Sunday, April 27, 2008

Still alive and kicking.

Just when you think this blog is dead, I show up with a post. Top story of the day is another grandchild and the first boy of the group. Celeste had Skylar this morning around 9am. I haven't even been to the hospital and Monk are waiting for Deb to come pick us up.

We've been running crazy lately. You sure wouldn't know just how broke we were if you were trying to tail us in traffic. We had our car clubs birthday party at a diner in Atlanta two weeks ago.

This weekend was highly anticipated by both Deb and I. When you buy an SRT of any type, part of the price is a driving course voucher that you have one year to redeem. They set up at tracks all over the country, and you just sign up for one that's close to you. I'm doing a cut and paste from my car club forum on this one, because it pretty much is the short version. If you click the link there are several videos to give you the general idea of why I'm worn out and sunburned today.


Just a week short of our vouchers expiring, Red07SRT and myself made the trip to Atlanta Motor speedway yesterday to take part in the SRT track experience. I thought it would be a cool thing to do, but I had no idea just how cool it would be. From the opening briefing when they said to drive these cars like they were rentals I started to get the idea.

The road course was my favorite portion of the shindig. Two cars follow the instructor who gauges from his rearview mirror just how fast to lead. There were a couple problems with the ESP systems freaking out when exiting the infield onto the banking. If you hit it too fast the car thought it was flipping over and pulled all throttle. I first went in the Charger group and we went fairly fast, nothing I haven't done before though. The second run was in 300's and the trail car had the ESP problem so it wasn't very fast either. By the time I got in the Magnum I figured I'd went as fast as they would allow....WRONG. I can honestly say that we drove them poor bastards as hard as they would go. I made sure to get back in line for the Magnum instructors group a couple more times, and each time we had the station wagon drifting through every corner, and flat footed on the back stretch.

I won the drag racing portion in our group and found out that if I had the Jeep I wouldn't have to worry if Silver Dollar preps the track or not. At the end of the module I was 7 and 1, then went on to beat the instructor 2 out of 3. As you can tell, they didn't short us on runs, although each of three groups had over 25 people.

Autocross I ended up in forth for our group, but way down the list in the totals. There were a couple ringers in the groups, SCCA types. The guy that won the day was turning better times than the instructors. Oh, on that subject the little Caliber runs pretty darn good if you keep the turbo spooled up. Blow a corner and have to hit the brakes though and you may wonder if the motor is still running when you get back on the gas.

The Viper driving was also an autocross event. Again, I didn't fair so well, ending up mid pack. The part the suprised me was how close everyone was in the Viper. The times were so close it was hard to tell who had won each run. Deb probably had the most fun at this one because she rode out with the instructors a couple times who drifted the entire course.

At the end of the day you go back onto the road course to ride with an instructor to see what "maxed out" feels like. Through the entire thing I was sitting there thinking "we were going this fast this morning" until one sweeper heading from the front straight back into the infield road couse section.  It turns out the guy was holding back a bit in the morning section because we hit that way faster than I thought the car would stick. I do understand why we were "shorted" when we were driving was probably a 100mph sweeper and had concrete on one side and aramco on the other. The instructors basically drifted through the entire corner. Not Fast and Furious style, but a wonderful 4 wheel drift right to the edge of the track.

When we headed up I was thinking "hey, it's a free day of driving and we get fed". Now we are both talking about next year.