The atmosphere of the practice today was totally different from lapping. Between formula cars and MX-5 cup cars, there were five groups and probably 60 or so drivers participating. After the driver meeting, new driver meeting, and group driver meeting where we drew cars, I was on track in the first group of the day.

I was reminded in the new drivers meeting to check the pedal positions. I did so and noticed the throttle was significantly further forward then the last car I drove. If I braked like I did in the other car, I would catch some throttle, but if I pointed my knee to the left more (as is suggested) it was fine. I decided to leave it as is. That's what I've pretty much always done. I don't have a lot of experience in these cars, and maybe I'd like it better. Maybe it would make it easier to blip without releasing brake pressure. If I didn't like it I could adjust it for the next session.

As soon as I got out, I noticed my braking distances were way longer then yesterday; at first I didn't know what was going on but after a lap or two I realized I was catching major throttle during heavy braking. I focused on pointing my knee inwards and that solved the problem. But I'd already lost my confidence in braking. Braking with a different foot position, was a little weird; I didn't feel like I had quite the same control over brake pressure as before, and I had to focus to brake like this while also trying to pick up speed elsewhere. Into turn three, which isn't even a heavy braking zone, I broke a little too late, added brake pressure, locked up, realized I was not going to make the corner and decided to drive straight off. Turn three is a mid speed corner but there seemed to be decent run off straight off. I thought I might be able to stop the car before the tire barrier, but as I pushed the brake harder in panic, I caught more and more gas and by the time I realized it contact with the tires was inevitable. I was not traveling that fast and barely felt the impact, but it was enough to knock down the row of tires. After screaming expletives, I was able to back out and drive back to the pits without being able to see what damage there was to the front of the car.

Fortunately, the mechanics were able to check over the car, adjust the pedals and get me back out in only a few minutes. I was able to make the best of the rest of the session. I picked up speed in a few places but continued to struggle with braking. With the pedals adjusted, now the brake was so much further up, I struggled even more with modulating the pressure and was locking up a lot. Also fortunately, after the session I was able to see the damage and although the nose cone was off and the front wing was bent, it was not that costly.

Regardless, when we got the time sheets I found I did improve my time after the incident. Although I was somewhere around midpack, there was a large variance in times and my best time was almost 8 seconds off the fastest of the session a few seconds off where I wanted to be at this time. Obviously, I felt like an idiot after the session. It felt like it was the most ridiculous place to crash and way to crash. I regretted not having a mechanic check my pedals before going out, and not coming in for an adjustment once I realized I was not comfortable with them. I'm obviously wondering if I would have gone off and/or hit the tire wall if I had gotten the pedals adjusted and how much the incident effected my progress during the rest of the session and rest of the day.

After a long time to think things over with 4 other groups going out before my second session, I adjusted my seat one position back which helped a lot with the braking. The second session was more uneventful then the first, although I did barely run off the track after another big lockup under braking. At this point I'm guessing my front tires are flat spotted pretty good, which could provide another additional challenge for the rest of the weekend. I was able to chip away bits of time here and there and knock of a few seconds off the gap to the fastest drivers, but with no major breakthroughs I still have a ways to go to a competitive pace.

I still feel like I know what I need to do, it is just a matter of execution. Obviously, with a limited budget I don't have much track time to learn and perhaps I am rushing myself too much. It wouldn't be racing if it wasn't a challenge though. In my limited experience, I've found racing to be more physiologically intense then anything else I've ever done. The highs can be high, the lows can be low and that can all change quickly. Who knows how tomorrow will go.