Page 20 - PCA Metro NY Region 2018 August POST
P. 20

(Track Ramblings, from Page 16)
You may be wondering why I have given this article the title of “Only You can Prevent Forest Fires.” Here’s why: Since 1947 the US Forest Service has been using this slogan to increase public awareness of our individual responsibil- ity towards forest fires. I hope that as you read this article you will have your own awareness increased about our individual responsibility towards safety in this wonderful DE activity. In a recent column I discussed the idea that Deci- sions Matter, passing signals, and the impor- tance they play in keeping DE events safe. My experience at HPR is making me go over the topic again in this issue.
Because a year had passed since I had driven the track – and that was only for a single day
– I hitched a ride with one of the Chief Instruc- tors to get re-acquainted with the layout. We went out in the Instructor/Advanced run-group. On the warm-up lap under Yellow Flag one of the drivers spun out off the track. I could barely believe what I had just seen. In the Advanced group! Then on the first clear-track Green Flag lap, another car spun out. The takeaway from this is a reminder to all drivers from complete novice to highly advanced: Do not try to go
too fast too soon. Your tires haven’t warmed up, your car may have developed some is- sues since you drove it last, and you have not warmed up yet either. And never forget about Roberto Guerrero, who had the pole position at the 1992 Indy 500. He crashed into the wall on the warmup lap. If it can happen to him, a great driver, it can happen to you. Use discretion!
The day began, as all track days do, with the ritual Drivers Meeting. Among the topics cov- ered as always was passing rules and signals. Blah, blah, blah, right? I imagine that many people tune out of this part of the lecture be- cause we have heard it SO MANY times, right? And we all know it so well, right? Later during the day, I was driving in the upper-middle level
group and I was TWICE given passing signals by cars hugging the right edge of the track to pass them on the right. I guess they wanted me to go by them on the grass. I also saw ‘passing’ signals with a hand held out the window point- ing up towards the sky. C’mon guys – passing signals are really easy to understand:
• Pass me on the left – stick your hand straight out the window and point to the left
• Pass me on the right – point your hand over the roof of the car to the right. (Keep your arm a few inches above the roof so it is clearly visible to the cars behind you.)
And there is one other hand signal
• I am pitting in – Arm pointing upwards, with a closed fist.
There was nothing unusual about the poor signaling that day – unfortunately it happens
at almost every track event. We really can do better, please. It’s very important. A few years ago one of our fellow Metro brothers was given a ‘pass me on the left’ signal coming out of Watkins Glen’s uphill esses. Then the driver who gave the signal moved left and hit our Metro guy – and this was at speeds in excess of 100mph. Our guy’s car suffered quite a bit of damage. (He was ok.) This stuff matters!
We all know about the red mist which can de- scend on us on track and cause us to do dumb things. No one is immune. But we can resist it and use judgement. The exhilaration out there is high, but so are the risks. The way you win a DE event is by driving home in your still-run- ning car.
I’ll see you at the track.
You can always contact me at [email protected]

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