How did You hear about COM?

General chat that fellow COM'ers may be interested in.
lou m
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Post by lou m » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:22 pm

cuda6666 wrote:In 1964 or 1965, I heard there was an autocross at Horseneck Beach, Mass. So I tow bar'd my 1953 Austin Healy to the beach and ran. I think the sponsoring club turned out to be COM. Then when Kieth Bryar built the track in Loudon, I used to go up and drive around the track after work before it was opened to the public. I think COM first rented Bryar in 1965, and I ran the event.
Frank was running a prepared Cuda when I first joined the club. He had the most shocking car at the track. That the cuda was fast in a straight line didn't surprise me. BUT, the speeds at which he took the corners had me cringing like there is no way he is going to make that turn at that speed. Thanks for the show Frank! Post a pic of the car if you have one handy.

Don P
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found com

Post by Don P » Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:10 pm

I came across the COM display at the World of Wheels show many moons ago, met Grove Marcy, and that was that. Like Sam, I have to blame - really thank - Grove. The people then and now keep me coming.

Also, Frank P was my first instructor. So I'm suited up in the driver's seat of my new Mustang Cobra, this (nice) guy Frank gets in the car and the first thing he says is "no matter what you do, you can't scare me" Hmmmmm, this club is going to be some fun.....
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lou m
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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by lou m » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:02 pm

I'm bumping this old thread as I found it really entertaining and would like some of the new(er) members to comment.

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by cuda6666 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:11 am

Hi Don. Yes, I remember saying something like that :P As I think I posted on the forums, the Cuda is now on the West Coast and set a muscle car record on Pike's Peak (go to Youtube and enter "Cuda Pike's Peak).
Last edited by cuda6666 on Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by 6PAK72 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:35 am

Liz and I had built the TR6, and were looking to see what it could do.

Found COM from a google search - it was difficult to find any info on line 8 years ago about how to "get on the track" and COM had the face page "Drive Your Car on a Track..." which sounded like what we wanted to do.

Spent the winter getting ready, and boy, do I wish the mentor program had been running - we made every mistake you could. Except the battery - the battery was tight. :)
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79 TR7 V6 in shed

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by brucesallen » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:31 am

And Jeff is one of our official mentors.
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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by dinoracer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:26 pm

I've had Mustangs since high school. In 1989 went to the Shelby convention in WG with a friend, drove his work truck out because neither of our cars would likely make the trip. Saw that they were driving on the track- what??? The next years convention was at Lime Rock, I went with the black fastback and bought ( 4) 20 minute sessions on track for $100. That was the balls. Drove it home with the ball joints barely still in the lower arms, after landing hard a number of times catching air at the top of the uphill.

Met Don Pierce at World of Wheels that winter, and he told me about a place for dopes like me. been here ever since....
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#26 - 2000 Black Miata (sold) - co-driver of the orange 318ti .. thanks Scott!

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by CalypsoBean » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:38 pm

I found COM thanks to Fred Ferguson being my driving instructor at my first BMWCCA event at NHMS. He told me that he knew about a club that was a lot more fun, and a lot less stuffy, if I was interested in becoming a better driver and getting involved in a competitive series. He was 100 percent right.

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by FredK » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:04 pm

I really liked reading the "origin stories"!

I started by doing autocross for a couple years; it was there I met Troy who ran NE-SVT. At the urging of Nick DeRosa I did my first event with COM in 2009 with Nate Hine as my instructor. I think I only did Day 1 at NHMS, because I admit, I found it intimidating because of the sheer amount of information I had to process, and didn't really want to do the TT. I slowly started attending more events every year and getting more comfortable behind the wheel and loosening my grip on the steering wheel. I think besides upgrading to a rollbar/seats/restraints, having an AiM has helped me find where I have room to improve now that I'm strapped in!

