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Old 06-09-2011
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Post LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Event Name: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend. Organization: Skip Barber Racing School LLC.

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Old 06-09-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Well, I'm back in the saddle after a 15 month layoff, and it has been interesting. Good things: being a part of this crazy traveling circus again, getting to hang out with my favorite people, getting to strap in to a race car, the beautiful western Connecticut scenery. Bad things: how much my skills have atrophied during my time away. Very discouraging to be 2+ sec off the pace when it used to be 0-0.5 sec, and to have so much lack of trust in both myself and the car. The fine coordination between brake release, turn-in hand speed, and visual movement of the eyes is just enough out of sync to seriously affect commitment to entry speed. Thanks to a a focused car control clinic on Tuesday with Rob, focusing on my advanced skills (few) and needs (many), my car feel has come back well, but I will be very happy when the other stuff catches up, because I am being a serious p'baby (according to Bruce MacInnes) when it comes to the entry of the Uphill, West Bend, and Big Bend.

Last 2 days here we might as well have been in Atlanta-- mid 90's and humid as anything. I was so drenched when I got out of the car after my third session today I could wring the water out of my clothes. And I felt like puking. The track has been greasy and slow thanks to Grand-Am rubber that does not get along with our BFGs. The cars are sliding all over the place and as you can see the times are quite a bit slower than usual. We had some hellacious storms the last two evenings--high winds, downed tree limbs, hail, lost power for 5 hours last night on the outskirts of Canaan. Tomorrow is supposed to be better --mid 70's, and hopefully the rain this evening will give us a better track surface tomorrow.

Scott Anderson is crushing everybody driving like a bat out of hell, but Pat and Greg are driving better than I have ever seen them and are not far behind, and I have no hope of running with them this weekend I'm afraid. Greg gave me a few laps of lead-follow, and "Hot Tub" KnightRider spent some time discussing what he thought was working in the various corners, so hopefully tomorrow I will be able put to use some of what I learned today from then. Thanks, guys.
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Old 06-10-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

p.s.

Had a very pleasant surprise when Sy stopped by on Tues to do car control with me. Had a blast doing the skidpad and autocross work together, talking about life over lunch. No better way to start the week.
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Old 06-10-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Excellent report Harsha - it is great to see you back in the race car:b owdown:. Sorry I am not there to enjoy the weekend with you - see you at Road America?
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Old 06-12-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

LRP was as slow and greasy as most had ever felt. The left hander was diabolically slow, which made the exit of turn four and the trip down no name that much slower as well. Even the fastest kids couldn't get below the high 59's.

However everyone was dealing with the same track, tires and cars so there wasn't any place to hide.

Harsha, to his credit, knew the gap between race weekends was too long to just jump in and go. His car control sessions with Rob provided confidence and a good base from which to rejoin the fray. It was great having Harsha at the track and in the car all weekend.

We shared a car in different groups for race one that had some issues and was challenging to drive. Unfortunately those challenges bit Harsha going into big bend in race one and he got enough of the tire barrier to end that race early. We both had cars that were easier to manage in race 2.

The highlight of the weekend was the Sid Brenner memorial. Every running open wheel car was on the track with instructors, mechanics and racers honoring Sid during the best weather of the weekend. Carl Lopez who hasn't raced in years wanted to honor Sid so he started the race and ran one lap before retiring. Michael Culver also jumped in and ran the whole race. Sid's son Ryan waived the green flag. Rob Slonaker led early on before Scott Anderson took the point. In the closing laps Phil Lombardi in P2 drove a near perfect race with Bobo hot on his heels looking for an opportunity that never came. Christine waived the checker for Scott Anderson, Phil and Gerardo in that order. After Sid's memorial we were treated to a revised version of the video Doug Harrison created for the celebration of Sid's life the week after he passed. We all laughed and cried seeing and hearing Sid's sense of irony and humor while also feeling the great sadness of his loss. Big bow downs to Doug for taking us on the journey.

Many shared stories that made us smile with Todd, Keith Watts, Bob Ziegel, Chris Brassard, Carl Lopez and Steve Welk among the good friends who honored him with their memories. Sid's family was then taken down to turn one where a memorial plaque will be permanently installed in his memory.

