A day and a half at the track mostly in a Dodge Charger

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A day and a half at the track mostly in a Dodge Charger

Postby AKROVER » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:18 pm

Last week was really strange as I attended a security course and learned things I never could have imagined learning. As part of that full week, we spent a day and a half at some really impressive track facilities mostly driving Chargers and finally generating some real tire smoke for the first time in years. It was two students per car plus some classroom time so the total wheel time was probably only about 4 hours. We were not there to learn to get around the track fast, at least not in a forward gear. We actually spent almost as much time in reverse as forward. We did a lot of heavy braking with the ABS turned off, including avoidance maneuvers under heavy braking. I think we were routinely hitting 70 mph but never really going much above 80 and almost always braking hard from such speeds.

We left the Chargers briefly for some barely-better-than-demo-derby cars to learn to crash roadblocks. It was pretty cool to watch my wife in the car in front of me put the pedal all the way down and commit to such insanity. It was also quite fun coincidentally sharing the skid pad with her Charger (we had 5 vehicles in the class with only two on the skid pad at a time). The instructor controlled the throttle for those exercises so no matter how good you were with the wheel, they could throw you into a spin. She spun out a few times that I saw. I tried to get my instructor to let me drift it by myself, but he at least agreed to execute a two-man drift which is quite an amusing thing to try. We only ever made about a half lap drift that way, but I don’t think it was my steering that caused us to spin. I think he just got bored and then felt obligated to make me work the wheel more aggressively since that is what we were there to learn.

Of course with two students per car plus the instructor, I spent almost as much time in the back seat as the driver’s seat. I never want to sit in the back seat of a Charger again as I was so nauseous with all these crazy maneuvers, particularly the driving backward stuff. With a set of tires lasting just two classes, I can take credit for taking a quarter of the life out of a set (this had to be an expensive week of training). Most of the tire smoke though was from intense braking. From the driver’s seat, I was pretty happy with the Chargers. They felt great, even at speeds in the curves that I wasn’t comfortable with (which isn’t saying much as I am a chicken on curves). I didn’t check or ask, but I am certain they were just V6’s, peppy but not much risk of overpowering the rears in the dry conditions (skid pad was watered).

The final exam a couple days later had us running a few scenarios complete with guns and explosives being shot at us while we tried to make good decisions. It was pretty funny that I was accelerating quickly in reverse when this explosion went off and the next thing I heard was my rear wheels spinning as I reactively smashed the accelerator. Then I had to regain composure as I was backing rapidly toward some obstacles. Even though I understood it was all simulation, loud bangs really make me jump. It is interesting to drive rapidly in reverse while avoiding obstacles using only the mirrors. I seem to have found a new talent. Does TDR still run the backwards race?

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Basement Paul
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Re: A day and a half at the track mostly in a Dodge Charger

Postby Basement Paul » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:12 am

That sounds like it was fun, and a bit stressful. That would be like doing an autocross while someone threw grenades at you! But I understand why they train you for it.

Thompson eliminated the backwards race awhile ago because of legal issues I was told. Plus, I'm sure they don't want the concrete walls broken and the timing lights taken out.


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Re: A day and a half at the track mostly in a Dodge Charger

Postby MostMint » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:38 pm

The Charger is a big car but it is fun to drive.

And Dragway 42 is having a backward race on May 1: https://www.facebook.com/events/439806053723178
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:

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