, Protege was 119, Subaru was 109 and his co-driver was 104. It isn't that we're that bad, it's that everyone else was that good. This was a national event that you can win some decent money at so the good drivers come out of the woodworks. My goal was not last in my class and I was 3rd to last and I was very pleased with how Focus was handling and my driving.

They had a cook-out that evening with brats and hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches and they even provided beer. It was from the Atlanta Brewing Company. Their Peachtree Pale Ale was waaaay too hoppy and bitter for my taste but their Blonde Ale was freakin' phenomenal.

That night we stayed at the Best Western in Lawrenceville. Nice rooms but the guy working the night counter was having a bad day. He didn't tell us any of the features of the hotel (like breakfast would be in the room behind us from 6-9 or that you could get pool towels from the front desk) but was a nice guy besides that.

Woke up at 6 am AGAIN and made our way back to the GCF. I was paired up against a stripped down old Civic in E Prepared, which means it was light and fast and on racing slicks. The point of the drag lights at the start was to make the event more fair. If I would've gone up against that Civic straight up on my street tires in STS (Street Touring Stock) I would've been destroyed, so they offset the lights depending on your class. So I had a few second headstart over the Civic. It was a good run, slow in, fast out, smooth, smooth, smooth, FINISH! Crap, he beat me, but I hear over the PA system that he hit a cone. I won! Then I raced a very fast S2000 and lost by several seconds. It's a double elimination bracket so I get another shot to keep racing that day. I'm up against a new 2007 Mazda MX5 (Miata) that is stock except for race tires. This is gonna be close. We pull up to the line and I get a few tenths of a head start. Coming around to the finish and....I lost. Poo. The one consolation is that it's still early and I can go ahead and changed my tires in the shade and get the car mostly packed before I have to show up for my work assignment.

You have to see this hat I bought for this event. I've always wanted a hat that will keep my face and neck shaded. A baseball cap isn't going to cut it. So I stopped by REI (the one in Buford near the Mall of Georgia) since it was on our way. Sunglasses and a hat on sale and $43 later I'm on the road with eye, head and neck protection from the sun. The other guys teased me about my big hat, saying I looked like an explorer, but they didn't think it was so funny on the second day and I was barely sunburned on my face and neck.

So much fun and I have so much to learn and so much to do to my Focus if I really want to be nationally competitive but that isn't my goal. I'm a rally driver. I want to get sideways in the dirt and fly past trees at 60 mph. Autocross is just a hobby and seat time until I get my rally car. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Whoops, almost forgot. My friend Derek was able to come down from his house near Suwanee and watch a few of my qualifying runs on Sat. morning. I hadn't seen him since he was in our wedding last Nov. I had hoped at least one ATL blogger could've made it but I understand that you were busy and had other things to do.

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