Archive for April, 2009

Drive-Anything Racer

Posted in Pat's Races on April 30, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Patrick,

Well I was really taken aback at the absence of your name on the Flying Lizard team for 24 Hours of Le Mans, but I was gratified to see the update on your website that gives a little insight into what you’re doing. I’ve probably got no business yacking about any of this anyway, since I have no clue what goes on behind the scenes. For all I know, you were busy that weekend. Heh! Actually, come to find out, that’s kind of true. I have it on good information that you will be there, and I’ll leave it at that for now.

OK so looking at your update, first of all, let me say that I had to Google most of the first two sentences paragraphs. Camping World Series? ASA? Huh? As I often say, and as your post made clear, I really do not know all that much about the racing world or car culture AT ALL! So I have now had a peek at a few more things going on outside the small world I have been watching. Who knew? Continue reading

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2009 24 Hours of Le Mans: A Great Big WTF???

Posted in Pat's Races on April 30, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Patrick,

I just got the Flying Lizard newsletter on the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans and all I can say is WTF??? You are not in the driver line-up! I imagine there are a host of reasons for this, and I look forward to finding out what they might be. Schedule conflict? New guy on the team? You lost the coin-toss? You stepped back to give one of the drivers who’s never driven it a chance to experience Le Mans? Guess I’ll have to be patient and see what filters out to the world about it, if anything.

In the meantime, I am one big bag of WHAT THE FUCK over here. Just…wow.

I’d really be curious to know how you feel about the decision, whether you had any part in it, how all that went down. I know as a “team player” your public comments will be nothing but laudatory concerning your teammates. And rightly so – you are on a team with some of the best drivers in the world and you are all awesome. Will you be going along to Le Mans with the team? I really don’t know how these things work. If it’s like all team sports, the whole team goes whether you’re first string or not, and you never know, you may be called in from the bench, right? 24 hours is a long damned time to race and so many things can happen. I guess I just don’t understand how it all goes in the racing world, and whether this is a big deal to you, to anybody. As your biggest fan, of course, it is a big deal to me.

Well I hope you are happy and well, and up to all sorts of good things. I look forward to hearing about them!

Sincerely (WTF?????),
VroomGrrl

Aerodynamically Speaking

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Patrick,

Well the title of this post is a big joke, because I don’t know much about aerodynamics. At all! I do know this, though. In the Aarons 499 this weekend, the spectacular flip of Carl Edwards’ I nonchalantly mentioned? Wow. What a dramatic illustration of the forces at play on the oval track of Talladega. I only caught the last half-hour or so, but I was amazed by some of what I saw. The whole thing about cars teaming up one behind another nose to tail and literally pushing each other around the top of the track, then slingshotting out of the corners ahead of the entire field. Again and again. It was really something to see. The slightest twitch of the wheel anywhere in the field, as close as they were running, and havoc ensued. 

I’ve found that many road racing fans look down their noses at NASCAR, but boy did I get a whiff of the skill and talent it takes to make the best of that setting. I’d love to go for a ride on an oval and feel some of that in action! I’ve read some of what you’ve said about the fine aerodynamic line at work in the prototype cars, the downforce at work that keeps the car on rails through the turns at incredible speeds. Science and math are not my fortes, not by a longshot, but I think I’d have a good chance of getting my head around it all by feeling it at work. Perhaps one day I’ll find out!

So I’m very behind with my reading, and only just opened up my April 2009 Porsche Panorama. And there is a nice blurb about the visit you made to the Metro NY Region Executive Committee Election meeting – I guess when you were there for the car show? Looking spiffy in your jacket and crisp white shirt! Here’s how they recall your visit:

Long spoke to the crowd of attentive members about the psychology involved in the sport of auto racing and the importance of preparing and training the mind to deal with the numerous split second transitions which occur on the track. He said that an auto racer has no time to dwell on missing an apex of a turn because if you lose concentration from the previous mishap, you may go on to create a chain reaction of one mishap after another. Therefore in a matter of seconds one must regain control of the mind for the next turn, pass or straight. The mind must know how to re-focus almost immediately.

Now there’s a conversation I’d love to have with you. There is a whole discipline devoted to sports psychology, hell you may be the beneficiary of some of that kind of training. I do believe that’s where it’s at. We can have a well prepped car, great weather, perfect circumstances all around, but the mind has to be on track to make the best of all that.

