Am I ready for a National Tour event?

Short answer:  No!  Below is a more detailed account of my entry into the SCCA Solo 2 National Tour in 2006.

I had done about 6 events with my local autocross club and was attending the membership meetings (I signed up to be a member at the 2nd event).  And in talking with a friend, Gordon, he mentioned the National Tour event in Ft. Myers.  I asked if I should even bother entering something like that.  He said “Sure.  It’s a great experience!”.  He was not wrong about that.  But more on that later.

First, signing up for the event was a bit more involved and it cost quite a bit more too.  I got a hotel room near by since this was a multi-day event.  The Friday was registration and initial tech inspection.  I arrived and was told I needed to pay $3.00 for the sponsor decals to put on my car.  Shouldn’t my entry fee into the event already cover these printed materials?  Also, they are the sponsors.  Why am I paying to put their logos on my car?  I also had to buy a printed Solo 2 rules handbook for $20.  This was all on top of the entry fee that was over $100.00.  But, I had already paid for my entry and had the hotel and all that, so I just dealt with it.

I was running in DP still and noticed that I had a car that looked NOTHING like the other cars in my class.  They didn’t even need to have windshields.  All of these cars were the owner’s race cars and nothing else.  Most of the advice I got at this event was to remove that brace (Corky’s Breast Plate) and go into CSP (C Street Prepared) where I would be more competitive.  That would be for future events anyway.  This one was already set so I was going to make the best of it.  Besides, I didn’t think I was going to win my class.  I was just there for the experience.

Well, not only did I not win my class, but I came in last in it.  And, I almost came in last overall.  This was a huge reality check and punch in the balls of my ego.  The main difference of this event and my local events was that everyone here was competing for points throughout the season and they were all national level drivers.  Then there was me: The rookie with a few events under his belt.  That was definitely a rude awakening.

Everyone I talked to at the event was nice.  And for my work position, I was inside the timing booth working on the computer.  Darrin DiSimo had written some new timing software and this was one of the first times it was being used.  Since I worked timing mostly at the Equipe Rapide events, I was slated to do the same here.  So that was good.  There was also some track side concessions that the entry fee did pay for.  So that wasn’t bad.  Overall, I’m glad I went.  But I definitely was not ready for that event.

Here’s two pics from the event:

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