It was good to be back on track with no ill effects after the VIR concussion. Speeds were competitive but I shot myself in the foot in all four races. Spun without going four off in both race 1's and then went four off in both race 2's. At least I was consistent. Race 2 group one was the hands down winner as most fun. It rained heavily before the start and after the start a five car battle emerged for P3. Chris Brassard was masterful for two thirds of the race at holding the point of our 5 car chain including Franco, Greg, Jack Jr. and me as we sliced and diced for an opportunity to advance. Greg and I eventually got around Chris before I drove it off of big bend trying to late brake around the outside. The battles and driving was wonderful. We all got out with big smiles and our video's reveal why. Good stuff.

Humbled to make so many small costly mistakes but truly grateful to be back in the drivers seat. The mechanics, instructors and support staff were nothing but great. With hellish heat and humidity followed by torrential rain and cold we had a full menu of weather and experience. Sid's memorial race and celebration put it all in perspective reminding that we all have so much to be thankful for.
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Old 06-12-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Thank you Pat for the excellent report - I am so sorry I missed the weekend with you all. It sounds like the track was a handful in the changing conditions. It is especially good to hear about you being back in a race car - bravo.

I can only imagine how well the celebration of Sid's life went - I am hopeful that Doug will post some clips of the remembrance stories and activities. I know that Christine & Ryan appreciated everyone's support and encouragement.

And a big thank you to Chris Brassard for looking after the Sid Brenner Mechanics Fund this weekend.
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Old 06-12-2011
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Photo Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Thanks for the comments Pat and thanks for the timely, well-written report, a fun event. Many people overcame adversity to be there to race and to honor Sid. Roads in the area closed with downed trees and power lines, track blacked-out, area accommodations without power, etc. Nice recovery by Team Skippy on Friday, they fired up the gennies and got power to timing & scoring, and also made it possible for the Sid party to happen, thanks one and all. Thanks also to Todd for his advice on the video, the content, sequencing, etc these past weeks (and putting up with my many emails ), a patient man, it was a very tough edit, thanks for holding my hand

I uploaded some LRP pics on FB, they should be viewable by everyone, if not let me know and I'll fix. Fun seeing everyone again!

This tells one of the many stories from the weekend...

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Old 06-13-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Great job on the video, Doug, and thanks to all who shared their stories. I only had the pleasure of knowing Sid for the past year or so, and unfortunately, had no deeply entertaining stories to tell. Sid was an incredible man and always made me feel like part of the family (which can sometimes be hard when everyone else has been with the company for so long). It was great knowing him for even such a short time, and I enjoyed all the stories that everyone shared.

In all, it was a great weekend. Props to those who braved the heat on Friday and then bundled up for the cold rain on Saturday (which got me sick. grrrr).

It was great to meet Harsha and some others from SF. Always nice to finally put a name with a face! and a BIG thank you to everyone who helped us clean up afterwards. With everyone's help, we got everything packed up in no time!

FYI- Diana's gonna work on the write up in a day or two, and I'll start plugging away on the photos today or tomorrow (if I can stop sneezing on my computer for five seconds).
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Old 06-13-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

I was there as a spectator for three days, and I feel a little sorry for people who weren't there. There was a lot of good racing on display in sometimes really tough conditions.

I have some short clips of Saturday's Lap 1s, but they're not going to be anything like the in-car videos I hope some of you will post.

--
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Old 06-13-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowhands View Post
p.s.

Had a very pleasant surprise when Sy stopped by on Tues to do car control with me. Had a blast doing the skidpad and autocross work together, talking about life over lunch. No better way to start the week.
Harsha, that was just a perfect day... It was so great driving and hanging with you. That was really one of the most purely enjoyable days of driving I've ever had - and it's been so long since I've been in the car I feel like I should be posting a Newbie Intro Thread for myself as well as a positive review thread for the Car Control Clinic!

And a big thank you to Rob Slonaker, who did such an amazing job bringing my oh-so-very rusty skills nearly back to where they were at my peak (barely mediocre..)
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Old 06-13-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Harsha, you've managed to capture the frustation I've felt as well over the recent years were I've been in the car three times in three years. Its really tough feeling so rusty, when you know in your mind what you were capable of in the car. Anyway, thanks for your write up, it sounds like it was a great weekend. I wish I could have been there too.
BTW, like you said, the car control clinic is a great day, I wish there were some way to do some that at every track prior to a weekend just to loosen up.
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Old 06-13-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Originally Posted by tom goodhart View Post
BTW, like you said, the car control clinic is a great day, I wish there were some way to do some that at every track prior to a weekend just to loosen up.
Well, Michael Culver said that he was looknig for feedback from us. Michael, are you listening?
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

I see it. I'll sent it up the chain

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Well, Michael Culver said that he was looknig for feedback from us. Michael, are you listening?
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Send an E-mail to long time racers who haven't raced in a while that says,

"Hey, we know you haven't been in a Skippy car for a while and we want you back... so come do a specially discounted 1 or 2 day package of car control clinic and lapping day specially geared toward former racers to get them back on the horse!"

