Well, after years of dragging my feet and faltering over financial instability, I finally drove in a LeMons race this weekend. I suppose you could say I competed in it, but I wasn't out there to win, since I had a lot of firsts this weekend. First LeMons race, first time on-track at NHMS, first time racing in the rain, first this and that etc. etc., but the biggest first was first time actually driving a stick shift.
Yes, I all but learned to drive stick on the racetrack with 90 other idiots.
I mean, I've had some stick shift experience in the past, but everything to this point was very brief and in well-controlled environments that let me fuck up without major consequence. I don't know what my team's owner and captain were thinking by letting me out on the track with that kind of pedigree, since learning to shift, and learning the line, and avoiding traffic, and obeying flags, and being quick enough to not be a danger to myself and others were all things I had maybe two laps to sort through. But hey, we weren't "El Lemono Escuelo de Auto" just for the hell of it!
Three and a half hours of seat time (including one full in the rain, which was absolutely terrifying) and only one missed shift later, I'm pleased to report that:
-I didn't break anything
the clutch was still as strong at hour 15 as it was at hour 1, I got zero black flags, I pulled consistent, clean laps at a great pace, we finished very well within class B for a team with two first-timers, and I'm seriously stepping up my car shopping game as early as this week to get the hell out of my slushbox daily driver. I knew driving stick was always the better way to go about it, but this weekend has been a real eye-opener.
Oh, and I'll be doing LeMons again and again now. I'm preaching to the choir when I say it's the most racing fun you'll have for cheap, but to everyone else who's yet to experience this...get your ass out on the track. No vacation I've ever taken has topped this past weekend. Thanks again to my awesome crew (I know you're reading this!) for giving me the opportunity to prove myself. Hope I didn't let you down!