Motorsports To Go! October 23, 2020

Jack Baruth

Welcome to Motorsports To Go! Each week, we will take a look at an upcoming event on We will tell you everything you need to know in order to participate. It’s the easiest way to get out of your recliner and into the driver’s seat. We’ll be covering everything from $25 autocrosses to million-dollar “gentlemen racer” opportunities, all of them explained in simple English via the same basic set of questions. Let’s get started!

What is it? Kentucky SCCA Autocross — register at MotorsportReg.

Well, what is it? Autocross is a timed, one-car-at-a-time competition, usually held in a parking lot, using the car you drive to work every day. (As long as it isn’t taller than it is wide!)

Where is it? NCM Motorsports Park, right outside Bowling Green, KY. The event is held on a paved lot outside the racetrack.

What’s it cost? $55 if you’re not an SCCA member, $40 if you are.

What kind of car do I need? Any normal street car in good working condition. Some crossovers are okay; like we said, it can’t be taller than it is wide. A Miata is fine. A Malibu is fine. A 1980 Mercedes 300SD is fine — look at the photo! You’ll want to make sure your wheels are on tight. A short safety and tech inspection happens on site the morning of the event.

What kind of personal equipment do I need? A valid driver’s license. Long sleeves, long pants, and a DOT-rated helmet — even a motorcycle helmet will do. Find out more with this great Kentucky SCCA starter guide.

How long will it take? Plan to spend most of the day, into the afternoon.

Will there be someone to answer my questions at the event? Absolutely. Kentucky SCCA is positively evangelical about helping out new drivers.

Can I damage my car or get hurt? It does occasionally happen — but it’s exceptionally rare. If you follow the basic advice you’re given, nothing bad should happen. This is probably the safest form of motorsport there is.

Why would I bother to do it? Autocross events rarely exceed 50 miles per hour — but when you’re slaloming between cones at the limit of your car’s grip, that’s more than enough. Many club racers (and even a few pros) started by autocrossing as adults. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll meet some great people.

What’s the hot setup, if I have time and money to prepare? A 2020 Mazda Miata Club Edition. Brand-new Bridgestone RE-71 tires. An Impact! carbon-fiber helmet, made in Indianapolis, Indiana. The lightest and narrowest shoes in your closet.

Give me two tips or tricks to really shine. If you feel like buying one of those portable air compressors that runs off your cigarette lighter, you can adjust tire pressure at the event to maximize your handling for the course. And a tire-pressure gauge will help you find the right pressure for your particular tires. But the real secret to autocrossing? Always look at the next set of cones, not the set you’re driving through. Keep your eyes up and focused on where you’re going. That’s worth more time than a turbocharger.

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