What up. Team Royal Blue here—Megan Rietema and Kristi Zietse (the fastest girls around)! After a long day of travel yesterday, filled with conversations of everything from bowel movements to dentist experiences, (from LA to San Diego to Phoenix), we were rewarded with one of our favorite races so far! We pulled up to Bob Bondurant’s International Raceway and after a brief history of Bob, we learned we’d be racing Camaro’s.
We spent around fifteen minutes learning the basics of car control, balancing mass, and using the car’s traction to its fullest potential from one of the top teachers at the driving school. He talked about how when the car brakes, the mass shifts to the front of the car, thus putting more traction on the front wheels for better control of steering. And when you accelerate, more surface area of the back tires is put on the road giving you more power and less control of the car. He also talked about having “vision” and watching the road you’ll encounter at least two to three seconds ahead of where you are. After these basic instructions, we headed out to the Autocross track and watched another instructor go through the course and give us some pointers (take the turns as far to the outside as you can, and brake before the turns and accelerate through them). Just to give you a little insight into how fast and powerful these cars are going when they drift around the turns, they replace the wheels on the cars somewhere between every two to ten working hours.
Then it was our turn!
We each got a trial run through the course with our partners riding shotgun, and then two timed trials. The rankings ended up as such:
1. Vegas Gold
3. Kelly Green
4. Forest Green
5. Dr. Bolt & Amber
12. Columbia Blue
It’s hard to explain the feelings we had when we were finished with this race. “Exhilarating,” “adrenaline,” “high,” “thrilling,” “dang,” “rush,” “awe,” and “shock” are some of the common words we heard describing it. It was the first time either of us had ever literally “put the pedal to the metal” and it was awesome. Megan had the faster time out of the two of us; Kristi got a bit carried away with peeling out of every turn. We got a bonus point if we beat the combined best times of Amber and Dr. Bolt, which only the top four teams did, so the rest of us lost a point. If any of us hit a cone, it was an added two seconds to our time (bummer it was only you, Trev—Team Gold). If given the chance, I think every one of the groups would have spent the entire day racing around that track over and over again.
After we finished with the Camaros, we piled into two 15-passenger vans and the professionals took us for a “tour” of the establishment. This tour consisted of a few races around the same Autocross course we raced on with our partners (we’re pretty sure they beat all of our times even in those vans), and then a few races around another longer racetrack with the vans sometimes coming within just a couple feet of each other at speeds of about 70 mph, swerving and squealing around the turns at ridiculous speeds and accomplishing things on those tracks that we never would have guessed those vans could do.
We both decided we want to race Meg’s Ford Focus vs. Kristi’s Dodge Neon when we get back, and if we somehow grow up with the blessing of being wealthy, this will definitely be our go-to hobby.