What Are the Chances?

Hi Patrick,

I started this on April 3 but current events got in the way. I recently found out that one of the events I’m working in a few weeks is going to offer a bit of drive-time to us workers as a perk: one 20-30 minute session at the close of each day. Seat time! Yay! Technically I’m not signed off to drive solo anywhere yet. But my “real” coach just emailed me back saying he’d be happy to come over there and grab a quick coaching session with me, at least one of the days. It’s kind of weird, I guess. Just twenty minutes! But I’ve worked with him on this course before so it will be a good chance to just touch base behind the wheel, and assess where I am early in the season.

I have visions of not driving like the granny I was the first time I went out there with him last year!   My driving friends don’t believe me when I tell them this, but in my very first session with my coach, he had to really work on me to get me to break 5K RPM. It wasn’t as much about speed as it was about my total lack of familiarity with running the car in that kind of rev-range. You just don’t do much of that in everyday driving. I didn’t, anyway (I do now! ha!). I could barely get myself to do it in any sustained way that day. It just felt plain not right to run the car that hard.   In my note about Barber, I said that I had “met my rev limiter,” and nobody knows what a sign of my that is better than my coach!

I was looking at the title of this web site and wondering how my real coach would feel about me having an “imaginary coach.” He is a great guy, and kindly took me under his wing as I was just getting started with the whole driving thing. He was the brave man who rode shotgun on my very first outing last October, the week prior to my first “official” track day.   For all our planning, we’ve actually only worked together two or three times. But for me, they have been transformative experiences. It makes such a difference to have one-on-one time with somebody who can teach me something! And he’s always got my back on tech issues, too, which I appreciate so much.

I used to email my real coach occasionally, but I soon learned that he doesn’t really do email. Plus, I tend to get all wound up and go on and on. As you may have noticed! That’s one reason I can feel better about “writing to you” here as opposed to actually sending you these too-long things. And actually, that’s a very good reason that I’m sure my real coach would be happy to know that I have an imaginary coach to whom I can send all my verbal output.   So this web space is basically saving you both a lot of my rambling emails!  

From time to time, I take a look at the PSDS schedule to see what’s going on over there, and I noticed this week that there is another Legends class in the works for June. So now the wheels are turning and I’m wondering:  what are the chances I could get a ride with a “Legend”? I have never asked, but I am guessing this course is not set up for tag-on Hot Lap rides like the regular courses are. Even if I had the $10K to drop on the Legends class, I don’t even qualify, not having taken any of the prerequisite courses and being such a beginner and all.

elford130I was talking to Coach about the “Legends” who instruct these courses, and he asked me which one I would want to ride with if I could have my pick. My answer surprised him – his money was on you. Now don’t be offended, but I did not pick you first! I think Vic Elford would be my first pick for a ride with a “Legend” (keeping in mind that I have already had a ride – Hurley Heywood took me out on my very first visit to PSDS last year – and I had no clue who he was!). And the reason is very pragmatic: Elford is in his seventies and who knows how long he’ll be doing things like this? You have another good fifty years on you at least! Of course, any one of us could be hit by a bus this afternoon – but I’m sure you see my point. Plus…sorry, but..VIC ELFORD! You’ve written about how humbling it is to be in this group of “Legends” at PSDS, and how you were awed by the giants who are your instructor colleagues in the Legends class. So I am sure you understand. It goes without saying (but I’m saying it because you know, it’s always a good thing to let the universe know what you want…) – you know I would be inexpressibly thrilled to get a ride with you.

Holy hell, I just looked at your schedule. The Legends class is June 24th. You have races straight through from now to then, and in the two weeks prior to the 24th, you’ll have done the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Lord only knows what kind of testing, promo appearances, tech work, and other stuff will be crammed in all around the races. And in your 3/6 SpeedTV article, you wrote about a project car you’re building from the ground up – that you were going to trot out at St. Pete (did I totally miss that?). Busy, busy boy! Eegads! Yeah, so I’m sure you’ll be in the mood to give your biggest fangrrl a ride around Barber!

Tell you what. We can do something completely different. I can be there on 30 minutes notice, helmet in hand. Instead of going around in one of those run-of-the-mill brand new 2009 smooth-as-silk PDK Porsches they have out there, why don’t we take my 1988 911 out? Doesn’t that sound like a fun way to end your visit to Barber? I’ll bring it to Birmingham on the day of the Legends course…and my coach has my number….just in case. Yeah, I know – the chances are slim. But I have to say, my Porsche Princess luck has been pretttty awesome so far.


PS – our LeMons car did NOT live to see another day. A few of us lobbied hard to send the car back out on three cylinders until it died a natural and complete death, but the car’s owner wanted to salvage what was left of it and turn it into a loaner track car for NASA-SE. We spent Sunday working on our own cars using the lift in the hauler, and I loved playing “garage apprentice” for a day more than I dare admit.


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