Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rev It Up- Washington, DC- Story: Part 2

After the Rev It Up on Friday in DC, I had to trek back to NY that night, so I could get 3 hrs of sleep, to then get up and Instruct at the NY BMWCCA Street Survival Teen Driving School.

I had a prior commitment to this school before the Rev It Up schedule came out, and I'm not one to bail on events, especially a Teen School, so no matter how much I really wanted to be in DC and watch the final day of the Rev It Up unfold. I just couldn't be there for it.

Of course during the day, I'm telling everyone what happened the night before. And as usual no one believe it, neither did I at the time, I still thought I was asleep dreaming it.

Later on in the day, I received a phone call from Demetri inviting me to a block party that night at Thom's house. At the time I had nothing planned, so after the School, I drove over there to check it out.

The block party was great, the entire street was closed down, kids were running everywhere, toys were everywhere, food was everywhere. They even had a DJ there playing music and games for the kids, then later in the night a band came in and played for a while.

Ok, to get to the interesting part of the story now. Somewhere around 9 pm, I received a phone call from Rogers Simon, who was at the Rev It Up, calling to give me an update as to who's on the leader board in the Cobalts. I knew who was planning to be there already, and had an idea who was going to be on that list as he started reading names and scores. You name it, the Who's Who of Autocrossing was there: Daddio, Salerno, Strano, King, Johnson, Baker.... etc.... etc..., I could keep going. With that amount of great drivers there, all of them multiple National Champions. Each one of them is more than capable of doing what I did. So of course I started to get nervous.

Somewhere around 9:30 Rogers called me again to give me an update and let me know what the Pro Driver Index was. A few minutes later my phone rings again, this time its Matt Arnold who was there giving me an update.

Next thing you know, I go inside the house, its so loud outside with all the people and music from the block party that I can't hear the phone. I'm pacing around the house all nervous, (probably wore through the carpets) holding on to the house phone in my left hand with Rogers listening to the event as its happening, then in my right hand, I have Matt on my cell phone listening to what's going on from his side. Demetri and Thom are there both laughing at me, holding on to 2 phones pacing around the house, I wound up locking myself in the kitchen for a while just to get some peace and quiet so I could listen. Demetri came in a little while later and grabbed my cell phone and started talking to Matt.

So we're all there I think they are about as nervous as I am, as we're listening to what's going on there. One run after another, hearing Caroline in the background calling off drivers names and times. No one is getting close.

We're now onto second runs in the Corvette's.

At this point its getting pretty late and the block party is starting to wind down, and people are leaving to go home. Then Demetri starts bugging me about leaving. I'm like, no way dude, I'm not leaving till I hear the end of this.

I wound up having to lock myself in the kitchen again after pacing around the house for a while so I could hear the end of it. A few minutes later, they gave in and wanted to hear the end of it also, so we're all sitting there in the kitchen.

Its getting down to the final few drivers, all of a sudden, they have a timer issue. The entire house went quiet. We're listening to see who will be getting a rerun. Of all people who was getting a rerun was Daddio. None of use could believe he was getting a rerun. The event keeps running and the reruns will be done at the end. Then it comes down to Daddio getting his rerun. Caroline is calling out his run, we're listening as its happening. He comes into the finish, Denied! Wow! Daddio didn't beat me.

Here I am thinking I've just won! Then all of a sudden a protest about a car problem came up, and I hear they are about to give Ian Baker a rerun for something. Ian gets his rerun, we're listening as Caroline is calling out the run. He comes across the finish, Denied.

Then in the background I hear Caroline call out my name as the new 2007 National Champion, its official I won. Rogers and Matt who I was on the phone with both congratulated me, then I thanked them for keeping me on the phone to listen in.

I hung up the phone with them, then a couple minutes later. My cell phone rings again, its Dan, the Media Rep from the Rev It Up program. "Congratulations GJ You are now the new 2007 Chevrolet Rev It Up National Champion" we talked for a while and asked me a bunch of questions for the press release.

At the same time, we're walking outside to leave and go home and I believe it was Demetri who yelled to everyone at the block party that I won the car. Everyone on the block cheered for me and congratulated me.

What a Crazy Night!

At that point I'm so exhausted from the day, but so excited that I won, I didn't know what to do. On the way home, I made like 50 phone calls to start letting everyone know. I arrived home and couldn't sleep from the excitement. I think at some point I passed out, but don't remember.

Rogers Simon recorded all of my runs from Friday and he gave me a DVD of it last week, so I'm hoping to post the videos of my runs soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rev It Up- Washington, DC: Story by G. J. Dixon

After winning the NY Chevrolet Rev It Up, I wasn't sure if I was really going to head to Washington, DC for the final tour of the Rev It Up. At the last minute, I decided to call in sick and drive to DC to give it one last try.

