Archive for August, 2009

Petit or Not Petit

Posted in Me on August 27, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Pat,

Well all of a sudden, le Petit le Mans is right around the corner, and I’m trying to figure out if I’m going over, if I’m working, or buying tickets and spectating, part or all of it, alone or…? Last year, my corner worker friend came in from Denver and gifted me his guest tickets, which was fantastic. My job was nuts at the time, and I was only able to come over for Thursday night qualifying and Friday. I don’t really enjoy going to these big events all by myself. I don’t know why, really. I’m fine alone. I have many friends who will be around. I could make plans to meet up with folks. But…I just don’t know. And if I go, do I drive the 911 over and do the whole Porscheplatz thing? Last year I had just gotten my car. This year, we are like old friends!


Anyway, leave it to me to make things seem much more complicated than they have to be. I’ll just have to hang loose awhile, see which of my friends are working, decide if I want to work, and if not, see if my friends are working and have guest tickets to spare. Do I stay with my mother 45 minutes south of the track for cheap, or do I stay near the track? See, there I go again. Hah!

I absolutely love this event, and will get over there if I can work it out. I was at the very first one in 1998 and have been meaning to scan some of my photos from the weekend that I recently ran across during our move. I have only lived in Alabama since 2001, and while I am thrilled to call Barber my “home” track lately, Road Atlanta has spent much longer near and dear to my heart.

Le sigh!

Alright. Back to party planning. Looks like I’m going to be brimming with overnight guests after the party on Saturday. I’m actually looking forward to that. I love having my sister and her kids here, and they always love coming to Aunt Kathy’s. Last time they stayed with me, I took them out one by one in my 911 and gave them manual transmission driving lessons. Even the eleven year old – who may actually be able to reach the pedals this year. Anyway, we’re looking forward to a great weekend. My husband turned 50 yesterday, a momentous occasion that definitely calls for a celebration! I designed the cake and can’t wait to see how it comes out in the execution.

I know you’re in Canada for the race so I didn’t send you an invite. Like you expected one! Oh, speaking of stalkery stuff, I linked this blog to another blog I keep online, and one of the readers who came over here and commented on my other site saying something to the effect that was kind of weirdly stalkerish but also endearing. Uh, I’m not sure how I feel about that description!

Well I started this last night and now it’s Thursday. Better post and get a move on. Miles to go before I sleep!

Busy as a bee,
VroomGrrl

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The Mindreader in You

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Pat,

I read your recent post at SpeedTV.com, The Racer in Me, and it felt as though you’d been reading my mind. I knew, when I heard you on the team radio after the battle with the Vette, that you were working up some kind of plan to regain position or just…not be pushed around like that. Amazing bit of racing there in the last few laps last weekend, and I could hear it in your voice, you were not ready to let him have the last word.

You spoke about iRacing also, and I had actually been planning to submit a question to askpatrick@pca.org about whether you’d tried any simulated racing, what you thought of it, what kind of hardware and software you used. I’m not surprised that you’re not more into it. I have seen the same thing you referred to that brought Dale, Jr. to the road race – a newbie, behind the wheel in their first race, after doing their training on a simulator.

As you said, it has its place. There are things that it can really help with – and things it cannot. Nothing teaches car control but controlling a real car. However, short of that, I think there’s much to be learned on a simulator. I know lots of pro racers use them to get acclimated to new tracks, and to refresh their memories of tracks they’ve not driven in awhile. The quality of the track simulations, and really the whole experience, has become quite advanced.

Personally, I love firing up my Logitech Momo wheel and queuing up rFactor to take a few runs around Barber. It’s nothing like being there in the car, but it is a good way to refocus my mind in preparation for going out there, and a nice reminder on the long stretches of time between visits there.

Anyway, we’re in Atlanta for the weekend so rather than wax on and on about simulated racing, I’m back to real life, ATL-style.

City driver extraordinaire,
VroomGrrl

Road Trip

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Patrick,

Not much to report in my car-related endeavors. Work is sucking the life out of me right now! I’m still working on my scheme to get to Roebling Road in November, and I’m signed up for the PCA 1-day at TGPR on 10/10. I’m trying to schedule some hot laps rides at Barber to fill in the gaps – I think those bi-weekly rides I took last season made a HUGE difference in keeping me mindful of what I’m aiming for, what it feels like, “life at speed.”

So we’re off to Atlanta for the weekend. And you’re off to Canada and I wish you all well! More next week.

