Trying Not to Finish Last at NCM


Last place, or almost last, we’ve all been there. At one time, it was a lack of experience. Other times I can point the finger at good ol’ bad luck. And now, it’s an issue I haven’t faced in a while, a lack of equipment.

Specifically, a lack of a proper racecar and the novelty of the 5000-dollar Spec Miata has slowly worn off. It is still a blast to drive, but quickly becoming a bit of an issue running in fields full of 25,000-dollar-plus equipment.

Looking for Solutions

If you follow the blog, you know that I have nowhere to really dig into a car at the moment. Right now, the Spec Miata has a few issues that I need to sort out ASAP.

  • The transmission miss shifts exceptionally easily.
  • Bushings throughout are original and in various states of degradation.
  • The alignment is questionable, and that is being nice.
  • The engine is a big unknown.

One of my next posts will most likely be about me working in the dirt to address all of these issues. And although I have snuck the car onto a couple of podiums, I am working exceptionally hard to get the car there with its artificially low limit. And as I venture out of the region, the competition and equipment ramp up quickly.

But I have been here before. Like when I first started in 944 Spec. And I can say this, my desire to win has already far exceeded my need for a comfortable workspace.

Racing Spec Miata at the National Corvette Museum

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy racing at the back of the field in Spec Miata at the National Corvette Museum. I did the ‘best’ with what I had. ‘Best’ because there is always more to be had, no matter who you are.

Overall the races weren’t that eventful. I qualified towards the back, would get a few spots on the start but would inevitably get passed and settle back into my qualifying spot for the remainder of the race. The transmission would occasionally grab 5th gear instead of 3rd when taking the 2-3 shift around deception, which would destroy my momentum. And the car was incredibly loose, hanging the rear end out easily.

Here is the footage from Race 2. You can see I am working the car hard but not getting a lot back in return.

As I said, not a whole lot was going on other than driving a car with a low limit that is super easy to miss a shift. But I did have the best seats in the house to watch two of my former compatriots in 944 Spec duke it out for the last two spots on the podium.

944 Spec drivers Shawn Taylor and rookie John Reed are driving for a podium position. I got to act as the chase car.

This blog is not only about my racing exploits; it’s about building and learning as well. And it’s about to get back to its roots as I fix the number 351 Spec Miata to get it in fighting form. Expect some old-school tech guides soon as I work to get the car out of the mid-pack.

By Chris Simmons

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