A Spooky Interruption!

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This smile is for my friend, the photographer, Kivinski. There is nothing in this world quite like a childhood friend. And, even among all childhood friends, she is something else. “Yeah…You’re A SOMETHING ELSE.”

Yes, yes, yes.

I know you’re wanting to hear the Indy Story. I’m working on it. (I swear. Really!) But today something is happening at VIR. It marks an important milestone in my development as a high performance driver.

Today the Northern New Jersey Porsche Club of America (NNJR PCA) is hosting its 2015 annual High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).

One year ago, that event was the subject of my first ever blog post. That was a seminal driving experience for me in many ways. At the 2014 NNJR PCA VIR HPDE, I showed some unexpected maturity by self-demoting to Yellow from Blue (because Blue and White were driving combined sessions). Could I have imagined that I, being recently promoted to the coveted Blue run group, would pull myself back? But it was the right thing to do.

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Dinner treat at Oak Tree Tavern last night, courtesy of Mr. and Madame Le Mans. A couple that is truly gentle, down-to-earth, possessing a profound generosity of spirit. Mr. LeMans logged his best lap time today! Also: Notice the handsome photographer in the mirror? My best friend of 22 years: Big T.

One year ago today, Mr. Le Mans coached me my first time driving in the rain, and he taught me to relax and laugh and enjoy myself behind the wheel. In doing so, I got faster, better. Last winter, due to family illness, I had to be overseas for several weeks. Earlier he had accepted my invitation to write about his trip to Le Mans, and during my absence his comprehensive detailed accounts of his European journey were published. They’re excellent! Check them out! https://fastdrivermom.com/2015/01/26/to-lemans-and-beyond-part-one-by-larry-schmidt/

Truly a man who can balance it all: style, speed, Southern courtliness, and the courage to promote me!
Agent 007: A man who can balance it all!


And Agent 007, although he wasn’t even instructing me that weekend, applauded my fledgeling passes–really, 3 caymans!– in my Green/Yellow run group. For the first time ever, I was NOT the slowest on track. Agent 007 has style, speed, Southern courtliness, and the courage to promote me!

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Swami’s crazy-fast driving is surprisingly in sync with his off-track cerebral surliness and wicked humor.

It was this same weekend, a year ago, that crazy-fast SwamiMike offered me a right seat ride. And a lifetime supply of track knowledge, complete with sarcastic sound-bites. With his relentlessly perfectionistic standards, his willingness to speak the truth, and goading me into proving him wrong, I have learned a thing or two from this dude. He has indelibly changed my life.

And, exactly one year ago, Vader taught me how to take Oak Tree using a skipped gear downshift technique, coached me on getting in touch with my inner-bitch, AND begged Mr. LeMans to trade his student for ME! I’ll never, ever, ever let him forget it. His patience, willingness to teach, endlessly egging me on, ragging and prodding and high expectations are one third of the reasons I push myself.

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At Road Atlanta with Vader. Surrogate siblings: rivalry, conspiracy, and outside voices!

When I started out last year, I had a clear, definite plan.

My plan was to sit in my car alone the entire time between sessions on every single track day, because I was the only brown woman who wasn’t working in the kitchen. Instead, I was embraced by the warmth of sincere friendships, practically a family of track brothers and sisters. These relationships, unexpectedly, have become intertwined into my real life just as those I cherish and treasure with my long-time friends and family. And, like all true and important friendships, they’ve brought me richness, wisdom, humility, courage, frustration, growth, joy, gratitude and love.

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Mark of Girlwerks, whom I bought the trailer from

My plan had been to stick with driving only at VIR until 2017, when my youngest would begin high school.  Instead, I drove 5 track configurations this year: VIR Full Course, VIR North Course, Road Atlanta, Indianapolis Motor Speedway the Grand Prix Course, and Roebling Road Raceway. Four of them, solo. I am now driving in the PCA White/Intermediate Solo groups and Yellow/Solo with Chin.

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The Marvelous Moxie at Road Atlanta.

My plan had been to drive Bianca forever, in her original, unspoiled, fully Audrey Hepburn condition: pearls, and heels, and eyeliner, and silk stockings. Instead I am driving Moxie–a modified gladiatrix in body with the engine of a little momentum ballerina, pulling no punches in her suspension and brakes, with growling exhaust and some serious street smarts…More like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver or Niki Minaj when she was blonde.  Moxie is illegal for streets. So I have a trailer now as well.

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These four people are the nucleus of the force, the most precious cargo in my universe. Driving up with friends (the Pig, Moxie and the Trailex) to move eldest for college and a Brickyard jaunt.

I have relied heavily on the kindness, love, and understanding of my husband and children. And on the sustained, enduring, endlessly patient teaching of my instructors and coaches. And on the faith that you, my family and friends all over the world, have kept in my growth. And on my benefactors’ and sponsors’ ongoing generosity and support. And on your readership. The blog has only survived because of my readers.

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My first love, Bianca at Turn 10 of another first love, Road Atlanta — childhood memories of Newman and McQueen racing here.

There is no way that I could ever have persisted in my driving journey this far, this long, alone. I am here today as a driver because of you. Thank you.

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kivvinmemay2014 This is a picture I love: Kivinski and I were strolling the paddock checking out hot cars. Thank you ShowMonkie.

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4 thoughts on “A Spooky Interruption!

    1. Haha! I think it’s because I was such a gifted and talented student that he just HAD to teach me. That was it, right?
      OK. Just to be fair (without dissing anyone) I’ll say that Vader had some trouble getting through to his student that weekend, and had suggested trying an instructor swap to see if a different teaching style might work better for the student.

      Like

  1. Congratulations on your milestone anniversary! Your accomplishments in one short year are admirable. I relate to much of what you write as my journey has many parallel components. You are an inspiration!! I look forward to sharing a track or two with you next season. You are the coolest chic EVER!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my dear. We women drivers need to stick together! Your speed, accuracy and gumption on track are an inspiration to me. I’m thinking of driving Chin at Pitt in May. Hopefully we will be paddock pals again.

      Like

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