Itching to drive,
VroomGrrl

The Pits

Posted in Pat's Races on August 16, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

Boy it was quite a race today! A rare treat, I was able to watch the whole thing from green to checkers – including the million full-course yellows. I had the team radio running for part of the time, but missed the part I wished I’d been there to hear. There was speculation that Risi “tricked” you guys by putting four tires over the wall to make the Lizards think they were changing four tires on No. 62, when in fact, hahaha, no tire change for the Ferrari.

The view of No. 45 from my den.

The view of No. 45 from my den.


So if you guys knew that, Pat, then this quote in the Lizards press release was a nice dig at them! “Patrick Long added, ‘We achieved our objectives today and extended our championship lead. Our Chief Strategist Thomas Blam made a great strategy call for new tires on the last yellow that helped me get by the No. 62 for position and extend our lead.'” I am usually way off about these things from my relatively limited perspective. And I’ll probably never know! But one thing was really clear – with all the cautions, pit strategy was a moving target, and your team was really on top of it. So impressive, a well-oiled machine!

During the SpeedTV coverage, they did a nice spot on the Flying Lizards, showing the complexity of travel and setup from track to track, the huge haulers required to move everything, and the logistical challenges of setting up your entire shops and pit support areas at the track. So much goes on behind what we see on TV. Pretty incredible! I am really impressed with your information tech folks, too. I love that there is such deep coverage, with the website, blog, team radio, text and Twitter updates.

It takes lots of smart people working smart to pull all this off. And I thank them all! And you and Jorg, of course, for your incredible performance at the wheel of the No. 45, and Seth Neiman and Darren Law piloting the #44 – really super exciting today. In the last few laps, I heard you on the radio, I can’t remember what the question was but I think you were asking something about placement of other cars and the number of laps left. Whoever was on the radio with you said something kind of placating or misdirecting – to which you responded, “Can I have an answer to my question please???” I think they were afraid you were going to go all Space Cowboy on them out there in the last lap, and if I remember correctly, after giving the answer, the speaker said, “DO NOT RISK THE CAR, DON’T RISK ANYTHING!” I imagine that was much easier said than done after that Corvette gave you the heave-ho in the last few laps. Anyway, awesome race, very exciting. Tough to miss you guys on the podium, but apparently it was BMW’s turn today.

Last time I mentioned a party I was preparing for, and it went off really well. All the scratch cooking I did was truly appreciated, the best indication of this, the table full of empty serving platters by night’s end. Well that, and the fact that people were here from 6pm until after midnight, an apparently rare happening for this bunch. It was great fun, and truly heartwarming to share my new home, and to feed my dear friends and coworkers from my new kitchen. I crashed Saturday, and blew off autocross on Sunday to go to church and catch up with myself at home. Still hiding out from the heat.

But I did sign up for what may be my next event, a 1-day PDX at Little Talledega on October 10. With any luck, I’ll get another day or weekend at Barber before the year is out. Oh, and I am trying to figure out the logistics so that I can drive a weekend DE at Roebling Road outside Savannah in mid-November. That’s a seven-hour drive from here, and I just can’t see making that drive in my race car, then punishing it on track for the weekend, then asking it to bring me seven hours back home. So I am looking at two alternatives: 1) finding somebody nearby who’s taking a hauler out there, who has room for my car, or 2) renting a trailer to hitch to the pick-up we can borrow from my father-in-law and hauling my own car out there. Option 1 is preferred, since I know nothing from trailers! But perhaps it’s time I learned. None of this is free, so that will be a factor as well. We’ll see what I can work out.

OK well enough of my babbling. Time to wind down and get some rest – another busy work week ahead for me.

Congrats on a great finish ahead of #62 today, enhancing your championship points lead. Next up, Mosport!

xoxo from your biggest Bama fan,
VroomGrrl

Road Trip

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Pat,

Busy time for you, I know. Up to Wisconsin at Road America, yet another historic venue. I had just posted a comment on the blog wishing you a good day, and went back to see Jenn’s post that officials thought they saw a fire in the rear of the #45. But no fire and you are back out again. Perhaps your car is just spitting fire – in a good way!

Another quickie from me, on my break from work. Busy work week for me, and a busier one ahead. Tonight I’m doing my first entertaining in our new home and it’s been a scramble to get it together. I always overdo! But the menu shaped up nicely, and it’s all home-made: Hummus, pasta salad, deviled eggs, baked brie, salad caprese, Lebanese spinach pies, an antipasto platter with some sliced meats & cheeses, fig thumbprint cookies, veg & fruit trays, and if I can get them done in time, chocolate-dipped cherries. We have some vegetarians in the bunch so the menu is mostly veggie, with a plate of meat for those who want it. House cleaning, organizing, prettying up, shopping, cooking, and I just did some quick gardening on my lunch break. Speaking of which work calls, and then I have to beat it out of here for ice and beer and on home to do the final set-up.