I drove down there mid morning on Friday for my late afternoon runs. Since I got there so early, I was able to get the first parking spot out front. This also game me some time to get a couple hours of sleep before the gates opened.

Once the gates opened, I registered, then we all have to take a class room session before we are allowed to participate in any of the driving activities. Once that was completed, it was off to get some seat time on the practice course in the Cobalts. This year it was different and we were allowed to take as many runs as we wanted. In the previous years we were only allowed to take 2 practice runs.

Off to the Comptition Course for my Runs in the Chevy Cobalts.

My first run in the Cobalt was 0.2 off the Pro Driver scoring me with a 700. The Pro Drivers time on the course is worth 1000 points. Everyone's time is indexed off the Pro's time, which is about as fair as it gets with changing weather conditions and different course layouts around the country at each location. This was good enough to put me at the top of the leader board for the day. Upon getting out of the car, Caroline (Rev It Up Announcer) called me over and interview me for a few minutes. She asked about NY, coming down to DC, and about the course. Next came my second run in the Cobalt. Unfortunately, it was dirty with 1 cone, but my time was 0.014 off the Pro Drivers time. I believe it would have been a score of 950 or in that area if it was clean, which would have been the highest score ever achieved in the Cobalts.

After my first 2 runs in the Cobalts, I had a feeling something was going to happen that night. I didn't know what, but I was really enjoying the course that was layed out. Unlike the NY event, this course was more like a typical autocross and was open in a few locations so you had a choice of racing lines. Later in the evening, Brian Priebe knocked me to second place in the Cobalts, but my first score was still good enough to get into the Shootout in the Corvettes.

Before the Shootout, a bunch of us all went over to get some practice in the Corvettes. Unfortunatley, the practice course was not timed as it has been in years past, but it was still a great opportunity to check the cars out and get a basic idea of how they drive.

Time for the Shootout!

My first run in in the Corvette was (39.0) about 0.2 off the Pro Drivers time (38.8), scoring me an 819, which was 7 points shy of Chris Ramey's National Lead of 826 points. I knew going into my second run that there was more time out on the course, and that it would be a matter of me keeping it clean not hitting any cones.

On the second run, I made it through the first 3/4 of the course really fast, and I knew it was faster than my previous run. The last 1/4 of the course was a very tight technical section, which I knew I had to stay away from all the cones. I got behind a little in one section which caused me to slow down more then I wanted to for the next set of corners. I made it around the last corner and came into the finish clean.

A few seconds later I heard Caroline (Rev It Up Announcer) screaming into the microphone, and I heard the crowd scream. At that time I was too far away, and with the helmet on, I couldn't hear anything. I had guessed that I took over the National Lead. As I'm rolling back into the grid area, everyone is giving me the thumbs up and clapping. I still can't hear what is being said, until I made it around the final corner, looked at the score board and realized I had actually beaten the Pro's Time. I then screamed in the car and started honking the car horn. I had turned a 38.5 which beat the Pro's time (38.8) by about 0.3 which gave me a score of 1197 points.

Upon getting out of the car, all the Rev It Up Officials came over and congratulated me. Then I was interviewed again by Caroline, received a bag full of goodies and got a few pictures in with the NOS Models.

Once everything had concluded, and I went to go home, I walked out to the parking lot to find that someone put a "For Sale" sign on my car. I guess someone knew it was my car and didn't think I'd be needing it after that.

I'll tell Part 2 of the story later, about what happened while I was waiting for the Saturday Event to conclude.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

wrx vs evo

with a tease about running on the roadcourse and some class restructuring (compared to 2 classes in 06), a bunch of us showed up at etown to represent in the annual wrx vs. evo event.

as we always enjoy watching... kev and jay battled it out run for run. jay edged out kev for the class win. but kev kept his run clean and took down jay in the shootout! i'd call that even.

kev was up against daddio for fastest evo.. and as expected, it wasn't really a fair fight. under pressure, kev did pull out a sick run though. not quite quick enough to take down mark but pretty damn close on one of the two runs.

the carris' were in their usual form with chris, me, and diana finishing in that respective order in our class. it was tough going up raw-time against chris in his AS car but we were pretty close. great driving guys.. good luck at nationals!

chris decided to preserve the car and loaded it back up on the trailer after the class competition ended. that left me to eventually fend for myself against daddio in the shootout. 2 runs to take down the other subarus, then i was faced with a raw time battle with the alien. stu car vs daddio in all-out SM mode. can you say holunspanked?

for comparison pax-wise, i believe the order came down to mark, me, jay, kev, and chris taking the top 5 spots. holunfie domination. what we like to see!

we all had a great time! huge thanks to perry, ernie, and all the volunteers that put on this event for us!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

finger lakes pro vid

finally got around to posting my in-car from last month's pro..

here's my best run earning enough contingency to cover the weekend's expenses and then some!


back at it

with a somewhat long break from autox (for me), i was itching to get back behind the wheel and get back in on the action.

