Autocross is an affordable and accessible form of amateur motorsports competition. Our objective is to provide information on autocross in general with an emphasis on autocross activity in Upstate New York.
The Long Run
31:00We talk a lot on this podcast about changes and the evolution of the sport. There is no standing still. If you are not moving forward, you are falling behind. Yet, it can be easy to fall into the trap of changing things for the sake of change. Decades ago my mentor, Bob Jubinville, and I came up with a phrase that has guided much of what I have done since then: “Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency is the hallmark of perfection.” Only if you hold a core element (or elements) consistent can you truly know if you are growing or reaching whatever goals you may have over a very long period of time. This is true even if that goal is something as simple as having fun. Southern NY SCCA member Pat Brennan has done just that.
58:09A couple of episodes back we discussed how to get better at autocross. In that episode we encouraged people to get instruction – especially new participants. So… we figured it was about time to do an episode on the other side of that equation: teaching people how to autocross (and how to get better at it).Greg Turner is a retired music teacher with three decades of experience helping people learn in formal settings. He has also been autocrossing since 2005 and these days puts his teaching skills to use at autocross events. Greg joins host Mark Mangicaro (who has been teaching broadcast media at the college level since 2006) to offer some insight on how to get the most out of the limited time we have when instructing at local events. In addition to some teaching/coaching tips we also discuss the different types of instruction that are available and where to find instruction. Two programs mentioned in the podcast are The SCCA Starting line school: https://www.scca.com/pages/starting-line-autocross-school and Evolution Performance Driving Schools http://www.evoschool.com/schools.html.
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31:25It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of driving and take safety for granted. That is probably not the best way to approach your day. :-) With the season about to get started, we decided this would be a great time to talk safety. Jim Gary has been an SCCA solo safety steward since the 1980s, a solo safety instructor for 20 years, and is the current Divisional Safety Steward for the Northeast Division of the SCCA.Jim joins host Mark Mangicaro to discuss the importance of safety at SCCA autocross events. Topics covered include why the SCCA has safety stewards, what participants can do to help stay safe at events, and how you can become a solo safety steward.
How to Get Better
1:03:02Jim Perrin has been running events in Western NY for decades and in 2022 he will be running a number of test and tunes at Seneca Army Depot where Jim and some other experienced drivers will be offering instruction on how to get better at autocross. In this episode, Jim joins host Mark Mangicaro for a discussion on how to improve your autocross driving. Topics include getting in the right mindset, setting attainable goals, making the most of your course walks, taking advantage of test and tune opportunities, and using data to understand how changes to the car affect its handling.For a schedule of test and tune date check out the FLR website: https://www.flr-scca.com/autocross Space is limited at these test and tune events an pre-registration is required.
SCCA Autocross Categories
40:42“What class is my car in?” If you’ve spent anytime at the registration table of an autocross event, you have probably heard this question more than once. Veteran autocrosser and former CNY SCCA autocross chair Scott Newton has answered that question countless times over the years. Scott joins host Mark Mangicaro to help shed a little light on SCCA autocross classing. Since a discussion of each individual class would be an hours-long conversation that would test the patience of just about anyone who participates in autocross, we keep this discussion limited to the broader topic of categories. There are nine SCCA autocross categories. This episode summaries each of them by stating the basic rules for each category and how they relate to one another. For a more in-depth look at the individual categories, listeners are encouraged to explore episodes 5-11 where the 7 most popular categories are discussed in greater detail. An exhaustive explanation of all of the rules for each category can be obtained by going to scca.com/pages/solo-cars-and-rules and selecting “2022 Solo Rules download”.
Competing in Xtreme Street
37:00This episode is the 7th and last in a series of UNYAX episodes that focuses on each of the general SCCA autocross categories. (A summary episode will be next.)Xtreme Street is the newest category in SCCA Autocross. It consists of two classes XS-A and XS-B and was first offered in the abbreviated 2020 season, so 2021 was its first full season. With a few rare (and exotic) exceptions, just about any street-legal car can be eligible for Xtreme Street.Nick Dixon spent a few years in Street Touring, then Street Prepared, and finally Super Street Modified while waiting for a class that really fits his car. As soon as the SEB announced Xtreme Street, Nick knew that is where he wanted to compete!Nick joins host Mark Mangicaro for a discussion on the category that offers a lot of freedom for those who like to modify their street-driven cars.
Competing in CAM
31:00This episode is the 6th in a series of UNYAX episodes that focuses on each of the general SCCA autocross categories.CAM is an acronym for Classic American Muscle and is one of the newest categories in SCCA Autocross. As the name implies, cars (and pickups) that run in this category must be made in the USA. While most of them are decades old, late model Camaros, Challengers, Mustangs, and the like are also eligible. Brett Bourdette has been a muscle car enthusiast his entire life and has been autocrossing for about 20 years. While CAM has only be around since the 2010s, most of Brett's autocrossing has been in cars that currently qualify for CAM competition.Brett joins host Mark Mangicaro for a discussion of the different CAM classes and why just about anyone with a muscle really ought to give it a try!
Competing in Modified
41:05This episode is the 5th in a series of UNYAX episodes that focuses on each of the general SCCA autocross categories.Cars in the modified classes are dedicated race cars that unmistakably look the part. Very few of them are, or ever were, street legal. Steve Hayward has been autocrossing since the mid-1970s and almost all of that time has been spent in mod cars. He has owned 15 different modified cars over the years. Steve joins host Mark Mangicaro for a detailed discussion of what it is like to compete in the various modified classes. General mod life is discussed and each of the 7 modified classes is examined including Steve’s picks for which cars are the most competitive in each modified class.
Competing in Prepared Class
41:04This episode is the 4th in a series of UNYAX episodes that focuses on each of the general SCCA autocross categories.The Prepared category consists primarily of cars that started life as street-going rides and have been built into competition-only vehicles.Andy Furlog and his green Rabbit are familiar sights across Upstate NY – he has run that car in E Prepared for 16 years and counting. Andy joins host Mark Mangicaro to talk about the fun times he has had competing in E Prepared over the years. Topics include modifications allowed to the car and how to test them, why prepared class is so much fun, and advice on how to make the most of it.
Competing in Street Modified
41:43This episode is the 3nd in a series of UNYAX episodes that focuses on each of the general SCCA autocross categories.Street Modified is the most permissive of the categories with “street” in the title, allowing significant changes to be made to the car.John Mayer has been an SCCA member for 35 years and has been running his 10th generation Evo in SM for the last 8 years. John joins host Mark Mangicaro to talk about the advantages of competing in Street Mod. Topics include choosing the wide variety of allowable modifications to the power plant, suspension, and of course tires. John shares his ideas for how to go about making improvements to your SM car as well as some of the challenges to keep in mind.