May 02, 2004
Track day

That's me at Heartland Park Topeka leaving the front straight heading into turn one. I put over 100 track miles on the MINI today and I gotta say that biggest lesson I learned is that even though I've been driving for more than 20 years, until today I did not know how to use the brakes on my car. Seriously. Let's just say I learned that lesson REAL fast after I "mowed the lawn" on the back stretch going into an S-curve. You see when you're going 75 MPH and there's a tight left ahead, if you don't stand on the brakes and I mean really put your car on its nose before you turn the wheel, you slide right into the grass and get a subsequent black flag pit stop and a "discussion" with the instructor. I knew better, I didn't hurt anything and I had a clean rest of the day on the track. I learned the limits of the MINI and the limits of the MINI driver.

All in all, it was an exhausting and extremely fun day. My last session was with the lead instructor and he taught me so much about driving right up to the limit. I passed four cars and hit some of my top speeds of the day all while keeping my tires on the blacktop.

Incidentally at least four other drivers in skill levels from novice to expert spun worse than I did today. One poor driver busted a control arm when she got sideways and locked the brakes causing the driver's side rear wheel to end up more horozontal than vertical. The instructors said this was one of the most difficult tracks they had been on. I'm no longer embarrassed.

Posted by todd at May 02, 2004 09:17 PM

That really does sound like fun.

Posted by: timsamoff on May 3, 2004 08:03 AM
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