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2014 Spec Miata Runoffs Plunge-Gate

In our Dark $ecrets – Realities of Professional Road Racing series of articles, we dove into just how powerful money is in the pro racing industry. Don’t think that money and politics aren’t a major influence in Club Racing as well.

To say that the Spec Miata category is important to SCCA and NASA is a vast understatement. To give you an idea, in 2014 Spec Miata accounted for approximately 19% of all SCCA regional entries alone. And that ignores “double dippers who race their SM in other classes like ITA and STL for extra track time.  From a manufacturer’s standpoint, Mazda also recognizes the value Spec Miata (SM) racing has on sales. After all, Mazda is quite proud (as they should be) of their slogan “on any given weekend more Mazda’s are raced than any other car.”

2014 Spec Miata Runoffs Synopsis
At the recent SCCA Runoffs (the club’s National Championship road racing event), the club witnessed it’s largest single class disqualifications in it’s nearly 60 year history. If you haven’t been following this debacle, here is a relatively brief summary. And as always, there’s more than one side to every story.

During the 2014 SCCA Runoffs, a protest was filed against nine Spec Miata cars. While the SCCA protest process requires one individual to sign their name to it, in this instance there was a group of drivers who collaborated and moved forward with this protest. It is well believed that they had seen proof of certain SM engines being modified in a manner they felt was illegal. This was a gutsy move on their behalf as for each car being protested, it was necessary for them to put up a $1,400 bond ($12,600 Continue reading

2015 Corvette: Clark Kent, but Without All of the Lies

For once, there is no rush. The cruise is set at 72 mph, and the dash, set to info mode,  informs that mileage is hovering a bit over 30MPG. In a 4 cylinder Chevy, that’s expected stuff… but this is not a typical inline 4 Chevy! It’s a V4. A V4?  A V4??  And there are 4 OTHER slugs riding along lazily, currently ingition-less but poised to add their considerable potential to the situation, should the need arise to, say, reach 60 MPH from a standing start in 3.9 seconds. Or to double the double nickle in about 12 seconds…in third gear! Or to threaten the double century.  No this isn’t any run of the mill Chevy, rather, it’s an American Superhero, the 2015 Corvette Stingray convertible.
Who’s to thank for this dichotomy? I’d submit it’s two rather unrelated and somewhat ironic events. 55 years ago or so, Jack Kirby, then working at Texas Instruments, figured out how to place transistors on a bit of semiconductor material, and the integrated circuit was born. Jack had a few transistors on his first ‘chips’, but by 2008, chips contained billions. The second, Continue reading

10 Reasons Why You Should Buy a C7 Corvette

2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible

As we regularly made trips to the gas station and watched the amount of money we spent on fuel amass, we were unaware that we managed to put on 1,200 miles in just five short days! This was one of the very few vehicles we had no problem paying this price of admission. To say we all fell in love with the newly designed C7 Corvette is an understatement. While there are so many reasons one would find such a romance with the Corvette, we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten. Continue reading

2014 Mazda3 – Comparing Old and New

The first generation Mazda3 was first introduced to us over ten years ago (pictured on the right). It helped change the way people viewed the compact car segment which consisted of many vehicles that were uninspiring, lacked performance, felt cheap, or had questionable reliability. The Mazda3, however, felt like a more expensive sporty car at an affordable price, with its commendable performance, agile handling, attractive styling and class leading interior. For me, it felt like the way a BMW 3-Series Continue reading

The 2014 Chevy Spark – Catching an Enthusiast by Surprise

The Chevy SparkSo there seems to be a new trend in car rentals—well, maybe it’s an old trend, but I’m just noticing it—where the agencies snag your license and credit card and point you toward the garage telling you to “pick whatever you want” (within your rented category of car, of course). Nice spin on the “or similar” jargon when you’re signing up. And so it went when my wife Thea and I arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport on a recent nice sunny weekend (a wonderful reprieve from this past New England winter) for a friend’s wedding and a couple of recreational days in Key West.

As we rolled our bags toward the economy row, my eyes looked over the various options with the expectation of negotiating an upgrade if required. I saw a Dodge Avenger (“and similar”) in the mid-size row and a Ford Focus (“and similar”) in the compact row. Nothing exciting. Then again, it was a car rental garage. As I glanced down the economy row, I caught sight of the Mazda 2, a strong choice I made when in Continue reading

2014 BMW i8 – A Must See at the 2014 New York International Auto Show

It’s been a couple years since we’ve first seen the i8 concept, and fortunately the production version of the car retains the striking looks of the concept we like so much.

This time, we had the opportunity to sit in it. Like we remembered, the doors are scissored.  They open and close almost as easily as regular doors.  When seated Continue reading

Choosing the Right Tire Pressure Gauge

Deciding which tire pressure gauge to purchase can be a bit overwhelming considering the numerous options available . The good news is after you start defining your needs and preferences, the right choice quickly becomes clearer. This article will describe the differences in gauges and simplify the selection process for you.