Alas, no more time to write tonight. My life is pretty chaotic right now and I’m trying to do better not cheating myself of rest, nutrition, and healthy activity. Off I go to do good things. You’ve been quiet in your various online arenas lately – I’ll be looking out for your next blog or article. In the meantime, be happy and well wherever you are!

Sincerely,
VroomGrrl

According to Plan

Posted in Me on April 26, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hi Patrick,

I just got back from a little runaround in my 911, the point of which was to warm it up a bit in advance of my oil change this afternoon. However, I gave myself over to temptation, and once it was properly warmed, I ran it hard. I love 2nd and 3rd gears in my car! It’s a warm, beautiful day, and I’d been cooped up way too long. It felt good! Now, though, I’m having to let the car cool down before I take it to my friend’s house.

So in that example, I did not stick to my “race plan”! But overall for the weekend, I’ve not done too badly. I had a couple of goals related to packing up the house, and a couple of goals for work stuff. I’m a little behind at the work stuff, but I’m close enough. The packing stuff was the real bear, and I’ve hit my marks there. My husband has, too, and together, we’re getting somewhere with it all.

My phone rang at 7:00 this morning. I didn’t pick it up, but later, got the voicemail, “Where ARE you???” It was one of my autocross buddies who didn’t get the message that I’m in moving mode until June. He was standing in the paddock wondering where the hell I was, having gotten it in his head that he was going to drive my car today. Sorry buddy! This will sound so goofy, I’m afraid, but my eyes welled up at the sounds I heard in the background, all the engine noise and chatter and my hilarious friend being a smart-ass testing the PA system. Le sigh!

I’m due to head over to my nearby friend’s at 4:00 for my oil change. He needs a name. Let’s call him Monk. I knew I needed more than oil to do the job, but had not thought any further than that. As much as I have obsessed about this, do you think I managed to get the oil filter I need before the big day? DOH. Lucky for me, Monk has the filter I need. It took me two stops, but I now have enough oil to do the job. I’ll probably make a goofy video of the whole thing which I’ll link to here later.

These are some crazy days. I can’t quite see how it’s all going to work out, while I am confident that it will. I keep focusing on the long chats my husband and I had sitting on the front porch, weaving our dreams of life together, getting him out of his failing business, selling his house, selling this house and finding one in Birmingham, and a great new job for him. Each of these things has had its difficulties, but all along the way, I’ve seen how the immediate inconveniences are simply the cost of making the big changes we want to make. We made a plan together, and we’re ticking off the steps one by one on the way to our destination. These are the hard times right now, but we’re on the path to the place we dreamed of for ourselves. That makes it all worth it. Sorry if I’m repeating stuff I’ve written already. I guess I need to keep reminding myself!

It’s good to have a plan.

Edited to Add: At 4:00 I called Monk, and he was watching the NASCAR race, which was soon to end. I flipped it on, and I must be really wigging, because when I saw Carl Edwards lose the lead in a spectacular flip, then get out of his burning car and walk across the finish line, I got all teary. Again! What’s up with that? After that, the oil change happened, and it was fun! Of course, there’s a video…

Sincerely,
VroomGrrl

No Drive

Posted in Me on April 23, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Patrick,

Wow is it crazy time around here. I have hardly had time to think about cars & driving, except on my hour-long commute back & forth each day. My job is cranking up to its most busy right now as I prepare to go into a big trial in a couple of weeks. At the same time, we are moving out of this house and still trying to get things squared away to move into the new place. Not the new place I talked about last time, but a new new place. Yeah. It’s like that. So there may be a 2-4 week gap, temporary housing, dogs & cats to board, and where is my Porsche going to stay??? I’m working on it!

I have to satisfy my driving desires on my commute, and the very occasional joy-ride. I took the 911 to work two days in a row this week, which was fun. And also, necessitated by the temporary incapacitation of my daily driver (98 Camry). Bad battery posts. And I learned how to replace them! Another little thing I will be able to take care of for myself from here on out. 

On my commutes in the 911, I have been doing a little work on heel-toe downshifting, as circumstances allow. I’m experimenting with using my heel vs. using the side of my foot. I need somebody to sit in the car and help me a little with this, I realize. Ever since I started (really) driving, I always position myself, and my hands and feet, in racing position, no matter what car I’m driving. I practice my steering technique pretty constantly. For practical purposes there is not much transfer from my later model Japanese cars to the older 911; the benefit here, I think, is in developing all of these good basic habits so that they are second-nature when I’m on the track.

