Tuesday, December 30, 2008


While reading through some back issues of Roundel magazine I noticed that many of the letters addressed to the editor were negative and some were truly nasty. Most of the negative ones were complaints about the cars themselves, i.e., the look of the cars, the feel of the cars, how the cars had grown to be too big, or how some models were too small inside. Some folks complained about the transmission, or squeaks behind the dashboard, or uneven tire wear, the list seemed to go on forever. Still others complained about the club itself. How it didn't provide enough of one thing or another

I was saddened by their comments, not only because their grew boring quickly, but because my experiences as a BMWCCA member have been completely different from theirs. In the short three years that I have been with the BMWCCA I have had the opportunity to,
  • Meet Steve Dinan and have him show me downloads from their Grand-Am program as well as invite me to Morgan Hill to drive a M5 prototype
  • Have Sabine Schmitz as a driving instructor at Road America with the Badger Bimmers (thanks again to Jeff Joy)
  • Tour the Team PTG paddock with Tom Milner and meet Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Justin Marks, and Tom Milner Jr.
  • Meet the Bimmerworld team, James Clay and Seth Thomas,
  • Learn car control and become a better driver
  • Meet a bunch of non-famous, but really decent people.
I hope that the folks that take to the time complain about the club experience end up finding something to like about the club. I know I have. It's not that hard to find something you like, and I was able to do all of these things without a lot of effort on my part.

And in the interest of providing some example of the things that make the BMWCCA a blast I thought that I would post a couple of clips of drivers that I have had the opportunity to meet and chat with. One from Bill Auberlen, factory BMW pilot, and another from James Clay, who started his career as a BMW Club Racer and progressed from there.

Here's Bill Auberlen at Road America

Here is James Clay at Sebring

Paul Newman - A true gentleman racer

I came across this tribute to Paul Newman and his contribution to motor racing. The tribute could have spent more time showing Paul as a driver, instead of an owner but that aside, I am a big fan of his commitment to the sport and the charitable work that he did.

This video is a probably more slickly produced than Paul would have wanted, but overall it seems to be a fitting tribute to him and his commitment to racing.

As an aside, it's always a good time to support the Hole in the Wall Gang, one of Paul's charities for kids. He spent a lot of time, money and energy on this, and a donation to this worthwhile charity would be a fine tribute to Paul.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009 Track Event Schedule - Midwest

The short days and snow are starting to drag me down, so I thought it might be best to start thinking about, and planning for, the warmer days ahead. So to that end I starting compiling a master schedule of Mid-Western/Great Lakes HPDE's for 2009. Looking forward to seeing you at the track in 2009 and don't forget to check out the rest of ScuderiaAsinoGrigio.


UPDATED 2-24-2009

April 4-5 - Gingerman - Gingerman Open Track Weekend

April 4, 5, 6 - Autobahn CC - Chicago Audi Club

April 10,11,12 - Mid-Ohio- NASA

April 11,12 - Mid-America Motorplex - Find The Line

April 11,12 - Putnam Park - Hoosier Chapter BMWCCA

April 15-17 -  Mid Ohio– MORPCA

April 18-19 - Putnam Park- MVP Tracktime

April 18-19 - Road America - Midwest F-Body Association

April 25 - Gingerman.- 3BallsRacing

April 24,25,26 - Road America- NASA (Racing/DE)

May 3 - Waterford Hills - Waterford Hills Open track day

May 8,9 - Road America - PCA-Milwaukee

May 9 Grattan- 3BallsRacing

May 8-10 - Mid Ohio - Potomac PCA

May 15 -17 - Heartland Park - Audi Club NA KC & STL

May 16-17 - Autobahn - Northwoods Region Shelby Club

May 16,17 - Putnam Park - NASA

May 22,23,24 - Road America PCA-Chicago D/E

May 30,31 - Autobahn CC - TrackDaze

May 31 - Waterford Hills - Waterford Hills Open track day

June 1 - Blackhawk Farms - Badger Bimmers

June 1- Autobahn Country Club (FULL 3.56 mile track) MVP Tracktime

June 5,6,7 - BlueGrass Motorsports - NASA

June 5-7 - Gingerman - N.A.R.R.A.

