By on September 7, 2016

challenger hellcat (zombieite/Flickr)

I’ve been doing this racetrack thing for sixteen years now, and I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Mustangs on fire off the shoulder of Shenandoah. I watched Xenons glitter in the dark near the Thunderhill gate. All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

As you might imagine, I’ve been exposed to pretty much every sort of idiocy that is possible on four wheels, and pretty much every sort of idiot who can squeeze or fold himself behind the wheel of an automobile. When I started my trackday career, under the tutelage of a private instructor who kept me on a very short leash and deliberately prevented me from indulging in the typical foibles of the novice driver, I was extraordinary contemptuous of the mishaps and mistakes I saw happening all around me. As the years have passed, I’d like to think that I’ve become a bit more accepting of my fellow track rats.

This past weekend, however, I believe that I observed the ne plus ultra of on-track stupidity. After a decade and a half, I’ve finally seen the worst, most dangerous, and most idiotic driver out there. There can be only one, you know, and this guy is the Conor MacLeod of open-lappin’ jamokes. If I saw this dude pushing a shopping cart towards me in the Kroger, I’d drop my Ketel One and run for the nearest exit. I think he should be nuked from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. But since I’ve renounced the use of violence in my personal life, let’s focus instead on what we can learn from him.


The setup goes like so: I was driving a very hot hatch at a private trackday event in the Midwest. I’d agreed to give rides in the car to various friends, readers, fans, and curious parties (cue the Clerks track) who wanted to see what it was like to go around a racetrack at speed.

I wasn’t exactly getting the fabled Eleventh Tenth out of the car, since I was carrying passengers ranging from an eight-year-old girl to a seventy-two-year-old man, but neither was I lolly-gaggin’ around. Of the forty cars or so at the event, only one — an Exige on Hoosiers — was going faster. During my three-lap tours, we’d regularly catch five or six cars ahead of us. Never did anybody appear in our mirrors. Not once, in the course of three hours.

You can imagine my surprise, therefore, to see a white Challenger Hellcat come from a dead stop in pitlane to about 100 mph by the time the blend line ended. I was on my second of three laps with a group of three Millennial dudes who were laughing their asses off at the speed our little hatchback could carry around the track. The only problem was that we weren’t all that fast on the front straight, so the Hellcat was able to basically catch me before the entrance of Turn One even though he’d been stopped at the flag tower when we exited the last turn.

Idiot Moment Number Zero: Don’t drag race in the pit lane. Pitlane speed limits exist for a reason: to protect your friends, relatives, fellow competitors, and track safety personnel. Even Formula One regulates pitlane speed to about 62 mph — and that’s in a series where everybody over the pit wall is an experienced professional. Blasting to 100 mph before you even hit the end of pit lane? That’s a douche move. Keep it to 15-25 mph, maximum.

Idiot Moment Number One: The car on track has priority. In F1, getting out of the pitlane ahead of your competitor can be the difference between winning and losing. In an open-lapping day, getting out of the pitlane ahead of the cars on track can be the difference between going home in your car and going home in a pine box. The cars on track have priority. Blending with them is your responsibility.

Even with the Hellcat’s massive blast out of pitlane, I was still even with him at the entrance to Turn One. Since I was on the outside, I had priority. In a real race, the inside car has the right to the corner. At a trackday, the inside car must yield. But this fucking idiot swerved out to the racing line, forcing me to panic-brake my car and yield the position.

Idiot Moment Number Two: Respect the blend line. Don’t swerve outside it. Particularly not when there’s already a car out there. This will disqualify you from a lot of events, and with good reason. An improper entry onto a racetrack can GET YOU KILLED. Ask that one guy with the Carrera GT. More specifically, ask his family, because he’s not around to answer your question.

Having cut me off and shoved me nearly off the track, Mr. Hellcat proceeded to lose control of his car no fewer than four times in the next four turns. Each time, he entered the turn wayyy too early, then slammed on his brakes, forcing ESC to save his stupid ass. Then he slammed on the gas, forcing ESC to save his stupid ass again.

