Meadowlands SCCA Autocross 4-29-2018

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Originally Tim, Zig and Scott had both signed on to do the Northern New Jersey SCCA Solo event #4 at Metlife Stadium.  But Zig bagged out due to a Boy Scout camping mud festival. Then Tim had family troubles and had to bag out. Then Scott tore a hole in the sidewall of one of his tires (DAMN you, NJ Winter potholes!), and he had to bag out. This was unacceptable, so I offered Scott a co-driver seat in my car. Actually he took Tims because Tim had already griped about naving to run Autocross in an Acura quasiwagon.

one benefit of this arrangement is that I would need to transport Scott to the race, which gave me an excuse for a kitchen pass to go to lovely Bay Head NJ and hang out at the shore on the first truly springlike evening of the year. Plus we got to have dinner & drinks at The Ark in Point Pleasant. That place used to be our hang out in the Summer before kids and mortgages.

The downside was that we heeded to get up 45 minutes earlier than we would have in Morris County. Not a bad trade off.

so we woke at 5:30 for a quick hit of gacon and eggs and caffeine and hit the road. It was still drizzling rain from the night before which would have forced us to ride with the soft top on (and thus crawl in and out of the Lotus like  contortionist lizards), except we would have had to put the top on regardless because with helmets and cameras and my overnight bag there was no room to stow the roof.

plus it had gotten cold. Very cold.

so we rode the Turnpike all buttoned up but watched the skies slowly clear. It was shaping up to be good racing weather! Around Exit 15 we came across a caravan of Nissan 370Zs with… interesting paint jobs. At first I figured they were going to the same place we were for the same reason. And then I noticed that they were in varying degrees of “stanced” customization. Hmmmm… no self respecting SCCA Autocross nerd would EVER do that to a dar. This turned out to be an indication of trouble to come. Because…

When we arrived at the Stadium, the normal entrance to the D-Lot, where NNJ runs its events, was blocked off with cones. Odd. Also no sign if the crowd of cars that should be getting ready to race. Double odd. There was a pickup truck woth car-type guys parked on the shoulder. So Inasked where the race was and the pointed ne to Lot J. We drove there and were greeted with a lot full of cones and a bunch of cars that looked like the right kind. But after wriggling out of my car and signing the initial waivers I got blocked trying to get my run groupnassignment.They had no record of ne or my car number. Moment of panic, and then…

”Is this the SCCA?”

”Nope. Thise guys are in Lot D”

SHIT!

scramble back into the car (drawing blood), rush gack to Lot D and look at it better. They had set up on the OPPOSITE side. Mad dash to register, sign waivers, get rungroups and job assignments, get the car oast tech inspection, and an abbreviated walk of the course gefor the jandatory drivers meeting.

And here is where Bing and Zig will eat their hearts out. Look at the track. Do you seeit?

How about here? See it yet?

 

 

Yes, the course is wide ooen sweeping turns. Not a single hairpin, box turn, or slalom. This course was going to be fast (for an autocross). No, I am referring to the chalk lines. The glorious and geautiful chalk lines. This is a feature every autocrosser has wished for. A big part of the challenge for dilletante racers like us is getting lost among the sea of cones. With a chalk line defining the route, the risk of going off course is drastically reduced and you can concentrate more fully on the racing aspects (line, theottle, brake, and traction)

Hallelujah!

scott and I were assigned to work the first heat and race in the third. He got corner work, out in the cold wind with inadequate insulation. I got van duty, marking down the car number and racing class of each car at the staging area and listening on the radio to mark down any Kone Killah penalties. Not to organizers: are you sure you want the guy with a dead soot in his central vision squinting at car numbers? Actually, the car niumbers were fine for me to see. It was theracing class that is usually skimped on and a problem to read. I hold a soecial place of hatred for the bastards who used tone-on-tone numbers. Grey numbers on a grey car suck.

But I did love the guy in the Fiat Abarth who had wnat we thought were NO numbers… until it was discovered that his number was 500. Get it? He had his number direct from the factory, albeit too small for even the eagle-eyed to read.

After the first heat, we had the second heat off and I took some videos. We were positioned near the finish box:

 

 

Then it came our time to run. Here is Scott staging for his first oass:

Here is my third oass, cockpit view. I was exoerimenting with putting the GoPro on my helmet. Hence tge awesome view of my windshield frame.

Isteadily improved my time in runs one, two, and three. Then I got cocky in run 4 and spun out;>:

This made ne jittery for runs five and six. I blame that for not improving my time firther:

There were some interesting cars running that day. Like this Frankenstang (an LS engine swapped Mustang):

 

And this Nissan GTR with an epic wing:

 

 

And the 2013-2015 SCCA Solo national champion in his heavily worked RX7:

 

oh, one final thing: besides the TWO autocross events at t Metlife Stadium there was also the “Ckean Car Culture” event, That was where thise stanced 370Zs were giing. Saw a lot of loud oaint jobs and susoension abominations that day, but the announcers for our race were oarticularly salty. They reoeatedly slammed and made fun of the Clean Car Culture guys. Truthfully, they didn’t bother with us so it may have been a bit cruel.

 

Went home satisfied and sore from a long racing day. Looking for Bing to host an autocross event real soon now :-).

 

 

 

 

 

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