Race Report 2004 - PCA Autocross In OKC

Date: March 28, 2004
Venue: Sheriff Training Center - Oklahoma City, OK
Results: 1st Overall (approx. 35 total)

First off, let me just say that the Sheriff Training Center in Oklahoma City is very cool.   It's basically a small road race course and for the PCA autocross events they just put some cones here and there to keep the speeds down to a safe-ish level.  The PCA events are very laid back and casual, and they don't even have classes or post results... it's just a "run wha'cha' brung" event and whoever is the fastest for the day is... fastest for the day.   They have four heats throughout the day, so you run in two heats (4 runs per heat) and work during one heat (you get one heat off to relax or whatever).  They're so laid back that you only get a one second penalty for hitting a cone, whereas hitting a cone is a two second penalty at SCCA events!

I worked during the first heat to get my work duties out of the way early, and it was also still cloudy and cold (not good for racing tires to be sticky).  My runs during the second heat were pretty good, but I was having a hard time dealing with running in third gear and having to heal-toe to downshift smoothly into second gear for the tighter corners.  During almost all of the other autocross events I attend, I usually just shift into second gear and leave it there for the entire run.  Very rarely do I ever have to shift into third gear, so this wide-open fast venue took some getting use to.  By the end of the second heat, I had the honors for Fastest Time of the Day, but there were still two more heats left, and the sun was coming out to warm things up.

During the third heat (my "time-off" heat), the times from the other cars were dropping as the sun came out and the temps got warmer.  Chris Gant came out to watch and ride along with the rookies as an instructor, but he didn't bring his highly modifed and very fast '95 BMW M3, because it was at the race car shop getting a full roll cage welded into place (Chris is turning his M3 into a full BMWCCA race car).  However... after realizing that he needed to get a "fix" of his own, he decided to borrow Justin Power's highly modifed (and somewhat famous due to the previous owner) '98 BMW M3 Sedan to get in four runs during the third heat.  Chris put down some wickedly fast times considering he was on street tires, so my times from the second heat were history.

During the fourth heat, I was able to run much faster (more sun and warmer temps for the sticky tires!), but I kept hitting one or two cones on each of my runs.  I was able to run slightly faster than Chris' best run on my 7th run, but had hit another cone.  On my last run, with all the pressure resting on my shoulders, I ran an identical time as my previous run but I was able to pull it off CLEAN (no cones) which got me Fastest Time of the Day!!!

It sure is cool to travel to a different region and take home the honors of Fastest Time of the Day!  Definitely worth the trip, and it was a total blast!  I want to thank Chris for inviting me out to this event and providing all the event details, and for giving me some good advice during the event.