Idiot Moment Number Three: Don’t try to hustle around a track when you don’t understand any racing theory whatsoever. There’s a reason novice drivers are given severe speed and passing restrictions. It’s to keep them from entering a 50 mph turn at 100 mph.

We trailed the Hellcat around the Carousel turn at Nelson Ledges. By “trailed”, I mean “drove up on his back bumper and flashed the lights, repeatedly.”

Idiot Moment Number Four, Guest Star Edition: Don’t let your temper get the better of you on the track. If somebody’s holding you up, cycle through the pitlane so you can be as far away from them as possible. Don’t provoke them into doing something stupid. Although I was maintaining a safe space between us and the Hellcat, the smart thing to do would have been to back off 500 feet and call it a day.

At the exit to the Carousel, the Hellcat decided he was gonna DUST THESE HOMOS IN THE HATCHBACK. There was a MIGHTY ROAR from the 707 HORSEPOWER, a SQUEAL OF TIRES, and a SHOWER OF GRASS ON OUR WINDSHIELD as this idiot drove right off the track at full throttle, doing perhaps 90 mph.

Idiot Moment Number Five: Don’t floor the throttle on exit until you’re pointed down the track on your correct and safe exit line. Imagine there is a laser beam on your front bumper that is illuminated by pressing the throttle to the stop. If the red dot illuminates Armco, grass, tires, or a concrete barrier, that’s too soon, Junior.

At this point, I put on my hazards, slowed to 60 mph, and watched this half-wit struggle mightily to defeat the efforts of his ESC to keep him from spinning. There was grass everywhere from his spinning rear tires. Every time the ESC got him straightened out, he’d tug at the wheel again like Harambe tryna take a kid to safety before the Illuminati ordered his execution, starting the ESC cycle again. After about five hundred feet of this stupidity, his ESC finally hauled him onto the back straight tarmac safely. Where he proceeded to cut across our bow, floor the throttle, and race away.

Idiot Moment Number Six: If you go off track, don’t floor the gas and saw the wheel. Instead, straighten your steering and brake as hard as you can without locking the wheels. Don’t try to “save it.” Unless your ESC engineer is a wizard, you’re gonna spin. Don’t try to accelerate. Most of all, don’t try to RACE THE CAR BEHIND YOU BACK ONTO THE TRACK.

Idiot Moment Number Seven: Don’t swerve back on the track without looking. You might collect an Corvette doing 190 mph or something. That’s how people get KILLED TO DEATH YO.

I apologized to my passengers for the Hellcat’s behavior and decided to follow the guy into pitlane so I could have a talk with him. But when I entered the pitlane, the Hellcat wasn’t there. But I did hear the sweet roar of 707 horsepower at the end of the front straight.

Idiot Moment Number Eight: If you go four-wheels-off, proceed slowly around the track then pull into the pitlane. This serves three purposes: It gives trackside officials a chance to check for something deadly like a tire that’s about to come off the bead, it gives you a chance to cool down, and it gives your instructor or the trackday captain a chance to explain what you did.

I got out of the car and walked to the flag tower. “Black flag for the white Hellcat,” I said. They waved the black flag at the guy for the next five laps. He ignored it.

Idiot Moment Number Nine: Don’t ignore flags. If you see a black flag, as the saying goes, it’s for you.

I decided not to put any more passengers in the car until the Hellcat was off the track. I was told that he did, in fact, go off the track a few more times, but in the almost-crashing-into-tire-walls sense, not the coming-into-pit-lane-to-face-your-mortality sense. Finally, the checkered flag was waved on the session and the car came in.

We were guests of the trackday organizer and very much not part of the supervisory organization, so I contended myself with telling the track officials that the Hellcat driver should be keelhauled. I swore not to go out again whenever the white menace was on track. As fate would have it, however, that was the last session for the Hellcat’s run group. I took a few more passengers out in another run group, where we saw two more people spin out trying to stay ahead of our hatchback.

