Archive for January, 2010

Posted in Pat's Races on January 27, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Things are coming together. I’ve made an executive decision to leave the 911 at home and drive my Honda down to Daytona. The bottom line is I am tempting fate by pressing her into a 20 hour 1000 mile drive before the start of my own driving season. I’ll be traveling alone and not in a position to McGyver my car together should anything go awry. And a few other reasons. This was the right call, as I immediately felt some sense of relief at not having to worry about my sweet old car.

As luck would have it, I have some work down in Mobile, and I’ll have to head down there Thursday, then go from there to Daytona on Friday. I was scrambling to find a hotel room for the race weekend, but my friends with the condo insist that if I bring a sleeping bag, there will be room. It’s either that, or a $300/night hotel room so the sleeping bag is looking fantastic. They may have tickets for me, or if not, I can get them at the gate, no biggie there. So as I said, it’s coming together.

I’m getting even more intolerable, if that was possible! Now I’ve got to get the Honda road-ready, and leave a day early, so I’m scrambling a little, but with the hugest smile on my face. I’ve been following some of the media, and saw a great photo of Hurley posted online today. Hurley! Will this really be his last race ever?

At least some of you were testing at Sebring this week and when I heard that I was all, “WTF?” Wow. What a schedule. You looked so excited on the TRG video. I like how they did a little feature on each of the teams, showing all the cars and drivers (TRG Youtube link below). They’re very nicely done, and watching them, hearing the drivers’ excitement, seeing and hearing the cars in action, it made my heart go pitter-patter!

Links for me:
Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Schedule
TRG
TRG YouTube channel

Well I have been going and coming from this little update for two days. Time to let it fly and begin the next chapter.

See you in Daytona!
VroomGrrl

Advertisements

Florida-Bound

Posted in Me, Pat's Races on January 24, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

As I said in my last note, “you just never know.” Or something like that. Since that note, there have been some new developments in my husband’s job situation – he’s hired, and got his first assignments. Hooray! I’ve been wheeling and dealing here and there, and it looks like I will get to wish you good luck in person.

In fact, I am so excited about making the trip down for my first 24-hour race that I have become completely intolerable! My poor husband. He’s not interested in making the trip, so I’m coming down on my own, probably in the 911. I got fresh front brake pads on her Friday, got the tires balanced, new windshield wipers, basic things to be ready for a long drive. I’m still not 100% about which car to drive down – 1000 more miles on last season’s tires before I start my next season on the same tires? Part of me says, “What the hell!” and the other says, “Don’t push your luck!” So I’ll get back to you on that.

But Honda or Porsche, it looks like I will be there! I’ve emailed a couple of folks to let them know about this surprise development. I’m looking forward to seeing Thomas Blam down there, and some of your TRG teammates I’ve met at Barber and Road Atlanta over the past couple of years. A bunch of friends from both Birmingham and Atlanta are making the trip, though most of them are flying down. Too far to drive. To an endurance race. That’s kind of funny! ANYWAY.

So the next few posts will be full of me gushing and squee-ing about Daytona. I’m already envisioning the video concept, and the working title, wait for it….”VroomGrrl Does Daytona.” Hee! I’ve got the schedule and I am going to pore over it a bit and figure things out. I’ll drive down Friday and crash stay somewhere, then spend Sat-Sun for the race at the track (yes I think I am going to stay at the track for the whole 24 hours!) then crash stay over Sunday night and drive back Monday.


I spent this morning at Barber with a club tech session. It was held in the museum’s basement restoration workshop, an incredible facility. Afterwards we got an insider’s tour of the back of the work area, and the storage areas where there are hundreds upon hundreds of George Barber’s motorcycles stacked on racks up to the ceiling. Truly awesome!

The formerly rescheduled winter drive also went out from Barber this morning, so the museum parking lot was chock full of jawdroppingly gorgeous mostly vintage cars. A real treat! All in all a wonderful day. Now I’m up way too late, my mind abuzz with thoughts of Daytona. I would love to borrow a decent digital SLR camera for the trip, though I do have my own awesome film camera setup. Not very travel-friendly, though. There are a few things to take care of on the car. Packing to think about. What’s the weather supposed to be like?