what better way to jump back in than with an evolution challenge school! if you haven't done an evo school... you should! tons of seat time, top notch instruction, and almost guaranteed improvement to your game. i spent most of my time with ron bistrais, a kickass F-Stock driver. we worked together on figuring out the areas i needed to work on, and took run after run after run. i was working the car so hard, the power steering was actually cutting out since the fluid was aerating! try driving a steering intensive course over and over with no power steering! it was brutal.

when it came time to 'challenge' our instructors, i was able to beat out ron by a tenth. pat salerno was itching to give it a go, so he took a few runs and was able to beat me by a tenth. we didn't want to eat into the other students times so i waited til the fun runs to see what i could pull out.. took me 1 run to warm back up and on the 2nd, i was able to find 2 tenths to beat them both. the school worked! thanks guys.

today, we went to nassau coliseum and it was good to be back with the crew. jay represented by winning BSP, top pax, and FTD!

i was close.. here's the vid of my fast run with a time (48.7) that was good enough to win pax had i not coned it.

you can see i had lost some time with the drift in the turnaround after the slalom.. i had the opportunity to clean it up on my final run, but decided to have a little fun. adil and i swapped cars for our last runs to change it up.

i have to give a huge thanks to mike choi for letting me get behind the wheel of the exige s for its debut event.. what a beautiful car! awesome power, changes direction on a dime, super quick steering rack.. what more can you ask for?

sti for sale! anyone interested?


Monday, August 13, 2007

gj is 'over the moon'!


- New York Driver Sets Record Score In Last Stop Of Six-City National Driving Competition; Only One Among 10,000 Competitors To Beat Pro Driver’s Time -

LANDOVER, Md. [August 11, 2007] – After six weekend events spread across the U.S., from San Francisco to Washington D.C., and 10,000 competitors all vying for the grand prize of a 430-horsepower 2008 Corvette, it was G.J. Dixon, 31, of Scarsdale, NY who was crowned with the title of Chevy-powered Rev It Up™ 2007 National Champion. Although Dixon was not eligible to win the title of D.C. event champion as he had won the New York/New Jersey event the previous week, he returned for another shot at the national title on Friday night to advance his score. Coming back for a second weekend in the world’s largest national performance driving school and racing competition turned out to be an excellent decision, as he ended up taking home the keys to the new 2008 Chevrolet Corvette and besting his nearest nationwide rival, Christopher Ramey of Houston, Tex., by 371 points.

Dixon’s run also made Chevy-powered Rev It Up™ history as the first driver to beat the Rev It UpTM 2007 pro driver’s score in the challenging Corvette Shootout with a blinding lap of 38.549 seconds, which translates to a score of 1197 using the Rev It UpTM 2007 scoring system. This feat, which has not been accomplished by any other in tens of thousands of laps in both race-prepped Chevrolet Cobalts or Corvettes, brought the sizeable Shootout crowd to a standing ovation. “I cannot believe I’m the Rev It UpTM 2007 national champion – I’m over the moon!” the seven-year autocross veteran and automotive technician exclaimed. “I just want to thank everyone who puts on the Rev It UpTM 2007 events, and especially Chevrolet for their support of this awesome summer program.”

As the Chevy-powered Rev It Up™ 2007 National Champion, Dixon will be awarded the new Corvette, as well as a special Corvette-inspired “Jake” Electric Guitar by Paul Reed Smith signed by Chevy’s American Le Mans Series Corvette Racing Team drivers. For beating the pro driver’s time and score, Dixon received an extra bonus prize, a race helmet signed by the entire Chevrolet Racing Team.

On behalf of Chevrolet, we’d like to congratulate G.J. Dixon, the Chevy-powered Rev It Up™ 2007 National Champion,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager. “After six exciting events, G.J. really showed us what our performance-oriented Cobalts and Corvettes can do, under a pressure-filled nationwide competition setting. Chevrolet had a great summer with the Chevy-powered Rev It Up™ 2007 automotive touring festival, and we look forward to more excitement to come!”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

congrats GJ!

holy crap. gj won rev it up.

not only does he get a free bondurant school.. he won the vette!!!

you are THE man GJ..

Monday, August 6, 2007

Corvette Day '07

I had no intentions of attending this year's Corvette Day over at Englishtown. That was until a friend of mine told me they were having it at the Raceway Park road course! There was a low turnout of Vette's, which in turn gave all of us cone runners plenty of fun runs. The layout was huge, as Perry was able to utilize the majority of the road course. Plenty of long stretches to build up crazy speed. In the STi, I was shifting into 3rd gear four times, and my top speed was about 70. Cars were running in the 60 and 70 seconds. The vast layout gave autocrossing a totally different feel. It was simply awesome! I had a fun time, thanks Perry and crew for the treat.

For a higher resolution version of the vid: Higher Res