Idiot Moment Number Ten: If somebody’s faster than you are, don’t take it personally. Nobody is born knowing how to turn fast laps on a track. If you’re not fast, learn to be fast. Don’t try to rage your way into being fast. That only works in the movies.

That was the end of my interaction with the Hellcat driver. I was told that the driver was a female novice, so I decided to chill on the anger a bit. Later on, after the trackday was over, I found out that the driver was actually a cop, or the friends of a cop, and the woman in question was a passenger.

Idiot Moment Number Eleven: If you’re doing to do stupid shit, don’t take a passenger.

I’ll forever cherish my memory of the worst trackday driver ever. But I know that if stay in this business long enough, I’ll eventually meet somebody even worse. In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best to coach new drivers, both in person and over the web. I might be a little snippy and snarky with the idiots out there, but it’s nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn’t let me into Heaven for, right?

[Image: zombieite/Flickr]

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105 Comments on “Trackday Diaries: A New Life Awaits You In The… Other Sports Beckon!...”


  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    “At the exit to the Carousel, the Hellcat decided he was gonna DUST THESE HOMOS IN THE HATCHBACK. There was a MIGHTY ROAR from the 707 HORSEPOWER, a SQUEAL OF TIRES, and a SHOWER OF GRASS ON OUR WINDSHIELD as this idiot drove right off the track at full throttle, doing perhaps 90 mph.”

    Holy cow, this sounds like BTSR. Do all Hellcat owners act this way?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The rational side of me says no.

      The more-passionate side of me says that you kind of have to be a certain type of person to think you need a car with that much horsepower, especially if you don’t know how to use it.

      I think the Hellcat is overkill. Just give me the regular HEMI…or *maybe* one with the Scat Pack.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        “I think the Hellcat is overkill. Just give me the regular HEMI…or *maybe* one with the Scat Pack.”

        And this line of logic is why I am happily daily driving a Mustang Ecoboost.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          I instructed a guy with the SRT package… that was enough. Thankfully he knew what he was doing but on the stock tires every corner exit was battle against wheel spin. The Challenger is for drag racing not circuit racing. It goes fast in a straight line, or a semi straight line formed by connecting the various tank-slapper sideways motions the ESC constantly fights against. I guess at some point you could in theory fit tires wide and grippy enough onto a HellCat to make it usable.

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          What do you think? I’m seeing several available now used, and the depreciation is pulling me in for closer looks…great mileage, good looks, way more horsepower than many older GTs…

          NOT in any way like a Probe, but like an SVO without the weird looks :)

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            The SRT is likely a way better DD then an STI. However an STI with the right tires OWNS the track. Comparing the cornering between the two is not even fair. I got out of a ride-along in a STI on race compounds and my rib cage hurt from the Gs that thing could pull. The SRT weighs so much (or at least FEELS such) that corner entry alone was enough to upset the chassis. I think the knock on the STI would be similar to my Z: cheap interior and loud. Add to that the boy-racer image and many people avoid it. However for setting laps times the STI is the better car. Which would be more “fun”… well the SRT of course. Like my brother’s Golf R the advantage of AWD is you can drive like you stole it all the time. Subbie’s AWD just finds grip where there should be done, thus forward thrust is always available.

          • 0 avatar
            turbo_awd

            @JMII

            Thanks. Not necessarily looking for best lap times, just something that doesn’t break if I take it to a few track days, and needs the least amount of work to get it ready for the track.

            SRT would be fun for the power, and it’s a full-size with lots of nice gadgets.

            STI is somewhat cheaper, familiar (I have an ’05 Legacy GT), and probably better on the track, and nicer for winter trips with AWD..

      • 0 avatar

        @Kyree S. Williams

        Agree completely

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        “Need” runs out at about 110hp. Enough to accelerate to highway speed on an on-ramp. After that, it’s all about “want”.

        • 0 avatar
          turbo_awd

          Honestly, 110 seems a little low, unless you’re in a Mk1 Scirocco or something.. 10 years ago, Mazda 3 with 160 hp seemed about right to be able to safely merge. Wouldn’t really want much less than that these days. 3.8 in the ’08 Grand Caravan was ok. 3.6 Pentastar’s better..

