Two Scoops

At the last event we had here in Southern California, I finally did something I had been meaning to do for a long time, but never followed through on. I double-dipped. I raced in Spec Miata, celebrated in impound with my competitors, then jumped back in the car and gridded up to race in Performance Touring E. It took at least a week and a half for me to stop thinking about it and smiling. Wow, that was a blast.

It was a bit like when you’re a kid and you get your first double-scoop ice cream cone. I can’t believe mom and dad said yes. I can’t believe how cool that was. I can’t believe we get to do this stuff. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.

I can’t believe the car lived through the abuse.

Double-dipping probably isn’t new to a lot of NASA racers, but it’s worth mentioning to those who haven’t done it because of how worthwhile it is. I will admit it makes a race weekend a lot more demanding. Your schedule will be tighter and there might be some changes you need to make to the car to be eligible or competitive, but you get out of something what you put into it, so you have to trust that in the end, it will have been worth it.

I guess I was hesitant to double-dip specifically because of the added workload, wear and tear on the car, tire degradation and that a Spec Miata is well outgunned in PTE, even if I removed the throttle restrictor plate. Race weekends are a lot of work, anyway, and it’s nice to relax between track sessions, rest and rehydrate, ride the bike around the pits and chat with old friends and new. But this time, I buckled down and did it.

Racing in Spec Miata that weekend was awesome, and all the guys had smiles on their faces after the race, but I had to cut the revelry short and head out for PTE. The field wasn’t very large. In fact, there were just three cars, one of which was another Spec Miata that dropped out after a couple of laps.

The other car was driven by a friend, whom I’ve known for a couple of years, but I had never raced with him before. Heck, I don’t think I’d ever been on track with him before. His car is faster than mine and he is a better driver, but it was fun to find where I could gain on him and how I could improve from watching how he got around the track.

I needed the extra track time — still do — and it was great fun out there racing him. In fact, I went four-off in one turn in rather spectacular fashion, and he demonstrated the good sportsmanship to back-pedal for a while for me to catch up so we could play some more. It’ll never happen that way again. There were no other cars in class and no points at risk, and if I hadn’t bothered to double-dip, I would have missed out.

Getting more seat time is hugely beneficial, but it’s tough for me to do because of the demands of work and home life. I have enough time to attend all of our region’s events each season, so double-dipping gives me the opportunity to get the added track time all while racing under the blanket of safety that NASA provides. Sure it took more energy, but it was worth every calorie. Just like that second scoop of ice cream.

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