Welcome to a recap of NICOfest at the 2010 Carlisle Performance and Style show in Carlisle, PA.
This is the fourth year that NICO has teamed up with the staff of Carlisle Events to present the autocross and drift exhibition. As always, we had a fantastic time meeting up with old friends we hadn’t seen since the year before and welcomed several newcomers to the event. Many thanks go out to Patrick LeMay, the event Manager for Carlisle Events. We want to take this opportunity to let him know how much we appreciate all that he did to make things go smoothly.
To those of you who have never been to Carlisle, it is one of the most fun-filled events we do all year. Much of our success depends on Joel (aka Bubba1), our track master. He sets up the autocross course, times laps, records those times, and offers pointers to the drivers as they approach the start line. His dedication is unprecedented. To my knowledge, he never actually took a break the whole time the track was hot. He even ate lunch trackside.
There are always people who wander in from other parts of the fairgrounds who want to participate, ask questions, and take pictures. Patrick is very specific about where members of the media can and cannot go, especially around the track. Those who are lucky enough to get a pit pass always have a ton of questions about who we are and what we do. They are also typically amazed at how seamless everything works and how we seem to operate more as a family than as a club or forum. Our members volunteer and help out wherever they are needed, whether it is registration, tech inspections, working the grill, selling t-shirts, pulling a shift as a corner worker on the track, or anything else we need. To everyone who volunteered this year, thank you so much. We absolutely could NOT do this without you.
One of the big draws to Carlisle is how inexpensive the event is and how much track time is available. Joel rotates the two classes frequently in order to accommodate as many drivers as possible. One of the other major benefits is the fact that the veteran drivers welcome beginners to ride along with them to learn tips and pointers on how to improve their times and their skills. We saw many of our seasoned drivers give up their own track time in order to ride along with the beginners to help them out, make them feel more comfortable, and to give good advice. Being a teacher is often a thankless job – so for all of you who donated your time and expertise, we want to make sure you know how much we appreciate what you did.
As luck would have it, none of the top three autocross lap times this year came from a Nissan product. Those honors were held by a Z06 Corvette, a Toyota AE-86 Corolla, and a Mazda RX-8. The ‘Vette, driven by Bill Miller III, Carlisle Events Senior Partner, had the best time of 55 seconds. The Corolla, driven by Jim (flohting_point) had a 56-second lap, and the RX-8, driven by James (greenblurr93) recorded a 57-second lap.
Congratulations to our guys for staying so close to a car with an undeniable horsepower advantage – that takes an incredible amount of skill! We’ll be bringing you more details on long-time NICO member Jim’s (flohting_point) track experiences and showcasing his 95-hp dragon-slaying AE-86.
One of the highlights of the show is Travis Nolan drifting his Ford Ranger. Always a crowd pleaser, Travis rolls in the gate with the bed of his truck loaded down / stacked high with tires. Every time he goes out, he wails on that truck until the rear tires can hold no more and shred all over the track. When they pop, it sounds like a shotgun blast. Each year, he gets better and better – He’s promised us a little “surprise” for the 2011 event!
Other fan favorites are the Suislide 240sx (yep, the one with the intercooler poking through the hood) and Wade’s insane antics behind the wheel… and, of course, another NICOfest favorite: Steve Stark of DriftPA and his S14 / Skyline frankenstein conversion. Steve had a few last-minute setbacks that kept him off-track for most of the weekend, but he’s already assured us that he’ll be locked and loaded for 2011.
Every year, there’s a new set of shenanigans to witness, and this year was no exception. Five of our long-time members decided to show up dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and Shredder). When they entered the karaoke and tug-of-war contest (and won), history was made.
For those of you who came out to join us, thanks for the memories! For those of you who didn’t, you need to make sure you make it next year. It just keeps getting better and better. Please enjoy the photo gallery (and discussion thread!) below.