          Mostly, it’s the clueless on-their-cellphone drivers who make it so you have to be able to accelerate a bit to pick your spot at times..

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        So 707 is “too much power”.

        I suspect that if this were the malaise era, a 225 HP L82 Corvette would have been “overkill”.

      • 0 avatar

        After I drove the Scat Pack Challenger for a week I thought I was afraid to drive the Hellcat, but I drove the McLaren 675LT, which has almost as much HP as the Hellcat (666 vs 707) and has a much better power to weight ratio (666/3000 vs 707/4450), so now I’m not so scared, but really anything more than 400 HP has to be respected.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Hellcat is probably fun in a point and shoot kind of why like every S-197 GT500.

        I think Jack described them best when he called the GT500 an unguided missile. Its pretty fun the be pushed back into the seat and rocket from 30 or 40 mph on up to 160 or so and I’d guess the same with the Hellcat.

        Definitely drag racing material though since they are really tire limited (even if this AWD Hellcat surfaces).

        I wonder how long the driver of the Hellcat has had his ride? Just seems like he was new to the whole high horsepower game and seems to have suffered from the somewhat prominent idea that handling somehow squares with horsepower (something I have argued with Boss 302 guys about when they double the crank horsepower and somehow figure the car handles as well or better than before with the addition of a set of rear control arms and a set of coilovers)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      BTSR would think that the track itself was for homos because it has turns.

    • 0 avatar

      Regarding “a SHOWER OF GRASS” – It must have been very dry grass. If the grass had any moisture in it, that Hellcat would have kissed the tire wall or worse. ‘Seen it happen to other drivers and it ain’t pretty.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Yeah it was 94 degrees outside and hadn’t rained in days.

        • 0 avatar

          I was there! Not all day, I got there about 345 and took a ride around the track around 430.

          Quotes (just things I overheard): “There’s definitely a few people here with more money than sense.”

          “I didn’t know the Hellcat had a reduced power mode that dials it back to 500hp, I drove around for weeks watching the fuel gauge crawl visibly to E. I kept checking the gas mileage, in disbelief.”

          “The Hellcat is pretty bad on the track, everybody catches up to it and gets held up behind it on any series of turns, then it finally pulls away on the straight.”

          I met a few of my fellow TTAC commenters (and DangerGirl), briefly, I ended up having to work at 10pm that night so I had to leave pretty much right after 5.

          Being on track as a passenger with Jack is kind of like a sideways roller coaster. He touched my arm once when he was shifting, so I moved it off the arm rest out of his way. We caught up to people on track and got waved by, saw a yellow Mustang spin off (I saw the dust cloud just before Jack pointed it out). My loaner helmet kept slowly drifting over and touching the top of the door frame on left turns (yay G-forces). Jack even sent me some pics taken by the pros with the R&T crew of me in the car.

          I didn’t talk to Jack much in the car because I figured he had to concentrate on driving. I definitely learned a little watching him toss the Focus RS around the track.

          I saw a red Miata come off the track with his license plate DANGLING by melted plastic, he melted his bumper and reverse lights (I got pics). There wasn’t any performance exhaust or anything on it according to the owner, so be careful out there, kids.

          All in all a fun time, thanks for inviting us all out Jack, I should have brought my mom, as it would probably be the closest to going around a Nascar road course as she’d ever see.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    So you didn’t have a face-to-face with the other driver afterwards?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I hate being “KILLED TO DEATH, YO!” It’s such a drag.

    As for these rules you mention, are they fairly intuitive if you’re paying any regard to the flow of a race, or do they require a lot of study? In other words, is it easy to make these mistakes, or do they take a true idiot?

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      From the information available, it doesn’t sound like it would take much more than an average sense of self-preservation and social and spatial intelligences to avoid being Hellcat Cop.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “As for these rules you mention…”

      At all events I’ve been to there is a driver’s meeting, the rules and flags are carefully reviewed then. Is attendance taken? No, so there is a possibility of skipping the meeting. After this meeting the new comers raise their hands and are paired with an instructor, this way no rookies are let loose. Is it possible to get around this? Sure, once again skip the meeting or sit on your hands. A few insane people believe they paid to race on track so that is exactly what they are going to do. Rules are for suckers.

