Always Point Out Downed Cones.

I was really looking forward to yesterdays Autocross. After roughly 2.5 months of so-so results while constantly adjusting alignment and damper settings of my Koni 2812's, I finally feel like I have my RX-8 about 90% ‘dialed in’ now.

And all in all, my day went well but I learned a hard lesson along the way.....

Pictured: Me going through the final sweeper where my hopes of a great day was dashed by an already downed-cone.
Photo: Nate Michals (WNY SCCA FB Group)

My first two morning runs were a bit rough as the surface at New Era Field is rather ‘gravely’ and sub 60* weather meant that my RE-71's were going to be a bit slippery until they had some heat. As the tire temps came up, I decided to slow myself down a bit out there and really focus on the placement of my car through each element. While I was driving a bit slower, I was more in control and shortened my distances dramatically. The net result was being in 3rd place out of 12 in Street-Touring through morning runs with a 40.964.

I managed to get some rides with some more talented drivers and was able to find the areas that I was giving up a lot speed on and went into my afternoon runs very confident that I was going to cut a good amount of time off my morning runs.

The first run of the afternoon was ruined as soon as I got into the first sweeper and felt the traction-control (that I forgot to turn off) engage. My second was one of the best runs I’ve had all season. I was able to keep the precision that I had in my morning runs while adding a significant amount of speed in the areas I knew I could.

I’m in the passenger seat picking up some pointers from my friend, Ken. It’s good having friends who drive similar cars.
Photo: Nate Michals (WNY SCCA FB Group)

The last sweeper was an off-camber reducing-radius left hand turn that ran into the finish (Its the corner that I’m going through in the picture above) As I turned into the corner, I noticed the cone at the apex was down. I had a choice to make: Do I stop and point it out and take a re-run, or do I keep going hoping that the course workers saw it before I went past it? I knew I was on a great run, so I made the choice to pass it by. I ran a 40.292, almost 7-tenths faster than my previous best!

Unfortunately, I chose poorly.

I get back to grid and check the live timing only to see a +1 next to my time. I talk to the driver behind me and he said he saw a worker running back from that downed-cone. Dammit! I was frustrated, but still incredibly happy because I knew it was a clean run and one of my best runs of the year.


It was my fault though. I should have stopped and pointed it out and got a re-run. It would have been nice to have some more heat in the tires anyways. Live and learn.

I had one more run after that and while it was a sloppier run than the run previous, the 40.825 was still over a tenth improvement from the morning and good enough to keep 3rd place. But that unnoticed downed cone cost me one class position, 5 spots in overall PAX, and a chance to beat a friend in his Street-Touring-Pony Camaro who has been beating me all season.


At least its not the end of the season. I still have two or three events left and hopefully I can build upon this excellent result.

Also, if you are in the Western New York area, there are still a few Autocrosses left to attend! Sept. 30 is our last event of the season located at New Era Field (where the Buffalo Bills play) Come out and join us! Other events include Sept. 16 at Lake Erie Speedway with the Misery Bay Region and Oct. 7 at Xerox in Webster NY with the Finger Lakes Region. Look at MotorsportReg for more info on local events. If you’re a fellow Oppo and see my RX-8 pictured above, make sure to stop by and say ‘Hi’!

Share This Story