Going into any autox season is usually a pretty exciting time for me... and with a brand new car that (at the time) was just 6 months old, there was a whole other level of anticipation involved.
I was going from a 160-ish HP, FWD, naturally aspirated car with quite a few suspension modifications to a 100% stock, 265 HP, AWD, turbo monster. Time to throw out the rule book. Everything I had learned in the last few years about pushing my car is practically useless. And I approached every event in that same way... starting from scratch.
I just wish that someone had reminded me at the first two events that I had this new, fancy thing called traction control - and that I could turn it off. No matter... even with the traction control off I still finished 3rd in PAX at both events. I'd call that acceptable.
Throughout the season I'd end up as low as 7th in PAX and as high as 1st! That's right, I even managed to win my first PAX trophy once this year (Event #7, Arnot Mall). And again, as a reminder - PAX is meant to equalize or handicap everyone's times as if they were driving the same cars. So you're essentially comparing driver to driver.
Even from the beginning of the season I had just assumed that I'd win my class (D Stock) for the year... but that was more or less because I'd never have any steady competition, as usual. Early in the season I noticed I was also leading the PAX points for the year... suddenly I had a new goal. PAX is far more impressive than just a class championship, IMO. But the thought of winning something like that with a brand new car was a bit of a pipe dream early on in the season.
As we approached the 6th and 7th events, I started to realize it may be possible! As it came down the wire it looked like it was going to be a 3-way battle and I was literally in the driver's seat to hold on (yay for cliches!). A surprisingly ridiculous time at our Arnot Mall event gave me my first PAX event win and extended my points lead going into the last event. It was down to 2 of us.
After my 4 morning runs, I was really worried. I needed more time - but then found out we'd only get 2 runs in the afternoon. Ouch. Thankfully I managed to push just enough in the afternoon to better my morning times... by about half a second. Turns out that's all I needed. I didn't need a PAX win... I just needed to be within a second or so of Nile, breathing down my neck. I was just a half second back. Plenty of time.
Eight events. Our six best times. And I get the win by a whole 1.2 points. I looked back a few years and this is definitely one of the closest results in the last few years. And really it makes me more excited for next year.
I already have better tires stashed away for next season (ran OEM tires this year). I have a front sway bar and some brake pads on my xmas list... and I'm hoping these things give me just that little bit extra for next year to stay competitive in PAX yet again.
So how did I really do this year? Well, here's a full summary with photos and videos!
|Event||Class Result||PAX Result||Photos||Videos|
|Ithaca Mall||1st of 3||3rd of 29||Gallery||n/a|
|Seneca Army Depot||1st of 3||3rd of 35||n/a||All Runs|
|Arnot Mall||1st of 4||7th of 49||Gallery||All Runs|
|Ithaca Mall||1st of 4||6th of 32||n/a||All Runs|
|Seneca Army Depot||1st of 1||3rd of 30||Gallery||Run 7, All Runs|
|Corning Community College||1st of 2||7th of 28||Gallery||All Runs|
|Arnot Mall||1st of 1||1st of 35||Gallery||Run 6, All Runs|
|Watkins Glen International||1st of 3||4th of 53||n/a||All Runs|