I should be home to watch the race live on Sunday – and I don’t even have to remember to adjust for time zones since you are in Central this week. I hope you guys kick some more azz and take some more names. Six in a row! Yeah!

Vroomfully,
VroomGrrl

Handy Men

Posted in Pat's Races on August 9, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

by Chapman Autosports Photography borrowed from www.lizardms.com

by Chapman Autosports Images borrowed from http://www.lizardms.com

I watched the delayed broadcast of the race this afternoon and was treated to some in-car video of you and Jorg in the No. 45. I always love seeing things up close like that. Both of you – your hands are so relaxed – and so quick! I am completely awed by the level of skill you guys have attained, and the extremely high level of performance you maintain over the seasons. It is truly a treat to watch you guys in action. What did I call you last time, the Itzhak Perlman of racing? Today we’ll call you the Pat Metheny of racing! He does on the guitar what you do with a car, and it is sheer beauty to see and hear.

Speaking of hearing, wow did I love the sound of the No. 45 engine from inside the car! I bet you can feel it in every bit of your body from the seat, the wheels, the pedals. That’s one of the things I love about my older 911, the raw feedback. I’ve ridden in cars close to what you’re driving, so I know there are big differences, but I also know that the absolute connection is there with very intense feedback from the car. What fun!

Who are you, mysterious visitors?

Who are you, mysterious visitors?


Just a quickie today. Oh, and a note. I could not help but notice in the statistics for this site that we had 38 visitors in a single day on August 7. I wonder what that was all about? No particular referring site came up, so I guess maybe we were popular on one of those rotating blog feature sites? I have no clue. Not a single soul has left a comment, so it shall remain a little mystery.

Rock on Lizards! And Pat, I’ll be looking at the Camping World Series driver lists to see where else you might pop up!
VroomGrrl

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

Posted in Me, Pat's Races on August 8, 2009 by vroomgrrl

Hey Pat,

Borrowed from capsfan1222's flickr page - awesome stuff!

Borrowed from capsfan1222's flickr page - awesome stuff!

First, congrats to you and Jorg on another big win! I got Jenn’s text message – love getting those updates, even when they are spoilers! We won’t be able to see the race until tomorrow due to tape-delayed broadcast. Major network coverage, though, that’s good!

So I was supposed to be at Road Atlanta all weekend. But I had to change that plan after getting way too wiped out Friday. We were very short handed and I ended up not really having time to take breaks in the AC from time to time. That was my planned coping strategy, and it just did not pan out. The effects of the heat snuck up on me, I’m afraid – that happens sometimes when I’m super busy. And I was having such a good time, lining up cars for the comp license school test & tunes and finally their mock race, which I got to grid up all by myself and send out. Loved it.

But then we crossed to the infield “pro” pit to grid & start the two-hour “endurance” race, and oh my lord, it was two hours of standing in the blazing hottest sun of the day with no protection. Our tent was pitched so that the shade fell to the wrong side of the wall, and we couldn’t really do anything about it. It positively fried me. I so enjoy working the endurance races – even the little ones. Most of the teams who do these are club racers testing the endurance racing waters, practicing pit stops, driver changes, fueling strategy, all that fun stuff. It’s so much fun to me to be right in the middle of all that. I had to study up on the rules, since it was our job to ensure that folks had the proper safety gear for the various circumstances, drivers and crew members.

But I realized too late that I was cooked, and good. I’ve been a long time getting it, but I got it now. No matter what I do to try and mitigate and keep up my hydration, I just cannot tolerate extreme heat. End of story. I made sure they were covered the rest of the weekend, talked to the volunteer coordinator about leaving, and I left to get cool, and then to drive back home.

Sniff!

I mean, I could have survived it, but given what Friday took out of me, I’d have been wiped after two more days. And I do have a full-time job I have to show up for on Monday, and it’s pretty intense. There were inside jobs I could have done to stay and earn my worker credits (free drive-time later!). But I have amassed lots of credits, and if I couldn’t be out with the cars and drivers, my time was better spent back at home, catching up on home and work stuff, preparing for some upcoming events, etc. I guess it comes down to acknowledging some limits on my energy, and prioritizing how I spend my time and energy. OK enough of that.

The good news is, I got my husband into the 911 this afternoon, and we went for a lovely drive and shared a fantastic meal. I still missed live coverage of the race, but I will get the replay on TV tomorrow for sure. I hooted when I got the text message! Can’t wait to see some creative and insightful overtaking tomorrow, among other things!

Five for five! WOOOOOOOOOOOOT! Fantastic!

Congrats again,
VroomGrrl