I guess you are at your Florida digs, in race prep mode. This is going to be such an exciting professional racing season, and it starts next weekend! Then a few weeks later, my own little season starts up. More on that another time. For now…

Looks like I’m Florida-bound! See you there!
VroomGrrl

And So It Begins

Posted in Me, Pat's Races on January 20, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

It feels like the “off season” lasted about a week! Here we are, looking at the start of the exciting 2010 season! Awesome! My huge thing at work came together in a great way, and everybody left singing Kumbayah. So my schedule for the end of January is suddenly pretty clear. If only my bank account would cooperate! My husband has finally found a job. Kind of. He was “hired” but hasn’t actually been assigned any “work” yet so no “pay” has happened yet. Ugh.

Anyway! You just never know about these things. There are several big variables at play, timing is everything. Suffice it to say, if there is any way on God’s green earth that I can be at Daytona, I will be there. In the 911. In the Porsche Corral. Attending my first 24 hour race in person. Watching Hurley for the last time. Seeing the original Lizards united in a powerhouse team on track. Meeting Vic Elford! Oh my GAWD my total ultimate driving HERO! Sorry, we’ve had this chat before. If I can work it out, and “working it out” includes getting my ass there for Saturday and Sunday and sleeping in my car if I have to, I am gonna be there. The clearing of my schedule was the lynchpin. All bets are off. Watch me!

OK. I am nothing if not occasionally overconfident.

Moving along.

I have my own little season here in Alabama to think about, and things are sort of coming together there. I had been yacking about focusing on autocross since I thought I’d have the best chance of excelling there. And I started to rethink that a bit, because I have been honest with them about the mods to my car, and in my class, competition will be very, very fierce. So if I define excelling as something other than ever getting on the podium, that is highly unlikely. I could have that big breakthrough soon and start seriously kicking ass, but who knows. There’s some great track stuff going on, but, OK, last time, it’s so much more costly, both in money and in time, to keep up a busy track schedule.

Certainly I don’t want to be without a plan, though, so I will gather my various club schedules, and see what I can work out. There is much more available to do that I am able to do, which is great. I can drive autocross in three different clubs within 2 hours’ drive, and several clubs have track events at Barber and TGPR. The club I have “free” registration with (from amassing worker credits) is not coming to Barber this year. Closest will be Road Atlanta – four weekends! I might be able to get into their HPDE1 for the December one and take on Road Atlanta for my first time to close out the year. Again, we shall see!


The year really started with the winter drive from a couple of weeks ago. I realize I left out my favorite picture, this one here that a friend got of me in the line of cars staged on the gentle part of the unplanned icy off-road mountain stage of our drive. So glad people got some of these photos! And tempting me already is an open track day like the one I did in late November, cheap and lots of seat time. That’s this coming Monday 1/25. Aww hell that’s right before Daytona…

I’ve been watching the web for news about you. Looks like you came in 4th overall from Roar Before Rolex 24. Excellent! I am so excited about this race I can hardly stand myself. I cannot imagine the excitement that must build as you drivers and all your crew folk prepare. Now let’s see if I can just work my way down there….

I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can….
Hee!
VroomGrrl

Winter Driving

Posted in Me on January 11, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Well I bet you didn’t plan on winter driving conditions when you were preparing for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in Daytona this past weekend! Of course, with access to all the information that’s out there, I’m sure you did know that the weekend was going to be unseasonably cold – it’s been all over the news in relation to the citrus orchards and other crops endangered by the weather. So I’m sure you were prepared, and the cars were prepared. Obviously nobody brought snow tires to run in the sleet on Saturday.

Anyway! Busy weekend all around. I found a fantastic article at motorsport.com that sums up the Porsche-related events and testing results from the weekend in Daytona. You and Jorg in your #67 TRG/Flying Lizard Porsche held the fastest time on Friday – awesome! And my pal Spencer Pumpelly was hot! He and his team led Sunday afternoon practice in the #71 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. This is going to be a great race! Conditions will hopefully be much different than you found them this weekend, but you never know.

Hurley is saying this will be his last Rolex 24 at Daytona. I wish so much that I could come down for this one! My crew that I’d usually watch the race with will be there this year, but work is holding me close to home for now. Things may change, and I’m looking at tentative last-minute travel plans so that I can make the trip if at all humanly possible.

