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Thoughts Returning from the Roebling Road Drivers' School

I don’t remember why I skipped it last year, but this past weekend (Feb 4-6) I helped instruct at the Double Drivers’ School at Roebling Road for the first time in two years. I ended up with four “official” students – Mike Kelly in a C-6 Z06, John Davis in a GTA car, and Tony Trott & David Hamilton in IT-7 cars – but also helped out Robby Boyette in his GTA car and fifteen year old Bailey Monette (the latest of five racing Monettes) in his Legends car. This morning I sent all them an e-mail thanking them for reminding me why I love this sport so much:

It’s just a heckuva lot of FUN!!!

A drivers’ school is about as laid back as you can get. Your car & equipment need to pass a safety inspection but nobody is going to bust your butt about an exhaust valve that’s .005” too big or a car that doesn’t have the correct window winder knobs for the class. At least from where I was standing there was no bitching about whose car had three more horsepower than the next one, who might or might not be running trick fuel, or who had replaced their windshield washer bottle with a super-trick titanium version. The folks were simply there to learn how to road race safely and to try and get faster as the weekend went on. They listened, they asked great questions, they thanked me when something I suggested worked, and they ALL had big ol’ grins on their faces when they came off the track on Sunday afternoon. And that got me to thinking as I drove home on Sunday afternoon.

I do like to have rules because otherwise it becomes an all-out spending war, but I also like to believe that most people will play by the rules if they have some level of confidence that everyone else is. I know we often get caught up in thinking that so-and-so is cheating her/his ass off, but in the long run who is REALLY losing in that case? If I didn’t have to play by the rules of golf I could beat Tiger Woods at Augusta, but have I really won anything if I do that? I don’t really obsess about it as much as some folks do, but for 2011 I’m going to make sure my car is legal and not worry nearly as much about everyone else’s – if you outrun me with a GTA car that turns 8000 RPM and has 12:1 compression YOU’RE the one that has to live with yourself.

I’ve also decided I’m not going to chase championships any more. We’ve been fortunate enough to win three SARRC GTA titles in five years and Roger Penske hasn’t called offering me a pro ride so I’m pretty sure he has lost my number. Instead of looking at the big picture (the season points) I’m going to run events that are FUN and drive as hard as I can each time out. There are currently three hill climb events (which are a LOT of fun) on the SEDiv calendar and I realized I haven’t run a single one of them since they were established.

When Trans-Am added our cars to their series late last year I seriously thought about organizing our 2011 schedule around selected professional events (racing in front of 35,000 qualifies as “fun”) but I’ve since realized I don’t fit their customer demographic. I’m a decent Club Racer and I’m okay with that.

One thing I definitely want to do is run Daytona again. I haven’t driven there since 2005 and running almost 180 mph on the high banks CERTAINLY falls into the “fun” (scary as well) category! I’ll also want to target the ARRC by GRM in November because that’s the closest you can get to a major event without having to drive to Wisconsin.

We still need to put Cuervo (that’s our GTA car for new readers) back together after my abrupt encounter with Road Atlanta’s Turn Three wall last November, but we’re making progress toward that end. The engine (which it turns out was maybe one lap from blowing up anyway) is in the hands of The Professor (Lee Schwartz of FlowTech Engines), Ron Fariss has both transmissions, and we brought the repaired chassis back from Ricky Sanders last week. It’ll take awhile to assemble everything and make the necessary bodywork repairs, but the target event is the GRM Walter Mitty weekend April 30-May 1 at Road Atlanta. Including that weekend we’re looking at the following 2011 events:



Fun Factor

Apr 30-May 1

Road Atlanta

Lots of spectators, neat cars, Road Atlanta

May 21-22

Road Atlanta

Can share the car with Data, Road Atlanta

Jun 11-12

Wolf Ridge HC

  Marrs Hill, NC

Can share the car with Data and hill climbs are a LOT of fun!

Jul 30-31

Atlanta Motorsports Park

Brand new track; local

Aug 5-7


If you have to ask you won’t understand

Aug 20-21

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Haven’t run there since 2006

Oct 7-9

SARRC Invitational

Go to win the race, not ride to win the championship

Nov 4-6

ARRC by GRM at

  Road Atlanta

Biggest Club Racing event this side of the Runoffs

Depending on how things go we might skip some of these events or we might add some others. As always, if you’d like more information about any of them just let me know.

And thanks once again to all the folks that helped me out this past weekend – I appreciate you more than you know!

See y’all at the track…