Last week on Thursday I drove 2.5 hours up to Heartland Motorsport Park in Topeka to run my first Track Night in America, beginning my weekend of fun.

Photo: Jake Bickhard

While I’m on my 3rd season of AutoX, I’d never been on a track before. Track Night in America was a great way to get out there for the first time. At autocross it can be hard to visually see the difference between how power and momentum cars make time. On the track it was hilariously apparent.

Skip to 13:30 to see the red Camaro demonstrate how not to do a point by (and almost cause a wreck)

I had so much fun chasing down all the Camaro SS’s, Mustang GT/Cobras, C63 AMGs, and other Miatas that were out there. The only thing I couldn’t catch was the Viper ACR, and I think I can live with that. The only hiccup I really had was that my left front tire went down towards the end of my second heat, but the leak was slow so I aired it up and ran part of the 3rd heat as well.

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Friday night my sister drove over from St. Louis so that she could run in our Women’s Autocross Fun Day event. This is the second year for this event in our region (Wichita Region SCCA) and it’s already become a favorite. The idea is to create a fun, non-competition event where women can come try autocross without the “go go go” urgency of a regular event. We provide coaches if they want in-car instruction, but the intent is just to have “fun with cars”.

Photo: Jake Bickhard

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She started out in the Trans Am, which she had run in the previous year’s event. She ran most of the morning in that car but, after I ran a lap to show her a couple things, the oil pressure dropped a bit and the power steering pump was being loud (typical GM things). Not wanting to hurt the TA, I asked her if she wanted to run the Miata after lunch, “Sure” she said “but you’ll have to teach me how to drive stick, because I’ve never done that”.

So, after a ten minute crash course in how to drive stick, she lined up for her first runs in the Miata...

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Photo: Jake Bickhard

...and did great.

It took her a second to get used to the immediacy of the Miata’s reaction to inputs compared to the TA, but by the end of the day she had the fastest time out of all the women at the event (not that I was keeping track or anything...)

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In fact she was having so much fun that she decided to enter our regular points event on Sunday, at which she put down a pretty impressive run (especially considering she only had half a day’s experience driving stick).

I also had a pretty good day on Sunday, netting a 7th place in raw time and 9th in PAX. The below run would’ve been good for 5th if it wasn’t for a stupid cone:

and through it all the Miata ran like a champ. Never got hot, never had brake fade, didn’t mind my sister riding the clutch at launch or when she missed a 1-2 shift and never lifted off the throttle until she eventually (it felt like an eternity of bouncing off the limiter) found 2nd.

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Good weekend of fun, but I’m glad to have a couple days until RallyX next weekend.