Stop remembering how much fun it was and create some new memories. Green Green Green!
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
Send an E-mail to long time racers who haven't raced in a while that says,

"Hey, we know you haven't been in a Skippy car for a while and we want you back... so come do a specially discounted 1 or 2 day package of car control clinic and lapping day specially geared toward former racers to get them back on the horse!"

Stop remembering how much fun it was and create some new memories. Green Green Green!

This is a great idea - we need more racers and id like to see 4 or 5 race groups that are all full!
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
Send an E-mail to long time racers who haven't raced in a while that says,

"Hey, we know you haven't been in a Skippy car for a while and we want you back... so come do a specially discounted 1 or 2 day package of car control clinic and lapping day specially geared toward former racers to get them back on the horse!"

Stop remembering how much fun it was and create some new memories. Green Green Green!
We tried something very similar to that a few months ago but....
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

I could not agree more Greg. It was very disappointing to see the small numbers this weekend. We need to get the cars back in shape. The mechanics are working harder with limited parts and manpower on hand. Gone are the days when the cars looked good and they were spit shined for every weekend. The cars are worn and there are not enough replacement parts on hand to clean them up to look good. Safety at some point will come into question ...I cant help but think we will continue to suffer in numbers if the product doesn't look better over time....
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Offering a discounted car control clinic with instruction? Not saying it didn't happen just don't recall this?

It's tough to just get back in an open wheel car and have at it when you've been away for a while. Car control on an autocross in the open wheel car and skidpad work in the RX-8 really help with skill building and confidence.

I think Sy and Harsha are testament to the fact that specialized car control clinics are both fun and cost effective in polishing off the rust when you've been away for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KBruSBRS View Post
We tried something very similar to that a few months ago but....
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Last edited by dalyduo; 06-14-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Originally Posted by tom goodhart View Post
Harsha, you've managed to capture the frustation I've felt as well over the recent years were I've been in the car three times in three years. Its really tough feeling so rusty, when you know in your mind what you were capable of in the car. Anyway, thanks for your write up, it sounds like it was a great weekend. I wish I could have been there too.
BTW, like you said, the car control clinic is a great day, I wish there were some way to do some that at every track prior to a weekend just to loosen up.
Without the car control session I would have been even slower than I was. Thanks to it, and Rob's tailored instruction, I actually have a better feel for rotating a car now than I ever have, even including when I was quicker. Being more experienced really helped me zero in on which inputs were constructively facilitating rotation and which were merely destabilizing the car and making it slide, but not in a controlled way. The slower corners were fine, and while I could feel the car better in the high speed stuff, just lacked the confidence to go in sliding like I needed to, especially through the Uphill and Big Bend. Yes, Tom, I remember having that confidence and it was really frustrating to see the corner opening before me and just not be willing to release the brake and let the car move around. I'll do better with that at RA, I'm sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
Send an E-mail to long time racers who haven't raced in a while that says,

"Hey, we know you haven't been in a Skippy car for a while and we want you back... so come do a specially discounted 1 or 2 day package of car control clinic and lapping day specially geared toward former racers to get them back on the horse!"

