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Emerald Empire Sports Car Club
P.O. Box 1204 Eugene, Oregon 97440
President: Ruben Cruz
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Featured Article
The Speed of Light
By Chris Nunes

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* * * 95 db Max * * *
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Snell M and SA helmets of these years will be allowed for 2014:
2010, 2005, and 2000
Snell 95 are no longer legal

The Speed of Light
By Chris Nunes

They say as you approach the speed of light strange things happen.  Time and space bends around the traveler, and the measured time inside the vehicle actually passes slower than it does for those around it. Travelers exiting the vehicle will be exponentially younger than those who experienced their life at a slower relative velocity; paradoxically they could even be younger than their children.

Autocross speeds are nowhere near fast enough to produce as dramatic an effect, but if you consider the fact that all of us hurtle down the freeway during our daily commute at speeds that would have caused our ancestors to defecate themselves, you have to believe speed has some effect on our physiology.

I’ve always been into cars since I was a kid in the South, watching Knight Rider and consuming every edition of Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines I could get my hands on.  My first car was a beat up 1987 Pontiac Trans Am T-top with a junkyard 350 swap topped with the stock computer-controlled Quadrajet.  It didn’t pass emissions easily and got starved for fuel if you floored it for more than a few seconds.

I moved to Oregon and fell in love with a 1975 Datsun 280z, but it wasn’t until I started to get into Autocross in 2007 that I feel like I truly began to learn about cars on a practical level.  I thought I had a pretty decent magazine education, but I realize now that automotive technology is useless unless it is applied appropriately.  For example, when I upgraded my sway bar, I didn’t notice a dramatic difference on the street, but at the next autocross event, the Z transformed from a twitchy tail-happy death-trap to a predictable and manageable rear-wheel drive sports car.  Installing the LSD made it even better.

Autocross is like meditation for me, taking all my concentration, and as I focus on balancing a car at the limit, all the stress of the rest of my life melts away.  To modify a Fast and the Furious quote, “for those 50 seconds or less, I’m free.”

RoZe (as I’ve come to affectionately call the car) has seen a lot of modifications just to keep up with the newer coupes in grid, but maybe I like being the underdog.  Honestly, I may not be the fastest racer out there, but I am proud of what I’ve learned through my years of participating in this sport.  With the help of other club members, I’ve done repairs I would never have dreamed of, and every project I tackle expands the horizons of what I am capable of.  I even taught myself to weld and fabricated my own front suspension links to provide camber and caster adjustability.

The people, however, are what really keep me coming back.  My family has grown along with my autocross experience, and there are close friends within this club who have watched our daughter grow from infant to toddler to the little girl she is today.  I trust these folks, and I admire their heart and generosity.  Autocross is a community, and although speed and competition brought us together, we all help each other, sharing tools, insight, even cars.  Racing is fun, but getting to know the people here is what truly brings me joy.

In that way, maybe autocross is indeed a bona fide fountain of youth.


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