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Chris Thompson: Lowes Motor Speedway, Charlotte, NC
NASA Virginia Region HPDE, Sept 7/8 2002
Just got back from participating in a NASA Virginia Region event at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC on Sept 7/8 2002. I was the only Stealth/3000GT there amongst hundreds of cars. NASA, at least in the VA region, runs fantastic events, and this was no exception. At almost all of these events you can do driver training, or race. But unlike most club events, NASA has a really quality, affordable training program. Under $300 for the entire weekend if you're just training in HPDE - and you'll be busy most of the time. This event was a "Hyperfest", so will probably be written up in the next Grassroots Motorsports, if you want additional info. In the picture of car on track, above, it looks like I'm coming up to turn 3a, so I'm going pretty slow at that point. I think that's the Viper behind me - hard to tell in the dark...
I'm still training, but running this course was almost better than sex. We ran 90% of the high banks and straightaway, and even got to run under the lights at about 8:30. What most of you all who have watched races at Charlotte maybe don't realize is that there is also an infield course under all those cars and media in the infield, which we also ran as part of the circuit.
This track map is above, and other info about the event are HERE The infield is relatively
short and simple..., with only 6-8 turns, depending on how you take them. At
the end of it, you get onto the high banks of the oval - the steepest in
the states (maybe the world?). All of my compadres said it freaked them
out when they hit them, but they seemed as natural as sunlight to the
Stealth. If you are doing good, your exit speed from the infield track
is only maybe 80 mph, but once you hit the banks on the oval the fun
really begins. You can just keep it on the floor it for the next 2.5
miles or so. You get to a couple of G downforce on the banked part of
the track, and some cars bottom the suspension, but not the Stealth.
And it just eats this part of the track. This is really where I was
catching and passing everyone. The NASCAR guys do this at close to 200
mph - there's no reason we can't carry maximum speed through all this in
our cars even in stock trim.
In my class I ran right over everyone, including 2 'vettes, a 911 (even
lapped him once in 10 minutes). I didn't run over the Viper, but he
could never catch me, either. I was driving a straight stock '93
Stealth R/T TT I've owned for a couple of years and use for a daily
driver. I don't think even the plugs have been changed in it from new
and the odometer reads 115,000. The only mod I did was to put 40 pounds
front and 38 pounds rear. Even ran stock brakes.