Stop remembering how much fun it was and create some new memories. Green Green Green!
Pat, I think that is a really good idea, and given my experience makes a lot of good racing sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregS View Post
This is a great idea - we need more racers and id like to see 4 or 5 race groups that are all full!
We definitely need more racers. The whole Skippy experience is not the same without a full paddock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeRockRacer View Post
I could not agree more Greg. It was very disappointing to see the small numbers this weekend. We need to get the cars back in shape. The mechanics are working harder with limited parts and manpower on hand. Gone are the days when the cars looked good and they were spit shined for every weekend. The cars are worn and there are not enough replacement parts on hand to clean them up to look good. Safety at some point will come into question ...I cant help but think we will continue to suffer in numbers if the product doesn't look better over time....
Chris, you have hit the nail on the head. I was shocked how bad the cars looked. Fraying and taped bodywork, dirty wheels, numbers taped over when they didn't match the chassis. By comparison, the cars in the Sid tribute video from Tremblant 2006 looked brand-spanking new, like they had just rolled off the manufacturing line. And the safety question is already beginning to enter my mind. I should never have accepted the car that I ended up riding off track into the tire wall-- if the car was a "handful to drive" for an experienced driver in top current form like Pat (who drove it before I did and asked Phil to test it), think how much more of a handful it was for me coming back after so long away with so much rust on my skills. Yes, I used to be able to drive around most any car issue when I was driving all the time, in fact I took a car without a clutch that would not downshift unless the revs were matched perfectly from p17 to p5 at RA in '09 and posted fastest lap over drivers like Isaac Lyons and Felix Serralles, but you can't expect inexperienced or rusty drivers to do the same, nor should they have to when they are paying big bucks. They should have a racing experience worth having. You can't call yourself the best racing school when your cars look and drive the way they do now. I told Todd that a car that drove like that car should under no circumstances be on the grid--the brake pedal was rock hard without any feel at all for modulation, the clutch worked intermittently, the diff locked under heavy braking--it is a huge black mark against SB if that car is considered an acceptable part of the SB "experience." I still ended up paying the crash damage bill, but you can bet I will not accept a car like that again. Ever. And I am going to be very sensitive about every car I climb into in the next two race weekends I have signed up for. Any sign of something that I don't think is quite right and I am climbing out. The SB value proposition is definitely not as strong as it used to be, and that is an issue for me when deciding where to race going forward. Being able to have confidence in pushing the car is crucial to a satisfying on-track experience, and I just didn't have that this weekend. When it is this expensive, the customer must get everything he is expecting from the experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalyduo
It's tough to just get back in an open wheel car and have at it when you've been away for a while. Car control on an autocross in the open wheel car and skidpad work in the RX-8 really help with skill building and confidence.

I think Sy and Harsha are testament to the fact that specialized car control clinics are both fun and cost effective in polishing off the rust when you've been away for a while.
Couldn't say it better, Pat. Both Sy and I wanted a CCC tailored to our experience and knowledge, and Rob provided that in spades, making it doubly valuable for us. We may have been rusty, but we have a different knowledge base than someone new to racing. A CCC geared to the experienced racer is incredibly valuable.
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Last edited by Slowhands; 06-14-2011 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Harsha, It was so good to see you back out on track. I have no doubt that after a few more sessions you will back at speed challenging the kids up front again! To me the best part of the series is getting together with friends both old and new....

Daly it was good to see you back in the saddle as well after your brief interlude. Once again you proved your metal to get back up front after your injury.

Strelz, I appreciate your encouragement and kind words the last few races. I too love when we all get to dice on the track. You should be very proud of your ability to get up front most of the time.

CDH the video was amazing as usual. You really touched everyone that knew and loved Sid! Thank you.

Todd and the great Skippy Support team, thank you for a great weekend with limited resources and for taking the time and expense to memorialize our dear friend Sidney. It was a real tribute to a great man and his family! The after hours get together was real nice and brought back some of what we always had at the weekends. That is exactly what we need to bring back that we have been missing!

And too everyone else ...thank you for making last weekend such a great time!

The one thing we all have in common is our desire to see this series succeed so we can continue learning, racing and enjoying the experience and friendships we have developed through this contagious disease called racing! We have all been fortunate to have been a part of this series and the experiences it has provided. I for one do not want to see it continue to spiral in the wrong direction.

My observations on the condition of the cars is not something new nor something that I alone have noticed and am concerned about. After the last two race weekends it appears that not much is being done to correct the serious decline and appearance of the fleet. I have heard unsolicited commentary all around the track and off from racers, instructors, staff and guests on the issue and most everyone is afraid to speak on the subject for fear of being alienated or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time...

The week before our dear friend Sid passed away he was quite vociferous on this issue to many of us. As we all know Sid told it like he saw it. If you didn't agree that was fine but from my experience whatever he had to say was worth hearing and listening to. Take what you can from it, it was coming from the heart and from someone that cared and had been through the series at different capacities for over 25 years. Let's not let his voice leave with him. ( Give to the Sid Brenner Mechanics Fund ! And let your opinion be heard!)

It is obvious to me and others that the series is still very lucky to have some very dedicated staff at the management, instructor, mechanic, sales and support levels and that the series has a good core of very dedicated customers. The economics of the business are challenging particularly in the tough economy we have had over the last few years.... as a person who has been a loyal customer for over 11 years I certainly hope that the leadership has a plan to commit to the success of the series. It would be a damn shame to see it continue on the path it has been on for the last few years. The customer experience needs to improve in order for it to have any chance of success. This goes for any business. The need for newer, cleaner and safer equipment is a must. The staff has to be confident that they have the resources and manpower to do their job correctly and the faith that they will be rewarded for a job well done.

