Monday, August 17, 2009

Another day at Road America

August 14, 2009
Today started even earlier then my wildest dreams 5:00am is a wild adventure in my stupor of stumbling out the front door I did observe even at such an early hour. I guess going hunting in the morning is not that un doable. After all, it was 3:00am my time. As we, Dave and I were walking to the car we discovered that Gun Tucker and Andy Lee were staying at the same hotel as us. This proved to be very useful because we were loosing faith in our GPS to get us to our destination. Especially after the nightmare in Milwaukee yesterday, that costs us a half-hour of traveling. Even though our GPS wanted to take us a different way, we followed Andy and found our way to the racetrack, with plenty of time to spare. Along with proving to be, a very scenic route of the countryside and one man's yard filled to the brink with classic cars that unfortunately see nothing but snow. It was very disappointing to find machinery that is on its way to such a grim fate. However, I cannot control what another man does with his cars. Nevertheless, I was cheered up to see Road America down the road. As we entered the facility, it went off without a hitch and we ended up getting a fantastic parking spot right in front of Volkswagen Hospitality. The morning had begun so I started enjoying getting the tech check in going along with getting ready for the track walk. Sure, enough without a minute to spare Jan showed up to begin getting the track walk in order. As soon as they looked around, they noticed that they did not have enough cars for all the drivers. Therefore, for the first time I have to drive for a track walk. Not only did I get to drive but also I did get to drive in the new VW Jetta TDI Wagon. This was enjoyable mainly because I have never driven A TDI road car in a relaxed setting not whipping one around an autocross course. I was actually amazed on how relaxed they are to drive. Even with one of VW hospitality’s staff sent to ride along and make sure that, we did not abuse the car I think but hey after all were just kids. After getting through the track walk and trying to figure out what I know from what I need to learn. Not to mention I got the chance to meet two of the guest drivers, John Prather who is a very successful iracing driver and Jamie Vondruska who started the website VW Vortex. After the track walk, we headed in for the SCCA meeting for our practice session at noon. After being scolded for the contact, they saw in the last event. After that, we went over what we needed to know about the track and from their me and Dave had a long discussion with Jan about how to find my 2/10ths of a second I was loosing in the middle of the corners. From there he enlightened us both and we began planning what I was going to do for that session as we had breakfast. From there we began getting ready for the practice session and we began getting into the cars and our hot (literally) VW racing suits. As we were doing this I got a chance to meet our other guest driver the Red Bull Sponsored Snow cross racer and Snowmobile freestyle rider Levi LaVallee, who is a really laidback individual along with doing not to bad of a job getting around with a broken ankle. Considering he actually got pins pulled out of his ankle to race in the TDI cup this weekend. After we finished our conversation Dennis, the head of VW mechanical tent made the announcement to get into our cars. As I got in I was reminded by the tape on the steering wheel that I needed to bed the break pads. Even brake pads have a break in procedure that is critical because if you do not do it right the pads glaze over and you do not have the maximum breaking potential. Which was unfortunate because their goes 7 minutes of my session you cannot rush. So on the out lap I began the process of bedding the pads and began being the slow one bedding the pads on the side of the road. After the first two laps of casually coasting around the racetrack, I hit turn 14 and giddy upped! After the first lap, I noticed that my data logger was not logging lap times. This means that all the data was a waste if I did not get it fixed so I pulled into the pits to see if Arron the data person for VW could pull off a miracle fix. However, it was all in vain and I was sent out with a hopeless review of this sessions laps. I began falling into a rhythm and trying to work on making the biggest improvement in rolling the car into the turn. I was fighting the urge to over break the car that was haunting me this whole season. Except it was the only thing I have left to improve on which was my sigh of relief. All I began doing was trying to get my exit speeds as high as possible and find the smoothest way around the racetrack. After a few more laps, I saw the checkered flag and began the slowdown process and saluting the corner workers. After arriving in the VW Tech Tent, I could not believe my time and found myself in 23 positions. The most discouraging spot I have ever found myself in during racing but the just means that I was trying something different that was not working. However, I was very discouraged but thankfully; VW had the cure for my condition with an (Blank) mile run. As we began the run, I was excited because I was wearing my lucky shorts and from their found myself compelled to run harder then I ever had. I was rather impressed with how I managed to run harder and faster then I ever had. The hour and a half or so went by and from there I finished the exercise with one pissed off eye. My eye was having some sort of allergy attack and was itching and red. Therefore, I was terrified of waking up with pink eye and not being able to see in the morning qualifying. However from their Dave and I started are trip back to Sheboygan and during the drive I saw something that made me laugh uncontrollable and helped pick my spirits up. I grew up with Cadishack and some how we were driving by Bushwood Country Club. I could not believe that somebody actually named something after that place especially considering the only thing that came to my mind was a quote during a movie, “BBBBBBB BUSHWOOOD A DDDDDDD DUMP” I was laughing insanely. However, it is funny how sometime the small things that cheer you up. From there Dave and I had dinner at a place called Urban which turned out to have one of the most fantastic burgers I have ever had. Not to mention the service was wonderful and I enjoyed looking around the building at the almost Victorian architecture. This was exciting because it was reminding me of my childhood and growing up in the Victorian house we had in Los Gatos. Diner didn’t last as long as I thought it would and from their we wandered around Sheboygan a little longer and then returned to the hotel and began the falling asleep process to get up tomorrow at 5:00 am yuck. Oh well that’s racing, later everyone


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