For the purpose of this article, we spoke with an industry expert and one of our sponsors who make this resource possible – OG Racing. Please show them your support with your racing gear needs.

Use of Your Gauge

Have you ever found yourself taking with friends or even industry experts at an event about optimum tire pressures then simply setting your pressures based on that?

A few years ago I was at a track and set the tire pressures on my racecar. A friend of mine Continue reading

2014 Buick Regal AWD Premium II – Performance Luxury Made More Affordable

When you hear the name “Buick” what’s the first things that comes to your mind? American luxury? Cars driven by seniors? Well, there’s more to Buick than just those things. With attractive designs, more efficient yet more powerful engines, and new technologies, they are attracting new customers to their portfolio. And it doesn’t stop there. Buick also makes a mid-size luxury vehicle that’s actually sporty too, which is helping to attract even younger buyers to Buick. That vehicle is Continue reading

2014 BMW 335i xDrive Gran Turismo – A Great Package or Just a Bloated Commuter Car?

I just can’t stand the way station wagons look! Yet as a family that begrudgingly has one that was intended to be a winter beater, I can’t say it doesn’t offer nice utility. We also have an SUV which yields ample room for the family and whatever gear we desire to tote around. The SUV’s fuel mileage is horrible, the ride is boring, and if I didn’t require a vehicle that can tow my racecar we wouldn’t own one.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fall into the camp who believes that we need the biggest vehicle possible and nothing short of a Chevy Suburban will work for our family of four. Hell, we made a two-person sports car work while having a boy in our family until he was five years old. Then when our daughter was born, it was time to transition to a “family car” which recently became a BMW 135i convertible. Yet I’m unique and have Continue reading

New SCCA Race Class with Minimal Cost and Preparation

Improved Touring – EZ
The purpose of IT‐EZ is to be an SCCA regional class where car preparation can be kept to a minimum. Cars that are built using ChumpCar or Lemons rules are welcome. As opposed to any other class of SCCA road racing, IT‐EZ competition is designed as a “fun run” class, without any promise or intent of performance equitability. IT‐EZ is designed to provide a way for drivers to earn an SCCA racing license and race in regional competition, with the absolute lowest cost vehicle. In no Continue reading

New Product Release: Bell GT5 Touring Helmet

Introducing the new Bell GT5 Touring Helmet from our partners at OG Racing who help make this resource possible.

New for 2014, the Bell GT5 Touring Helmet is designed primarily for closed car forms of racing and offers high-end features and performance at an affordable price. The versatile design allows the GT5 Touring to be used as a large eyeport helmet with a standard shield, or as an open helmet with an adjustable sun peak that combines the feel of an open face helmet, but with the protection of a full face model.

The GT5 Touring is based on Bell’s new High Performance (HP) design platform with styling that incorporates aggressive upper chin bar and top vents for outstanding Continue reading

Vehicle Speed Dating at the Monticello Motor Club

Recently we at Go Ahead – Take the Wheel had a chance to sample a few dozen of the latest and greatest vehicles from several different manufacturers on the entertaining country club track at the Monticello Motor Club, as well as its surrounding public streets. Like speed dating, you experience a lot in too short a time, but you leave with many lasting impressions. Here are some quick thoughts of some notable machines: Continue reading

2013 Audi S4 – The Family Man’s M3

It’s hard to argue that the BMW M3 has become a legend…an icon…and a yardstick to measure others by in the automotive enthusiasts world. Over the years BMW has made two and four door versions, as well as a convertible. But the constant through the ages (since the first E30 series version) has been the two door coupe, which is the only version currently available. It has it all: sonorous motor with class leading power, generally high level handling, and checks in all the must have boxes: proper seating position, proper shifting, excellent steering, and vault-like construction. BMW pricing ensures that it has decent cache’ as well.
But, with all the goodness come issues. Two doors limit utility, and for a third of the population of the upper 48 states, it’s rear wheel drive proves troublesome when the Continue reading

2014 Chevy Silverado – Familiar, but Better

The Silverado is the single biggest selling vehicle for Chevrolet, accounting for approximately one of every four Chevys sold. To say that this truck is important to Chevy is an understatement. As time moves forward, it’s necessary for Chevy to keep the truck modern without going too far from what attracts people to the Silverado.
Truck owners are extremely loyal to “their” brand and once chosen, they are often bound to them for life. As a result, the goal with the new Chevrolet Silvarado was to target the Chevy faithful, taking the aspects owners love, and improving areas that they felt were lacking. This is exactly why the new Silverado doesn’t appear drastically different, at least on the surface. The reality is that Chevy needed to retain their winning formula, and blend the Continue reading