      Regardless I can tell you some people are just clueless. They have no sense of a racing “line”, brake zones, apex location, throttle application, steering inputs or other basic car control skills. Granted I’m no professional but I’ve seen people so ham-fisted it is honestly amazing they don’t crash pulling out of their driveway ever day. This doesn’t stop them from owning seriously powerful machines and putting them on track. The best student is a scared student, fear tends to keep the idiots in check. The worst people are those who mistakenly think they have skills or think their vehicle is so awesome (because its got the “sport” package) it will own the road. Ditto the people who immediately turn off traction control because they heard or read the nannies only slow you down and real drivers don’t need such help.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Yeah, but if you get dead, just walk it off.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    That you BTSR? Certainly your ilk.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “I was told that the driver was a female novice, so I decided to chill on the anger a bit.”

    I hope you chilled at the time because of the ‘novice’ part, and not the ‘female’ part. Frankly, given your cogent description of track protocol, a driver who is a novice, a female, or a novice female is just as deadly behind the wheel.

    Can you elaborate?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “I think he should be nuked from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    Given the outcome of the day, and the “Aliens” quoting thing, there was only one thing to say to that other driver: “Get away from the Hellcat, you b*tch!!!”

    And would someone wake up Hicks?

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    I knew this was gonna be a good read when I got a Blade Runner reference AND an Aliens reference by the end of the 2nd paragraph.

    This experience with Mr. FLAT OUT in the Hellcat makes me appreciate the relative sedateness of BMW CCA HPDEs. I’ve seen one or two Idiot Moments, but they get dealt with Right Quick – at least at Mid-Ohio.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Jack will we get to learn the identity of the very hot hatch in the near future? Focus RS or something?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Ignoring a black flag should get the driver banned permanently from any event organized by the same parties. It’s a pure show of disrespect and contempt.

    • 0 avatar

      Dal20402 – You are correct. A driver who ignores a black flag should be permanently banned by the group that ran the event.

      And in my opinion, they should have ended the session early and escorted that guy off the track property. They should have never let the session continue. They could have resumed the session after he pulled in.

      Allan Lacki for NECC Motorsports
      http://www.neccmotorsports.com

      • 0 avatar
        golfnotgolf

        I was at that track this past weekend. Sad to say that this Hellcat was not the only car with a driver who repeatedly ignored black flags. There was a Mazdaspeed 3 that puked white clouds too thick to see through at several corner exits. He ignored flags at the main tower 3 laps in a row.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Your Kroger has a liquor store!?

    Lucky.

    I also learned today that BTSR is a policeman.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Depends on your state. In Washington, not only do all grocery stores sell hard liquor, many drugstores do too.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Colorado doesn’t allow liquor or wine sales in grocery stores. But apparently that’s changing now.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        So Hamilton County, Ohio has a limited number of liquor licenses, as below.

        “Whether a bar or restaurant opens in Cincinnati often depends on the ability of its attorney to wheel and deal for one of the city’s hard-to-find liquor permits.

        Thanks to Ohio laws that allot permits to municipalities based on population, available liquor licenses are becoming scarce in cities with shrinking populations, like Cincinnati.

        So restaurateurs and tavern keepers have two choices: Pay an average of $20,000 to buy and transfer a permit from some other part of the state — a process that takes about two months — or set up a dry shop and wait a year or more to get one from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.

        Obtaining a liquor permit is an increasingly complicated process, according to lawyers, permit holders and real estate brokers who wrangle with it every day. In some cases, it is driving businesses to the suburbs or Northern Kentucky where liquor permits are more easily obtained. And it clearly favors corporate chains and others with deep pockets over mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.”

        There are two Kroger locations within three miles of me, in opposite directions of one another. The larger one has a liquor store (and a layout which is the opposite of the smaller store), and the smaller one has me drive right next to a liquor store anyway.