I won a class champion a few years back driving like a grandma because no one else did 3 events, and if they did, they would have creamed me. Still going to savor that one! :P
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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by kfoote » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:31 am

The first COM event I remember going to was when my dad co-drove a Porsche 911 with the car owner at Bryar in the early 80's. He eventually ended up driving for him in the Escort Endurance Challenge and the Firestone Firehawk series' shortly after that. I also have a couple of mug trophies from the Turkey Trot Rally in 1984.
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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by wizzman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:53 am

I started autocrossing in my 2005 WRX with SCCNH in the NHMS parking lot back in 2006 i believe. Like many others I would venture over to the turn six bleachers and watch the cars going around a "real racetrack". I knew I had to get on there, but could just not afford it at that time. The Subaru crew used to rent a gokart track in upstate NY called St Lawrence Motorsports Park- two days for like $100. It was there I drove Paul G's black Miata- my first ever!:

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I had more fun in that car then I ever did in my 300 whp WRX. I sold my WRX for three thousand dollars over blue book one month before the economy crashed in 2008. That sale resulted in a 1999 Saab 9-5 daily driver, part of a down-payment on a house and... a $3400 1994 Mazda Miata with 94k miles. Ted Drotleff directed me away from BMWCCA and towards COM for reasons I didn't quite understand just yet. I spent 2010 turning the car into something I could being to the track with the help of a bunch of emails from my mentor Gordon and the handy work of Ted. In April of 2011 I drove the Miata to Mosport by myself for my very first COM event. I didn't know a single person going:

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I arrived and it was 40 degrees and raining for the entire two day event. Bruce Allen was my instructor. I spun at T5A on my out lap! He told me he did the same thing. Between sessions I sat in my car with it idling to stay warm. Each break I sat there wondering what the **** I was doing driving an 18 year old car I had never driven more than 50 miles from home on a race track 550 miles away in Canada. Bruce gave me my license that day... imagine that. My very first time trial went pretty well for a n00bie:

68 Troy Velazquez 2:18.704 1-T Mazda Miata
56 David Wittmer 2:18.813 2-T Mazda Miata
781 Jeff Wasilko 2:18.856 3-T Mazda Miata

I left at about 4pm and drove all the way back home in pouring rain. Bruce called me that evening while I was driving to let me know I had come in second place. The next day Troy got a hold of my number from Paul G. and called me to congratulate me on my time trial result. He said he hoped I would be back again. For someone who didn't know a single person with the club those two calls had quite an impact. I attended the next 22 consecutive COM events.
-Dave W.

1994 Mazda Miata T50 #56

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by SandyClam » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:45 pm

I was doing some consulting work for a guy named Willie Maurer who liked cars; turns out, he raced Alfa GTV-6s with COM. I'd somewhat recently (1999) started doing track days after I got bored shagging cones at the autox. We talked about track time during a couple of meetings, and he recommended I try COM.

My first COM event was the 9/23/01 event at NHMS. I remember a couple of things pretty clearly. I had a new-to-me '99 M Coupe, and I had bought some takeoff Kumho V700s from some guy north of Boston. I think he also ran with COM, in a 911 turbo, but I don't remember his name. With the clown shoe, I had to drive up on the race tires, which wasn't fun as it was kind of chilly. I gassed up next to the track the night before the event, and spun the car pulling back onto the road. Right in front of one of Loudon's finest. Luckily, he gave me a break (cold race tires!) and I made it back to the red roof sans ticket.

The next day at our event, in the drivers meeting we talked about the events of 9/11, which had happened less than 2 weeks earlier. I don't remember much of the rest of the practice day aside from being scared crapless from the fast drivers, but the TT day stood out. I wound up being DNF'ed for laps 2 and 3 of my TT. Nick Efremow blew the turbo in his 944 during the out lap and I caught him at the start of my second hot lap. Being a total newb, I saw Nick give me the point by in T1 (we ran south oval), so I went ahead and took the pass. In the oval.

