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Old 03-29-2006
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Talking Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Hhmm…

That’s a lot of typing since August 17th 2004, the date we first registered on TJR. But we’ve had a lot of fun creating these somewhat lengthy posts, so for old time sake we’ll throw caution to the wind once more and make good on a long overdue unfulfilled promise to Sy to report from our first race weekend at LRP back in August of ’04.

At the time, Todd sent a follow up questionnaire regarding that first race and I probably returned the longest detailed response they’d seen in a while if not ever. :-) (Though the post you’re about to see is only the first part of that questionnaire combined with some added race detail that was written later.

Sy, Doug, Michael, Donald and the other hard core who started Team Juicy deserve special credit for getting this site right from the start. It is more about the journey of learning race craft that we all have a passion for and sharing our successes and failures with like-minded people we would never cross paths with otherwise, than it is about winning a race or podium trophy. (Though we all die a thousand deaths trying to make that happen too. :-)

I’ve had the good fortune of running six race weekends since this first one and each one has been a life seminar in its own rite.

So hit the bathroom, stoke the fire, kick back in your recliner with a favorite beverage and break out your reading glasses to enjoy the launching of Dalyduo’s second thousand posts… Or better yet, do your own 3 day & 2day training, enter a Skippy race, register on Team Juicy and start your own thread!
Either way, its good stuff. (Dear God, In our next life, Please send us back as Mark Patterson. Thank You)

September 21, 2004

1.) First race weekend August ‘04 at LRP. Second will be the October’04 LRP event.

2.) 2004 is my first year of racing.

3.) Which tracks run? LRP.

4.) Overall experience… between Very Good & Outstanding.

5.) Most positive aspects of my race series experience so far?

A.) The mentor program was very helpful. I was by myself for my first race (family not around for most of the weekend) so having someone to buddy up with, set goals and strategize with was valuable. Tim Hoagland was very generous with his time, and could not have been more supportive. Tim also helped break the ice with other drivers and create constructive distractions that minimized first time nerves. I was impressed and appreciative of how friendly and supportive everyone was.

B.) Mother Natures personal appearance at LRP on Thursday (Noah’s Ark monsoon rain, no name straight under water, the infield flooded and the pine tree lightening strike) both humbled and huddled us under the shelter of the Michelin Tower during Thursday’s practice, and certainly qualified as an unforgettable highlight.

C.) On Friday the first highlight was qualifying second fastest in my group, followed quickly by the low point of spinning myself back to DFL. Ah well…

D.) The most significant highlight of my first race actually occurred during the parade lap while the corner workers were displaying their ritual flag salute to the competitors. As the pace truck led our two-lane train through big bend, I glanced over at the spectator fences, and thought of all the years I’d leaned on those fences and ached to be a competitor. There hadn’t been a single visit in 35 years when I hadn’t wanted to be in the cars rather than observing them.

So this was that day. The sky was cloudy, the car was vibrating, my heart was pounding, there were ten open wheeled racecars in front of me, and those colorful waving flags at the corners looked particularly vivid and animated as they signaled the end of my 35-year journey to the starting line. I’d have forgiven some Irish mist at that moment but there wasn’t any. I looked at the other cars, the gauges and my gloves on the steering wheel and thought, “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be!” I could not have felt any happier or prepared. The Skip Barber training had given me the confidence to move from controlled student activities to actual open wheeled racing with just the right balance of fear, excitement and confidence. Now it was time to focus and race. The pace truck peeled off, the green flag waved, we roared off across the starting line and an extra wide grin was hidden under my helmet as I officially became a racer. Even from the last row it was a wonderful place to be. I was there to learn racing and all of the obstacles to overcome lay ahead. I loved the hard reality and lyric symbolism of it.

(The following detail is from a second report started at a later date)

Of all the ways we had imagined that first race playing out, none of them were close to what actually happened.

After a clean start we passed one car and recorded our fastest lap of the race on lap 2. On lap 3, while negotiating the chicane, the engine died. we coasted through west bend to the infield grass opposite the downhill and were reaching for the starter button when we saw the ignition paddle in the off position. Must have hit it with our glove during the quick right, left chicane steering maneuver. Since that hadn’t happened before we didn’t think to check the paddle right away and were now half a lap behind. The motor popped back to life and we rejoined the race, still happy just to be there, but resigned to getting track time as a back marker.