My weekend included a little laid-back car fun. There was a P0lar B3ar Run drive scheduled, then postponed, then a new drive just like the original drive organized by some other folks to take place this weekend instead of the original drive and yeah, it got a little confusing there. But we showed up at the appointed place (Barber) and time (8:00) and there were over 50 cars and 75-100 people ready to head out on a tour of covered bridges.

We ended up going in two groups, and I went in the smaller group which took an alternate and untested route. Good thing we didn’t have more folks along, we relied on GPS which led us down a road that turned to dirt, then deteriorated to conditions better suited to a good 4WD vehicle! Narrow, icy, rocky, and steep grades up and down.

There was a little wailing and gnashing of teeth as the pimped out and lowered sports cars crept down the last bit of treacherous, boulder-strewn road with the 100-foot gorge dropping straight off the right edge. Yeah, good times! We actually sent the a couple of cars down first to scout the route, and they sent a walker back up to help the others navigate. Everybody made it down, and there was no car carnage involved, even the low splitters and spoilers survived. Plus we had the BEST stories at the dinner afterwards!

It really was fun. My husband came along and I was so happy to have his company in the car for the day. I love covered bridges, and we saw four of them, and had some awesome fun driving between them. It was damned cold, though. But my 911 has heat that will crisp your ears if you’re not careful! So no trouble there. The car ran flawlessly, and as the only Pcar in my group, was a real stand-out among the Hondas and Miatas and Evos and Camaros. Some of the scenery was stunning – really great big icicles in several places brought out the child in us…

The best thing about the day was at one stop, we realized we’d picked up a black Trans Am. We started talking to the guy and he said he had seen us driving in a line down the highway and could tell we were together and having a fun drive. He was on his way to get an oil change, and out of curiosity, he fell into line and followed us to the first stop. Once he found out who we were and what we were doing, he made a few phone calls and spent the rest of the day with us, right down to the group photo and dinner at the restaurant in Cullman.

My friend Diana, The Grease Girl, posted a fantastic write-up with great pictures as well. It’s worth checking out.

Well today’s been an odd one. Had to call off work to deal with some weather-related semi-emergencies: the washing machine froze and not knowing this, I ran it, burning something up on the inside, and once it melted, causing it to leak all over the floor; and my cat has a cold! He’s really sniffling and snuffling and sneezing, so he needs to get to the vet. Life goes on!

Thoughtfully,
VroomGrrl

Roar

Posted in Pat's Races on January 9, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hey Pat,

I got a little confused about who was doing what this weekend, but TRG has posted some updates which answered most of my questions. They’ve made some big last minute changes, and I am so super excited about the five cars they’re running this year. I don’t know what Kevin’s doing but it looks like he must be doing it right. This picture is awesome!

If I remember correctly, you and Jorg were originally announced as drivers of the #66 and let me look back and see who else was to be in that car. OK it was Seth and Johannes (Neiman and van Overbeek), same as now. As of the latest news, and this will probably stick since this is the configuration you’re running for testing this weekend, the whole lot of you are now driving the #67. The green on that car and on your suits will go nicely with your helmet! Ha!

Speaking of fashion, my hair is wet and I have to dry it before I go to bed, which I need to do ASAP because we’re heading out early for the Real Deal Polar Bear Run. The original one got postponed due to…wait for it…cold weather. Ha! Some of us have an event on the day they rescheduled for (1/23) so we decided to do the run anyway, just a fun run for friends. Next thing I knew, thanks to Facebook (HATE), an alternate Polar Bear Run, called Polar Bear Run II, had been born. It looks like half the clubs that were coming to the original (hundreds of cars) are now also coming tomorrow as originally planned. We have no clue! It should be interesting. We’re starting at Barber Motorsports Park and then embarking on a driving tour of covered bridges. The high tomorrow will be about 25.

So yeah, off to dry my hair. More on Daytona next time!

x0x0x
VroomGrrl

P.S. Bobby Labonte! LOVE IT!

It’s Already Here!

Posted in Pat's Races on January 6, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

There I was all hunkering down for the off-season, and in two days (TWO DAYS!!!) you will be down at Daytona for testing. Unbefreakinglievable! Wow. I’d said I wish I could go. I couldn’t now if I wanted to – TWO DAYS. Did I mention?