Some of the things that need to be done can be done pretty easily with out great costs, others will require more commitment to capital expenditures. I will end my twenty two cents on the issue with this last thought or question...

If on your next plane trip you got on board and pulled the table tray down to find it was dirty with food and drink stains, and maybe the tray fell askew from the track....how would you feel as a customer? What else would you question about the airline?
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Originally Posted by LimeRockRacer View Post
I could not agree more Greg. It was very disappointing to see the small numbers this weekend. We need to get the cars back in shape. The mechanics are working harder with limited parts and manpower on hand. Gone are the days when the cars looked good and they were spit shined for every weekend. The cars are worn and there are not enough replacement parts on hand to clean them up to look good. Safety at some point will come into question ...I cant help but think we will continue to suffer in numbers if the product doesn't look better over time....
I can easily name 10 people who stopped racing w SB because of safety concerns.
Im happy that Franco and Kenton were totally fine after the a arm broke in a straight line for Franco.

I hope something is done soon. I love Skippy and I hope my comments are not taken negatively!
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Chris,

Bravo! Well said on all points. And thanks for the complement!

The good news is that we are still having fun and I just think we need to talk to the top people about this issue so we can continue to have the fun we crave with our good friends.

Greg

Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeRockRacer View Post
Harsha, It was so good to see you back out on track. I have no doubt that after a few more sessions you will back at speed challenging the kids up front again! To me the best part of the series is getting together with friends both old and new....

Daly it was good to see you back in the saddle as well after your brief interlude. Once again you proved your metal to get back up front after your injury.

Strelz, I appreciate your encouragement and kind words the last few races. I too love when we all get to dice on the track. You should be very proud of your ability to get up front most of the time.

CDH the video was amazing as usual. You really touched everyone that knew and loved Sid! Thank you.

Todd and the great Skippy Support team, thank you for a great weekend with limited resources and for taking the time and expense to memorialize our dear friend Sidney. It was a real tribute to a great man and his family! The after hours get together was real nice and brought back some of what we always had at the weekends. That is exactly what we need to bring back that we have been missing!

And too everyone else ...thank you for making last weekend such a great time!

The one thing we all have in common is our desire to see this series succeed so we can continue learning, racing and enjoying the experience and friendships we have developed through this contagious disease called racing! We have all been fortunate to have been a part of this series and the experiences it has provided. I for one do not want to see it continue to spiral in the wrong direction.

My observations on the condition of the cars is not something new nor something that I alone have noticed and am concerned about. After the last two race weekends it appears that not much is being done to correct the serious decline and appearance of the fleet. I have heard unsolicited commentary all around the track and off from racers, instructors, staff and guests on the issue and most everyone is afraid to speak on the subject for fear of being alienated or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time...

The week before our dear friend Sid passed away he was quite vociferous on this issue to many of us. As we all know Sid told it like he saw it. If you didn't agree that was fine but from my experience whatever he had to say was worth hearing and listening to. Take what you can from it, it was coming from the heart and from someone that cared and had been through the series at different capacities for over 25 years. Let's not let his voice leave with him. ( Give to the Sid Brenner Mechanics Fund ! And let your opinion be heard!)

It is obvious to me and others that the series is still very lucky to have some very dedicated staff at the management, instructor, mechanic, sales and support levels and that the series has a good core of very dedicated customers. The economics of the business are challenging particularly in the tough economy we have had over the last few years.... as a person who has been a loyal customer for over 11 years I certainly hope that the leadership has a plan to commit to the success of the series. It would be a damn shame to see it continue on the path it has been on for the last few years. The customer experience needs to improve in order for it to have any chance of success. This goes for any business. The need for newer, cleaner and safer equipment is a must. The staff has to be confident that they have the resources and manpower to do their job correctly and the faith that they will be rewarded for a job well done.

Some of the things that need to be done can be done pretty easily with out great costs, others will require more commitment to capital expenditures. I will end my twenty two cents on the issue with this last thought or question...

If on your next plane trip you got on board and pulled the table tray down to find it was dirty with food and drink stains, and maybe the tray fell askew from the track....how would you feel as a customer? What else would you question about the airline?
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Chris-- very eloquently said! Agree completely. I cannot add anything--you've covered it all much better than I could. You have been such an integral part of the whole Skippy experience for so many years that I hope your words are given the value they deserve by SB mgmt. A more passionate supporter of everything Skippy stands for I cannot imagine.