My ears were bleeding after I got an earful from somebody in the hot pits. But, I had apparently demonstrated I wasn't a threat outside of the time trials, so I got my license that event. I don't recall 100% but I think my instructor was Peter Faill. I felt like I was really going quickly, but in retrospect a 1:25.0 wasn't all that impressive.

I never did run into Willie at a COM event, and we don't see too many Alfas anymore either. But 16 years later The Clam is like gum on the bottom of COM's racing shoe... you can't shake me!

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by lleff » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:38 pm

After years of autocrossing, I got bit by the track buy while living in California. Lucky for me, my first real track lapping experience was at Laguna Seca! I ran for years with NASA, BMWCCA, PCA and a few others before finding COM. Memory is a bit foggy, but I think SandyClam Catucci introduced me in 2006. I ran my Audi S4 at Tremblant and finished 2nd in class! I took many years away for many reasons and returned last year with a Miata and my Brother, Matt. Loads of fun. Great people. Relaxed atmosphere. Good times!

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by n1gzd » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:11 pm

I heard about it at Autocross (members of Autocross were also members of COMSCC).

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Re: How did You hear about COM?

Post by mattd » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:27 pm

I am loving these stories.

I believe it was back in 2002/2003 that I started autocrossing with first the Mass Miata Club and SCCA, then the Renegade Miata Club which split off of Mass Miata to be more autocross-focused. My first ever instructor at the autocross was none other than COM's Lester Seal! Between Les, Gordon, and Will - the notion of COM came up as a great way to "take it to the next level" and get on an actual race track, so I began to research just what that would take to do. I took my street driven Miata and made the necessary mods and drove to my first ever event at Lime Rock in 2004 (the one where it snowed in the morning and the track lost power due to massive ice buildup on the power lines.) Driving there in the snow from my wife's grandparents house in Fishkill, NY on summer tires in the Miata was an adventure to say the least. My wife, Emily, followed in her WRX (a much smarter vehicle choice!)

My first event - I was such a newb - my first instructor was Chris Connacher, who was fantastic and super helpful- even helped with a small mechanical issue I had with a leaking valve stem - I took a wheel down to this hole in the wall shop near the track to do a repair - they scratched the hell out of my beautiful alloy wheel - but I was able to get out on track and experience LRP at least a little bit. It was brutally cold and the track was intermittently dry. My poor wife huddled in the WRX with the heat on - ever the trooper.

On the way home Saturday night (Ididn't think I was ready for the TT...or something), we stopped at one of the rest stops on the Pike to grab dinner and my wife said (bless her heart) "Wow, so lots of people had like trucks and trailers and stuff to tow their cars to the track - that seems like a good idea." I took that idea and ran with it, bought a truck and trailer in the next couple of weeks and ran as many COM events as I could through 2005 and 2006. In April of 2006, a group of us from C.O.M. (ha!) consisting of myself, Will Martins, and Gordon Andrade got our cars SCCA logbooks and went to SCCA school paired with a regional race. Bill and Greg Hosselbarth, and Lester came along as well to help us and we had an amazing time with the school - where we frankly turned a lot of heads with the driving skills that we gained with COM. Even the thrash to get the cars ready for racing was a COM team effort - lots of hands pitched in to get the cars sorted out so we could pass tech and get that logbook.

I ended up stuffing my spec miata at WGI at the end of the 2006 season - and I let the car sit too long and promptly bought a house, had a couple of kids and my priorities got a little messed up :-) I returned to COM in 2014 after seeing Thompson open up practically in my backyard and seeing that Palmer and Club Motorsports weren't far behind - it seemed like a renaissance in road racing in New England and I couldn't stay on the sidelines any more! So I built another street/track miata that quickly became a caged dedicated track car (again!)

The spec miata that I stuffed into the wall at turn 8 at WGI ended up being brought back from the dead and is now owned and driven in T40 by Rodney Carriere.
Matt Daniels
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#74 T40 - 2001 small red convertible from Japan made by Mazda

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