Tracking into the Deep End

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I’ve been attending track days for some years now, and always loved it. I track once a month and was my way to destress from work and calms me down driving in city streets. I learned a lot over the years and made me a better driver at the track and street.

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This December, I saw a NASA event that had the competition eval course at Eagles Canyon Raceway. This was 3 day event, and and accelerated program to get your racing license. Not recommend for new drivers, only for HPDE4 and Time Trial drivers. The first day you get classroom time in the morning. It goes over he rules and regulations for racing, and passing. They don’t teach race craft. After the classroom, there is an 50 question exam on NASA rule book for racing. In the afternoon, you will do some practice drills and then a mock race at the end of the day.

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If you pass the test and not have any incidents by the end of the 1st day, you are well on you way to get your racing license. They will give you provincial license, and join the races for day 2 and 3. The provisional license isn’t a competition license. The provisional license allows you race in your region only. In order to attain a comp license, you need to do 4 races without incident. After each race, the race director signs your card. After 4 signatures, you get your competition license. The competition license allows you race nationally in any NASA events.

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You have to place large orange “R” markings around the car and a big orange sticker on the back to show to the other racers that you are a rookie. Once you do 8 races without incident and make sure to get the race director signatures from the 8 races. You can remove the orange markings and “R” but you are still a rookie for the 1st year.

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My AE86 wasn’t ready safety wise for wheel to wheel, but I really wanted my racing license. I went to Dennis who rents out a spec Miata for competition or HPDE. This is his website: http://www.rentalmiata.com. The car is a spec miata that is all ready for track use.

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This was my first out at this track and also driving a spec Miata. I knew my track experience will help me, and knowing your limits. Of course, I was nervous, but sometimes in order to get what you want, you have to step out your comfort zone.

Each day are set up in 4 sessions. 1st session is a warm up, 2nd is qualifying for grid. Session 3 and 4 are the races. You have one drivers meeting and that is after the qualifying. The drivers meeting talks about starting format, and other rules that might be added for the races.

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I camped in the paddock located in Decatur, Tx. Every morning I woke to the frosty cold. Then the last night, it rained. Thankfully, the Miata rental was covered and stayed dry. My Roofnest tent putting in work, since I bought it. Learning from past cold experiences, I layered up in the cold, and thankfully stayed warm and dry.

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I finished my 4th race, and received my competition license! I can race wheel to wheel in any NASA event, and for the most the license allows me to join other w2w events. I will be setting up the AE86 to get up to spec for wheel to wheel safety wise. 2021 will be the start of my rookie season! Hope to see y’all at the track!

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I want to thank Will for letting borrow his trailer, Dennis for letting me rent the Miata, and all my track homies for pushing and inspiring me! Special thanks to my wife, because she supports my hobby 100%.

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I got to say wheel to wheel racing is next level. The adrenaline rush is nothing like I’ve experienced before. Nothing bad, all good vibes. 

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