And I know Sid is smiling now that his son has taken over the Mech Fund so ably!
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Chris has made some very important points. Thank you. Take note Skippy upper management; for the health and safety of both the drivers and the program. I would also like to express my great appreciation for the extraordinary efforts put forth by the mechanics, instructors, Todd and the girls. They are all doing a great job with what they have to work with.
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Old 06-14-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Without the car control session I would have been even slower than I was. Thanks to it, and Rob's tailored instruction, I actually have a better feel for rotating a car now than I ever have, even including when I was quicker. Being more experienced really helped me zero in on which inputs were constructively facilitating rotation and which were merely destabilizing the car and making it slide, but not in a controlled way. The slower corners were fine, and while I could feel the car better in the high speed stuff, just lacked the confidence to go in sliding like I needed to, especially through the Uphill and Big Bend. Yes, Tom, I remember having that confidence and it was really frustrating to see the corner opening before me and just not be willing to release the brake and let the car move around. I'll do better with that at RA, I'm sure.
RE: The car control clinic - three years ago when I was doing my full season, I was struggling to reach that next level, and at different points during the second race day both Rob Slonaker and Stevie D asked "when was my last car control clinic?" And I couldn't remember, it had been so long. So, for the last weekend at Lime Rock, I traded a lapping day for the clinic, and like I said before, it really helped. I wound up scoring my two podiums that weekend. One of SB's most underated programs!

As far as the condition of the fleet, Chris and others have really covered the issue well, so I won't go into a litany of the gremlins I experienced in just two weekends this season, except to say the safety issue has become a huge concern. Todd and his team are doing a great job given the circumstances they find themselves in. I hope it improves, because once I save my pennies (I should say "long wheelbase tens") again I want to race with you guys some more.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

I agree that the crew and mechanics are doing an extraordinary job in a difficult time.

It is my understanding that there is a significant order of replacements, both mechanical and bodywork in process. For all of us those orders can't come fast enough. I have seen the training, efficiency and moral of the mechanics improve in recent months in a significant way that bodes well for us if those new parts do, in fact, arrive.

I've heard that new open wheel cars will soon be fabricated in the Atlanta shop. If that is true we may be close to seeing some light at the end of this dark mechanical tunnel. For everyone's sake I certainly hope so.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Originally Posted by dalyduo View Post
I agree that the crew and mechanics are doing an extraordinary job in a difficult time.

It is my understanding that there is a significant order of replacements, both mechanical and bodywork in process. For all of us those orders can't come fast enough. I have seen the training, efficiency and moral of the mechanics improve in recent months in a significant way that bodes well for us if those new parts do, in fact, arrive.

I've heard that new open wheel cars will soon be fabricated in the Atlanta shop. If that is true we may be close to seeing some light at the end of this dark mechanical tunnel. For everyone's sake I certainly hope so.
What is the source of this info and what is the time line?

Sounds great to me.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Back on topic to the weekend at hand.

I want to give a big thank you to Rob who radio coached me to two podiums in stout fields.

The first race of group 3, i had a 10 seconds lead over Franco with 7 laps to go and then an unnamed driver of Indian descent decided to make it interesting for me.

As we knocking off laps under safety car Rob asks me "How are you feeling" and I answer "Tired, very tired" He was able to whip me back into shape and help me hold off Franco for the 4 remaining laps in a thrilling finish for me!
The mental advantage of having radio coaching is awesome.

It worked great in the rain as well on the next day in my E.P.I.C!! battle I had with Chris who drove fearlessly to 3rd and held it for quite a while.

Thanks to Pat for the food and not hitting me when I driving like an idiot - weaving around behind Chris trying to find an opening.
The picture that Kelly took of the 3 of us after that battle is classic!!

I also want to thank Gerrardo who gives awesome computer car.

I am glad SB is able to have such great mechanics, crew, staff and drivers.

Greg
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Videos Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Sid Memorial Race. I was climbing out of the RB Pace Mobile when the turn one lap one shamozzle happened so no vid of that. Mike said he had only one car with his cam, I am trying to get some of that. If anyone reading this had a Go Pro and could share any exciting clips I would greatly appreciate it. A good race, nice way to honor our friend.
Thanks for the interviews guys.

