posted June 24, 2003 10:46 AM
I just started this year as well -- having a blast. Get the feel of the car. Give yourself plenty of time to get strapped in & to the chute. Make sure your tear-offs fit, your visor doesn't fog and that you can see well. The mud comes flyin' and makes it hard to see in a hurry.
I'm still trying to get used how hard you can hit the turns on different track conditions (looped it good this weekend, got caught in the mud and did a nice mud-bogger impersonation, good for laughs).
I read on here once where someone suggested to get by yourself in hot laps and just bury it into the turn with the intent of spinning it (so long as the track isn't rutty, you might do a whole lot more than spin if that's the case). I didn't try it, but I kinda see the idea behind it. Just to get it out of the way, I s'pose ....
DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THE GAUGES -- especially if the car is new as well. Have a warning light for oil pressure, hawk the water gauge until you're sure it won't get hot regularly (you can get warning lights for that as well).
I am still trying to get disciplined on checking gauges at least once every lap. It's easier said than done when business picks up. We had an overheating problem for a few weeks and it woulda killed us had I not been able to get off the track when it was at 230+.
Try to look as far ahead of you as you can, don't tromp on it too hard on the starts (I went from the pole to 6th in half a lap because I stood on it and fish-tailed halfway down the frontstretch).
Like 'teamstertom' said, run your own race. My old man repeatedly tells me, "Try to run like you're the only car on the track." Easier said than done but I see his point. If you start concentrating on the bumper in front of you, it makes it harder to find your own groove and it also makes it harder to see a spin two or three cars up.
If you inadvertently get into folks, talk to them. Nine out of 10 will be more than friendly and will be aware that you're new. If folks get into you, let it go. It's too early in the game to be pointing fingers and taking names. I've been the spinnee a few times, and I'm sure I'll accidentally be the spinner a few times as well. No reason to burn bridges now -- might burn you back when you get things figured out and you're leading your first heat race ....
Be sure to take at least one good flashlight, tarps, water jugs, etc. Make a list of stuff when you say "I wish we'd brought (fill in the blank)." We're still doing that.
Sorry for being long-winded -- I am having an absolute blast wearing the "Dunce Cap" out there, and wish you the best of luck.
[This message has been edited by Deak-Jr (edited June 24, 2003).]