• Gary M.

    "Vision" to "Fruition"

    It was around Christmas of 2004 when my new wife and I were experiencing some financial difficulties and couldn't qualify to renew the lease on her Lexus IS300. We ended up in the Mitsubishi lot in Bakersfield, CA looking at, what would turn out to be, the original Lancer Sportback Ralliart. It looked to be more of a wagon, and was a far cry from being in the same league as the Lexus but, nonetheless, it got my attention and we ended up driving off the lot with it.

    Nine years later, after a tour to Iraq, having a new child three thousand miles away in New Jersey, and a return to California for four years, and back to New Jersey in 2012, I was introduced to the automotive world of mods, tunes, boost, and racing. Now you have to understand that I had been a Paramedic in the Emergency Medical Services for the past fifteen years and put people back together, not cars! But it wasn't long before I took on the project of turbocharging my automatic, FWD Lancer Sportback Ralliart with 135,000 miles on it! My vision was to one day experience, not only "boost," but also a full length road race course.

    I finished my turbo build on July 25, 2013 and after a "maiden voyage" from Atlantic City, NJ to San Diego, CA and back, on my new turbocharger, I discovered the Sports Car Club of America and autocross racing at Bader Field in AC, NJ. Albeit a "kick in the pants" that it was, I still had that strong desire to experience the "real thing" out at NJMP in Millville, NJ. I'd be lying if I said that the money wasn't holding me back from committing, but after nearly a year of making excuses, an email that I received from the SCCA changed ALL of that:

    "Track Night in America driven by Tire Rack with partial support from the FIA Sport Grant Programme is “The Fastest Way to Get on Track” for any automotive enthusiast. No previous on-track experience needed. Only things required are a street car in good condition, a driver’s license and a helmet," was what the email said, with a price ticket of only $150 to boot (http://www.tracknightinamerica.com/articles/1994150-welcome-to-track-night)! On April 15, 2015 my "vision," finally came to fruition...praise God!

    Here I am on the fastest section of the Thunderbolt track, where us novices were reaching speeds up to 110 mph:


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    • Ikkosa L.

      Mentioning that you worked as a paramedic in emergency medical services for fifteen years adds an interesting dimension to the narrative as you moved from saving lives to working on cars. This change of direction is a testament to your determination and the transformative power of your passions. As far as driver's licenses are concerned, you will get things done quickly and cheaper on real id oregon than anywhere else. It sounds like your dream of experiencing yourself on a full-size race track remained a dream, and the letter from SCCA was the turning point that encouraged you to jump into the world of organized racing. It's always interesting to hear about people following their dreams and taking on new challenges.

    • Jose L.

      I thought the same thing when I first heard of Track night. Nice car there by the way!

    • Gary M.

      You're in FL? Are you going to be on the track in June?