Little did we know things would soon become more memorable.

First, we were black flagged for a safety check having not pitted after the intentional 4 off when we’d accidently switched off the motor. No big whoop.

With the safety check done the next lap will be remembered for containing large raindrops that began pelting our visor at the start finish line. They got heavier quickly and everyone moved to the rain line. Two laps of heavy rain weren’t enough as Mother Nature then backhanded us with a deluge. Not just heavy rain, but fire hose intensity, blinding, flooding, you’ve got to be kidding me, we’re all going to drown, monsoon rain. We were now negotiating a comedy survival mêlée. Everyone in the race went off course at least once and we slid off twice, managing not to hit or sink into anything more costly than lap time. The act of simply being in the race was still enough and we laughed at the absolute absurdity of racing through these sheets of water in an open cockpit racecar. It also happened to be a great opportunity to explore rain driving in extreme conditions. It would probably never be any worse than this.

(Ha! Cut to a year later and the October Monsoon Fest of ’05 where we had 10 inches of rain during the LRP race weekend!)

So we embraced the swimming lesson and forged ahead. Enjoyed a very quick snap spin coming out of 2 as we crossed the icy slick dry line and didn’t technically go 4 off but thought we had so stopped for an unnecessary safety check anyway. Figured out how to negotiate and enjoy the “slide for life” wet line of turn three and also figured out the proper attack angle for crossing the dry line to the rim shot out of the downhill. At the finish we were still dog slow and finished 8th wishing we'd brought a snorkle.

In the end, our first race weekend set a high water mark (certainly in volume) that all future rain races would be measured against.
(Until October ’05!)
We survived and finished with a big smile and no regrets or crash damage. And going forward, anything short of snow or a tornado would be an improvement!
(Or so we thought. )

For Saturday’s race, (after bringing gag floatation jackets for Friday’s race podium winners), we got to experience 26 laps at full race speed in warm sunny weather. Starting 8th, the first 14 laps were spent shadowing a group of 4 cars that were dicing and sorting themselves out for P4 through P7. Found we could keep up with this pack and on lap 15 started picking one off every few laps. 7th, 6th, 5th and 4th before running out of time as the podium finishers, almost 25 seconds ahead, were not even in sight.

On the last lap Chris Weldon ran us down and re-passed us on no-name straight. He bobbled through the chicane and we were on his gearbox through west bend and under the bridge thinking draft pass before the finish line. Our eyes got as big as saucers as the tail of Chris’s car lost traction at the apex of the downhill and he spun to the inside, we managed to maintain throttle, avoid a sympathy spin and emerge dramatically through Chris's tire smoke to take the checkered flag in 4th place. (Yee Ha!) To Chris’s credit he looped the car cleanly without leaving the track, popped the clutch back in and gassed it to the finish line without losing a spot for 5th place!

Mentor Tim Hoagland had suggested the simple goal of passing 3 cars during the race and that goal was exceeded. We were pleased like a nine year old with cotton candy at the circus. (Wife Vicki and daughter Julia arrived just in time to see us emerge from Chris’s tire smoke, so we also had family witnesses for our semi-dramatic finish). Yee Hah… indeed!

Additional Questionnaire Comments:

Obviously I drank the Kool-Aid and am having maximum fun. The professionalism and collective intelligence of the SB folk with regard to racing make the race events special. I tip my cap to how well you do it.

As a driver, it’s a joy to be given a mechanically sound, (if sometimes cosmetically ratty :-) (And this issue has vastly improved since '04), ready to go racecar, with consistent observational feedback from expert SB instructors. It is even better in the company of similarly well-trained competitors who routinely celebrate each other’s successes. The open sharing of racing knowledge accelerates the learning process in a very satisfying personal way. We are learning a difficult craft taught by talented people in a socially friendly environment that can even be shared with family and friends. All this at a cost only slightly higher than cocaine addiction, with no possible hope for rehabilitation! What’s not to like?