My friends who hosted the Virtual 24 last year will be in Daytona this year, and nobody else has the maxed out simulator set-up that guy has which is what made it sooooo much fun, so that party’s not happening this year. I’ll sure be watching, though. You are probably already there. It really snuck up on me. Man.

Let’s see. So are Franz and Thomas with you also? I am pretty sure I read that Thomas would be going with you. How exciting this is going to be! I’ll have to search out some radio coverage.

My weekend should be fun. I’m taking my dirty filthy car to a fun ride called the Polar Bear Run. It’s all the local car clubs – Birmingam British Motoring Club, Ferrari Club, Mercedes, Lotus, Mazda, Mustang, and of course Porsche. In fact, I believe the Porsches will lead the whole ride. We will meet at Barber, do some parade laps, then hit the road to take a driving tour of covered bridges. This assumes that any possible snow we get between now and then is melted and the roads are not too nasty. Yes, snow. It’s barely 20 degrees here at night and we have another week or so of unseasonably low temps. In previous years they drove over to Talladega Superspeedway and did parade laps and a tour over there – would you believe I’d actually prefer that to covered bridges?

OK well it’s crazy late and I was just sitting here looking at my calendar for tomorrow and there it was, January 6 and then January 8. DOH. So I had to come here and at least acknowledge it! Flying Lizards/TRG – cannot wait to see what your awesome team of champions puts together for us! GOOD LUCK!!!

Really damned cold,
VroomGrrl

2009 Was a Very Good Year

Posted in Me on January 3, 2010 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Since you are the namesake of this blog, you probably think I am going to do a rundown of your year and all your awesome accomplishments. You would be wrong! We have several different online sources for very complete information about your awesome year. But where can you read about MY year? Right here, of course! Ha! 🙂

Actually I was prompted to do a rundown of the year when I realized that I had made it out in the car much more often than I’d planned to, and it still wasn’t enough! But it was a lot, I think, considering.

March 7-8 PCA DE at Barber
March 29 ALSCCA AX Points #2
May 30-31 NASA-SE Barber Summer Classic (DE)
June 7 ALSCCA AX Points #5
June 20-21 PCA DE at Barber
September 20 ALSCCA AX Points #8
October 10 PCA DE at TGPR
October 25 ALSCCA AX Points #9
November 15n ALSCCA AX Points #10
November 28 TGPR Open Track Day (DE)

We moved once around May 21 and again around June 19. I remember how crazy it was trying to get ready for the June 20-21 DE with my stuff all in the chaos of the move, and how desperate I was to get away from the day-to-day pressures and get out onto the track! My frame of mind was not the best, but it was sweet, sweet respite and very energizing for the work ahead. It was the same for the AX events I attended while we were between houses, in temporary quarters, and I had to prep my car in the apartment parking lot. Fun times! It was great to have my car stuff to get away to, though. And the AX track was just 5 minutes from our temporary apartment – I couldn’t stand knowing that was going on so close and I was just sitting on my dead ass in the apartment? I don’t think so!

I’m waiting for the AX schedule to come together before I take a look at the year ahead for me. Since taking a staff position with my local PCA, I will have lots more PCA admin stuff going on, lots of planning meetings. They seem to choose destinations which are fun to drive to but not too far away, which is great. I’ll be expected at all our club DEs – no problem there! But the calendar is filling up. I think my work with NASA-SE will suffer most. I have a pile of credits at this point, and they are not having any events closer than Road Atlanta. Anyway bla bla bla we’ll see how it all shakes out. I can’t stand the idea of missing my NASA-SE buddies all year!

I’ll continue to keep an eye out for your news. I’ve got friends going down for Daytona and I am dying to do that myself, but I have a huge thing at work starting that week and there’s just no way in hell – unless the big thing gets resolved first. Fingers crossed!

My big winter project will be to go over my brake system and freshen that all up, and also to scrape all the old novice and tech stickers off the glass so I can start anew in February. And it’s too damned cold to even think about getting out there and doing any of that. Stay tuned…..

So look, Pat, happy happy new year!!! I can’t wait to see how the rest of your calendar will fill in – 24 Heures du Mans, TRG joint efforts, and what about your NASCAR Camping World Series work? MotoGP? As I said, I’ll keep an eye out and just try to keep up with you. Wishing you all the best for a fantastic 2010!

VroomGrrl