I never talked about this when I wrote about my LeMons trip to CMP, but I had to laugh at myself when I got home. Without really consciously planning to, I approached that trip like an endurance race! I guess I was in the zone from the weekend. Haha. But seriously, I looked at the map before heading out, planned my pit stops, and what I’d do at each in terms of car care & fuel, and nourishment for myself. I had a target for mileage covered on various legs, and a target arrival time if all went according to plan. I ended up truly torturing myself at one point because I had to pee, but it wasn’t time for my pit stop. I pressed on! I remember thinking in the moment that there was no reason I couldn’t just stop anytime I wanted to and use the restroom, but that crazy, driven part of my brain did not want to abandon the race plan!

It did feel good to get home exactly precisely on plan, too. No checkered flag, no champagne, but a real sense of accomplishment that I stuck with it from beginning to end, and saw the plan through to successful execution. Though I made a mental note to ask endurance racers what they do about having to go when they don’t want to stop. What, do you do? Hold it? Wear Depends? Seriously, I’m curious. And that’s the kind of question I don’t think I’d have the nerve to submit to you via pca.org or anything like that! I’ll have to ask some of my real-life endurance racer friends.

I check the online messageboards for the various clubs I run with, and wow, I had no idea how hard it would be to have to back out of everything and be totally out of the scene while it all goes on without me.  The time trial event I had planned to do my first corner work with last weekend, and the monthly autocross event this weekend – SNIFF!  I cleared my calendar of driving and work commitments through the end of May, but that last weekend is the Barber event I signed up to run with NASA-SE using my worker credits. They’ll transfer to another event if I have to bag that, but I’m going to hold onto my novice slot as long as I can and hope things work out so that I can make it. Next up after that is a PCA DE in June. And also in June, my tentative plan to crash the Legends course at PSDS. Shhhh! Our little secret.

I keed! I keed!

Kind of 🙂

All of my car energy will have to be sated with the oil change I have planned for this weekend. We’ll see if my friend comes through this time. He’s the one who lives near me with the two 911s, a 928, and a Datsun Roadster in his garage. I’ve got to load up on oil, and the plan is for me to go over there on Sunday and dig in to my first home-grown oil change. How sick is it that I am so excited about an oil change??

I’m excited about your next race in Utah, which will be broadcast live on TV. Yay for that!

Life is calling – bye for now.

Sincerely,
VroomGrrl

Hey Look! It’s a Porsche!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by vroomgrrl

 

Hi Patrick,

Just a quick note tonight, mostly to post the photo above. The parking lot at my office building. I saw those two Boxsters parked together but a space apart, and I got all up in the middle of them. My diehard 911 buddies saw this photo and were all, “Hey look! It’s a Porsche!” Hahahaaha little Boxster humor there.

You must still be flying from the weekend. I’ve not had time in my own schedule to look at yours. I do hope this note finds you happy and well, wherever you are!

Sincerely,
VroomGrrl

Great Photos from Long Beach

Posted in Pat's Races on April 20, 2009 by vroomgrrl
Patrick Long celebrating victory at Long Beach. Photo by Max Fahrer

Patrick Long celebrating victory at Long Beach. Photo by Max Fahrer

Hi Patrick,

I am up too late trying to wind down, obsessively cruising the web looking at homes for sale. In a few weeks we will be homeless! Gonna have to move into temporary quarters in three weeks when we have to vacate the house we’ve sold. It’s hard to find what we want in the area we want, but we could not let the opportunity to sell this place with a good deal pass. We made an offer on a great old place, and for a few brief moments it looked like it was all going to fall into place. Alas, the inspection proved that it was as “too good to be true” as we were afraid it might be (way too good a price for what it looked like we were getting). Plus, we couldn’t put even a carport in the back (zoning). Must have shelter for my baby.

So yes, in a way, I am hanging up the whole thing OVER MY PORSCHE. Go figure. Ha! Did I mention that I was a nut? I’m thinking you might understand about the garage. I hope so. Or maybe I am just a nut!

Anyway, I’m wired. Obviously.

The reason for this post: One of the members over at the forums of Pelican Parts has posted a brilliant set of photos and video clips on his flickr.com page. Great detail shots of the cars, and there are some nice shots of you! I don’t know you personally so it’s hard to tell if a photo really captures you. The one above was really nice, I thought. Here’s the whole slideshow – definitely worth a look. I can’t figure out how to embed it here, and the error messages resulting from my repeated attempts are making me want to punch my computer. Must get to bed. CLICK HERE for the slideshow. Awesome!

Enjoy!
VroomGrrl