Another trip to the racetrack - Jay Maynard

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Thursday, 9 October 2003


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1339 - Another trip to the racetrack

With another afternoon to kill in southeastern New York state, I went back to the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway at Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack. I've posted before about how it's convinced me that NASCAR is like sex: a lousy spectator sport that's a lot better in the first person. I came away feeling even more so.

At a friend's suggestion, I went intending to do 4 races, two at Daytona with a manual transmission (which I hadn't done before at SMS) and then two at Atlanta. When I got there, I discovered they were running a 3-for-2 special, so I signed up for two at Daytona and one at Atlanta. There was a rowdy group of 18-to-20-year-olds there, and they signed up for three races each - one at each of 3 tracks. They made life difficult getting into the cars and such, but we all got settled, finally.

The first race wasn't bad once I figured out that, despite what the ticket said, I really did get a manual transmission. Came in 7th, behind 3 of the kids and 3 AI cars. I managed to avoid a big accident right at the start, mostly, and had a clean race. Best lap time was 47.740 seconds, not my absolute best, but not bad.

The second race was me and 19 AI cars, as the kids had gone on to another track. A bad start had me slip to 3rd place from starting on the pole, but I finished 2nd. Best time was 47.834 seconds.

The third race was at Atlanta Motor Speedway. SMS at Daytona (unless you're insane) is run with restrictor plates. Atlanta is not. This makes a big difference in the car's power, and the track isn't as highly banked on the turns - and not at all on the straightaways. This race showed me just how little I knew. I spun out 4 times in the first 4 laps. Finally, I figured out that I really did have to follow the black path on the track, and let off the power on the way into a turn and get back on it on the way out, and did better. Even so, the car was MUCH twitchier. I guess entering a turn at 189 MPH and leaving it - backwards - at 74.1 MPH will make you feel that way. I did manage to run one lap in 29.782 seconds, for a lap average speed of 181.8 MPH...but the top speed I reached was 199. Things go wrong in one hell of a hurry at 199 MPH.

After the third race, I was shaking with adrenaline, and decided to leave it at that. I do plan to be back, though, next time I'm in the area. I might also go hit the SMS at the Mall of America one of these days if I find myself needing to kill time by myself in the Cities.

current mood: [mood icon] lethargic

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