June 12- Waterford Hills- 3BallsRacing

June 13,14 - Blackhawk Farms - NASA

June 27, 28- Gingerman- Windy City BMW

July 3-5 - Gingerman - SEMPCA

July 10-12 - Putnam Park - MORPCA

July 10,11,12 - Mid-Ohio- NASA

July 13 - Blackhawk Farms - Badger Bimmers

July 13, 14 - Road America - PCA Nord Stern DE

July 17, 18,19 - Autobahn Country Club- NASA

June 25-26 - Grattan (Reverse on Sunday) - 3BallsRacing 

July 30- Aug 1 - Road America - Ferrari Club of America

July 31- Aug 2 - Bluegrass Motorsports Club - Asphalt Ventures

August 3- Autobahn Country Club (FULL 3.56 mile track) MVP Tracktime

Aug 7- Blackhawk Farms- Badger Bimmers

August 7-9 - Road America - Northwoods Region Shelby Club

August 8,9 - Blackhawk Farms- NASA

August 14,15,16 - Mid-Ohio- NASA

August 22-23 -  Mid Ohio Weekend - MORPCA

August 22-23 - Putnam Park - Windy City BMW

August 29-30 - Mid Ohio - Buckeye BMW

August 29- 30 - Calabogie- 3BallsRacing

August 29-30 - Autobahn CC - NASA

August 31- Sept 1- Road America - Chicago Audi Club

September 5-6 -Blackhawk Farms - MVP Tracktime

September 4,5,6 - Gingerman- NASA

September 5 - Waterford Hills - Waterford Hills Open track day

September 4,5,6,7 - Road America - PCA-Chicago TRAC

September 12, 13- Autobahn CC - (FULL 3.56 mile track) Trackdaze

September 26 - Waterford Hills - Waterford Hills Open track day

October 9, 10, 11 - Road America - BMW Octoberfast- Badger Bimmers

October 10,11 - Putnam Park- NASA

October 10-11 - Grattan - Alfa Romeo Club of Detroit

October 16-18 – Bluegrass Motorsports Club - MORPCA

October 17 -Gingerman- 3BallsRacing

October 17-18 - Mid Ohio - MVP Tracktime

October 24-25 - Mid Ohio - Buckeye BMW

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lucky or Good?

I was reading about Paul Newman today, and it turns out he was a man that believed in luck. He believed that it was always good to have talent and to be well prepared, but with all things being equal, it was better to be the guy who was lucky.

I thought that the clip below sums up the the critical importance of luck. You can be the best driver in the world, and still never have a situation like this come out this well.

Having seen plenty of post-kink damage, it usually involves hitting at least one wall, at least one time. Check out the clip, and decide, "is it better to be lucky or good?"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Autobahn Country Club

The Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL is a terrifically fun private driving club track designed by Alan Wilson.  While I am not currently a member, the track is available for rental by various private driving groups as well as by NASA and SCCA sanctioned clubs.

When I first started out in HPDE's I hated the Autobahn CC.  It felt like it was impossible to find any type of rhythm to the track, and whenever you built up some momentum, there was crazy slow, or double apex corner that threw you off.

Now I have to admit that the Autobahn CC is one of my favorite tracks, with lots of neat corners, minor elevation changes, and technical challenges to keep it interesting.  

I thought that I would include a clip from a fun day there this last July.  As you watch it please note that the Z06 Corvette is behind me for the first couple of laps, and is driving a much better line than after he passes.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Driver

I just finished reading Alex Roy's first book, The Driver, which details (at a high-level) his experiences as a road rally driver as well as his record-setting run across the US. 

Alex Roy does a good job of keeping things interesting, and the pace of the book is quite good.  One thing that Mr. Roy does very well is a distinct lack of hyperbole when describing himself, and his accomplishments.  He thanks his friends and his team a lot.

That's not to say that The Driver doesn't try to push the envelope in describing how dangerous driving at high-speed on public roads really is.  It is here that Alex Roy may push the melodrama button a little hard, especially when he focuses on the impact that a crash (so to speak) would have on his life, while spending a noticeably shorter amount of time on the impact that it might have on a family if the Team Polizei BMW M5 came in contact with them at speed.

Overall, while I am a proponent of keeping racing on racetracks. I have to say that I was captivated by the story, the gadgets (almost as if Q outfitted the car) and the sense of danger at speed depicted in The Driver.   It's a fairly quick read, and much like Mr. Roy, you will probably come away with a better understanding of what it's like to risk it all and return alive.


This blog has been a long time coming...so my apologies to anyone that has been searching it out.  

I thought that the best way to start would be to burn a few lines describing what I am hoping that this blog will become, with the hope that if you start with a goal you are more likely to hit it, instead of wildly flailing and missing the target completely.  

So here goes...

I see this blog as three things,
  1. A place to record my development, both as a driver and as a person.
  2. A listing of local, regional and sometimes national HPDE's and Auto Racing Events.
  3. A catch-all for observations, car-culture news,  racing results, and other junk and stuff.

So these are my goals in starting down this path. I guess we will see where this all goes. and /or what this becomes or not.  

If you happen to read any of this, please don't hesitate to let me know what you think of the content--both positive and or negative.  Ciao for now.