The respect, camaraderie support and humor shown by instructors, staff, mechanics and drivers is the intangible glue that makes you want to come back even when you’ve had a bad day in the car.
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Old 03-29-2006
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Gerardo Gerardo is offline
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Nothing like breaking a record post count with a record long post!
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Old 03-29-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Pat:
Could you expound on your post?

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Old 03-29-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Yes Gerardo,

I've got this "Crushing Word Count" reputation to uphold... So far, haven't lost a syllable... Found a few new ones in fact. And it's so much cheaper than therapy!

Kidding aside, so much fun sharing that first race weekend. Probably only relevant to those about to go through it themselves or those who've just done it, or those with just way too much time on their hands.

Ashlei (Juicy Girl) did such a great job of reporting her first race... http://www.teamjuicyracing.com/forum...read.php?t=515

And I was inspired by Red Ryder who succinctly summed up his first time this way...

"A sincere thank you to all for a weekend I will never forget. (Crash not included).
I was standing in the parking lot watching the crew tear down and reflecting on all of the great people I had just met over the last four day's.
Going fast in a race car was only a part of what I will remember about my first race weekend. Thank you Team Juicy for making me feel welcome."
Jeff

Wish more would share their first time Skippy race weekend experiences. (Paging Angelos Angelopoulos! Telephone call for Angelos Angelopoulos!)

What was your first Skip Barber race like Gerardo?

Bob, I've hit my "expounding" rev limiter and need to let the ironically smoking keyboard cool down a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo
Nothing like breaking a record post count with a record long post!
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Old 03-29-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

My first race involved getting pole ahead of Craig Duerson, and watching him drive away in Race 1, then in Race 2, I led him until my hands stopped working (I had gripped the wheel way to hard so the muscles froze, and never breathed for oxygen either), was unable to turn the wheel much, so I flew off the road at Moroso's final corner, did morse code on the concrete wall, pitted, rejoined, and finished 2nd after a merciful full-course-yellow.

I also learned what "old hound" meant as Louis Dibrell led me into the dirt on Practice day.

Fun stuff! What I remember much more clearly was the first Skippy win. Same start finish line as the first Star Mazda win. Oh my, those are special moments.
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Old 03-29-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Nice recollections of the weekend DD. I especially liked paragraph 6, sub heading D (how apropos)

D.) The most significant highlight of my first race actually occurred during the parade lap while the corner workers were displaying their ritual flag salute to the competitors. As the pace truck led our two-lane train through big bend, I glanced over at the spectator fences, and thought of all the years I’d leaned on those fences and ached to be a competitor. There hadn’t been a single visit in 35 years when I hadn’t wanted to be in the cars rather than observing them.

I can relate, nicely put. In my case I forgot about racing on about my 5th lap needing the escape road....BRAKE!


Now for some hard numbers . Your post above contains 1,813 words created with 10,176 keystrokes (not counting any editing as you went). Lets assume this post is 6 times the size your average post (a reasonable assumption). That would make an average post 302 words with the average number of keystrokes being 1,695. Now it gets fun. Extend these numbers over the 1,000 posts you’ve made and the results are ___________ (insert appropriate adjective here).

1,000 posts = 302,000 words created with 1,695,000 keystrokes.

That’s 827 words per day.

I don’t think "crushing word count" does it justice. Here’s to many more, keep ‘em coming.

oops, look at me, that was 212 words with 1,231 keystrokes, 1,233, 1,239..........
.
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Old 03-30-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

You never forget your first...

Fun stuff Gerardo. You seem to have relaxed your death grip nicely since that Duerson match. What kind of car and series were you in that you could scrape it off a concrete wall, pit-in and return to the track to finish 2nd? Never knew that you and Duerson drove Nascar together! And I would never bet against you at Sebring.

Doug, Thanks for the kind words, Love the numbers. (Thought of naming it "A thousand posts of light", but it made no sense... though that's never stopped me before. ;-)
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Old 03-30-2006
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Re: Post number 1,000 with 1st race report from LRP August '04

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdh
Now for some hard numbers . Your post above contains 1,813 words created with 10,176 keystrokes.
The best statistic you forgot to list: 1,813 words and only 13 'I' 's

Pat, that's why 'I' love you.
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