Summit Point Shenandoah Circuit Recap
Pictures and in car video to follow this evening.
Ever wonder what happens at 103 degrees Fahrenheit? The city of Cleveland, OH declares an emergency in 1941 and that record for heat still stands today. A fever of that magnitude is enough to plant an adult in the hospital. Get out of the shower, get dressed and open the door only to feel like you need another shower. Water is boiling…Oh wait, that’s Celsius. 103 Degrees was the air temperature on Saturday.
All of those things are true, but what’s missing is the Greater Washington Section track day at Summit Point! It would seem that there was an equatorial shift that put the track and our brave participants and instructors square under a sunlit magnifying glass. The surface temperature on the pit grid read a sweltering ONE HUNDRED THIRTY SEVEN DEGREES (137)!! It was HOT !!
Over 80 cars and drivers showed up to test themselves and their equipment at the Shenandoah Circuit, part of the Summit Point Raceway facility, on August 4-5. For those not familiar, Shenandoah is a unique track facility that boasts multiple configurations for driver instruction, races, and law enforcement training. We elected to use the whole course which includes a replica of the carousel at the Nurburgring, Nordschliefe. Banked 17 degrees, this sweeping left hand turn immediately reminds you of the banking at other storied tracks like Daytona and Talladega.
This year, we added a new service to the offering, classroom instruction. Over 40 novices students participated in a class where they enjoyed personalized instruction from Miriam Shotland of Bill Scott Racing (BSR). The course focused on the finer points of performance driving. When a class session broke, students were then able to put these new found principles to the test on track with a qualified instructor. The positive response was overwhelming and we will continue it for future events. Big thanks to Miriam for putting on such a great course.
I would encourage you to come to a track event to watch the wide variety of cars, even if you are not a dedicated “track junkie”. It’s much like going on safari and being able to see animals in their natural environment. Mercedes, Ferraris, Fords, Chevrolets, and Mazdas all playing nicely on an automotive playground. There were a number of interesting cars on hand. Mike Sokalsky came down to visit with his 16V. OK, so what? This is a 16V with over 315,000 miles on the odometer! We also had a Ferrari F430, a Dodge Charger, and a Super Performance Shelby Cobra replica. Powered by a 427 cubic inch V8 with dual carburetors and a side oiler dry sump system, the car measured 603 horsepower at the rear wheels!! Weighing in at just shy of 2,000 pounds, the car is an absolute rocket ship. For the Porsche fans, you may want to skip to the next paragraph. There was also a 944 with a heart transplant. Instead of having a turbo charged 4-cylinder engine, this car boasted a Chevrolet 350 cubic inch LS1 motor.
Students were also able to enjoy a unique feature of the Shenandoah Circuit, the skid pad. This slick circular piece of asphalt is flooded and used as a training tool to educate students on how to react during a hydroplane situation. Cars sliding sideways and drivers counter steering made for an interesting “Dances with the Benz” episode. Students and their families were also given the opportunity to tour the track during low speed parade laps.
We pride ourselves on putting on a fast, fun and safe event. This driving school at Shenandoah was no exception. However, we had some drama. Paul Rossano and his instructor in a new Dodge Charger “went agricultural” at the end of the main straight as the heat took its toll on his brakes boiling the fluid. After a couple of slow cool down laps around the freshly flooded skid pad, the car was in good order.
Big thanks to our instructors and volunteers who gave up their weekend and their sweat to help make this event a great success. The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), BSR, Ford SVTOA, Car Guys and our own veteran drivers provided the on track instruction. In all, over 30 people came out to provide on track instruction, logistics support, photography and general “gofer” duties to the drivers and the event staff. We could not have done it without you!
FORMER Avenging Moderator of the Apocalypse and Leader of the Axis of Oversteer
"I live with fear every day and sometimes, she lets me race."
2002 SVT Focus... Stock