May 1st Buttonwillow Raceway Park, CA
On the last Friday of May I grabbed my helmet and headed out to Buttonwillow Raceway Park. A bunch of friends from my local shop, Raceline Development, were going to be there along with a big group from the NWP4LIFE.com forums. I had missed the Eibach meet a week earlier and this was a good chance to see and hear a few of those cars in their natural environment: out on the track.
The event, hosted by Speedventures, was not Honda exclusive, but we pretty much took over the entire east side of the paddock. Lawn chairs, EZ-Ups, and hibachis were scattered between Civics, Integras, and S2000s. It was the sort of scene that we all wished we could live in everyday, and that's without even getting into what we were really there for.
Scattered showers from the day before had left us with a perfectly clean racetrack under a calm, partly cloudy sky. They were lap-record-breaking conditions and a good number of new personal best lap times were set. Really, that's all anyone could hope for, other than the pleasure of driving their car on a racetrack and the refined skills that come with it.
By the end of the day we were all spent. While I didn't get to drive my car on the track, shooting photos, instructing friends, and mooching off of barbeques wiped me out. Of course the noobies will never forget their first time, but several of the more experienced proclaimed it to be the best track day ever. If you missed it, don't worry. Events like this happen almost every weekend at racetracks across the country. We hope to see you there.
If you're interested in participating in an event like this, here's the basic breakdown on what you'll need to do. First, make sure your car will pass a tech inspection. That means that all of the nuts and bolts are tight, no fluids are leaking, and the brakes and tires are in good shape. A good alignment shop will check all of this stuff if you ask for it. Then you need get a current automotive helmet. Make sure it has a "Snell SA" rating-the ones with an "M" are for motorcycles. You'll have to register for an event, usually costing between $100-150 per day. Finding a group that offers a school for beginners is highly recommended for first timers. And finally, be safe out there and have fun!