Later today I’m off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the SCCA Rallycross National Championship. I’ll have the stock rear sway bar reinstalled and the General snow tires mounted up to the stock wheels today at work. I bought another used General snow tire to mount on an old Subaru Outback wheel to have as a spare in case I suffer a puncture or de-bead. Hopefully it won’t be needed but it’ll be there just in case.
My good friend Mike McCue was to be my co-driver for the weekend but he recently injured his knee at work and is unable to operate a clutch. He is still coming with me to Tulsa to hang out an crew for me, but won’t be driving. I’m a little disappointed Mike can’t compete, but am glad to have him along anyway. We’ve been friends for a long time, but don’t see each other very often anymore since we’ve moved away from Springfield, IL, in opposite directions. It will be great to have his company for an entire weekend.
This is the leg of the challenge for which I have the least expectations. At the beginning of the season I anticipated that I would participate in several rallycross events. In the end, I was only able to get to one practice event and one competition. Prior to this year, I had done only 2 rallycross events and both of those were many years ago. Long story short, I’m going into the National Championship with very little experience. There are 19 competitors in the class and only 5 will walk away with trophies. I have no delusions of being one of those 5. I just want to stay off the bottom of the standings. If I could match my performance from Solo Nationals (11th), I would be ecstatic.
My plan is simple: drive 9/10ths and don’t hit any cones. Since rallycross times are cumulative, every mistake counts. The more I analyze it, the more it seems that going slow but clean is a better strategy for a less experienced person like me than kamikaze running and hoping not to hit any cones, miss any gates, or spin the car. Of course it’s always easier to say than do. When I get behind the wheel and see the orange cones, my instinct is to attack! Hopefully Mike can keep me calm, cool, and collected. Maybe I should download some Kenny G music onto my ipod to play while I’m driving…..then again, maybe not. I think I’d rather endure several penalties than to endure that!
Check in over the next few days for updates from Tulsa and an event recap.