My Left Hand


Dear Pat,

My left hand….got an incredible workout today!

My instructor is awesome and things are going well. My car is solid as a rock and I’m loving my new Dunlops. My biggest challenge this weekend is dealing with all the traffic! It’s pretty nuts, and I tend to get too distracted managing what’s coming up behind me relative to where I want to be going. From working pit & grid at this club’s events the past year, I knew this is how it would be. And this is why I intentionally did not do my very first track outings with NASA. I am still not sure I’m ready!

So I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing a whole lot other than staying out of the way. It’s been awhile since I had the 911 out at all, and I’m really rusty anyway. I’m picking up speed, but it’s coming slow this weekend – literally! My instructor has been really good about making the best of this setting given my limited skillset, focusing on a few particular turns where I can push my limits in a safe way. And helping me pace myself relative to the traffic so I have plenty of room when we get to those turns.

Still, as I said to start out, my left hand is getting a serious workout! If I could get some video footage, I’d love to do a video of the weekend from the perspective of My Left Hand. Now that would be funny!

That said, I had a fantastic experience this afternoon. I got my ride with Mike Skeen at the wheel of my car. Woo! It was so awesome to experience what my 911 can do with some serious skill and talent behind the wheel. He said he really enjoyed my car, and talked to me some about things he noticed about the suspension, giving me some ideas for small tweaks I could make that would have various effects. I had no clue he was so young. Only 22. He went to Georgia Tech for a couple of years, and got an AA at some point. I asked him if he had a day job these days. “This is it!” he answered. He was featured in the SpeedTV show Setup last year, and he was hoping to use that momentum to jump-start his full-time racing career. His new team, Atlantic Motorsport, is running a car in the Muscle Milk TransAm series. They started out incredibly well at Road Atlanta, but have struggled since, barely making it from race to race. He had a really rough time at Mosport last weekend – they only got four laps into their race before a mechanical issue sidelined them for the weekend. For a privateer, to make that long trip and only get in four laps…my heart broke for them. But as is his way, he found the good in the situation.

He talked about how he loves driving anything and everything, and I asked him if he did any oval racing. Nope. Not since his kart days. I told him I was a fan of yours, how you two reminded me of each other in ways (talent! red hair!), and how you loved driving anything, too. He was totally surprised when I told him I’d found out you were running in the NASCAR Camping World series. I am so impressed by his skill and maturity – and at 22 years old. Man. One difference between you – Mike is very tall! Over 6′. He had a time getting comfortable in my car. He is the ONLY person I have allowed to monkey with the seat height adjustments – “Make yourself comfortable,” I insisted. Of course! He got down as low as he could and as far back as he could, and man oh man he drove the hell out of my car.

Unfortunately, it was the end of the day, and I was really hot and worn out. I had one more session to run with my instructor, the last of the day. Mike and I hadn’t nailed down a time to meet, but he called me as I was heading to the air conditioned tower for a break – and said we could go out in ten minutes. So back to my car I went to meet up with him, and I got that great ride. Except I got all queasy! I pretty much expected this given how I was already feeling. I always do better as a passenger when I’m fresh and it’s cool out. I hated to ask him to bring us in early, but it had to be done. Turns out we were headed for the checkered flag anyway. I felt so lousy, there was no way I could turn around and take the wheel for a track session. I found my instructor and told him what was up. We had a good long chat, kind of decompressing for the day and making a plan for tomorrow. And then I headed home a little early.

I got a really long nap when I got home, and now my sleep is all screwed up. Must get into the bed so I will be well-rested and fresh for another day at the track.

More tomorrow!



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