Packwood National Tour: yah I earned a trophy… but I got my ass kicked as well.
As someone who has autocrossed a lot, but national toured not at all, my brief summary is this: wow what a freaking waste of time!
I’m not sure how much I mean it though. Basically it comes down to 4.5 days spent away from home, more than a thousand dollars on gas and entry fee and hotel and food… and 336.301 seconds of racing. That’s about 5 and a half minutes of seat time. Really. 86400 seconds on the highway. 336 seconds on the course. It almost makes you want to drive slower just to get better value for your time and money… or at least drive a slow car.
The truth is that I had a great time, and enjoyed it so much that I’m happy to do it all over again next weekend. Yes, after my runs were finished I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t manage better, and wanted nothing more than one more shot… but unless I win it all, I’m bound to feel that way no matter how many runs I have taken.
The lack of driving time and/or success, is easily compensated for by the intensity of the show around you. I.E. friends in battles equivalent to or even better than your own, Lotus Exige’s digging in and lifting two wheels off the ground, cars launching and returning at perfect rhythm, and Dad’s walking their young daughters around the course giving them pointers.
This is still grassroots motorsports, but to me it feels like racing utopia.
The OG’s running times near the bottom, coming dependably again and again, will tell you it’s more about the people and the community than the drive. For myself it’s not about that. As with everything, there are rad people, and there are dicks. Sometimes it’s hard to give the guy you may not know with the nondescript car, credit for skills. Sometimes it’s hard not to be the whiny bitch who tells everyone where they would have placed if it wasn’t for said cone, without first looking at the coned runs of others. Best to just shut your mouth, congratulate those who got you and not belittle those who didn’t.
I may still have lots to learn… or perhaps I just need to drive faster. Maybe that happens next weekend… though I’m likely to eat some more humble pie as the fellow who blew me up this weekend returns, and another perhaps even faster opponent emerges. Andrew is coming now though… to hopefully double our chances.
More quiet moments like this, and autocross though??? Looking forward to it.