        In all grocery travel situations, I have access to gin. America.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        same for Michigan. the only remnants of our “blue laws” is no alcohol sales on Christmas Day. Up until a few years ago, there were no sales before noon on Sunday (‘cos your butt should be in church, don’t’cha know?)

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Indiana still has no alcohol sales AT ALL on Sunday.

          Edit: Except what Sir said below. I don’t count that as generally “sales,” if you have to go to a bar and drink.

          • 0 avatar
            SirRaoulDuke

            In Indiana you can buy by-the-drink on Sunday, but no retail sales at all. Unless it’s at a microbrewery, they can sell you up to 576 ounces of beer to go on Sunday; that’s a sh!tload of growlers.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Massachusetts had that rule not so long ago. Now liquor stores can open at 10 a.m.

            Still no beer or wine, let alone liquor, in full-service grocery stores there. You have to go to the liquor store, which is probably in an old dark building with bars on the front and run by a guy named Sal who watches your every move.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            That sounds like the liquor store I went to in PA! The one here isn’t nearly that bad. I get a knowing nod when I go in, they know me and know I ain’t stealin. The owners are Indian, two brothers.

            They both have Odysseys, white and silver.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You can buy it in grocery stores in WA now, but for many years it was only at the state run stores and a small handful contract stores where the state didn’t think it would be profitable for them to handle it themselves. Of course the state would then open up a store not far from that contract store as soon as said store had volume that the state thought it would be worth while for them to open their own store.

        That happened near me but it was just before the initiative was passed so that particular state run store didn’t last too long.

        The best is NH where they have liquor stores in the rest areas along their pay highways, or is it that the liquor stores on freeways have bathrooms.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “I also learned today that BTSR is a policeman.”

      For real? Now THERE’S a comforting thought. Probably slaps the folks with the Hillary sticker with an extra ticket or two.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    He was a cop or the friend of a cop? I pray it was not a department issued Hellcat he was in.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    Interesting that you mention Ben (the guy with the Carrera GT). I was 18 or so when that happened, he was one of my customers at that time. I had a small car detailing business I had started in high school and carried into college, growing up in a nice town I was fortunate to touch the latest exotics of that era.

    I will never forget when he had that Carrera GT delivered and called me to take a ride. Ben was a relatively young guy still, mid 30’s, and loved to go fast. Every time he picked up a new car I would receive a call and we would go out for a spirited drive to say the least. At that time he also had a beautiful gray 360 Challenge Stradale, which I loved. But when he took me out in the Carrera GT and showed me what it had, I developed a temporary case of tourette’s syndrome. The speed that car could accelerate and decelerate was from another planet! Ben was a great guy, as down to earth as they came, wish he was still here.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    meme overload, YO.

    “Idiot Moment Number One: The car on track has priority. In F1, getting out of the pitlane ahead of your competitor can be the difference between winning and losing. In an open-lapping day, getting out of the pitlane ahead of the cars on track can be the difference between going home in your car and going home in a pine box. The cars on track have priority. Blending with them is your responsibility.”

    same rule applies to merging on the highway, but nobody respects it there either.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Are you saying I shouldn’t brake when I’m on the interstate approaching an on-ramp and I see someone merging?!

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        No, you should definitely slow down so that you’re side-by-side when they try to join the highway, and make it as awkward as possible for them to merge.

        Also, definitely don’t move over into the open lane to your left to allow them to join at a safe speed, instead make sure you pretend you’re going to get out of the way while spinning your head around and jerk-braking down to around 40MPH.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh okay, just wanted to verify the correct procedure.

          *Exits to silver Sebring or beige Corolla.*

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The worst case of asshat merging behavior I’ve encountered in recent memory came from a tech bro in a 458 Spyder, while I was driving our C-Max. Mostly I think he wanted to mess with the weenie in the eco-car for the benefit of the thoractically enhanced blonde in the passenger seat.

