October 2018 Track Report

From the Blog

October 2018 Track Report

Thank You, Drivers!

Thank You, Track Team!

Dear Reader,

I will assume that each of us, from time to time, have difficulty in pulling up an off-the-beaten-path theme for a writing assignments, especially when that writing assignment was due four days ago.  This morning is one of those times.  I am three fourths through my first cup of Peet’s, and it feels akin to cranking away but the engine won’t fire.  Is it no spark, or no fuel?  Or did I leave the kill switch in the “off” position?  Don’t settle for just a “recap…”

With just one more club race at Sonoma October 27-28, we are nearing the end of our 2018 track season. For your rookie track chair, it has, as it should have been, a complete blur, learning a zillion details of what it takes to line up the dominoes.  (What’s a corner worker packet?)  There is a book of inspirational quotes given to me by a dear friend, in which one quote which reads “sometimes you just have to build your wings on the way down.” Whereas I typically am more than willing to do so, the “wings” in this case were already built.  All I had to do was not crash.

The success of our track series is a direct result, and rides on the wings of the incredible passion of the experienced volunteers who make up our track team.  I cannot but assume that most of you know them only by name, or in passing, or from the back of the room at a drivers’ meeting, so I will re-introduce them to you here:

Heath Spencer, registrar and race registrar:  You want to know Heath and be able to call him a friend.  You don’t get to see him much, as ahead of time, he is taking care of getting you into the events, and at the track he’s driving away from you in the Radio Flyer no. 10 Spec Boxster.  You’re going to have to walk over to his trailer in the paddock to meet him.

Scott Kalkin and Brad Williams, co-CDI’s:  Scott and Brad have taken the CDI reins with enthusiasm this year, bringing some great new ideas to our instruction program.

Chuck Kolstad, former CDI:  Chuck cheerfully runs our at-track orientations the evenings preceding each event. Listen to Chuck.

John Teasley, tech chairman:  Another GGR veteran volunteer.  You typically get to meet John or one of his team (Warren Walker, Gary Dorighi, John Seidell, et al) first when you arrive at an event.  John has an uncanny way of assessing whether you’re ready to go (aka, head in the game) or not when you come to tech. Impress him.  His bar is at eye level.

David Bunch, grid steward:  You don’t get to the track steward without David.  The grid is the well-oiled “machine within a machine,” all due to his desire to help you have a safe, fun time on track.

Milo and Diane Dorr, grid assistants:  Milo and Diane are there to help on grid, especially needed when it’s time to grid the racers in their starting order.

Ken Mack, track steward:  Ken bravely stations himself in the hot pit to release you onto the track when it is safe to do so.  Ken has a tremendous amount of history volunteering for GGR.  Buy him lunch sometime and pick his brain.

Dan Thompson, race control:  You don’t get to see Dan much, as he is up in the tower in communication with the starter and corner workers keeping tabs on you.  Like Ken and a few others, Dan has seen the evolution of GGR over many years.  He knows stuff.

Paul Marty, safety:  Paul continues to amaze all of us with his enthusiastic approach to his important role. His safety team (Parker Merrill, Marianne Merritt, Richard Last, Don Miraglia, Llewellyn Powers, et al) is always ready.  Paul is that guy you want to meet to let his enthusiasm rub off on you.  Paul is that guy you don’t want to meet, because chances are when you do, it will be when he’s hooking a tow strap to your car.

Steve Taty, student debriefs:  Steve’s post- yellow group debrief sessions help the students with all of those “this is amazing” and “how do I…” questions.

Michael Tsang, sponsor coordinator and club race medical liaison: Dr. Tsang plays a couple of very key roles in the operation of GGR’s track series, as his role titles attest!

Kim Garcia, social stuff:  On the surface, Kim is the brains behind all of the great Saturday night dinners. Below the surface, Kim is that person who calmly reassures us that everything is going to be OK.  We all need a Kim, right?

Tim Smith, track chair emeritus:  Or, “track chair whisperer.”  Amazing guidance from this man.

Sharon Neidel, backstop/mom/right hand/final QC:  Sharon is that “last but not least” person. Truly, this year’s track series would have been a tank slapper without the knowledge, guidance and enthusiasm Sharon brings.  It’s endless.  Find her and thank her.  You can be profuse about it.

Instructors:  I would be remiss to not acknowledge our incredible instructors who are the backbone of our DE program.  GGR has been fortunate to have such a large corps of instructors who support the series. These are the adventurous men and women who willingly strap themselves into cars with drivers whom they have never met, to teach them what it takes to get more out of their Porsches than what they can barely perceive.  These are the men and women who transform tentative beginners into confident, smiling track drivers.  Over 70 instructors shared their expertise this year.  Thank you, Instructors!

Drivers:  Lastly (but again, not least), for this month’s blog, anyway, thank you to all the drivers and racers who supported GGR’s track series this year.  That’s over 300 of you who come near and far to run with us.  Your support is impressive and very much appreciated!

The schedule for 2019 is nearly complete.  Just a couple of more dates to ink, and then we will publish it!

Be well, Porsche people.

Be smooth.  Be very, very smooth.

Eyes up!  More gas!

See you at the track!

Jim

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