If you are on FB, you can view the video there in higher res. It is possible non-FB users can see it also, the privacy settings on this may allow it, would like to hear if that is the case, thanks


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Old 06-15-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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It is possible non-FB users can see it also, the privacy settings on this may allow it, would like to hear if that is the case, thanks.
Apparently membership is required. I was given a login window before I could proceed.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Thanks WTN - out of curiosity, could you see the LRP pics I posted on FB I linked to in an earlier comment?
Privacy setting is the same on both. Thanks
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Old 06-15-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Pics from the weekend are up. Diana is going to work on the race reports either today or tomorrow, so until I can send that out, you can find the pics here.

In regards to the shipment of new parts, I'm waiting on a statement from upper management. That way I don't mess up any of the info or details Stay tuned!

And thank you for all the compliments towards the staff and crew of the company. You guys were real troopers racing in the heat and the rain, not to mention at a track with no power! lol You guys are a blast to work with and I look forward to seeing the gang in Road America!
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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The picture that Kelly took of the 3 of us after that battle is classic!!
I like this one of mine also
Attached Thumbnails - Click on an Image to Enlarge
Click image for larger version

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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Ted,
I found if you click on cancel when the membership sign in box pops up you can look at 3-5 pics before it pops up again. On my mac I can keep looking at pics as long as I cancel the sign in box each time it pops up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WatertownNewbie View Post
Apparently membership is required. I was given a login window before I could proceed.
Doug,
That shot of the three amigo happy boys after our epic rain battle is just the best. Captures why we do it. Our wives don't see us that happy.

Quote:
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I like this one of mine also
Kelly,
Thanks to you and Diana for all you do to track all of our fast fun with pictures and words. Also thanks for monitoring the parts time line from management when it becomes available. You are our unsung heros.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Kelly,
Thanks to you and Diana for all you do to track all of our fast fun with pictures and words. Also thanks for monitoring the parts time line from management when it becomes available. You are our unsung heros.
+1,000,000

Awesome pix as always - it gets my heart racing when I see some of those action shots of us going 5 nose to tail in down hill!
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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+1,000,000

Awesome pix as always - it gets my heart racing when I see some of those action shots of us going 5 nose to tail in down hill!
+1,000,001

Kelly, enjoyed meeting you, and look forward to seeing you again at RA. SB is lucky to have such an enthusiastic, friendly, and people-oriented person like you. Your event pics are fantastic-- I'm not sure management realizes how eagerly we await the pics from the weekend. They help us remember and relive the camaraderie, excitement, adrenaline-- all the aspects of the special role this sport plays in our lives. Thanks for being such an integral part of it. But you were a racing baby, right? So I know you get it!

See you soon!
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Old 06-15-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Many thanks to Kelly for the great pics and Doug for the excellent Sid memorial race coverage. I want to get back in the car...now!
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Old 06-15-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Apparently membership is required. I was given a login window before I could proceed.
OK, I changed privacy for the album and video - should be viewable on FB by anyone now....if Ted or Pat could let me know I'd appreciate it, thanks

Album

Video

.
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Old 06-16-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Doug,

I am using Safari on the Mac. No problems opening the photos, but the video sent me to the Facebook login page.

Nice photos!!
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Same here... the sign in no longer pops up for the still shots but no way to ignore or get past sign in for video. Wonderful stills. :-)
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Old 06-16-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Gentlemen, thanks for all the positive feedback on the coaching. It is my job, but you guys are what makes it fun, special and worth doing.
Keep the pressure on SBRS to bring the product back to where it belongs.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Doug,

I am using Safari on the Mac. No problems opening the photos, but the video sent me to the Facebook login page.

Nice photos!!
Doug, same for me.
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Same here... the sign in no longer pops up for the still shots but no way to ignore or get past sign in for video. Wonderful stills. :-)
Last attempt - if this link to video is NFG, then I give. Strange behaviors. Video
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Nope... It still insists on a sign in... No work around... Sorry 'bout that.

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Last attempt - if this link to video is NFG, then I give. Strange behaviors. Video
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Very weird, FB must be changing things again in this area. Used to work when privacy set for 'everyone'. I haven't tried a YouTube upload, they are so tough on vids with copyrighted music, but there are a lot of uploads of the song I used, will try, thanks
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

On the SB experience -

In my other life as a mechanical contractor, among other things I was in charge of our service dept. We had up to 30 vans on the road at our peak. I always insisted the vans look great, not just good, I wanted them looking 'new'. This was a real challenge but we got it done. The reason is simple, those vans and the techs in them were the company reps, they were rolling billboards, they were the first impression a customer had when we arrived at the home or business. When they saw that clean, shiny van pull in and a well-spoken, well-dressed tech ring the bell, we were already ahead of the game before work started. A dirty, rusty van, or a sloppy looking tech did the opposite, we were fighting a bad first impression before work started.

