Nerves

I’m competing in my very first Pro Solo next weekend, at the New Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. 

For those of you that don’t want to click the link and read a lot, here’s an in-car video, map, and a brief explanation: There are mirrored courses, set up next to each other. It’s the only form of autocross when you start your run with another car starting the run at the same time. It’s a drag start, with a Christmas Tree set of lights, and on green, you go. You run through the course, and then immediately switch sides and go through the course on the other side. You get two tries on each side, three times over a day and a half.

Here’s the map: It looks confusing, but it’s actually sideways, and makes sense if you watch the video.

It’s a little nerve wracking for me because though I have been to several of them, I’ve never driven at one. I’m not confident in my launching-on-command….I don’t practice at stoplights because I’m afraid I’m going to be hit, if someone runs their red (as is common in cities). 

Anyway, I’m starting to have nightmares about it….my first one was last night, I woke up shaking, and it happened as described below (this was an email to PJ, with explanations for those not familiar with the terminology in red):

Me: I dreamed it was raining and dark and cloudy. Heather Everett (a friend of ours who drives a Shelby Mustang) and I were in a log cabin talking about racing and she said we were running second and working fourth (there are usually 4 heats, with classes divided between those heats…you are off for two to do as you please, and you work for the opposite of the one you are driving in). I had to pee and went into the bathrooms, but there was no lock on any of the doors and no toilet paper in the stalls. I kept trying to see who was racing out the window so I’d know when to grid the car (there are four areas: paddock, where you keep your stuff; grid, where you are waiting to run; staging, where you are getting up to the line; and the course, where you are actually driving. You grid the car in the heat before you run, so if you are running in Heat 2, you will bring your car to one of the two grids to get ready about halfway into Heat 1 in order to keep the event moving and flowing smoothly), and I saw a yellow 370z almost on the line, and realized I was supposed to be racing. I couldn’t find my shoes  or my helmet and I ran outside and realized we were on a beach. I got into the car and was freaking out because I hadn’t walked the course (you walk the course before you run it, so you have an idea of where it goes. It’s also very helpful because walking the course will also give you an idea of where you will need to brake, accelerate, etc), and the cars in front of us went, and the one on my side spun out. They were taking their sweet time cleaning the car up, since it was stuck in the sand, but then her lights went, and then mine just skipped to the yellow before the green. She got her car moving before I did, but the car in front of me was still in the way (before the 60′ mark –it’s a true drag racing start, so on top of the Christmas Tree lights, you get a reaction time {if you cross the timing beam before 0.500 seconds, it’s called a Red Light, and your run does not count because you went before the green}, and a 60′ time, so you get your 0-60), so I stopped and they had me reverse back to the line. 

I went alone (you are generally paired with another person from your class, but if there are an odd number of people registered, a car will drive alone so they do not have to go against someone from a different class – as it stands right now I am to be paired with a Shelby Mustang, but not Heather’s), made it around the course (which was actually in a giant warehouse that had sand for a floor), but got to the finish and it was only like 2′ wide (which is definitely not wide enough to drive a car through), so I drove around the lights, opened the door and dragged my foot through the beam. I got to the other side (of the course, for my second run) and yelled at them to fix the finish, but then the event stopped so I got out because I was using different sneakers and wanted my Pumas. I walked back up to the log cabin and the toilet I wanted to use was overflowing. I was late to grid again and got mad and smashed my helmet on the ground, and it cracked in half. Heather told me they’d never let me race with a giant crack in my helmet. Somehow, my car was already in grid, and the pink helmet (my old one–my new one is just plain silver) was on the seat. I pulled into the staging line and the yellow z girl started to go before me, and I had to tell her that she is supposed to go when I go. We let a car go through alone, and then I had to go. My christmas tree wasn’t working, so they told me to just go by hers, so I did and it took like 6 seconds to launch because of the sand. I was beating her around the course, but then got to the finish before her and had to stop because it was still only 2′ wide and I couldn’t get the car through. They gave me a rerun (if there is something wrong with the course, or a worker is in the way and in danger of being hit, or if you catch another car because they’re going too slow, you are granted a rerun and your time where there was an error is erased) by myself again and they fixed the finish, and I finished the course, but I was DFL (dead fucking last) of everyone, not just in L1 (the class I am in for Pro Solo – it’s a Ladies’ class of all stock and mildly prepared cars with only basic bolt on modifications).

PJ: That is so ridiculous, it’s funny. Can I read it to Paul?

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