            Sped up to prevent me from getting in front, slowed way down (nearly to a stop) when I decided just to go in behind him, sped up again when I hit the gas.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You can take that fool with your C-Max! Them bress’ implants is heavy.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I fantasize about having a selective EMP generator for untermenschen like that guy. And coal-rollers.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Man people hate to see you merge onto the highway in front of them! It wouldn’t be big deal I suppose if there wasn’t another 50 or 60 drivers behind that one with the same idea.

          This one particular on-ramp on eastbound 64 in between Williamsburg and Hampton with a particularly short merge lane seems like a magnet for these guys.

          I always eased up the ramp and picked the spot where I wanted to be with plenty of space but sometimes it would devolve into a drag race when your just trying to merge as people would see you come up and purposefully accelerate in attempt to cut you off.

          I know the proper thing to do would be to yield completely and come to a stop and wait for an appropriate break in traffic then accelerate moderately onto the open highway but traffic never thins enough except early in the morning or very late at night so it isn’t really an option unless your fine with backing up the on-ramp potentially clogging a surface street waiting for a break or merging onto a busy highway at a fairly low speed.

  • avatar
    jhughes

    How to be Mr. Hellcat:

    1. Study the rulebook. Memorize every convention and procedure in great detail.

    2. Do the exact opposite.

    I’d GTFO the track, too, no matter how much talent I may or may not have.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Oh jeez – another ‘civil servant’ driving a nicer car than most working stiffs.

    Ignoring flags though? That’s scary dangerous. I wonder if there could be a telemetry system that could let other drivers know when such a thing is happening. I’ve never had that problem in cars but I’ve raced with some serious knuckleheads in motocross and the danger is just so unnecessary. If you want to win amateur races on your willingness to crash, go right ahead just don’t take me out.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      no law against a ‘Civil Servant’ having a partner who does well…My SO is a teacher, she not allowed to drive a nice car?

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        “Oh jeez – another ‘civil servant’ driving a nicer car than most working stiffs. ”

        ! HEY ! I’m a retired Civil Servant and I’ll have you know that my 34 year old Mercedes POS Coupe is probably worth five, maybe SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS ! .

        So there .

        Great , humorous article Jack ~ you shoulda posted the jerkhoffs name .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    zeru57

    I attended this trackday, and I can confirm that the above article is reasoned retelling of a very small portion of the day’s events on the track. Lots of ah, interesting, driving!

  • avatar
    ajla

    In very small defense of Officer HELLCAT, at least he was being a dangerous psycho at a track rather than living out Paul Walker/Vin Diesel/Nick Hogan fantasies on public roads.

    I can’t confirm that’s better, but it seems better.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’ve seen all these crimes committed on a track day as well… but not by the SAME car! Instant ban sounds appropriate, but nuke from orbit sounds better. Stupidness in the pits is EXTRA bad because often crew members are there waiting to take tire temps.

    The dipping into pit lane to avoid idiots is my main defense. I’m driving a “slow” car compared to most track day toys but those GT3 Cup rockets seem to be worst. Yes even worst then BMW drivers. They often attempt to pass me in a TURN because they can’t wait for the next straight to show me their tail lights. I understand your faster, I get it, I’m OK with you passing me – but only once it is SAFE for both of us.

    Once a guy in a WRX STI passed me on the warm up lap. He was in the grass on the next corner. Its called a warm up lap for a reason. Brakes and tires don’t work well cold, even with AWD. Also had a Lambo completely miss his brake zone, enter the grass and slide thru an apex at scary speeds. He found the tire wall in a hurry. This all happened directly in front of guy I was instructing. It was a brown moment for sure.