The last thing I ever wanted was a van at the shop, so I asked the guys to clean their own vehicles in their driveways on their time off. Since they had use of the van for commuting, I felt this was acceptable, most agreed - a bucket of soapy water and a car cleaning brush and it was done quickly. From time to time a tech had to do a truck inventory and spend a day at the shop doing paperwork, restocking his van, etc. We hired a local teen to set up a wash/wax on those days and the vans got a quick super shine. Didn’t have to be a perfect detailing to make all the difference in the world, and the cost of a kid doing the wash and wax was, in the big picture, extremely cheap. Compared to the damage to our reputation an unkempt van would do, the cost/benefit was plain as day.

Skip is in a similar situation now, and with the cars looking as bad as they did at LRP a customer could only come away wondering what the hell has happened to the SB they used to know. This may not seem to be of critical importance to some, but I could not disagree more. The first impression is appearance, and if that impression is a negative one, you are already back pedaling before any sales/work has taken place.

Get them cleaned up, asap, the outward impression the co is in deep trouble is glaring. Get the crew together, arm them with rags, soap and water, solvents and tape and clean the fleet up right now. The slow slide in this area is eating away confidence in existing and new customers. Give the crew a little seat time as incentive, I have seen time and again the magical effect this has on their morale.

We all love SBRS so much that it pains us to see the cars looking so poorly. I have been saying the product was always so good (driving/racing cool looking, fun, clean cars) that other shortcomings were not as detrimental. When the product has degraded as much as it is now, that advantage is gone. Chris’s airline tray table analogy is a good one. We had a June LRP weekend (always a big turnout), one where Sid was being honored no less, and attendance was low. White wash all you want, it doesn't change my view one bit. I was not seeing a company with warning signs popping up, it is well passed that. I saw a company that is in big trouble and hope it is not already too late. Sorry for being so blunt, but that's the impression SB is projecting. Get the spit and polish on things so at least the first impression battle is won. I have been talking mostly about the race series, the HPDS cars look good, but hey, they are Porsches, BMW's and Mercedes, they ought to look good, and don't get the heavy work duty the race cars do. The tired RT's are getting left behind and I am very sorry to see this. Management has a structure, a chain of command. There needs to be a lot more ass-kicking going on imo. In the long run, pride in the company, the product and the employees will be restored...pride is the word, and that comes from good leadership.

This was framed and hanging on my office wall as a reminder to everyone:

“Do a perfect job and the customer might tell one or two friends. Screw up the job, and they’ll tell ALL their friends.”

Here is a clip from a favorite film "Executive Suite" (1955). Go right to 5:27 in playback (or watch it all, very good scene) for the message we lived by at T&H....everyone wins.



***
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Old 06-16-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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This was framed and hanging on my office wall as a reminder to everyone:
“Do a perfect job and the customer might tell one or two friends. Screw up the job, and they’ll tell ALL their friends.”

Here is a clip from a favorite film "Executive Suite" (1955). Go right to 5:27 in playback for the message we lived by at T&H....everyone wins.



***
Doug, very well put. Something I learned as a young entrepreneur. The staff is stretched thin in many cases and has no resource to fix this problem unless the company reinvests in itself. AND NOW!
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

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Doug, very well put. Something I learned as a young entrepreneur. The staff is stretched thin in many cases and has no resource to fix this problem unless the company reinvests in itself. AND NOW!
Do a perfect job and the customer might tell one or two friends. Screw up the job, and they’ll tell ALL their friends.

This is the key to my company ZeroLag
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

Very well put, Doug.
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Old 06-17-2011
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Re: LR Summer Series/MX-5 Race Weekend

thanks - what I failed to mention and should have is thanks to everyone for all the good stuff. Recovering from the blackout, getting the races done in adverse conditions, having a nice gathering for Sid and just being good people and friends at all events. I was being tough because I thought it needed to be said, and because I dearly care about the folks at Skip, very, very much actually. I guess this is the real reason why I find the problems so distressing. I should have said this with my first comment. Thanks everyone for a fun time at LRP, Christine said she thought it was great, and that was so good to hear.

I trust I didn't have to say it, but there ya have it, just in case.
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