    However this crazy stuff rarely happens. I honestly feel safer on the track then on Interstate 95.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Was it a Huracan or Aventedore? Crazy fast cars. IIRC the Huracan can clip 10’s Not sure about the Gallardo though.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        It was a Gallardo. Guy claimed the brakes “failed”. However based on my view of the incident the guy just over cooked it. He attempted an impossible pass of the M3 driver I was instructing. The Lambo came in too late and on the wrong line, plus carrying way too much speed. Regardless of vehicle or talent he wasn’t making the corner given his approach vector. Then panic set in (can’t blame him), he knew the corner was a tight right (that leads into a sweeping right, turn #6/7 complex at Homestead) – so he chunked it hard to starboard, which lead him right onto the grass and over a crub. From there he was just a passenger. Based on the M3’s speed the Lambo went off track at 115 mph and was down to 50 by the time he engaged the tire barrier. He managed to get car somewhat sideways (parallel) so it wasn’t a head on wall visit, but the damage bill surely exceed the cost of my 3 vehicles combined. Driver walked away with just a shoulder bruise from the seatbelt. The GoPro survived but footage wasn’t shared due to insurance reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          How does an insurer prevent you from sharing your own GoPro footage, when that’s not something which was required on the car to have insurance anyway?

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Either he told his insurance company that it happened on a public road, or it’s just an excuse to avoid providing proof that it was entirely the result of his own stupidity.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Probably the former. Your regular everyday insurance will not cover you on private track events, now that I think about it.

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            “Your regular everyday insurance will not cover you on private track events, now that I think about it.”

            Correct. Many guys at the track remove or cover their license plates because its been rumored that insurance reps show up, take pictures then search their databases for customers. Next thing you know you get a cancellation notice in the mail.

            Now you can buy separate track insurance. My brother does this. I don’t, because I have a second vehicle.

            The event organizers reminded this kid he was at “driving experience”, IE: not racing. Doubt the insurance company cares about this minor difference but the organizers stressed the importance of communicating this fact to anyone who asked where/where/how the Lambo got crunched.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, after the fact it might be just a little bit late to start fiddling with the adjectives.

  • avatar
    operagost

    “That was the end of my interaction with the Hellcat driver. I was told that the driver was a female novice, so I decided to chill on the anger a bit.”

    Because the driver is a novice, not because she is female, right?

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    >Kroger
    >Ketel One
    friggin Texas…

  • avatar
    V-Strom rider

    psarhjinian beat me to it with the movie references – good work!

    In my experience in both fast cars and on motorcycles, whenever the road is less than perfectly straight and smooth, agressively pushing/turning the throttle rarely makes one go faster. In fact generally it has the opposite effect as it unsettles the vehicle and reduces grip.
    Learn to be smooth first, understand braking points and corner lines, pay particular attention to transitions, get to know your vehicle as opposed to its spec sheet. Once you’ve mastered these things the speed will come and, like Jack, you will easily be able to embarrass wannabes in supposedly “faster” cars.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    That was scarily highlarious!

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    This is why you need a Go Pro. Words don’t do this scenario enough justice.

  • avatar
    MikeTyson8MyKids

    In my limited time as an instructor, police have been the most hamfistedness mess of them all. Fairly small sample size, but it was very apparent. Hack on all inputs.

    This type of driving has to be learned, and I’m guessing its during training.

    What you learned in a Crown Vic does not translate to an F430 Scuderia. LOL

  • avatar
    NeilM

    My favorite black flag incident was the Mazda guy at Mid Ohio who ignored the blag flag several times until the corner worker practically shoved it in his open window. Then he came to a stop on track at the end of the pit-out lane at the exit of Turn 1, engaged reverse and backed up a couple of hundred feet into the hot pits. Smooth move.

    Fortunately this was a BMW CCA event, so his next driving move was leaving the track property.

  • avatar
    DedBull

    “At the exit to the Carousel, the Hellcat decided he was gonna DUST THESE HOMOS IN THE HATCHBACK. There was a MIGHTY ROAR from the 707 HORSEPOWER, a SQUEAL OF TIRES, and a SHOWER OF GRASS ON OUR WINDSHIELD as this idiot drove right off the track at full throttle, doing perhaps 90 mph.”

    Said idiot is lucky it was a dry summer or they would be fishing for him in the swamp. I’m surprised that he managed not to fly off the track at warp speed trying to negotiate the kink or trying to brake over the hump before 12.

    Inquiring minds want to know, how does the track look? Big changes are promised after the change in ownership.

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